God Stories

Everyone Has a Story

When I saw this video I got a little teary-eyed at the end. People are special and we all have a story. The gangster on the subway, the business man with his laptop, the young girl in the headphones… they are lives, people on a journey, stuck in this thing called life between the temporary and the eternal. We have a small window to learn some things while we are here and what I’ve learned is that we need God, and we need each other.

Enjoy this video and maybe look at a stranger a little differently from now on. They could be dying with cancer or HIV, they may have been beaten or abused that morning, they may be rich, but still miserable or poor and unbelievably happy.

Everyone has a story. What’s yours?

I'm Just Sayin

Learning to Listen…

The Millionaire Mind

Learning to listen – it’s not something that comes naturally. Some people are better listeners than others, but most people that are really good listeners do it intentionally. I try to be a good listener, but I find myself wanting to interrupt often. I love to hear the sound of my own voice. I love being heard. We all do. It’s what makes being a good listener so special.

Yesterday I was in a training session for a new ministry project that I’m participating in. The speaker said to us, “Don’t be so quick to take mental notes or to think that you have the answer.” It was a simple statement, but so powerful. We often feel like we know what to say – especially if what we are going to say happened to work for us. We get this nugget of truth and then we can’t wait to share it with everyone as if it is some miracle cure. But that nugget of truth might not ring so true for someone else. Being quick to answer often only comes across as rejection and if you aren’t a good listener – people will stop sharing what’s important with you.

My mentor has me reading a book right now called, “The Millionaire Mind.” It’s brilliant, but not in it’s information about money earning, but in the advice it gives on how to deal with people. “Me-Me-Me is Dull, Dull, Dull” – this was a line from the book and it is something I now remind myself often. When I’m with other people I want to always make it more about them and less about myself. This is a learned skill. It is not easy especially if the other person has also learned the importance of not focusing on themselves. But this is where great communication comes in. There is an amazing give and take and you ask questions and you allow the other person to fully answer and even better, you pause when they are done talking just in case they have more to say.

Culture God Grad School

Where is Your Identity?

My first semester at DTS I took a Spiritual Life class with Dr. Ralston. It was amazing. I took the class online and the great thing about that was we could get a transcript of the lectures. I took this snippet from one of the lectures as it changed my life and the way I thought about my ministry. I share it today because I believe it is always good to do some self-examination and find out what our true motives are when we are doing ministry.

“One of the biggest shadows inside a lot of leaders is the deep insecurity about their own identity, their own worth. The insecurity is hard to see in extraverted people, but the extraversion is often there precisely because they’re insecure about who they are. They are trying to prove themselves in the external world rather than wrestling with their inner identity.”

Macintosh comments, “The majority of tragically fallen Christian leaders during the past 10 to 15 years have been baby boomers who felt driven to achieve and succeed in an increasingly competitive and demanding church environment. Most often their ambition has been a subtle and dangerous combination of their own dysfunctional personal needs. In a certain measure of altruistic desire to expand the kingdom of God, however, because ambition is easily disguised in Christian circles and couched in spiritual language, for example the need to fulfill the Great Commission and expand the church, the dysfunctions that drive Christian leaders often go undetected and unchallenged until it is too late. A paradox of sorts existed in the lives of most of the leaders who experience significant failures. The personal insecurities, feeling of inferiority, and the need for parental approval among other dysfunctions that compel these people to become successful leaders were very often the same issues that precipitated their failure.”

You see what people are doing in Christian leadership? They’re trying to compensate. They’re trying to get the affirmation, the security, and the significance; they’re prostituting the role to their own needs. When leaders operate with a deep unexamined insecurity about their own identity, they create institutional settings that deprive other people of their identity as a way of dealing with the unexamined fears in the leaders themselves, and leaders not only embed in their organizations what they intend unconsciously to get across, but they also convey their inner conflicts and the inconsistencies in their own personal natures.

Human beings have always employed an enormous variety of clever devices for running away from themselves. We can keep ourselves so busy, fill our lives with so many diversions, stuff our heads with so much knowledge, involve ourselves with so many people, and cover so much ground that we never have time to probe the fearful and wonderful world within, and by middle life most of us are accomplished fugitives from ourselves; see the issues?” – Dr. Ralston, Dallas Theological Seminary


I thought Christians got drunk on Christmas…

I’m reposting this story from The Village Church because I thought it was really good…

When Katy from TVC stopped by her local dry-cleaner, she’d trade small talk with the Muslim owner. But this week, after getting equipped with how to share the Gospel with Muslims at an IHOPE workshop, when she picked up her dry cleaning, she asked her Muslim friend what he and his family celebrated – if anything – during Christmas. She was a little nervous to ask that first question, but what came next was very sweet.

