Inca Trail Bound!

Tomorrow morning at 5:20, my daughter Jessica and I leave for our Inca Trail trek. This is a four day, 26 mile hike through the Andes Mountains. The altitudes will exceed 13,000 feet and our backpacks are full. What a blast!

Please say a prayer for our health and safety. On day four, we will end the hike at Machu Picchu with a celebration. I will try to post from the trail. And there will be lots of pictures upon our return.

Grace to all!


10 ways to influence people

In some of my personal leadership development processes, I try to measure how I am doing as it relates to influencing other people. defines influence as: “the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others.” There is nothing wrong with trying to have this affect on other people, as long as the influence is positive in nature.

Below is a list of some things that I think are vital to being a person of influence. Read through them and ask yourself how you are doing with your family, your friends and in your faith community. Are you a positive influencer?

Bring value: be sure that you add to the lives of the people around you. Are they better off because you are there? Make sure to add, not subtract, from the people in your life.

Encourage: build up the folks you know. There are enough downers in life. Once someone knows you are an encourager, your influence will grow immensely.

Share wisdom: when given the opportunity, give out lessons you’ve learned and advice you have received. Most of the time, we have to be invited to do so or else we become overbearing. But if something you know can prevent pain in someone’s life, share it.

Be steady: Huge emotional swings will destroy any credibility you may have. Conversely, if you are perceived as balanced and steady, people will trust you enough to allow you to influence them.

Be consistent: there is no substitute for a proven commodity. Time reveals strength. Pay your dues and stick with it over the long haul. You will find yourself being influential.

Succeed: It’s simple- if you produce, people will listen to you. Failure has a way of wrecking our credibility.

Display integrity: be honest, be fair, have character. Enough said.

Be loyal: if you can show that you have someone’s back, you will earn the right to be heard by them.

Serve: the display of a servant’s heart is a great way to win the confidence of someone you would like to influence.

Care: show that you truly care about people. If they know that you are not in this to get something in return, you will gain influence in their lives.

These are just a few ideas on how you can increase your positive influence in the lives of the people around you. And isn’t that one of the reasons we are put in this earth – to influence in a good way?

another video devotional

I know you can access these teaching videos from Maranatha’s website, but I am hoping that convenience will increase participation.

Take a look at these videos from Than and Megan and from me. The topic is humility, something we all need to learn.

Let’s keep going on our quest to Save our Families!

Humility – Than and Megan from Maranatha Church on Vimeo.

Humility – Pastor Rick from Maranatha Church on Vimeo.

old enough to be trusted

I had an interesting discussion with the girl who cuts my hair. I refuse to call her a hair stylist, I prefer “barber”, but she would probably be offended. She is from Russia and since I have been there, she likes to talk to me about how life is there, as compared to America. This morning, she told me that people who work at churches in Russia have to be old. Younger people are not trusted because they don’t have enough life experience. She referred to the movie “Gran Torino” in which a young priest is mistrusted by the main character, for the same reason.

Got me to thinking: Am I old enough and seasoned enough to be trusted by most people? I certainly recall the days when people asked if I was the Youth Pastor or when I had to grow a mustache to look older. Don’t have that problem anymore. But do I present old enough and mature enough to gain the trust of most people I am working with? I hope so.

It also made me think about how short the season of effective ministry is in our country. For too many people, you can’t be too young and you can’t be too old. The perfect age is, I would guess, somewhere around 35-45. I probably have about 15 more total years left to work vocationally in the ministry, but truly maybe only 5 years or so before most folks think I am out of touch. Wow. I plan to work hard to stay in touch.

In a few years, prop me up, and I’ll do my best to be trusted.

what can you do for God that only you can do for God?

When you are finished reading this, take a few minutes to watch the family video devotional below. This is the next in the series that we are producing as part of our 30 Days to Save Your Family series at the Gardens campus of Maranatha.

What are you good at? What gifts and talents do your possess? Now what might God want you to do with those abilities that will bring honor to Him? He does not give you a talent just so you can enjoy it. The purpose behind every gift is the sharing of that gift. I have always heard it stated this way: we are blessed to be a blessing.

If God has given you money, he expects you to share it. If you can sing, sing for God. If you are wise, don’t use that wisdom to gain the respect of others, use it to help others. This is a biblical concept and one that will result in great fulfillment.

Now utilize these ideas as they apply to your family. Check out the video devotional. Let me know what you think.

Family Ministry – Pastor Rick from Maranatha Church on Vimeo.

new family members

We have a very strong leadership team at Maranatha Church. I am honored to be able to work with quality, gifted and integrous people. With excitement, we are announcing an addition to our staff. Next month, my nephew, Richard Whitter will become a part of our pastoral staff. Richard comes to us with an extensive background in ministry, having served for several years as a missionary and local church leader.

Rich will be preaching and teaching, leading our outreach efforts, will be instrumental in training and leading missions efforts and providing overall leadership to the church and community.

Richard, Janet and Grace will love Maranatha, and we will love them. We are all about to go to a new level.

Be watching for specific details about the arrival of the Whitter family, part 2.

family devotional

Once again, we are focusing on improving our family relationships. 30 Days to Save Your Family is our effort to encourage everyone to strengthen the foundations of our homes. This video is the latest installment of our video devotionals for families. Than and Megan also have prepped a great devotional for families with kids. You can find it on Maranatha’s website.

Theme today: Honesty

Honesty – Pastor Rick from Maranatha Church on Vimeo.