Wednesday, September 30, 2009

8 Ways to Improve Your People Skills

From, this article is abridged from Twenty Time-Tested Tactics for Improving Your People Skills by Michael Zigarelli.

Interpersonal skills are critical at work, in your home, at church, and around your neighborhood. Practice these time-honored and battle-tested skills to improve your effectiveness as you relate to people at home, work, and church.

1. Don’t complain

People tend to react negatively to toxic talk. Instead, offer potential solutions when you identify problems. Or, say nothing at all.
"Do everything without grumbling and arguing." Phil 2:14 (HCSB)

2. Smile

Does your expression tell the world to leave you alone or that you’re friendly and approachable? Practice smiling and watch how others respond.
"Render service with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to men." Eph. 6:7 (HCSB)

3. Listen closely and actively

Make an effort to listen to everything that’s being said to you. Concentrate on the person’s words rather than your response. If there is the potential for disagreement or misunderstanding, paraphrase what you think was said. Be patient and briefly summarize his or her concerns, points, or ramblings before you share your opinion.
"A wise man will listen and increase his learning, and a discerning man will obtain guidance." Prov. 1:5 (HCSB)

4. Praise others

Acknowledge when people are working hard, doing a great job, and contributing. Express that who they are and what they do has genuine value. Practice this with your spouse, employees, friends, pastor, and the adults you lead. Be an encourager and an affirmer.
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…" 1 Thess 5:11a (HCSB)

5. Show gratitude

When you benefit from someone’s effort or work let them know that you appreciate it. Make a habit of expressing gratitude to the people around you.
"Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thess. 5:18 (HCSB)

6. Talk about others’ interests

Rather than hoping for opportunities to tell people how great you are, set yourself aside and become interested in those around you. People love to talk about their interests, so give them the opportunity to do so.
"Let another praise you, and not your own mouth - a stranger, and not your own lips." Prov. 27:2 (HCSB)

7. Remember names

We find creative ways to hide the fact that we’ve forgotten names. Dale Carnegie said, "Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language." Do whatever it takes to make that sweet sound. You will make them feel special and memorable.
"Your name is perfume poured out…" Song 1:3 (HCSB)

8. Make a sacrifice

Words are powerful, but more treasured than words are a sincere sacrifice of time or money on your part. So get in the habit of identifying and meeting people’s needs and putting them ahead of your own.
"No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13 (HCSB)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Violent Pre-Dawn Attack

From Voice of the Martyrs

At 3 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 13, a mass of 400 people in police suits and red armbands rushed the Good News Cloth Shoes Factory located on the land of the Fushan Church's building in Linfin City, Shanxi Province, China, according to a ChinaAid report.

The power, water and telephone lines to the factory were cut off. Two shovel loaders tore at the factory and new church building foundations while the mob, with bricks and other blunt instruments, beat Fushan church members who were sleeping at the church construction site. Within an hour, more than 10 church members lay bleeding heavily. Some were severely injured and taken to the emergency room. Several people lost consciousness and were hospitalized.According to ChinaAid, anonymous authorities instructed local emergency room personnel to withhold treatment and prohibit blood transfusions for the injured church members. On Sunday night, two seriously injured patients had to be transferred to another hospital.Photo: ChinaAid

Take Action!

The Voice of the Martyrs joins ChinaAid in calling on the international community to voice their protests to the Chinese government against the brutal treatment of Christians, and to pray for justice and healing for the victims of the attack. We further pray for the souls of the participants in the crime, that they will be internally convicted of their inhumane treatment of others and blatant disregard for human life. Go to to read more about this story and find out how you can contact Chinese officials to voice your outrage over this brutal attack on the Christians of Fushan Church.

VOM assists Chinese Christians by providing Bibles, Christian literature, scholarships for training and emergency aid to families of prisoners.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Why I am Southern Baptist

Ed Stetzer posted a great blog at Between the Times, a blog sight of Southeastern Seminary entitled "Why I am Southern Baptist." Here are a couple of quotes from his blog.

"I am proud to stand on a history of cooperating churches that constantly renew their commitment to Christ, the Great Commission, and finding new ways to care for the needy of our world. It is a system where you can find what you need and give as much as you want. Because, the key to cooperation is to both give and take."

