Blog Talk Radio

BlogTalkRadio

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White Paper

BlogTalkRadio

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Description

BlogTalkRadio is an interactive social networking and online steaming webcast website. BlogTalkRadio is not only a place to listen to radio shows but a site where you can also broadcast your own show. BlogTalkRadio enables anyone, anywhere the ability to have their voice heard through their own broadcast show and the chance to interact with people from all over. The best thing is, BlogTalkRadio is FREE! With a free account you can broadcast one 30 minute show per day, with a limit of five live callers. Depending on what type of paid subscription you may choose to purchase, you can broadcast longer and field more calls. Besides creating your own radio show, you also have the ability to create your own blog/personal page. Here your page can be linked with your Facebook, Twitter, ITunes, and personal webpages. Besides using BlogTalkRadio for radio, BlogTalkRadio is a great place for advertising products through a show and through advertisement banners.

Locating or Acquiring This Resource

BlogTalkRadio is accessed by visiting the website www.BlogTalkRadio.com. If only wanting to listen to broadcasts, all one needs to do is visit the website and search for whatever type or specific show he listens to. It is important to know that listening to a show depends on the scheduled time of broadcast. You may listen to and download broadcast archives depending on the availability of an episode. To broadcast your own show, one needs to sign up for an account. Depending on the type of access and broadcasting one wishes to do, there are different account types to choose from. You can also sign up for an account using your Facebook account as your way to access your BlogTalkRadio account.

Using This Resource in Academic Teaching

  • BlogTalkRadio enables you to create an online class where students all over the world can watch and interact with the professor.

 

  • Because BlogTalkRadio connects with people all over the world, students have the ability to be exposed to a greater number of opinions and the possibility of interacting with others.

 

  • Students can broadcast their own projects with the possibility of not only teaching many but also receiving feedback.

 

  • The more a student or professor teaches on BlogTalkRadio the more exposure is possible, creating more opportunities for teaching.

 

  • Because BlogTalkRadio allows one to be connected with your personal social media accounts, the ability to make one’s learning both interactive, personal, and fun.

 

  • BlogTalkRadio allows students to present and discuss topics of whatever they choose. They can broadcast on their own topics without limitations.

 

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BibleWorks 9

BibleWorks 9 Software

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BibleWorks 9 Software

 


 

Description

BibleWorks 9 is a Bible language software aimed at students, pastors, and scholars that provides tools for research, exegesis, and use of the biblical languages. BibleWorks is a Windows-based program, so Mac users must create either an emulation environment or install Windows as a native operating system.

BibleWorks boast a variety of features. Standard features from past BibleWorks editions include dozens of translations in numerous languages, an electronic collection of several lexicons, grammars, and concordances, topographical maps, and much more. In BibleWorks 9, several new features are also available. Among the most significant improvements are an additional analysis window, a verse tab, the CNNTS NT critical apparatus, as well as new material that can be unlocked, such as Metzger’s critical apparatus, Grudem’s Systematic Theology, and numerous other additions.

Locating or Acquiring This Resource

 

BibleWorks 9 can be purchased by visiting bibleworks.com. While the cost is about $359, it is extremely competitive with the market. Competing Bible software such as Accordance (available only for Mac) and Logos cost about $149-$349 and $629-$1689 respectively. For those already with an earlier version of BibleWorks, upgrades are available for about $159 (from version 8) or about $199 (from version 7).

 

Using This Resource in Academic Teaching

 

BibleWorks 9 has a wide-range of application to teaching courses related to the Bible and biblical languages.

  • Use BibleWorks Hebrew and Greek language fonts to create paradigms, quizzes, exams, etc. in Microsoft Word.

 

  • Export specific texts to Microsoft Office programs to create charts, tables, or simple text files.

 

  • Export results of word studies to other programs for comparison.
  • Conduct words studies through lemma searches.

 

  • Use language tools to parse words and look up meanings in lexicons.

 

  • Use searches to find inter-textual links in biblical texts.

 

  • Compare various versions of a text in order to see different translation strategies or the difficulties involved in translating certain passages.

 

  • Use maps as a visual aid in class to point out the location of the events in specific narratives.

 

  • Quickly and easily move between texts that are being used as illustrations.

 

 

 

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Bible Soft

BibleSoft PC Study Bible

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BibleSoft PC Study Bible

 


 

Description

An advanced exegetical and original language electronic study Bible resource designed for pastors, educators, and scholars of the Bible.  As with other electronic study Bibles there are several packaged “libraries” available.  The largest library has a collection of about 400 reference work volumes including Bible translations, commentaries, dictionaries, encyclopedias, Hebrews and Greek language helps, pastoral sermon resources, and word study resources.  Additional resources to expand one’s system are available.  One of BibleSoft’s sales taglines is: “Stop Searching – Start Studying.”  The system is icon based which makes it straight forward and easy to use.

Locating or Acquiring This Resource

BibleSoft PC Bible Study is reasonably priced resource available from their website, www.BibleSoft.com as well as through Christian Book Distributors, Amazon.com and local Christian bookstores.  The website has the most current information and the widest selection of available options.  Biblesoft’s Customer Service phone is 866.722.4253.

Using this Resource in Academic Teaching

  • To aid pastors and Bible study leaders who preach and teach God’s Word.
  • To simplify lesson preparation with easy access to Bible tools and resources.
  • To access all available original language word information with “quick links.”
  • To help with instant Greek/Hebrew/Aramaic word database pop-ups for parsing and transliteration information.
  • To provide audio pronunciations for the Greek lexical forms.
  • To interface easily with options for changing the size and format of displayed content.
  • To allow one to take a sermon or other written material and include it as a “searchable” resource, with an “authoring system.”
  • To quickly copy multiple texts using the “append” feature that allows multiple copies to the clipboard and a single paste to the saving document.

