Go to www.brianmosleyblog.com for our new blog.
We have some exciting news regarding some of the internal happenings at Bluefish. We'd love for you to check it out over on our home page.
A few months ago, my husband Jeremiah and I drove to Half Price books to purchase a very special book for our family. He’d been talking about getting a “Blessing Book” for a long time. So for $4.99, he picked out a brown and orange vintage floral journal.
We decided that we needed to start recording God’s faithfulness and his answers to our prayers over the years and that the Blessing Book would be the official landing place to write out those things simply because…
It’s easy to forget God’s work in the every day details of our lives.
Since then, we’ve recorded a lot of answers to prayers and twice now, we’ve gone through it so we can Remember.
Remembering God’s faithfulness and provision in the past has given me an overwhelming joy, thankfulness, and gratitude. It gives me great hope to face the uncertainties in the future.
There are all kinds of ways to reflect and remember. I stumbled upon Megan’s blog the other day and she’s created a Thankfulness Banner. I absolutely love this idea- especially as it really helps your kids tangibly see God’s goodness in their life.
One Thanksgiving when I was home from college, I printed out each of my family members’ names in big, bold writing on separate pieces of paper. All of us wrote a brief note saying how thankful we were for that person. It was a bonding time for our family and provided a ton of affirmation.
Well, I can’t wait when my son John can understand what our Blessing Book is all about so that he can share in what God has done and is doing in our family.
How do you remember God’s faithfulness and blessings during this time of year?
During lunch, it's often that I get to talk to my co-worker Brenda who is on our customer service team at Bluefish. Brenda has mentioned to me several times how the 2010 Youth Ministry Kit is in high demand and that youth pastors and leaders across the country are just raving about it. Our team is always encouraged to hear that the hard work we've put into a resource is making a difference.
One of the resources in our 2010 Youth Kit is Why Jesus? Answering the Tough Questions about Our Savior with David Nasser and Mac Powell.
See what David Nasser filmed in Israel by checking out this news story.
I used to think I was perfect- until I got married. Okay so not exactly perfect, but close.
And it’s hard to believe in December, my husband and I will be celebrating our four year anniversary. It’s truly a gift from God. I respect and love my husband more than on the day I committed my life to his. He’s my best friend and soul-mate, and I couldn’t live with without him. But I’d be lying if I told you that our marriage isn’t hard work. And that it doesn’t require living intentionally and loving biblically… which is the tag line of our new marriage series.
Well for a while now at Bluefish TV, we’ve been creating a small group bible study series called Marriage: Built to Last. We got the kit back from the manufacturer last week and as a writer on the production team, I’m blown away by how well the real-life stories, biblical teaching, and funny spots have come together.
I’ve connected a few marriage stories to our producers to shoot, assisted in writing host copy, written an article to help small group leaders, and edited an article that our Senior Producer Brian Mosley wrote called Together. The majority of my work on the series was editing the Marriage: Built to Last Leader’s Guide and Workbook.
What I love most about what our team has produced is the stories from real-life couples. They are transparent to the core and share about real life issues like expectations, communication, conflict, and sex and intimacy. I also say “to the core,” meaning that these couples get down to the dirty, uglier details of their marriage. Some of them expose their pride, anger, pornography, past baggage, affairs, control issues, spending habits, unhappiness and more.
I’ve never really seen such brutal honesty and I have no doubt that their authenticity will help spark life-changing discussion among married couples that will even put some on the road to completely restoring their marriage.
Here’s a little sneak peak into the six session titles that pastor and author Chip Ingram teaches on: 1. Adjusting to Expectations 2. Learning to Communicate Clearly 3. Breaking Down Walls 4. Resolving Conflict 5. Restoring Sex & Intimacy 6. Striving for a Christ-centered Marriage.
When all is said and done, we’ll have over 13,000 Leader’s Guides and over 80,000 workbooks floating around for this series. At this point, we only hope that all the work that’s been put into this series will have an amazing impact on marriages all over the country. And that most of all, couples will live out what God says about building a marriage that will last a lifetime.
How would you say marriages are doing in your ministry? What excites you about potentially using a resource like this?
Who hasn’t been impacted by the economy?! Our country, our churches and our families are searching for some idea of what “normal life” is supposed to be in August of 2009. As we are searching, there are people watching what we’re doing and how we’re handling things.
Though your 14 year old may not seem to pay attention to the news or fully understand the economy (does anyone?) ... they are looking to us as parents, pastors and leaders to see if we’ll remain faithful or cower in fear.
In the fall of 2008, our team was beginning to brainstorm about a new youth resource and at the same time our country began its economic slide. We began to realize that the resources we were setting out to create would have a heightened significance. Some churches have been forced to layoff youth workers or cut back on hours. Volunteers have had to step up even more while still trying to balance their own jobs and checkbooks. Students are living through a crisis that will impact their possibilities of college, first jobs, and first houses ... these are unique times.
Our team surveyed hundreds of youth pastors last December to understand the pressing topics and issues facing their students. Using their feedback and our research, we chose three topics that are very fitting for our current times. I am thrilled that this week we are releasing the 2010 Youth Ministry Kit.
