New Website Address

This blog has been moved to www.alanstoddard.com — see you thereūüôā

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Momentum Series Intro #3

We are launching brand new series Sunday called Momentum. The series will focus on four areas: priorities, physical fitness, financial fitness, and spiritual fitness. People are stressed out over many things. I do not know about you, but I look back into 2011 and see some missed opportunities. I also see some great accomplishments and blessings that came because of specific reasons each because of one thing: PRIORITIES.

We prioritize our passions. We do not prioritize other things as well. Sometimes we should prioritize things that are not out passions and take risks with accountable consistency. What will you¬†prioritize¬†for a year so a year from now you can look back and say, “oh yeah?”¬†Last year I made these things a priority:

  • Physical fitness — the gym became my third place. I have worked out three times a week for a year. I have not lost weight, but I moved the gut to the upper body. I feel great. My stress level is much lower.
  • Scripture reading — our church read the Bible in 90 Days in the Fall 2011. While it was a rigorous journey, it was life changing. I’m poised to read the Bible through with my family starting Sunday.
  • Mission Trip — I was blessed to go on a mission trip to the Ukraine with Michael Gott. It was life changing.

What will I prioritize in 2012? Some things do pop up unexpectedly, but here’s my plan:

  • Read the word — I’m reading the Bible through with my family.
  • Trip to Israel — I’m planning on taking a trip to the holy land.
  • Finish Spanish — I want to complete becoming bilingual in 2 years.
  • Continue fitness — I want to lose a little weightūüôā and keep working out.
  • Financial fitness — eliminate debt and give more away.

What will your priorities be in 2012?

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Momentum Series Intro #2

I cannot believe how great a year I had in 2011. Here’s a few of the major things God allowed me to do:

1. I went on a mission trip to Ukraine with Michael and Jan Gott. I highly recommend you take a trip with them. Check out their website at¬†http://michaelgottinternational.com/ ¬† — I taught English in the English Dynamics School. It was incredible. While I cannot go in 2012, I am committing to go in 2013. You should go. It’s an amazing trip and you will get to see 100s saved by the power of the gospel.

2. I was able to get healthier this year than I have been since getting out of the Army. I’ve been working out in a gym three times a week for at least an hour and a half. I’ve been doing 30 minutes of cardio and then weight lifting for an hour. I have not lost any weight, but I have shifted fat to muscle. Great year. I feel better than I have in a long time.

3. We had a great church year. In 2010 we had a tough year. We had staff changes that were hard, but in 2011 we got to replace staff and are now hitting on all cylinders. Our church is committed to reaching out AND making disciples, not just attenders. Our church is at peace and is poised for revival and renewal.

Beginning in January 2012, I will start a series called “MOMENTUM.” I will challenge people to set a few goals that are BIG yet attainable in key areas of life. Where do you need to create “MOMENTUM” in January?¬†Sometimes we can look back on a year and see God’s blessing. That reflection can birth in us a desire to gain needed “MOMENTUM” in key areas. Where has God worked in your life this year?

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January 2012 Kickoff Series

ImageI’m excited to lead our church and community into another great year. As we see 2012 come, I want to ask you to pray about getting healthy and building “Momentum” to have a great year. I know it is Christmas but the next two weeks are great times for reflection for what you want to see happen in 2012. Will you pray?

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7 Reasons Why I Love My Wife ….

1. Because she is my wife — I don’t have to wonder who I will wake up with each day. She is consistent. No drama.

2. She loves the Lord — I’ve never seen her have a backslidden day.

3. She is not prejudice — she has friends of every color and creed. I’ve never heard her be prejudice which is big for us.

4. She is a true friend — she’s more than a friend, she’s a sister. After 24 years I can say she is trustworthy.

5. She is a witness for Jesus — she went downtown yesterday and invited people to our services and to invite them to get free gift wrapping today.

6. She has a great voice — UNREAL voice.

7. She puts up with me —ūüôā no comment.

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Managing When the Width is Long

Is there a price to pay when we spread ourselves to thin?

