WHAT THE FUCK DOES A SMALL CITY COP DO ALL DAY



One of my friends is a cop. For reasons that are probably easily surmised, we don’t hang out much anymore. He’s actually a really sweet guy — or he was last time I saw him like two years ago when we sat next to each other at our other friends’ wedding and I was worried he was gonna figure out I was fucked up the entire time.

SBTVC: So, dude, what the fuck do you even do all day?

SMALL CITY COP: What the fuck do I do all day? Short answer is, I am 5-oh, the fuzz, a cop, you know, the Po-lice. Long answer: My day starts at midnight and I work till 8 A.M.. I drive a Crown Vic Interceptor, carry a Sig Sauer, P226 DAK, wear a bulletproof vest, slap cuffs on people, and manage everything from fender benders to major crime scenes. I have to always be aware of my surroundings and am just as fearful of getting sued as I am of getting shot.

My shift starts with a stop at a Dunkin Donuts, then I make rounds through neighborhoods, shopping plazas and industrial parks hunting for criminals, drunk drivers, and vagrants. At about 3 A.M., I find a nice quiet place to settle in and read a book or work on reports, waiting for the radio to send me on a call. At about 5:30 I start rolling again. This time I am looking for traffic offenders. I sit at several different locations either running radar on a speed trap or watching school buses pick up children. Sometimes I swing through the train station lot and eyeball the hot chicks walking to the commuter rail. Spring is the best. I always see at least one girl wearing a blouse or T-shirt on a day when she should have paired it with a jacket. Hard nips and side boob are two of my favorite things.

You ever seen something you will never be able to un-see? How often do you want to puke your fucking guts out?

I’ve seen some pretty fucked up shit. I have seen grown men cry like babies and poop their pants. I’ve seen 2-year-olds walking by themselves on the sidewalk, in their diaper, in the winter. I’ve seen brains, blood, and death at car crashes, all kinds of drugs and drug paraphernalia, fights, car wrecks, hangings, and even a woman slice open her stomach in front of me. But the weirdest shit I have seen has to be when I walked into this shit-hole triple-decker apartment, I mean a real shit-hole that houses druggies.

No way.

This shit-hole is such a shit-hole that your feet stick to the floor, you step around garbage and over old blood stains when you enter. I had to go to the second floor to break up a fight. When I walked into one of the bedrooms to interview one of the participants, I found a fucked up looking red-headed dirt-bag female in her 40s fingering herself and watching porn while holding a hand towel on her forehead that was covering a gaping flesh wound. She had been hit over the head by her boyfriend/pimp/roommate for God knows what, but refused to press charges and refused to stop pleasuring herself.

Yikes. Am I the only one kind of turned on right now? So how do you work up the will to get out of bed every day knowing you have to go to work? Or do you actually look forward to it?

Despite all that, I look forward to going to work every day. I like knowing that I am helping someone, in some way, every day, just by going to work. Even doing nothing all day amounts to some protection for someone. I can slow traffic just by parking at an intersection, and save lives by taking drunks off the road. Last year I won the MADD award from Moms Against Drunk Driving, and that was justification enough.

How awful are the people you deal with every day?

I tell people I come in contact with that there are only two types of people out after midnight: cops and assholes. Generally, in my city, that is true. If I am talking to you after midnight and before 5 A.M., it’s because you are an asshole, or you were put in a position to call me because of an asshole. Of course, not everyone out after midnight is an asshole, but most of the people I talk to are. No one respects the police, and generally, when I get called to a scene, 50% of the people involved don’t want me there.

I’m pretty sure 90% of people anywhere at any hour are assholes. Good point though. So what’s something about your job that no one really knows that you think people would give a shit about?

We don’t have quotas and aren’t out to get you. I try to treat people with as much respect as is given to me, and I’d rather write you a warning than a citation. Your attitude and your choices determine my response. Treat me with respect, remain apologetic and polite, and you are all set.

SBTVC

Acting Shocked Off Your Tits When Someone Youre Friends With Online Says Hi In Person




Forthwith: If you’re my “friend” on the lines, and you see me in public — especially if we communicate, comment on each other’s shit on a regular basis, etc… — then you are obligated to muster up the courage to put together some semblance of a giving a shit face when you accidentally stumble across my ghastly IRL visage, k? k.

I know I probably look better in theory online — you know, when you don’t have to stare at me for more than 20 seconds, or smell me, or listen to me try to stitch together an awkward, impromptu comedy bit /getting to know you routine on the fly — but that’s just tough shit. I don’t really want to talk to you either, but you should have thought of that when you added me so you could send me some pitch about the band you aren’t in any more like 6 years ago.

Be a real person for once. Look me in the eye, say something weird that makes all of us uncomfortable, then make some sign language hand motion that indicates you’re gonna go smoke/get a drink/ talk to someone more important over there. That’s just basic manners.

Asking to Talk to the Manager




I’m no child psychologist, but I am what you might call an expert on assholes, so I’ve done some extensive research in the field of tattling. A couple key points to consider:

Basically a lot of the literature out there asserts that tattling is a way for children to receive attention. Attention-craving children will try to receive attention any way they can, even at the risk of doing something that they may otherwise know to be wrong. Furthermore, focusing attention on the tattler only encourages this behavior. By giving into the demand for attention that the tattler is looking for, you may give them the idea that this is a real way to become fulfilled.

It can also be about a grab for power as well; a means to get revenge on another child who they feel has wronged them in some way. “It is a quest for power, and tattling fills that inner need. These children long to see another child punished or perhaps delight in how they have managed to control the adult’s reaction,” says Jennifer White, some author I just looked up five seconds ago who writes about this sort of thing.

“At other times, tattling reflects children’s self esteem issues,” she continues. “Children may lack the confidence to handle the situation independently. Further, by getting another child into trouble it makes them feel better about their own shortcomings…

A final reason for chronic tattling reveals the deeper issue of children’s lack of independent conflict resolution skills. These children have no other strategies to deal with undesirable peer behaviors, and so look toward the adult to resolve the problem. Their limited skills necessitate intervention from adults, rather than relying on internal strategies to resolve peer issues. These children would benefit from peer mediation and conflict resolution training.”

