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The Bored Generation

March 11, 2010 — 2 Comments

Lately, I have noticed something that seems to be on the increase.  I am concerned with the boredom of an entire generation.  Check out the facebook and status updates of young adolescents and you’ll be sure to see the infamous statement, “I AM BORED.” I am sure that this isn’t something entirely new, but I do see it as a growing problem. In the midst of incredible advances in technology, entertainment, and communication, teens and children are complaining that they simply have nothing to do. With a 5 year old, 9 year old, and 11 year old, it’s a phrase that comes up often at our house. If we hear complaining about boredom at our house, the first step is usually cleaning their room or reading a book. But even with consequences, our children still want us to entertain them and help them find something to do.

I think this problem has huge implications for the church as well. If the younger millennials grow up in a society where they are constantly entertained, it will affect how we reach them. We must start getting to the root of the problem. One area of concern is the pace of our society. Everything is based on instant gratification and no waiting. From fast food to movies on demand to instant messaging, everything has been geared toward providing them what they want when they want it.  I still have hope, but it will require action on our part.

At the risk of sounding old, I actually remember before we had game systems, cell phones, and home computers. As kids, we spent much of our time simply being kids, playing and enjoying our time with friends. As adults, I feel we have a responsibility to help guide and direct the younger generation to learn how to live life to the fullest. I think we can teach and model some important truths.

So What’s the Cure?

  • Let’s teach them to develop a Holy curiosity – When you look at the world with wonder and anticipation, you simply cannot become bored. When you explore and learn, you will grow in maturity and in knowledge.
  • Let’s teach them to be still and know God – If we cannot teach our children to slow down, what will happen as they grow older? Jesus spent regular time in silence and solitude with God the Father, and we need to do the same thing. It brings us into God’s presence, it allows us to avoid stress by bringing our requests before God, and it strengthens us with the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Let’s teach them to use their imagination and creativity - I’m afraid we are preventing them from finding solutions to their problems. When they are bored, they can become incredibly creative. It’s in those times when they come up with new ideas and new ways of doing things. Let’s not stifle their creativity. Instead encourage them to discover something to do when they are bored.
  • Let’s teach them to serve others – At the root of boredom is selfishness. Everything is focused on my needs and wants. When we find ways to serve others, it helps refocus our priorities on the two greatest commandments. Loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving others as ourselves.
  • Let’s teach them the power of reading the Bible and other great books – I am thankful that my children love books. I love seeing them pick up books, but still way too often I hear the phrase “I am bored.”  I want to create in them a love of reading. It’s amazing what they can learn from great stories. And I especially want them to spend time reading their Bible. It is such a great joy to hear them reading Bible stories to each other.

I encourage you to join in the conversation. What else would you add to this list?

Updating the Blog

March 9, 2010 — Leave a comment

It’s been quiet here on the blog for the last few days. During my normal blogging hours I have been working on the site design. I’ve been using the same graphics for a while now and since I can’t leave anything alone for long, I decided to update the theme the blog is based on. I wanted to switch to one that is sleek, clean, and easy to customize. The Standard Theme is a newer WordPress theme that I chose for the updated look. It is a great premium blog theme and I plan on using this as a framework for the blog for the foreseeable future.  I still have some customization to do, but I think this is a great start. Here are some of the features of the new theme.

  • it’s coded to be fast and meet current web standards
  • it’s SEO Friendly (Search Engine Optimization)
  • it has multiple advertising options built in
  • it is easy to customize and style using custom CSS
  • and it has a great community forum where you can find support

So far, I’m impressed. I was able to eliminate several plugins because of built-in functionality, and it just looks sleek and modern. Let me know if you have any problems viewing the site. Especially if you are on older browsers in windows. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

NewSpring has relaunched their website for free graphics and print resources for churches. Check it out at

http://www.newspring.cc/resources



They are offering both print and video downloads for many of their sermon series. I’m a big fan of free graphical resources, because they enable churches who don’t have the technology, resources, or manpower to incorporate technology without spending huge amounts of money. It helps smaller churches like ours to focus on the message and not spend countless hours on preparing graphic files. It shows that churches like Lifechurch and NewSpring have a huge Kingdom focus to give away resources for free.

NewSpring Leadership Conference

At the Unleash Conference yesterday, which was absolutely amazing, the team at NewSpring announced a new one-day leadership conference this fall. Mark your calendars for September 16th and make plans to drive down to Anderson, South Carolina. They’ve lined up an awesome group of pastors who are passionate about sharing the gospel.  Can you imagine hearing from Francis Chan, Mark Driscoll, and Perry Noble all in one day. It will definitely be powerful. Here’s the info from their website

The NewSpring Leadership Conference is a full day of teaching and worship focused on influence and how it affects our preaching of the Gospel. We’re passionate about the local church, and we believe in the power of the preached Gospel to show how Jesus Christ changes lives. There is no better goal to spend your influence on.

