Archives For September 2013

Hi my name is Janeth Doe, from your church in Anytown. I have had an interesting week, challenged on many fronts. It seems like my life is a like a rollercoaster. My faith, finances and family have been on my thoughts a lot lately. Now I’m here in church. Sorry for the late arrival, but it was crazy just getting here. It’s your turn to preach. These are the things that I need as you speak today:

1.       I need you to preach the bible.

I understand you have opinions. That’s good. They are probably very similar to some of mine. But I don’t need your opinions today. I long to hear God’s voice, not your opinions backed up by a couple of texts. I can tell when you have preached the Bible. It stays with me all week.

2.       I need you to make it real.

I live in the real world. Real temptations, real sins, real family and racial issues. When you start speaking adventese, quoting the Greek every 10 minutes and dedicating more time to make sure the oratory flows rather than connecting the Bible with what I am going through, you lose me. It doesn’t take long. Stop it with the long pointless introductions and extra announcements. I did not come to church to hear about the next Pathfinder car wash. I came to encounter Jesus. For announcements give me a bulletin. I can read. I have enough information. I need transformation.

3.       I need you to say it in a new way.

Nothing worse than a cliché filled message. Saying it in a new way involves preparation and substantial time in study. I know you have a million things to do. Please don’t cower under the pressure of those few terrorists that are holding our church back and want you to be all things to all people. Tell me the old story in way I’ve never heard before, with an application I’ve never thought of before.

4.       I need you to keep it short.

The gospel is eternal, your sermons don’t have to be. Stop chasing the rabbits. After the endless repetitions and rabbit chasing I wonder whether church must be endured or enjoyed. I’m not an expert in public speaking and I don’t pretend to know a lot about your job, but at mine, when a person goes on and on it usually means they have not prepared well. Remember KISS? No, not the band. The principle for speaking in public.

5.       I need you to get off your hobby horse.

What’s up with that? Aren’t there other topics you can preach about? You have beaten that dead horse so much, it came back to life, and you killed it again. Last pastor we had it was the final events. Prophecy is great, but it’s not the only thing. Preach the whole Bible, not just the parts you like and are comfortable with. 

6.       I need you to get fresh illustrations.

The stories about your family every week are getting old. By the way, I’ve heard you repeat the same story at least three times. I remember. It keeps changing though, what’s up with that? Read. Get off Facebook and Twitter for a bit (not completely) and read a good book. Or two. Give me some suggestions about books that you are reading that have blessed you. Illustrations are everywhere when you read.

7.       I need you to be you.

You are not Jose Rojas, Dwight Nelson or E.E. Cleveland. I love you, because you are my pastor. You were there when my family member died. You were there when they took away our house. Don’t try so hard. Not everybody likes you in this church, but many do. Stop changing your style because of the ones who don’t. Be you. Christ-like. Loving. Real.

By the way, I thank you for the sermon you are about to preach today. I’m sure it will be a blessing.

If you  want to connect with the Janets in your church, here are some resources for better presentations:

  1. Slide:ology.Nancy Duarte
  2. Presentation Secrets. Alexei Kapterev
  3. Everybody speaks, few connect. John Maxwell
  4. Lessons From the World’s Most Captivating Presenters [SlideShare] by Marta Kagan

El Mes de Octubre es el momento cuando oficialmente celebramos las bendiciones de Dios expresando nuestro aprecio y amor a los pastores que guian el rebano. Aqui hay varias maneras de hacerlo.

Vealo aqui:

October is pastor appreciation month. I gathered a simple, practical resource that churches can use so that they can show their appreciation to the pastor.
The resource has three parts:
1. A worksheet for the pastor, so that the church knows how to appreciate them better.
2. A three part appreciation plan: What to do as individuals, as churches and how to implement the plan. We thank NAD Ministerial, especially Mona Karst for this invaluable resource!
3. Articles. Two good articles on pastors, their challenges, fears and joys.
There are two ways to access the document. One is to email me for the attachment, which you can customize for your local context. The other is this link you can pass along:
Please bless the people that bless you.

Here is the power point, included discussion questions.


Single and Looking —  September 23, 2013

It was my freshman year in college and was looking for a girlfriend. I noticed a girl and decided to ask her out. She was better off than me, but that didn’t deter my efforts. I got her a gift after our first date. Jack in the Box had a promotion that gave away a teddy bear with the purchase of a value meal. When I showed up with the bear, her reception was less than enthusiastic. That girl and I are married today… To other people! She dropped me like a bag of potatoes!

