ring-ring: "Hello?" "It's me... God."
"A church succeeds to the degree its people see themselves as missionaries."
There are major jumps between the cold, the curious, the consumer, the converted, the committed and the called. (old-time baptist style baby!)
To some this may seem like rehashing stuff that's been out for 15 years... and it may be... but for me as of late it's become well beyond textbook. I could have repeated this stuff using other words 8 years ago but the longer I'm in ministry the more these words take on faces, conversations, bruises and broken hearts. It's become intimately personal and I think that's healthy. I think understanding all of this will make me a better Pastor.
Consider this a sneak peak into what's been consuming my mind for the last few months.
Various people as I see them.
People in the community who know nothing about your church and or God. Frankly they may not be able to care less about your church or your God. They see the church as a waste of space full of hypocrites.
People who have heard of your church in some way. Maybe they've even visited once or twice. Their opinion is open. They read your fliers but they aren't convinced you're for them. They aren't turned off but they aren't turned on either. At worst the see the church as a tax burden and at best they see the church as a nice place with good people.
Churches are filled with these folks. These are those who have bought into some aspect of your church. Usually its "good for the kids" or "relationships" or "I get fed". This person fills most of the seats and sees the church as a provider of services.
These are consumers who also happen to have received Christ. They understand that Jesus wants a relationship with them. [Mark 8:31-37 peeps] They are turned onto God. You at least have their attention on spiritual things. Conversion has them saved but its a crap shoot whether or not you're seeing much else from them. They see the church as "their church" and they see Jesus as Savior... don't ask them much about the 'Lord' part just yet.
These are the converted folks who for various reasons are not only turned on to your ministry, they are tuned in. You can count on these folks to do the job of ministry. Some will do the work because they buy in completely to the ministry, others because they like how it feels to help and others because they like the friends that come along with serving and showing up. These folks pitch in from time to time when you need them. They are considered committed to the organization of the church and they understand that Jesus is Lord but have a tough time behaving as if he really is.
These are the people who not only are converted to how Jesus views them... but THEY VIEW JESUS THE SAME WAY. They echo Paul's sentiments in [Philippians 3:1-11] "...I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ" These folks make up those who oview their invovlement in teh church as nothing less than a direct call of God. They see the church as an avenue to spread the gospel and their service is such. They see Jesus as not only Savior... but LORD. They have surrendered their lives and their leverage to making the name of Jesus famous.
It seems to me that the message of calling is not reaching the average person in the pew, the portable and/or the padded chair.
The concept that we are all truly called of God to fulfill a purpose with our lives doesn't seem to be making its way to the average person, at least in the average church. To me this is the common element I see in the success or failure of a congregation. It's not good enough for churches to even be filled with committed people. You can be completely committed to the wrong cause. Man-made goals find people of great commitment. It's only the direct involvement of the power of Jesus in the life of every believer that activates the Holy Spirit in that person's life to get them to the point that they re-arrange their entire lives to further the gospel.
When a person feels called by God to serve in a ministry they don't have time to complain and they feel the burden of failure when they don't show up on time or their ministry isn't top-notch. If you're doing that same ministry however for some other reason... it will fall apart and the motivation will disappear.
Aren't we all missionaries? We're all called to share the Gospel. In that sense we're called to be missionaries at every moment of our lives. If people viewed their jobs as a mission field and their church as the hub... their approach to everything would be different.
People not only need converted... they need to know that they are called.
Besides the fact that I love hip-hop, this video represents what I pray for every church in America... Granger is doing it right. Great job.
It's worth your time... check it out.
I Was Broke...
I Was Broke Now I'm Not is the self published work authored by New Spring Church's Joseph Sangl. The title is the primary reason you should invest in a copy of the book. With much of the church congregation handicapped with debt you do have influence over someone who needs the material found in this book.
Although Sangl openly shares principles learned from renowned budget specialist Dave Ramsey, the uniqueness of this book is found not in the concepts but in the voice. A passionate advocate for financial transformation, Sangl shares from the insight and passion of a man who knows both the burden of broke as well as the fruit of being frugal. As you hear his mistakes and successes you quickly see the reality of financial freedom hitting you up-side your head. It's not rocket science, it's discipline.
