Category Archive for: ‘Ministry’
A few months ago I ran into Donna who I’d not seen in many years. She was with her husband Troy. I knew Donna because at one time she was an extremely talented employee in my law office. As if the opportunity may not come again, soon after our initial hellos Troy wanted to make sure I was aware of something. He asked if I remembered giving Donna a leather bible with her name embossed on the front cover. He indicated that he and Donna were extremely appreciative of that gift. It appeared that over all the experiences Donna and I shared professionally, she and Troy remember me more for that gift.
The motivation for giving Donna her bible stems from what occurred when someone did the same for me. The first bible I owned is pictured above. I can say there’s something indescribable that occurs when a book has your name printed on the cover. I immediately knew when I received it that I couldn’t recycle my gift and give it to someone else. It had my name on it! I also felt some kind of strange responsibility for its contents. It’s as if I somehow owned what was inside. Whatever the psychology that’s at play here, soon after receiving this bible I often read large portions of the Scriptures. And from reading the Scriptures, my life was changed.
I tell you these stories because in an age where we offer information more and more by electronic means, I believe this powerful method of encouraging people to investigate and embrace the Truth is being overlooked. We’re in the midst of the biggest giving season of the year. But for some people on our shopping list the question of what to buy is not easily answered. What’s the perfect gift for that someone who we want to be able to say we got it just right? Well, as you may suspect, I have a suggestion. If that person is someone who’s in the midst of investigating the truth concerning the meaning of their lives or is a new believer, I recommend you consider giving them a bible with their name printed on the cover.
Whether a son or daughter, brother or sister, niece or nephew, a friend, a parent, someone at work, or anyone else you care deeply about, this gift, more than any other, has the potential to cause them to want to thank you years later.
Attorney, Speaker, and Author of The Beckoning: Examining the Truths That Transformed An Atheist Attorney Into A Believer In God
Many members of small groups have told me that the group they belong to has decided to review my book The Beckoning. After hearing this, I’ve decided that I want to show my gratitude for your small group or book club’s consideration of my work by making myself available to talk with your group.
Here’s how to participate:
1. Order copies of The Beckoning for your group members.
2. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a time to speak with me by phone or Skype. Make sure to propose dates after your group has had a chance to complete its discussion of the book.
3. I’ll get back with you to confirm a mutually convenient time and date.
4. On the chosen date, I’ll call or Skype in to your group to speak with your members and answer questions.
Thanks again and thanks for reading.
Michael Minot is an attorney, speaker, and author of The Beckoning: Examining the Truths That Transformed An Atheist Attorney Into A Believer In God.
The problem of pain has been debated since before the time of Plato. As I once did, skeptics cite the daily array of suffering and destruction experienced by people and animals to support their beliefs. But I’ve since discovered how we may benefit in some ways from our struggles. I offer the following illustration from nature to highlight what some of those benefits might be.
While growing in some cases to more than 300 feet with a base diameter of forty feet, the Giant Sequoia tree of California sprouts from one of the tiniest seeds. So small, 3,000 of these seeds weigh merely an ounce.
In the early part of the 20th century, a series of massive wildfires ravaged most of the Sequoias. In response to this devastation, the U.S. Forestry Service adopted an aggressive policy to suppress all forest fires. But studies performed decades after implementing the “No Burn” strategy revealed the unexpected. The unnatural suppression of fire impeded the vital role it played in both the germination and development of the Sequoia trees. In fact, the growth cycle of these magnificent trees depended on the major disturbances brought about by fire.
During the “No Burn” policy years, the forest floor became dense with vegetation. Dead and decaying debris accumulated unchecked. These conditions occurred as a direct consequence of suppressing the natural cleansing and regenerative processes performed by wildfires.
Without artificial restraint, cyclical fires burn away underbrush, thereby exposing the soil to the tiny Sequoia seeds that rarely sprout in dense vegetation. Heat from the flames stimulates the Sequoia pinecones to release their seeds. Burning also helps recycle nutrients into the soil. It clears the forest of shade-producing plants and trees blocking the sunlight the young seedlings so desperately need to grow. The cleansing effect of these recurring fires also keeps in check many pests that attack the trees. Most surprisingly, however, was how the periodic exposure to fire accelerated growth in the mature trees. Many of the trees exposed to the highest severity of fire experienced the largest and most sustained growth increases in the years following the fire.
