Friday, January 25, 2008

I Helped Put A Man On The Moon

There's a story about when President Lyndon Johnson visited NASA and as he was walking the halls he came across a janitor who was cleaning up a storm, like the Energizer bunny with a mop in his hand. The president walked over to the janitor and told him he was the best janitor he had ever seen and the janitor replied, 'Sir, I'm not just a janitor. I helped put a man on the moon.'...Even though he was cleaning floors he had a bigger purpose and vision for his life. That is what kept him going and helped him excel in his job.

Quote on Character

"Character is what you have left when you've lost everything you have to lose."

Evan Esar

More Ah-Hah's About Connecting With Not-Yet Believers by Steve Sjogren

It’s All Caught … Then Explained

Some think it’s clever to parrot, “That’s one of those things that is more ‘caught than taught.’” No longer funny nor clever. Please explain what isn’t caught. One thing - please. Somebody. ‘Bueller, Bueller, has anyone seen Ferris Bueller?’

When we serve others it is natural they ask, ‘So what’s this all about?’

Peter said, ‘Be ready to give an account of the hope that lies within you…’ Many have given their version of what Pete was alluding to. My shot in light of the context of his comments is this: His comments on this are located near the question of how to win a not-yet believing spouse. The answer is simple and by the way flies in the face of dozens of messages I have heard from well-intentioned teachers. Peter says, ‘Live a stellar life… be careful to not over-use words with those closest near you…’ That is a summary of course. You read it. If you hyperventilate I’m sorry but that’s is what Peter says. You may want to read it several times after breathing into a brown paper bag if the hyperventilation begins to occur.

Talk Less Or You Might Become Toxic

Peter is clarifying there comes a time when words can begin to cocoon people away from the message. “Uhh.” Words get in the way of the message? Absolutely. If you are an adult convert you understood this clearly once upon a time whether you can remember that now or not. In case you can’t remember that just spend half an hour at Starbucks and ask some friendly faces after you’ve paid for their venti sized coffee drinks. They will confirm Peter’s two thousand year old inspired insight.

“Might” become toxic - some have the learned skill of talking when its time to talk and listening in right proportions. Listening a lot is the way we earn the right to have the barest bit of integrity that allows us to become people who can connect with those around us who are in the funnel coming toward Christ.

Ever try to make a withdrawal without first a deposit in the account at your bank? You won’t get very far. I see people who are trying to ‘do evangelism’ (those two words are pregnant - “Can I do evangelism to you?”)

Deposits come in many ways.

Listening is one of the most profound ways.

Listening is perhaps most often done by us slowing down and literally using our ears - however, listening is a comprehensive activity. We listen with our entire being…

Body language communicates with our entirety that we are an audience to what the person in front of us is about - that what they are up to is IMPORTANT - to us… and guess what - to God.
No deposit. No right whatsoever to begin to make a penny’s worth of withdrawal.
Never again a conversation that has been memorized…

Hi, my name is uh… (now quickly glance at cue card in left, no, right hand) uh, Steve… May I share something with you that is very, very important to me…?

The above actually does ‘work’ with those on the east side of town in Lemming, Iowa and Syracuse, East Virginia. But since 1974 no reports of church growth have been reported that are deemed credible.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Great St. Valentine's Day Servant Evangelism Outreach

This is a great servant evangelism project for St. Valentine's Day

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Seven Joy Killers in Ministry by Perry Noble

One of the most powerful things a pastor (or any human being for that matter) has is JOY…Scripture says in Nehemiah 8:10 that the joy of the Lord is our strength.

However, after spending a lot of time with pastors one of the things I have noticed is how many of us seem to have a lack of joy–what are the things that rob us?

#1 - Comparison - If you compare yourself to other churches then you will always be in some sort of depressed mode–there is always someone else out there who is seemingly growing faster or being more creative. Compare yourself ONLY to the vision God gave you.