An introductory course to getting your new church off the ground



by John Ratliff

By John Ratliff

I recently met with a minister who had been told I was a CPA that helped small
churches. She and two other ministers had recently started a church, and the
administrative duties became her responsibility. Among her many questions were, “How
do I start a new church?” This article is a summary of our resulting discussion. It
is aimed at the independent church growing rapidly in the United States today.

The Word says, “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there will I
be also.” If these few meet on a regular basis, you have a church. The IRS Code
states that any organization claiming to be a church is a church. The courts have
further defined a church as a body of believers that assembles regularly in order to
worship. Other criteria include a recognized tenet of belief; creed and form of worship; a
formal code of doctrine and discipline; a defined ecclesiastical governing structure; an
established place of worship; schools or training for its members and ministers; and
others. The IRS generally applies a list of church characteristics developed over the
years by the courts and the commissioner when deciding the propriety of an organization.

Employer identification number. The first official step in starting a church is
application for an employer identification number (EIN). This establishes the church as an
entity with the IRS and subjects the church to Federal laws regarding reporting of wages
and collection of taxes. An EIN can be obtained by filing Form SS-4 with the IRS. This can
be done by letter, phone, fax or E-mail. Call the toll free number of your regional IRS
service center in your phone book, and an IRS representative will give you information on
how to obtain the EIN number.

Some ministers have mistakenly understood that the receipt of the EIN is the tax
exemption certificate that is discussed below. Other ministers have refused to obtain the
EIN on the grounds that it violates the separation of church and state doctrine. The
granting of tax exempt status is one of legislative enactment, not a fundamental right
under the First Amendment. Congress has provided a means of allowing a religious
organization to operate freely in matters of doctrine and worship while requiring it to
adhere to laws concerning reporting of wages and taxes. Congress has also granted two huge
benefits to churches, that of allowing contributions to be tax deductible to the
contributor, and the ability of churches to accumulate capital without taxation.

Tax exemption certificate. A church does not have to apply to the IRS for
501(C)(3) status and is not required to obtain IRS recognition of their tax-exempt
status. Once a group begins meeting regularly, it becomes a church in the eyes of the IRS
and is exempt under 501(C)(3). The church may apply for tax exempt status in order
to be able to assure its members and the public that contributions are tax deductible,
particularly if it will be obtaining grants or contributions from corporate or other
tax-exempt organizations. Churches affiliated with a denomination or other order can
simply apply for church status under a group exemption of the governing organization. The
application for tax exempt status (Form 1023) is a lengthy questionnaire prepared and
filed with the IRS. It details the beliefs and activities of the church in order for the
IRS to determine that the church’s activities meet the tax-exempt standards.

Incorporation. A church is not required to incorporate, although it is generally
advisable. Incorporation creates a distinct legal entity which is able to transact
business and provides protection to the officers of the church when they sign legal
documents acting on behalf of the church. A member of an incorporated church is protected
from liability of the debts of the incorporated church. Members of an unincorporated
church may look to protection from the debts of the church under the Uniform
Unincorporated Nonprofit Association Act in states where adopted. However, this statute is
subject to tests in the courts as to its interpretation and enforceability. Being
incorporated makes it easier for an organization to transact commercial business. Many
lenders require incorporation in order to grant loans.

Records. Federal (and some state) laws require churches to comply with payroll
tax and employment reporting obligations. In addition, contributions are deductible to
donors only if they meet certain substantiation requirements that impose certain
record-keeping and reporting requirements on churches.

A new church should call its local IRS office and obtain Publication 15, Circular E,
Employer’s Tax Guide
, an invaluable resource for understanding employer
responsibilities. Amounts paid to individuals for services rendered must be reported to
the IRS as wages and in most cases, taxes must be withhold and remitted to the government.
Circular E contains the various income tax withholding tables and explains the
rules for filing the quarterly Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return.
It also explains the thresholds for timely deposit of taxes withheld. Many churches incur
penalties for untimely remitting of taxes. The penalty for failure to make timely deposits
can be as much as 15% of the late taxes.

Some church administrators think they can designate persons as independent contractors,
thereby saving the matching social security and Medicare taxes. Publication 15-A, Employer’s
Supplemental Tax Guide
is helpful in defining employees and independent contractors.
Publication 517, Social Security and Other Information for Members of the Clergy and
Religious Workers
covers several issues relating to the collection of social security
tax from members of the clergy and certain income tax rules of interest to the clergy.
Employers should become familiar with the documentation requirements for all employees,
such as INS Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, Form W-4, Employee’s
Withholding Allowance Certificate
, and many others. Social security taxes, Medicare
taxes and withheld income tax are reported and sometimes paid together on Form 941, due 30
days after the end of each quarter. Form 941 can also be filed by telephone by following
the TeleFile materials received with the Form 941. Deposits of withheld taxes are made
weekly, monthly or quarterly depending on the amount. Most churches will be required to
file the annual Form W-2 for wages earned by employees and Form 1099-MISC for payments to
non-employees.

In most states, churches must register with the Workforce Commission (or similar state
agency). The Commission will assign the church an account number and send forms for the
church to complete. In some states, churches are not required to carry worker’s
compensation insurance. The church should inquire with its state agency about the required
forms to be filed, notices to be given to employees or posted in the workplace, and
record-keeping requirements. There can be stiff penalties for noncompliance with state
laws.

All disbursements made by the church must be documented by receipts or other
documentation clearly demonstrating that the expenditure was made for activities
consistent with the tax-exempt purpose. The “five W’s” is a simple way to
remember the requirements: who, what, when, why and where.

