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How Productive Can I Be?

Front Page Leadership My Spiritual Life

I’m entering into a week of experimentation. I’m experimenting with myself to see how productive I can be.

Just yesterday, I preached a message on how we can actually find fulfillment in our pains and struggles, and I was thinking that something uncomfortable for me is the bearing down into a routine of productivity. Along those lines, I’ve also been thinking a lot lately about how much I’m really capable of and whether or not I’m really capable of more than I usually accomplish in a week.

Therefore, I’m embarking on a contest with myself to see just how productive I can be for only one week. (I like short sprints better than long races, so I’m telling myself that it will just be for this one week.)

My plan is simple. I intend to write one blog post every day detailing what I did that day according to a few key productivity markers. I’ve chosen these “markers” to be the measurables by which I can attempt to see daily improvement. However, these are in rough form right now, so I’m sure they will change over the course of this week or any other week I do this experiment.

Productivity Markers:


  • How much time have I spent in prayer?
  • How much time have I spent reading the Bible?
  • How much time have I spent reading other books?


  • How much time have I spent with my kids?
  • How much time have I spent with my wife?


  • How many people have I had direct, personal contact with?
  • How many people have I had a spiritual conversation with?
  • How much time have I invested in strategic planning for the church?


  • How much time have I invested in managing home details — and what did I accomplish?
  • How much time have I invested in managing church details — and what do I have to show for it?

Suggestions? What are some of your suggestions for how I should be measuring my productivity?

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034-01 In Flow

034 Cashflow Front Page


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The Bible talks a lot about money, and we don’t talk enough about money. At least, we don’t talk enough about money in the right way. In this key message to a brief series I delivered at Southside Church, I address the source of all our wealth. Of course, the Bible teaches that all blessing comes from God. In other words, if we want to have real blessings in our lives we need to pursue God and obey his principles for distributing wealth.

Listen up!

Big Fish and Small Bowl

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Flying Disc Giveaway Success

Evangelism Front Page Lafayette Lafayette Community Church

find your center flying disc 2007

This week we executed a plan that I had been brewing since last year at this time.

You may already have read about our “Black Friday” Hot Chocolate Giveaway. On that day, we gave out nearly 500 mugs of hot chocolate or coffee to shoppers braving the local Wal-Mart on the day after Thanksgiving. Well, this week, we gave out flying discs to families at the fireworks show on Purdue’s campus on July 4. It was a blast, and it was a big success too.

The setup

At the top of this post, you can see the final design for the flying discs that we bought through <> for around 70 cents each once shipping was included. The design on the top is a gradual spiral (which looks really cool when the discs are flying) surrounded by the words “stop spinning, find your center, reach higher | southside church” our phone number, web address, and core value verbs are also printed on the top.

We ordered T-Shirts with a tye dyed look and a very similar logo design on the front and the back. Here’s a picture of what they look like.

Find Your Center T-Shirt Front
Find Your Center T-Shirt Back

The elements of the plan were simple and very much like the hot chocolate giveaway:

  • Give a free flying disc to every family out there until we ran out or it got dark.
  • Have two tables set up to take registrations for a free drawing to win an iPod shuffle or other prizes.
  • Have all our volunteers wearing matching T-Shirts.

I should soon have a picture of what the setup looked like.

How it went

In all, it was a very successful event. The volunteers had a lot of fun, the people who received the flying discs were very appreciative, and a large number of people signed our entry forms. I don’t have a final count yet of those who were willing to be added to our mailing list. It was so cool to look across the field of families waiting for the fireworks to start and to see hundreds of purple flying discs whizzing through the air all over the place. It was really exciting.

On top of it all, I personally was able to get in some good conversations with at least 4 different families who were very interested in checking out one of our Sunday Gatherings. Who knows if they will actually make it this week, but I believe we really put our name out into the community in a positive way.

I’m really eager to hear more feedback from our volunteers and also from people who may visit our church because of this outreach. If I hear some good things (or criticisms) I’ll post them here. If you would like to chime in with your opinions please add your comment. I want to know what other people think about this kind of outreach. I especially hope that events like these let people in Lafayette know that there is a church around here that cares about them and is willing to invest in their lives in a way that makes their lives a little bit better (and a little more fun too).

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The Downhill King Slide

Explaining the Bible Front Page

In my last post in this category, I talked about the Cycle of Rebellion that plagued the nation of Israel beginning with the death of Joshua. Here’s a recap of what that cycle looks like:

  • The Jews forsake God and his laws for foreign gods and immorality.
  • God forsakes the Jews to foreign governments and oppression.
  • The people repent and return to God.
  • God rescues them.