#2 - Critics - If you hyper focus on them they can seem larger than the world…my advice, don’t swim with the sharks, don’t eat yellow snow and don’t listen to people who don’t love you and desire nothing more than to tear you down!

#3 - Being Busy - There are so many pastors/church leaders out there who feel like all they do is spin plates…and that one day things “will just get better.” To make matters worse–we now have devices that we carry that make sure our schedule is always in front of us AND that we are always accessible.

#4 - Pride - Daniel 4:37 is so true! Trust me, I know! Anytime I’ve ever thought, “Dang I’m good,” God always brings me down a level…OR FOUR!

#5 - Loss of Perspective - Whenever I think that I am more concerned about the church than Jesus it always causes stress and anxiety, which negates joy! Remember–it is HIS church!

#6 - Lack of Faith - Whenever I desire comfort more than obedience I always know that something is not right! Hebrews 11:6 is SO true!

#7 - No Growth - Whenever I stop reading, listening to other teachers and don’t network with other leaders I both feel alone AND I rob NewSpring of the collective wisdom of other people who are much wiser than me. When I feel the pressure of having to come up with every new idea–it ALWAYS robs me of joy!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

More on Please Help Give Rylee the Gift of Sight

Rylee Lovett, the Davis Shores girl suffering from a congenital condition that has made her legally blind, will be going to China for innovative stem cell treatment as her parents hoped, but her family has not yet raised all the funds needed.

The 6-year-old has Optic Nerve Hypoplasia (ONH), which results from underdevelopment of a child's optic nerve during pregnancy. ONH was previously considered incurable, but new stem cell treatment, provided by the China-based company Beike Biotech, has offered hope to patients with varying levels of improvement.

The Lovetts began their quest to raise money for the trip shortly before the holidays after reading about the treatment, which is not offered in the United States.

Though the family has not reached their financial goal of $60,000, Rylee's mother, Shayla Lovett, said they have received enough for the initial medical procedure that they hope will give their daughter sight.

"We've received about $24,000 so far," Lovett said. "That will pay for the treatment, and we're going to put the travel expenses on credit cards for now.

"We're hoping to continue to raise funds to pay for the follow-up treatment and other expenses."

Lovett said she and Rylee will fly to China on Jan. 12 and will return on Feb. 15.
After Rylee's story was published in The Record on Dec. 3, many people contacted the Lovetts wanting to help, she said.

One of them was St. Augustine resident Karen Erwin, whose daughter is one of four girls who donated her ticket to the Jan. 30 Hannah Montana concert in Jacksonville to the Lovetts, who will raffle the four tickets to raise funds.

Hannah Montana is an Emmy Award-nominated children's television series broadcast on The Disney Channel.

The series focuses on Miley Stewart, (played by Miley Cyrus, Billy Ray Cyrus' daughter), who lives a double life as an average teenage girl at school during the day, and a famous pop singer (Hannah Montana) at night.

Concerts for Hannah Montana have become a hot event, and tickets usually sell out, with some later being scalped for thousands of dollars.

The four girls, Emily Erwin, 8, Allison Courter, 9, Emily Courter, 7, and Devin Schooley, 9, make up a group called Diva Disciples, which their parents put together two years ago to teach the children moral and spiritual principles and to do outreach work, Karen Erwin said.
"We wanted to teach them to give, and to do good work," Erwin said. "We meet each month to do different projects, and this month's lesson was about what we call sacrificial giving."
The girls, who attend Good News Church, are members of the Hannah Montana fan club and devoted fans. After receiving the tickets, however, they decided to give them to Rylee.
"As much as they really wanted to go, they realized that going to a two-hour concert hardly compares to what they could do for Rylee," Erwin said. "We're very proud of their sacrifice."
The girls got to meet with Rylee and her family on Wednesday.

The Lovetts are selling raffle tickets for the concert tickets for $5 each, or six for $20, and they may be purchased through Rylee's Web site, at

On New Year's Eve, the Lovetts held a drawing for the family's 1999 Saturn, which raised $8,120. Rylee picked the winning raffle ticket, which went to Amy Buggle, who runs a Jacksonville daycare facility for disabled children, out of a jar.

