Archive for the ‘Teaching’ category

A Wonderful Tool; TextExpander

September 19, 2014

icon_textexpanderMany of us who lead worship are ministers or have a second job. Typing text is a great big part of my work: blogging, writing bulletin articles, email and a thousand other jobs that require typing on my computer or phone.
I discovered a cool app for my Mac computer and my iOS devices. It is called TextExander by Smile Software. smilesoftware.com
This tool will expand various keystrokes on your computer or iOS device to words, blocks of text, even entire boilerplate letters and forms.

One of the ways that it is saving me time is in sending out the weekly church bulletin. I always blind carbon copy the email address of the 100 or so people that I send our bulletin to. I copied all of those addresses pasted them into TextExpander, assigned a key stroke combination and voila no more opening up old emails to copy and past the email list.

I also send out an introduction letter to all my Truth for the World Bible students. It takes several mouse clicks to open up a text document copy the text, paste it in the new document, date it, add the new name and contact info. Now I just type “xinto” and the 2 page document expands into the new email pausing to ask for the students name and adds the date. That saved a good 2 minutes, times 5 or six times per week, times 52 weeks in a years time that is 520 minutes I could be doing something else.

Another big help that TextExander gives is inserting accented letters, various symbols like ™or © instead of having to find the symbols or remember the hexidecimal code I just made a “snippet” assigned “xtm” for trademark and another for “xcw” for copy right.

Add to that the amount of times I have to type the date now all I have to do is type “ddate.” Thanks to Chad Landman, I have a library of snippets that spell out the names of the books of the Bible.  Instead of Revelation, I just type “xre”. Any text can become a snippet and assigned to a keystroke combination.  I am thrilled with this new tool. I believe that with the new expanded keyboard in iOS 8 the TextExander Touch will work on many more apps than before. So goodbye fumbling fingers and hello fast typest.

Tom T, Roger and a Young Carpenter

December 2, 2011

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Painting word pictures is a powerful teaching tool. A great story hangs in the heart. I always liked Tom T. Hall he made Clayton Delaney and the hitchhiking orphan boy a part of the fabric of our lives. Roger Miller could put us on a river bank or in a box car with just a few do wacka dos.

Tom’s and Roger’s stories standout in our minds because they speak to and from the commonality of human experience. Great stories take something we know and illustrate things we don’t. Roger was a master at turning a phrase upside down to make a point.

“I lack fourteen dollars havin’ twenty seven cents.”

What better way to say you wasted your rent money boozing it away? The song shows just how low one stoops to climb a high barstool. It does not pass our notice the sad story is set to happy music.

Tom T. Hall taught us the sage summation of what is most important in life “Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine.” Although we do not endorse the wine part we can agree that life is good because of the simple things.

A young carpenter from Nazareth was the master teacher because of his ability to couch divine enlightenment within farming acumen. He could profoundly portray eternal principles with paradoxical phrases. We remember that God elevates the humble because Jesus said “the first shall be last and the last first.”. We see the greatness of giving all by a widow sacrificing her meager mite.

Jesus could have had a big career in the country music business if he decided to live on Music Row. Instead the sweet story teller changed the world with his amazing way of living his teachings.

Enough One Another for Everyone

April 5, 2011

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Christian faith is often thought to be a personal relationship with Jesus. But when you begin that relationship you will discover that you will soon be building relationships and fellowship with other disciples.

A quick read through the New Testament reveals over 50 “one another” or “each other” statements. It is surprising that such a personal faith reaches outside of itself to live (James 2:14-26). A large portion of practical faith depends on what we do “with”, “for”, or “to” other people. Jesus taught about loving enemies and helping needy folks in his sermon on the mount. It’s amazing that the Holy Spirit penned more than 20 letters to teach us how to live as Christians. Those letters contain dozens of commands and teachings on loving each other, carrying each others burdens, sing to each other and encouraging each other.

My Christian faith leads me to a roll of service to others of like precious faith. It also gives me the support of that same family. Paul keeps drawing us a picture of a body. Each part or member of the body supports all the other parts and members.

We are truly part of each other. I love the simile of a multi stranded rope. All the little strings are “involved” with each other. Not a single one of them could do the work alone that all of them do together. What strengths I lack are supplied by other members for the family of God.