From baby steps to insurance options, Sangl runs the gamut when it comes to financial principles. If you want a book to read when you're having trouble falling asleep, this is not your book. If you want a textbook of 400+ pages, no dice. If you do however want something to hand every person in your life who needs to wake up and smell the bank account, this is your ticket. Take the plunge and buy this book. At 121 pages you will not find a more pointed and practical piece of work on this subject. Get the book, read it over and then pass it (and the tools) along to people who need it. The dude will help you help others get a grip on their finances.
Get the book.
Expectant mother Lorraine Allard learned the devastating news that she was in the advanced stages of liver cancer when she was four months pregnant, according to the Daily Mail.
Allard, of St. Olaves in the U.K., had a choice: Delay treatment to save her baby, or terminate the pregnancy to save herself.
She chose the former, waiting until the fetus was viable before scheduling a Caesarean section.
Abortion is Racist
What should we think of a policy that kills off blacks at a 5 to 1 ratio as compared to whites? What would we think of a policy that killed off 4 times as many poor people?
I suppose a racist would be fine with that type of statistic. Someone who doesn't care about poverty would probably justify the concept that its better not to live than to live as a poor person in the United States.
Recently the Guttmacher Institute released data that is current as of this month. Among other sad indicators was this statistic: "Black women are 4.8 times as likely as non-Hispanic white women to have an abortion, and Hispanic women are 2.7 times as likely."
That hit me hard! Why in the world is it not being reported that the practice of abortion isn't even giving people of color (blacks aren't solely from Africa so I'm not using that term for the purposes of this discussion) an equal opportunity at life? Furthermore why is there not a major discussion in our nation about the circumstances which lead a person to place a dollar value on the human life?
In addition to race, poverty is another major factor to those opting for abortions over adoption or parenting. "The abortion rate among women living below the federal poverty level ($9,570 for a single woman with no children) is more than four times that of women above 300% of the poverty level (44 vs. 10 abortions per 1,000 women).*" So in essence we as a nation are 3 times more likely to see someone we deem "poor" choose abortion over life.
Poverty is a very real issue. This is one major reason I believe in the church having not just a voice but advocacy in these arenas. When I say church I am not speaking of the organization, I'm speaking of the people within that organization. If our churches see people come to Jesus and have their lives transformed I believe we would begin to also see those folks care about issues like poverty, abortion and racism. Abortion is a racist policy and unfortunately it's destroying a disproportionate number of the poor and the minority groups in America.
My mother was 16 when she got pregnant with me and 17 when she had me. I'm very glad she chose life. My wife and son agree. This issue matters to me because there are people in the position of my mother out there who feel they don't have a true choice. Abortion is racist and I'm not a fan.
After watching the debates last night I saw the financial analysts in a panic saying that the markets in Europe were going crazy. Losses of their stock markets were hitting 5% or more on average. These were bad signs for the "futures" on the Dow Jones Index. The futures are basically numbers that the market will open with in the morning. People were selling like crazy and the market was going to open with a loss of over 500 points! This morning when I turned on my television I read "Breaking News: Fed drops rates .75pt in emergency meeting" (The markets opened better but still had a loss of right around 400 points right away.)
Then about a half hour later while dropping my son off at his school I noticed the teachers were trying to show a video on an old-time television, the type of television with the VHF and UHF dials (in black and white). It reminded me of the TV we had when I was a kid. This type of TV is the kind we used to attach coat hangers and aluminum foil to in order to get the local station. (Channel surfing wasn't as much fun back then)
As the teacher started the cartoon, the screen kept rotating vertically with a black bar across the middle. The cartoon was rolling like a slot machine in Ceaser's Palace. Recognizing the problem and recalling my childhood I stood at the entrance as the teacher tried frantically to adjust the screen. After about 30 seconds I realized this lady hadn't been privileged to enjoy the finer things in life like this old beat-up TV. Offering my assistance, I walked over and found my old friend, the "v-hold" knob. With a quarter-twist the screen stopped rotating and the show was on. The 'Ol vertical hold was at fault once again. Excited toddlers ready to start their day applauded and thanked this industrious dad for the assistance.
With these two incidents as the forefront and our own church circumstance as the backdrop I began to think... Adjustments ARE indeed both healthy and necessary. While some financial analysts were crying like chicken little, I recalled a few older, more seasoned investors saying "This is needed. This adjustment is good for the market. It feels bad now but it is an adjustment." The same investors also said "The Fed's actions today were also needed. They will do little in the short term but for the long term it was a good sign."