Contributions to churches are deductible to the donor only if they satisfy certain
conditions. One major condition is that the donor must be able to substantiate the
contribution, usually by a receipt from a church. The substantiation requirement depends
on the size and nature of the contribution (cash vs. property). The church should receipt
cash contributions at least annually. The church may not acknowledge a value or assign a
value to property contributed to the church. However, it may (and should) acknowledge
receipt of the property. Donors contributing property (other than listed stocks and bonds)
in excess of $5,000 should submit Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions, to
the church. If the church disposes of the property within two years of date of receipt,
the church must file Form 8282, Donee Information Return. Form 8282 reports the
subsequent sale and sales price of the property to the IRS.

Another condition is that the contribution must be unconditional and for the general
use of the church. Designated contributions may not be deductible to the donor. If the
designation is for an approved program or project of the church, the contribution is
deductible. If the designation is for an individual, in most cases the contribution is not
deductible. Contributions must be under the full administrative control of the church in
order to qualify for deduction. The rules for designated contributions are complex and
must be understood by the church in order to receipt contributions lawfully.

The discussion documented above is intended to be a general guide to organizing a new
church and is not intended to be all-inclusive. It is hoped that it will generate an
awareness of the various details that must be addressed so that the minister will not be
unaware of situations that could bring exposure to the church. A general awareness should
motivate the minister to seek professional help when unusual events occur. Ignorance of
the law is not a defense, and forgiveness is generally not in the tenets of belief of the
government.

John Ratliff, CPA, is an audit manager with Pickens, Snodgrass, Koch & Company,
P.C., in Arlington, TX. His practice is predominately with churches and ministries.

American Donations to Charity Highest in the South



10/04/2007

Empty tomb, a Christian research and service organization, will release a new book that analyzes 2005 charitable giving data. The book, set to come out later this month on October 15, centers around findings from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey.

Among those findings are that giving to charity is the highest in the South and the lowest in the Northeast. Church giving on the whole was up in 2005. Americans also reported that 72 percent of their giving was directed to church and religious organizations. Denominations spent 2.2 cents on overseas missions for each dollar contributed.

The book is titled “The State of Church Giving through 2005: Abolition of the Institutional Enslavement of Overseas Missions,” and written by John and Sylvia Ronsvalle.

The empty tomb analysis can be found by clicking here.


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5 Signs of an Effective Congregation



5 Signs of an Effective Congregation

Though churches are always looking for danger signs within – what’s going wrong, who is not being reached, etc. – sometimes the most constructive thing to do is to look at what is working or to look at other congregations and see what’s working for them.

Bill Tenny-Brittian identifies five marks of effective congregation on his blog. Among them:

  • Plenty of invited guests
  • Spontaneous ministries springing up from laypeople who want to lead them
  • Consistent number of adult baptisms

To read the other two, along with full analysis from the writer, visit the source.

Source:

Consulting, Coaching & Chatter: Five Marks of an Effective Congregation

Related Content:

Consulting, Coaching & Chatter: Five Marks of an Effective Congregation


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11 Tips for Pastors Who Want to Build a Church Top 11 Things Pastors Wish They Knew Before Building



by Kurt Williams

Continued from

page 1

6. Managing Expectations – The Wants of the People vs. Budget

Pastors consistently noted that the expectations of the congregation were typically unrealistic in several areas. Facility modeling can help establish the expectations of the church as it relates to the amount of square footage needed to support the ministry, the costs associated with building the space, and the desired materials. Tools in the market can help you establish ballpark assessments of your ministry needs. Facility modeling is best done with the key leadership of your church. The key leaders typically have the best grasp of ministry needs (not wants) to support the vision and mission of the church. With this information, an early assessment of the size of the facility can be established, along with a preliminary budget to construct the facility. Make sure that you have a complete budget from a builder that includes not only the construction costs, but also the design and engineering, site work, fixtures and furnishings that will be needed once the facility is complete. Aligning ministry needs for building space with the ability to finance may seem obvious, but it’s often left out. The typical church has the $5 million vision and the $2 million ability to fund it. The time to adjust the expectations of the church is now. Before actually getting into the pre-construction phases of your process, you need to come to grips with the financial fact that you will probably not be able to build your entire vision in the first phase. Good expectation management will keep your building team on the right track from the beginning and keep them focused on the priorities of your ministry vision.

7. Stewardship Choices – Cheap Decisions Today Will Cost Tomorrow

There is a saying that the only place a building can be built under budget and with the best of all materials is in a building committee meeting. There will always be tension between the square footage needed for ministry, the funds available to build with and the quality of the materials you might use. A common crisis that churches face is too much building, not enough money.

Under the premise of stewardship, many churches will use cheaper materials so as to not decrease the size of the building. The National Association of Church Facility Managers has determined that in the first 40 years of a church facility’s life, the total costs involved with the project breakdown are as follows:

75 percent for maintenance, upkeep and repair

14.5 percent for finance costs and interest

10 percent for building construction costs

.5 percent for building contractor fees

A stewardship decision today often equates to a financial burden for the next generation. Every pastor surveyed who had been involved with choosing a cheaper material later regretted the decision. Make sure that all present and future costs are taken into account when wrestling with the balance of ministry space, money and materials.

8. Property Issues – The Requirements and Time Involved to Build on the Land

Many a pastor has been involved with the donation or purchase of the perfect piece of ground for the church. The due diligence part of any land purchase can make or break a deal. With the church, it is absolutely critical. Several factors affect the actual amount of land usable for construction. It is during a site analysis that churches may find that they cannot meet the growth of their ministry at their current location and need to acquire adjoining property or investigate relocation.

A detailed site challenge analysis will supply information that is absolutely critical in the development of the master plan, as well as establishing the costs involved in developing the property. Key issues that a site challenge analysis should address include zoning, neighborhood issues and requirements/covenants, permit fees and restrictions, parking requirements, egress/ingress issues, right-of-way expansion, easements and set backs, landscaping and green space requirements, topography, wetlands, flood plains/flood ways, storm water retention, water and sewer/well and septic requirements, and environmental hazards and concerns.