"By being in the SBC, I can give away resources to people whom I will never meet to reach places I will never go and give the Gospel to the lost who are beyond my reach. The Cooperative Program is a genius invention."

I encourage you to read the whole article here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

School Officials Cleared of Criminal Contempt Charges in Case Involving Prayer!

Santa Rosa County, FL – Today Liberty Counsel successfully cleared Pace High School Principal Frank Lay and Athletic Director Robert Freeman of criminal contempt charges that arose out of a simple blessing of a meal. The criminal contempt hearing began when the ACLU asked that Lay and Freeman be held in contempt for offering a prayer over a meal at a luncheon where they honored donors to the athletic Field House project.

The federal courtroom in Pensacola, Florida, was packed with people supporting Lay and Freeman. The Pace High School students made T-shirts with the image of a potato chip that read: “Lay’s Supportive Patriots.” Busloads of people jammed the steps of the courthouse to cheer and show their support.
Read whole story here.

Everyday Evangelism

I came across this article on written by Dawn Pick Benson on sharing your faith.
Following is an abbreviated version. You can read the whole article here.

When I was growing up, my dad was a farmer, not a Christian. He had little interest in faith, having been told by his father that the Bible was a fairy tale. But then a local pastor took an interest in my dad, asking if he could help plow the fields on the weekend.

That one act of service spoke louder than words ever could to my dad. By his actions, the pastor made my dad feel loved, and that did more than any preaching could have. He didn’t need convincing about the theological correctness of the Bible; he needed to feel God’s love for him. This pastor met that need in a practical way. And that’s evangelism.

It sounds simple enough, but many of us still struggle with how evangelism fits into our everyday lives. Maybe that’s because we think evangelism is something better left to “professionals,” like the preachers and missionaries of the world. Or maybe we cringe at the idea, associating evangelism with hard-sell, high-haired televangelists and want nothing to do with those phonies.

Here are ideas for sharing God’s good news as you go:

1. Spend time deepening your relationship with God, allowing Him to form you into the image of Christ. When we’re walking with God, spending time in prayer and Scripture reading, we have a full well from which we can offer Christ’s living water to others.

2. Become a creature of habit. Frequent the same coffee shop, gas station, restaurant, and so on, and build relationships with people there.

3. Go out of your way to assist a co-worker at your job.

4. Pray for friends who aren’t followers of Christ by name, as a family, asking God to draw them to Himself.

5. Practice intentional acts of kindness. Try returning carts in grocery store parking lots or picking up trash in a community park.

6. Shop at neighborhood garage sales. Get to know your neighbors’ names — and remember them.

7. Join a friend in an activity or hobby.

8. Allow God to use your uniqueness. Be creative and think about how you can use your unique gifts and talents to show His love to others. If you like to cook, deliver meals to those in need; if you like to knit, make scarves to hand out to homeless individuals you meet on the street; and so on.

9. Get to know your neighbors and their needs. Volunteer to help with yard work, childcare, or decorating a home. Helping with small things can help you earn the right to speak with neighbors about more serious issues.

10. Get to know the parents of your children’s friends. Strike up conversations at sporting or school events. This will help you learn more about them and their needs.

11. Form a playgroup for stay-at-home parents.

12. Volunteer with community organizations. You’d be surprised how many non-Christians are serving.

God wants to use us — no matter who we are or what we know — to change lives. He only asks that we open our eyes to everyday opportunities around us and remain faithful to respond with love. For many people, drawing closer to God is a process that takes months, even years. But if we are willing to be used by God, we can take an active role in the ordinary ways He chooses to share good news.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview

Here is a new website I highly recommend. See the video below.

The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview is unique portal that is the first of its kind – a place to reclaim Biblical truth and grow in faith. Use the library to conduct research, join classes to experience soul-stretching education, and subscribe to daily columns for inspiration and spiritual guidance.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Missionary Tim Miller witnesses modern-day martyrdom

The following story was the front page story of the September 3 edition of The Alabama Baptist. After reading the story, I was moved to invite Tim Miller to speak at First Baptist Church. I have been leading my church on Wednesday evenings to be more deliberate in praying for the persecuted church. Tim is going to be speaking to our congregation on Sunday, October 4 during our morning worship services.