The Purpose of Ministry
To be in the ministry is to serve. The purpose of serving in the ministry or church mission is to encourage people to become followers of Jesus. We are in the people business. And that can be the rub in church life. People are involved and it is messy. I’m rereading with our staff Robert Coleman’s Master Plan of Evangelism. It is probably the best book on disciple making I have ever read. In the book one of the burning focus is on how Jesus ministered to the masses, but spent most of His time with the few, the twelve.

Andy Stanley is correct. “Life change best happens in circles, not rows.” The challenge is to get people in circles where life change can really happen.

Is it worth stretching our relational boundaries? In church life I often find myself trying to reach and please everyone. Yet it is hard when people do not even seem to care or help in relating to people. It is easier to play is safe. I feel obligated to take risks, but there is a reality.

A Look Back
The reality of ministry is we cannot do it all. It will not happen. Even Jesus did not reach and minister to everyone. And even He could not please everyone.

I went to DFW for Thanksgiving. I was blessed to see family. I had not been home for Thanksgiving in two years and needed to show the love. It was great. I went to see my parents in Granbury, then went to Ft. Worth to see my Grandmother. Then got to stay with a ministry mentor in Arlington. While in Arlington I got to do these things:

  • I got to see a special brother and his family who I served with on staff at a church 12 years ago. His family is from South America and are just beautiful people.
  • I got to see a brother’s father who was in the hospital after a stroke. I spent a few hours there talking preaching and ministry with the brother and his father as both are preachers. Sadly, but gloriously, the father went to be with the Lord.
  • I got to see another special ¬†brother from another church I served in before coming to Ruidoso. He and his wife are just precious gems in the kingdom.
  • I got to see a brother from the church I served 12 years ago. It was great seeing him yet was hard as he is struggling physically and in his family life.
  • I got to see another brother and his wife from the church I served before coming to Ruidoso. We ate dinner with them and¬†reminisced about doing door-to-door evangelism and made plans for a future golf game.

What’s the point? I got to see most of these¬†friends¬†in a span of 5 hours (except my friend in the hospital). In just a short time I got to see people who I invested in. I got to see fruit, spiritual fruit, that abides, in their lives.

Is it worth it to stretch thin? Is the balance of the few and the masses worth it?

A Look Forward
Yes it is worth it.¬†The focus needs to be on the few. That’s what Jesus did. Yet even in the masses, and the drive to reach more and more people, which can be frustrating and hard, the effort is more than worth it. I plan to keep on keeping on trying to do all I can, while know when I cannot do it all. People are involved and they are worth it.

Walk with integrity and biblical purpose within biblical community.  There is always going to be people you cannot get to that you mean to but you cannot. There will be times when you can keep the fire burning on relationships. I do not do it because it is a job. I do it because it is my Lord. I have received and know the blessing is community.

What do you think?

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90 Days through the Bible Wrap Up

What a wonderful, grueling, yet rewarding journey the 90 Days through the Bible Challenge has been. Simply amazing. Here’s some final thoughts on the campaign.

1. My main desire in doing this campaign was centered around Jesus’ command to “make disciples.”

2. The 90 Days emphasis far exceeded my expectations personally and professionally.

3. One tension people wrestle with is related to this question: “will I retain or understand what I’m reading?”

Those who are reading the Bible know you will retain much of the story, but not everything.

Those not reading ask from the wrong perspective. Of course not reading guarantees not retaining or understanding much at all.

4. Reading the Bible in 90 Days really comes down to one thing: TIME. There is a challenge in reading, but it’s not one that should keep anyone from reading the Bible. If a person or family will give God up to an hour a day, reading the Bible in 90 Days is a doable thing.

The time factor does not just relate to the 90 Days challenge. It’s much more thank that. Spiritual disciplines require time. The way we divided up our time reveals our priorities. Reading the word through in 90 Days has taught me that while I can’t sustain an hour a day with my family gathering at the same time, I can manage 20-30 minutes every day. And I might be able to get my family together for up to an hour for Bible reading and prayer 2-3 times a week.

The bottom line is I’ve learned I can give God much more time personally and collectively with my family.

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