I will never be fully equipped without being a part of the family of God, neither will the church be so strong as it is when I am fully giving all God gave me to share.

Your Role in Leadership Training The Awesome Power of Encouragement

February 25, 2011

I know first hand how difficult learning to lead singing, public prayer or devotional talk is. The fears of standing in front of everyone carrying the awesome responsibility of leading them to God’s throne room is almost paralyzing. There is a weight of seriousness that failure is not only embarrassing but in some way disappointing to family, friends and most importantly God. Training in any of these areas is often trial by fire.

Being a part of the assembly while a fledgling leader trains, carries just as much responsibility. We must remember that we are building a leader. We are part of the formation of desire, skill and ability that the novice leader will carry with him for the rest of his life. We have to be sensitive to the feelings of those learning. We need to go out of our way to encourage them to continue to grow. Give attention to the fact that they are learning and mistakes are part of that. Judgment and harsh criticism can end a leaders desire or even their ability to try again.

You may not know it but your presence in the assembly is a great source of encouragement. Your enthusiastic participation and a cheerful disposition goes a long way to building the leader’s confidence. A new leader is so focused on the possibility of failure that every facial expression and action of those in the crowd can be interpreted to say “They think I am doing a poor job.” We must watch our expressions and actions carefully during the time that a new leader is practicing. A frown, demonstration of frustration, or look of boredom can cripple or destroy any future desire to lead in a young leader.

Learning to lead is difficult. It takes much time and effort to develop abilities, skills and personality traits needed to lead God’s people. You can do a lot to provide that most important ingredient of encouragement every time a young leader tries. Offer kind words, hugs, a pat on the back and most of all more opportunities to train. Offer your support financially for leaders to attend singing schools, preaching seminars and other training opportunities. Pray for them and tell them you are doing so. Send encouraging notes and cards every chance you get. Attend with vigor every time a young leader is leading. Participate wholeheartedly and sincerely in such a way that the leaders recognizes your support.

Is It Futile To Serve God?

August 12, 2010

The Bible reveals that many of the Israelites grew weary of serving God. They found it a burden to worship as God had instructed.  In Malachi 3:13-18 God reminds them of their lack of zeal for Him.  I am afraid that sometimes this sin still lingers in the hearts of some of God’s people.  They grow tired of faithfully attending worship, singing, praying, giving and living as God has told us to do.

Let’s try to remember that God’s way gives joy and satisfaction to those who really love Him and serve Him.  Hebrews 11:6, tells us that God rewards those who earnestly seek Him. God told Abraham that his reward would be “very great” if he would continue to serve (Gen 15:1).  Jesus reminded us that those who suffer will have great reward (Mat 5:12).  Solomon taught us “the one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward.”

Let’s not forget the blessings of serving the Lord.  In fact we should spend much of our time extolling the riches God gives to us as His children.  This way others will see the joys of being a Christian.

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How Much Do I Value Bible Classes?

April 21, 2010

It is hard to understand why so few people take advantage of the wealth of blessings afforded in Bible classes.  Most elderships  believe it is part of  spiritual well being to be a part of a Bible study and therefore provide these classes on Sundays and Wednesdays.  Think on these few points and see if they won’t motivate us to better conviction and commitment.

“Do I value highly…

¨         the privilege of attending Bible classes offered by this congregation?

¨         the pattern of faithful attendance exhibited by a number of our members and their precious children?

¨         those who are working in cooperation with God in teaching Bible truth to those who would make themselves Bible students?

¨         the time our teachers put forth in study and preparation for the lessons they teach?

¨         those who love the Lord enough that they give Him their time in attending Bible classes?

¨         every Biblical truth that is taught in every one of our Bible classes?

¨         the excitement exhibited by our little ones when they step into the foyer and make a beeline for their classrooms?

¨         seeing our children showing their lesson materials to their parents and friends when Bible class is over?

¨         the power of the gospel and its potential in every class to shield students from the efforts of the evil one? “*

So many things vie for our time, so we must redeem it wisely.  Please think about the return on your investment regarding the time you spend in Bible study versus the time you spend instead of Bible study.  Which is the greater good?

*Thoughts Borrowed from Donnie S. Barnes, Th. D.