Worship Well

I’ve got to get my mind right.

In “Spiritual Transformation,” Dr. Dallas Willard shares…

“To think of God rightly, as God is, one cannot help but lapse into worship; and worship is the single most powerful force in completing and sustaining the spiritual formation of the whole person. Worship naturally arises from thinking rightly about God on the basis of revealed truth confirmed in experience. We say flatly: worship is at once the overall character of the renovated thought life and the only safe place for any human being to stand.”

I’ve been way to busy and the first thing to go has been a sense of daily worship, followed close behind by a bad attitude and spirit that I only do a poor job of hiding. My mind has simply wandered into the world of performance, getting it done… and in doing so I miss it altogether.

Maybe you struggle with the same thing?

I need to slow down mind, body and soul and worship. I need to keep God the Father, the Son our Savior and the Holy Spirit central to a daily, even in-the-moment lifestyle of worship.

Let’s encourage one another to worship well. #heartsoulmindstrength #encourageencourageencourage

Avoid The Merry Madness

How do you keep from getting caught up in the merry madness? Here are 5 ways to take back the holidays and put the “Merry” back in Christmas…

1) Declare your intentions. It’s not too late. Talk about your desire to avoid the mayhem with your spouse, kids, lead team, co-workers, etc. Ask them for input into how, together, you can avoid the overkill that so often accompanies what one classic song describes as, “The most wonderful time of the year.”

2) Plan on doing (and spending) less and experiencing more. This doesn’t mean taking a page out of the “Christmas with the Cranks” playbook with an all-out boycott. It does mean choosing to say “No” to some otherwise festive events that, collectively, only serve to bring out the “bah-humbug” in all of us. And, why not opt for more thoughtful and less expensive gifts for your loved-ones and friends? This may just start a trend everyone will be grateful for and happy to follow.

3) Eat less, exercise (and sleep) more. Determine to enjoy your favorite holiday foods in moderation and to stay active. And, no, “Black Friday” didn’t count as aerobic exercise. Get the rest you need by going to bed a little earlier and, when that rare opportunity presents itself, take a “power nap.” Why wait until the New Year to resolve and start living healthier?

4) Serve together. What if you gathered your family or small group and traded a day looking for a parking space and standing in crowded lines shopping for an afternoon volunteering at a homeless shelter or evening caroling at a nursing home? Do this with no other agenda than to be a blessing to others.

5) Hit the “pause” button often. No, we can’t always drop everything for the day or even several hours. Still, be intentional about some 15-30 minute moments of reflection. Make a list of all the people and the things you are most thankful for. Read the Christmas story (Luke 2) slowly and reflect on what “Immanuel, God with us” really means to you.

You don’t have to settle for merely surviving Christmas. Determine to take back this holiday season and discover again the true reasons for the season.

Peak Online Summit

Dr. Lori Salierno-Maldonado will headline a panel of amazing leaders on our next Peak Pastors Summit! Wednesday, August 26th at Noon Eastern Time.

Dr. Lori Salierno-Maldonado

The theme is Empowering Women in Leadership: Finding and leveraging your unique voice as a Christ-centered leader. Be on the lookout for more information coming introducing the influential panel of leaders Dr. Lori has assembled!

Dr. Lori Maldonado is a fierce leader, non-profit CEO, and energetic international speaker. She is also a successful author and leadership consultant. Dr. Lori is an inspirational and motivating orator and determined mentor. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, José. They have two sons Kenan and Colin. They love to travel, visit coffee shops, read, and engage in age defying activities such as mountain climbing, hiking, and cycling.

Plan on joining our Peak Pastors Group Page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/peakpastors on Wednesday, August 26th at Noon Eastern Time! SHARE THIS POST WITH OTHERS so we can #encourageencourageencourage #heartsoulmindstrength more and more pastors and church leaders… especially the generation of powerful women leaders God is raising up!

Take a Break!

You need a break. Your volunteers need a break. God took a break. He even made it a law and called it Sabbath. Jesus modeled this same concept, getting away to be with the Father to renew His soul, recenter and stay in step with His will time and again.

