First Time Int’l Travel?

IMG_7422Here’s a helpful post about traveling internationally first time.  No matter how much you’ve traveled, the first time you leave the country can be intimidating (especially if it is beyond Mexico and Canada).  Some basic, careful planning and preparation will take a whole ton of stress out of the journey!  Here are a couple of things to get you started, and then read the post:

  • Make a couple of copies of your passport.  Give one to a trusted friend at home, and keep one in a secure location with you.  (You might also keep a copy in Evernote)
  • Be sure to read up on your destination — www.traveldocs.com and wikipedia are great for this.
  • Plan for multiple ways to get money in country; don’t carry an excessive amount of cash.
  • Put an extra change of clothing and critical meds in your carry on.
  • Let me know if I can help… I’ve got some other ideas.  And, e-mail me your ideas and tips!

Travel Hacks –Click Here

Serve Through VISA

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 7.48.07 AMLooking for some opportunities to serve God’s purposes around the world –perhaps a shorter assignment?  Or a short assignment that might lead to a longer possibility?  Here’s the place to begin.  VISA (Volunteers In Service Abroad) Ministries will help get you there, and at this website, you can explore existing opportunities and follow a path that will communicate your interest to people that can help.  Just log on at visaministries.org

The Insanity of God

insanityofgodI’ve been recommending this book to family, friends, and colleagues.  The author and his family spent several years in Somalia coordinating relief efforts, eventually leaving after suffering great loss and discouragement.  Seeking to understand how God works in and through difficultly, the second half of the book describes the worldwide search for answers through interviews and stories where faith triumphs in the midst of great opposition.  Here are a couple of the quotes I captured on my Kindle Paperwhite:

  • “I understand that one of the most accurate ways to detect and measure the activity of God is to note the amount of opposition that is present. The stronger the persecution, the more significant the spiritual vitality of the believers.”
  • “The turning point between that crippling fear and this new-found courageous freedom is the resurrection of Jesus.”
  • “What if the resurrection power available to Jesus’ followers in the New Testament is just as real for believers in our world today?”
  • “…before we can grasp the full meaning of the Resurrection, we first have to witness or experience crucifixion. If we spend our lives so afraid of suffering, so averse to sacrifice, that we avoid even the risk of persecution or crucifixion, then we might never discover the true wonder, joy and power of a resurrection faith. Ironically, avoiding suffering could be the very thing that prevents us from partnering deeply with the Risen Jesus.”

Seven Billion

ReflectingThe world’s population is a little over 7 Billion people (http://www.census.gov/popclock).

One group (the Traveling Team) has calculated:

If you took 7 billion steps along the Earth’s equator — at 2 feet per step — you could walk around the world at least 106 times.
Seven billion ants would weigh at least 23 tons (46,297 pounds).
When you are between 31 and 32 years old, you will have lived for 1 billion seconds. To reach 7 billion seconds, you would have to live to be 220 years old!
The Earth measures 24,900 miles around the middle. To travel 7 billion miles, you would have to circle the globe nearly 300,000 times.

 

 

 

(http://www.thetravelingteam.org/stats)

All In Manifesto

Thanks, Mark Batterson!  (http://amzn.to/1gx6jzB)
(“All In” is LifePoint’s theme for 2014… also the title of Mark’s latest book.)

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.
Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions.
Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention.
Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes.
Keep seeking God.
Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution.
Stop repeating the past and start creating the future.
Stop playing it safe and start taking risks.
Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences.
Enjoy the journey.
Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can.
Live like today is the first day and last day of your life.
Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshiping what’s right with God.
Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails.
Don’t let fear dictate your decisions.
Take a flying leap of faith.
Quit holding out. Quit holding back.
Push all of your chips to the middle of the table.
It’s time to ante up all of your faith.
It’s time to go all in.