A comprehensive site master plan should be part of the ministry plan for your property; some might even call this a vision plan. Master planning is a topic all to itself. It suffices to say that a master plan showing land development out to five, seven and 10 years should be clearly defined prior to breaking ground on the first phase. Pastors have been surprised many years later how a simple mistake made 10 years ago in the middle of their 20-acre parcel of land has hampered their future building plans or cost them significant amounts of money to rectify.

9. Building Codes – The State and Local Requirements to Build

The number of requirements and the costs associated with compliance to meet the building code were surprises to most pastors. Though the burden to meet the building code requirements fell on the designer, the costs associated with them became the burden of the church. Some codes such as the American Disabilities Act are fairly well-known and easy to comply with. Other codes dealing with issues such as wind loads, snow loads, dead loads and live loads are less obvious, but very important for the design and regulatory approvals by your state and local building permit office. Other important issues that your designer should be familiar with are the codes regarding insulation and ventilation, fire sprinklers, plumbing, HVAC (heating and cooling) and electrical. Each area of the country has unique adaptations of the major national building codes that have been changed for that specific geography or fire concern. Make sure that your team is familiar and has experience with your locale.

10. Building Plans – Can You Read and Understand the Plans?

Almost every pastor struggled with understanding or reading the building plans. In every situation, the design-builder reviewed the plans, page by page, but much of the detail was lost. Pastors that asked the design-builder to slow down or explain in more detail came to understand very important elements of the design. The surveyed pastors advised having the building committee chairman (not the pastor) familiar with the plans and all of the details of the project, as well as having an open, trusting relationship with the builder. This allowed the pastor and the building chairman to relax about the finer points of the plans and to rely on the expertise of their design-build team for a good result.

11. Kicking the People Out – The Building Is Not the Destination

Pastors thought there was a tendency to stop and relax after the building project was complete. Some felt their congregations stopped all together because the goal – the building – was complete. The building is not the destination; it is simply a tool for ministry. More than a few of the pastors referred to “kicking people out” of the building to reach out to others in need of the Gospel. A building project can be tiring, and a time of celebration and relaxation is to be encouraged and expected. Reminding the people from the very beginning of the process that the building is actually for reaching out to others tends to lessen the downtime that the congregations needed before getting out and sharing the excitement of their new building with others in the community.

Every building project is an adventure. Partnering with those who have a heart to serve the Lord can make what could be a time of ministry distraction a time of ministry focus. Challenges happen, but with the wisdom of others who have survived the building process and the advice of kingdom-minded design and build professionals, those challenges can be greatly reduced.

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.” – Proverbs 15:22

“Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding.” – Proverbs 3:13

Kurt Williams is a design-build veteran at T&W Church Solutions (www.tw-church.com). He’s spent more than two decades in the industry, 18 of those years guiding more than 90 churches through the various stages of discovering, designing and building their new facilities. T&W Corp. serves the churches of Central Indiana and is an active contributing member of the NACDB. Williams can be reached at [email protected].

Pages: Previous1 2

Arguing with God



MONTREAT, N.C. – Prof. Dan Migliore is worried that Christians may be neglecting their prayers.

Not their prayers of praise or thanksgiving, but their prayers of lament – those that articulate anguish, or, like the psalmists of old, take God to task for being silent when the world is hurting so deeply.

That’s what Migliore told his listeners in a workshop titled, “The Prayer of Lament in Christian Theology,” one of 23 offerings during the Montreat Conference Center’s third annual “Reclaiming the Text” Conference, which focused this year on Recovering the Language of Lament.

“My basic concern.is for freedom and honesty of prayer, and all that this freedom implies for our understandings of God and ourselves,’ said Migliore, a systematic theologian at Princeton Theological Seminary. “If in Christian life we cannot express our doubts, our faith will be half-hearted. If we cannot shed tears over waste and loss, our laughter will be hollow. If we cannot express outrage against injustice, our commitment to God’s reign will be lukewarm.

“If we cannot argue with God, we cannot be brought to deeper understanding.”

But even Migliore agrees that arguing with God is easier said than done.

The Jewish spiritual tradition of arguing with God, depicted in memorable accounts of Biblical quarrels involving Abraham and Job, among others, has largely disappeared in Christian spirituality and prayer.

The lament-laden Psalter – full as it is of cries of loss and anger, and even a thirst for revenge – was suspect in the judgments of Augustine and Luther. Calvin also put more emphasis on patient endurance of suffering than on protests of God’s absence in times of despair and loss.

They rejected the ages-old tradition of questioning God and complaining that He ought to “act like God” and start remedying the suffering and injustice that shatter lives.

Yet the Biblical tradition, in Migliore’s view, holds that the people of God may protest injustice and urge God to act to end suffering -not just as individuals, but as communities of faith. The covenant itself creates space for such prayers.

“When events seem to challenge the validity of the covenant promises, when sufferings that endured seem far to exceed what could be construed as discipline or training or chastisement; when the God of the covenant is experienced as painfully silent or deeply hidden in the midst of outrageous evil; (then) the people of God cry out in their loneliness and sense of abandonment,” he said. “Some may dare to argue with God. However difficult it may be for us to grasp, in the Biblical understanding of the covenant relationship between God and God’s people, arguing with God in times of distress.has it’s rightful place.”

Migliore based his comments on his earlier paper, “Arguing with God: Resistance and Relinquishment in the Life of Faith.”

Asking God to act, he said, is for humanity’s sake and for God’s sake as well.

“Injustice, violence and death contradict the character and purpose of God. When evil, injustice and death prevail in the world created and ruled by God, it is not only humanity that suffers, but also the glory of God that suffers,” he said.

For the rest of the story, visit Worldwide Faith News, www.wfn.org.

