We all know that God is omnipresent. It’s a very real fact. He’s everywhere. He has the ability to reach into situations unknown to us. Right now, there are billions of problems throughout the globe; a child soldier in Africa is forced to kill, a street sweeper in Bangladesh has no hope, a teen age girl in Romania is suffering from deep shame after aborting her child. There are problems across the street too. Your neighbor lost their job or their marriage is on the rocks. God knows everyone’s story, and He cares so much!

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Magnify!

Jimi Williams —  August 3, 2009

“O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.” Psalm 34:2-4.

I confess up front that I lifted this thought from my pastor in a message he gave yesterday. But it was so encouraging to me, I thought it worth the shame to share it!

The word “magnify” in this verse is the Hebrew word “gadal”, which means to grow or make greater. Now on first look, it would appear that the psalmist is encouraging us to “grow” the LORD or make him bigger than He is.

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I was reading through the first couple chapters of Nehemiah today and realized how many great leadership lessons there are to learn from our Biblical contractor.

1. Nehemiah had a passion for people first, church second. It says in chapter 1 verse 2 that Nehemiah questioned Hanani about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. In ministry, we often get these two things reversed. We have a passion first for our ministry and second for the people. This often leads to “using” our flock to accomplish our ministry goals.

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One of the most challenging Scriptures in the Epistles is Galatians 1:10 when Paul says, “Am I now trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Paul is writing in the context of preaching the full Gospel. Parts of the Gospel message were offensive to listeners. And it required great courage for him to preach the whole Gospel and not just the parts that were easy to swallow.

As a servant of Christ, we are called to please one person – Jesus Christ.

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Holy Discontentment

Jimi Williams —  April 17, 2009

God will never settle for anything but the best for us. Our human nature is to latch on to something good and predictable and ride it as long as we can: a great worship experience, an intimate small group, a safe and easy Christian life.

But God is on the move and if we want to ride with him, we must move as well. As C.S. Lewis wrote, “He is no tame lion”. In the story The Last Battle, King Tirian makes the statement, “Let us push ahead and see what adventure awaits us.” That should be every Christian’s attitude…

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Ending on the 4 Chord

Jimi Williams —  October 16, 2008

A really simple way to dip your toe into free worship is to end a song on the 4 chord. If you are playing in the key of G, that means ending on a C chord, or better yet a C2 chord, which is a C chord with an added D note.

Continue to strum the chord and encourage your congregation to speak out the names of God. You and your worship team may have to help get them started – “Almighty”, “Everlasting”, “Jehovah Jireh”, “Prince of Peace”, etc. You can even alternate back in forth between the 4 chord (C) to the 5 chord (D) for a little variation.

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I’m constantly reminded how much the success of our worship services hinges on the small things that most people don’t notice. Unless, of course, they are not done well, then everyone notices!

Nobody thinks much about lighting until the stage goes black in the middle of a song. Very few people compliment the sound tech if the sound is perfect. And nobody thanks the lyric projection person for anticipating the next lyric so that singing is not interrupted.

I’m amazed that even at large worship events, there are problems getting the right lyric on the screen. There’s nothing more awkward than that moment where the band drops out and the worship leader exhorts everyone to sing out, but nobody knows the lyric! Instead of a powerful statement of praise, you get “waaa bbaa eeeooo”.

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So Then, How Do We Live?

Jimi Williams —  August 11, 2008

One of the pastors at my church gave a message called “When Doing Church Won’t Do” based on the message to the church at Ephesus in Revelation Chapter 2. It really rocked my world.

I was already wrestling with questions about how we should live as Christians. If you are the typical Christian in America, you attend a worship service once a week (a couple of times if you are super-spiritual!), you give some money to the church and other ministry causes, you try and live a Godly life by being a good friend, spouse, and parent, and ever so often you do something to help someone in need.

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Those of us in ministry leadership love to call meetings. I’m convinced most of the Starbucks boom of the last 5 years was a result of ministry leaders meeting with their teams!

Leaders love to meet because they love to talk. In fact that’s usually why we meet, so we can talk and our peeps will be forced to listen to us! :) Then when we are done, we really feel like we’ve communicated though no one else spoke a word.

I’ve sat through countless meetings and led many myself. In all, there were only a handful that really warranted bringing everyone out and away from their families an extra night of the week.

Here are a few tips on planning and executing a constructive ministry meeting:

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One of my friends told me about a time when he sat down with his pastor for consul prior to entering law school. My friend was seeking spiritual guidance for the type of law that he would practice once he graduated. My friend was interested in criminal law, but his pastor strongly discouraged him from this and suggested that perhaps divorce law would be more palatable. “You don’t want to defend criminals”, the pastor said.

Well, in the end, my friend did become a criminal attorney. And, yes, he does defend many folks that most of us would avoid on the bus. However, I believe God is using him in a powerful way. Yes, he sees people at their worst, but this is not unlike how God sees us…

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