Once God began to establish kings in Israel, the cycle shifted quite significantly… for the worse. In the new world of the kings, the cycle went more like this:

  • The king forsakes God and his laws.
  • The people don’t care.
  • Prophets arise to warn the king and the people.
  • No one cares

That cycle will continue until the day when God sends foreign powers to invade and destroy the nation of Israel. Here are the details.

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FOCUS: Rediscovering Our Priorities

033 FOCUS Front Page

Our world is filled with mixed messages. We are constantly told what to do and what not to do by Oprah, Dr. Phil, Matt Lauer, Barbara Walters, Ryan Seacrest, Simon Cowell, the Newspaper, and the Internet, not to mention Television Advertising!

The real question is how do we filter through all the mixed messages to get to what’s really important? How do we regain our priorities in a world that pulls us in 20 different directions all at once?

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032-03 — Dream Big & Work Hard (vision message)

032 Almost Isn't Enough for Me Front Page Lafayette Lafayette Community Church

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It’s my passion to see people get a big vision for what God is able and willing to do in our lives. I am convinced that God is bigger and more willing to do more incredible things than we give him credit for, than we expect, and than we are ready for. We just don’t have big enough dreams, but for those who do have big dreams the problem is often that they aren’t ready and willing to put in the effort required to see those dreams come true. Now I don’t have the answer to how to make your dream life come true other than a few simple suggestions I’ve picked up from the story of Joseph, but I do know that whatever your dreams are, if they are God’s dreams, and if you are faithful, they will come true.

At the conclusion of this message, I take a few minutes to just dream in front of the congregation about what Southside Church could become. I have big dreams for this church, and I’m pretty convinced they line up with the heart of God for this town.

How big are your dreams? Are you ready to work for them?

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032-02 Overcome What Holds You Back

032 Almost Isn't Enough for Me Front Page

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The obstacles in our lives all depend on what our goals are. What might be an obstacle to one goal could actually be a help in attaining another goal.

However, if your goals in life are to walk in the greatness for which God has made you, then three things will be your biggest obstacles. Jesus describes these three in a famous story about a farmer sowing seed.

In this message, we explore how to overcome the obstacles of spiritual death and dryness, hardships, and distractions so that you can live a life of eternal fruitfulness.

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10 Ways Pastors can Use Blogs

Front Page Leadership Stuff I Find

I thought this article at Rick Warren’s Ministry Toolbox was interesting. For my own reference, here are the first 5 suggestions and the ones most relevant to me personally:

1. Blog your city — Talk about upcoming city-wide events, upcoming service projects of your church, share photos of the city, neighborhoods. Use your blog to love on your city and her people. Click here for an example. 

2. Blog the news, pop culture, issues — Weigh in on these things with a biblical perspective (and, a loving one). Click here for an example. 

3. Blog on money and personal finance — That’s what this “anonymous” guy does on his blogs. He blogs on something dear to his heart — money — and his company — Moose Tracks Ice Cream — gets great publicity.

4. Blog on marriage, family, and parenting — Give tips, offer links to relevant news and reports, and, of course, your sermon series on those topics.

5. Blog devotional comments throughout week — Invariably you will come across golden nuggets of truth in your sermon preparation time that will not make it to the pulpit on Sunday. Use these chips of gold to take your people deeper into the Word.

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Grand Opening Slideshow

Front Page Lafayette Lafayette Community Church

I thought you would like to see this slideshow. I have it posted on our church page at but I know some of you haven’t been over there yet, so here it is…

I just want to thank everyone who has been a part of supporting Southside Church. Here’s a little slideshow of our first Sunday. Hope you enjoy it!

click here to download the slideshow

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031-02 An Even Better Life Is Just Around the Corner

031 What's in it for Me Front Page Lafayette Lafayette Community Church

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Today’s message is a message that has been on my heart for a long time, but I didn’t know it until earlier this week. I had come up with the title long ago when we sent in our postcards to be printed, and honestly, I originally thought of the sermon being one about how great the afterlife was going to be. In fact, the whole point of the message originally was going to be that no matter how good this life might get, the really good life is yet to come. It was going to be a message about the Kingdom of God!

I still want to do that message someday. I’m not sure when that might happen, and I honestly don’t know if I would be able to preach that message now anyway. I think I need some more life experience, more study or something.

Nevertheless, I was praying about this message earlier this week and all at once I realized (it was probably God giving me the thought) that the Bible is filled with “Corner Turning” moments and that God is often the instigator of those corner moments. The whole picture came to me at once that the “better life” I should be talking about is the life that follows God around whatever corner he brings us to!

