Motivation, Inspiration, and Thoughts

There wasn’t a page for passing along ideas, thoughts, and other items that cause us to think and that might motivate us.  Now (as of February 2018) we have such a page.  As I find things of relevance on the internet, in email messages, and elsewhere, I will do my best to add them to this page.  I hope you find these thought provoking and/or motivating.




Not really Humour - but the truth

Truth in advertising




Other Ways to Say ‘I Love You’


Breathe in Peace,
Breathe out Love


Found on the Caledon East United Church web site, Spring 2017 Newsletter
I was checking the web site of the church my ancestors attended just ot see what was happening there and came across this.  — Keith

Ten Things Churches Should Stop Saying

A couple of years ago, my wife decided what she would give up for Lent was complaining about being tired and overworked. Amazingly, she discovered that once she stopped telling herself how tired and overworked she was, she felt a lot less tired and overworked! Changing how she talked actually changed her reality.

We can say things often enough that they start to actually determine reality rather than just describe it. They might be factually true, but they are unhelpful because of what they reinforce.

Here are ten statements often heard in churches that can negatively shape the culture of a congregation. Even if they accurately describe your church, you should consider inviting people to stop repeating them.

1.  “We are an aging congregation.”

Well, of course. Most mainline churches are aging. The problem with this statement is it is often used to justify inaction. It means, “Don’t ask us to do anything different, we’re too old and tired.” Repeated often enough, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Contrary to the popular adage, old dogs can learn lots of new tricks, but not if they keep telling themselves it’s impossible.

Positive response: Begin to focus on the assets that wisdom and experience bring, not on the limitations of tired backs and short term memory loss.

2.  “Children are the future of our church.”

This statement is not necessarily unhelpful. It can remind churches that they need to pay attention to more than the older, long-term members. It can be unhelpful, though, if it makes people think that Christian education is only for kids. The odds that the children in your current Sunday School will grow up to be the core of your congregation are so long, they are barely measurable. Your children are not just the potential givers and volunteers of tomorrow, they are a vital part of your church today.

Positive response: Begin to develop a process for helping people of all ages become more faithful disciples of Jesus.

3.  “People come to our church because of the outstanding music.”

Music has power to touch our souls and inspire us to great things. But if a significant number of people say they attend your church mainly because of the music, prepare yourself for a major exodus if that ever changes. High
quality music programs usually depend on a handful of skilled individuals – an outstanding director, or a few strong singers. That can change in a heartbeat. If the only thing that is keeping many folks in your church is the current state of your music program, the departure of a couple of people could have a devastating effect on the congregation. This leads to a second and related problem statement …

4.  “The best thing about our church is the choir.”

Choirs can be a centre of health and vitality in a church. But if people’s first allegiance is to the choir, rather than the larger mission of the church, they can become a quasi-independent power group with their own executives and money disconnected from the decision-making structure of the church. Also, choirs are often the only remaining group that meets weekly, making them fertile ground for gossip and dissent. Choirs can become the tail that wags the dog.

Positive response: Work with your choir to help them locate themselves within the overall ministry and mission of the church.

5.  “People are on fixed incomes. They can’t give any more.”

Those who say this usually have little solid empirical evidence to back up their statement. Every church has some members who really can’t give anymore, and they should never feel put down because of it. But most United Churches are nowhere near to maximizing their stewardship potential. People don’t stop going to Tim Horton’s when the price of a large double-double goes up. Even those of limited means will increase their support if they believe in what the church is doing.

Positive response: Intentionally build a culture of vision, enthusiasm and generosity. Create opportunities for people to celebrate what their church is doing, and invite them to be a part of it through the gifts with which God has blessed them. Don’t continually harp on financial deficits but accentuate the positives.

6.  “We need a minister who will attract younger families.”

Your minister may help to create a good first impression that will attract people initially. But it’s the culture of the congregation – hospitality, energy, involvement — that determines whether they will become part of the family. A church that places the burden of growth solely on the minister’s shoulders is setting that minister up for painful failure.