How can we take breaks that add not only to our health, but to that of our volunteers and overall ministry? How can we take advantage of the annual cultural realities of summer and Christmas breaks when a large portion of people take vacations and are a little bit “checked out” of normal routines?

This is where the 5R Strategy can help you and your team take full advantage of taking a break! Here are the nuts and bolts of the 5R Strategy:

REST- We all need it and it’s a


During this scheduled time leaders and teams should celebrate the fact that little to nothing is being done by anyone. Plan for it. Put it on the calendar. REST is the thing that makes all the other things even possible! Get excited about it! It flows with the rhythm of western culture to take advantage of this over the summer and then around the New Year. Call it a “power pause” or an “off-season.” All the best teams have one.

Note: Not everyone wants, needs or even can take a break. Some basic functions simply must go on. Be intentional about communicating with those serving these needs. How can they get a break and their function continue to go forward in a healthy way?

RETHINK – We all need a fresh


“If you’re always working in it, you can’t work on it.” (Andy Stanley)

It helps to get away in order to see things clearly and creatively. Do this both individually and as a team, preferably off-site. Take a close look and ask the tough questions that will lead to being and doing better in your area. Another word for this is REVIEW. It’s simply asking the question, “How can we make it better?”

REWORK – It only works when

we are working it.

Times change. Things change. Culture changes. We better change our methods accordingly. While staying true to timeless principles and our vision/values, we must meet the culture we are trying to reach and people we are trying to serve where they are at. And, these are all moving targets! CHANGE IS INEVITABLE. IT WILL EITHER HAPPEN TO YOU OR THROUGH YOU. How can we rework our methods to better connect with and serve those we are trying to reach?

RECRUIT – Expanding our teams

expands our influence!

Healthy teams are actively mentoring new members and revolving them in a purposed way. Why? Because disciples make disciples and servants make servants! Besides, some active positions will need filled, old positions removed and new positions added.

The 5-R Break will allow for this to be done in a thoughtful way. Who are you investing in? How are they learning and growing?

RELAUNCH – We all need new


Whether it’s like a “Grand Reopening” or a more simple, understated re-start, there’s just something good about beginning again that brings a sense of excitement and momentum to everyone! Plan, prepare, promote and then relaunch it together!

There’s one more BONUS “R” to add that is central to all the others, RELATIONSHIP.

Healthy RELATIONSHIPS are at

the center of great teams.

Not only should every strategic step in the strategy focus on this, but if there are unhealthy relationships, there is now time to “go there” and work it out. Are all relationships good? Then, use this time for some extra team bonding!

Last but not least is PRAYER!

This is vital to the 5R Strategy. Nothing will take the place of being in step with the Holy Spirit and His unique leading for your life and the team culture you influence, putting the right people in the right places for the right season.

5R Summary – Do all teams need to go through each step each time? 

No, probably not. However, most will need to focus on a few of the steps that will be strategic to their team health in their area of service before moving forward again with a sense of renewed energy and direction.

It’s time for you and your team to

take a much needed, much

deserved and strategic break!

Peak Pastors Group

Spread Eagle Peak – August, 2019

Nobody “gets” the life of

a pastor like a pastor.

Join a growing group of pastors on the new Peak Pastors Facebook Group page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/peakpastors/

This group exists to #encourageencourageencourage the local pastor, their families and teams in 4 essential areas… heart, soul, mind and strength.

Every post focuses on one of these aspects… the heart is for family, the soul is all about spiritual growth in Christ, the mind is about teachability and growth as a leader and strength is about getting and staying healthy physically.

We have never needed to lead in

community more than today.

Let’s face it, we are all living and leading in a new normal. Let’s make the new normal look more like a collaborative effort than ever before!

I need you. You need me. We need each other and this is a good thing, even a “God-thing!”

Please, join us on the new Peak

Pastors Facebook Group today…

and invite a pastor friend to join


Listen to the Wise

Who are you listening to through this season?