Why are adjustments so needed? Simply put, adjustments are needed to return to proper alignment. When your back gets out of line a Chiropractor lines things back up for you. When you see the schedule taking over you realize you need to adjust to add some margin to your life. In the church-world we tend to get short-sighted. We tend to run from adjustments.
We avoid adjustments for many reasons but I believe the largest reason is that we have PRIDE. We're too prideful to admit when we're not meeting the goals and expectations outlined by our savior. Our pride can't admit that what we're doing isn't bringing people to Jesus or leading them to follow Him in their daily lives. When the gauges get out of whack we have to make adjustments.
Something to chew on: "The bigger the problem the bigger the necessary adjustment."
Transformation is a Germ
My son has "school friends" he prays for every night before bed. His school friends have provided this 2 1/2 year old with some interesting life lessons along the way. He's learned that not everyone is nice all of the time (and that he's not nice all of the time either). He's had to learn how to share and play with other kids. Another consequence of his close proximity to his toddler friends has been a more frequent interaction with germs.
Transformation is contagious. Transformation is caught person to person and not organization to person. I can't tell you how many people inside the church in our recent past have been consumed with the organizational aspects of the church. Some church members seem to be fixated on the concept that the germ is passed from the organization. Some believe the church is like a toy factory in China. The problem is you don't mass produce Christians. You can get mass alter calls but life transformation happens person-to-person. If mass appeal was good by itself, Paul's letters wouldn't have been needed.
No, Christianity is about personal transformation and transformation is like a germ. One person has been transformed and that person invests into the life of another. Does the hub of the church have a role on the weekend? Absolutely. But the secret is not about a mass production on the weekend. In these great churches that have large numbers on the weekend, their secret is that THEY KNOW TRANSFORMATION IS CONTAGIOUS. Behind the most well produced churches in America are armies of small groups, volunteer opportunities, service teams and the like. Each of these churches have pockets of people who invest their lives into the lives of others.
Lets get to the point. Those teams that produce the sets on the stage of (insert megachurch here) are friends who - while discussing wiring or lighting - are forming relationships that last a lifetime. They go to lunch together, they watch one another's children and they go to baseball games together. Larger churches aren't large just because they produce the best show... they are who they are because they know the secret of spreading the germ of transformation.
Enamoured by the large church, we go to their conference. Pastors have a tendency to walk into big buildings and say "Wow, look at the equipment. Who designed their building? How much did this cost?" But the secret is out in the halls. In the halls of nearly every church conference you will find volunteers who are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the people who've shown them the transformed life. Chances are pretty good that the guy who shook your hand at the door and the guy who showed you to your seat are the same guys who last weekend painted a house for Habitat for Humanity together. In a few weeks those same guys will probably watch the Super Bowl together. While the Sunday morning service is an aspect of their lives, Jesus is at the center of their relationship. Chances are good that they've learned that transformation is a germ to be spread. At the Habitat project or at the Superbowl party is a third guy that these two are investing in.
So while yes we should aim to provide the best of anything we put forward, we must NOT forget that the entire point of those things is to spread transformation AND transformation doesn't come from the organization. Churches aren't factories that pump out Christians.... they are the environments where transformation is spread from person to person.
A sterile environment may be good for the hospital but if our churches aren't growing, chances are we've killed the wrong germs.
Aye Aye Captain
In my life I expect God to lead me as I lead others toward making an eternal impact in our city. Making this eternal impact will not happen if I hold on to my pride and present circumstances even when I know we're not being as effective as we should be. If there are plenty of people who need to be reached for Christ (which there are), we shouldn't be content with moving the deck chairs on the Love Boat or the Titanic. We should be committed to only lead ships that are actively engaged in the mission at hand.
Recently we've made some adjustments that to some are difficult to swallow. Some people want us to stay with status quo. I can't. Why? I'm not a captain of the Love Boat or Titanic. I'm the captain of a ship with a mission. I would say we've been acting like the Love Boat. We've decided to pull into port and let some folks decide if they are crew or consumer. It was a tough call but we believe its the right one.
I believe some churches are "Love Boat" churches because these are the churches that are moving along having no "major" problems apart from the problem of not reaching people. The Love Boat church has great relationships between those on board but has either lost its mission or never had one. What may have started as a ship with a mission has pulled down the flag of the nation and raised the flag of Micky Mouse. Bad Karaoke and a buffet await those who pay the minimal fees.
