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Anyone who wants to add value to church planters is alright in my book.

That’s why I recommend you check out the brand new website and podcast from my friend Jon Peacock called Taking Flight

Jon has a vision to add value to church planters. That’s it.

And I love it.

There are thee reasons to subscribe:

1) Jon has great content. He is the lead pastor of Mission Church. He did a leadership residency at Community and planted a new church that’s got a big vision to reach people and plant churches. He has a great heart for church planters.

2) Taking Flight is powered by NewThing because like Jon, we want to help fuel what God has called you to do in your local context. One of the ways we can do that is to present great content to you.  Jon’s got great content.

3) NewThing Lead Visionary Dave Ferguson is Jon’s first guest.

Each month we will be featuring Jon’s podcast so be sure to check our webpage for more details. Also, download the NewThing APP and get all of the details!

Seriously – stop what you’re doing and check it out right now.

4 ways journaling could save the world

I’ve been journaling for a long time. I am amazed at how much it has helped me process my life and the world. It has given me a space to play and tinker with ideas.

Journaling has been one of the great pleasures of my life and helped me grow as a human being.  That’s why I am convinced that if more of us journaled the world would be a better place.

Here’s how:

1 ) Journaling gives us an opportunity to reflect on the world. It gives us an opportunity to process all the wonderful and beautiful things that happen in the world and how it impacts us. Moreover, it gives us an opportunity to decide what we’re going to do about it.

2) Journaling gives us an opportunity to reflect on ourselves. It’s an opportunity to reflect on and connect with one’s heart; to see ones values and how they are playing out in our lives and the people around us. Jesus says the heart is full of evil thoughts (Mark 7:2-23). We need a place to reflect on the evil in our hearts, process it and then give space for the God to intervene in our lives in meaningful ways.

3) Journaling gives us a place to express ourselves. It’s a creative space and all human beings need some creative outlet.

4) Journaling gives us a place to play with new ideas and insights. Some of these could change our lives and the world.

If we all reflected more, created more and played more the world would be a better place. Journaling gives us these opportunities.
So what are you waiting for? Start journaling.
What about you? What have you learned about journaling?

10 rules of writing from Elmore Leonard

If you’re creating something new you are most likely writing – a lot. And so it behooves us all to continue to hone our skills as writers.

Back in the day I read lots of books by Elmore Leonard. He wrote hardboiled crime thrillers like Get Shorty, Rum Punch and Maximum Bob and. His books are always entertaining and funny. His writing is sparse and lean, taking his cue from Hemingway no doubt. 

Leonard’s novels sold well and he had a loyal fan base. As a result, he was sought after as a writing teacher. Keep in mind, Leonard was writing fiction. But I think some of his rules will work whether you’re writing fiction, nonfiction, blogging or tweeting.

Here’s some of his lessons that you can incorporate into your writing practice.

  1. Write the first draft by hand. In fact, Leonard wrote all of his books longhand.
  2. Write early in the morning before the day begins to infiltrate your thoughts. (Leonard wouldn’t even have his coffee until he finished 2 pages.
  3. Know what you want to say before you start writing.
  4. Don’t outline. (This was Leonard’s advice for the 1st draft of a work of fiction.) His point was for writers to find the story/idea as they wrote.)
  5. The first draft isn’t real. Nobody care so do anything you want. The point of the first draft is to get it written.
  6. Readers no longer like to read big blocks of text.
  7. Writing is a process. It’s a practice of putting one word down after the other. It’s like building a wall, one brick at a time.
  8. You MUST NOT wait for inspiration to write.  You will never write anything if this is the case.
  9. Tell a story. This is the first rule of writing.
  10. Fill a quota each day. Whether it’s the number of words or pages, you must have a quota.

And don’t forget to read some of his books.

Happy writing.

God is always doing new things…

Don’t be Discouraged

Chances are if you’re trying to start new things for the Kingdom, you will face resistance. After all, Jesus warned us of in the parable of the Sower:

3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”No matter how barren or rocky the spiritual soil in your community or city is, God is capable bring new things to life (Mark 4:3-8).

We should listen to Jesus

I direct NewThing, a catalyst for movements of reproducing churches. We take our name from Isaiah 43:18-19:

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Do you see it? Life springs from the desert, see, I am doing a new thing!

We forget that God has a penchant for creating; that he’s a God who very much loves the new and the vanguard. He created creation and that doesn’t mean he’s done.

The beautiful part of the story is that we are called to join with him in this great endeavor.

As we plant new churches, God creates life. The kingdom of God advances. The kingdom is alive and dynamic and all of us are called to start new communities.

The more gathering of people in the name of Jesus the more the Kingdom advances. Ours is a more game. God wants us to go deep of course, but not at the expense of going wide.

Movement will achieve the Jesus Mission. We can see movement if we take our responsibility to plant more churches seriously.

The truth is, we can all do something to help start new churches. And when we do we get the privilege of joining Him in his mission to set everything right again.

Where is God growing new things around you? What are you doing to cultivate them? 

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The spiritual life is a life of risk

So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 15:25-26).

The early church is replete with people like Paul and Barnabas who took risks for God.

And the church is full of people taking risks for God today. To follow Jesus is a risk.

Some risks are dramatic. Sometimes God calls people to risk their physical lives, as we see in the first followers of Jesus. We don’t see this much in the West but I have talked to pastors around the world who risk their lives for the gospel everyday.

Some risks are undramatic but just as important. Take prayer for instance. Prayer is a risk. When we go to God in prayer, who knows what He will (or won’t do). Who knows but God what the outcome to my prayer might be? It might be to destroy the life I know by sending it in a new direction entirely.

Some risks are personal. Jesus calls me to lay down my life – to lay down everything both literally and figuratively if I am to follow Him.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer warned us that the cost of discipleship is indeed great:

“Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God’s will.”

It’s not how big or small the risk; how dramatic or undramatic it is. What’s important is that I am willing to take the risk.

Whenever we reach out to God with our true selves we take a risk. Of course this can be scary and may disrupt my life.

But this is the very nature of faith.