The voices we listen to shape us.

The voices we listen to seep into our minds and then mold our attitude, perspective, and find their way into our conversations and then inform our decisions and, ultimately, our actions.

Are you in an echo chamber of our own voice or very small circle of voices? Would you say that your own biblical world view has been challenged, stretched or grown through this season?

I’ll ask it again, who are you listening to through this unsettled season of crisis?

The way of fools seems right to

them, but the wise listen to advice.

Proverbs 12:15

Here are some voices I have been listening to and recommend to you, not because I agree 100% with everything being said, but because I want to be challenged, stretched and to grow as a follower of Jesus and leader in His Church…

Unbelievable Podcast with Justin Brierley…

Ravi Zacharias on the Ben Shapiro Show…

CNLP Bonus 21 | Crisis Leadership. Special Panel on Best Practices for Crisis Leadership and Finding Hope with Jud Wilhite, Kevin Queen and Tricia Sciortino https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnaFN7zGTi4

3 Simple Ways to Make Sure You Don’t Break in the Crisis by Carey Nieuwhof https://careynieuwhof.com/3-simple-ways-to-make-sure-you-dont-break-in-the-crisis/


We have an


opportunity to BE THE

CHURCH, to be the hands

of help and voice of

hope for Jesus.

What are you preaching on this Sunday? The series of messages I’m working on is simply, BE THE CHURCH.

I’m drawing from Acts 2:42-47 and then Acts 4:42-47 and we will be encouraging and challenging with some very practical and daily ways to BE THE CHURCH now and in the new normal.

Here are some very practical things we are working on at The Church at Bradenton…

How to be real help and real hope:


2 – Pray with and for people.

3 – Encourage, encourage, encourage!

4 – Donate to FELT (Feeding Empty Little Tummies).

5 – Check up on single moms, widows and elderly in your neighborhood and our TCAB family.

6 – Partner with your community. i.e. Give to our local food bank and give to your church food pantry.

7 – Give to your local church so we can continue to be hands of help and voice of hope.

8 – Pray with and for people.

Share your thoughts and how you and your team are being the hands of help and voice of hope where you live and lead! #encourageencourageencourage

Here is a helpful article with helpful links on catching up with the challenge curve that the average church is facing in this season… https://careynieuwhof.com/8-ways-to-lead-in-the-new-digital-default-church/

Prayer Partners with Saint Patrick

Guest Blogger: Pastor Steve Rennick

Steve in Hezekiah’s Tunnel

A New Approach to Praying with

a Prayer Partner

This guest blog post comes at just the right time. Share this hope-building perspective on prayer from Pastor Steve Rennick with someone today!

When I came to Christ on my 14th birthday my first pastor told me, “Steve, you’ll never make it on your own. You have to read 5 chapters of your bible every day. You have to kneel beside your bed and pray out loud every day. You have to attend church every time the doors are open. And you have to lean into our youth group. Do you hear me, Steve? You’ll never make it on your own.”

Those were (and still are) sage words of wisdom. I took them to heart. And, my pastor was right. I would not have made it on my own.

Today, some 40+ years later, I still cannot make it on my own. After bible college and seminary — following years of youth ministry, overseas missionary work in rural East Africa, and leading a large multi-service & church-planting congregation — now more than ever…

I cannot make it on my own.

To my surprise God is bringing some “new” prayer partners into my life. At a time when I needed it most I stumbled onto a prayer thought to have been written (or inspired by) Saint Patrick of Ireland.

Pat’s life is an amazing odyssey (kidnapped, human trafficked, converted to Christ, escaped, called back to his captors with the Gospel) which is worthy of your time to read. However, his heart-felt prayer has helped me even more than his life story!

Today, Pat has become one of my

Prayer Partners!

His prayer helps me to pray in the awareness of the living presence of Jesus. I hope he and his prayer might help you, too.

Here is my own “adaptation” of what is popularly known as
“The Breastplate Prayer” of St. Patrick of Ireland.