How could this be? When we imagine the effects of intense fire on wood, images of blackened tree trunks, charred landscapes, and destruction come to mind. Yet, rather than making the trees weaker, occasional searing propels the Sequoias to new heights. In light of these findings, ecologists now realize that fire provides a natural benefit to woodland areas. Periodic burning should be prescribed, instead of suppressed, to stimulate much-needed and healthy changes.
Could it be that the pains besieging humankind play a similar role in our lives?
Michael Minot is an author, speaker, and an attorney. He is the author of the book The Beckoning: Examining the Truths That Transformed An Atheist Attorney Into A Believer In God.
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEBSITE? Please do! Feel free to reprint this article or any of my other articles on your website, your newsletter or message boards as long as you send me an email letting me know and include the following resource information: Michael Minot is an attorney, speaker, and author of The Beckoning: Examining The Truths That Transformed An atheist Attorney Into A Believer In God. See michaelminot.com for more information.
In my previous post, I mentioned a few of the general considerations I carry with me when speaking to anyone who doesn’t follow God. In this post, I’ll provide an outline of some of the tactics I believe are important when attempting to engage people in those types of conversations.
1. First, Put Yourself In A Position Where God Can Use You In order to have conversations with people we need be around others and get to know them.To do this we must:
- Be Interested In Others
- Initiate Conversations
- Invite People Out For Things Like Coffee Or Lunch
2. Start By Ask People Questions About Themselves Once you’re engaged with someone, find out about their life in a detailed way. What do they like? What do they do? What do they not like and don’t do?Ask them the same questions about their family members. After an extensive conversation, indicate how some of your background, experiences, likes and dislikes connect with theirs. Asking these types of questions allows the other person to appear first in the relationship and lets them know that you value them and their thoughts. They’ll be more willing to listen to you when they feel they’ve been heard even if it’s just to tell you a few simple things about themselves.
3. They Will Ask About You Few people will not ask similar questions about you after they understand that you’re truly interested in them.When answering these types of questions, try not to give the other person the impression that you’re a person on a mission. Your focus should be to simply open the door to relationship and the first step in a relationship is getting to know them. Therefore, consider mentioning your secular interests first. But eventually, along with everything else about your background, mention your reading and writing habits. “I read quit a bit. I enjoy reading about many subjects including sports, nutrition, politics, and philosophy” (something like that). I also spend quit a bit of time reading the Scriptures.
4. Philosophy Will Inevitably Come Up Eventually, philosophy will show up in the conversation. If not before, this will occur as a result of you mentioning your reading habits. Your story is the single most important aspect of how you convey the truth about God. What are the facts you’ve discovered that you find the most persuasive? No matter how many times or from whatever angle you view them, what keeps you asking, “How can this be?” What simply blows you away? What did you learn early on that caused you to look into things further? What have you learned since? The answers to these questions bring credibility not only to you but to what you found. Your story based on the facts you discovered is the most convincing and therefore the best story you can tell. Not information that comes from a handout track or from someone else’s prescribed way of presenting the Gospel. What makes you so convinced! You also want to come across as someone who doesn’t think of themselves as a know it all. Instead, state the truth and that is that you are a lifetime learner – always wanting to know more. At some point describe what you’re doing as you continue to explore these types of matters.
5. Prayer There’s so much spiritual warfare involved in our lives. But I believe there’s no time when spiritual warfare is more intense than in those situations where an unbelieving soul is being challenged. Here’s what I think is important about our prayer life concerning these circumstances:
- Give Thanks To God That He Counts You Worthy Of Being One Of His Ambassadors Of Truth.