Relationships are complicated. If you are single, here are nine characteristics you need to look for in your future mate.

1. Whoever you marry must have been in love Jesus before they met you. Genesis 2:7 Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person. In Genesis, we see that man had a relationship with God before he had a relationship with his spouse. This is good counsel. Some people all of a sudden get religion when they like someone. He/she must be spiritual before you and away from you.

2. Whoever you marry must have a good work ethic. Genesis 2:19 “So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man[c] to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. 20 He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him.”  Here is another thing man had before he saw his wife. A job. The general rule is: “If he ain’t working, he ain’t worth it.” Bad grammar. Good counsel.

3. Whoever you marry must not be nursing any uncontrolled anger[1]. Proverbs 22:24 says, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person; do not associate with one easily angered” (NIV). Do you know why? Because uncontrolled anger reveals deep insecurity and low self-worth. That is why it is important to take your time. Uncontrolled anger usually does not manifest itself right away. You lose nothing by waiting. You can lose a lot by hurrying it up.

4. Whoever you marry must not be stuck in an addiction.[2] Proverbs 23:20 says, “Don’t associate with people who drink too much wine or stuff themselves with food” (TEV). Only two things are mentioned here, food and alcohol, but there are a thousand ways to get addicted. Whatever addiction they have, usually gets worse after marriage.

5. Whoever you marry must not be harboring bitterness.[3] Bitterness is like a poison — it eats you alive. Whatever you resent, you begin to resemble. To stop resenting; you’ve got to release it. The Bible says in Hebrews 12:15, “Guard against turning back from the grace of God. Let no one become like a bitter plant that grows up and causes many troubles with its poison” (GNT).  Holding bitterness does nothing to solve the issue. It’s like drinking poison and expecting the rat to die.

6. Whoever you marry must not be selfish. Why? Proverbs 28:25 says, “Selfishness only causes trouble.” It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others. (Andrew J. Holmes) At the root of every sinful act, every hurtful word, every inappropriate thought lies one common denominator: Selfishness.

7. Whoever you marry must not be greedy. Proverbs 15:27 says, “Greed brings grief to the whole family” (NLT). If you marry a greedy spouse, you will be in debt your entire life. Notice the conversations about material things. Notice how they refer to people better off or worse off. That will tell you a lot about their values.

8. Whoever you marry must not be possessive and jealous.  Job 5:2 “Surely resentment destroys the fool, and jealousy kills the simple.” One major red flag is a boyfriend/girlfriend that resents you spending time with your family, friends, and other endeavors that do not include them. While they are an important part of your life, they aren’t the ONLY part of your life.

9. Whoever you marry must tell the truth[4]. Proverbs 20:7 says this: “A righteous person lives on the basis of his integrity. Blessed are his children after he is gone” (GWT). Love is based on trust, and trust is based on truth. If you don’t tell me the truth, I can’t trust you. And if I can’t trust you, how can I love you?

Leonard Ravenhill gives one of the best counsels on dating and marriage, “God always gives his best to those who leave the choice to him.” Are you?

If you are interested in a short PowerPoint with these nine, email me @


[2] Ibid

[3] ibid

[4] ibid

This article I found is very helpful. Remember: Publish or Perish!

Cuando llegue a la pequeña iglesia rural en mi primer sábado, tenían 6 personas en asistencia. La iglesia se componía de una sola familia (que parecía hacer todas las decisiones ), una visita, otro miembro que venía y se iba según la temporada de cosecha y la directora de la escuela sabática que daba la bienvenida, se sentaba, daba el misionero, se sentaba, daba la música especial, se sentaba. No sé si quería dar la ilusión de que más personas estaban presentes, ¡pero no funcionó!

A veces creemos que más grande parece ser mejor, sobre todo cuando se trata de iglesias. Oímos hablar de las grandes iglesias en otras partes con cientos (incluso miles) que llegan a experimentar el servicio de adoración, hay voluntarios por docenas y hay clases de Escuela Sabática (en plural, como en más de una). La realidad es diferente para muchas congregaciones. Muchas de nuestras iglesias son pequeñas con menos de 75 asistentes. Esto plantea algunos desafíos y oportunidades reales. Si usted pertenece a una pequeña iglesia  aquí hay 7 preguntas a tener en cuenta:

1. ¿Quiénes somos? Usted no es una iglesia grande. ¡No trate de ser una! Elige una cosa, y hazla con excelencia. Se conocido en tu comunidad por esa característica. Promuévela. Habla de ella. Anima a personas a participar en ella. Siéntete orgulloso de ella.