 

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Articulate Presenter

White Paper

Articulate Presenter
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Description

Articulate Presenter transforms PowerPoint presentations into flash video. By affixing audio, video and enhanced graphics to PowerPoint presentations Articulate Presenter provides users an edge over single-frame presentations. Flash video presentations increase product communicability for viewers. Articulate Presenter allows for interactive branching scenarios dependent upon viewer input. PowerPoint presentations are empowered through Articulate Presenter’s simple to use interface giving clients a necessary advantage in today’s competitive environment.

Locating or Acquiring This Resource

Articulate Presenter is available free for a 30-day trial period at http://www.articulate.com/products/presenter.php. Customers can purchase Articulate Presenter for about $799 at http://www.articulate.com/store. For a limited time the software can be purchased at a discounted rate of about $699. Upon purchase customers can download Articulate Presenter directly from the product website. No physical software is available for order.

Using This Resource in Academic Teaching

  • Articulate Presenter allows for professors and students to enhance presentations for increased effectiveness

 

  • Professors can increase classroom interaction by improving lecture presentations

 

  • Professors can reinforce content through branching scenario features that encourage student participation

 

  • Recorded audio and video allows professors or students to incorporate pre-recorded elucidation from themselves or outside voices to reinforce lecture agenda

 

  • Embedded websites in presentations offers students and professors avenues to incorporate various material from the internet

 

  • Branching scenarios provide avenues for testing and collective exploration

 

  • Articulate Presenter’s intuitive design allows for students and professors with varying degrees of computer competency to sharpen their presentations for impact

 

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Animoto

Animoto

White Paper

Animoto Edu

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Description

Animoto Edu is a web tool that works to automatically generate videos using music, images, video clips, and text. Geared toward the classroom, Animoto Edu is an online service allowing users to upload pictures and video segments together with text, then select music and special effects to create a unique way of presenting information in any educational setting. The core of Animoto’s distinctive features is what it calls its Cinematic Artificial Intelligence technology, which analyzes the user materials and develops a finished product for the user, so that every Animoto production is totally unique, geared toward the individual user’s material. Animoto has cleared copyright for the music selected at its site. With YouTube and others recently sharply applying copyright law and disabling infringing videos, Animoto’s copyright satisfaction is a helpful step.

In the visual world of the 21st century, Animoto offers educators and students easy access to professional-like productions, so that the expectation for precision and quality can be met with minimal effort.

Locating or Acquiring This Resource

Animoto Edu is a free resource that anticipates teacher and student use. An application for free educational use can be accessed at http://animoto.com/education. With the educational use account, the music license feature with access to 1000+ tracks is available. For those who would not qualify for the free educational use, there is a free trial, Animoto Lite, that allows for unlimited 30 second videos. For about $30 a year, Animoto Plus offers unlimited full-length videos. For Animoto Pro, you have access to the music license feature described above with several other features, at about $249 a year. If applicable, Animoto offers a free Plus account to charitable/non-profit organizations.

Using This Resource in Academic Teaching

  • Embed an Animoto video into the school website for access and use.

 

  • Create unique videos for teaching components of lectures.

 

  • Use crafted videos for introduction of case study analysis in class.

 

  • Use Animoto to deliver lecture materials in a format accessible at any time by students, freeing up class-time for interactive discussion of materials that cover the homework.

 

  • Feature student work, including music, photos, and written material, in unique ways to increase confidence and encourage creativity.

 

  • With the Education Account, students are able to access Animoto for developing their own videos. And so, assignments can be as varied as both teacher and student can envision Animoto’s capabilities.

 

  • Students who shy away from presentations will be able to rely on Animoto to create support materials, bolstering student’s courage.

 

  • The teacher and student can use Animoto presentations to grab attention or encourage empathy for an issue or circumstance.

 

  • The teacher can use an Animoto video to remind students, humorous or otherwise, of due dates for assignments.

 

  • Animoto offers educators individualized teaching aids for the classroom. For example, an educator could take a Hebrew term and describe its meaning, usage, historical context and other in a way the professor considers ideal (because he/she created it).

 

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Adobe Connect Video Conferencing

Adobe Connect

White Paper

Adobe® Connect™

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Description

Adobe Connect is a high-end video conferencing solution designed for businesses and institutions. It offers a full array of options and features and can be used from any computer or mobile device with Adobe Flash installed. Meetings may be held with audio only, video feed from the host only, video feeds from all participants, and other combinations of feeds. Adobe Connect is capable of creating breakout rooms which allow the administrator to break the participants into smaller groups for collaboration. Additionally, meetings may be recorded for future viewing. Real time captioning is available for deaf users.

Locating or Acquiring this Resource

Information regarding Adobe Connect may be found at http://www.adobe.com/ap/products/adobeconnect.html. There are several options for purchasing Adobe Connect, including annual, monthly, and pay-per-use plans. Pricing discounts for educational institutions are reached at 888-649-2990.

Using this Resource in Academic Teaching

  • Adobe Connect can be used to emulate a traditional class room setting. The live video feeds from the instructor as well as the students allow the participants to interact in almost all of the same ways that they can in the class room. The lecture is live and the interaction between the instructor and the students is live. Adobe Connect is scalable and allows for even large classes to meet in the cloud.
  • Adobe Connect can also emulate small group breakout sessions. During the class time, an instructor can break the class into small groups for discussions and collaboration. Those small groups can then be brought back into a larger group for presentations of the results of their breakout session.
  • There are whiteboard and file sharing features which further enhance the classroom emulation.
  • Real time collaboration for group projects can also be facilitated by Adobe Connect. Students can collaborate with their group members in live discussions with the quality of communication that can only come with both visual and audio contact.