Join us in Anderson, SC on Thursday, September 16th to hear unique perspectives from our 6 speakers on leadership and influence. The event will run from 9:00am until your brain can’t process any more. Your ticket includes admission to the conference, all conference materials, a tasty lunch and plenty of southern hospitality.

Love Never Dies …

March 2, 2010 — 2 Comments

Last month at Cornerstone, we shared the touching story of Rogers Kirven and his wife Christy.  Rogers was a former business partner with Sam who now lives in Florida.  Rogers and Christy have five children and have been married for 35 years. Three years ago Christy was diagnosed with three specific types of cancer. In addition to fervent prayer, Rogers has spent a fortune seeking the best treatment available from places like M.D. Anderson Cancer Center out of Houston, TX and Shands, the University of Florida Cancer Hospital. During Christmas, the medical community sent Christy home to die.

Today was the day when the Lord gave her ultimate healing. Christy passed away and I want to ask that you keep Rogers and his family in your prayers. If you missed the church service where we called and interviewed Rogers, then please watch the video below and listen to the audio of the phone call.

It was powerful, it was challenging, and it reminded all of us that love never dies …

Audio of the phone call with Rogers (Click here to play)

Unleash

March 2, 2010 — 2 Comments

I’m getting excited about our trip down to Anderson, South Carolina this week for the Unleash Conference. We’re leaving tomorrow and hopefully heading into some warmer weather. Jennifer and I have been every year and I love the encouragement that we receive from the NewSpring staff. We try to take a different group from Cornerstone each year to expose them to the hospitality and vision of NewSpring. You can’t help but leave “fired up” about what God has called you to do. All the details about the conference can be found on the website, along with a listing of all the breakout session topics.

If you can’t make it to the conference, then you can join in and watch the main sessions online at http://unleash.cc/

Here is just a sample of what you can expect. I look forward to meeting up with some online friends. Leave me a comment or send me a message on twitter if you will be there.

Promo: “Unleash 2010″ from NewSpring Production on Vimeo.

A One Day Event focused on the church and it’s potential at NewSpring Church on March 4, 2010. Visit newspring.cc/unleash for more information.

As some of you may know, since the first of this year we have been working with First Baptist Church in Galax.  They are currently in between pastors, so Sam, my co-pastor at Cornerstone has been preaching and serving as their interim pastor. He’s still working for Cornerstone, but he is also helping them through their time of transition. We have stated that we want to be the best church for the community, not just the best church in the community. By being Kingdom minded, we are showing the local community what happens when we cooperate instead of compete. We have been preaching through the same sermon series and working together on the messages each week. At Cornerstone, we have wanted to do a baptism service during the winter months, so Sam came up with the idea of a joint worship service between the two churches.

This Sunday, we are moving our Sunday evening service to First Baptist and joining them for a combined worship service. We are coming together to celebrate. Our worship band will be joining with their choir as they lead the service in worship. They practiced together last night and everything really came together and sounded great. Even though the styles may be a little different between the two churches, we come together with the same purpose of lifting up the name of Jesus Christ. Join us this Sunday evening at 6:30 for a time of celebration through worship and baptism.

This past weekend, we hosted a youth conference at our church. Right before the conference started, we clicked on a message to update to the latest version of Adobe Flash Player on our main computer.  Did I mention this was right before the conference started :-)  Since it was a windows computer, you can guess what happened. Constant crashing and serious stress. For the first fifteen minutes of the conference, Tyler and I were frantically doing a system restore to get the computer back up and running. Luckily our worship band was able to keep playing and we got everything running smoothly by the time the teaching started. Since one purpose of this blog is to share lessons learned, so I want to share some new policies that we will be implementing for our windows computers.

Scheduled Updates:

From now on, automatic updates are officially turned off on our main computers. All software updates will be performed on Mondays or Tuesdays so that we have time to troubleshoot and keep things running smoothly for Sunday mornings. Even updates that seem unrelated to the programs you use may render the computer unusable. Just last week, a family member had a windows update cause their Windows XP computer to Blue Screen during reboot. For your health and sanity, don’t do an update right before a service, wait until you have plenty of time to fix things when they go wrong. And it will happen eventually. Remember we are talking about Windows.

Restricted Access

I’m locking down the computer to prevent people from installing any programs or updates. I hate to do this, but with any computer that is used by multiple people, you have to protect it. I already use OpenDNS to filter the internet and Microsoft Security Essentials for Antivirus protection, but it is still too easy to install malware and viruses. And you need to check the computer regularly to ensure that the software and media installed are legally owned by the church.

Backup

Take advantage of the System Restore tool in Windows. It has saved me numerous times. I also backup the computer weekly, but System Restore works for most problems. Just choose a date and time when the computer was working smoothly and Windows will roll back your files to that date.

And Finally, Get a Mac

Make plans for switching over to a mac. Seriously, if we could afford it, I would put in a mac pro this week and make the switch. I use a MacBook Pro and have been spoiled by the ease of keeping things running smoothly. Macs are not without problems, but they have greatly simplified the user experience.

What else do you recommend? Leave a comment with your thoughts.

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