Archives For Jesus


Bill Hybels

Leadership is not about protecting a position or showing how smart you are, it’s about moving a cause/organization to some better place. It’s all about movement.
Can I do this?
Can I sustain this?
Can I take this across the finish line?
8 Critical Functions of Leadership

5 Intangibles of Leadership

1) Grit
How do people with less IQ and talent succeed more than others. A psychologist study
People with grit have long term tenacity
Use every last drop to move something ahead
Gritty people don’t quit, but can overcome whatever obstacle stands in their way
I think I can —> I thought I could.
Grit Assessment Test at
Can I develop grit?
Opposite of grit is ease.
Grit development demands difficulty.
Overcoming physical challenges is a way to grow grit. This overflows into other areas.
Most elite leaders volunteer for extra assignments and then kill it.
Don’t just deliver. Over deliver every time.
When senior leaders have grit, it creates a culture of grit.
Gritty organizations are unstoppable.
We must develop grit to be a great leader.
2) Self-awareness
When there is a big
Blind spot: something someone believes they do well, but everyone else on the team knows this is not true.
All of us have 3.4 blind spots
How do we identify our blind spots?
– direct supervisor
– peers, friends, and colleagues
Knowing how your past is messing with your decision making today is crucial for today.
Growing in self-awareness demands feedback from others.
3) Resourcefulness
– People with high learning agility start figuring out what they need to do
– Resourceful people figure it out.
– So much of our growth of a leader
Can resourcefulness be developed?
Yes. But you must be put in places that are confused, dysfunctional, and failing to figure out a way forward.
4) Self-sacrifice
– This is at the core of good leadership
– Self-sacrificing love has always been and will always be at the absolute core of leadership. Love changes people and cultures.
– Gallop: Do workers feel concern/love from their supervisor?
     – The entire organization performs better.
The greatest of these is love.
Tear down the professional veils that keep your heart closed off from co-workers.

Pastors Should Laugh More

January 10, 2014 — 5 Comments

I have to be honest. Sometimes I feel pressure to not be myself.

I feel like in order to be viewed as having a pastoral gift and calling, I need to be much more serious. To constantly be talking about the spiritual – and as a result – to unintentionally neglect the emotional needs of those around me.

It often feels like there is this unsaid rule that pastors need to be pretty serious in order to gain respect.

But that’s not who I am. At least not all the time.

Now of course I’m not saying there isn’t a time and a place to be serious. As pastors we have the opportunity to walk alongside people in their darkest moments. To be at hospital bedsides, funerals, and gravesites. Even times of worship, teaching, preaching, and prayer. There are so many times to be sincere, deliberate, and thoughtful for a pastor.

But sometimes I think it would be more sincere to simply help someone crack a smile.

For me, one of my greatest fears is that I will become like what everyone expects me to be, rather than who I am made to be. To fall into an expectation of a position rather than pursuing my calling from God.

I feel like I have the gift of making people laugh. It may not seem very spiritual, but in a world that is filled with pain, a respite from the darkness by helping a huge grin can make all the difference in that moment.

Billy Graham said, “A keen sense of humor helps us to overlook the unbecoming, understand the unconventional, tolerate the unpleasant, overcome the unexpected, and outlast the unbearable.”

Maybe we as pastors just need to laugh a little bit more.



See our updates from Bangladesh below:

Update #1 From Our First 2 Days in Dhaka

Update #2 From Our First Week in Bangladesh

Here is a link to the website of the group we are assisting.

Thank you for being a part of our journey!

Jonathan & Sarah

Social Media

Interesting stats on social media for the church I serve at:

Calvary Assembly
In the past year, we have sent out 520 tweets and approximately 450 facebook posts. In the past four months I’ve posted 157 times, an average of 12 times per week. We have a weekly total reach of approximately 1,500 (meaning 1500 people see our content online on average, per week). Wow!

Second Student
@SecondStudent has sent out 1,981 tweets and about 1,500 posts (not including hundreds more comments and pictures) in it’s 3 year existence.

Second facebook: In the last year has reached 14 countries, with 6 different languages, with 317 people who “like” the page. The average number of people who see some sort of content from SECOND each week is 1,000 people.

All from one youth group in Chili, NY.

Did I mention we have not paid for one dime of promotion. This was all free exposure.


Social media is still alive, my friends!

brennan manning

And God answers “That’s what you don’t know. You don’t know how much I love you. The moment you think you understand is the moment you do not understand. I am God not man. You tell others about Me — that I am a loving God. Your words are glib. My words are written in the blood of My only Son. The next time you preach about My love with such obnoxious familiarity, I may come and blow your whole prayer meeting apart. When you come at Me with studied professionalism, I will expose you as a rank amateur. When you try to convince others that you understand what you are talking about, I will tell you to shut up and fall flat on your face. You claim you know I love you.”