On the WHY JESUS? series we took popular youth speaker David Nasser to Israel to address the tough questions about our savior. There’s a limited time we have with students before they are own their own. They have to answer the question “why Jesus?” or nothing else will make sense in their life. I have shown this 2-minute overview video to a handful of people and every time it incites a dramatic response from a roomful of applause to tears from a pastor.
It’s been over 5 years since we last worked with Doug Fields from Saddleback Church. We loved working with him again on the CONFLICT series. We interviewed 12 students to get their honest feelings about the conflict they face with their parents, peers, teachers and even God. This 2-minute video gives you a glimpse of what we address.
After we worked on a project with Sean McDowell last year, our team was so amazed by his teaching and ability to connect to students that we wanted to work with him again. We teamed up on a topic that plagues everyone in this country ... the search for happiness. In the AM I HAPPY? series we explored how things like accomplishments, possessions and relationships always fall short of true happiness. Students from across the country shared candidly about the difficulties in their search.
In addition to these Bible studies, the 2010 Youth Ministry Kit includes three DVDs with funny and moving video illustrations to use as ice-breakers or support elements to your big group teaching time.
Our team listened to youth pastors, scoured the country for stories, partnered up with phenomenal teachers and worked really hard to create a resource that could serve thousands of youth ministries. At this point, it’s a little bit like my daughter who will go to kindergarten in a few weeks ... our team has to “let go” of this resource and hope it will have the kind of impact that we’ve prayed for.
EVP Product Development
I’ve heard it said that a father is the family shepherd of the home. I just love that title. By God’s divine order, the father is head of the house. His role is to tenderly lead and guide his family like a shepherd would for his sheep.
The great truth however, is that a family shepherd isn’t perfect. He’s an imperfect man who follows a perfect God. He isn’t afraid to confess his sins or when he’s screwed up because his ultimate goal and desire is to love and fear God. His ambition is to genuinely live out his faith in front of his wife and children.
When I first got married, my husband asked me one day, “How’s your heart?” Those words really caught me off guard—I’d never been asked that before or at least asked in that way. But knowing that my husband cared about my heart meant the world to me. Three years later, he’s mentioned his desire to make sure our newborn son John, will know in the future that he can bring his whole heart before his father. And that John will have that security knowing it will be protected.
Proverbs 20:5 says, The purpose of a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out (ESV).
It’s the business of a father to draw out from his wife and children the deeper matters of the heart. While this takes time and some humility, his role is to draw this out so there will be healing, love, respect and harmony among his family.
This Father’s Day, remember that you are the family shepherd and what an awesome role that is!
Thanks for all you do and Happy Father’s Day!
I don’t think our producers would’ve guessed that their recent trip to the Holy Land to film David Nasser would be filled with so much adventure. Our team came back with some great teaching, footage, and some funny stories (well funny to look back on).
Upon arriving in Tel Aviv (the second largest city in Israel), going through security was always interesting with David Nasser because he’s Iranian and well, he was in Israel. But several hours later, all of them made it through the check points.
They traveled to the Valley of Elah, where David fought Goliath, to shoot teaching for a separate series we’re doing on the life of David. They spent about six hours filming. Shooting the caves where David hid from Goliath was next on their plan, but on the way to En Gedi, their GPS system neglected highways so a 45-minute trip turned out to be two and a half hours of driving! Frustrated a little from wasted time, they still were able to shoot all the teaching under a tight schedule.
Two solid weeks of teaching, filming, traveling, and sweating went by fast. But the hard work wasn’t completely over. On their way out of the country, security at the airport insisted to check their equipment (which isn’t typical). Security proceeded to say they would have to disassemble all the hard drives (containing all the teaching and video). Our guys demanded that they absolutely cannot do such a thing. Disassembling could destroy everything on the drives!
After 45 minutes of intense persuading, security let them through without messing with the equipment. It was a close call! Because of the holdback, they got on the plane just barely in time. But through it all, God’s hand was on them in the Holy Land and they made it back to Dallas in tact!
The guys and our team as a whole are really excited to have had the opportunity to film great teaching in Israel to share with you the life-changing truths in God’s word.
So keep an eye out for our Why Jesus? Youth series and our series on the life of David releasing this fall on Bluefishtv.com.
I was at the Stockyards in Ft. Worth this past weekend and about 50 energetic seniors from a nearby high school were posing on steps for some funny senior photos. They were chatting and laughing. You could easily sense that Graduation was at hand.
Graduation impacts all of us in some way. You may have students in your youth group graduating from high school this year or a church member who’s receiving a seminary degree.
Most important of all, you may have or know of a little one graduating from Kindergarten this year!
Whatever the case, Graduation is significant for new beginnings. A new road awaits you. Change is in the air and you’re now just a little closer to pursuing your dream or lifelong passion. In Max Lucado’s book for graduates, Let the Journey Begin- God’s Roadmap for New Beginnings, he shares an excerpt called “The Fire of Your Heart”:
Want to know God’s will for your life? Then answer this question: What ignites your heart? Forgotten orphans? Untouched nations? The inner city? The outer limits?
Heed the fire within!
Do you have a passion to sing? Then sing!
Are you stirred to manage? Then manage!
