November 2011 Newsletter: Time to Deadhead?

I’ve been working hard to get my garden in shape before winter hits. One of the tasks I do regularly, but especially in this season, is deadheading–that is, plucking or clipping the dead blossoms from my flowering plants. Deadheading is important not only for appearances, but also for plant health. It saves energy and prevents the plant from going to seed. It also helps the plant maintain proper boundaries rather than getting leggy. And deadheading improves the appearance of the plant and encourages more flowering. Sometimes it seems like a nuisance, but deadheading is pretty important in keeping our gardens healthy and attractive.

Deadheading is important in our personal lives as well. It’s good to take inventory on a regular basis and see what has outlived its purpose. Something that was beautiful and flowering in one season may no longer have life. This may be a habit, a ministry, an activity, a mindset or attitude, physical “stuff,” or even a person. The Lord often reminds me to declutter, both in my home and in my activities.

When we don’t deadhead, we become lopsided, off balance, overwhelmed, and even rotten. When we hang on to the old, there is less physical or emotional space for the new. I know it’s time for me to deadhead when I feel like I’m juggling too many balls and am no longer effective in what I’m trying to accomplish. When I begin to feel depressed or resentful, it’s a pretty good indication that I need to deadhead.

Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:22-24 to put off our old, corrupt selves and to put on a mindset.  The Greek word translated “put off” means to cast off, lay aside, or put away. It carries the image of taking off our clothes and putting on something new. I’m not sure why I resist this so much. I have no trouble deadheading obviously spent blossoms in my garden. Why can’t I do the same in my life?

What about you? What do you need to deadhead this week?

 

Plan Ahead for Christmas

Be sure to check out the Mighty Oak Ministries store for all your Christmas needs. Here are a few of our favorites.

The Small Group HELP! Guides are four tightly focused “how to” training guides for small group leaders and coaches, each in a reader-friendly, fun to use, and authoritative format, designed to equip readers step by step in a specific area. HELP! Guides are written for the novice as well as the more experienced leader. They include:

by Pat J. Sikora
Why Didn’t You Warn Me? addresses 18 common problems that well-meaning people create in small groups and it give s you step-by-step suggestions for dealing with them with grace and sensitivity.
 
How to Begin Your Small Groups Ministry
by Dan Lentz

This book will empower the Small Groups point person who is planning a new strategy or wants to grow and support an existing ministry. We’ll explore different small group models and philosophies that can be built around a set of relational ministry values.

Now That’s a Good Question!
How to Lead Quality Bible Discussions
by Terry Powell

If you want to zero in on the “Bible discussion” aspect of your small group leadership, Now That’s a Good Question doesn’t just tell you what to do . . . it shows you. It teems with ideas and examples that you can use immediately.

I’m a Leader . . . Now What?
How to Guide an Effective Small Group
by Michael C. Mack

Want to learn from the best small group leader ever? Michael Mack discusses six attributes of Jesus as he led his small group and applies those to leading your small group. I’m a Leader . . .Now What? is not a book about the skills needed to facilitate a small group meeting, but rather one that deals with the internal qualities that make will help you become a leader after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14)!

Blessing Your Spirit by Sylvia Gunter and Arthur Burk

God designed our human spirit to rule over the soul and the body. It does this best when it is deliberately enlarged and strengthened by truth–the nutrient that most powerfully transforms the spirit. Your spirit needs to know the truth about who you are and who your God is. Some of that truth is spoken by the Spirit of God directly to your spirit; some is received through deliberate nurture and blessing.

This book is a series of blessings designed to grow and mature your spirit. For 40 days, we explore legitimacy and identity from the Father’s perspective. Then after we have seen ourselves from God’s perspective, He invites us to see Him through 21 days of blessings flowing from the names of God. Finally there are several pages of verses that describe the range of functions and emotions of the human spirit.  As you read these blessings to yourself and to others, you will experience an enlarging of your spirit that will enable it to bring your emotions and behaviors into conformity with the will of God. Just a few minutes per day will yield amazing benefits.

Need a Speaker?

Retreats or Conferences, Large or Small

Pat’s primary goal is to minister the Word of God in a way that will encourage people to grow deeply, to heal progressively, and the mature into mighty oaks of righteousness. Pat loves working with wounded and challenging people, nurturing them to healing. Pat speaks on a wide variety of topics and is always willing to work with you to tailor an event for your audience. For a list of the types of workshops and retreats available, see the Events and Conferences page on the website.

 

Train My Leaders

Pat is available to train your small group leaders. She has over 30 years experience in leading small groups and coaching leaders. Her first book, Small Group Bible Studies: How to Lead Them remains a classic, despite being out of print in the U.S. (It’s in it’s 8th printing in Korea!) Her second book, Why Didn’t You Warn Me? How to Deal with Challenging Group Members continues to answer the questions many are afraid to ask. For a list of the types of workshops and retreats available, see the Branches section of the Events and Conferences page on the Mighty Oak Ministries website.

 

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