A NEW PARADIGM FOR WORSHIP SPACE



FACILITIES 2.0

A NEW PARADIGM FOR WORSHIP SPACE

FACILITIES 2.0
A NEW PARADIGM FOR WORSHIP SPACE

CHANCES ARE THE CULTURAL climate has changed a lot since your church undertook its last building project. Americans are more overcommitted than ever, and multinational corporations have done an excellent job at co-opting what little time, money and attention we have to spare. And so, when developing the plan for a new building, a ministry would do well to consider just what type of building would best serve to engage and inspire its local community.

Call it Facilities 2.0, Third Place, The Emergent Church or Postmodern Church. Whatever label you choose, the philosophy is the same: working to re-engage an increasingly over-stimulated and misdirected population.

“Shoppers now through and through, we think about religion like we think about a new sweater,” author David W. Henderson hypothesizes in his book “Culture Shift.” “The people with whom we desire to share the gospel have become reluctant buyers of the faith, guarded shoppers casually browsing through the religious options in search of something that fits.”

This analogy applies not only to seekers, but to believers without a church home and even to your current congregation. Ministries must actively and tirelessly work to remain relevant to the lives of those around them if they wish to survive. The single most effective technique for doing this is to apply some forward-thinking in the design of a new facility. It is important to remember, however, that it is more about having a clear and focused vision, and less about spending lots of money on all the latest-and-greatest bells and whistles.

“When you look at the statistics for the American church, massive amounts of money have been spent on church buildings (more than $8 billion last year alone), and yet less people overall are attending church,” states James R. Couchenour of design-build firm Cogun, based in North Lima, Ohio. “It seems that the same methods that may have worked in the ’80s and ’90s are no longer connecting with post-Christian/postmodern people.”

The new method should be interactive and focus on the needs of the community, argues Kester Brewin, author of “Signs of Emergence.” “Malcolm McLaren recently encouraged people to seek refuge in churches because they were the only places left in our cities where there were no advertisements and where demands were not made of us to buy stuff. Churches must aspire to become centers of gift exchange in the broadest sense.” What this means is creating a very open, adaptable space that encourages congregants to share their talents and forge personal connections. This represents a major change in church-design philosophy, and takes some careful and creative thought.

“Shaping an environment where people naturally connect is more like creating art than manufacturing a product,” advises Joseph R. Myers, author of “Organic Community.” “It marks a major shift: from programming community to using principles of organic order to develop an environment where community can emerge.”

Sound a little vague? That’s because the recipe for success for this type of project depends solely on the personality of the congregation and surrounding community. “In most cases, churches will design based on history, or another church facility they liked,” Couchenour affirms. “We’re suggesting leaders begin with who God has called them to reach since this is unique to every ministry. We feel it’s essential to discover their particular DNA to see how God has uniquely blessed their body of believers. A church has to really know itself and its community before it can begin designing facilities for the future.”

Greg Lefler of Camarillo, Calif.- based Lefler and Associates reports that although each church’s incarnation of the postmodern church will look different, there are some guidelines that can help mark the path.

“The Changing Face of Churches” advises:

  • Maximize what you already have 
  • Plan for growth 
  • Make it multifunctional 
  • Get your money’s worth 
  • Turn up the technology 

Lefler points out that this type of project can be a difficult one for traditional building firms. “As churches demand spaces that are cost-efficient, technologically advanced and multifunctional, builders may have to stretch beyond their usual areas of expertise.”

With a little bit of collaboration and imagination, however, most projects succeed brilliantly. “An example of this is a church in Austin that grew rapidly with the tagline ‘No perfect people allowed.’ They were a home for artists, de-churched and others who didn’t seem to fit into the traditional church crowd. This was reflected in their original building that had been retrofitted and pieced together for their ministry style,” Couchenour recalls. “After they built their new building, they found exciting new ways of communicating the same ‘come as you are’ ideal in a new, clean, state-of-the-art facility.”

Brewin suggests providing a diverse array of spaces that could fit a variety of needs in order to fish out a particular congregation’s talents. “They should provide hanging spaces for artists, venues for music of all types, forums for discussion and debates, classes for expectant mothers … whatever gifts there are in the local community.”

Couchenhour warns that although this type of planning leaves a lot to the imagination, it is important to remain thoughtful and deliberate when making the nuts-and-bolts decisions. “Churches need to be very intentional about this kind of space. It has to be more than an area for their own people to gather if the idea is to connect with the unchurched. It takes a commitment to provide connection space if you want to open it up to the community in which God has placed you. It may require paid staff, longer hours, and could even have tax implications.”


West Ridge Community Church, Elgin, Ill.

West Ridge Community Church executed the Facilities 2.0 concept flawlessly. The nine-year-old ministry moved from its digs at the local community college into its state-of-the-art custom facility earlier this year, and the result has been overwhelming. In the first week alone, the Sunday service attendance doubled and has been steadily growing ever since.

Church leaders attribute the success to the forward-thinking design brought to life by Professional Building Services, based in Crete, Ill.

“We decided to start a church for people who don’t like church, a church where people can feel free to be authentic, to be real, and that’s an overriding theme of what we do,” Pastor Darren Sloniger shares.

The worship space itself was crafted to evoke a nightclub feel, with a dimly lit sanctuary constructed in the shape of a piano flanked by cafe tables, couches and comfy chairs. Congregants also enjoy the church’s full-fledged coffeehouse with uniformed baristas, muffins and even fresh paninis.

“The goal was really to build a community of people, an extraordinary community of people that could experience the love of God through Christ in a way that very few other places could offer. So my prayer for you today … is continue to make this place a place where other people can come and see the mercy of Jesus. That’s becoming more and more rare today,” said guest speaker Gordon Venturella at the facility’s grand opening.


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4 Components of Church Growth



4 Components of Church Growth

If you want your church to grow, you have to determine if your church has value to the local community – that is, if your church vanished today, would anyone outside of your church care?

This is the hard question church consultant Anthony Coppedge poses on his blog. He adds that there is always something else a church can be doing to serve its community, and that service often leads to growth. Here are the four components of growth. Coppedge calls them “the four C’s”:

  1. Change
  2. Cost
  3. Control
  4. Commitment

To read the breakdown and analysis of these four components, visit the source.