2. ¿Es nuestro enfoque salud o crecimiento? Los organismos sanos crecen. Muchas veces las  iglesias no crecen no porque no puedan, sino porque no quieren. Las luchas internas y disfunción general nos mantienen atrapados en un círculo vicioso de mediocridad. La gente en la comunidad ya están en mal estado. No necesitan ningún drama adicional en su vida. Cuando una persona se une a una iglesia asi y ve toda la disfunción allí pueden llegar a ser inoculados por vida contra el cristianismo . Busque la salud. Va a crecer.

3. ¿Cómo tratamos a los invitados? Un extremo es sofocar a los huéspedes. Son pocos y  cuando aparecen la gente quiere que se unan inmediatamente y los sofocan con información (a veces un poco de información extrema como los males de la leche)  Por favor, no lo hagas. Jesús no murió para que dejaras de comer queso. Seguro que hay cosas más importantes de las que podemos hablar con los recién llegados. Dales la bienvenida. Ámalos. El otro extremo es ver a los invitados como intrusos. Nuestra falta de atención envía un fuerte mensaje: “Gracias por venir, pero estamos bien aquí, no te necesitamos.”

4. ¿Cómo está tu actitud? Un problema constante que me encuentro son iglesias pequeñas que constantemente se quejan del pastor, la conferencia que no los atiende, la comunidad que se está perdiendo, y muchas otras cosas más. Si usted no tiene cuidado esa actitud puede llegar a ser visible, permanente, y actúa como repelente para las mismas personas que estas tratando de atraer. Mantenga una sonrisa en su rostro. La vida no es justa. Dios recompensa la fidelidad no la amargura. Piense en esto: ¿Quién querría estar en una iglesia que siempre está hablando de lo mal que están las cosas?

5. ¿Qué hay de malo en ser pequeño? ¡Nada! Pequeño no es lo mismo que deficiente. Algunos de los mejores restaurantes que he comido eran muy pequeños. Hay gente que está buscando específicamente una pequeña iglesia. Creen que las iglesias grandes son impersonales y quieren hacer una diferencia. Hay cosas que una iglesia pequeña puede ofrecer que una gran iglesia nunca podrá. Necesitamos iglesias de todos los tamaños. Si estas en una pequeña iglesia, se la mejor pequeña iglesia que puedes ser.

6. ¿Cómo son sus líderes? El liderazgo marca la diferencia. Una palabra de advertencia. Dado que en una pequeña iglesia los líderes son escasos la tentación es asumir demasiadas responsabilidades. Esto los puede quemar o puede enviar el mensaje a los nuevos líderes en potencia que no son necesarios. Continuamente anuncia la disponibilidad de puestos de liderazgo y mira a los recién llegados como ayuda, no amenaza.

7. ¿Para quién es tu iglesia? Si tu iglesia es para los ya convertidos, los miembros fundadores, para la gente que ya conocen las buenas nuevas, entonces no importa mucho el desorden, ventanas con corrientes de aire, baños malolientes y un servicio de adoración sin vida. Pero si la iglesia es para las personas que están lejos de Dios, un gran interés se debe tomar por el mensaje que el entorno envía. Ese mensaje es: Nos preocupamos por nuestra iglesia porque nos preocupamos por las personas perdidas que Dios traerá. Un edificio que no apesta es un gran comienzo . Píntela. Arréglela. Haga verla bonita. Todo es para ellos.

La iglesia a la que mencioné al principio de este artículo llegó a tener alrededor de 50 personas asistiendo. Si Dios puede hacer eso en una ciudad pequeña en medio de huertos de manzanas con seis personas, puede sin duda bendecirte donde tu estas. Gracias por tu servicio a Dios y la fidelidad a su obra. Gracias por mantener la luz encendida. Gracias por mantener la esperanza, la fe y el amor con vida en su pequeña iglesia.