Do you ache for the ill? Then treat them!
Do you hurt for the lost? Then teach them!
As a young man I felt the call to preach. Unsure if I was correct in my reading of God’s will for me, I sought the counsel of a minister I admired. His counsel still rings true.
“Don’t preach,” he said, “unless you have to.”
As I pondered his words I found my answer: “I have to. If I don’t, the fire will consume me.”
What is the fire that consumes you?
- The Great House of God
Congrats to all the Graduates!
There is no one in the world like my mother. Now that I have a baby son of my own, I’m just scratching the surface of the sacrificial love my mom gave to my sister and I growing up. My mom was able to stay home- the best gift she could ever give.
She always had a snack ready for me at the end of our school day. Our house was always inviting and clean. She prepared homemade meals for our family every evening.
She drove me to and from school, then to swim or soccer practice every day. She gave me gifts out of the blue and left encouraging notes in my lunch bag. She prayed with me before bed and told me several times throughout the years that I was a “masterpiece.”
Even though my mom and dad were unbelievers when they first married, after my mom received Christ, she prayed for my dad. The ultimate gift she gave me was prayer and patience in my dad’s salvation—even when it got hard. My dad ended up turning to Christ 20 or so years later. She was truly a 1 Peter 3:1-6 kind of woman and still is today.
What special memories and thoughts come to your mind about your mother? How can you express those to her this Mother's Day?
Since Mother’s Day is fast approaching, and we know you want to show your mother or wife how much you love her (but you’re tired of flowers), we wanted to give you some out-of-the-box gift ideas:
• Prepare her favorite dinner. Arrange the table extra special with rose petals and a few wrapped gifts.
• Take her on a scavenger hunt to a few of her favorite places- give her clues to the next place inside a gift box.
• Buy all the necessities for a pedicure/foot wash and spoil her with a spa night at home (or schedule a professional spa out)
• If you have kids, make a homemade card with them. (Write a poem or the “Top 10 reasons why I love you”). Buy poster-board for $.79 and fold in half to make a big impression as a card.
• Write a favorite “memories of mom” book or create a video. (for print books: blurb.com, lulu.com, snapfish.com)
• Print out a few digital photos and create a scrapbook, put them in a frame, or photo calendar
• Monogram her initials onto something: jewelry, purse, stationary, etc.
• Buy a gift-certificate to her favorite clothing store
• Visit a museum or concert together
• (Spouse) Clean the house while she is out or hire a maid to do it all.
• (Spouse) Give her a coupon to keep the kids one evening.
• (Spouse) Make your wife sleep in one morning and get the kids ready- take them to school.
• Give her a magazine subscription
• Give her an I-tunes Gift card
• Put together an emergency box (fill with things like lotion, relaxing CD’s, movie tickets, chocolate, etc.)
• Buy favorite specialty items: favorite candle, perfume, boutique cosmetics, shampoos, magazine, special chocolate, etc.
• Frame a family portrait (blow it up to an 8x10)
• Frame a really nice picture of Mom
• Buy Customized Stamps (use stamps.com) to create a special stamp (a photo of you together, children, wedding, baby, etc)
• Plan a surprise picnic to local park with good scenery
Last week, a gunman in the small town of Binghamton, New York took the lives of 13 people, including his own. The ugly darkness of evil and sin were yet again exposed to our world. And in the midst of such tragedy (around Easter), I’m compelled to look inwardly at the evil and sin in my own heart.
I often relate Easter-time to the blue-colored peeps and big chocolate bunnies hidden in grass that I found in my basket on Sunday mornings growing up. But I’m learning that Easter is everything but that. Easter is about dealing and grappling with the sin in my heart in light of the cross.
Motivated by love, Christ took on his shoulders the weight of my sin. Ever since the fall, I’ve had a major sin problem—or you could say a thought problem. So God, in human flesh, descended from the heavens to enter my messy world and eventually die a criminal’s death on a cross to rescue me from that sin and bondage.
Mark 7:21 says, “For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery.” There it is. That sin problem disclosed again. I guess I was wrong and I’m not as perfect after all.
Christ came to heal every person’s brokenness and to restore his image within them. His wounds have healed us. Because of his resurrection, Jesus proved he wasn’t a liar or a lunatic. But that he was God. Because of his life, we now have life. And that is something worth celebrating this Easter.
Here are ten things I’m really thankful that God has saved me from (is saving me from).
1.) dead religion
3.) a life of complacency
5.) unbridled tongue
6.) skewed view of love
8.) identity in things/money
What's your list?
This past weekend, I had the opportunity along with Marc McCartney to interview some really gifted authors at the Christian Book Expo here in Dallas. The questions in our interviews focused on small group ministry and what it looks like to put our faith into action. Each author answered the questions with their particular message and passion in mind. The interviews will be posted online at SmallGroupExchange.com and Rightnow.org as free video training.
On Friday, our line-up was Max Lucado (see photo), Andy Crouch, Alex & Brett Harris, Sue Edwards, and Dawn Herzog Jewell. On Saturday: JI Packer, Kevin Leman, Jimmy Dorrell, Ron Hall, Denver Moore, Steven Arterburn, and Bill and Kathy Peel.
