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There has been a lot of talk lately about people in the spotlight who have made some bad decisions, hurt their families and bruised their reputations. I really enjoyed Michael Hyatt’s post on Monday about the difference between a sin and a mistake. I also liked Todd Rhoades’ post about how to take Anthony Weiner’s situation and learn from it so that we don’t make those same decisions. This is some of what he had to say while reflecting on Weiner’s actions:
Don’t defame Jesus by lying, cheating, scheming. Be truthful. Be 100% truthful. All the time. Even when it hurts. Even when you make a mistake. Even when it will certainly make you look bad, or silly, or cheap, or sinful. Be honest. Be transparent.
I was also really humbled by the Grace Evan blog post that reminds us not to judge. We are not smarter, more clever or less sinful than these people involved in the recent scandals. Every morning on my way to work, I tune into one of the local morning talk shows to keep me entertained on my 30 minute drive. I’ll be honest, I don’t feel like a better person or more knowledgeable when I get out of the car, but I enjoy listening because the content can be so shocking. One day a week, this station will ask listeners to call in and talk about a confession that they have so that in return, they are eligible to win free concert tickets. I like to think that a lot of the stories are made up, but regardless of whether they are or not, the radio hosts always let the people know that they are not there to judge. They do a pretty good job of staying true to that, too. The funny thing about all of this is that we are so intrigued when we hear about other people’s sins and mistakes and we are so comfortable sitting back and criticizing. The radio station encourages stories littered with bad decisions, but even they make the choice not to judge because they understand the consequences that come with sin and of ridiculing others. There has always and will always be sin in this world. We need to take these stories and grow from them.


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We’ve all seen them. Some of us have probably even had one or two. The Facebook picture that looks nothing like your true self. I was inspired to write this after seeing a post on Mashable about Bergdorf Goodman and Lucky Magazine holding a casting call for models via Facebook. I first thought about how much pressure that would be to decide on which picture of yourself you would want to turn in, since you would want your make-up, the lighting and the pose to be just right. Then I thought… there’s a need to look somewhat like your real self, since you run the “risk” of winning and revealing what you look like without all of the camera tricks. I then thought, “People’s glamorous Facebook pictures are a lot like people who attend church every Sunday but lead very secular lives during the week.” “How?” you might ask. Well, we all want to make the right impression and we all want to be perceived in the best light (light in this sense being one’s reputation or personality). Just like the Facebook picture that only changes how you are viewed online, church only changes the way people think of you at church. Changing your heart and growing as a Christian make you the person you truly are designed to become. Do you think we spend more time pretending to be good, nice Christians than we do actually working to be more like Christ?

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2005- Apple announces that it will switch to Intel processors in 2006 1991- NBC announces that Johnny Carson will be replaced by Jay Leno in 1992 1971- Last broadcast of the “Ed Sullivan Show” 1960- Roy Orbison releases hit song, “Only the Lonely” 1944- Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. receives Congressional Medal of Honor 1944- D-Day- invasion of Normandy 1933- First U.S. drive-in theater opens in New Jersey 1918- U.S. wins first victory in WWI at Battle of Belleau Wood 1872- Susan B. Anthony was fined for attempting to vote 1862- Battle of Memphis (home of Shelby Systems)- city is surrendered 1850- Levi Strauss created his first pair of blue jeans 1844- The YMCA was formed in London 1816- Ten inches of snow falls on New England due to a volcanic eruption in Indonesia and was subsequently dubbed the “year without a summer” 1813- U.S. invasion of Canada is halted at Stoney Creek 1772- Jean Bapriste-Pointe Dusable settles Chicago 1664- New Amsterdam is renamed New York City 1660- Sweden and Denmark sign a peace treaty 1654- Sweden’s Queen Christina resigns and converts to Catholicism 1391- Inhabitants of Seville Spain massacre 5,000 Jews 1002- King Henry II (the Saint) of Germany is crowned


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Motivated by another interesting discussion from church, I write today’s post about what to do when you confront or are confronted by non-believers. Of course, religion can be a touchy subject, so it’s important to avoid lecturing or forcing your beliefs on anyone. God is the reason for someone converting, and our responsibility is to be the messengers. Three things to focus on when having a conversation on faith are to pray, ask, and listen. Pray Pray for God to provide you with the knowledge and answers that you will need to explain your faith and what it means to be a Christian. Pray for the other person to have an open mind and open heart. Prayer will be the most important factor in this process. Ask Ask for permission to talk with the person about their beliefs. Never assume that you can have that conversation without the other person agreeing first. It is important not to turn the conversation into a battle of beliefs. Instead, find out why they believe what they believe and go from there. Listen Listen to what they have to say and know how to respond. Show them that you are not looking for a one-sided conversation and that you understand their hesitations. In doing this, you will have a better understanding and they will be more willing to listen to you when that time comes. Not every conversation like this will be a success story, but being a source of information or a shoulder to lean on for that person can mean a lot more in the long-run than you might realize. Do you have any experiences of trying to talk to someone about your faith?


