Have You Heard of Kiva Yet?

kiva1Kiva is the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs around the globe.

The people you see on Kiva’s site are real individuals in need of funding – not marketing material. When you browse entrepreneurs’ profiles on the site, choose someone to lend to, and then make a loan, you are helping a real person make great strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family, and their community. You can loan as little as $25, and throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates and track repayments. Then, when you get your loan money back, you can relend to someone else in need.

My first loan with Kiva was in May of 2008, to a family in Samoa trying to open a bakery, and it has been 75% repaid.  When it is fully repaid, I will lend it out again to someone else.  I highly recommend Kiva, and urge you to check them out.


Tim Hughes on Effectiveness in Worship Leading

This is from Tim Hughes’ (writer of “Beautiful One”, “Here I Am to Worship”) session at the WorshipTogether.com LIVE tour, in Oklahoma City on March 28th, on being a more effective worship leader. He said there are six questions that are beneficial to ask:

In Preparing to Lead:

1. Where are we leading them to?
* Find a balance between being prophetic and pastoral
* Consider the context you’re leading in when picking keys, songs

2. How are we preparing?
* Both technically and spiritually
* Authentic worship is more caught than taught
* Mix substance with simplicity

While leading worship:
3. Where are we going?
* There is a difference between a songleader and a worship leader
* The Holy Spirit is the Chief Worship Leader

4. How are people responding?
* Be attentive and flexible
* If they’re not responding, resist “beating the sheep”

After leading worship:
5. Where do you “recharge”?
* Don’t be defined by how things went

6. How am I developing?
* We should aim for perfection, but settle for excellence
* 4 additional questions for Monday (or the day after):
    1. What were the highlights of my week?
    2. What were the low points of my week?
    3. What is one lesson I’ve learned?
    4. What is one action point I can take?

C.J. Mahaney On Parenting

“As I understand it, parenting is about preparation.  Preparation for our children’s future and preparation for the fast-approaching final day of judgment.  If you are a father or mother, let me ask you: How’s the preparation going?  What is your plan for preparing your child?  What are the content and goals of your preparation?  What kind of legacy will you be leaving for your son or daughter?  Have you given this much though?  You should.”

“All parenting is ultimately a preparation for that day when your child will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and give an account.”


from Humility: True Greatness

18 Tricks to Memorize More Scripture

Another one of my goals for 2009 is to be more intentional about memorizing Scripture.  Most of us have a much better memory than we give ourselves credit for (how many phone numbers and song lyrics do you know by memory?)  In this article, Demian Farnworth offers 18 tips on memorizing Scripture; some are “no-brainers”, and some are very creative.  All of them will be useful as we seek to hide God’s Word in our hearts.

The Prodigal’s Suspicion

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.
1 John 3:1

“No doubt, at first, the prodigal boy did not believe what was happening. There was his father, running, throwing his arms around his wayward child, embracing him, ‘filled with compassion for him’ as Jesus says. But the son’s heart was probably still saying: ‘I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ His sin had so burdened him with guilt that he just could not have expected his father’s loving gestures. How could his father still love him?”

“Many Christians go through much of their life with the prodigal’s suspicion. Their concentration is upon their sin and failure; all their thoughts are introspective. That is why (in the Greek text) John’s statement about the Father’s love begins with a word calling us to lift up our eyes from ourselves and take a long look at what God has done: Behold! – look and see – the love the Father has lavished upon us!”

Sinclair Ferguson, Children of the Living God

The Second Coming is Like Lightning and Vultures

caseOne of my goals for 2009 is to study the main eschatological views, to better understand them and to determine what I “really believe” about the end times.  Currently, I’m reading A Case for Amillennialism: Understanding the End Times, by Kim Riddlebarger.  I’m not suggesting that John Piper is an amillenialist, but this post, from the Desiring God web site, reminds me of one of the key arguments against the rapture that most people are familiar with, i.e., a sudden, secret, “snatching away” of God’s people from earth, with those who do not belong to Him being “left behind” (hey – there’s a catchy title).

Ten Questions to Ask to Benefit from a Conference or Special Event

Don Whitney has a helpful article at his website, with several questions to help you get the most out of conferences and special events.  He suggests asking questions such as:

* What’s the single most important truth I have learned at this conference/event?

* What’s the most important thing in my life that will be different or I will attempt to change as a result of attending this conference/event?

* What’s the next step I should take to incorporate this change into my life?

You can read the entire article here.