I helped with the Friday portion. It was great to hear from Andy Crouch about his passion to help others create culture rather than criticize it. He has some great insight in his book Culture Making: Recovering our Creative Calling. I was able to personally interview Alex and Brett Harris, authors of Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations. These guys were exactly what I thought they would be- full of passion for this generation of teens and mature way beyond their years.
When Max Lucado walked in the room, he had a smile on his face and was genuinely interested in who we were and what we were doing. He talked about how God can use ordinary people for extraordinary purposes and he helped define what "missionary" means in our culture today. He remembered all of our names at the end. I think every Christian on the planet knows who Max Lucado is so it was definitely an honor for him to offer his wisdom to us.
I also loved meeting Dawn Herzog Jewell, author of Escaping the Devil's Bedroom: Sex Trafficking, Global Prostitution, and the Gospel's Transforming Power. She answered questions as to how people can get involved in the heavy topic of sex trafficking and how God gave her the passion to write on the topic and inform others.
We're really excited to have each of these authors on SmallGroupExchange.com and Rightnow.org.
I don't usually read the magazine Vanity Fair, but it caught my eye on Friday night and I am glad it did. I was standing in line at the bookstore and noticed an article titled "Rethinking the American Dream" on the cover. I was very intrigued but didn't want to dive into my kids' college fund to pay for the magazine. After reading the article online today, I realize it would have been well worth the money if I had forked it over on Friday night. It's a GREAT article.
It's a long read, but traces the roots of the "American Dream" concept and how it has evolved over the past 70 years. As a 30 year old it gave me some perspective on why I think the way I do and why my generation has so many questions about life.
By the way, a phrase or mantra we have adopted at The RightNow Campaign is "a generation trading in the pursuit of the American Dream for a world that desperately needs Christ."
Along with millions of jobs and 401(k)s, the concept of a shared national ideal is said to be dying. But is the American Dream really endangered, or has it simply been misplaced? Exploring the way our aspirations have changed—the rugged individualism of the Wild West, the social compact of F.D.R., the sitcom fantasy of 50s suburbia—the author shows how the American Dream came to mean fame and fortune, instead of the promise that shaped a nation.
Read the whole article here.
Last week we had the opportunity to spend 2 hours with Bob Buford at his office. Bob wrote the book Halftime, which greatly inspired me 10 years ago.
The tag line to his book is "Moving from Success to Significance." My dad had the book on his desk 10 years ago and for some reason it caught my attention and so I read it. Keep in mind, I was 20 and had reached no degree of "success" ... but I longed to be "significant."
That book was a major force in launching The RightNow Campaign in 2000. What Bob had done for his generation, I hoped to do for mine. We have a long way to go, but the conversation with Bob last week was affirming. I love that his desire is to pass down insight and wisdom so that our generation can "get it now" and not wait until a midlife crisis to figure things out.
I left rejuvenated and ready to dig deeper to understand the core issues and questions that face our generation of 20 and 30-somethings.
Here are a few questions that Bob posed in his book. Are these the questions that you ask yourself at night in bed looking at the ceiling? If not, what are you asking yourself?
1. What do I wish to be remembered for?
2. Is this really as good as it gets?
3. How was it that I could be so successful, so fortunate, and yet so frustratingly unfulfilled?
4. If your life was absolutely perfect, how would it look to you?
5. What is my passion?
6. How am I wired?
7. Where do I belong?
8. What will I do about what I believe?
9. Who am I?
10. What do I value?
11. What gifts has God given me? How can I use them?
12. What would I be willing to die for?
13. What injustices do I see in the world, that I simply cannot stomach anymore?
14. What is it about my job that makes me feel trapped?
Please drop me a comment and let me know how these questions hit you and what questions you would add.
I love my small group. My family is part of a small group that is the source of some of our deepest friendships and most memorable moments in life. Our group meets every other week on Sunday nights to share life together. And weekly the men and the women each have a Bible study gathering to learn and grow together. I believe small groups can and should make a difference in your life.
A few things your small groups CAN’T become:
Just an event to attend on our calendar – our calendars are full of meetings and events that create “busy-ness”
Another sermon – the pastor has already done the preaching, now it’s time for discussion and interaction
A social club – we all need friendships, but small groups aren’t a place to create another circle of relationships that aren’t connected to any other circle in our life
Some people look at there small groups with this perspective:
Mini-church – the group is like a small iteration of the church — they worship together, serve together, cry together, laugh together, etc
Family – the group becomes as close (or closer) than family because of the time, commitment and support the group shows each other
The Body - (getting Biblical here) - the group represents the Body of Christ where each member has a purpose and role and the head is Christ
Any others to add to the list of what groups CAN’T become or how you view your small group? Comment below.
Our ministry just released our the 2009 Small Group Kit. Our team worked really hard over the past 12 months to create resources that can help small groups live a vibrant faith. Each resource features Biblical insight from amazing teachers. We traveled from Rome to Rwanda to film these series. Our hope and prayer is that these resources fuel your group’s desire to get off the couch and do something with their faith.
Let Story Guide You with Donald Miller - Life is a Story, Make Yours Count
Facing the Unknown with Mark Batterson - A Modern Look at the Life of Abraham
What If... with Alan Danielson - What if our small group made a difference in our lives?