Guest lecturers can be brought into a traditional classroom without the time and expense of having the lecturer come in person.

 

 

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RCMA Birmingham

RCMA EMERGE CONFERENCE

 

I’m excited to be leading a breakout session at the RCMA National Emerge Conference Thursday, January 29

 

If you are a meeting planner, I hope you’ll join me for the session!

More Information Here

 

Religious Conferencing 101: Developing a Theology of Meeting Planning and Supplying

Session Overview:  Seminary Professors spend their time preparing people called to do ministry. Ministry involves leadership, and the two primary leadership roles of ministry are pastoring and shepherding. These same two roles are at play in the leadership of religious conferences. To build a great conference, planners and suppliers must partner together as quasi-ministers to the organizations they serve. When the principles of “Pastoring Planners” and “Shepherding Suppliers” are learned, meetings go from good to great. Planners pastor through protecting and providing for their organizations. Suppliers shepherd through feeding and leading organizations and their leaders. Learn principles on these ideas from biblical stories and maxims from years of real-life ministry experience from the speaker will entertain and encourage planners and suppliers to add a spiritual emphasis to their religious conference strategies.

Accordance Bible Software

Accordance Bible Software Overview

White Paper

Accordance Bible Software

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Description

Accordance is a Bible software program that emphasizes the ability to search the biblical (and extra-biblical) texts. Accordance features an interface that allows users to view multiple translations/texts side by side. Users can also build an “e-library” of Accordance-compatible reference works that can be read directly on Accordance, side by side with biblical texts. Some of these reference works include interactive Bible atlases, timelines, Greek and Hebrew lexicons, and commentaries. One signature feature of Accordance is the Greek and Hebrew “construct.” The construct window allows users to search complex grammatical constructions, using graphs and charts.

Locating or Acquiring this Resource

Accordance can be purchased online at http://www.accordancebible.com. Currently, the most basic Accordance package can be purchased for a reasonable price. The basic package includes Accordance along with a starter collection of various reference tools. Moreover, many Christian stores, including on-campus bookstores, also sell Accordance. In any case, before purchasing, it must be noted that Accordance was originally designed to run on Macs.  For some older versions, PC users may need a Mac emulator to run Accordance.

Using this Resource in Academic Teaching

There are various ways in which Accordance can be useful for teaching and enhancing effective student learning both in and outside the classroom:

  • Professors who teach intermediate or advanced Greek or Hebrew can illustrate real examples of complex grammatical concepts (e.g., Granville-Sharp) all in one convenient window.

 

  • Accordance is invaluable for exegesis of the biblical text. The kinds of searches that can be performed on Accordance are limited only to one’s own creativity. It can be as simple as searching the occurrences of a particular Hebrew word or activating a list of every optative verb in the New Testament. The searches can also be refined—narrowed or broadened—through the use of Boolean phrases. For example, one can broaden their search from every optative verb in the New Testament to every optative verb and every imperative.

 

  • For people who do not mind reading extensively on a computer screen, Accordance allows students and professors to purchase Accordance-compatible reference tools (e.g., commentaries), usually at significantly cheaper prices than their paper counterparts.

 

  • Accordance provides a convenient means for projecting the biblical text for a classroom lecture or seminar. Not only can professors project the biblical text using Accordance, they can also demonstrate on a projected screen how computerized searches of the biblical text can enhance exegesis and exposition.

 

Accordance

 

 

 

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ASPIRE Conference Anaheim, RCMA Conference, Keynote Speaker Freddy Cardoza

Announcement: Upcoming Keynote at the RCMA Aspire Conference

ASPIRE Conference Anaheim, RCMA Conference, Keynote Speaker Freddy Cardoza

RCMA Aspire Conference, Anaheim, CA

RCMA’s next regional event will be held in beautiful Anaheim, California. This 2-day event is designed to connect small groups of planners and suppliers in this region. It features:

Challenging education sessions, including a brainstorming think tank

Networking and community building opportunities

2 Trade show sessions

3 delicious meals and refreshments

and more!

Register now

Technolibrium

Technolibrium: Gaining Proper Balance on Technology

Click below for my “Technolibrium” Enhanced Podcast

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A Theology of Technology

A Theology of Technology

See the Podcast Player at the bottom of the page for “A Theology of Technology” Video-Enhanced Podcast

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FredTalksSmallwithwebsite

How to Subscribe to FREDTalks Podcast on iTunes

Below you will find an instructional video that teaches you how to subscribe to FREDTalks on iTunes. Once you do that, come back to this page and find “Now What?” and you will find a video that teaches you how to find your newly-subscribed FREDTalks Podcast on iTunes~ Enjoy!

Now What? After you watch the FREDTalks iTunes Subscription Video, Click the logo below and watch the Find Your FREDTalks Podcast Video on iTunes

The Gamification of Education (Infographic)

The Gamification of Education (Infographic)

Gamification is when the skills of popular gaming (playing video games or computer-based fantasy games) is applied to social media or education. It is incorporating the principles and strategies of gaming into student interest-building and motivation, achievement, assessment and grading, teaching, and problem solving.

