5 Bible Verses to Help You Process This Election (No Matter How You Voted)

This has been one of the most brutal weeks I can ever remember. The amount of disappointment, anger, fear, confusion, frustration, and venomous words is – quite honestly – a bit unfathomable. So, how are those of us who call ourselves “Christ Followers” supposed to process it all?

5 Bible Verses to Help You Process This Election

God’s Word is the ultimate lens we must always use to process everything.

Hear this clearly: A few Bible verses thrown together in a blog post is not going to take away all disappointment, frustration, or concern. Think of it like getting a long-awaited diagnosis from a doctor. The diagnosis doesn’t instantly cure the disease. But it does give you a place to focus (other than focusing on the unknown) and points us toward the cure.

My desire in this post is to point us toward God’s Word, point us toward what is right and true (rather than focusing on the unknown), and point us toward the One who is the Ultimate Cure for what ails us.

A Tragedy, Four Opportunities, My Whole Family, and My Birthday

with a Video from my wife and me

You may know – or may not – that Kari and I went to the Dominican Republic last summer with a team of people from our home church. On the last day, we met Noelia, a little girl with a massive smile.

She took us to her home and introduced us to her aunt, grandma, siblings, and cousins.

We were not prepared for what we heard next.

Check it out this video…

Help me give away my birthday!

In case you’re one of those I’m-going-to-skip-the-video-and-read people, here is the overview…

The Story

Kari and Noelia

Kari and Noelia on the last day of our trip.

On the last day of our trip to the Dominican Republic, we met Noelia and her extended family. The year before, her father had killed her mother and is now in prison. The house she lives in – with grandma, aunt, siblings, and cousins – is about the size of the living room in most American homes and in desperate need of repair.

Some other members of our team spent the next couple months working with Children of the Nations (the ministry we work with in the DR) to see if we could raise the money, send a team, and repair – and add on to – the house.

Bottom Line: We received approval, developed a plan alongside COTN, worked out the logistics, and we are taking a couple teams of people down there for three weeks in July to build Noelia and her family a house!

Four Very Cool Opportunities for Us

The first opportunity is…well…the one we just told you about.

The second opportunity is that Kari – who has been teaching elementary school for 20 years – has been invited to work with the summer school program to teach the children and work alongside the local staff who will continue teaching when we come back to Seattle.

The third opportunity is that I will spend part of the second week working with the in-country staff of Children of the Nations doing communication, speaking, writing, and leadership training.

The fourth opportunity is that we get to bring Sarah, Caleb, and Hannah with us! Our three kids will work alongside us on the construction site as well as in the classroom with Kari.

Where You Come In

As you might imagine, the materials for the house – as well as all five of us getting down there and living for three weeks – costs quite a bit of money. $18,000 to be exact. Whether you can give $10, $100, or $1000, we CAN work together to make this happen!

We truly believe this trip will have an impact on this extended family, the teachers at the school, and the staff of Children of the Nations for years to come!

Will you help us build Noelia a house?

My birthday is a month from today. I am asking you to help me give it away! 

Here is how you can help (pick your preference):

  • Click here to donate online directly through our family’s Children of the Nations page. (This is ideal.)
  • Call COTN to donate over the phone – (360) 698-7227
  • Donate via PayPal. (This will go directly to my non-profit ministry and ALL funds given through the month of May will go to this summer’s trip.)
  • Mail a check – payable to “That You May Know Ministries” (my non-profit) to PO Box 276, Kirkland, WA  98083

Help me give away my birthday!

NOTE: 100% of donations will go toward this project, are tax-deductible, and you will receive a receipt.

Will you help me spread the word on Facebook or click the “Click to Tweet” link below. Thank you so much!

Why I Am Super Excited Today

I wanted to jot a quick note before we head into next week. I am so excited. I haven’t been this excited in a long time. And there are two reasons.

Reason 1: I’m going unplugged for the next 11 days! Lady pointing

After I push “publish” on this post, I am logging off. No phone. No email. No Twitter. Not until January 2nd. And I can’t wait. I have one, final Christmas presentation of What I Saw on Sunday morning, but that’s it. I can feel myself unwinding as I type.

Reason 2: I finished the first draft of my new book this afternoon!

Wahooooo! My goal was to get it done before I left for vacation. I typed the last word about 20 minutes ago. Now I can just let it simmer for a couple weeks and put the final touches on it in January.

I will write a full post on it next month, but you can get the gist of it from my working title:

10 Tips for Liking the Bible (Because Believing It Is True Isn’t Enough)

This book boils down the 10 most helpful ideas, analogies, and stories from almost 17 years of speaking and writing into 10 practical tips.

So…here are my questions:

  • What do you think of the title?
  • What are some creative ways you can think of to promote it?
  • Would you want to be a part of a launch team? You would get a copy early, a free finished copy when it’s done, and possibly some other free stuff. (More info to come. Just wanted to get you thinking about it.)

