One of the things I never have enough of is good stock photos. Photo sites like iStock Photo started out cheap but is now no longer affordable. When you are making a website or flier promoting your church great stock photos make all the difference. Below are 10 of the best stock photo sites that give you quality photos for free. Hope these help. If I have missed one you use please leave the link in the comment section.
In about 4 weeks I will be in sunny Southern California. As someone from the chilly northeast this excites me. Why I am excited may surprise you. Yes this winter was brutal, but I am most excited about being at The Gathering again this year because of my experience at the conference last year and what David C. Cook is trying to accomplish in this event.
There are many conference that talk about the need for family ministry and this emphasis is well founded. The family in America needs every ounce of prayer, strength and support we can give it. What I appreciated about The Gathering was the way they tackle the family ministry problem. They come at it from the standpoint of spiritual formation. That the gospel is transformational in nature. What families need more than anything is a deep understanding of the grace of God despite the dysfunction that we bring to the table.
When you come to The Gathering you will hear about the grand narrative of scripture that tells over and over again that we are dysfunctional but are redeemed and made right because of Christ’s life, death and resurrection. What kids and families need from us is not more programing or slick events they need us to point them to Jesus over and over again. Families need the hope that only the Gospel provides. I love how Paul describes this hope in Romans 5.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
In Christ we have a hope that does not disappoint. So many families have experienced disappointment that has lead them to hopelessness. The good news tells us We Can’t but Christ did on our behalf. I am excited to sit to listen and learn. To be encouraged to press into the inexhaustible richness of God’s grace. As a pastor, as a parent as a sinner saved by grace through faith nothing is sweeter.
I hope to see you there. Because every family needs that gospel and every pastor wants a free ticket to The Gathering. In fact David C. Cook has cleared me to give a ticket away. So waste no time enter below.
What Books I’m Reading
Culture Making by Andy Crouch
What Blog Posts I’m Reading now
Pastors keep a close watch on your life and illustrations by Jared Wilson – Love Jared’s candor and his desire for preaching to be both practical and trans-formative. If you preach to any age group check out this post.
Teaching kids about Prayer and Fasting by Dale Hudson - Great post on the practical ways you can help kids connect with God and be apart of a church wide time of prayer and fasting.
Mom’s Need Theology Too by Christina Fox - While books with practical tips are useful for some things, the hope they provide can be short-lived. In truth, it is in theology, in our study of who God is and what he has done, that gives us the real hope, real wisdom, and real peace that we need in our lives — the kind that lasts. It’s theology — knowing God — that anchors us in the chaos of motherhood.
God Doesn’t Need Your Help by Jared Wilson – Love this quote – “I fear that thousands of younger persons enter Christian service from no higher motive than to help deliver God from the embarrassing situation His love has gotten Him into and His limited abilities seem unable to get Him out of.” Boom.
Freely: High Quality Free Christian Photos by Church Mag – A new Source for free high quality photos need I say more.
Pablo: Create engaging social media images in 30 seconds or less by Church Mag – love this.
What books I am reading right now
Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull
Show Them Jesus by Jack Klumpenhower
What blogs I am reading right now
Your Brain on Stories – Great post on the power of story and how it affects you. Thanks for the find @jonathancliff
If you develop tension in the story you will sustain attention.
If you sustain attention then it is more likely that the people
hearing the story will start to share the emotions of the main
characters in the story.
If people share the emotions of the main characters then they are
likely to mimic the feelings and behaviors of the characters when the
story is over.
Listening to a character story like this can cause oxytocin to be released.
And if oxytocin is released then it is more likely that people will
trust the situation and the storyteller and more likely that they will
take whatever action the storyteller asks them to take.
Grace and Race - Tim Keller nails it again such a great very short post on race.
“Thus Christians have a special test for racism. If racial differences are more important to you than differences in belief, you are acting as a racist.”
How To Raise An Adult – @mattPerman tweeted out this book link – looks promising
In How to Raise an Adult, she draws on research, conversations
with educators and employers, and her own insights as a mother and
student dean to highlight the ways in which over-parenting harms
children and their stressed-out parents.
No, Tablets Aren’t Necessarily Rotting Kids’ Brains – Interesting take on the debate over screen time by the people at Lifehacker.