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Being Informed

Why You Should Be Informed

We live in the age of information.  Between 1750 and 1900, the total expanse of human knowledge had doubled .  At that time of pre-technology human history, it took 150 years.  Today, the growth of knowledge is occurring some 100 times faster.  It is said that the entire sum of all known information, i.e., human knowledge, doubles every 1.5 years.  By 2020 it is estimated that it will be doubling approximately every month and a half (72 days).  Think about that…

This Information Age is one in which the average illiterate person, one unable to read or write– but who can understand language and watch videos, can easily learn more about science than those towering figures of centuries past like Louis Pascal and Isaac Newton.  Another example: a 5 year old child holding a smart phone possess more technology than was required to send a man to the moon only 40+ years ago.

In a recent study by the University of California, San Diego, researchers found that we swim in a boundless sea of information, one in which the average person consumes 16 hard drives (3.6 zettabytes) of information every day– be it through TV, radio, the Internet/computer, reading, and other digital devices.  Ironically, with this enormous access to literally UNLIMITED data, one in which we can learn everything about everything, the average American is not very informed about the world in which we live.

Note that I’m not saying that Americans don’t know very much– because we do.  It’s just that the “average American” is simply uninformed to a large degree about the ultimate things that matter and that affect his or her life.  Whether this ignorance is apathy, indifference, or something else– I do not know, but it’s hard to believe such a high level of societal ignorance exists in this world awash in an infinity of information.

For example, while most people have instant recall on trivia like their friend’s speed dial numbers, their favorite TV shows’ times, nuances of their favorite wines, beers, coffee beans or marijuana strains (I live in California), most live without a working knowledge and, sometimes, only a vague familiarity about civics, economics, and politics– not to mention spiritual truth.

You might say– “Who really cares?”  It may seem that not knowing virtually ANYTHING about the stock market, the strength of US currency, trade deficits, political processes, the separation of power, representation and taxation, and things like that “makes no difference.”  Some think that ignorance is bliss because, they reason, we can’t do anything about it anyway.

Why should someone take the time and invest the energy to stay informed?  Especially in this Age of Information where it’s already impossible to keep up– it seems overkill and exhausting to even try.  So why worry about being informed?

My response is many-fold, but if I were to reply, I would give three primary answers.

1. Christians shouldn’t be ignorant about the world, because Jesus wasn’t.  For Christians, we should keep in mind that (of all people) Jesus himself had a working knowledge of those things, and he informed His disciples about them.  He spoke more about money than he did “heaven!”  In the gospels, Jesus shows familiarity with the Roman Empire and its government, the geo-political set up present in Judea and greater Jerusalem, and a deep familiarity with law, justice, economics, and even taxes.  If Jesus did that– and frequently taught his own disciples on issues of those sorts, it can be argued that we must do the same as Christians.

2. Being Uninformed Leaves You Open to Exploitation and Victimization.  Second, ignorance of the primary currents of our culture leaves us vulnerable to those things. Being unaware and disengaged of what is happening in any given area (say, government spending) is a sure-fire way for those who have authority in those areas to act with impunity.  An informed populace means that people can rise up and protest, shape public opinion (through free speech such as this blog), communicate with their senator, hold rallies, organize political movements, or a host of other things as a response.  If we are ignorant, we don’t respond because we are, well, ignorant.  We should keep in mind that an INFORMED MINORITY is always more powerful than an apathetic majority.  For example, in the former Soviet Union, only 24% of citizens were Communist, but they controlled approximately 1/5 of the world.  Informed minorities are always stronger than apathetic majorities.  What is funny is that some people say “I can’t do anything, so why bother?” I say that we can do more than we think– but even if that were true… even if we were powerless subjects being acted upon by the powers that be, at least by understanding what is going on we can play defense and perhaps be better off than if we didn’t.  Let me give an example.  If I were to be an 85 year old man and have to face a 23 year old Mike Tyson in a boxing ring– I may not be capable of successfully fighting him, but the fact that I couldn’t win by playing offense doesn’t mean that I would lower my arms and take a merciless beating… instead, I would AT LEAST put up my gloves and pull in my elbows and try to protect my vital organs and my face, head, and chest.  Then, even if I didn’t WIN, I might at least survive.  Similarly, when we don’t know much about our world, we are defenseless because of our indifference.

3. Be Informed Because You Are Greatly Affected By These Forces, Simply Because You Are a Living Citizen. Third, we need to be informed about the world– because we are citizens in that world.  It is where we live.  It is where we exist.  The condition of the world affects our lives.  The things happening in our world affect our families.  These things affect our children’s children and loved ones, friends, relatives, acquaintances and neighbors. And when I say that these things (civics, politics, economics, and so on) affect our lives– I mean that decisions made by people having authority who are not held accountable by informed, thoughtful, engaged people, affect you nearly every moment of the day.  So while we live in an apathetic state being brainwashed by time-wasting novelties, decisions and actions in the stock market, bond market, futures, congress, judiciary, by the President, governmental agencies creating regulations, and on and on and on– while those things are going on, together they affect EVERYTHING in life: gas taxes raise your gas prices, Standard & Poor’s downgrade makes loans for a car or school harder to get or to pay, new regulations on coal means higher prices for air conditioning at home, OPEC trade imbalances means it costs more for trucks to bring products to your favorite stores, raising the price of Mac & Cheese– do you see what I mean? All of that to say that being uninformed doesn’t make you invulnerable to these bad things– it makes you and your family and everyone you care about MORE vulnerable and, yes, victims.

Truth: Being Uninformed Always Makes Us Gullible. 

