December 2006


Avoiding Unnecessary Stress

Because stress is unavoidable in life, it is important to find ways to decrease and prevent stressful incidents and decrease your negative reactions to stress. Following are activities to help you do this.

Managing time

Time management skills can allow you to spend more time with your family and friends and possibly increase your performance and productivity. This will help reduce your stress.

To improve your time management:

  • Save time by focusing and concentrating, delegating, and scheduling time for yourself.
  • Keep a record of how you spend your time, including work, family, and leisure time.
  • Prioritize your time by rating tasks by importance and urgency. Redirect your time to those activities that are important and meaningful to you.
  • Manage your commitments by not over- or undercommitting. Don’t commit to what is not important to you.
  • Deal with procrastination by using a day planner, breaking large projects into smaller ones, and setting short-term deadlines

This article comes from webmd.com but is very good for everyone.  Be Blessed

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There is little argument to the statement, “Structural design determines organizational effectiveness.”  This means that the current structure of most churches prevents them from being effective in making disciples.  Discipleship happens in community which values relationships above administrative checks and balances. Most churches have an administrative council structure that functions to regulate the personnel, finances, worship and facilities. This usually constitutes a lot of meetings and people hours. Ministry effectiveness is often measured in how much was collected vs. how much was given in mission and outreach.  How many people attended vs. how many people had their lives transformed in worship this week?  As disciples shouldn’t we be asking how many non Christians did you meet this week and share the gospel?   How much time did you spend on praying for people outside of the church?  How many meals did you share with people who do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ? 

A Discipleship Council that focuses on disciple making disciplines, non committees, would be more effective.  Can these administrative functions be handled by a small ministry team of three –five men and women?   This would free up everyone else to engage in discipleship.  We live in a busy world with multiple schedules and expectations.  If our primary priority is to make disciples we must find time to engage in building the relationships in the places where we live our lives.  Soccer games, PTA, bowling, at work, in our neighborhood, with our family and at the local coffee shop.

Leaders within the Disciple Making Movement must examine their structure for disciple making effectiveness.  Do so with prayer and humility.  For some people you will be attacking their sacred cow.

Still Searching for Answers

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The Pursuit of Happyness Trailer

How do we know that we are making disciples?  What are the activities in the congregation that are producing disciples?  These are questions that I am wrestling with. Making disciples is not a classroom process for intellectual engagement.  I fear that too many of our churches view making disciples in that way.  Making disciples is about lifestyle, world view and realignment of priorities.   Jesus modeled compassion for the left out, the lost and those marginalized.  He walked among the people and actually touched their lives. He taught the disciples from this real life, every day, ordinary encounters with the people.  In the market place, on the streets, on the hillside and in their homes Jesus embraced the people that the pop culture society in the first century rejected.  Our world view must be through the lens of a compassionate Savior and not a market driven economy.  Jesus won people’s heart by relationship not by marketing, telephone trees or email campaigns.  This means spending time in the kitchen over a cup of coffee, sitting in the schools to support the learning process and being in the places where the people workout their ability to live in this world.  I am tempted to spend a night in a shelter and visit
New Orleans for a week.  I am tempted to purchase bears for all of the newborns in our county for a day and then walk the oncology floor to share a moment of hope.  I am tempted to fix hot chocolate in the back of my van and sit at the busiest bus stop in
West Baltimore to give cups to everyone riding the bus during the winter.  My life’s work is about serving on behalf of Jesus Christ. Is this a clergy call or the call of every disciple? 
The disciples realigned their priorities to kingdom building and then their careers.  Many times we see where the two were interwoven.  Why don’t the people who claim to be disciples in the 21st Century realign their priorities to place kingdom building first in their lives.  Is everything else more important?  If so why?  Why aren’t our lives conformed to being disciples if we claim to have finished a disciple making process?  I have not immediate answers but I am searching.

William T Chaney Jr
Pastor
West Baltimore UMC

Jeremiah 33:14-16
The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of
Israel and the house of
Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days
Judah will be saved and
Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The LORD is our righteousness.”

God always fulfills His promises, even if it takes a while.  This text instructs us to be prepared for the coming of Christ because it is a promise of God that will not be denied. The anticipation of the Messiah requires preparation. The promise included the Messiah, “executing justice and righteousness”.    That means we must prepare our hearts, minds and lives to embrace righteousness and God’s justice or we will be left behind n God’s Kingdom. I do not believe that God wants any of His children to be left behind but when we are more fully committed and involved with the popular cultures attitudes and behaviors around Christmas we are positioning ourselves to be left behind.

When shopping becomes more important than prayer
We are in jeopardy of being left behind

When receiving gifts is more important than serving those who are in need
We are in jeopardy of being left behind When our Christmas feasts are more important than fasting
We are in jeopardy of being left behind

When our Christmas religious rituals distract us from noticing and caring for the lonely and forgotten neighbors in our community           
We are in jeopardy of being left behind.

Justice is our outreach to other people and righteousness is our reaching to God through Jesus Christ in our lives. Justice will be offered to those who are serving the least of these in God’s kingdom and not inwardly focused on themselves. Righteousness is our upreach to God. Our right standing with God is about our hearts seeking Him in Spirit and in truth.  It is more about our heart relationship with God than our worship rituals. Seeking not to be left behind

Rev. William T Chaney Jr
Pastor
West Baltimore UMC

Luke 21:36The Message     

So, whatever you do, don’t go to sleep at the switch. Pray constantly that you will have the strength and wits to make it through everything that’s coming and end up on your feet before the Son of Man.” 

Now is not the time for us to go to sleepNow is the time for us to wake up and not continue in the complacency of our past Now is not the time for us to go to sleepNow is the time for us to wake up and proclaim to the world “Prepare ye the Way of the Lord!” Now is not the time for us to go to sleepNow is the time for us to reject the hypnotizing effects of the popular media culture and adopt a Kingdom mindset prepared to serve the least, left out and the lost in the name of Jesus 

Now is not the time for us to go to sleepNow is the time for us to wake up and educate the people that people are dying from the HIV/AIDS epidemic right here in
Baltimore Now is not the for us to go to sleepNow is the time for us to wake up and let this community know that God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.  Now is not the time for us to go to sleepNow is the time for us to wake up and chart a vision for high impact personal ministry where you live This is a wake up call for the worldThis is a wake up call for the United States

This is a wake up call for your state

This is a wake up call for your city 

  

This is a wake up call for your community, especially if you are a believer in Jesus Christ.   Wake up          Get up                   Look up Wake up and see the Magnificent Savior
Get up and share the Good News that Jesus Christ is coming
Look up to see the Star shining in the east that will lead you to the Savior

Wake up          Get up                   Look up 

Wake up to discover the plans that God has for you
Get up and be diligent in pursuing God’s purpose for your life
Look up for the faith to achieve God’s plan for you 
Wake up          Get up                   Look up 

Wake up and live by faith
Get up and walk by faith
Look up and embrace the faith that has brought you a mighty long way

Waking up to Advance the Kingdom

Rev. William T Chaney Jr

Pastor

West Baltimore UMC

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