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Not satisfied with your Financial software? Ever feel like you are always needing more options or help with figuring things out? Shelby prides itself on having one of the most advanced church software systems and our financial package has more tools and capabilities than you can imagine. Check out what some of our customers are saying: General Ledger “Generally, I work on the financials in some way, whether preparing journal entries, working on spreadsheets, or reconciling the bank accounts. Among the many useful features in the General Ledger module, I really use ShelbyQuery a lot. It is really nice to be able to download data directly into Excel and then work with it. Also, the ability to save reports as PDF’s is very helpful…I can’t imagine trying to do this job without Shelby Financials. I really appreciate that it was designed for churches and not-for-profits. Since I work in the Accounting Department of a large church, I would have no ministry without Shelby Financials. Shelby enables us to provide necessary financial information to all other departments, the pastors, the deacons, and the whole congregation at times.  We can help departments track their spending vs. budget and help the congregation understand the financial results of the past year.” -Kelley Brown Purchase Order “I find it easier to navigate than most other financial software. The biggest savings from Shelby’s Financials has been Timeclock Plus and the ShelbyTELLER scanner, as well as showing the other ministries how to use the Purchase order module.  It has saved my assistant a lot of entry.” -Sylvia Manley, Faith Baptist Church Bank Reconciliation “It is so easy to find a journal or a deposit and Bank Reconciliation works like a charm. Usually whatever a minister or board needs….I can produce relatively quickly.” -Elena Derbique, Geist Christian Church Payroll “Shelby Payroll is a great program. We used ADP for several years, but pulled it in-house in 1995 and are SO glad we did. Doing it ourselves may cost us a bit more time for the reporting side of things, but we save way more money in ADP fees than we spend on the salary for our employees to do it for us. I would also recommend the third party product, Time-Clock Plus. It interfaces with Shelby and eliminates manual entry of hours. Shelby Systems actually uses this for their payroll processing.” -Cindy Rose, Christian Life Center Shelby’s Financials also includes: Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivables, Check Express, Expense Amortization, Receipting, Fixed Assets… and so much more. To find out more about Shelby’s church software, call (800) 877-0222 or email sales@shelbyinc.com!


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Don’t forget that the International Shelby Conference (ISC) is coming up in THREE weeks, so if you haven’t registered to attend yet, now is the time! ISC is Shelby’s annual conference that is being held this year in San Antonio, TX June 15-17. We will be at the beautiful Hyatt Regency River Walk Hotel (right across from the Alamo), so after you’ve absorbed all of your knowledge and gotten your fun in at the conference, you can hit the town to visit some of San Antonio’s famous landmarks and restaurants. We will have some awesome guest speakers, exhibitors, over 200 classes to choose from, on-site trainers and Support personnel, as well as Grammy award-winning artist, Nicole C. Mullen. If you’re wanting to meet a lot of great people while learning more about Shelby and our software, be sure to sign up today! We can’t wait to see you!

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There has obviously been a lot of talk lately about the world ending and the group at Family Radio who traveled the country to warn people of the event that was scheduled to occur on May 21, 2011. I’m not here to give you all of the facts about the group, because chances are, you have already heard them. I do, however, want to talk about the dangers in spreading a message like this one and associating all Christians to it. Predictions like this can negatively impact Christianity and Christian causes more than people might realize. For some that do not agree with the Biblical precepts of Christianity, the people at Family Radio might have given them more of a reason to think that Christian beliefs are all skewed. For others who do believe in Christianity, this might feel like an embarrassment. The reason for Family Radio’s massive amount of media coverage over the last few months was more likely the result of mockery, and less likely to be because of the media’s desire to spread a serious religious message. We need to be careful about how we interpret the Bible’s messages. If Christianity loses its voice of credibility, why would anyone want to pay attention anymore? Jesus tells us, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father,” (Matthew: 36). “So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him,” (Matthew: 44). The story is not getting any better, either. The leader of this group, Harold Camping, is still saying that the world will end on October 21, 2011 and that it is too late for the nonbelievers.


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Inspired by another one of my Sunday School discussions, I write today to question the idea of safety. More specifically, being so cautious that we are not living the way we were meant to live. Just a few weeks ago, my Sunday School leader had us read an article from Time Magazine’s News Feed blog about how the state of New York is debating whether or not certain games (such as Red Rover) should be banned from summer camps. It discusses the increased risk that these games create, as well as the possible need for extra medical personnel at the camps that allow these games to be played. I think this is one of those situations where (no matter your age) you might say, “What has this world come to?” Since when was Red Rover so dangerous that it should be banned? We can’t shelter ourselves from everyday life to the extent of doing away with childish games. God has a plan for all of us. As hard as it may be to understand, God does not want to harm us, but He does allow it to happen. Sin has brought pain into the world and He allows us to be affected by it. I do believe that there is a difference between putting yourself in harm’s way and having something happen that is completely unforeseen, however. Either way, there is no way to prevent every danger of this world and it is not our right to question God. We also cannot point fingers and say that God allowed something to happen because it was deserved. We don’t have all the answers and it’s not fair to try and understand it all. We do know, though, that life goes on and we have a fate that is meant for more than just this life. As far as the fate of Red Rover in New York… Tim Newcomb, writer of the articles says, “Red Rover can be a bit dangerous if decapitation is the goal. But now the New York State Department of Health is back to the drawing board to figure out just how to regulate all that outdoor summer fun.”