The Cost: Missionary to Philippines witnesses modern-day martyrdom
By Jennifer Davis Rash
The Alabama Baptist

Tim Miller knows the Bible well. He’s spent the majority of his 46 years dissecting, memorizing and sharing it, but he’s not sure he ever thought he would find himself severely beaten and his friend murdered because of its message. But that is now part of his faith journey, and it is this eye-witness account of this modern-day martyrdom that leaves Miller confident in the foundation of his faith.

"We have a foundation with Christ and my little fortress is more secure now. I am more confident in the things I am doing and the ways I am doing those things that need to be done," said Miller, who recently returned to Alabama following the May attack.

While Miller’s experiences teaching in various seminary classrooms, embracing cultures around the world and even working with Britain’s prime minister and wife on medical ethics offer infinite copy for unwritten books, it is his nearly 10 years of work in the Philippines as an educator and missionary that has defined the latest chapters in his life.

Planting a church in a city of 40,000 that grew from zero to 450 in about five years, Miller worked strategically to train and equip Bible study leaders who could disciple new believers and prepare them to do the same.

"God is amazing in that a person like me can take a bunch of people coasting through life and create an evangelism explosion," said Miller, who was holding three worship services at the church every Sunday, each in a different language — Tagalog (most widely spoken Filipino language), German and English.

Originally from Nebraska and the son of well-known preacher and author Calvin Miller, Tim Miller holds degrees from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo.; Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas; and the University of Oxford in England.

Professing his faith in Jesus Christ at age 7 and growing up in a strong Christian home and church environment, Miller said talking about his faith has always come easily. Combine that with an adventurous spirit, a deep interest in people and a well-traveled resumé and he can typically interact easily with individuals from any part of the world. Christ most certainly comes into the conversation fairly quickly when Miller is involved.

In the Philippines, that was no different. Outside of his classes at Baguio Bible College (associated with the Asia Baptist Graduate Theological Seminary) in Baguio and his eight years of developing a food kitchen that feeds about 1,000 people a week, Miller turned to a kind of fishing.

Fishing for fishermen, that is. He loves a good tuna steak, and what better place to find one than fresh off a boat as a local fisherman comes ashore?

Only a two- to three-mile walk from Miller’s house in the Philippine province of Zambales was a fishing community. He spent many hours there buying fish, sharing stories and building relationships. The fishermen happened to all be Muslim.

Through the years, he led scores of Muslims to Christ, but it was one particular new Christian — Ali Manalo — who would change everything for Miller. Manalo would pay the ultimate sacrifice for his decision. And Miller would find himself under 24-hour police protection — the target of an Islamic militant group — following an intense beating by this group known as the Abu Sayyef.

It was late May and Manalo, just a year into his new faith, was making good progress in Scripture memorization and his understanding of the basic foundational truths, Miller explained.
Distant relatives unhappy with Manalo’s move to Christianity contacted the Abu Sayyef. Representatives from this group and a few others they picked up in the area invited themselves to the next Bible study at Manalo’s house. After being spit on and verbally abused, Miller attempted to calm the men down.

But all he got in return was a barrage of bamboo clubs coming at him as the other Bible study attendees fled.

It was Miller and Manalo against 10 militants in what would be Miller’s first and Manalo’s last
Arnese (Philippine stick fight).

At 6 feet 3 inches and with military defense skills he learned 25 years ago, Miller managed to fend off several men as he ushered Manalo’s wife, Fatema, and two young daughters to safety.
But before he could save Manalo, Miller was struck from behind.

He awoke in the hospital and entered a two-month journey of saying goodbye to close friends and church members. For about two months, he remained homebound, healing and staying clear of the Abu Sayyef, who threatened to take revenge on Miller for the local government’s hanging of the two militants leading the attack. "(Friends) came by every day to cook, clean, do whatever I needed," Miller said. "They were there for me."

Even Fatema.

"She thanked me for getting them out," he said, noting he still thinks about that day and wonders if there had been an option, would he have given his life so Manalo could have lived and taken care of his family? "Yeah, I would have," Miller said, noting Fatema hung a photo of Manalo on her wall with the inscription John 15:13 — "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

"She sees her husband as a martyr, as do I," Miller said. "She is intent that her daughters know that commitment to Christ costs."

At 3 and 4 years old, Manalo’s daughters will carry that fateful day’s events with them throughout their lives, but Miller believes their mother will never let them forget how their father stood for his faith.

