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Showing posts from July, 2011

What To Do First to Make a Profit

The PF Women Team at our Annual Team Retreat  ~ 2018 Today on Seth Godin's blog, he said: It's tempting to decide to make a profit first, then invest in training, people, facilities, promotion, customer service and most of all, doing important work. In general, though, it goes the other way. Yes, it does. If you are waiting to make a profit before you do these things, in my experience you're  not going to make a profit. So many organizations, ministries and churches are struggling with financial issues. I know your pain. As anyone who follows our story knows, our ministry was in a ton of debt four years ago when I came on as director.  Since that time, we've gotten out of debt and turned a profit every year.  God has done amazing things through out team, for which we give Him the glory! I find that what Seth is saying here is absolutely true, with one disclaimer. For Christian leaders, spiritual disciplines must always be first. Before we started inve

Stand and deliver

Today is my tenth post in this series on preaching, and if you missed the previous nine, just click here to catch up. Today I'm covering general things that help in the actual delivery process.  I'm sure I sound like a broken record for those who have been reading this for all ten posts so far, but remember, these are just things I've found helpful that you might too. I'm by no means considering myself an expert nor saying, "THIS is the way it needs to be done."  I'm sharing this because a good friend asked me to do it here on the blog.  So here we go. If you are speaking somewhere where you are not the person in charge, always acknowledge the leadership who invited you.  Never forget what a privilege it is to stand in someone else's pulpit.  You are there by their invitation and under their authority.  This weekend Larry and I are actually away from the church we pastor -- we are in Phoenix, AZ for the week for General Council and this weeke

We don't need another Joyce Meyer

This is the ninth post in this series on message preparation.  If you've missed the previous eight posts, just go to the "preaching" label to catch up. One of the main things I believe about delivery of a message is staying true to who God has made you to be. A concern I have for those who are starting out in speaking ministries today is that things have become so commercialized with formulas of how to do things -- everything from marketing your ministry to how to deliver your message.  I realized last week when a friend asked me for any preaching helps I could give here on the blog that this is probably the reason I've never shared any.  My concern for this is that in such many may lose the experience of allowing God to uniquely shape them and instead copying a pattern followed by another.  My feeling is that this can actually short circuits your efforts or dreams - not accelerate them, if you aren't careful to seek God for the way that He wants you to fulf

Don't tweak to the crowd! What about 2 or 3 don't we understand?

This is the eighth post in a series on message preparation here on the blog.  If you missed the previous seven posts, just go to the " preaching" label here on the blog and you can catch up on the whole thing if you've missed it. Today I'm going to focus on delivery and a few things that are personally important to me. One of my pet peeves is when a speaker changes what they do based upon the amount of people that show up.  Can I just say, I think that's lame.  It happens so much I believe this subject is deserving of it's own post. I committed from the very beginning of my ministry that I'd never tweak to the crowd, and I haven't.  I can remember years ago bringing guest speakers into churches we've pastored and having 10 or less of my women show up for an event.  I felt like a failure at times although it had nothing to do with me and I had advertised the daylights out of the event.  I have to be honest that I didn't realize just how

They are FOR you...

This is the seventh post in the message preparation series that I've been asked to do here by a friend.  If you missed the previous six posts, just scroll back or go to the "Preaching" tab here on the blog. Today I want to tell you something important about delivery, and that is that all of the sane people out there are for you.  That might sound really strange, but I really must take time to say this.  The normal people who are sitting there listening are for you.  I know some of you are really discouraged right now because you're thinking, "Um, Deanna, do you know how many insane, irregular, and dysfunctional people that I know?"    :) Okay, besides them. One of the most important points that I can possibly make to lots of you out there who are feeling the call to preach but are nervous is that a majority of people are for you.   Yes, I know "God is a majority".  But I'm telling you as sure as I'm sitting here that MOST people w

Illustrations: the dessert!