The irony of being a victim, however, is that those who are both victims and who are uniformed OFTEN (almost always) blame the wrong people for their problems.  Instead of kicking themselves for being willfully ignorant– and instead of holding the right people accountable– those who actually caused the problems– their ignorance typically makes them unable to discern what actually happened.  When this happens, we become gullible.  That gullibility makes us vulnerable to slick slogans and simplistic explanations, where we are more likely to believe someone because they speak with passion or eloquence, and we begin to believe certain things because the person is “speaking loudly” or pounding his or her fist.  Gullible people are defenseless to these things because they are ignorant– and since they don’t know the facts, they fall for rhetoric and emotion instead of believing things because they are actually TRUE.  Does that make sense?

The Challenge: How to Become Informed

We all have areas of ignorance– I know I do.  But the key is to do something rather than nothing.  My advice to those who feel unable to discern what is happening in our world and who are at a loss to understand what to do is this:

  1. Read God’s Word and ask for Wisdom (James 1:5)
  2. Reserve judgment, avoid giving opinions, and stop yourself from assigning blame until you know what you’re talking about
  3. Begin to be informed by trustworthy sources (people and institutions who, by having a long track record of being fair and informed, have earned and kept your trust
  4. Build your knowledge solidly in a number of areas, as they are all interconnected (the areas all influence one another)
  5. Check your thinking against others of like-mind and who disagree, then reassess your thinking
  6. Be sure to evaluate ideas based on their underlying assumptions (the basic commitments and beliefs that led them to reason a certain way and come to certain conclusions), then evaluate whether your assumptions about things are correct or need adjusting
  7. Test your ideas with both scripture (does it agree with God’s Word/truth) and reality itself (if it doesn’t work in real life, there’s something wrong with what you’re thinking)
  8. Be slow to come to final conclusions prematurely.  But when you know that you have finally discovered what is true, become unshakeable in your convictions.
Do Your Dream

Do Your Dream

Everyone has dreams. We all have things we would like to see materialize in our lives.

But for most people, their dreams are elusive. Their goals don’t seem to come together. After all, it isn’t like the vast majority of people around us are all making a great impact. And it’s not that high impact performance is “commonplace.” Actually it’s quite rare.

So what does it really take to “do our dream?”

Personally, I think that (the variables of life notwithstanding) we can “do our dream” if we can learn to leverage the fulness of ourselves to that end. After all, God has placed eternity in our hearts and has given us great potential. And to the degree that we are willing to align ourselves to the pursuit of our dream, our goals begin to materialize. Here’s how I think about it all…

To “Do Your Dream” you must:

Fully Train or Focus Your Mind on Your Dream. The size of your dream in your thinking affects nearly everything about how you respond to that dream. If your dream is tiny, you stay unmotivated– because you’re playing small ball and you know it. We simply can’t get really motivated for small dreams. They don’t inspire us and they don’t pique our interest enough to invest our sustained energy in reaching them. My advice is to ask God to expand your thinking and to grow your capacity to believe. As you nurture your dream, it feeds your imagination.

Put Your Heart on the Line. You’ll never reach your dream if it’s not IN you. You need motivation. You need conviction. You need the burn. You need to go “all in.” You won’t change the world without this type of commitment. Taking the “I’ll get emotionally involved when things start working out” approach isn’t going to cut it because seeing a big dream come to pass takes lots of emotional energy. And that energy is needed right “NOW”– so you can’t hold out emotionally.

Act with Resolve. Dreams scare us. Fear causes us to lock up. That’s because big goals come with big price tags– they cost us a lot. But action extinguishes fear. The best way I know to overcome the threat of potential failure is by choosing not to fail and then doing something. Sometimes the fear of failing is enough to give us the motivation we need to “not fail.” So work like it all depends on you, and pray like it all depends on God.

When we nurture our minds with the virtue of our dream, it inspires us to greatness.

When we cultivate our hearts with the grandeur of our dream, it motivates us with the motivation to act.

And when we give ourselves completely to our dream and act with faithful abandon, that unleashed will of ours imposes itself on the forces that work against us, and that dream is powered forward toward completion.

 

Image: Joe Penniston

Live As If It Really Matters

Sometime at the end of high school or the beginning of my college years, I began to understand how important life really is.

What is life?  What does your life consist of?

Life is the cumulative effect of every decision you will ever make. We can conclude, if this is true, that decisions are important. And not “just” important… they’re ultimate. Since they’re of ultimate importance, it’s a good idea to learn to make good decisions and every decision begins in the mind.

Because of the centrality of the mind in our decision-making, I want to challenge you to explore your own thought process to see if you can improve your ability to “live as if it really mattered.”

Socrates said that the unexamined life isn’t worth living. Let’s take his advice and examine three things about our minds

Examine Your Decisions: Think about WHAT you DO.

You and I both know lots of people who live their lives as if it’s a game— like the stakes aren’t that high… never stopping to ask themselves, “WHAT AM I DOING?  WHERE IS MY BRAIN?”

The truth is that one decision you make in a moment can have lifelong ramifications— for good or bad. Those who don’t think about what they do end up making bonehead moves with a high price tag attached to them.

When was the last time you just weren’t thinking about your actions and harmed a relationship?  hurt a friend?  wounded a family member? violated another person?  dishonored your own body?  offended God?

Remember the advice of Colossians 4:5,  “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.”  1 Peter 1:13 tells us to “Prepare our minds for action.”

Examine Your Assumptions and Beliefs: Think about WHAT you BELIEVE

Most people’s beliefs are like a patchwork quilt, a family heirloom. Passed down from generation to generation without much thought, they’re a hodge-podge of ideas from all kinds of different places. Without even realizing it, many Christians hold conflicting positions about political, social, moral, legal and spiritual issues.  Sometimes the views are so inconsistent it’s absurd, but they don’t realize it because they haven’t really thought about it.