The "Titanic" is the church that is headed for disaster and will eventually sink. For one reason or another this church is going to sink at some point. While everyone is happy on board the church is headed for disaster. While the Love Boat folks can go on forever with the bliss that comes from ignorance, the Titanic group is a part of a church in need of repair. The writing is on the wall and the ship will go down unless something major happens. Unfortunately there are many Titanics that really would do better as museums or man-made reefs.
No matter which ship most resembles your church, it is important that you evaluate it and decide if that's the ship you're called to captain.
Located here in Norfolk, VA is the largest Naval base in the world. We have ships with purpose here. You won't find the guys in uniform reporting to the Disney Cruise boat each day. They know that the boat they are getting on is full of purpose and their mission is real and present. These men and women are trained to man weapons and follow orders, they aren't on the boat to fetch martinis and fluff pillows. When these men and women get on a Naval vessel they know that they are reporting for duty.
How's your church captain? Are you leading the Love Boat, the Titanic or a Naval vessel? Those of you who aren't captains of your church... does your action show that you're a passenger or partner in the mission?
Continuing with my thoughts about Pastoral leadership in a city...
We're in a weird age of church-growth and church-influence.
While we have greater inner-connectivity I'm concerned about what we're doing in American Christianity. We're certainly doing a better job harnessing cultural themes and re-creating parables to bring some culture to the gospel but I wonder if we're doing enough to bring the gospel to the culture.
Over the last 25 years we had some big leaders confront the culture and say "Enough is Enough" on issues like gay marriage and abortion. What we saw them do a poor job on was tackling issues like poverty and health. I remember going to a conference where this very overweight man made fun of the two big macs he had enjoyed that day but then he took about 5 minutes of his 'sermon' to go after homosexuality. That disgusted me.
Christian leaders don't get it right all of the time. I understand why my peers would run from church/state relationships. They are trying to reach a group of people who are turned off to what they've seen on CNN and FoxNews. I get that.
What I don't get however is why our All-Star Pastors aren't attempting to model the balanced approach to civic involvement. I'm not clear on why it's an all-or-nothing approach.
Truthfully I think the problem is more than simply a rebellion. Part of it I believe is an inability to think about more than one subject. Plenty of my favorite blogs all talk about the same things. If there is a CEO-type book out, I read about it a dozen times. If any one of a few big-name Pastors says something remotely interesting I see it quoted a few dozen times. I rarely see issues like politics, race-relations, history, government or science discussed on the Christian blogs I respect. I honestly hope it is by design and these friends just taylor their blog to their readers. Sadly however I think we're just a wave or two behind seeing Christian leaders again in our country who know enough about a lot of things to the point of being able to hold an intelligent conversation on a variety of subjects.
You see, our congregations aren't filled with people who think solely about church growth and John Maxwell. They are people who have to think about a dozen or so issues every day. They do attend local PTA meetings and vote for school board and hopefully President. They should be reminded of the classics and have a broad range of thought. I wonder if Paul would be welcomed among the elite Pastors of our day. He was a guy who knew several languages and was well versed in many arenas. His strength wasn't only in the bible... he was a renasanse man. I like that about him. He was broad enough to hold conversations with just about anyone in his day and time. America used to have Christian leaders who could do that. Some of our greatest early Christian Pastors were also professors and politicans.
Today we have a Pastor who followed that lead and took his faith into the public square and it seems that many of the big-names have turned their backs on him. It's a shame. I just wonder what would happen to our nation if a majority of our Christian leaders began to use their collective influence. We'd not only see churches grow larger but I believe we'd see communities change in-mass.
Much of this has come from me pondering how I'd like to see our church use its future influence. We live in an area of 1.6 million people. The Christian world would invite me to every conference on the planet if our church grew our influence to reach 15,000 people on a weekend.
This is part of the reason I believe Pastors can and should speak up on social issues of our day. While the Christian world would do backflips if we had 15,000 each weekend.... what would that really mean for a city of 1.6 million? I think sometimes we set our sights far too small and allow God to work in far too few areas of our lives. What if we didn't limit God and simply said "God, I'll speak for you no matter the arena in which you place me. I won't limit your voice by spiritualizing my own." I think we've yet to see what God would do with that person.
This is going to be a running thought post. Consider it a string of similar but not crafted thoughts. Here it is... raw.
In my last post I talked about the fact that I believe Pastors should feel free to speak up regarding which political candidates they personally support. I've also been clear that the pulpit (stage) is not the place to express these views. Additionally, I also believe that Pastors shouldn't feel compelled to speak about anything but Jesus.
This is obviously a touchy subject with my generation. In the minds of some people the gospel has been perverted by having some prominent Evangelical leaders cheer for the republican party over the last 28 years.
This election cycle has made apparent the divide which exists among two camps. Those who believe Christian Leaders should use their voice to affect change and those who believe Christian Leaders should only talk about Christ and leave politics to politicians.
I am one who obviously believes in being Salt AND Light. It is my belief that we should (as Christian Leaders) care for both the eternal and material redemption of our world.
So many people point to the idea that Jesus had no political involvement. To me this is short sided. Jesus certainly didn't live in modern day America and if he did his entire ministry could have occurred without seeing one presidential election (it was 3 years). In just 3 years he had a particular ministry to fulfill. It's amazing to me however that with such little time we sure read a lot about his care for the poor, the orphan and the widow. It seems to me that Jesus did concern himself with both spiritual and material needs of people.
The reason I believe that we should care about who is elected is NOT because I believe elected officials are saviors of any kind. I believe however that elected officials do have authority to make a difference in our society. Jesus didn't operate within a democratic society. He operated inside of a Roman occupation. In our day however if we are to show Jesus to the world one way can be through the laws and actions of our selected and elected officials. As Christian Leaders who have people looking to us for wisdom on how to select their mates and their friends (which we gladly teach them on Sundays), I see no harm in telling them why we believe certain candidates line up most with our values.
There is a trend among some to say "Well, God lifts up leaders and takes them down, so lets not worry with it." To me that seems rather shallow. In that case ChurchStaffing.com should be taken down. After all, God raises up leaders, not selection committees or resumes. Yes God raises up leaders but he never told us not to use wisdom or discernment in that process.
Here are some issues I believe every Christian should care about as we 'Render unto Cesar':
- Abortion/Adoption (What are we doing about it?)
- Poverty (More than food-drives)
- Homelessness (This reflects our values)
- The Elderly (protect them and help care for their life)
- Fatherless Homes (and the rest of the problems with the family)
- Religious Freedom (local and abroad)
- Jobs (The people in the pews need 'em)
- Environment (We were given this job in Genesis)
- Health Care (We must value life in all stages)
While these are not all of the issues that come up in government campaigns, they are some of the top ones. These are God and Cesar's issues. They are both/and.
In Jesus' day there wasn't an election every year to which Christians could affect change in their communities. In our world there is. The truth is that if Christian Leaders wanted to, we could see that the bible was taken seriously in nearly every county in this country.
How would your city or county look differently if our citizens modeled the values of Jesus? If your church saw your entire city saved, would your government change? Or do you believe that shining the light is good without your congregation becoming salt? Or is it that you think we're to be salt everywhere but in the world of government?
I sincerely believe that my generation of Pastors is rebelling against their parents. My generation feels that there was too much emphasis on being Salt so they want to be light. Another but smaller group of my generation feels there is room to be salt, but just not publicly. That segment is more interested in behind-the-scenes caring for people one on one.
I guess I'm out of sync with my generation. I believe we can do all of the above. I believe we can share Jesus with a city, meet needs one on one and see to it that our representative government represents the scriptures as we see it acted out in government. I figure that its my calling to bring the gospel to the world and part of that world happens to be government.
So my blog won't be a public relations tool. I will share with you what I like and what I don't like. I will endorse teams as well as politicians. I will share my thoughts about leaderships and specific leaders. I will lift up Jesus as well as my favorite coffee shop. I'm a human being who has been changed by God and called according to his purpose. I have a mission on this planet to see the gospel change lives... all lives. I also happen to be knowledgeable of politics and government. If I'm to take my calling seriously I can't turn my back on those things. I hope you won't either.
A prominant young Pastor who's ministry I admire GREATLY recently called Pastors who endorse a political candidate "a prostitute that has sold out the Gospel of Christ"
According to this I am allowed to tell people...
- Football teams I like.
- Food I like.
- Stores I like to shop in.
- Which medicine works for my cold.
- What television shows I enjoy (and spend time discussing plot lines).