Positive response: Constantly remind people that ministry belongs to the whole church, not just to the person who gets the pay check. Encourage people to find ministries that match their gifts and give them joy.

7.  “Why don’t our children/ grandchildren go to church?”

I respond to that question with another question: Have you ever asked them? No one should be allowed to ask this question until they have had at least five extended conversations about faith and church with people their children’s or grandchildren’s age – conversations in which they do more listening than talking.

Positive response: Create opportunities for significant conversations with youth and younger adults about why the church may not be significant for them. Such conversations require a level of trust in which people can feel safe to express themselves honestly. That trust might need to be built over a long time.

8.  “I don’t like ……..”

Everyone’s entitled to their opinion. And not everyone’s the same. But if your church’s mission is driven by the tastes and preferences of your current members, it will decline and eventually die. Doing what is effective in reaching people for the Gospel is what matters, not the likes and dislikes of certain vocal, long-term members.

Positive response: Constantly call the congregation to reflect on their mission, vision and values. Why are we here? Whom do we hope to reach? What do we need to do? Shift the focus from people’s likes and dislikes to what will help the church be true to its own calling.

9.  “We can’t do that. People might leave.”

Most of us don’t like change. Some people will try to influence decisions
by threatening to withdraw their money or their attendance. If your congregation is serious about renewal, inevitably some people will be unhappy and might well decide to go elsewhere. But this threat should not be allowed to control the agenda of the church. Related to this is the statement that “’Many people’ are not happy.” Boards, ministers and congregations should have an unwavering policy that no complaint will be heard that does not have a name attached to it.

Positive response: Communicate, communicate, and communicate. When something new is tried, make sure it is clear why it is being done. Provide opportunities for people’s concerns to be heard. Make adjustments when they are warranted. But stay the course. Don’t allow a few disgruntled voices to shut down new ideas before they take root.

10.  “Numbers don’t matter.”

Two things. We aren’t likely to return to the 1950s when 6 out of every 10 Canadians were in church on Sunday morning. And numbers aren’t the only thing that matters. But when a church loses 5 to 7 per cent of its members every year and does not replace them; and when there is no one in the congregation under the age of 70, it’s time to pay attention to numbers! Christianity has always thrived where new people are being brought into the community of faith. We need to recover that sense of missional urgency – and fast!

Positive response: Set realistic targets and develop a concrete plan for connecting with new people.

by  Paul Miller


A Handy Reference List in Case of Emergency

From the Advent newsletter of Caldeon East United Church:

When in sorrow … call John 14
When people fail you … call Psalm 27
When you have sinned … call Psalm 51
When you worry … call Matthew 6:  19 – 34
When you are in danger … call Psalm 91
When God seems far away … call Psalm 139
When your faith needs stirring … call Hebrews 11
When you are lonely and fearful … call Psalm 23
When you grow bitter and critical … call 1 Corinthians 13
When you feel down and out … call Romans 8: 31
When you want peace and rest … call Matthew 11: 25 – 30
When the world seems bigger than God … call Psalm 90
When you want Christian assurance … call Romans 8: 1 – 30
When you leave home for labour or travel … call Psalm 121
When your prayers grow narrow or selfish … call Psalm 67
When you want courage for a task … call Joshua 1
When you think of investment and returns … call Mark 10
If you are depressed … call Psalm 27
If your pocketbook is empty … call Psalm 37
If you are losing confidence in people … call 1 Corinthians 13
If people seem unkind … call John 15
If discouraged about your work … call Psalm 126
If self pride/greatness takes hold … call Psalm 19
For understanding of Christianity … call 2 Corinthians 5:  15 – 19
For a great invention opportunity … call Isaiah 55
For how to get along with fellow men … call Romans 12
For Paul’s secret to happiness … call Colossians 3: 12 – 17
For dealing with fear … call Psalm 34
For security … call Psalm 121:  3
For assurance … call Mark 8:  35
For reassurance … call Psalm 145:  18


Jesus says “Follow Me” …