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Take a few minutes out of your day to watch this video of Steve Scheibner, a pilot who was scheduled to on fly American Airlines Flight 11 on September 11, 2001, before another pilot by the name of Tom McGuinness called in to take that flight instead. The plane hit one of the World Trade Centers on the morning of September 11th and Scheibner sat down to talk about how he felt when he realized that someone else had taken his place. He talks about how his relationship with God was strengthened and how he takes life more seriously now. It really touched me when he said:
Why does God take one and leave another? It’s not because I’m a better person or God wanted to do more with me than he wanted to do with Tom. I’m thinking God’s providence. That’s obviously His choice. What has stuck with me all these years is the fact that He did leave me behind… is that I need to act like I’m living on borrowed time… because I am.

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Today, September 11th, 2011, marks the 10th anniversary of the heinous terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on Flight 93.  This was devastating for our country and we, as a nation, still grieve the nearly 3,000 lives lost in those appalling terrorist attacks and share empathy with the countless individuals who have been impacted so greatly by this national tragedy. As we remember the events of September 11, 2001, I challenge each of you to honor the memory of those individuals killed in these attacks, as well as honor the sacrifices of the first responders, military personnel and civilians who were so brave in the rescue and recovery efforts with your prayer and support. Moreover, let us continue to honor and pray for our most brave men and women in the Military and police forces who sacrifice each day in protecting our freedoms both here in our country and around the globe.


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Take a look at the new Shelby podcast where we talk with Posey Hedges, President of Old City Millwork, about what it’s like to build commercial, residential and handmade furniture in Memphis, TN. Old City Millwork also creates check-in kiosks for Shelby Systems. Watch for the contact information at the end of the show to learn how you can order one of your very own custom-built kiosks! Custom Check-In Kiosks from Shelby Systems Media on Vimeo. For a good laugh, also check out our bloopers (below) from the interview. Old City Millwork, Inc. Podcast Bloopers from Shelby Systems Media on Vimeo.

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Today’s post is by guest blogger, Ron Chandler. Ron is the Director of Customer Development at Shelby Systems, and has served on church staffs of both large and small congregations. He is also a consultant in church administration and author of the website www.churchadminpro.com. This past weekend our pastor explained his leadership position on the multi-site movement for church growth. As background, our church is two weeks away from opening a second campus which is only seven miles away from our existing campus. Our church was started seven years ago in a shopping center with the pastor and approximately 50 core members. Today, we occupy one campus and conduct three weekend services with an average weekend attendance of 1500. In two weeks we will expand to two campuses, add two weekend services, and double our capacity for growth. Projected growth indicators show our church doubling in size across the board in the next 2 years. Each campus will have facilities that can house 600 in worship with supporting children and nursery space, café, and parking. Small groups meet in homes. The total investment in facilities is less than 5 million dollars and the church will be debt free in less than 2 years. After having served on church staffs for over 30 years with much of that time spent in capital fundraising and expansion of large facilities and supporting facility services including budgets and sinking funds to maintain long term maintenance needs, I admit I am now a fan of the multi-site concept. Our pastor explained that for our church to provide one facility of approximately 100,000 square feet to accommodate 3,000 people in weekend worship and ministry space needs, it would require an investment of land and facilities exceeding $12 million dollars and capital fundraising programs for the next 6-10 years, plus the time and energy to plan, build, and budget for operating such facilities. However, utilizing the multi-site concept with moderate investment in smaller property footprints, cheaper construction using multi-use and limited size facilities, quick build and occupancy, our church can invest moderate resources in facilities and have much more resources for funding ministry and missions, with little or no debt. We can move quickly to start new congregations in areas that are fertile. Ministry startup can be fast and efficient. Theologically, our pastor explained that he believes this is a biblical concept exemplified by the church at Jerusalem and the church network that Paul established in Asia and southern Europe. Obviously, the church at Jerusalem met in many locations, including homes. However, there is evidence that they did operate as one large church through leadership and giving. As Paul established churches throughout the region, he later wrote letters of encouragement and instruction, which were likely circulated to multiple congregations, not just to the one to which it was addressed, giving credence to the multi-site concept. Paul was able to travel to most of these churches and minister there personally. As our church prepares to open its second campus in two weeks, our congregation has adopted the concept of multi-site and the vision of our senior pastor. Our pastor further explained that as we pay off our moderate existing debt, within two – three years our church can then pay cash for the next site and facilities needed. Those decisions will be based on geographic areas of growth where our church can quickly acquire property, construct similar facilities, and begin ministry within a short period of time, mobilizing volunteers and hiring of staff. With modest operating expenses, that new congregation can quickly grow to a point where it can sustain its operating funding needs while focusing on ministry. Budgets are ministry and missions, not facilities and debt-focused. The parent church can also plant churches in schools and community civic facilities with available resources. Funding and focus can also be given to local and foreign missions without stressing the budget. All of this is possible in a period of a depressed national economy. I am a believer in this concept! For the first time in my ministry, I am seeing it first-hand and it works! And, I too believe it is biblical and good stewardship. Comments?