Source:

AnthonyCoppedge.com: Four C’s of Growth: Part 1

Related Content:

Develop an Online Communications Strategy : Equip your team


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A Guide to Projector and Screen Selection for Small Spaces



by Jennifer Andrews

Little Light
A Guide to Projector and Screen Selection for Small Spaces

By Jennifer Andrews

Choosing
a projector for multiple purposes is similar to selecting a large-venue machine,
but with a few key differences. You’ll still need to consider some of the same
basic technical specifications — brightness (measured in lumens), resolution
and connectivity, for example — but you’ll also want to compare overall
weight, security features and throw ratios before making your final decision.

The Usual Specs

Brightness.

You won’t need the
same kind of brightness for a small audience as for a larger group; however, you
will need a projector that’s bright enough to give you a nice-looking image in
a lights-on environment.

Buy a projector with at least 1,200 lumens of brightness or
more for lights-on presenting. This is an easy target to hit since most projectors designed
for presentations meet or exceed this amount.

Resolution.

There are two primary
choices of resolution for these types of spaces: XGA (high-resolution, 1024 x
768 pixels) and SVGA (800 x 600 pixels, now considered entry-level resolution).
The best images will result when your computer and projector resolutions match; however, XGA is still more future-proof. If budget allows, an
XGA projector will produce a crisper image and be more compatible with newer
technology. SVGA projectors produce nice-looking images as well, however,
and they are usually the least expensive projectors, with many priced at less
than $1,000.

Connectivity.

A multipurpose
projector is often used for different activities and in different locations. That might mean you’ll be using different sources as well,
so try to find a projector that offers multiple connectivity options such as
composite or S-video. These are more common connections on sources such as DVD
players and VCRs.

For future-proofing, think about getting a projector with DVI
and/or component video inputs. Most come with multiple connectivity options and compatibility
isn’t a major issue, but component and digital options are becoming more
common on DVD players and computers and will provide better signal quality.

Weight.

Portable projectors now
weigh as few as two pounds, and typical brighter multipurpose models weigh
between five and 10 pounds and are very easy to set up and use in multiple
locations. Some portable projectors ship with a convenient carrying case, which
helps keep it and its cables together in one place.

Security.

Most of us don’t like to
think about the possibility of theft where we worship, but it’s a reality we
must face. Many projectors include extra security features that will deter
theft, including a Kensington security-lock slot, network notifications via
e-mail (on networked projectors) and keypad-lock protection, which also
prohibits prankish tampering. Of course, keeping your equipment stored and
secure is also very important for a portable projector.

If, on the other hand, your projector is wall- or
ceiling-mounted, some deterrents are built into the mount itself. One common
security feature is proprietary hardware configurations that require specific
tools be used to release the mount and basic locks.

Throw ratios.

One important
projector spec to consider in small spaces is the throw
ratio,
a measure of the size image a projector can
produce from a given distance. A general rule for calculating throw distance
with a standard lens is to allocate about one foot of screen for every two feet
of space between the projector and screen.

The Short-Throw Lens: A Small Room’s Friend

If you want a large image from a short distance, consider a
projector with a short-throw lens. This feature allows you to create the big
picture you want in a tight space. (Some short-throw projectors can create an
impressive 60-inch-diagonal image from just a few feet away from the screen!)
Many manufacturers have designed projectors with built-in short-throw distances
for small-room applications. They provide throw-distance calculators that help
determine the size of image that can be produced from a given distance by each
of their projectors. Although these distance calculators are generally very close,
they don’t always provide the exact size of an image, which is created at a
specific distance.

Short-throw lenses should not be confused with another helpful
projector feature, the zoom lens.
Manual or digital zoom is a feature on many standard, long-or short-throw
lenses. This feature allows for larger or smaller images from the same
distance, much like a zoom lens on a 35-millimeter camera.

Selecting a Screen

Projection screens are highly recommended accessories, even in
small spaces. Using a screen will create a crisper, better-looking image than
blank walls. Walls are a good substitute if money is tight, but a screen might
actually be less expensive than you think. (Some portable models sell for less
than $200.) First, you’ll need to determine how you want to use your screen.
Should it be portable so you can take it from room to room or offsite for
missionary work, or do you plan to use it in a permanent location? Do you need
the latest and greatest screen with all the flashy bells and whistles, or do you
want something simple and inexpensive?

The four most common screens on the market are:

Portable

— These screens readily
travel from location to location.

Manual
— An economical choice if
you’ll be keeping the screen in one location Electric — These high-end screens add elegance to their
permanent locations.

Fixed-frame
— A permanently tensioned screen stretched around a frame and
installed in a fixed location

Many screens are available in each of these mounting orientations. Some will
include additional features such as designer casing, tab tensioning, adjustable
masking borders and more.

The most common screen mounting options for small worship
spaces are:

Portable

— Good for offsite Bible
studies, youth group meetings or service-entry greetings; and
Manual
— Great for dedicated study areas, dedicated meeting
rooms and cry rooms.

Creative Uses for Portable Projectors

Once you’ve bought your portable projector, don’t just
leave it on the shelf. There are countless creative ways to use it — for Bible
studies, children’s church, in Sunday school classrooms, to display greetings
and announcements before services, during Vacation Bible school, for memorial
services, in church business meetings, for movie nights, and during celebrations
and events. These are just a few suggestions.

Whether you’re displaying community photos and videos or
intensely studying the scripture, portable projectors are a dynamic tool for
sharing God’s glorious message.

Jennifer Andrews is the Internet communications manager for
ProjectorPeople.com, where she has been writing tutorials on projection
technology for five years. Visit www.projectorpeople.com for more information about this
dynamic display technology.


