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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.”


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Many people keep inspiring quotes or Bible verses next to their computer, on their mirror or on their desk so that they can look at them throughout the day. When you’re looking to feel motivated or lifted up, messages like these can be just what you need. I feel like this verse is one of those inspiring messages. Hope you all have a great day!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” -Proverbs 3:5-6


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Now, I don’t mean to tear down the CNN Belief Blog, but when I read Lisa Miller’s post about technology ruining churches, I was a bit bothered. I did consider that she has a lot of experience in writing about religion, being a former religion editor from Newsweek and all, but I felt that this article was a stretch on reality. It probably didn’t help, however, that she started out by noting that we are at the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible and publishers are working on producing “an abundance of gorgeous doorstops”… as well as referring to the event as “hoopla”. Miller talked about technology and how far she thinks it’s going in terms of interfering with the Christian church. One sentence that stuck out to me was, “With Scripture on iPhones and iPads, believers can bypass constraining religious structures – otherwise known as “church” – in favor of a more individual connection with God.” My immediate thought was, “Isn’t an individual connection with God the entire point?” I have written a few posts in the past where I’ve discussed the benefits of using social media at church, as well as one about using the smartphone app, YouVersion, where you can read the Bible right from your phone. Miller talked about the app and her disapproval of it, saying that any Biblical interpretations have been removed from the text. She might have a point there, but with so many people around the world not having access to a Bible at all, an app such as YouVersion could make it possible to put one in their hands. My thoughts: Technology can be more beneficial than harmful if used correctly. How does your church feel about using new technology?


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When hard times hit, how do you deal with them? Most of us talk to God, but that doesn’t always seem to be our main way to cope. I was inspired by Jon Acuff’s post about being cut off in traffic by a guy with a fish sticker on his car. We’d all like to think that if someone cut us off in traffic, or offended someone in our family, we’d react the way God wants us to. Just “brushing it off” seems to be the best advice, which is usually easier said than done. When a more major event happens, do you find yourself leaning more on God or more earthly things like your belongings, food, or other people? I ask these questions because I am definitely one who struggles with reflecting God in my actions. We all are, but I have a habit of getting frustrated first and praying later. The Bible tells us of other people’s struggles and how they handled it with God by their side. It was not written to make us feel better or worse about ourselves, but to show us how God wants us to be and how we can better serve Him. So I ask, how do you deal with frustrating situations?


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St. Mark United Methodist Church in Northport, AL (next to Tuscaloosa) is operating as a collection and distribution center for those affected by last week’s storms. They are open from 8:00 AM- 8:00 PM, indefinitely. Please call the church office at (205) 454-7873 if you have any questions. Monetary donations can be made through the church to the “Disaster Relief Fund”. You can find their needed supplies at the bottom of this post. If you would like to mail supplies, please send to them following address: St. Mark United Methodist Church Attn: Disaster Relief 1421 McFarland Blvd. Northport, AL 35476 *Please also keep those affected by last week’s storms in your thoughts and prayers. Needed supplies:
  • battery-powered radios
  • batteries
  • flashlights
  • battery-powered fans
  • masking tape (1″ or larger)
  • blankets
  • bandages
  • small-sized toiletries
  • empty travel-sized bottles
  • deodorant
  • bug spray
  • sunscreen
  • shovels
  • rakes
  • hoes
  • work gloves
  • Ziploc bags
  • inverter (large wattage; fits in car lighter)
  • copy paper
  • blank CD’s
  • Sharpie markers
  • digital camera (with memory card)
  • data modem or cell phone with tether
  • printer
  • clasp envelope (9″x12″ or larger)
  • plastic/felt cap nails
  • manual can openers
  • charcoal
  • lighter fluid
  • tarps
  • non-perishable food


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As a former student of the University of Alabama, yesterday’s news of the tornadoes that touched down in the state of Alabama really hit home for me. Tuscaloosa was and still is a great town whose community is growing even closer by this terrible event. We here at Shelby Systems are keeping everyone affected in our thoughts and prayers. We want to help in any way that we can, so please let us know how we can make the process easier for you. We are offering hosting and restorative assistance for anyone who needs it. We are available by phone at (800) 697-4352 or by email at support@shelbyinc.com. To those of you in other locales that have experienced loss due to weather related problems, please contact us if we can help similarly.  We know many communities in other states are experiencing flooding and other issues.  Shelby wants to assist as best we can. For those of you who want to donate $10, text “GIVE” to 80888 for The Salvation Army or text REDCROSS to 90999.