Ten things Americans waste the most money on (via 24/7 Wall St). Can you add to the list?

24/7 Wall St. reviewed how Americans spend money. One of the conclusions of this analysis is that consumer spending is relatively alive and well, despite the recession. This may mean that Americans continue to be over-leveraged. US citizens have, in general, brought down their indebtedness. However, holiday spending rose substantially from last year, and the extent to which Americans feel poor has declined now that the recession has ended. Americans spend about 15% of their household incomes on things that they do not need to satisfy their vices or to keep themselves amused.

The authors suggest we "waste" money on eating out; gift-giving; television and sound equipment; pets, toys, and hobbies; lodging, vacation homes, and hotels; fees and admission; alcohol; recreational equipment; tobacco; and apparel. Jesus says: "Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’" (Matthew 6:31).

Posted via email from allen bingham's posterous

Art is not in the eye of the beholder. It's in the soul of the artist - Seth Godi (via Seth's Blog)

Art is what we call...

the thing an artist does.

It's not the medium or the oil or the price or whether it hangs on a wall or you eat it. What matters, what makes it art, is that the person who made it overcame the resistance, ignored the voice of doubt and made something worth making. Something risky. Something human.

Art is not in the eye of the beholder. It's in the soul of the artist.

Posted via email from allen bingham's posterous

Struggling with God's purpose for your life? Mark Batterson's SOULPRINT will help you find the way.

Mark Batterson states in SOULPRINT that as a former athlete "the older I get, the better I was" (59). And of course I want to laugh at him, but I know myself too well. I may not have been that high school jock, but I have those touchstones in my life where "the better I was" seems superior to "the me I am." Batterson challenges us to face this reality head on and decide that "the better I was" and "the me that I am" are nothing compared to what God wants for me. Through the story of David, Israel's great king and poet, he reminds each of us that "we are God's masterpiece, created anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things God planned for us long ago" (Ephesians 2:10, NLT).

David's journey is marked by moments of decision: do I wear King Saul's armor or trust my experience with stones and a sling, do I trust that my present skills with a sling and harp for future will honor God and bless people in the future, am I marking moments of victory by carrying Goliath's armor (all 125 pounds of it) with me wherever I go, am I becoming the person others or God wants me to be, can I use moments of crazy embarrassing dancing for God's glory or be mired in fear, will I allow God to take my weakness and sinfulness and use it for glorious purposes, and finally, can I trust God will establish in me a legacy with plan and purpose? These questions mark the journey that Mark Batterson takes us on in SOULPRINT ... along the way he sprinkles in marvelous moments of God's grace permeating the lives of Jesus followers across the centuries.

The heart of Soulprint is found in five chapters. The first three are positive steps for discovering moments in your personal past where a God destiny was being birthed. Do not glide quickly past these chapters and pay careful attention to the creation of a life altar to mark these moments for yourself and others around you. As I continue to pay attention to appreciative moments and character strengths in myself and others I especially found Batterson's two chapters on dealing with embarrassment and sinfulness to be gems. I remember moments when I was made the fool and now I realize how those moments also set me free from the fear of failure. Realizing how God can take my biggest moral failures, which often arose out of my greatest personal strengths, and forgive me and set me free for future work is a tremendous healing for me.

Included in SOULPRINT is a good seven session study guide and the opening chapter of PRIMAL, another great book by Mark Batterson. Find the first chapter of SOULPRINT here and a videoclip here. This book is a definite buy!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted via email from allen bingham's posterous

Seth Godin reminds us to think through what the customer wants before presenting ideas. True for preachers as well (via Seth's blog)

The most effective way to sell the execution of an idea is to describe the use case first. And before you can do that, you need to have both the trust of your client and enough information to figure out what would delight them.

Then, describe what a great solution would do. "If we could use 10,000 square feet of space to profitably service 100 customers an hour..." or "If we built a website that could convert x percent of ..." or "If we could blend a wine that would appeal to this type of diner..."

After the use case is agreed on, then feel free to share your sketches, brainstorms and mockups. At that point, the only question is, "does this execution support the use case we agreed on?"

Posted via email from allen bingham's ministry posterous

Samuel Chand's CRACKING YOUR CHURCH'S CULTURE CODE reminds us of what we already know (and often forget) about organizations

One of my mentors encouraged me to launch my ministry in every church with a study of John's letters to the seven churches of Asia Minor. I baulked at opening ministry with I percieved as a can of worms and then something hit me. These letters were written to the angels of the seven churches! Intuitively I knew that every organization I had worked with had a sense, an ethos, that was often hard to get a handle on and yet crucial to its function (or dysfunction!). My mentor was inviting me to pay attention to that ethos as I envisioned ministry in a new setting.

Samuel Chand's recent book, Cracking Your Church's Culture Code: Seven Keys to Unleashing Vision and Inspiration (Jossey-Bass, 2011), has brought greater clarity to my intuitive hunches about a church's ethos. Chand quickly challenges the reader to understand that culture is king when it comes to leading an organization. Your leadership has less sway than the inspiring or toxic culture that you swim in within your church. The unnoticed and unexamined cultural code will rise up to challenge every change needed by the organization, so pay attention to Chand's discerning exercises for revealing and changing the code for multiplied benefits. He uses the acronym CULTURE (control, undersanding, leadership, trust, unafraid, responsive, and execution) to help the reader think broadly about the cultural ethos of their organization.

The heart of the book centers on the chapters "Vocabulary Defines Culture" and "Change Starts with Me." Our vocabulary shapes the environment which we lead. If we describe everything in negative terms, then we find negative results. I have learned that the opposite is true as well. Chand helped me understand that I have to examine every piece and source of communication for the words that hold an organization from realizing its potential. The culture code is strong and must be addressed on multiple fronts honest communication, deep listening, naming the unknown in "some people say," and offering real affirmations as the church moves forward. The challenging reminder that I can only change myself is braced by a helpful section on how to leave gracefully when your gifts and strengths are not aligned with that of the organization's cultural code. This section of the book is pure gold and I wish I had read it sooner!

Cracking Your Church's Culture Code should be required reading for every pastor. And pastors should pass their copy on to other leaders in their congregations. Every community, business, enterprise, and organization has a "culture code" and not paying attention to the code inevitably leads to ruin.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the above book for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted via email from allen bingham's ministry posterous