Lovett said her daughter is looking forward to the trip to China.

"She's starting to realize that she will be going over there very soon," Lovett said. "But she still hasn't fully comprehended the distance that she'll be going."

In addition to on Rylee's Web site, donations to the Rylee Lovett Fund may be made at any VyStar Credit Union branch.

Checks can be made to:
Rylee Lovett Fund
210 Oglethorpt Blvd
St. Augustine, FL 32080

Contact Shayla Lovett for details:
Home: (904) 389-2839
Cell: (904) 626-1474

Please Help Give Rylee the Gift of Sight

Please read this and spread the word.

A Davis Shores family is hoping an innovative new treatment not available in the U.S. will give their daughter sight. The girl and her mother plan to travel all the way to China in January for stem cell treatment that has offered hope to patients previously considered incurable.

Rylee Lovett wears glasses, but even with them, she can't see more than a few inches in front of her face. That's because the 6-year-old also suffers from a rare congenital condition known as Optic Nerve Hypoplasia (ONH).

ONH is one of the three most common causes of visual impairment in children and results from underdevelopment of the optic nerve during pregnancy. Because nerves cannot repair themselves, the condition is largely considered incurable.

"She's legally blind," said Rylee's mother, Shayla Lovett, 29. "The glasses are for astigmatism."
"She was diagnosed when she was four months old," Lovett said. "The doctors told us that until they can grow nerves, there's nothing that can be done. It's like how Superman (actor Christopher Reeve) couldn't get out of the wheelchair, because of the nerve problem."
After doctors told Shayla Lovett her daughter's vision would never improve, she resigned herself to the prognosis. She enrolled Rylee at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, where she attends kindergarten.

But Lovett never gave up hope.

Searching the Internet for information on ONH, she came across the story of a Missouri child, Rylea Barlett, who also had the condition and had successfully obtained sight from the treatment.

"Of course, as soon as I found out about this treatment, I thoroughly researched it," Lovett said. "Their results have been amazing thus far. Even though there are no guarantees, I feel like it's something we have to try."

What she found was a Chinese company called Beike Biotechnology. Beike is a biotechnology company that provides stem cells for treatment at hospitals in China and Thailand.

Because stem cell research and treatment are legally limited in this country, the new procedure, pioneered by nurse and medical researcher Kirshner Ross-Vaden, is not available here.
However, Beike does not use embryonic stem cells, which are the subject of most of the controversy. Instead, doctors use stem cells taken from the blood of umbilical cords from live births, which had historically been discarded after birth as medical waste.

Carol Petersen, a Port Charlotte woman whose grandson, Cameron, was successfully treated by Beike at China's Hangzhou Hospital in September, has nothing but good things to say about the treatment.

"It's incredible, simply incredible," Petersen said by telephone. "Cameron could not see at all before the treatment, and now he can. After the second treatment, he began to recognize things we held up about two feet from his face and to crawl toward toys we put on the floor. These are things he'd never done before."

Lovett said she is not concerned with the political side of the issue. She just wants Rylee to be able to see.

"I've done a lot of research on this, and have been following them pretty closely," Lovett said. "Four children have now received the treatment, and they've all been successful."

Dr. David Klein is a Port Charlotte ophthalmologist who has also studied the procedure. He deals with many children with ONH and has talked with some of the families who have gone to Beike for treatment.

He believes it is a legitimate procedure that should be taken seriously as an option. He has recommended the treatment to parents of children with ONH.

"They're doing good work there," he said. "Naturally, I'm cautious about endorsing new procedures, especially something that isn't done in the U.S. And I don't send people out for every weird new treatment that comes down the pike.

"There seems to be some good science behind this."
Klein said there is a misconception that, because the procedure isn't legal here, it must be suspect. And, he said, people might think Chinese medicine is inferior to that in the U.S.
Not so, Klein said.