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…and I mean literally behind you… what would you do? We all have moments where we sin, and a lot of times, we stop ourselves and repent. Other times, we might do something that we know is wrong, but we do it anyway. We try to make ourselves feel better by making excuses for it. Since we can’t see Jesus standing there, it doesn’t feel as bad.


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Whatever title you hold personally or professionally, you have probably come to realize that at some point in your life, you will be confronted about your faith. You might be approached by someone with questions about Christianity or you might be recognized as a Christian based on your words and actions. When you are in the limelight and have a lot of people watching you and hanging onto your every word, you must be very careful with how you word things and who you offend. You won’t be able to completely avoid criticism, you won’t be able to make everyone understand, but you do need to recognize how important your messages are. Take NFL quarterback, Tim Tebow, for example. If you aren’t too familiar with this football star, here is a quick recap: Tebow was a Heisman-winning quarterback at the University of Florida who helped lead his team to a national championship in 2006 and 2008. He now plays for the Denver Broncos after he was drafted in the first round. What is even more impressive about Tebow, however, is his unequivocal stance on Christianity. It’s hard to say if he would be as much of a news topic if it wasn’t for his public displays of his faith. On the ChristianPost.com, Anugrah Kumar wrote an article entitled, “Evangelical Football Star Tim Tebow Targeted for His Faith?” where he talks about an interview that Tebow did with CBSSports.com’s columnist, Gregg Doyle. Doyle had questioned Tebow’s faith and in turn, received a lot of “hate mail” from Tebow fans. Some people even told Doyle that they would no longer be CBS Sports customers. What really caught my attention was the point that Kumar made when he said, “In the 2009 Bowl Championship Series, he [Tebow] wore “John 3:16” on his eye paint, reportedly causing 92 million people to search the verse on Google.” Wow. If you’ve ever wondered how influential celebrities can be, I think that statement explains it perfectly. The Bible verse, Luke 12:48, is a great example of what God says about being entrusted with power as it states, “…From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” In another article from the ChristianPost.com, Lee Warren talked about reactions from the new Tim Tebow statue at the University of Florida. The Bible verse, John 3:16, was put on the statue’s eye black and one commenter said, ““I’m not a Christian and the Bible reference doesn’t bother me a bit,” said Tom. “Tim Tebow stood up for what he believed, that’s admirable. I’m glad UF had the guts to allow the artist to depict Tebow realistically.”” In my opinion, it’s a huge honor to be known for your strong faith, and Tebow has definitely taken his ability to publicly represent Christianity and has done so in a positive light. He has recently released a memoir entitled, “Through My Eyes”, in which he talks about his years at Florida, why he holds tightly to his beliefs, and the family that made him who he is. Neat things I’ve just learned about Tebow? He was born in the Phillippines and was endangered before birth because of an infection that his mother had gotten during the pregnancy. Doctors had recommended that she have an abortion because they thought the baby would be stillborn. Tebow was also the first sophomore to ever win the Heisman Trophy and he was named the nation’s best quarterback, best football player and best amateur athlete in any sport.