- Ask Him To Prepare Your Mind And Heart For All Your Engagements With Others
- Ask Him To Prepare The Person You Are Challenging (for whatever needs to take place in the life of that person so that they would be open to God’s truths)
- Ask Him To Give You Discernment In Every Situation
- Ask Him To Bring To Mind The Loving Words He Wants You To Use During Any Conversation With Others
- Ask Him To Help You Know How To Pray Continually For Everyone You Challenge
- Ask Him To Help You Know How To Follow Up And Keep Following Up
Each day we encounter friends, family members, co-workers and even strangers who present opportunities for engagement on a relational level. One of the beautiful aspects of getting to know someone is that over time you’ll get not only the opportunity but the permission to share the Truth. We can all help each other so please share your thoughts with my readers and me, below. For those posting their comments by Nov. 7 I’ll put you in a drawing for a signed copy of my book The Beckoning. Michael Minot is an attorney, speaker, and author of the new book The Beckoning: Examining The Truths That Transformed An Atheist Attorney Into A Believer In God.
Few topics are discussed more often between modern day Christians than how to carry out the Great Commission in this ever-changing world. So, considering that I’m a former atheist, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’ve been asked many times to provide suggestions as to how to approach atheists. I tell people that when talking with atheists I keep a few preliminary considerations in mind as well as employ a few specific tactics. In this post I’ll discuss some of the preliminary considerations I’m always thinking about when I talk with someone about the fundamental truths supporting God’s existence. In my next post, I’ll discuss a few specific tactics I use and recommend to others.
- Keep In Mind Where The Atheist Comes From
It’s difficult to put into words how an atheist’s mind works. Generally speaking, however, as with a Christian or those holding any other worldview, atheists see all of life’s issues and circumstances through the lens of their beliefs. All of their thinking, and in fact their entire lives, have been built around the assumption that there is no higher authority than themselves. Science, they believe, tells them this is true. They also cite the pains of this world, the claims of Christians that miracles have occurred, and the hypocrisy of believers, among many others, to substantiate their claims. Accordingly, skeptics don’t believe the Scriptures are anything more than ancient fictional writings.
- The Deep Seeded Prejudices Held By Atheists
Living life with these core beliefs creates a prejudice in the minds of most atheists against those who believe some supernatural being exists and is responsible for everything we see. Believers are viewed as weak thinkers because they’re perceived to reject the fundamental aspects of what atheists believe is proved by science. As a result, most atheists develop a standoff attitude ignoring what believers say.
- Prejudices Are Strong Forces
Every person has the power to develop their own conclusions for our existence and therefore reject God. After formulating their initial opinion, many atheists have a tendency to become closed-minded. People are not as willing to test the facts after their teachers inform them that science precludes any other explanation. A kind of “been there, done that” attitude sets in. Besides, who wants to be out of step with society and what’s being taught in the public schools! As a result of these conditions, many are no longer true truth-seekers. Unfortunately, while in this condition the possibility for change becomes small.
The good news is that those who previously closed their mind to new interpretations of science can once again become inquisitive and open to learning something new. And you may be the one to help them regain that condition. Reaching out with a spirit of friendship in order to create discussion is a way to open the door to future conversations.
We can all help each other so please share your thoughts with my readers and me, below. Also, stay tuned. In my next post I’ll discuss some specific strategies on how to influence unbelievers considering each of the general considerations I’ve mentioned in this post.
Michael Minot is an attorney, speaker, and author of the new book The Beckoning: Examining The Truths That Transformed An Atheist Attorney Into A Believer In God.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”
Independence Day: A day filled with parades, barbeques, and family. We celebrate “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” but do we as Americans truly comprehend the sacrifice of the men who penned those words and how each phrase in our Constitution was birthed from a deep commitment to pursue God freely.
Fifty six men signed their names to a document that represented a pledge of independence from England and the formation of a new sovereign nation. Knowing that they would be put to death as traitors if captured by the British was not a price too high to pay for freedom. The records are unclear, but it’s estimated that between 25,000 and 50,000 Americans died fighting in the ensuing Revolutionary war.
The legacy of these brave men goes beyond every American. Their courage reaches to every person of every country that has been helped by our great nation. The freedom these men fought for is what we celebrate today. Freedom is what our country stands for.
July 4th is one of my favorite holidays because it celebrates sacrifice, patriotism and most of all freedom. I wish you and your family a wonderful Fourth of July.
My nine-year-old daughter Grace has attended a number of summer camps. She participated in beginning archery training in each of them. One of the camps was a daddy/daughter weekend where we shot arrows together.
So, a few weeks ago when our local newspaper announced that the United States Olympic Trials for archery would be held here in Colorado, I thought she might like to go. I began telling her about the information in the paper and how the finest archers in the United States would soon be coming to our town. While in the midst of asking her if she wanted to go to the competition she interrupted indicating she didn’t want to go.