You must have a workable philosophy of life… one that’s consistent with reality– one that’s in harmony with truth and the way things really are.  If you don’t, life will eventually cave in on you because you’re living a lie. That’s why the Apostle Peter reminds us in 1 Peter 3:15, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that is within you.”

IF YOUR LIFE IS GOING TO COUNT FOR GOD, YOU HAVE TO THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU BELIEVE AND WHY.

Examine Your Thought Process:  Think about HOW you THINK

Most people don’t think much about anything… they live on autopilot. Don’t veg-out and put your mind in neutral. Don’t get so lazy mentally that you don’t think critically

When you don’t think about how you think, before you realize it, instead of your mind being transformed into a powerful tool God can use, it becomes like a lump of clay that is molded and conformed into thinking like everyone else. That’s why the Apostle Paul said in Romans 12:2 not to let your mind (your thinking) be conformed to the world, but to be transformed— to undergo a metamorphosis so you’ll know how to live like God wants.

So that’s my challenge to you today:  Live As If Life Really Mattered by:

Thinking about WHAT you DO
Thinking about WHAT you BELIEVE
Thinking about HOW you THINK

The Golden Tongued Orator: What v. How You Say It

In Christian history, one of the greatest speakers was known to be Chrysostom, the fourth century Church Father and Bishop of Constantinople.  Chrysostom was known as the “Golden Tongued Orator.” 

Chrysostom was a champion of great speaking and was known to deliver the best content.

As a minister and professor, no doubt, I place a high degree of importance on the “content” of my message or lecture. 

But some speakers pay attention to WHAT they will say to the neglect of HOW they say it.  In fact, some speakers have consistently neglected the development of greater speaking skill and even criticize good speaking and good speakers AS IF those speakers are less serious about their content than the less-than-stellar speaker.  That’s too bad. 

Speaking prowess is more important than one may think.  Don’t take that to mean that HOW WELL we speak is “more important” than what we say… but it’s naive to neglect your speaking and to underestimate the importance of skill. 

Preparing to Speak

Lots of preachers, teachers, and speakers of all types spend a dozen or two dozen hours of preparation for their talk, only to spend all or nearly all of it on the CONTENT (exegesis, outline, etc.) without spending much on technique or method.  Why is that? 

A book I was reading on speaking a while back reported that 93% of our impact in speaking is related to the EMOTION-PASSION and PROWESS of the speaker.  Having said that, while the “raw material” itself is crucial and all-important, that content may or may not be heard and hindered by the listener if the speaker cannot deliver the goods so it can be heard and received, then applied

The truth is that a speaker simply doesn’ t have 10 or 20 minutes to sell the audience.  In fact, you don’t have even 5 minutes.  Your  first impression is made in seconds, not minutes.  So to command an audience, you need to sell your stuff up front– hook the listener quickly, then bring the bacon. 

In other words— as a speaker, bring the HEAT, then bring the MEAT.

Pushing the Envelope

I want to start this year with something that some of you already know–

I am passionate about life, not passive. AND I MAKE NO APOLOGY FOR THAT.  If I could give every person in the world one message— other than urging them to submit to Christ— here’s what I would challenge them to do, and what I challenge you to do: Live Like You Mean It.

I don’t live half way.  I don’t play it safe.

I’m not going to end up at the end of life with half a tank of fuel left— it’ll be bone dry.  I want to live in the Red Zone.  I want to Push The Envelope. I want to be completely authentic– WYSIWYG… what you see is what you get.  I want to I want to drink life in and get the best it has to offer.  And because I want the best life has to offer, I seek to follow Christ with all of my being– with everything I’ve got.

But some people don’t like that. It makes them uncomfortable.  It makes some Christians more uncomfortable to see a Christian living an unbridled life of radical obedience to God than they are around non-Christians living unbridled lives of radical disobedience to God.

I have something to say about that– and I mean this respectfully.  The fact is that I really don’t care.  I’m not trying to win a popularity contest. I’m not going for the “Mr. Nice Guy 2011 Award.”  My highest value in life isn’t to make everyone feel comfortable.  I have no interest in pleasing men.  That’s why the Apostle Paul said what he did in Galatians 1:10.  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

But then, I’m no Super-Christian. I blow it every day.  I have a few pockets of unruliness in my life that I have to keep an eye on.  I have a wild heart that God has to bridle and put a saddle on sometimes.  But one thing I can say that I do, is I live like I mean it.

In other words, Christianity isn’t a joke to me. My faith isn’t something I’m passive about.  My commitment to the man who died for me isn’t something I take lightly.

How are you living?

Thinking Like Einstein (Part 2 of 2)

Today we finish the remaining five elements of learning to Think like Einstein.

The first post of this two-part series discussed general principles of building one’s mind.  This second part gives a step-by-step approach to developing a powerful understanding of a great many subjects.  Each of the five remaining elements may appear complex, but they make a lot of sense to the discerning reader.

 

We Only Have “So Much” Time for Building Our Knowledge

They are built on my insight a few years back that each of us have time in life to read only “x number” of books and none of us are getting any younger.  So whatever our plan, we better get “on it” if we are serious about learning and growing intellectually.   Think of it this way, the average person reads almost nothing or at least nothing of real intellectual value.  Of those who do read important things, their primary mistake (in my opinion) is that the read (a) the wrong things, (b) do so in the wrong order, and (c) exhaust the number of books they can realistically read before they know all they should-could have known.

So, let’s assume you can consistently read 12 serious books a year.  If you live another 20 years, that’s 240 books.  See what I mean?   240 books is about what you can get on a bookshelf.  That’s it!  My point is that with all of the books available, you must be unusually judicious on what you spend your time reading—otherwise, you’ll burn through your 240 books and have wasted (not invested) much of your reading time on trivial tripe.