Have a wonderful Christmas! See you next year.

Photo Credit: www.freedigitalphotos.net – photostock

A 5-Fold Twist On Bible Reading

Any time I meet someone who enthusiastically loves God’s Word, I take notice. There was no doubt that the guy I met Sunday loves the Bible. After I spoke at Mt. View Presbyterian Church on Sunday, he made a beeline to where I was standing and started asking me questions about How this?…and Why that?…and What about this? His passion was contagious.

At one point he shared the process he is currently using to read the Bible. It is pretty simple…but very intriguing. He is reading through the New Testament, book-by-book, five times through each book. Each reading has a slight twist.

Reading 1: He simply reads the book in the New International Version. (no notes or commentaries of any kind)

Reading 2: He reads it again…in The Message.

Reading 3: He reads it in the NIV again. However…this time he reads ALL the notes in his study Bible.)

Reading 4: He reads it in the New Living Translation (no notes)

Reading 5: He reads it one last time in the NIV (no notes)

Told you it was simple.

Not only could I see the immediate benefits of this type of read through, I could also see some cool adaptations. You could insert various translations other than the ones mentioned. What if during one – or more – of the readings you were ALSO listening while you were reading? What if you read it out loud with/to a partner? Hmmm…got me thinking…

What are some other adaptations to this process?

Photo Courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

when the finish line is just the beginning

FinishedI finished. Even finished a couple weeks early. The goal was May 8th. And I’m done.

I have written before about being challenged by Ron Frost a few years ago to do a Bible Read Thru.  Pick a timeframe (something six months or shorter). Read from Genesis thru Revelation. Get together with some friends each week and talk about it.

Rather than just share what I saw or learned about God this time through, what I find myself thinking about more is the lessons I have learned about completing any valuable goal.

Lesson 1: You know it was valuable when there is sadness about nearing the end. One of the women in our group came last week and said, I have to say there is some sadness about finishing. I want to stretch it out and make it last. I couldn’t agree more. The reading. The conversations. The insights from others. The camaraderie. The coffee. (wink) All of it. We know that stretching it out to a year would have taken something away from the value. And yet, there is still a piece of me that is bummed these six people won’t be getting together every Tuesday morning.

Lesson 2: You know it was valuable when finishing gives you more ideas. This Bible Read Thru has fostered many ideas – both personally and professionally. I have ideas about ways to improve discussion in small groups. I have book ideas, blog ideas, and video ideas. I have ideas about what I believe God wants me to remember long-term from this particular read thru. I have ideas about the people I want to invite to do the 2013 Bible Read Thru next January – April. (Look out…it might be you.)

Lesson 3: You know it was valuable when you see finishing as a starting point. I might be finished, but I’m not done. This read thru made me want to read more the very next morning after I finished. Yes…sometimes a break after completing a big project or accomplishing a goal is good and necessary. For me, this time, I couldn’t wait to jump back in. I am not doing the same thing. But I am continuing. Completing this read thru fostered a growing love for God and His Word. It made me want to be in conversation with Him…and others. It made me want to see what He has for me next.

Now that’s valuable.

When have you seen a finish line as just the beginning?

Photo courtesy of Naypong/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

two of the easiest creativity tools ever

My Twitter WordcloudHow often have you been putting together a presentation, handout, or promo piece and you wanted a cool graphic? If you are like me, you want a cool graphic, but you don’t always have time to create one, the talent to create one, or the money to pay someone else to create one. So…when I come across a tool that creates cool graphics – and it’s free! – I get pretty excited.

Yesterday I was listening to Matt Guevara (@mattguevara) talk about teaching digital learners. Toward the end, he just listed out a bunch of what he called “random Lego pieces” that anyone could use. Websites. Apps. Books.

Two that were fascinating to me were Wordle and Tagxedo. As you can see from the picture above, they are “wordcloud” creators. You input anything – words, Twitter name, blog article, etc. – and hit “submit.” It is literally that easy. Wordle is the more basic of the two. Less options…but also very clean and very cool. Tagxedo is, as Matt said, “Wordle on steriods". Want to change the shape? No problem. Want to change the color scheme? Got ya covered. Want to get rid of one of the words? Easy as pie. Want to save it, print it, or share it on Facebook/Twitter/etc.? Just a click away.

For the record, the above wordcloud was created using Tagxedo in about three minutes by simply typing in my twitter handle (@keithferrin), selecting a different color scheme, and changing the shape. I could see so many uses for this.

Oh…and did I mention they are both free? Enjoy.

How are you going to use Wordle and Tagxedo? What other free creativity tools have you found?

community lived out

I spent this last weekend with a very unique – and very cool – church community in Bowling Green, Kentucky. They simply refer to themselves as The Church at Bowling Green. Hmmm…sounds a lot like The Church at Ephesus, or Philippi, or Colossae.