Considering how Grace is always up for an adventure and that she’s told me many times how much she enjoys archery, I was confused. So I asked her why she didn’t want to go. She explained, “Daddy, I would never win. I’m not that good.”
A few minutes after chuckling at Grace’s response, I began wondering: “How often am I not patient enough to hear the full explanation of what my Heavenly Father is trying to tell me?”
Like me, I know you occasionally experience bumps and bruises to your body. My most recent mishap was a little more than a month ago when I broke a bone in the pinky finger of my right hand. A few days later, a surgeon realigned the bones in my finger, inserted a metal pin, and casted my entire arm below my elbow to keep things straight for a few weeks.
I was surprised at the number of adjustments I was required to make considering the injury was only to my pinky. Typing with the five fingers on my left hand and the index finger on my right hand was different. I couldn’t use the computer mouse with my right hand. The way I took a shower needed to be altered dramatically. Opening doors, driving, and how I exercised all changed in light of my inability to use this small part of my body.
In light of what I’ve experienced with my four special needs children, my little pinky problem doesn’t even register. But my recent struggles remind how our bodies are a unit made up of many parts.
What Paul Says
No matter how small, each part contributes to the function of our body. Paul uses the relationship that exists between the parts of our body to illustrate how God designed the Body of Christ to function. Writing to the Corinthian church, Paul said:
“God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where with the body be? … Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 1 Corinthians 18, 27
God’s Message To You
The message God wants you to hear is that you are so very important not only to Him but to all those around you. In the same way each part of your body is unique from all the others, God instilled in you a set of talents and abilities different from anyone who ever lived. No one else, not even one of the apostles or the prophets, has ever been able to do what God made you able to do. He made you specifically to meet the needs of people in ways no one else can.
Who knows, I may be one of the people needing what only you can offer. Better than anyone else, you may the best surgeon to help heal my most recent spiritual bumps and bruises. But whether it’s me today or someone else tomorrow, it’s safe to say that a great number of people throughout your lifetime will need your compassionate touch expressed through the unique mix of special qualities and gifts God has placed in you.
Thanks for visiting my new website. This is my first blog entry making it somewhat momentous for me.
I thought I’d begin with a topic that gives me the excuse of introducing you to my family. My wife, Nichole and I just celebrated our 19th anniversary. Through adoption, we’ve brought five wonderful children into our home. The oldest is 14 and the youngest just turned 5. You can learn out more about my clan by clicking on the “adoption” page link above. I’ll also be providing more details about these fast-growing kids in future blogs.
Now that you’ve been introduced, let’s get to our topic for today.
It All Boils Down to Love
The Gospels record how Jesus summarized the Jewish law into two points. First, as God’s children we are to love Him with our whole heart, our whole mind, and our whole being. Equally important, He said we should love our neighbor as ourselves. But the question arises, “If we are to love God with our whole heart, how then are we able to love our neighbors with great passion at the same time?”
We see from Jesus’ teaching that our God-given ability to love isn’t a single arrow to be shot at one target. In fact, God’s given you an exceedingly large number of arrows so that your love can be directed to a host of targets. It’s not only possible, but God designed you so that your heart would be fully given to many. You’re able to do this because loving someone with your whole heart simply means you do it without reservation.
Each of us holds many positions in life: spouse, parent, child, friend, sibling, coworker, classmate, etc. Therefore, loving people fully doesn’t look the same with each person. For example, I don’t exercise my love for Nichole in the same way I do my children. This doesn’t mean, however, that my love for anyone in my family is lesser or contrary to the other.
Unfortunately, you and I must concede that neither of us are perfect lovers. We all “fall short” as the Scriptures say. Although some may be better than others, none of us love God or each other as well as we should. Who can say they give their all for the benefit of others while offering complete forgiveness when they’re disappointed? Only one Lover does all that!
Loving us in ways our minds can’t comprehend, God is the greatest lover. He loves perfectly. By creating us in His image, we’re made to be great lovers too. But unlike God, you and I need help. And one of the ways God tries to stimulate our hearts in the right direction is by providing us an abundance of worthy targets.