Wounded Tiger

It’s released!  This is the book I referred to last year, written by my friend T. Martin Bennett.  A part of the story includes former Free Methodist missionary Jacob DeShazer, an American Doolittle Raider, who bombed Japan and was a Japanese POW for 42 months.  Both Deshazer and Fuchida found Jesus, and served as missionaries.  “Wounded Tiger is a nonfiction novel of the true story of the pilot who led the attack on Pearl Harbor whose life was changed by an American prisoner and by a girl he never met.”  Get your copy here:  http://amzn.to/1kzqWQK

iPhone Battery Life Help

Peeps ask me all the time about battery life for the iPhone.  Here’s the quick skinny:  keep your iOS up to date, your screen as dim as reasonable, close any background apps, disable dynamic wallpaper & background app refresh, and turn off bluetooth if you don’t use it.  Here’s some additional help in detail if you need it:  http://bit.ly/1qHMYoh

Forgotten Ride

Saw this as I was walking near Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park 中山紀念公園 in Hong Kong.  Wondered about the story?

India2India –>An Amazing New Partnership Idea

I like ‘double dipping’ –when I can ‘kill two birds with one stone’ so to speak, and even better when there’s more to be gained.  This next week many will benefit from a three way handshake.  Leo & Laurie Carpenter and their store “Ethical Choices” in Everett, WA will begin selling tea.  Each tea bag purchased represents funding to help Indian children get an education through and organization called Learning Tea.  On top of this, Ethical Choices is donating $3.00 per bag to LifePoint’s fund that supports our girl’s home (Devicode –ICCM) in south India.  LifePoint will double match ($6) every $3.00 received.  If you’re in the Everett area, be sure to check out Ethical Choices at 2612 Colby Avenue; Everett, Washington –and buy some tea!  🙂

Headed 2 Asia

Morning!  I’m checked in at SeaTac waiting for my first flight, an Alaska Air flight to LAX.  There I’ll hop on board Cathay Pacific bound for Hong Kong.  Stay tuned!

Book Review: “Stuck in a Funk? How to Get Your Church Moving Forward” by Tony Morgan

Tony’s book “Stuck in a Funk?  How to Get Your Church Moving Forward” represents the complete “Leisure Suit” series bound in one volume.  The Leisure Suit leadership series includes 4 eBooks previously published separately.  The book contains 4 parts, 37 chapters, and a “Key Ideas & Discussion Questions” section.  Tony is a church health, growth, and leadership consultant.

StuckOne of the more “usable” aspects of this book is the ability for each of the chapters to stand alone, as well as to build upon the previous chapter.  As a result, this book could serve as an excellent option for leadership teams, staff meetings, and even small group studies.

Tony not only identifies reasons for church stagnancy, but offers practical suggestions and exercises that can be implemented immediately.  The book is divided in four sections:  Part One:  The Leisure Suit Trap –Why Your Church is Stuck; Part Two: Hanging Up the Leisure Suit –How to Get Unstuck; Part Three:  Stayin’ Alive –Build a Legacy of Leadership; and Part Four: Get Your Groove On –Communicate Through Change.  The topics cover the full range of issues in a local church:  from leadership development to church marketing; from staffing, utilizing social media, and the internet to building a platform; from diagnosing unhelpful structures, recognizing the difference between management and leadership, to implementing systems that promote new results; and almost everything in between.

While I would not suggest this as a deficit, I found myself wishing that Tony had included more of his own experiences as pastor/staff pastor.  Perhaps this was intentional, to speak to as broad of an audience as possible.  Still, most leaders not only relate more readily to material but also find it easier to accept criticism, critique, and principles of leadership when they become convinced that the author’s experience validates his/her perspectives and opinions.

If you’re a list person, and/or you find straightforward, practical statements about leadership and organization issues helpful, you’ll love this eBook.  In fact, many chapters in the book could be used in leadership training and coaching as curriculum.  The principles that Tony shares go well beyond simply getting unstuck, and would benefit anyone seeking to be about leadership development in a church or organization.