 

Where Do I Start?

So, where do you start?  Well, it’s not where you think. 

Most people would assume “Oh, so I should go to the great classics and just read the top 100 or 200 or 300 classics of all time…,” and that’s what is called a “great books” approach.  I think this is a healthy approach, but not the best one. 

Below is my suggestion.

Summary Thus Far (Steps 1-5)

If you follow my advice, by this point (using steps 1-5) you will have:

1. Developed a commitment to really KNOWING and learning, not just “being familiar” with lots of things.

2. Identified the major area(s) you are interested in knowing about

3. Discovered the best resources in each area(s) of knowledge you want to discover or master

4. Studied the “large general fields of study” from a Christian perspective.  Meaning, instead of studying “details about” or “different disciplines within the major area of knowledge” you begin to study summaries of the entire body of knowledge in that area… LIKE “theology” ITSELF (summaries of what ‘theology’ is) and LIKE “philosophy” ITSELF… NOT areas WITHIN theology or philosophy or what have you.

5. You then, having a good Christian perspective (if you are a Christian and, in fact, if you aren’t I’d still suggest it), study these topics broadly through other authors.

Now What? (Steps 6-10)

6.  Begin Studying the Major Areas Within Each Area of Knowledge.  Now that you’re “beginning” to understand each major subject area (theology, philosophy, history, leadership, management, psychology, whatever), now (since you actually understand what these subjects ARE), begin to study each major secondary area or “sub-set” of these subjects.  For example, in Philosophy—you’d only now begin to really study the major areas within philosophy, such as: metaphysics, epistemology, logic, ethics, and aesthetics.  In Theology, you’d begin to study those major areas, like Biblical, Historical, Philosophical, Systematic, and Practical Theology.  And so on.  Of course, you might ask—how would I even know these major areas within my fields of study?   Well, if you have done steps 4 and 5, you will already have an intimate knowledge that these are the major areas of study within that discipline.  But, if you don’t take this approach, you could read 40 books and maybe never realize these truths.  See what I mean? 

I know… this isn’t for the faint of heart, but for those who are serious about knowledge at a high level, keep reading.

7.  Now Focus Your Study on Each of Those Primary Branches “In Detail.”  Meaning, take your growing understanding of each of these individual fields (like biblical, historical, systematic theology… and so on, or metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and so on) and CRUCIAL, begin to identify the major movements, power brokers/idea makers/books & eras/time periods of those branches.  In fact, why not work to memorize these—commit them to memory?  Need an example?  OK, let’s take Existentialism.  Here, you might study each of the major Existentialists and their works—like Jeremy Bentham, Soren Kierkegaard, John Stuart Mills, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean Paul Sartre, and what each wrote.

8. Now Begin to Focus on Each of Those Fields and Think About The Differences Between The Major Thinkers, Books, and Movements.  For example—If you were studying the philosophical area of Existentialism, ask yourself—among those major players (identified in #7 above), what were the major differences between each of their works?  Let’s say that they all agreed on 90% of their ideas—but what distinguished them from one another?  That’s what I mean.  And you could do that for each of the major areas that interest YOU and that YOU really want to learn about in detail.

9.  Now, Finally, Begin to Read Individual Books Written By Specific Authors of Interest. Now, think of it… after all this, you have a SIGNIFICANT BREADTH AND DEPTH of understanding of all areas of your field of study… and know you are getting into the nitty-gritty of these areas.

10.  Document Your Knowledge.  Now, having invested this time—do whatever it takes to help others understand what you know.  Make and record, in retrievable form, summaries of these ideas and people and books –record insights, draw images with diagrams and tables and graphs, then identify and record relationships between and across fields of knowledge. 

Finally, most important in all of this is an often-forgotten idea: Slow Down – and THINK more than you read.  Most people spend all their time READING and little or no time THINKING.

The result of all of this? 

You will develop profound and intimate knowledge into the deep nuances of your field of study—you are becoming an EXPERT… because you have done what others have not done.

Thinking Like Einstein (Part 1 of 2)

One of the greatest elements of personal impact and success is the importance of developing your mind.

But how do you do it?

In my two part series, I’ll give a total of 10 key ideas to enhance your thinking as you build your mind and learn to think like Einstein. 

Here we go!

1. Redefine your understanding of “knowledge.” Knowledge is not what you happen to remember, true knowledge is that which you will never forget.  Here’s my point:  This is an area where so many people make mistakes… They assume they know more than they actually do.  But, truth told, they cannot command their knowledge and their memory of specifics (facts, details, comprehensive understandings of things, how these things relate to other areas of knowledge, etc.) is actually quite shallow.   Let’s face it, if you don’t remember it, you don’t know it.  So don’t over-estimate your knowledge.  Adopt a higher standard of what true knowledge is.

2. Identify the major or primary areas of knowledge you want to build.   You can’t know everything.  You can and should, in time, develop broad understandings of multiple areas– but you won’t be equally interested in everything.  So identify a subject/subjects, and begin to drive deeper.

3. Identify the best, most reliable sources for mastering the big picture of your topics/areas.  In other words, you need to begin studying a subject by learning about it “as a whole” and not piecemeal in small bits.  It’s hard to understand a subject if you start by trying to understand one tiny piece of the subject then try to go broader.  Instead, start by trying to develop a truly comprehensive, general understanding of the subject.