No Plan B with Todd Phillips - Your part in God's remarkable plan to rescue the world
Paul the Apostle with David Nasser - What Culture Doesn't Want You To Hear
The kit also includes a DVD called "Don't Kill Your Small Group" a DVD from SmallGroupExchange.com to help train the small group leaders at your church. The DVD addresses 6 hot issues that ever small group faces.
Check them out. Four of the titles are under $30 individually and you can get a deal by purchasing them all together in the 2009 Small Group Kit.
This week we launched a new campaign called Go Green. We are putting a little twist on the whole “green” frenzy that’s happening. The green we are talking about saving isn’t the earth (though we think that’s a good idea) ... The green we’re talking about is money.
Who hasn’t been impacted somehow by the economic hurricane sweeping our country. Church budgets are tightening and our ministry realizes that it’s harder and harder to purchase the resources that help support ministry efforts towards youth, parents, married couples, etc.
So save some green by downloading one of our $1.99 video sermon illustrations or one of our small group DVDs for under $30.
Keep an eye out for our Go Green ads at Sermon Central, Bible Study Magazine, Rev and other places. The tower banner to the left is one frame of a multi-frame banner we are about to launch.
Reflections on our LeadNow and Fusion event.
This past weekend I was rocked by something that Francis Chan said. He told a room of 1000 pastors and church leaders that much of our ministry might be powered by our own efforts and not the power of the Holy Spirit. Francis said that he knew how to grow a church — he’s a pretty good speaker, he can lead a talented team of musicians, he knows how to incorporate video, lights, etc. But if Jesus was the pastor of a church in our town — would our church be bigger than Jesus’ church? Would we be able to draw a bigger crowd because we tell them what they WANT to hear and give them an experience that feels good? That’s a head-rattling, heart-stopping thought.
Francis was speaking to the 1000+ leaders at the LeadNow event and then he spoke to the 2000+ at the Fusion Experience. Joining Francis was Erwin McManus, Todd Phillips, Matt Chandler, Marcus Buckingham, Margaret Feinberg and Donald Miller. Based on what Francis said, I want to be careful about how I write about the weekend. Certainly the speakers were top notch and we were thrilled with the attendance and loved being led in music by The Patrick Ryan Clark band and The Robbie Seay Band ... But if all you hear about is the pizzazz then I am afraid I won’t be doing it justice. I believe God showed up. There are three things I believe are evidence of God’s presence this weekend.
1. Bluefish TV and The RightNow Campaign
I am really proud of our team for putting together the LeadNow and Fusion events in Dallas. For over 30 years Bluefish TV has been creating video resources for the church. But for the past nine years there has been an engine that has been guiding the content and mission of our ministry. That engine is The RightNow Campaign. This is a movement to engage the 20 and 30-somethings in the church and challenge them to live out their faith. To put their faith into action. The LeadNow and Fusion events come out of heart of The RightNow Campaign. Donald Miller, Margaret Feinberg, Erwin McManus, Todd Phillips and others are relationships that have started with The RightNow Campaign and then been transferred to Bluefish TV so that these powerful teachers can reach more churches and more people through the DVD resources produced by Bluefish. So this past weekend was a team effort between The RightNow Campaign and Bluefish TV. (We are all in one office and one big happy/messy family.) God’s presence is obvious when the body works together in unity.
2. Like a Broken Record
At every event we work with the speakers to ensure that their teaching falls in line with the topics and themes we are aiming for during the event. But anytime you throw a handful of people on stage and ask them to teach you are bound to to get a little bit of splintering and rabbit trails. This past weekend was like a broken record. The 10 main session messages seemed to coordinate with each other and build off of each other. God’s presence is obvious when many voices bring one message.
3. Faith in Action
We called on the attendees to take tangible steps of action. Some steps will be easy and some will be more challenging. But here’s what has happened already:
>>1000 Caregiver kits were assembled to help fight AIDS in Africa. World Vision brought all the supplies and our attendees served as the “muscle” to build kits that will be used on the frontlines of people impacted by AIDS.
>> 133 children were sponsored. A few years ago my family began sponsoring 2 children that were similar ages to Abby and Grant. We invited Compassion International into the event to provide a tangible way for people to get involved.
>> Over 400 people filled out a response form that they are looking for help in discovering ways to serve. Our RightNow mission coaches will begin following up with these 400+ to help connect them to specific opportunities that are a match for their passions and skills.
God’s presence is obvious when people sacrifice time, money and comfort in pursuit of Him.
I love the event because it’s an opportunity to see God at work. You can see our Director of Event’s Top 10 Memorable moments here.
Continuing on with our list of things where the church should laugh at ourselves ... Last time we talked about living in the Christian Bubble.
#2 -- Is anyone reading the Bible?
We are facing an illiteracy problem in our country. It’s not that people can’t read ... It’s that people aren’t reading the Bible. I am not even sure of the source of the problem. Has the Bible lost its authority because our preaching isn’t Bible-based enough? Is there so much to read that the Bible gets lower and lower on people’s priority list? Are we used to the 3rd grade USA Today writing style and the Bible intimidates us?