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I must admit, one thing that crawls all over me (is that a Southern expression?) is having a discussion with someone about Christianity and having them say, “I don’t believe in God or the Christian religion because I’m more of a logical thinker.” I had someone tell me a few weeks ago that he had been up late the night before talking to his roommate about Christianity. The roommate, apparently, has strong negative feelings towards all religions. I asked this person what some of his roommate’s reasons were and he responded, “Well, he doesn’t like how people act one way in church and a different way outside of church. He also doesn’t like how Christians ridicule anyone who believes something different than what they believe. Plus, my roommate is a logical thinker so he sees how ridiculous the stories in the Bible can sound. If you think about it… a lot of them are pretty unrealistic.” Aside from the roommate having issues with Christianity, the guy I was talking to obviously had doubts of his own. I pointed out that the roommate’s reasons all seemed to be problems with people at church and not actually with the Bible. There were so many other things that I wanted to say, but I couldn’t. It was the wrong place and the wrong time. Now, one thing about talking religion is that there are times to speak up and times to listen. I wanted to tell him that if all agnostics are smart, logical thinkers then all Christians must be shallow thinking and unintelligent… but that doesn’t seem very logical to me. Normally, I would regret not saying more, but this person has a pastor in his immediate family. He is a former student at a Christian college. My well-intended words would probably have fallen on deaf ears. As much that there are appropriate times to speak up, I also believe that people will only listen when they are willing. Have you ever missed an opportunity to speak up and regretted it? What about a time when you did say something and it wasn’t well-received?


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Today I want to talk about one of our most asked about and most popular products. ShelbyTELLER, as we call it, is our Check-21 compatible, electronic, check processing software. It’s so highly esteemed because it saves you a lot of time by scanning and capturing the front and back of checks, tithing envelopes and other financial documents. This process of electronically depositing checks also saves you from having to run back and forth to the bank (and that’s always a good thing)! ShelbyTELLER can add endorsement stamps and virtual endorsements, as well as update contribution numbers. It has full reporting features and stores archives of check images and payment documents. When you purchase the ShelbyTELLER software, you will also get support and software installation. It also works optimally with the Canon check scanners that we offer. If you have any questions or want to see how it could benefit your church, call (800) 877-0222 or email sales@shelbyinc.com.

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No gimmicks, no fluff. Simple and to the point. Here’s why your church should try Shelby’s Arena church management software:
  1. It’s browser-based
  2. It manages membership information, reports, check-in, events, small groups, contributions, volunteers and more
  3. Multi-site and multi-user access
  4. Access to in-depth, intuitive training and dedicated level 2 support
  5. Fully customizable to fit your church
  6. Smartphone and tablet capabilities
  7. Send bulk messages instantly by phone, email or SMS text messaging through Arena
  8. Design and run your entire website from Arena Premium
  9. Allow for online registrations, payments and contributions
  10. Real-time database
  11. Access to the Developer Community where you have access to other developers and developer tools so you can share ideas and technology
  12. Map interface for group locator
To find out more information, contact sales@shelbyinc.com, call (800) 877-0222 or visit www.shelbysystems.com/shelbyarena.

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If you ever skim through a Christian magazine, you’re likely to find a church ad that’s targeting men and asking them to come visit. A lot of these ads promote hunting trips, barbecue cook offs or other venues of interest. It might seem strange at first to try and target men specifically, but promoting activities that they could get excited about can actually be a great way to get them into church. Sure, women need their own activities and it’s always important to reach out to them, but these male bonding events can really make men feel like they are part of the church and  the community. If you can get the man of the household excited about church, he is more likely to bring the rest of the family along. That’s not to say that women won’t be great promoters of church involvement, but finding exciting new ways to entice the men in your community can help your outreach efforts. In an article from The Christian Century, it talks about a drop in church attendance by women in the last 20 years. The article states, “Since 1991, the percentage of women attending church during a typical week has decreased by 11 percentage points to 44 percent, the Barna Group reported Monday (Aug. 1).” This is a worrisome statistic… so a new focus on bringing in more men could mean a new rise in attendance for men and women. What do you think?