ROAD WARRIOR

The new Notevision XR-1X projector from Sharp is a sleek,
lightweight, personal projector that easily fits into a carry-on bag with a
laptop. This “pico” portable projector combines high brightness and
high-quality Carl Zeiss™ optics, along with the latest advances in DDR DLP
technology, making it the ultimate choice for both data and video projection.
About the size of a pair of paperback novels, the XR-1X measures 9.7 inches wide
by 2.5 inches high and 4.8 inches deep and weighs just three pounds. Setup is a
snap with a faster start-up than traditional projectors, on-screen-interactive
help for easy setup and operation assistance, color-coded connectors, and
backlit operation keys.

888.GO.SHARP
www.sharplcd.com


BRILLIANT IMAGES ANYTIME, ANYWHERE

Sony’s portable VPL-ES2 projector is ideal for on-the-move
presenting, combining a sleek, lightweight design with bright, crisp images for
professional presentations during the day and entertainment at home at night. Part of the Sony® SuperLite™ LCD mobile projector series,
the VPL-ES2 weighs just 6.3 pounds and packs into a small case for carryon
convenience. The projector incorporates easy-to-use set-up features with a
bright 1,500-lumen picture. Focusing on ease of use, Sony’s new “Auto Set- Up”
buttons take the hassle out of setup. The lens, tilt, input search, keystone and
pixel are automatically adjusted with a touch of a button. Component video input and a whopping six video modes give
multiple options to connect to PCs, DVD players, game consoles and more.

888.315.SONY
www.sonystyle.com


PALM-SIZED PROJECTOR HITS THE MARKET

In July, Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America’s
Presentation Products Division will offer its PocketProjector, one of the world’s
smallest projectors. Weighing in at just 14 ounces and fitting easily into the palm
of a hand or a coat pocket, this tiny projector is perfect for mobile
presentations at a moment’s notice. The PocketProjector can be battery-powered
or used with a universal car adapter for truly on-the-fly presentations. The PocketProjector has one of the shortest projection
distances of mobile projectors on the market today: Users can easily create a
20-inch-diagonal screen with only one foot of projection distance, and a 40-inch
image can be created with less than one yard.

888.307.0312
www.mitsubishi-projectors.com

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Employee Screening Answered



Background Checks 101
5 Frequently Asked Questions About Employee Screening, Answered

Churches are trusting environments — sometimes to their own detriment. If you’re curious about how background checks can help protect your church, your staff and yourself, read on.

Our Experts

Paul Tollner
Director of National Accounts Intelius 
www.intelius.com 

Daniel Paulsen
General Partner Employment Screening Alliance Inc.
www.esag.org 

1. For what ministries is it especially important to conduct background checks?

Paul Tollner: Churches have a special responsibility to screen anyone providing support or services to members of a church community. Within that community, there are particularly vulnerable groups — the elderly, children and families. Screening helps ensure the church’s goals and reputation aren’t subverted by an individual with mal-intent, while providing extra peace of mind for church leaders, the congregation and the community-at-large.

Daniel Paulsen: The obvious answer is Sunday school and youth ministries, including sports activities and camps. Also to be included is any position that requires fiduciary responsibilities.

2. Which is better: a blanket approach or selectively screening?

Paulsen: Because cost is always so important, churches have the tendency to say, ‘We really know all our employees and volunteers, so we don’t even need to perform this function.’ Then they screen only those directly associated with a particular function, like a youth ministry. The real answer is to screen all employees and volunteers. Do a good search, not just the least expensive one available.

Tollner: Churches should set a policy for when they screen applicants — whether upon receipt of an application or following an interview — and stick to it for every position within the church.

3. At what point should a church begin the screening process?

Tollner: Precisely when the background check happens is less important than the background check results being received well before a new hire or volunteer spends a single minute working on behalf of the church. By developing a standard practice and staying organized, a church can ensure that nobody slips between the cracks.

Paulsen: As with any nonprofit, money is a key consideration. We have found it’s most effective to screen when an offer is made and accepted — that is, make the offer pending acceptable results of the background check. You can usually get results in a few days or less.

4. How much can churches expect to pay?

Paulsen: We’ve found that churches often try to take the road of least cost. Knowing this, screening companies often offer searches — like a nationwide scan — that aren’t effective. A standard profile should include, at the very least, a social security number search, an all-states sex offender registry search, and a state and/ or county criminal search for all addresses found in the social security number search. The cost will vary, but if the church is working with a screening company used to partnering with churches, they can normally ask for — and get — a package price as low as $25 to $50 per applicant.

Tollner: Budget is a concern for organizations that haven’t historically employed a screening program. There’s the temptation of settling for a free service, or neglecting background checks altogether. Both these alternatives are dangerous. It’s important to remember that when it comes to background checks, free information is typically worth exactly what it costs. When it comes to the trust of a congregation, background checks aren’t the place to cut corners. Planning and prioritizing of budget, coupled with the support of a church community, can result in a healthy and accurate screening program. Congregations are generally glad to contribute to a program with such an important role.

And here’s a thought: Why not ask those who want the privilege of volunteering for church programs — whether it’s coaching a soccer team, running a summer camp or hosting a youth group — to pay for the expense of their background checks? The price of background checks depends on two variables: volume and detail.

For each position, criminal background information is important, but for a position offering access to church finances, a credit check might be also be necessary, while a childcare position might warrant a DMV record check.

Volume also drives down the per-search cost. Broadly speaking, a church should anticipate spending $20 and $30 per applicant.

5. Any cautionary tales of churches that didn’t bother to run background checks?

Paulsen: There have been instances of fraud and child molestation in the areas of finance and youth ministry, but most fraud cases aren’t prosecuted and deal with hidden monies. Much of the bad press comes from the child youth areas and deals as much with drug use and molestation. In these cases, churches have admitted loss of parishioners and revenue.

Please understand these are the exceptions, not the rule — but we’re talking about institutions that can’t afford any mishaps.

— Reporting by RaeAnn Slaybaugh


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A Precription For Good Health



by Charles H. Major

by Charles H. Major

In 1989, I was faced with the prospect of major surgery to my spinal column. A mistake
could leave me paralyzed. The most significant decision was not whether to operate, but
rather who would perform the surgery. Trusting in God, I concluded that my choice of
surgeon would determine more than any other single factor, the ultimate success of my
operation. What, you may be asking yourself, does this have to do with church finance?