¿Desea que este artículo de una presentación en power point para presentar a su iglesia? Escríbame a y recuerda ver nuestro webcast mensual cada primer lunes de cada mes a las 6pm hora del este en Busque el artículo completo en la edición de octubre de Tidings de la Union del Sur


Small Church. Big Potential —  September 16, 2013

When I showed up to the small country church on my first Sabbath, they had 6 people in attendance. The church was composed of one family (that seemed to make all decisions), one visitor, another member that would come and go depending on the harvest and the Sabbath school director that would do the welcome, sit down, do the mission story, sit down, do the special music, sit down. I don’t know if she wanted to give the illusion that more people were present, but it did not work!

In America, bigger seems to equate better, especially when it deals with churches. We hear about large churches in other parts of our state with hundreds (even thousands) flocking to experience the worship service, where pathfinders are counted by the dozens and there are Sabbath School classes (in plural, as in more than one). The reality, however, is different for many congregations. Many of our churches are small with less than 75 in attendance. That poses some real challenges and opportunities. If you belong to a small church, here are 7 questions to keep in mind as you are faithful to the call to evangelize the community that surrounds you.

1. Who are we? You are not a large church. Don’t try to be one! Pick one thing, and do it with excellence. Be known in the community for that one thing. Promote it. Talk about it. Encourage it. Take pride in it.

2. Is our focus health or growth? Healthy organisms grow. Many times a church won’t grow not because it can’t, but because it won’t.  Internal strife and general unhealthiness is keeping us stuck in neutral. People in the community are already messed up, they don’t need any extra drama in their life. When a person joins a dysfunctional church and see all the unhealthiness they can become inoculated for life against Christianity. Get healthy. You will grow.

3. How do we treat guests? One extreme is to smother guests. They are few and far between, so when they do show up people want them to join immediately and smother them with information (sometimes some extreme information like the evils of milk). Please don’t.  Jesus didn’t die so you would stop eating cheese. There sure are more primary things we could start the conversation with newcomers. Welcome them. Love on them. The other extreme is to see guests as intrusions. We may not verbalize this, but our lack of attention to them, sends a strong message: “Thanks for coming, but we are good here.”

4. How is your attitude? A consistent problem I run into are small churches that constantly complain about the pastor, the conference forgetting they exist, the surrounding area that is experiencing “young flight” and a host of others maladies. If you are not careful, that attitude can become visible, permanent and act as repellent to the people you are trying to attract. Keep a smile on your face. Life isn’t fair. God rewards faithfulness, not sour grapes. Think about it: who would want to stay in a church that is always talking about how bad things are?

5. What is wrong with being small? Nothing! Small doesn’t equal bad. Some of the best restaurants I have ever eaten at were holes in the wall. There are people out there that are specifically looking for a small church. They believe big churches are impersonal and they want to make a bigger difference. There are things a small church can offer than a big church never could, and vice-versa. That’s ok. We need churches of all sizes. If you are a small church, be the best small church you can be.

6. How are your leaders? Leadership makes the difference. One word of caution. Since in a small church, leaders are at a premium, the temptation for the existing ones is to take on too many responsibilities. That can either burn you out, or can send the message to new potential leaders that they are not needed. Continually advertise the availability of leadership positions and look at newcomers as contributors not threats.

7. Who is your church for?  If your church is for the frozen chosen, for the founding members, for the people that already know the good news, then let’s put up with clutter, drafty windows, smelly bathrooms and a lifeless worship service. But if church is for people that are far from God, a keen interest should be taken so the environment sends the message: We care about our church because we care about the lost people God will bring to it. A building that doesn’t smell is a great start. Throw away the ingathering materials, it’s not coming back. Paint it. Fix it. Make it look good. It’s all for them.

The church I mentioned in the beginning of the article grew to around 50 with an emphasis on sustained intercessory prayer, outreach and small groups, and 2 yearly reaping crusades. If God can do that in a one traffic light town in the middle of apple orchards with six people, he can surely bless you where you are. Thanks for your service to God and faithfulness to His work. Thanks for keeping the light on. Thanks for keeping hope, faith and love alive in your small church.

Want this article in a power point presentation to present to your church? Any ideas that have worked for you? Questions on how to expand God’s kingdom in your small church? Write to me at and remember to watch our monthly webcast  every first Monday of the month 7pm. Look for the full article in the October issue of the Southern Union Tidings: