"I am the vine; you are the branches." (John 15:5)


When I lead a study, I tend to pick some takeaways that I want to make sure stick with people after the study is finished. Things that stick with them for years to come. The way that I like to do that is to spend a few minutes at the beginning of teaching time talking about past weeks takeaways. It doesn’t take very long before people start getting it and you can even have a little fun with that. 5-7 minutes of review per week will increase retention significantly.


Review helps in several ways:


1. It allows you to help choose what people remember and how they remember it.

2. If there is residual discussion to be had, it gives a natural way for that to come out.

3. If someone misses, it gives them a chance to get caught up.

If you’re not reviewing now, try it with your next study and you’ll be amazed at how much better people will remember discussions or points. It will add a few minutes to your preparation, but definitely worth it!


October 17, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

God Can Use time Spent Waiting to Grow Us (if we let Him)

Like most of us, I hate waiting. We don’t do well when we have to wait and I think that’s just something Satan has implanted because God can use times of waiting as times of growth if we let Him. Next time you have to wait, think about how to redeem that time for something meaningful.

Waiting in line at the store – talk to the people around you and see if there is an opportunity there…

Waiting for a decision on a promotion at work – evaluate your situation and look for ways to position yourself better.

Waiting for news on a medical situation – take the time spent waiting to talk to God, family and friends to grow those relationships stronger…

These are just a few examples and I’m not pretending that this is anywhere near as easy as it sounds. The point isn’t to have activity, but to embrace the wait. Quit thinking about how long it is taking and think about what you can accomplish while you wait! Be intentional and prepared to practice for the next wait in your life. Who knows – You might find that waiting was actually a gift from God.

October 3, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Getting Discussion Going

I was reminded again recently of a tactic I learned that is helpful in groups that don’t want to engage or respond. When everyone is quiet and no one is answering questions, answer the next question yourself something wildly wrong (for example Jesus and Moses were actually brothers… right?). Don’t smile or laugh, just watch – someone will almost always perk up and correct you – build on that and it can be the start of a better discussion! If you have hints or suggestions for tough crowds, pass them on please!

September 19, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

5 Ways to be Faithful in Small Things

I found the article at the link below to be a refreshing reminder that small things matter.

In meditating on this, I was also reminded that if we are doing the small things, God will provide the opportunities for us to be a part of bigger things. One of the most freeing concepts I have learned over the past decade is that I am not responsible for results. God is the one who makes things happen! I just need to pay attention and do my part and He takes it from there!

September 8, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Modeling Commitment

If you lead people in any capacity, you’ve probably noticed that it is getting harder to get people to commit to things these days. We’ve seen this play out at LifeSpring through events, classes and small groups and Satan is doing a pretty effective job of keeping people from committing with messages like:

– It’s okay to try, just don’t commit

– You don’t have to commit to be a part of the group

– I’m too busy to commit to anything else

– Don’t commit to something unless you’re guaranteed to be there and nothing else might ever get in the way                               (effectively saying, don’t commit).

As leaders, we have a responsibility not only to teach, but also to show others what healthy commitment looks like. It doesn’t look like trying to do everything that comes our way, it means choosing the important things and committing to those first and reevaluating as needed. As we live this out publicly, others will see and learn from our example – for good or bad…

August 22, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Back to School

Summer is waning, schedules are coalescing  and new priorities are being formed right now. Are the right things going to make it into your new schedule? You are the one who decides that. If you say you want time for prayer, fellowship and/or Bible Study, a change of seasons like this is a natural time to make the choice to put them into your schedule. If you make the commitment to do this, God will bless your effort AND make you a more effective leader!

August 8, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Common Ground

Over the years, I’ve been in a lot of discussions about what’s “right” in a lot of different contexts. The following is a quote attributed largely to Pete Seeger that I really found expressive of our struggle as Christians sometimes.

“The truth is like a rabbit in a bramble patch. You can’t lay your hand on it. All you do is circle around and point, and say, ‘It’s in there somewhere.’”

I have no shortage of opinions as anyone who has been in a class with me can tell, but I’m learning to keep that opinion to myself and find that I learn more by listening and paying attention than by telling people what I think is right. So often the things we choose to disagree about are nuanced or completely immaterial. Most often, our best solution is to look past the things we disagree on and start by looking look at all we have in common and building from there.

July 25, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Really Trusting God

I was planning a lesson on pain and suffering a little while back. I found myself asking God to help me see the big picture and help me to be able to communicate about it in meaningful ways. As I was hearing myself, I quickly amended the ask to say , “I don’t really need to experience any pain or suffering to help, if something is needed, please make it the ‘good’ stuff instead…

As the words came out, I realized once again just how much I think I know about life and what’s best for me. No one wants pain or suffering and it is natural to avoid it, but I can’t help feeling that my prayer would have been much more effective had I just trusted God and left off the amendment.

July 14, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Addiction to Happiness

I was talking with someone close to me recently who had just lost their job. He was telling me that he just doesn’t know how to be happy right now… As we talked further, we realized that for him, being happy was an expectation from life. As we talked more about seasons of life and some of the differences between happiness and peace, I felt like it was starting to sink in that happiness isn’t always possible and that expecting it was a Satan thing. For myself, I’ve come to peace with the fact that sometimes it just stinks to be me.    

I can reflect back on my life and see where my expectation and then further pursuit of happiness has gotten me in trouble. As we talked about his situation, we saw examples of how the expectation and pursuit of being happy has caused trouble in his life as well. It made me think once again just how much I need a meaningful relationship with God and how powerful that is. That relationship makes peace and contentment a constant in my life  and they are so much stronger than mere happiness! To be addicted to something so fleeting is hard…

June 27, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Stoking the Fire


This guy created quite a stir in my neighborhood recently. As I was mowing my front yard, I got too close to a bunny nest and 6 baby bunnies scattered running from the hole in different directions. After some great advice from Cheryl, I quickly herded most of them to some bushes near the bunny hole, but this guy got scared and ran into the storm sewer. It was sad to look down and see him just sitting there… in the dark, no idea what happened, no hope and no one to rescue him.

I mentioned to my neighbor Ed, that I was thinking about how to get him out and Ed dove in immediately pulling the grate off the storm sewer as we formulated a plan. Within minutes we had gathered some improvised tools and a small crowd looked on as we leaned over the edge of the sewer. About 5 minutes later he hopped out of Ed’s fishing net into the grass just inches from the bunny hole and we snapped the picture above. Yay!!!

During that 5 minutes, as I looked at the collection of people who flew instantly into action over this poor baby bunny, Matthew 9:36 came to mind.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

I felt that I understood how Jesus might have felt in that moment. So many people without Jesus are a lot like this baby bunny. Unaware of the danger they are really in – stuck in a sewer with no one to help them out of the terrible mess they have gotten themselves into. It stoked a fire within me – we need to feel this way about the lost. Their hope is Jesus.

Has your fire been stoked recently? What did that look like?

May 30, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment