One Week Until Our Podcast Relaunch

You may have noticed a lack of posts over the past few days. (At least, we hope you noticed!) Since so many of us have been at Polishing the Pulpit, we took the week off from the site. Of course, we can schedule posts ahead of time, but it is harder to “promote” the posts when we are not sure of our internet connection during the day. We hope you understand our little blogging vacation.

Today, though, we want to remind you that we are just one week away from the relaunch of our podcast from A Legacy of Faith. Adam has been hard at work recorded episodes, and we hope you are excited to hear what’s in store.

Next Friday, a relaunch episode will be released, in which Adam will talk about the past and the future of the program. That episode will be a little shorter (about 12 minutes). Then, on September 11, regular length programs will start being released each Friday. These programs are scheduled to be between 20 and 30 minutes in length.

If all this is new to you, you can visit this link to check out our 29 previous episodes in archive format, and to learn a little more about the program. If you are more of a podcast pro, you can go here to subscribe on iTunes or here to subscribe via rss. That way, you’ll be sure to never miss an episode.

So, next week, look for our regular blog posts on Monday through Thursday, then for the relaunch of A Legacy of Faith: The Podcast on Friday.

Quick Children’s Devotional Idea [Video]

I recently did a Periscope with a short devotional idea for kids. (Yes, it was one that actually worked!) Here’s a quick description of how you can do this same devotional for your kids.

 

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A Legacy of Faith at PtP 2015

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It is about time for a highlight of our year: Polishing the Pulpit. This is an event that quite a few of us here at A Legacy of Faith look forward to each year. Though we rarely all get to attend for the entire week, we still love it.

If you are not familiar, Polishing the Pulpit is not just for preachers. Rather, it is a gathering of well over 3000 Christians in Sevierville, Tennessee and it features classes and lessons for elders, deacons, members, preachers, ladies, youth ministers, and young people (and more). To say it is uplifting would be an understatement.

Where We’ll Be Leading

This year, four members of A Legacy of Faith will be leading various sessions during the week. If you are coming to PtP, here are the sessions we will be leading (in chronological order):

SATURDAY, August 22

8:00AM: Donna Faughn, “Feel Like a Failing Mother? Throw Away that Perfect Mom Scorecard” (ladies only; Ballroom A)

10:00AM: Leah Faughn, “Parenting in the Pews: Training Your Children in Worship, from Newborn Up” (ladies only; Meeting Room A)

SUNDAY, August 23

9:30AM: Donna Faughn, “Heaven Will Surely be Worth it All” (ladies only; Ballroom A)

10:30AM: Adam Faughn, leading congregational singing at Sunday worship (Exhibit Hall 1)

5:30PM: Adam Faughn, leading congregational singing, “Old Favorites” (Exhibit Hall 1)

MONDAY, August 24

8:00AM: Adam Faughn, leading congregational “early morning worship in song” (Ballroom D)

1:30PM: Donna Faughn, “I’m Innocent! How to Deal with People Who Don’t Like You or Disagree when You Stand for What’s Right” (ladies only; Ballroom A)

1:30PM: Jim Faughn (as part of a “2-for-1” class), “Elders and Preachers–Rivals or Teammates?” (Ballroom D)

TUESDAY, August 25

1:30PM: Jim Faughn (as part of “Seven Minutes of Wisdom” session), “Employer-Employee or Shepherd-Flock?” (Ballroom D)

3:30PM: Donna Faughn (as part of “Seven Minutes of Wisdom for Preachers’s Wives” session), “Can You Give Me Some Pointers on Keeping My Toddler Quiet in Worship?” (Ballroom A)

6:25PM: Adam Faughn, leading congregational singing, “Learn Some New Songs” (Exhibit Hall 1)

WEDNESDAY, August 26

9:30AM: Donna Faughn, “Training Yourself to be an Effective Elder’s Wife” (ladies only, Hotel Deep Creek)

3:30PM: Donna Faughn, “Commitment is Key!” (ladies only, Ballroom B)

Follow Us on Social Media

Even if you are not attending PtP, we would love to let you know some of the things that are going on, and one of the best ways of doing that is to follow us on various social media platforms. We will send our pictures, quotes, and (hopefully) even live streams at various times.

Adam, Jim, Donna, Amber, and Jeremiah are all on Facebook. Search for us there.

On Twitter, follow Jim Faughn, Leah Faughn, Jeremiah Tatum, and Adam Faughn.

On Periscope, follow Adam Faughn (@faughn4).

For more information about Polishing the Pulpit, visit their website, or follow them on Twitter.

Using Periscope in Ministry

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I like technology. I am rarely an “early adopter,” but when I come across a particular technology that I like, I do my best to learn it and use it as best I can.

Recently, I have become enamored with Periscope, and today I want to share what it is and how it can be effectively used in ministry.

What is Periscope?

Periscope is, basically, a live-streaming app for your smartphone. Wherever you have your smartphone with you and have a signal, you can turn on the app and stream to anyone who would like to watch your broadcast.

The app is owned by Twitter, so the two are highly integrated. In fact, when you open a Periscope account (which is free, as is the app), you are asked if you would like to follow the same people on Periscope that you are following on Twitter. Unless you follow a very small number of people on Twitter, I would not recommend this.

When you follow someone on Periscope and that person gets ready to do a broadcast, you get a notification. If you would like to view their broadcast live, you simply click on the notification and there you go. You are watching the person live. If you cannot view the broadcast live, it remains available for 24 hours, so you can view it later.

During the broadcast, there is a social aspect to Periscope. Those who are viewing can leave a comment or question. In fact, those who are the best at Periscope interact with those who do these things. Also, viewers can tap their screen to give a “heart” to the broadcaster. This is similar to the “like” button on Facebook, but serves almost as a type of applause. Viewers can give as many hearts during a broadcast as they like, and the comments and hearts help motivate the broadcaster.

The app is smartphone only. In other words, you cannot view it on a computer. That is a major thing, in my view. The smartphone-to-smartphone connection makes the broadcast feel very intimate and relational, and since we are so often moving around, it makes sense to have such a technology only “on our hip” instead of on every device we own.

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 12.42.42 PMAmazingly, though Periscope is only a few months old, there are already 10,000,000 users. Many of those, however, only watch broadcasts, instead of creating their own broadcasts, or “scopes,” as they are sometimes called. I have nothing to base this on, but I think 2016 will be the year that this technology (whether it is Periscope specifically, or another app that does the same thing) takes off. Why? 2016 includes the Summer Olympics, and my prediction is that we will see a major growth of this technology integrated with coverage of the Rio de Janerio Olympics in late Summer.

Using Periscope in Ministry

Of course, a lot of people use this app for drivel. That’s the way it is with nearly any technology. But as Christians, I firmly believe there are a number of ways we can leverage this technology for ministry. Of course, some of these things overlap somewhat with social media outlets like Facebook or Twitter, but Periscope offers a much more personal touch, since you are seeing the person’s face in real-time.

Here are some ideas I have either done, seen done, or would like to see done utilizing Periscope:

1. Live-streaming Sermons/Classes. Many congregations look for ways to live-stream their services, but are not sure of either the technology needed or the cost. Periscipe answers both questions. It is free, and all the preacher or teacher has to do is turn on his app. (Just make sure you are using Wi-Fi, as Periscope is very heavy on a data plan.)

2. Baptisms. What a wonderful way to share the good news of a baptism from a youth retreat, Bible camp, mission trip, or other “off-site” event! Instead of only seeing pictures after the fact, people could actually watch the baptism as it happens.

3. Devotionals. Many preachers or elders send out daily or weekly devotionals to members of the congregation through email or Facebook. Periscope would let this be done, but the people could provide immediate feedback through comments and questions while he is speaking.

4. Previews and Reviews of Church Activities. I have used Periscope for this purpose already. When there is a big event or activity coming up at your congregation, jump on Periscope and give a “live” preview, or when the event is over, jump on a do a review of the day or the weekend. People are able to interact with you and share questions or share their own excitement about what is about to happen, or what has been done.

5. Missionary Reports. Want a free way to see the face of a missionary with no cost? Periscope provides a way for a missionary to report, and those who are viewing can leave comments or questions in real time.

There are, of course, many others ways this technology could be used, but these are few to get your gears turning in your mind.

One Word of Warning

Periscope is a great app. I really believe that this technology (whether it is specifically the Periscope app or not) is here to stay.

However, just because it is close to personal does not make it personal. Periscope, nor any other media outlet, can take the place of face-to-face conversation. In other words, use this technology, but don’t use it as an excuse to avoid hands-on ministry!

Resources

Periscope Website

“What I Love about Periscope” [blog post by Michael Hyatt]

“What I Hate about Periscope” [blog post by Michael Hyatt]. Hey, no technology is perfect!

“Top 10 Books” [YouTube video of a recent Periscope I broadcast]

“No Guilt Visitation” [YouTube video of another scope I have done]

…Oh, and if you are on Periscope, follow me @faughn4. See you there!

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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

Receiving the Gift

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We have all heard the phrase, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Historically, it originates from the Bible. The apostle Paul was quoting the words of Jesus in his farewell to the Ephesian elders, and Luke by the guidance of the Holy Spirit wrote it down for our benefit. It would be hard to argue with this sentiment. For one, Jesus said it. And what’s more, as we get older we understand that there is much more joy that comes from being able to bless others than from serving self.

But every gift must have a recipient. Unless a gift is accepted graciously and thankfully, it cannot be given as the giver intends. Pride keeps so many people from being able to receive gifts from others. We think that anything we don’t earn is a sign of weakness. We want to be givers, but we won’t allow ourselves enough humility to admit that help is not only wonderful at times, but it is also necessary. Have you ever noticed how some Christians can no longer be instructed? Have you ever witnessed a child of God refuse a gesture of kindness? Not being able to receive a gift given freely and lovingly can be an indication that the person who is refusing has a heart problem.

So here are a few reasons to receive the gifts that come to us with thanksgiving and grace:

1. Because everything we have is a gift in the first place. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17). Gift getting is not new. It is nothing more than existing. God gave us the gift of life, which is why we are here. All material blessings come from Him. All spiritual blessings are in Him (2 Pet. 1:3).

2. Because the giver deserves to experience the joy of giving. Denying the gift is the same thing as denying the giver. Every gift comes at some cost to the one who has offered it. The giver had to desire to bless the recipient enough to make a sacrifice. To reject the gift is to ignore the effort of the body and the extension of the heart that has freely provided in order to bless.

3. Because receiving reminds us that we are imperfect. We have needs. We cannot meet all of our needs without help from someone else. You did not get your education on your own, someone taught you. You did not get your vocation on your own, someone hired you. You did not get your salvation on your own, Someone saved you! We need to remember that we are less alone and more with others. God made us in such a way that we are dependent. Our dependency helps us to appreciate His unfailing love and His matchless grace.

4. Because being a receiver turns one into being a giver. Of course, this depends on our attitude. If receiving creates entitlement we are lost. But if receiving breeds appreciation we are transformed. The ability we have to count our blessings can translate into a heart of service. This will lead to a supreme love for God and a sincere love for others, and ultimately to a healthy love for self.

The saddest thing that heaven ever witnessed was not the cross. It was not sin. It was not the degradation of the moral fiber of humanity that led to hatred and war and human destruction. The saddest thing that heaven ever witnessed was the rejection of Jesus. God loved. God gave. God sacrificed. God died. And the world said, “No.”

“He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” – John 1:11-13

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Tired of Carrying

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I am writing this as Donna and I are (hopefully) in the home stretch of moving from one house to another. By the time you read this, we will (once again–hopefully) be settled in at our new location. [Editor’s note: they are!]

As I write this, Donna and I are both very tired. We are tired physically, emotionally, and in other ways I’m probably too tired to think about. 

Before I got to my office this morning, I mentioned to Donna that I was looking forward to being able to walk somewhere without carrying something with me. For days now, I’ve been lifting, lugging, and tugging. At first, I didn’t think much about what the extra baggage was doing to me. As this continues to wear on, it continues to wear on me. 

I just want to be able to relax. If total relaxation is not in the picture (and it rarely is for us), at least I would like to be able to go about my business without carrying all of the extra stuff I’m having to carry now.

It occurs to me that the majority of people with whom I come into contact and the majority of people in the world have a similar, but much more serious, issue. Their lives are weighed down by sin. It may be, that at first, their particular sin and/or lifestyle did not seem to be that big of a deal. Now, however, they feel a constant burden. They would just like to be able to rest from the guilt they feel; the shame and embarrassment they have caused; and a general feeling of despondency and helplessness.

Some have tried dull the effects of their burdens with alcohol and/or other substances. To their dismay, when the effects of those substances wear off, the burdens are still there. In fact, they come to realize that they now have added another burden; the burden of dependency and/or addiction. 

Others have tried other means to find rest, comfort, and peace of mind. Some seem to have worked for the short term. None have or will work for the long term.

Are you one who is tired of carrying? Do you know somebody who is?

May I make some suggestions about the only way to find what you or they are looking for?

The Holy Spirit inspired the writer of Hebrews to challenge God’s people to “…lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely…” (Heb. 12:1).

The apostle Peter was inspired to those who had been “…born again to a living hope…” (1 Peter 1:3). He encouraged them to “[cast] all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

It was the Lord, Himself, who said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30, emphasis added).

During our time of transition, some good people have helped Donna and me by pointing us to ways in which the load was not as heavy as it otherwise could have been. They will never know how valuable that is or how special they are to us.

This experience has helped me to understand even more clearly my role as a Christian. If there is any way that I can help anybody see his or her need for a relationship with Jesus, I want to point them to Him. 

After all, it is only after a life of serving Him, that I can benefit from this wonderful promise that was recorded by the apostle John:

“And I heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ Blessed indeed,’ says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds do follow them’” (Rev. 14:13).

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10 Lessons on Parenting from a Small Family Farm

[NOTE: This week’s guest post comes from Josh Ketchum. To learn more about Josh, check out his bio following today’s article. Also, note that this will be our final guest post until December, as we will be taking one week off, then relaunching our podcast on September 4.]

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We purchased 20 acres in Graves County, Kentucky, in the fall of 2013, and are now in the process of building a home on the property. We have four children ages 2 to 10 (3 boys and 1 girl). While the experience has been a real challenge at times to manage the extra work and stresses, it has also been lots of fun and a great blessing. We currently have 5 Dexter cows, 12 pigs, 7 Barbados Blackbelly sheep, a horse and pony, and some Bantam chickens. Here are 10 lessons we are teaching and learning ourselves, with our small family farm.    

1. Hard work – We grew up on farms and learned the value of working hard in physical labor.  We wanted our children to be taught how to work and hopefully find joy and reward in it.

2. God’s creationBeing exposed to the intricacies of the animal world and how God majestically designed each plant and animal is amazing.  It causes us, as a family, to marvel at God’s wondrous creation and providential care.  It also helps teach about man’s superior role to animals, and their purpose as food and labor for man. 

3. Systems and unique roles within a system We live in a world filled with systems that interact and relate to one another.  Our goal is to see the farm as a system in which all parts play a unique role contributing to the success of the overall system.  The key is figuring out how to use the unique contribution for the overall success. (For example, pigs can make a mess rooting up a nice pasture, but it can be a very  helpful contribution if they are rooting up a future garden spot.) 

4. Sexuality One of the most cited lessons people tell us our kids will learn, and we have observed them learning, on the farm is sexuality.  Much of the interaction and management of the animals has to do with males and females and their producing offspring.  The farm life teaches about basic desires and how God intended for procreation to take place.