Today we're continuing this blog series on message preparation.  If you missed the previous five posts, be sure to go back and check them out. If the Bible is the meat of your message (which it always should be!) then illustrations are the dessert!  I love the Word of God, and make no mistake - preaching is about the Word of God. Illustrations within a message serve to open people's eyes to the relevancy, the "now" way the Word of God is working in hearts and lives.  Illustration certainly shouldn't replace the central role of the Bible, rather they serve to explain what we are communicating from God's Word.  My husband and I always say that they help people to know how to live out the Word of God on Monday.  It's one thing to read in the Word of God what happened with Moses, but how does that apply to you?  To me?  To us?  Illustrations also serve to motivate and inspire people with how Word has been made manifest in people's lives, how He is mov

Nuts & numbers and outlines and all that stuff...

This week I'm doing a series on message preparation since a friend expressed interest in me doing this, and here we are with post number five on this subject.  If you have missed the first four parts of this series, just go back and read the past few days on the blog and it will cover it.  Or, just look at everything under the label, "Preaching", here on the blog. Today we're talking about the number of pages to prepare as well as an outline.  Please note that today we're not covering what supporting sources (in addition to the Bible) that I get my information from or any of that.  We are simply talking about my personal method of outlining and deciding the number of pages.  Realize that this is extremely subjective and other preachers would   tell you something different, and they would not be wrong.  I am sharing this because a friend asked me to do a blog series about what personally helps me, not giving a "this is how you do it," or "this is

Substance and style, and all that good stuff...

Today we're continuing the series on message preparation, as I was requested to share some helpful hints by a friend in ministry last week.  If you've missed the previous posts on this, go here , here and here .  Many times I have been asked if I stick with topical or expository preaching and how that determination has been made for me personally.  The answer is that I have done both, and continue to. The decision is made by whether I am dealing with one specific text in a message, or whether I will be pulling from several or many different areas of the Bible.  If I am doing the latter, I generally set it up as a topical message versus going verse by verse.  Some ministers believe very strongly that expository preaching is the ONLY right way.  I don't agree.  I believe it all depends on the way the spirit is leading and I know God works through both. My life has been changed through both.  For those who say that is not really possible I'll just say that a man or woma

A victory of wisdom

So I wrote two fantastic posts last night.  And when finished with both I said to myself, "you're going to be sorry you posted that..." So they're sitting there in the edit box and probably only two pastor friends will be the beneficiary of them.  Blogging friends, does that ever happen to you?  It does to me a lot.  If nothing else it's cathartic to write about whatever it was at the time. I hate when that happens. And at the same time I feel a victory. Choosing wisdom IS victory.  The Bible says  "Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!  And whatever else you do, develop good judgment."  Proverbs 4:7 I feel a victory of wisdom right now. I blogged last night and can still respect myself in the morning. All victories aren't accompanied by loud fanfare...some are just quiet victories yet powerful nonetheless. Have an awesome day at church, everybody!

Quiet time when every obstacle possible seems to be in the way

Today's post is the third in my blog series on message preparation.   Yesterday I shared that quiet time is of utmost importance to me in receiving message ideas.   When I share with others about having a regular quiet time most of them, especially women, talk about how hard that is.  They are living in noisy households, with a zillion demands pulling them in all different directions, and every obstacle imaginable seems in the way. The most important thing I've learned about quiet time is, you can't leave it to chance.  And, you must plan ahead and persevere.   I also encourage you to take advantage of spontaneous opportunities. I realize those greatest challenged are mothers of babies or small children and especially single mothers.  First let me say that quiet time  WAS much more difficult when my kids were little.  I found myself having most of my quiet time after they were asleep.  It was always my habit to stay up long enough to have this time to myself. I have o

Be quiet!