But I do not have the freedom to say publically which candidate I favor and why.
I can let my congregation in on my thinking about why one state school is better than another state school. I can promote companies I've dealt with or talk about bad experiences with companies. I can tell people which shoes I like and which ones I do not. Pumping products is fine...
BUT... If I talk about which candidate I'm supporting and the reason for my support, I'm a "prostitute" and I'm lifting up a "'Savior' that a party puts out every four years."
So as a Pastor I can lift up companies and products but "lifting up" which politician I favor is off limits? I can openly discuss the deep things of life like college football but I better not dare discuss how policy and government is decided in America.
I'll explain why I have a very strong disagreement with this philosophy in another post. Before I do I want my readers to know that I do not agree with anyone 100% (ask my wife). Simply because I disagree with a fantastic Christian leader on this issue does not reflect my view on him or the ministry. You can rest assured I will not call anyone a "prostitute" or accuse them of savior switching.
Check back soon for why I believe it is absolutely irresponsible for Christian leaders NOT to discuss politics with their congregation. Rest assured however that I agree that the stage is off limits... I'll be addressing blogs and personal involvement.
UPDATE: I read this post from the same blog in June and agreed with it. My concern is over the assumption that showing public support equals prostitution or selling out.
This week I've been reading a few books dealing with presidents. They are my favorite. I'm kicking off the new year by re-reading one book that I think every speaker should read a dozen times and finishing a book on Reagan. Additionally I've started a book on the founding fathers which is starting to catch my interest.
The book I'm re-reading and the book you MUST BUY is the same one I recommended back in July of 2005. Speak Like Churchill, Stand like Lincoln. It's just flat out practical and powerful if you communicate regularly. This time through I've tried to slow down and only read a few nuggets at a time to begin to chew on them.
The second book (which I'm almost finished) is titled "How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life" by Peter Robinson. This book is especially relevant to anyone in their twenties to mid-thirties still figuring out some of the questions we're all supposed to have answered by now. Drawing on his experience as a speechwriter under Reagan, Peter Robinson speaks of the life lessons he learned from observing the President from an arms reach. Having been charged with writing speeches the public would believe Reagan wrote, Robinson had to learn to understand the way Reagan thought. As Robinson got to know more about what made Reagan he found in these answers a sort of mentorship to which he passes on to the reader. It's well worth your time even if you aren't a political buff like myself.
Finally the newest book in my collection is a Christmas gift from my wife, American Creation by Joseph J. Ellis. As a pulitzer-prize winning author, Ellis goes back to his familiar stomping grounds of the American Revolution and draws a series of potraits of the men who helped shape our Nation's core. What each one of us enjoy (and often take for granted) is a society designed to tackle and openly wrestle with tough questions. American Creation takes aim to provide us a realistic look at the men and the situations which developed this nation while pointing out that the creation of our country did not provide a utopia where all quetions can have final answers but rather an atmosphere where all questions can be openely debated (and prayerfully decided the right way at the end of the day).
While I always gain leadership insights from these books, it is for me a pleasure read. Who knows, maybe you'd like it to. By the way I was turned on the Ellis when I read his book "His Excellency".
I have to admit it. I've never been a huge fan of celebrating the changing of a calendar. My wife on the other hand loves traditional celebrations and the New Year is no exception. I could say that we compliment one another but she'd call me a party pooper on the issue.
The New Year however does have a psychological affect on most people and provides a milepost by which to offer us on and off ramps to habits, projects and experiences. This is the time of year people tend to start things or re-start things. At Barnes and Nobel tonight I overheard a guy headed for the counter tell his friend that he was getting a frappichino. The friend replied "That's certainly not how you keep your resolution to loose weight." Standing in front of the Barista the self proclaimed weight watcher rebutted "Well, I'll start tomorrow."
Such is the seriousness people take to the New Year.
Today my wife asked why I am cynical about the whole resolution thing. Then she stopped me from answering and said "Nevermind... you'll tell me that if people are serious about changing their life they won't need to look at a calendar to decide to do that."
So here's to changing your life. Here's to changing my life. Honestly I pray everyday we change our lives for the better and we spend our lives trying to help improve the conditions of others. Let's help people to keep in mind however that they don't have to wait 364 more days to make that commitment. Since most of you are in the life-changing business I know you will.
Happy New Year friends.