“Are you aware that I had to raise Jesus from the dead on Easter morning because My love is everlasting? Are you serenely confident that I will raise you too, My adopted child?” 

 “When Scripture, prayer, worship, ministry become routine, they are dead. When I conclude that I can now cope with the awful love of God, I have headed for the shallows to avoid the deeps. I could more easily contain Niagara Falls in a tea cup than I can comprehend the wild, uncontainable love of God.”


“Ragamuffin Gospel” by Brennan Manning


Ah yes. The infamous youth group cliques. If you are a youth leader, you’ve seen this plenty of times. A teenager awkwardly enters a new and uncharted territory to see if this “church thing” is for them. A couple of kids say hi, but they mostly stand in the corner by themselves. An adult woman comes to talk to her for a bit about her day before she takes a seat by herself.

She listens to a story from the youth pastor about showing Jesus’ love to others. But she is wondering the disconnect between what the youth pastor is saying and how her experience has been. She enjoys the lesson, but quickly heads for the exit when the time is over for fear of having to stand by herself for another 5 minutes, which felt like an eternity when she arrived.

She isn’t coming back. And she didn’t meet or experience Jesus.

And those of us in youth ministry have seen this time and time again.

Cliques cause jealousy, hurt feelings, and exclusion. They are the complete opposite to the Kingdom of God.

So how do we stop it?

1) The best idea our group has come up with Continue Reading…



Second Student Ministries: December 19, 2012

Christmas Words: Immanuel


Introduction: Think about a time when you were very afraid or very upset. Were you alone? Who came to be with you in that time and support you?

Word Meaning

  • Immanuel/Emmanuel (spelled both ways) translates to mean “God with us.”
  • Immanuel is a Hebrew word, the language of the Jews, God’s chosen people. The Old Testament is largely a narrative story of the Jews.
  • Appears in both the Old Testament (more than 700 years before Jesus was born) and the New Testament

Part One: “Immanuel” for Isaiah

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin will conceive and bear a song, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14


Isaiah is speaking to Ahaz, the king of Judah regarding his decision about an impending war with two powerful neighbors.

The climate in Judah was full of fear and terror. Earlier in Isaiah 7 we read, When the house of David was told, Syria is in league with Ephraim,” the heart of Ahaz (the king) and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.  Isaiah 7:2

God sent Isaiah to the king to give him this prophecy or message from God. He uses the word Immanuel to remind the people of Judah that even in their most fearful, dangerous moment he is still with them. They don’t face the danger or the heartache alone.

Part Two: “Immanuel” for Matthew


Matthew is written 750 years after Isaiah, and the Jewish people are under the control of the powerful Roman Empire. They are being oppressed by Roman tax collectors and officials and don’t have legal rights as Roman citizens.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, and angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means God will us). Matthew 1:18-23

To Matthew, and the Jews living in the first century under Roman control, the word Immanuel meant that God was still with them, even in their time of suffering.

It also meant that God had kept the promise he made in Isaiah, had sent the sign that he was, literally now, with them.

Part Three: “Immanuel” for Us

2012 has been a great year for some of us. Eli Manning and the Giants defeated Tom Brady and the Patriots in the Super Bowl. The USA Olympic Swim Team made a video of “Call Me Maybe” and delighted viewers everywhere. Taylor Swift reminded us all that “We are never, ever, ever, getting back together.”

2012 has been a terrible year in some other ways. Innocent people were killed at a movie theater in Colorado, and more than twenty people, including children, lost their lives last week in a shooting in an elementary school in Connecticut. This kind of evil and pain can be so hard for us to process.

2012 brought some of you some personal heartache too. Some of you faced disappointments in your personal life, people may have let you down in some big ways, or you lost someone close to you.

In Matthew 28 Jesus has already been crucified and has risen from the dead. He has appeared to many people following his death. Now the disciples of Jesus are gathered on a mountain and he speaks to them again.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:8-20

The fear and the evil didn’t end for them that day. Most of Jesus’ disciples suffered, and were even killed for their testimony. Jesus didn’t promise that our lives would be free from pain here on Earth.

But his last words on earth were a promise that he would be with us, even to the end of the age. “Immanuel-God with us.”

Conclusion – Bowed heads

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.

Doesn’t always feel like God is there in the pain. In the shootings, in the darkest hour of yours.

For Isaiah living in ancient Judah, for Matthew living under Roman control in the first century, and for us in 2012, the word Immanuel reminds us that right in the middle of our pain and fear God is with us.

Think back to that moment you when you were upset of scared. I hope that there were people who loved you and supported you through that. But the message of the word “Immanuel” is that you are never, ever alone, even if it seems that way. Just like he promised, God came at Christmas to be with us. And this Christmas we celebrate Immanuel, our God is with us.