Yesterday I began a blog series about message preparation after a friend asked me this past week for any help I might offer here on the blog.  If you missed my post yesterday about starting with the end in mind, I recommend you go back and read it.  Today I'm going to talk about the second thing I do which I'm not really sure is always second, I guess most times it's first and starting with the end in mind becomes second.  You'll see what I mean in a minute. While I'm a person of prayer, most of my message topics don't come to me during the moments of passionate intercessory prayer.  Although I'm always open to that happening and I spend time weekly in focused prayer, the subjects or titles for messages, or the main points of messages don't come in those times.  They usually just come as I'm spending quiet time in general. One thing I have noticed is that anybody who I have ever seen mightily used of the Lord prioritizes quiet time.  You hear t

Start with the end in mind

Earlier this week a friend e-mailed me and said, "hey, real quick...where can I find something on your blog that you've written with advice about how you prepare your messages?"   I thought about it and realized I've never done a blog post or series of posts on that topic.  Never thought about it!  I had nothing to give her as far as a blog post but immediately thought, " Wow, great idea for a blog series!"  Today has been such a busy day.  Amidst several meetings and projects, I'm preparing a message to bring at the House of Prayer Church in Tampa this Saturday.  I'm not even blogging til' after 9 pm, so anyone who knows me well realizes it must have really been a busy day!  (I usually blog pretty early and not much gets in the way of blogging.)  :::smile::: Tonight my goal is to finish the message and that will give me another 24 hours to tweak it as I pray over it.  This will be a short blog post as I still need to do that, but I t

Blonde, tan and skinny

"Have you ever noticed that when many women get divorced,  they suddenly decide to become skinny and tan?"   This was something my friend Pastor Andrea Fruscella said to me one day and she has written about it in some articles.  I believe her point  in writing about this or her question was why women would suddenly think to make doing this a priority if they never did when they were married. I have noticed this same phenomenon.  I've taken note as well that many seem to color their hair to go with this transformation -- usually blonde.  Important Disclaimer:   I know this is NOT the case with all separated/divorced women.  So before all the number of my dear friends in this category rise up and comment, "NOT ME!  ARE YOU KIDDING??" and rake me over the coals,  let me say I realize that millions are not doing this.  However, scores of others are.  I've noticed some interesting patterns on facebook.  Some new status updates usually begin with many women

If you want a different result, DO something different

I put Vagisil on my dog's ears yesterday. Really. I know you're wondering why in the world I'd do such a thing. Max's ears have been torn up for almost a year now.  Every day they bleed and he scratches them and they have fresh wounds daily.  I am including a photo of him here where you can see the outside of his ears and how he has scratched and torn them up.  They hurt inside and out and he shakes his head constantly.  If you think it bothers me, you're right.  I hate to see him in pain and so does the rest of the family.  We've changed the soap we bathe him in, changed his food, taken him to the vet multiple times over the past year and he's been on topical cream, and just finished two rounds of antibiotics,  Yet it all did nothing to cure his ear problem.  When he finished his antibiotics last week I wondered what in the world we were going to try next and I continued to do what I have been doing -- prayer.  I have actually anointed him with oil a

The more secrets you have, the sicker you are...

"Don't ever keep family secrets...they are one of the most destructive things ever.  If you want to build a healthy family, start now in the very beginning by building one that is secret-free." This was said to me by a Christian counselor from Emerge Ministries many years ago.  Larry and I were married a short time.  The problems that led me to go to counseling at that time were not between Larry and I, but concerned healing from the past.  I came from a broken home and Larry and I both had experienced situations in our backgrounds where family secrets were an issue.  We needed not only coping skills but knowledge of how to proceed to build our own healthy family.  I didn't want our new marriage to blow up in smoke because we didn't have the proper foundation from which to build so I quickly sought help for me...for us. The counselor's words were life for me, for us -- for our marriage and subsequent family we would create. The counselor encouraged me that

Heaven sent day!

I blog each day without fail and today's will be short for good reason.  We had a day that was a slice of heaven at Celebration!  Quite honestly too busy of a day to blog but to put it in a nutshell, God showed up and showed off mightily in our service this morning.  His presence just blew into the place, particularly when we sang two songs, "I Lift Up My Hands," (Tomlin) and "Your Great Name" (Natalie Grant)...salvation was in the house, healing was in the house, words of knowledge, and more............... it was just a tremendous day. Newcomer's Night was at our house tonight -- we had dinner with 24 and rejoiced over the wonderful new folks that  God has sent our way. I always love these nights! I'm exhausted!  But it's a good exhausted and SALVATION NEVER GETS OLD!! This week I have a BA-zillion things to do, special projects and I'm preaching elsewhere over the weekend  AGAIN (will be back  at CC Sunday though) but I am going to bring