Miller — who still favors his right elbow and ribs a little and can finally talk after having his jaw wired shut for six weeks — knows he won’t forget. And for the first time in his theology-filled life, Jesus’ words in Luke 14:26 about "hating" one’s family and oneself finally made sense. "I never quite understood that," he said, "until you see it cost people something."

A member of NorthPark Baptist Church, Trussville, in Birmingham Baptist Association, Miller is currently teaching hermeneutics at the Birmingham extension of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

He is working on securing a new teaching assignment in Central or South America, which should begin in early 2010.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Needed: Men and Women Who Are True to their Families

Following is an excellent comment by Jonathan Falwell, pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, VA concerning the extramarital affair and subsequent murder of former NFL quarterback Steve McNair.

This is everyday life. It happens.

Those of the words of former all-pro NFL running back Eddie George, commenting to NBCs Lester Holt this week on the extramarital affair and subsequent murder of his onetime teammate Steve McNair.
Mr. Holt added that many husbands, seeing the McNair story unfold in the headlines, were surely saying to themselves, There but for the grace of God go I.

I have no doubt that hes right.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 tells us there is nothing new under the sun (NKJV) and certainly people have been falling into the tragic sin of adultery since soon after the original fall. But it seems that there is an increase in this problem in modern times. From politicians to pastors, we have seen a disturbing number of people in the spotlight because they could not stay true to their marital promises. In the aftermath, we see the spouses and children of these individuals left to face the humiliation that these infidelities brought about.

Infidelity is something that can happen to anyone who is not constantly on guard to prevent it from happening. There is no place for carelessness when our marriages, our children and our Christian testimonies are at stake. For the Christian, being on guard also means being constantly attuned to the faultless God who lives within us, allowing Him to be our strength against any temptation we might face.

Further, as Christians, we must allow Gods love to shine in us so that we can effectively love our spouses and families. Jeremiah 31:3 says, The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you. By experiencing the matchless love that God affords us, we can then properly love in return.

In 2005, my father brought a sermon titled, Faith, Family and Traditions, wherein he listed five daily duties of a successful Christian father. They are:

1. He must openly and obviously love his childrens mother;
2. He must have a personal and intimate relationship with his children;
3. He must build self worth in his children;
4. He must encourage vision, hope and purity. He must be verbal and positive;
5. He must guarantee perpetual endowment.

This is such a pertinent inventory for Christian men who desire to be a godly leader at home while remaining true to the promises they made to their wife on their wedding day. Note that these five items should be at the forefront of our efforts on a daily basis; they should be atop our list of priorities without fail. I can personally attestas can my mom, brother and my sisterthat my Dad lived out this list every day of his life and by doing so he inspires all three of us to do the same today.

I fear that too many men, and women, are playing a hope-for-the-best game with their families. There just doesnt seem to be a commitment to their families beyond the superficial. This is a dangerous routine and I see the consequences of this type of lifestyle on a regular basis. I imagine most pastors could bear out this scenario.

Christian husbands, we must be persistently investing ourselves into the lives of our families, while also spending much time in prayer, Bible study and positive Christian fellowship in order to strengthen ourselves in this essential effort. It is the role God intends for us to take on heroically for the sake of our families. Failing to do so should not be an option.

Christian wives, you too must be fully invested in the lives of your family. And, likewise, fully invested in your own spiritual growth. Your commitment of growing closer to God each and every day is vital to the success of your family.

I want to close by pointing out that most people who come to Christ do so before the age of 18, with many of them doing so in the home. Christian fathers (and mothers), honor God in all you do so that your children will see the Spirit of Jesus Christ as a living example through your lives.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Do We Lack Respect for God?

In his book, Let the Nations Be Glad, John Piper quotes Charles Misner, a scientific specialist in general relativity theory, who expressed Albert Einstein’s skepticism of religion.

"The design of the universe ... is very magnificient and shouldn’t be taken for granted. In fact, I believe that is why Einstein had so little use for organized religion, although he strikes me as a basically very religious man. He must have looked at what the preachers said about God and felt that they were blaspheming. He had seen much more majesty than they had ever imagined, and they were just not talking about the real thing. My guess is that he simply felt that religions he’d run across did not have the proper respect... for the author of the universe."

I highly recommend "Let the Nations Be Glad" by John Piper.