5. Individuality  Farm life and outdoor life in general allows for kids to develop their own individual interests and pursuits.  One of our sons likes hunting, our little girl loves the pony, and another son loves to accomplish tasks, while the future opportunities are endless for them to pursue their interests.

6. Family goals and teamwork The farm creates needed family projects that require everyone to work together.  These can be fun, family recreation times that allow for teaching and gaining a sense of accomplishments.  Whether it is planting a garden, moving a fence line, or making a concrete ramp, there is something about taking down a project together!

7. Death and Loss A farm saying goes, “If you have livestock, you will have deadstock.”  While we haven’t had anything besides some chickens die in our first year, we most likely will in the future, and lessons are taught to us all when there is death and loss.

8. HealthWe are trying to raise as healthy of animals as possible. We are concerned with their health, thus we monitor their diet, provide clean water, and care for wounds.  All the while, learning how to maintain our own health. 

9. Lifetime learningThe entire farm adventure has been a learning process for our family.  As parents, we are trying to display an example of learning and growing for our kids.  We want them to be lifetime learners, being willing to find their own answer, gain experience, and continue to try new things.

10. A sense of responsibility  A local counselor says that most all of our anxiety and depression issues could be overcome if we had to do something everyday to provide food for ourselves.  The family farm teaches responsibility, and requires you to be steadfast and consistent on a daily basis.

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Josh Ketchum serves as the pulpit minister for the Seven Oaks Church of Christ in Mayfield, Kentucky. He also runs Life in the Kingdom, a daily blog that you will want to check out and subscribe to. Josh is married to Amanda, and they have four children.

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Top 10 Books of 2015 (so far) [Video]

Recently, Adam recorded a Periscope where he shared his 10 favorite books of 2015 so far. Here is that video, so you can enjoy it.

(By the way, next week, Adam’s post–on Wednesday–will be about early impressions of Periscope and how ministers and congregations can use this new medium. Be looking for that post next week!)

Our Homsechool Room and Curriculum [Video]

For today’s post, Adam and Leah recorded a video. In it, they give you a quick tour of their simple homeschool room, as well as some thoughts on the books and materials being used this year. Enjoy!

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Reversing James 1:22

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It has been the subject of countless sermons and devotionals. It is simple in its wording, but profound in its meaning. It is James 1:22, where the half-brother of our Lord wrote, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

I do not want to detract from that verse one bit, but I want to suggest that we are living in times where we might be seeing the reverse of James 1:22 be the problem. We have a generation among us now who–rightly or wrongly–believe that the older generations have not been living out their faith. This younger generation is tired of meeting in church buildings and talking about reaching the world, but then not actually doing so, at least not consistently.

So, many in this generation are boldly stepping out and doing some amazing things. It is often breathtaking to consider the work that many in their teens and twenties are doing in the name of faith, and the places they are willing to go to help others.

However, too many of these workers are also basically saying that we need to be doers of the word and not hearers. In other words, they do not care about doctrine–even basic tenets of the faith–at all. So long as we are serving our fellow man in the name of Christ, He is pleased.

Certainly, we need to be serving our fellow man. The reaction of this generation is, in many ways, right. Christians have a tendency to get a bit too comfortable with just being around other Christians and never going where the true needs of lost people are. We need to be willing to learn from the example of this generation in that way.

But, there is another side to this. There is a key word from the words of James that this generation needs to keep in mind. Read the verse again, only this time one word will be emphasized: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

What is James saying? Is he only writing that we need to do the work that God has called His people to? While working is the major thrust of the verse, there is still hearing involved. There is still a doctrine to be held to and taught (cf. Jude 3). We cannot just do and teach anything we might like and be pleasing to the Lord.

The key is balance. Do we need to work more–and in more difficult places–in the name of our Lord God? There can be no doubt. But there is also a set of teachings that cannot be ignored. This should be a chance to avoid a generational clash; it should be an opportunity to learn more deeply and get about doing all the good we can.

Think of how the world will be changed when we get the hearing and the doing right!

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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

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