Gal pal time

I never miss writing a blog even if it's the end of the day. As I write this we're speeding down I75 at 78 miles an hour. Don't worry, I'm not driving as I text this blog...Tammy is. We are joined by our dear friend Pastor Vicki Elliot. We have laughed, we have cried and we have had an amazing weekend of ministry at Hope Tour Orlando. These are great times of ministry but also girl therapy in the hotel and restaurants. I am asking my dear friends if there's anything they'd like to tell you...and Tammy says to ask everyone to come to Hope Tour Sarasota on August 6. It's going to be life changing!!! I am so thankful for my sweet sisters. They make all the difference in my life and I hope they feel the same way about me. I was hoping they'd share some profound things here on the blog like they said to me in the car but I think they poured out all they have for today between ministering to the ladies and giving so much in friendship. Almost home to

This is a fine day for a pea party...

Just as I predicted yesterday , it didn't take my husband long at all to start planking.  In fact he announced a planking contest this month for Celebration and has a facebook page set up  for Celebrators to post their photos.  The planker shown here is one of our leaders at Celebration, Troy Mayercak, in this, his first entry.  He promises lots more to come.   My husband is giving $25 for the best plank photo.  And, he's preaching a sermon series coming up called, "Plank Eye."  Wow, do I know the man well, or WHAT?  I promise upon a stack of bibles, I knew NONE of this when I blogged yesterday.   I found all this out last night.  This isn't surprising to those who know us well -- we both work many hours but don't always communicate our plans to the other til' the last minute.  There are already a lot of hysterical plank photos going up on the Celebration site and while I'm having a great laugh, nobody's going to find me planking anytime soon. 

Of planks and peas

It really doesn't take that much to start a new craze. Whoever thought that the latest form of entertainment would be to find places to lay down flat as a board and have a friend take a photo of you and post it on the internet?  Yesterday I had no idea what "planking" was and had to ask facebook friends about this new thing I saw six unrelated friends posting on their statuses yesterday.  I was rather taken aback to see the pictures of these friends laying face down on their living room chairs or cars and posting them on facebook.  It seemed a rather odd thing to do and I was curious.  I noticed that one of them labeled it "planking" so I asked and received the answer that planking is simply laying face down perfectly straight and having someone photograph you. Seriously?   One friend, Joy Morey posted this in our discussion on my facebook page:  "Planking is just another trend of silliness. Nothing strange or drug induced, just for fun. I think

What are you afraid of?

In her book, "Who Switched Off My Brain," Dr. Caroline Leaf says, "There are only two types of emotions, each with their own anatomy and physiology: love and fear.  All other emotions are variations of these." Whatever we do or say has a root of love or fear.  Which one are you operating in today? This has been on my mind a lot lately.  I want so much to never, ever do or say anything out of fear again.  With God's help, I'm on my way! I John 4:18 says, " ...perfect love drives out fear." I will starve my fear and feed my faith. I will let God's perfect love drive out every last speck of fear in my about you?

There are more WITH YOU than AGAINST YOU!!!

The enemy absolutely loves to distract us from the truth and throw unpredicted circumstances, symptoms, and problems our way, all designed to get us to think we're washed up, finished, hopeless!  Here is the truth -- the enemy knows he can't possibly steal our true riches in Christ, so his familiar tactic is to try to get us to lose sight of anything and everything else and deceive us into thinking we're facing impossible circumstances.  Whatever is happening in your life remember that God specializes in what we may think are insurmountable odds. If you are facing what looks like an impossible situation today I encourage you to open your eyes to what God wants to show you in the spirit.  Remember when the army surrounded the Israelites in II Kings 6:15-17?  A servant was absolutely struck with fear came to Elisha and told him the devastating news.  However, Elisha chose peace and reassured the servant... "do not fear, for those who are with us more than those who are