I’m really pleased with how it turned out. Listen up and tell me what you think!

The God who brought you to your critical moment has something for you on the other side

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031-01 How to Live Your Best Life Now

031 What's in it for Me Front Page Lafayette Lafayette Community Church

This is the first message in Southside Church’s Grand Opening series. It’s a short series entitled:

What’s in it for me?: How the Bible Makes Life Better

In this message, I talk about how the Bible contains the keys to living your best life now. There are three key things the Bible offers us that help us to live our best lives: Guidance, Encouragement, and something I call “The Secret.”

The audio can be downloaded by clicking below or subscribing to my podcast or you can watch the video online if you wish.

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031-01 WHATS IN IT FOR ME? How to Live Your Best Life Now

This is the full video of our entire Grand Opening service!

My Odeo Channel (odeo/b7fe9b6d4f3e6629)

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Front Page Lafayette Prayer Requests

What an incredible day!

Last Sunday was our Grand Opening service as a church and I am excited to report that we had between 140-150 people there. We never got an accurate count, but this is how we came up with those numbers:

  • 24 Elementary School Kids
  • 6 Babies in the Nursery
  • 9 Children’s Ministry Workers
  • 100 Bulletins handed out (when we ran out)

I’ve tried to be conservative and stick with 140, but my wife is pressing me to say 150! and I’m usually the one who does the exaggerating!

If you want to hear the message I preached or watch the video, it will be posted here soon or you can get to it by visiting our church audio page.

God is bigger than we imagine.

My coach told me a couple of months ago, “Remember, Jeff, no one loves this church more than you and Jesus.”

I was getting kinda frustrated because of the number of people I had been trying to recruit and the slim number of people who were responding. He told me that to remind me that no one would care about the church like I do, but that Jesus cared about it more than even I did. That really helped to encourage me.

And Jesus does care about this church.

On March 18, we had our final preview service and I had the joy of preaching to a crowd of about 15 adults. The very next week, I had the privilege of preaching a message to a crowd of over 100. It was utterly mind-blowing to me!

If you were there on Sunday…

I just wanted to say that if you were there on Sunday, I am so grateful for you. You could have spent your Sunday morning in many different ways, but you chose to come out and be a part of our Grand Opening Event, and more than that, you chose to take a risk and see what God might be doing in this brand new ministry.

God has something really great in store for us, and I believe he wants us to experience it together, but that isn’t all. I think the biggest thing he has in store for us is for us to find our identity in the process of helping other people to discover how much God loves them.

We are just beginning a journey together. It will be a bumpy ride at times, but it will certainly be an adventure.

If you have been praying for us…

You also deserve a special thanks. There have been so many of you praying for us and supporting us financially, that I really am humbled. I’m afraid I will miss someone here, but I just think you all deserve thanks. You know why:

Thank You

Jennifer Asinugo, Mike Atwell, Nellie Aujero, Alexandrina Balanean, Charlie & Lea Battleday, David & Carole Beckwith, Jim & Deb Cartwright, Brian & Melissa Chupich, Sonlife Community Church, James & Katheryn Cross, Herb & Paula Frost, Gloria Greene, Jodi Hanson, Gerald Hawthorne, Dorothy Herschelroath, Rynn Hill, Mark Jacobsen, Mike & Jill Kaminski, Rhonda Kerr, Gary Krebs, David & Stacy Laneve, Chuck & Amy Larish, Larry & Claudia Lasiter, Dan & Mary Martin, Mark & Linda Mikels, Keith & Marian Mikels, Sadie Mikels, Jason & Brooke Miller, Dr. & Mrs. Tom Miller, Marion Mockler, Tom & Chris Nalian, Rob & Chris Nelson, Mark & Amy Peterson, Stephen & Jill Puett, Ken & Cheryl Reynolds, Gary Rohrmayer, Dorothy Samorajski, Greg & Laura Shackleford, Jim & Wendy Sheely, Austin Smith, Jeff & Debbie Spencer, Lorraine Spencer, Joel & Becky Sutton, Josh & Valerie Thomas, Grant & Betty Tregay, Tommy & Bonnie Troup, Zack Turner, Mike & Tammie VanDeripe, Cindy & Rick Veith, Gloria Walker, Richard Wollard, Meadowland Community Church, Tim and Lisa Beavis, Bethany Baptist Church, Community Reformed Church, Tony Suitor, Kathy Abretske, Northwest Baptist Church, Irene Portokalis, Merrill Avenue Baptist Church, Hannis & Kim Thompson, First Assembly of God in Lafayette.

If I’ve forgotten someone, just send me a reminder email or post a comment, and I’ll put you on the list too.

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