However we got here ... if we don’t know the Bible we can’t carry out God’s plan for us and the world. Our Bluefish team wanted to highlight this issue in a funny video called “How to Avoid Misusing the Bible” that’s part of our Laugh Volume 2 DVD.
What do we do to turn the tide on Bible illiteracy?
Sometimes the best way to get people thinking about an issue is to get them laughing. I love the church and I love that Bluefish TV is providing resources for the church. But if you take a step back, there’s plenty to laugh at when you consider how we do things in the church sometimes. Truthfully, the reason we laugh is because we know it’s true and deep down it stings a bit.
Over the next few posts, I’ll share some things worth laughing at ... And hopefully after laughing we can start doing something to change it.
#1 Living in the Christian Bubble
There’s a lot of talk about how Christians can tend to isolate themselves from the world and before you know it — we have our own “bubble” that we’re living in. I know I struggle with it because I work around a great group of Christians at my office, I am involved heavily at my church (again Christians all around) and even in my neighborhood a lot of people are church-going people.
I step back and realize most of my weeks are spent around Christians. It’s frustrating and challenging. We’ve invited Dan Kimball to our LeadNow events where he has challenged pastors to lead people to engage in the Kingdom and not the Bubble. Dan humorously points out that you can buy Christian socks, Christian candy, Christian playing cards, t-shirts ... even Christian poker chips.
With that in mind, our product team has created a great parody called “Bubble Creek Canyon.” It’s one of the six funny clips on our Laugh Volume 2 DVD.
You can see the 3-minute Bubble Creek Canyon video on our site here.
If you move into this neighborhood, you won’t have to worry about interacting with a heathen world ever again!
So besides poking fun at ourselves — how can we as the church move people beyond the bubble? I’d love to hear your thoughts. What are you doing in your church? What really works?
Our team recently finished up producing the DVDs that make up the 2009 Video Sermon Illustration kit. The kit is back from the press and we’re excited to announce that it has just been released. Our purpose in creating the 2009 Video Sermon Illustration kit is for you to use this unique tool to help you deliver Biblical messages in a culturally relevant way. Over 200 video illustrations, motion loops, countdowns and still images are in the kit for you to choose from. Our Story Behind the Hymn and Advent illustrations are two of my favorite DVDs within the kit. Our Story Behind the Hymn videos illustrate the triumphs and tragedies behind classic hymns you’ve heard today, like Come thou Fount, ‘Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus, and Amazing Grace. The Advent illustrations will give you chills all around! They will help you celebrate the birth of Jesus as they take a powerful, cinematic look at the events surrounding the birth of Christ. If you’re looking for illustrations to lighten up the mood in your congregation, Laugh Vol. 2 is perfect for just that. Laugh Vol. 2 includes six hilarious video illustrations that display exaggerated scenarios in order to pave the way for biblical and practical teaching. Our hope is that you and your church will laugh with us, and, through humor, your congregation will be open and ready for teaching. I’ve only touched the surface of the quality that’s in the 2009 Video Illustration Kit. I hope you will check it out for yourself. Have you used any of Bluefish’s Video Illustration kits in the past? If so, we’d love to hear how they worked for you.
Our purpose in creating the 2009 Video Sermon Illustration kit is for you to use this unique tool to help you deliver Biblical messages in a culturally relevant way. Over 200 video illustrations, motion loops, countdowns and still images are in the kit for you to choose from.
Our Story Behind the Hymn and Advent illustrations are two of my favorite DVDs within the kit. Our Story Behind the Hymn videos illustrate the triumphs and tragedies behind classic hymns you’ve heard today, like Come thou Fount, ‘Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus, and Amazing Grace.
The Advent illustrations will give you chills all around! They will help you celebrate the birth of Jesus as they take a powerful, cinematic look at the events surrounding the birth of Christ.
If you’re looking for illustrations to lighten up the mood in your congregation, Laugh Vol. 2 is perfect for just that. Laugh Vol. 2 includes six hilarious video illustrations that display exaggerated scenarios in order to pave the way for biblical and practical teaching. Our hope is that you and your church will laugh with us, and, through humor, your congregation will be open and ready for teaching.
I’ve only touched the surface of the quality that’s in the 2009 Video Illustration Kit. I hope you will check it out for yourself.
Have you used any of Bluefish’s Video Illustration kits in the past? If so, we’d love to hear how they worked for you.
Today Bluefish TV is launching a new DVD series with Erwin McManus called Uprising. 14 months ago I was in Los Angeles meeting with Erwin. We were brainstorming about potential resources to create for small groups. He shared that at his church, Mosaic, the content from his book Uprising is the most used resource for discipleship training in small groups. After hearing that, it wasn’t hard to put our creative team at Bluefish to work on taking that content and making it available on DVD to small groups across the country.
What I love about Uprising is that Erwin walks through scripture teaching that God is the only one that can transform our character — but there’s a response that scripture commands from us. Erwin’s teaching is always inspiring and challenging. We found several real-life stories to shoot and edit that match each of the sessions throughout Uprising. I believe those stories really help bring the teaching down to everyday life where we see people’s triumphs and tragedies in working through character transformation.