"The level of ophthalmology in China is surprisingly high," Klein said. "In fact, the level of medicine as a whole in China is high."

Lovett said she and her husband, Jason, 32, are working to raise the funds necessary to get Rylee the treatment. All told, including travel, accommodations and other expenses, they need about $60,000, she said.

One way they came up with to generate money is to raffle off one of the family cars, a blue 1999 Saturn. The Lovetts are selling raffle tickets for the car for $20 each, and they may be purchased through Rylee's Web site, at .

"The car is in excellent mechanical condition," Lovett said. "It was my car in college, and it's very dependable."

Additionally, donations to the Rylee Lovett Fund may be made at any VyStar Credit Union branch.

Lovett said they hope to have the necessary funds by the end of the year, and that they'd like to take Rylee to China in January.

Despite her sight limitation, Rylee seems to be a well-adjusted child. She takes piano lessons and enjoys playing with her sister and brother, Lorelei, 4, and Jonas, 3. She moves easily through the Lovett home, and is full of energy. Whether she understands the extent of the treatment or even why she'd be going, it's clear she's hoping to make the trip.
"I want to go to China," she said, smiling. "I want to see."

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

10 Year Old Glues Himself to Bed to Avoid School

Found this on Fox News.

A 10-year-old boy thought he had discovered a novel way of getting off school — glueing his hand to the bed. Diego Palacios had so much fun over the Christmas holiday he was in no rush to get back to lessons. He had to be freed by emergency services in Monterrey, northern Mexico, after his master plan went wrong. His mother, Sandra, spent nearly two hours trying to free his right hand with water, oil and nail polish remover, but to no avail. "I didn't want to go to school because vacation was so much fun," the youngster explained. He told how he sneaked into the kitchen in the early hours and then covered his hand with industrial-strength adhesive.
His mother woke up to find him watching TV with his hand stuck to the bed.
"I don't know why he did it," she said. "He's a good boy but mischievous — like all kids."
His hand was freed by paramedics — just in time for school.

10 Steps for Setting Goals in 2008 by David Foster

As we begin a brand new year there’s no more important endeavor than sitting down and writing out your goals. Oftentimes we avoid writing goals because we don’t want to be held accountable to putting ou r dreams in action. But at other times, let’s just face it we don’t know how to do it. So here’s a ten-step process that I want to suggest to you on how to write your goals.

1. Tie it to. Tie it to something important, of value, a mission statement, or beliefs important to you. If it’s not meaningful you won’t put forth the effort.

2. Cast it forward into the future. One year is a good marker. Two is okay. Much more than three and you get into the land of the unknown. But cast it forward. What can be done in an entire year? We tend to overestimate what we can do in a short amount of time and underestimate what we can do over time.

3. Write it down. Write down what the goal is. Usually a goal is to, plus a verb, plus an amount, plus a date.

4. Back it up. Back up to where you are today and ask yourself what you’re going to have to do differently from right now to get to this goal.

5. Break it up. Break it up into smaller pieces. What can you do today, this week, this month?

6. Date it. As the old saying goes, what gets dated gets done. It is never truer than with goals. Get out your calendar and put a date on when you’re going to take your first, second, third, and fourth step to reaching this goal.

7. Plan weekly. Years ago I gave up planning daily and started planning weekly. That’s enough time to really get a picture of where my time is going.

8. Discipline daily. This basically means just get up and do the next right thing. Every day make a commitment to get up, suit up, show up, and do the next right thing.

9. Celebrate constantly. When you reach the midway point or a milestone toward a goal, celebrate. Acknowledge the progress you’ve made.

10. Review often and adjust as needed. Goals are just that, goals. They are not set in stone. They are ways to make progress and to make meaningful the things you say you want in life. So like any good plan or goal, things can change. And so you review often and adjust as needed.

As you face this New Year, don’t be afraid to set smart goals.