Tony specifically states his purpose for the book in the conclusion:  “My main purpose for writing this book was to challenge your thinking . . . to look hard at the church’s purpose.”  If when reading you’ll read with a soft heart and an eagerness to learn something, the book will not only accomplish Tony’s purpose, but will fulfill the title.

Amazon Link:  http://amzn.to/Y6l7NU

 

That Hideous Doctrine by John Thomas

LifePoint –Here’s the description of Hell that I read as part of the teaching this past Sunday.  The entire article can be found here:  http://bit.ly/Hd5Cki

“Hell has two other aspects, rarely considered, which are both curious and frightening. On earth we take for granted two physical properties that help keep us physically, mentally, and emotionally stable. The first is light; the second is solid, fixed surfaces. Oddly, these two dependables will not accommodate those in hell. Hell is a place of darkness (Matt. 8:12). Imagine the person who has just entered hell -a neighbor, relative, co-worker, friend. After a roar of physical pain blasts him, he spends his first moments wailing and gnashing his teeth. But after a season, he grows accustomed to the pain, not that its become tolerable, but that his capacity for it has enlarged to comprehend it, yet not be consumed by it. Though he hurts, he is now able to think, and he instinctively looks about him. But as he looks he sees only blackness. In his past life he learned that if he looked long enough, a glow of light somewhere would yield definition to his surroundings. So he blinks and strains to focus his eyes, but his efforts yield only blackness. He turns and strains his eyes in another direction. He waits. He sees nothing but unyielding black ink. It clings to him, smothering and oppressing him. Realizing that the darkness is not going to give way, he nervously begins to feel for something solid to get his bearings. He reaches for walls or rocks or trees or chairs; he stretches his legs to feel the ground and touches nothing. Hell is a ‘bottomless pit’ (Rev. 20:1,2 KJV); however, the new occupant is slow to learn. In growing panic, he kicks his feet and waves his arms. He stretches and he lunges. But he finds nothing. After more feverish tries, he pauses from exhaustion, suspended in black. Suddenly, with a scream he kicks, twists, and lunges until he is again too exhausted to move. He hangs there, alone with his pain. Unable to touch a solid object or see a solitary thing, he begins to weep. His sobs choke through the darkness. They become weak, then lost in hell’s roar. As time passes, he begins to do what the rich man did: he again starts to think. His first thoughts are of hope. You see, he still thinks as he did on earth, where he kept himself alive with hope. When things got bad, he always found a way out. If he felt pain, he took medicine. If he were hungry, he ate food. If he lost love, there was more love to be found. So he casts about in his mind for a plan to apply to the hope building in his chest. Of course, he thinks, Jesus, the God of love, can get me out of this. He cries out with a surge, “Jesus! Jesus! You were right! Help me! Get me out of this!” He waits, breathing hard with desperation. The sound of his voice slips into the darkness and is lost. He tries again. “I believe, Jesus! I believe now! Save me from this!” Again the darkness smothers his words. Our sinner is not unique. Everyone in hell believes. When he wearies of appeals, he does next what anyone would do -assesses his situation and attempts to adapt. But then it hits him –this is forever. Jesus made it very clear. He used the same words for ‘forever’ to describe both heaven and hell. Forever, he thinks, and his mind labors through the blackness until he aches. “Forever” he whispers in wonder. The idea deepens, widens, and towers over him. The awful truth spreads before him like endless, overlapping slats: When I put in ten thousand centuries of time here, I will not have accomplished one thing. I will not have one second less to spend here.”