You can see a preview of the Uprising DVD series here on the BluefishTV.com site.
Erwin has written several good books, speaks at conferences across the country and has worked with Bluefish on several video resources. What’s a teaching moment from Erwin that has impacted you and your church the most?
Today I’m wearing my official Jacaru hat from Australia around the office. After the occasional odd look and stare, I get the chance to tell our team that we’ve just setup two partnerships with Koorong and Word–Australia ... some incredible ministries from the land down under.
I’ve really been encouraged to hear from the guys at these ministries how God is using messages from Louie Giglio, Don Miller and Erwin McManus to encourage the younger generation in Australia to live out their faith.
So, next week some of our best Bluefish TV small group studies will hop on a plane and make their way to Australia for the first time. We’re thrilled to be partnering with these guys and for those Aussie’s tuning in, look for the resources to come online at Koorong and Word in the coming weeks!
Of course, all this talk about Australia has me day dreaming of using some frequent flyer miles to head down there and hike through the outback. Anyone up for a road trip?
Our crew just wrapped up shooting a 4-session small group DVD with Mark Batterson. Mark is such an encouraging guy and I love hearing about how God is using his church in the Washington DC area. Mark is the pastor at National Community Church and has a great blog about life and leadership called Evotional.
RELEVANT magazine is pretty familiar to most of us in Christian publishing today. Relevant first published in 2003 and since then, they’ve had a base of more than 75,000 readers. Relevant’s companion web presence, RelevantMagazine.com was launched before the print publication.
Relevant explores the intersection of faith and pop culture with the tagline "God. Life. Progressive Culture." Their articles feature fresh spiritual voices, often profiling young musicians, authors and entrepreneurs like Paper Route, Donald Miller, Rob Bell, Margaret Feinberg and Sarah Cunningham. Relevant also offers political spotlights, social issues, and reviews of recently released media selections. They’re also reaching women in their twenties and thirties through radiantmag.com.
In the past few years, we’ve had the privilege of working with Relevant as they’ve sponsored our past three events through the RightNow Campaign. They’ve also exchanged ads in our leader magazine for sponsorship. Recently, we’ve partnered with Relevant in a different way and just this week, several of our small group Bible studies are now live on their store.
In the future, Relevant hopes to add video previews for each of our products. We’re really excited to continue building our partnerships with Relevant and being open to how God wants to use more of our resources on their site.
It's hard to believe that on Thursday we're approaching the seven year anniversary since the September 11 attacks on our nation. All of us remember where we were that day. The memory for some is fading and for others, it is still haunting. I remember the courage of everyone who worked together that day (those living and those who've passed away). They'll never be forgotten.
I'll never forget a few lines that President Bush said in response to the attacks:
I was in Texas , Virginia , California , Michigan , Afghanistan. I was standing next to you when you heard the terrible news. Did you sense Me?
Last week, Brian Mosley and some of our staff had lunch with Alan Danielson from LifeChurch.tv. Alan oversees their small group ministry in
Alan came to
We’re looking forward to expanding the content and uploading the videos to The Small Group Exchange soon. Be sure to check out Alan Danielson with LifeChurch.tv when you’re on the site and searching for good resources to share with those you lead.
Sean McDowell says in the new Friends series:
The solution to loneliness is relationships. God has made us and designed us to be in healthy relationships. When we don’t have the relationships that He desires us to have we start to look for other things to fill that up. Maybe it’s sports, maybe it’s in a relationship and sexuality. Maybe it’s in food or music. We look for something else to fill up that void that’s in our hearts but God made us relational and that’s what makes the church unique when we care for each other. Love each other. Encourage each other. Then we can really be fulfilled in who God wants us to be.
Sean says it so right. Teens are faced with an unbelievable amount of pressure in their relationships. I’m in my mid-twenties and I remember the pressure like it was yesterday. At one point or another every teen feels loneliness but it’s about what they do with it that makes the difference. The amazing truth is that God made us relational beings. We crave to be known and to know others in a deep way. When we understand what God really wants from us: to care, love, and encourage each other, we will be fulfilled. Instead of being bogged down in our loneliness or depression, we can begin by reaching out beyond ourselves… to others. As a pastor, youth leader, or small group leader you have a great task ahead of you when it comes to teaching youth about relationships. We’ve partnered with Sean in this Friends series to help aid your teaching. This video series is merely a discussion starter for what we’d love to see happen in your youth- a drastic paradigm shift in the way they view and handle relationships. We’d love your comments on how this brand new resource is influencing them. What other issues have you seen among youth when it comes to the influence of friends?
The amazing truth is that God made us relational beings. We crave to be known and to know others in a deep way. When we understand what God really wants from us: to care, love, and encourage each other, we will be fulfilled. Instead of being bogged down in our loneliness or depression, we can begin by reaching out beyond ourselves… to others.
As a pastor, youth leader, or small group leader you have a great task ahead of you when it comes to teaching youth about relationships. We’ve partnered with Sean in this Friends series to help aid your teaching. This video series is merely a discussion starter for what we’d love to see happen in your youth- a drastic paradigm shift in the way they view and handle relationships.