“I Arise Today” … an adaptation of “The Breastplate Prayer” by Saint Patrick

I arise today through the …

Strength of heaven,

Light of sun,

Splendor of fire,

Speed of lightning,

Swiftness of wind,

Depth of sea,

Stability of earth,

Firmness of rock.

I arise today through … 

God’s strength to pilot me;

God’s might to uphold me,

God’s wisdom to guide me,

God’s eye to look before me,

God’s ear to hear me,

God’s word to speak for me,

God’s hand to guard me,

God’s way to lie before me,

God’s shield to protect me,

God’s hosts to save me.

Afar and anear,

Alone or in a multitude,

Christ shield me today.

Christ with me, 

Christ before me, 

Christ behind me,

Christ in me, 

Christ beneath me, 

Christ above me,

Christ on my right, 

Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down, 

Christ when I get up,

Christ in the heart of all who think of me,

Christ in the mouth of all who speak of me,

Christ in the eye of all who see me,

Christ in the ear of all who hear me.

I arise today … through … 

the mighty strength of Christ.

May you also arise today through and in the mighty strength of Christ!

Leading Women

I look back and can’t imagine my

life and ministry without the

impact of some amazing and

influential women.

I’m guessing your life history tells the same story?

Pastor Lillie McCutcheon – Click on the link to learn more!

Peak Pastors honors and celebrates the God-given and prominent roles of women leading in the home, in our communities, and in the Church!

Of course, the debate goes on in many circles as to exactly what those roles are and should be.

NT Wright gives lends at fresh take from not only a biblical perspective, but from the central theme of God’s Word, namely, the resurrection of Jesus.

Check out the following resources from the Ask NT Wright Anything podcast as he addresses questions concerning this and many other subjects from listeners around the world. https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Weekday/Ask-NT-Wright-Anything/Podcast/Ask-NT-Wright-Anything-6-Female-church-leadership-complementarity-and-marriage

Watch this short clip from this podcast @ https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Weekday/Ask-NT-Wright-Anything/Videos/Why-women-should-be-church-leaders-and-preachers-Ask-NT-Wright-anything

What are your thoughts? Join us on our Peak Pastors Facebook page to engage in this vital conversation!

Join us in celebrating the powerful role of women past, present and future in the fulfilling of God’s will until our Savior, Jesus Christ, comes again!

Beat March Madness

March Madness isn’t just a basketball tournament. For pastors, it’s the annual (and sometimes exhausting) ritual of getting ready for and playing at our best during “The Big Dance” known as the Easter Season.

Let’s face it, the pressure to

perform is on.

If we aren’t careful, it can get the best of even the most seasoned veterans.

How do you avoid this as a leader?

For too long it has been a disturbing badge of honor to live and lead by “burning the candle at both ends.” While there are days when we have to get up early and stay up late to get it done, this shouldn’t be the indefinite lifestyle of a healthy leader.

Here’s Tip #1 – Get more sleep!

The truth is, when someone is perpetually exhausted, eventually there are poor life and leadership choices being made.

“Rest isn’t weakness.” – Carey Nieuwhof

Find out more at https://careynieuwhof.com/why-leadership-is-so-exhausting-and-what-to-do-about-it/

We’ve all been there when we haven’t gotten enough zzzz’s. We get “cranky,” and our creativity decreases along with our attention span. Poor eating and drinking choices increase as we try to get more energy in all the wrong ways when what we need is more “shut-eye.” 

Not convinced? Check out this link to a great article on the correlation between rest and productivity by Michael Hyatt – Why People Who Sleep Longer Achieve More

It’s simple. If we want to be at our best for the Lord, our families, lead teams and the people we serve, then we must choose to be well-rested.

We might even take an elusive “power-nap” every now and then.

New York Times best-selling author and all around life and leadership guru Jon Acuff challenges us…

“In a world that praises busyness,

rest is an act of bravery.” 

Refuse to live and lead exhausted. Don’t give into the March Madness of ministry during any season.