Friday’s Cup of Coffee – 30 March 2012

Good morning!  Hope you’ve had a good week.  Here are just a few thoughts for you as we enter the weekend:
But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. -Psalm 3:3 (ESV)
Part of ‘Go Deep’ this year is connected to the development of our prayer life.  We wanted to provide some specifics for you.  Click here for a PDF:  http://bit.ly/H0IYYA
Here’s a reminder of the specifics of our Easter services.  We have SIX of them:  http://bit.ly/zWFbKQ
Something else that is vitally important to us, and that we’re working on as a local church:  We try to speak the good news with words and emotion so that people who aren’t religious can hear and say “yes.”
You’re invited to our Leadership Community meeting this next Tuesday evening.  Come and grow as a leader, pray, and participate in shaping God’s work at LifePoint for the future.  Aspiring leaders also welcome. RSVP here: http://bit.ly/HoHMLJ
Here’s a great video and encouraging song, in case you missed it through my FB and TW feeds this week:  http://t.co/M14IhCdY
Think you don’t need the church? Check this out: http://t.co/V3lYmayJ
Are you prayerfully considering whom you might invite to LifePoint this Easter?  Many studies verify that people come to church when they’ve been invited by a friend.  Can you think of 10 people you might invite?
What did you think of the Devil’s Beatitudes?  I shared them during last Sunday’s message (I did not write them).  Here they are again, in case you’re interested:  http://t.co/yoCVaeBA
The Mariners had the best record in baseball for one day this week.  🙂
I’ll be glad to see you Sunday — it really is a joy to serve as your pastor!
-Pstr E
Eric Spangler, lead pastor
LifePoint Church
Everett & Lake Stevens, WA

The Devil’s Beatitudes (Source Unknown)

1.  Blessed are those who are too tired, too busy, too distracted to spend an hour once a week with their fellow Christians — they are my best workers!

2.  Blessed are those Christians who wait to be asked and expect to be thanked — I can use them.

3.  Blessed are the touchy who stop going to church — they are my missionaries.

4.  Blessed are the troublemakers — they shall be called my children.

5. Blessed are the complainers — I’m all ears to them.

6. Blessed are those who are bored with the minister’s mannerism and mistakes — for they get nothing out of his sermons.

7.  Blessed is the church member who expects to be invited to his own church — for he is a part of the problem instead of the solution.

8.  Blessed are those who gossip — for they shall cause strife and divisions that please me.

9.  Blessed are those who are easily offended — for they will soon get angry and quit.

10. Blessed are those who do not give an offering to carry on God’s work — for they are my helpers.

11.  Blessed is he who professes to love God but hates his brother and sister — for he shall be with me forever!

12.  Blessed are you who, when you read this think it is about other people and not yourself — I’ve got you too!

Friday’s Cup of Coffee – 16 March 2012

It’s a blustery March day . . . Time for a nice warm cup of coffee, chai, or chocolate.  Maybe some soup, too.  Hope you’ve had a great week!Not a day goes by that I don’t think about something I’d like to change about my life; it’s not that I’m unhappy; just that I long to be more like Jesus.  How about you?  I’d like to be more disciplined, or more free to enjoy His presence.  I’d like to drop some bad habits, or develop some good ones.  This coming Sunday I’m going to talk to you about change from the inside out.  I hope it works for you to be present at one of our Gatherings –we’re doing all we can for it to be a great morning of worship and seeking the heart of God!

Get all of the information you need about our Easter celebration right here:  http://bit.ly/zWFbKQ
Love this:  “The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose.” –C. S. Lewis
Did you know that we are using twitter and Facebook to communicate what’s happening at LifePoint?  Follow me here, I beg you:  www.twitter.com/ESpangler
At LifePoint, this is a value we’re trying to live out:  “Our mission dominates our church. If something doesn’t fit our mission we quit doing it.”  Want to see other values?  http://bit.ly/zKNFUQ
Don’t forget to stop and help out at our Everett site tomorrow from 9-3pm.  Easter clean up and prep.  We could sure use your help!  Next Saturday at the Lake Stevens site.
Do you remember last week’s transformational point?  How have you applied it?  Here’s one from a month or so ago:  “Repentance is the choice we make to turn ourselves back toward Jesus.”  Are your choices more indicative of a turning away from Him?  Remember, there’s much grace if you’ll turn back!
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ . . . -Philippians 1:27 (ESV)
SO PUMPED to be your pastor!
-Pstr E
Eric Spangler, lead pastor
LifePoint Church
Everett & Lake Stevens, WA
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