We’d love your comments on how this brand new resource is influencing them. What other issues have you seen among youth when it comes to the influence of friends?
Over the past few months, Scott Mosley, our Director of Operations, and I have been contacting leaders across the country who are directly involved in small group ministry. We’ve contacted these leaders to see how they might become a contributor to our new site, The Small Group Exchange (SGX) by providing reviews and articles.
The reason we set out to create SGX is because our heartbeat is in small group ministry. As more and more churches move away from the Sunday-School model and transition into the home or church-based small group format, new challenges and opportunities arise. New leaders are formed and often these leaders have difficulty finding quality resources and training so that they can be an effective small group leader. We want to help with this frustration and fill in the gap for them.
I have been blown away by our contributor’s desire to take their wisdom and experience in small groups and pass it on to others. They’re incredibly busy with responsibilities within the church and home, but they’ve been awesome with their deadlines, helping us launch the site, and spreading the word to their friends in ministry. Just to name a few of our contributors: Heather Goodman (Plano, TX), Spence Shelton (Durham, NC), Winfield Bevins (Outer Banks, NC), Annie Groves (Kailua, Hawaii), Heather Zempel (Washington D.C.), Anne Jackson (Nashville, TN), and Dan Kimball (Santa Cruz, CA).
We'll keep you updated on the additions we'll be making to the site as this is still the BETA version. If you’re interested in contributing to The Small Group Exchange, please peruse our articles, reviews, and products and contact Samantha [AT] smallgroupexchange.com. We’d love for you to be a part of our mission.
David Nasser says in the Paul in Rome series:
Just as in any other church building of any denomination it [the Holy Staircase] has also sadly been a place where people have come and have on bended knee thought: Maybe I can get the favor of God if I pray really long and really hard… if I cry enough tears on these staircases I can earn the love of God.
I know I’ve been caught up into thinking I must earn God’s favor and love. But the reality is that God’s love for me isn’t based on anything I could do. My righteousness is as filthy rags, and even my very best still isn’t good enough.
I’ve missed the mark and missed His standard of perfection. That is why Christ had to be the One to take care of what I could not. He who knew no sin became sin for my righteousness. And my salvation is by grace through faith, so that I can’t boast.
This truth is incredible and should cause my heart to overflow with joy and gratitude every day. This truth is so radical and freeing that it should cause every person to want to follow after a Savior who has taken care of such a debt… because He loves us.
Do you ever feel you have to keep earning His love even though you know God’s grace covers you? Why is it so hard to allow His unconditional love to really saturate our lives?
We're really excited to announce that our 2009 Youth Ministry Kit has returned from the press and is now available at Bluefishtv.com. The line-up for this kit is packed with three incredibly talented communicators: David Nasser, Sean McDowell, and Marcus Goodloe ("Goodie"). These guys bring their own voice to the table and really speak to teens on the issues they're facing in today's culture.
The real-life interviews that our production team shot for the kit are really impacting as they're from real teens across the country addressing topics that need to be talked about and dealt with. Teens will definitely relate to these stories.
Here are some brief descriptions of the video-driven Bible studies:
PAUL IN ROME (Featuring David Nasser)
Has anything really changed in 2000 years?
Students in America are growing up in a culture that places high emphasis on entertainment, politics and self. It's increasingly difficult for scriptural Truth to cut through the noise and sink into the hearts and minds of this next generation. In these four sessions, David Nasser uses the life of Paul to highlight how followers of Christ can stand up to cultural "norms" and stand firm in Christ.
CHOOSE (Featuring Marcus “Goodie” Goodloe)
What’s the most spiritual thing you will do today?
Prayer? Reading the Bible? Serving? How we decide to express our faith is up to us. The power of choice is one of the most important elements of our spiritual journey. Students are constantly faced with life-changing decisions in their relationships and faith. In these four sessions, Marcus Goodloe introduces Biblical principles to help students make wise choices amidst a chaotic culture.
FRIENDS (Featuring Sean McDowell)
Who are the most influential people in a student’s life?
Parents, teachers and pastors would like to think they are the most influential in a student’s life, but students spend more time interacting with their friends than with anyone else. Friends influence every part of students’ lives - how they act, what they wear, what they say, and most importantly what they believe. In these four power-packed sessions, Sean McDowell offers Biblical insight into the most common issues students are facing in their friendships.
The kit also includes three DVDs full of video illustrations:
Can we really impact the world around us? These four powerful video illustrations demonstrate how even the smallest change can cause a ripple that makes a huge difference.
AMENA BROWN: HE IS HERE
Fusing her talent for poetry and passion, Amena will draw your group into a place of authentic worship and challenge this generation to a life driven by truth.
Your entire youth group is sure to “have a cow” laughing and learning with these hilariously entertaining video clips brought to you by the creators of the popular Moooo series.
Over the next few weeks, I'll be posting on different topics addressed in the 2009 kit so you can get a flavor for the content and biblical insight the 2009 Youth Kit contains.
On our new bluefishtv.com you'll see enhanced video previews with more HD clips available, and we have highlighted our $15-20 DVDs for your convenience. We've also included a section near each product called "What others are saying about this product." This is typically a quote from a well-known pastor, speaker, or a customer who has used the product.