That simple question prompted him to ask her what she & her family did during the holidays. When Katy shared that she would be praying, spending time in church and celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus, he was absolutely speechless. “I thought Christians got drunk on Christmas,” said the owner.

That led to a dialogue on what true followers of Jesus believe. Katy discovered her Muslim friend had no idea what the reason for the season was. She planted seeds, and now, she’s looking through her house to find more dry-cleaning to drop off to extend the conversation.

Many Muslims in the Metroplex have no idea why Christians celebrate Christmas. Like Katy’s dry cleaner, many think Christmas is about Santa, trees, gifts, food, and drinking. This season, like Katy, you can give a Muslim friend the best Christmas gift ever – the gift of hearing the Gospel for the first time.

Save the date now and plan to join us at the next IHOPE Muslim Outreach Equipping Workshop –on Saturday, February 23rd 9:00-10:30 AM (location details are pending). Join the movement and get equipped to help Muslims find and follow Jesus.

Renod Bejjani
TVC Covenant Member & Home Group Leader
Co-Founder & Executive Director for IHOPE Ministries

I'm Just Sayin

Don’t be THAT girl…

When I DJ, I’m always trying to please a room full of people – it’s quite a feat I tell ya. You’ve got kids asking to hear Justin Bieber and grandparents requesting Ella Fitzgerald all the while the bride has told you not to play any country or anything by Beyonce or the Black Eyed Peas or U2…

So I am like the Wizard of Oz sitting behind my DJ booth literally making magic happen for two, three and sometimes even six hours straight and I always seem to get one girl that thinks she is the DJ and that she really knows what is best. “Play some Kendrick Lamar” she says… “Kendrick Lamar?” It’s not a name I know, I’ve heard it in passing, but it’s not something that is ever requested and definitely not something that everyone is going to know. “Will everyone dance to Kendrick Lamar?” I say in response slowly transferring the responsibility to their shoulders. “Yes, everyone will LOVE IT! It’s going to be so great!!”

I’ve heard this line now probably 100 times. There is always that person that thinks they have their finger on the pulse of society. They think that their personal playlist is what everyone is grooving too and they are oblivious to the fact that I get PAID 100’s of dollars per hour because I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING. I’ve DJ’d so many parties and worked so many crowds that I actually do know how to read people. I give you what you want before you even know that you want it. You will find yourself swaying your butt to my beats even when you didn’t think that was going to happen. I go slow when you want fast because I know that you can only handle so much fast. I speed it back up right when you are hungry for speed and I keep the party ebbing and flowing all night like a well choreographed dance routine.

“This song is a sleeper!” Another girl whines as she huffs by the DJ booth. C+C Music Factory is blasting from my Bose speakers and the crowd behind her is singing every word and dancing away and LOVING it. She grabs her friend and storms off in a tizzy as if my song choice is a personal insult to her. Yes, the song was before her time, but the rest of us can only handle so much Ke$ha, Bieber and Britney.

“Can I sing a song?” This time the lady is thin and attractive and I’ve got a good feeling about it so I say, “Sure.” She does a great job singing a song and the crowd really loves it. I think that she is happy, the crowd is happy, she got her 5 minutes of fame… but that is never enough. Being in the spotlight is very addictive. Once you get a little taste you can’t help but want more. “Can I sing another song? Please?” I’m not sure why a person’s tone goes to begging so quickly, but it does when someone is desperate. It’s like they are feening for another hit of crack. “Okay, I’ll let you do another one.”  Eventually I have to cut them off. They start thinking that the reception is their personal time to shine and suddenly it is about them and their vocal talents, not the bride and groom or the rest of the crowd.

Lastly, there is that girl that not only wants to have you play their requests all night, but she brings in her iPod and insists that you play her song that is going to be a hit. “What, you don’t have it? No problem, can’t you just plug in my iPhone/iPod/Shuffle/Android/Walkman?” Ugh. It’s not enough that I’m juggling singers and lighting and dancing on the dance floor myself but now you want to plug in your device and integrate it seamlessly into everything else that I’m doing. Okay. I can do this… and I do, and normally the song is an EPIC FAIL. My assistant will often say, “Cut it” people will even come over to the booth and say, “can you change the song” but no, I force them to endure the lameness that way, the person that requested that I play the song knows that they are responsible for clearing the dance floor. I want them to go away hanging their head in shame so that they NEVER request another song again, or, at least not one that is on their playlist because if I don’t have it, it’s probably not a hit.

And ladies, I’m sorry to pick on you cause I do love you… but, it does always seem to be a gal that storms off in a fit if she doesn’t like what I play. It’s always a woman who gets drunk and causes a big scene dropping glasses of wine on the dance floor and it’s almost always a lady that gropes me inappropriately or flashes me in hopes that I will play their song or let them sing on the mic. Really, it doesn’t take all of that, it just takes being nice and flashing a smile…