I had been there a couple times before, but I was reminded again why I like visiting so much. They take the whole “community” idea very, very seriously. It almost feels weird to use the word seriously to describe how they go about building and developing community. It is so woven into the fabric of who they are that it doesn’t seem like something they have to seriously think about much. They just do it.

Here’s what I mean. Just like at Creekside, they meet in a school. When I got there 30 minutes early I saw the familiar sight of people setting up and getting ready. The first thing I noticed was that they actually set up the schools tables instead of just chairs. And they set them up “in the round.” They sat, stood, and sung looking at each other. Engaged with each other.

There was music – all acappella – and announcements and a time of open sharing and praying for each other. I was introduced and shared the first part of Romans. Then there was the Lord’s Supper (which they do every week). And it lasted 20 minutes. Not because there was quiet music and personal prayer. It lasted 20 minutes because they gather around the tables, pour each other glasses of grape juice, break off chunks of bread, and have a meal together. They talk about the Lord’s Supper. They have conversations about whatever has been shared that morning. What they are learning…struggling with…trying to apply.

At that point – and all the kids have returned from classes by now to share in the meal – I continued with the last five chapters of Romans. A couple more songs and people were dismissed. But not to go home (although a few did). They were dismissed to set out all the food for lunch. Every week – yep, you heard that correctly – they have a potluck lunch and eat together. And they don’t eat and run. They stay. They talk. They laugh.

They start at 10am and the last few families typically trickle out about 2:30 in the afternoon. This happens every week. That night we gathered again to talk about Like Ice Cream (my book about helping the next generation fall in love with God’s Word). About 60 people came back – 20 of whom were little kids. It was a little noisy, but it was beautiful. I loved it. And they brought ice cream (also beautiful!) so they could stay and hang out and be together some more.

Oh…and I guess about four of the families hadn’t had enough time together, because they all went out afterward (about 8:30pm) to a Mexican restaurant for another 90 minutes. More food. More laughing. More sharing. More…well…community.

Yes…this was a wonderful weekend.

Where have you seen community lived out?

Book Review: Outlive Your Life (Max Lucado)

By page 4 I had already put my pen to use. Here The first sentences I marked?

“It’s not enough for you to do well. You want to do good. You want your life to matter. You want to live in such a way that the world will be glad you did.”

Any book that forces me to think about using my life to serve others instead of just hunkering down in middle-class suburban comfort is a book I need. Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make A Difference, by Max Lucado is just such a book.

It’s not just a “get off your butt and do something” book (though there is enough of that to be helpful). It’s a book that incorporates both how we can do that and what attitude we can and should do it with. The practicality of Lucado’s content – not to mention the discussion and action guide – are helpful in turning the challenge into action.

Most helpful for me was the chapter on humility and attitude entitled Remember Who Holds You. These words wouldn’t let my eyes continue down the page:

“We can rise too high but can never stoop to low. What gift are you giving that he did not first give? What truth are you teaching that he didn’t first teach? You love. But who loved you first? You serve. But who served the most? What are you doing for God that he could not do alone?” (pg 118)

In Lucado’s wordsmithing, storytelling ways, he guides the reader through pages that encourage, challenge, and inspire. Do I recommend this book? Absolutely. But be warned: The reading of this book might make you actually…ahem…DO something.

The New KeithFerrin.com!

After a few months of really thinking about what keithferrin.com should and could be today is the day for the new site to go “live.” I had heaps of help from Brian (who has been one of my best friends since 7th Grade and does all my design work for That You May Know Ministries and True Success Coaching) and Bryan (a terrific friend and a guy who’s forgotten more about programming then I will ever know). Massive thanks to these guys. For those of you who saw my previous design, you know it’s not a cliché to say I couldn’t have done this without them. For those of you who haven’t seen my previous design…well…just be thankful.

I’ll write more on each of these over the next week, but the snapshot is that keithferrin.com is going to explore four areas I’m passionate about:

  1. Ministry – This will include some stories, ideas, dreams, and the occasional random thought about both my vocational ministry (That You May Know Ministries) and seeking to live a life of ministry.
  2. Marketing – Specifically, my hope is that small ministries and churches will find ideas here for sharing what they’re doing. After more than 14 years of speaking and traveling, I’ve learned a lot about what not to do – and hopefully – a few helpful ideas as well.
  3. Communication – Most of what I do with True Success Coaching is communication coaching. Helping primarily business people communicate…instead of just talk. This could be ideas on writing, public speaking, PowerPoint, or just crafting a more effective email.
  4. Kingdom stuff – I’m fascinated by God’s Word and saddened by how many of us divorce the Bible from everyday life. These will be thoughts from my own time in the Word as well as stories from the journey.

Please visit often, share your thoughts when you come, and let’s go on this journey together. You in?