Archive for November, 2005

In light of Thanksgiving

In light of celebrating Thanksgiving last week, did you take the time to verbalize what and who you are thankful for? Tell me about it by emailing me at jgregory@gccwired.com or post it to the blog for all to see. Even better, if it’s a person that you’re thankful for, go and tell them face to face. Today just might be the day they need to be encouraged, to have life breathed into them.

The tongue has the power of life and death… Proverbs 18:21

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Ok, that’s not really funny, but it kinda is

Someone did a “Last Picture I Ever Took” contest. Here are a few of the winners I pulled off the internet (thanks Kem for the link). I think my favorite is the golf one, probably cause I like to golf (notice I didn’t say I was good at it). Before you freak out and think they’re totally real, notice the golfer has a putter in his hand – unless he hit it like a 9 iron, I think we’ve just witnessed a little PhotoShop magic.

That’s Note Worthy

Cool Conference Call with Tim Elmore

I was recently on a conference call with Tim Elmore (a leadership guru) and about a dozen or so other youth pastors. Here are my notes for you present and future youth leaders/pastors (sorry, if they are a little rough grammatically).

Three Cool Images that Help Form Leadership Habits and Attitudes (Habitudes) – You must consciously pursue personal growth!

Starving Baker – #1 Occupational Hazard in Ministry
Imagine walking into a bakery and you see a really skinny guy behind the counter doing everything. He’s so busy serving everyone else he doesn’t have time to stop and eat and he starves himself. That’s a picture of a lot of us in student ministry. We are so busy serving, serving, serving, that we don’t spiritually stop, eat and digest ourselves. Often times it happens because it looks so noble to be giving our lives away, to be investing and expending our lives for other people. As noble as it looks, after a season we burn out and end up just going through the motions. There is no power on our ministry. The starving baker reminds us that we have got to feed ourselves before we feed others.

If I stop growing today, I stop leading tomorrow.

It’s the capacity to develop and improve their skills that distinguish leaders from followers. – Warren Bennis

The number one problem in ministers in his generation is that they were trafficking unlived truth. – Dwight L. Moody

We’ve got to live it before we give lip service to it.

Oversized Gift –
Imagine your 5th birthday party and you open all your gifts, but your mom and dad say there are a couple of more in the garage. You’re thinking a bike or maybe a big water gun for the pool. You open the garage door and your jaw drops. It’s a bike and gun alright… it’s a Harley Davidson and a 12 gage shotgun. “Mom, dad… I’m five, not fifty.” The gift doesn’t match who you are. In the same way, you all have entered ministry most likely because you have a pretty big gift, there is a God given gift inside of you. And, what happens often is that we begin leaning on our gift rather than on our growth, or leaning on our gifts rather than our God. We wing it in our ministry. You think things like, “I don’t have to prepare for this, I can do this in my sleep”, our preparation level goes down and our discipline level is not high. We must continually stretch and grow.

Iceberg –
Imagine a huge photograph of an iceberg and you can see both the tip above the water and the massive amount below the waterline. The 10% above the waterline – the tip that you can see – represents your skill set, the 90% below the waterline represents your character. It’s always what’s below the waterline that sinks the ship. The major portion of your influence is below the waterline – it’s your identity, your character, your discipline, your emotional security, the values that you live by…that’s what people read and that’s what really influences. Again, it has to do with personal growth. It’s what you are feeding internally into your spirit man and mind that is going to make all the difference in the world.

Leaders have to keep growing. What got you where you are seldom keeps you there.

Question and Answer Time
One of two life verses for Tim (in response to a question regarding the D. L. Moody quote above):

And Ezra set his heart to study the law of the lord, then to practice it, then to teach the statutes to Israel. Ezra 7:10

Wise man, right order.

The question I asked him during the Q & A session was “What book have you read that refreshed your soul?” His answer was Your God is Too Safe by Mark Buchanan. I just ordered it so somewhere down the line I’ll let you know.

Four leadership books that he likes…
Leadership and Self Deception by the Arbinger Institute
Certain Trumpets by Garry Wills
Good to Great and Built to Last by Jim Collins

Home Alone?…Hope Not!


I wouldn’t want this starring me in the face on a cold windy night (the kind we have frequently in northern Indiana). My good friend, Ashley Johnson, sent this pic to me. Ashley lives right down the street from me and boy am I glad this one is in her backyard and not mine.

Hero Question of the Day

I’ve been skipping a few beats when it comes to the Hero Question of the Day. Post your answers or email jgregory@gccwired.com. Feel free to answer one or all. Have an incredible Thanksgiving my friends.

____________, ____________ and ____________ replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Daniel 3:16-18

When ____________ woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.
Matthew 1:24


While they were stoning him, ___________ prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
Acts 7:59-60

"Judy, I’d make the trip down just to hang out with you. I’d love that!"

That was the comment that one of the people at the workshop Corey and I did made to me last Friday. Do you have any idea how great that made me feel? It wasn’t the ego stroke that made me smile (I’ve been caught in that trap one too many times), but the fact that even in my utter exhaustion God was somehow shining through. I really don’t remember a whole lot about Friday, other than #15 wasn’t in the handouts and I need to cut my second session down to the best of the best so that I can make it through…and I remember that comment! Go God…may you and you alone…receive all the glory, honor and praise! You Rock!

When the Smile on My Heart is as Big as the One on My Face

I love it when someone makes my heart smile… my leaders did that for me tonight! I will forever be grateful for the fact that from September through June, over 75 leaders of Oasis give me and our students 1/7 of their evenings each week. That’s huge! Everything about them shines brightly for Jesus – their actions, attitudes, words and deeds.

Tonight, we had a leader’s meeting and so many of them showed up that we ran out of both Chinese and Taco Bell. I’ve never had that problem before, but it wasn’t anything that another quick food run couldn’t fix (thanks Chris).

For all those present and future youth pastors out there, here’s one thing I’ve learned through the years. While I can’t repay them for what they sacrifice for our students each and every week, I can feed them well. That’s why we’ve done Chinese (the overwhelming favorite), Chick-fil-A, Hacienda, Brunos, homemade and a few others. Tonight we added a few cool giveaways too – that was fun. I hope I beat them to heaven and get to watch their faces as Jesus shows them the impact they had on eternity that they were never able to fully see on earth.

Among many, a few of the leaders in particular that have made my heart smile are…
Karen and Wendy – They planned the entire high school leaders retreat and allowed me to just show up and play all weekend – spoons, kemps, capture the flag, ping-pong, indoor off-the-walls kickball and 3-on-3 basketball. After sitting at my computer for three weeks, it felt really, really good. I loved having the opportunity to speak what was on my heart and pray for each of the high school leaders as well.

The Five Star Boys – After hanging out with middle school students at Grissom on Wednesday afternoons, they high tail it from Grissom over to GCC to do it all over again. Thanks Seth, Jeremy, Josiah, Michael and Eric! A big Happy Birthday goes out to Josiah!