4. Start with secondary Christian sources if/when possible (of large general areas).  Some won’t agree with this- so they can write their own blog. I understand that perspective, but generally disagree.  From a Christian perspective, after one understands the big picture and broad understanding of something (astronomy or civlization or evolution or higher criticism), I think ‘most’ could benefit from reading about that broad subject from a Christian perspective– not so they can be indoctrinated, but because a Christian perspective will at least give them some perspectives and hot button issues of which to be aware.  Without this, I’ve seen lots of Christians lose their way because they stumble into dangers unawares, simply because their minds haven’t been properly trained to think critically and biblically just yet.

5. Then move to secondary “secular” sources of those large general areas.  Now is the time to move into the deep.  Now that you have a general understanding of the topic– and at least some biblical-Christian perspective, you’re ready to learn about the topic from other perspectives.  Keep your head on straight and go for it.

OK, so that’s a start… tune in next post for part 2 of this two-part series.

Cardoza on “Power Communication”

Understanding the Importance of Communication Savvy

Perhaps the two most important aspects of most information-laden professions and leadership in general are (1) becoming a strong writer and (2) becoming a strong speaker.  This is because of the importance and priority of communication and its central role in leadership and life.

Today I want to share what a power communicator must have.  There was a resource offered a number of years ago that referenced this concept, but I’d like to unpack these ideas a little more here.

Those of us who put food on the table through our teaching/preaching/speaking think a lot about communication.  And as an educator, I spend time considering how to help undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral pastoral and ministry students become the best communicators they can possibly be.  I want to bring balance to the issue by highlighting three enormously important issues for communicators and those who train them.

Three Components of Power Communicators

To become a power communicator capable of shaking the earth, three power principles must be mastered:

1. Substance

2. Soul

3. Sizzle

1. Substance

There are those who sometimes teach or speak who are entertaining to hear, but who fail to deliver the goods.  When life (or people, time, resources, business, money, influence, whatever your thing) is on the line, the one thing you must do is put the cookies on the bottom shelf.  Meaning, you MUST bring home the bacon; you MUST ring the bell; you must shuck the corn.  Whatever analogy you want to employ, it’s crucial that if you’re going to speak, you have something to say.  Some people don’t.  Others think they do, but can’t produce.  Content is an enormous priority for the speaker– in many ways THE priority.   Don’t neglect the content.  Don’t abuse the message.  It’s the only reason you’re really speaking in the first place.

In addition to WHAT one says, however, is HOW one says it.  A really common and unfortunate mistake that many ineffective communicators make is to assume that CONTENT (substance) is all that really matters in speaking.  This could be a painful statement, but the people who make that false assumption are generally poor communicators.  Any strong communicator knows that connecting with an audience is by no means restricted to the substance of the talk.

2. Soul

So, in addition to substance is SOUL.  “Soul” has to do with the communicator’s inner man.  His or her inner self.  The best communicators are able to transcend the limits of language and place their very hearts on display.  They reveal primal emotions, potent convictions, and powerful attitudes.  They can release the best of their personhood and vitality in the moment of truth.  They have such a command of their ‘selfhood’ and security in their identity that they are able to project whatever their subject calls for: authority, passion, motivation, intimacy, compassion, angst, inspiration, humor, gratitude– whatever it may be, to their listeners– making them feel and think and want to do the same thing.  Without soul, we’re only talking heads.  Without soul, we have no heart.   Without soul, we’re old news– we’re just another tired talker, but not a power communicator.  Release the fullness of your best self when you step onto the platform or when you stand in that sacred desk.

3. Sizzle

Substance is a must.  Soul is indispensable.  But your speech must also sizzle.  After you’ve done the hard work of study, reflection, hermeneutics, exegesis, research, thought, meditation and speaking prep, if you are incapable of bringing the heat, you will likely lose many of your listeners.  So it’s not only what you say, but how you say it.  It’s not just being an effective speaker and having a handle on grammar and syntax.  It’s also making sure that you have a powerful command on vocabulary that you can draw from at a moment’s notice in order to paint a masterpiece to your audience or the congregation.

Can you make it “SING?”  Can you allow the Spirit of God to breathe life into that dry manuscript and make the bones live?  When you speak, does it pop?  Does it happen? Does it thrill and excite and stimulate the learner.  Does it force the listener to think, feel, and act?  The best speakers have a near hypnotic command of their audience in such a way that the person loses all track of time and, as you speak, their hearts burn within them.  Though, in Christian speaking, the power of God sometimes falls on a situation, to be sure– but do not confuse that supernatural act with the need for personal effort in selling what you say with a little sizzle.

Likeability and Leadership

People don’t follow people they don’t like.

It amazes me how people miss this truism. Truism? Yeah, a truism… click here.

I coined that opening phrase after observing lots of leaders who just didn’t seem to get it.

So let’s get this point straight, once and for all– explaining the truth in both negative and positive-statement forms:

  • People don’t follow people they don’t like
  • People generally follow people they do like

The answer isn’t the Mr. Nice Guy Dale Carnegie Solution: to ditch your convictions and to become a spineless wimp who believes nothing, has no opinions, and who only wants acceptance. You know, the Chamber of Commerce Guy.

But being a person of conviction doesn’t mean you need to earn a (D.D.) Doctorate of Disagreeability to “PROVE” just how much conviction you really have. Lots of leaders are so interested in COMPETENCE and IQ that they have no CHEMISTRY and EQ (emotional quotient). Good social skills are woefully lacking in many a leader and interpersonal interactions are half of our jobs as leaders.

I regularly work to evaluate my own likeability. Sure, people misread you and I sometimes– but that’s life. We can’t lose sleep over those who might assign false motives to us or have some kind of an axe to grind. But we can work to make the most of every opportunity to be our best selves because that’s the one that influences others.