The Right Choice

A church is a unique entity: an organized body of Christ charged with doing God’s work
in the corporate sense. All of a church’s decisions should be made from a spiritual
perspective, and its financial decisions should be no exception. A church’s cash flow–the
result of tithes and offerings received and expenditures made to support the
ministry–must be understood both from a numerical perspective and within the context of
ministry needs. When those needs require finance, the provider of the funds should be
someone who can best understand the totality of the church and provide financing that will
enhance the ministry.

Like my surgery, the success of a church’s financing depends on the skills and
experience of the person or entity chosen to analyze options and recommend a specific
financing method that will meet both the financial and ministry needs of the church.
Traditionally, there have been several types of firms that a church could turn to as
providers of the various forms of funding. Among these are banks, bond companies, fund
raisers and investment bankers that specialize in church finance. The possible sources of
funds to meet a need include pledges from members, loans from members, traditional bank
loans and bonds.

When I chose my surgeon, I wanted someone who could diagnose my need, recommend the
proper treatment and perform the operation. Likewise, a church needs someone who can not
only provide funding, but also recommend what is best for the church and its ministry. RSI
Financial Services, as an investment banker, considers its role to be that of a
“financial architect,” and we facilitate a process that ultimately leads to the
financing of the specified project. This process includes a financial analysis necessary
to design and bring to the church the most cost-effective financing available.

Consider for a moment the possible sources of funds and the advantages of each. The
most cost-effective approach is the “gifting” of money to fund a project. A
church can retain outside counsel to design and implement a capital campaign to fund the
need. This approach results in funds being available for the project that do not have to
be repaid; hence, most or all of the church’s future tithes and offerings are available
for ministry rather than for funding the project.

The church always should give serious consideration to this source of funds first.
However, even with a successful capital campaign, more often than not, some measure of
additional funding is required and borrowing becomes necessary.

In cases where borrowing is necessary to fund immediate needs, the question is not,
“How much can we borrow?” but rather, “How much can we afford to
repay?” This step in the process is most crucial, as the commitment to future debt
service will have significant impact on a church’s ability to fund its ongoing ministry.

The answer to the second question also will be a factor in determining the most
appropriate debt instrument. The level of funds available for debt service influences the
term of repayment. The exposure to debt must take into account future growth, future need
and anticipated economic conditions.

There are industry guidelines used by financial and lending organizations to help a
church determine how much debt is appropriate. Several key factors that are given the most
weight from a lender’s perspective are:

  • Total debt to income ratio.
  • Debt service to income ratio.
  • Debt to collateral value.
  • Cash flow.

The total debt never should exceed four times the church’s annual income, and keeping
this ratio to three times or below is much more desirable. Often times, the church must
build its project in phases to satisfy this condition. The ratio of monthly debt service
to monthly income should remain below 35 percent. There always is a correlation between
the size of a church’s membership, its per capita giving and the members’ expectations for
ministry and programs. When debt service is out of proportion to regular monthly giving of
members, the church is not able to meet ministry needs. Finally, because lenders are
concerned with collateral underlying the debt, the value of the property used to secure
the loan should be at least one-third higher than the debt.

All of these ratios are guidelines, and each project is evaluated in light of all
factors impacting the church, including support for the project, members’ stewardship
commitment, membership and community growth, membership age distribution and population
demographics. At this stage of the process, many financial institutions can help a church
understand what it reasonably can expect to borrow. With an increasing understanding on
the part of church leadership of what is needed and what the church can afford, a church
can have a reasonable idea of the amount of dollars that its project can absorb. Armed
with this information, the church finally is ready to examine its financing options.

Plans For Action

Knowing the project cost and the amount of debt service available from the church
budget, the time frame for debt retirement can be estimated. Short and long-term financing
carry completely different considerations. The two most significant determinants are the
cost of money and the volatility of rates. If it has been determined during the process
previously discussed that the amortization of the debt can occur in a short period of
time, the weight of the decision falls on the cost of money as well as current interest
rates, and closing costs move to the forefront. On the other hand, if debt service is
projected to require longer than five to seven years to amortize, interest rate volatility
should become an influencing factor.

Traditional bank financing generally is most appropriate for short-term amortization
periods. The interest rates can be set for the duration of the loan. As the length of the
amortization increases, bonds become more attractive as interest rates can be fixed for
the entire issue period. Keep in mind that an amortization period is the length of time
during which the principal is to be fully repaid. With a bank loan, a church can have a
short-term note with a long-term amortization, thereby creating a situation where the loan
may be extended with new interest rate considerations. As experienced over the past
several decades, the ministry can be put at risk if interest rate volatility returns to
the financial markets.

The initial and long-term cost of the financing is always a consideration. Leadership
must look at all costs associated with the issuance of debt. Many costs for both bank and
bond financing are similar. Total closing costs associated with bond financing almost
always are higher than those associated with a bank loan; however, interim interest costs
associated with construction financing must be taken into account for a fair comparison.
Any premium cost associated with bonds must be viewed in light of the potentially higher
interest costs as a result of future interest rate changes. Ultimately, the analysis must
calculate the total cost of the finance option, including up-front fees, points, closing
costs, prepayment penalties, refinance costs and interest.

Where Do We Go Now?

With all of these considerations, where does church leadership turn and whom do they
rely upon? When I was looking for a surgeon, I wanted skills and specific experience. Ask
a prospective lender to describe their past experience in church lending. Learn how many
church loans they have made or arranged. Do they have any expertise in helping determine
the appropriateness of your project? How many loans have they taken to full maturity under
the initial terms and conditions? Have there been any defaults by their borrowers, and, if
so, how did they deal with those situations? Do they add value to the process or just
provide money?

Before you begin your project, seek to find an investment banking firm that has access
to multiple sources of funding-bank loans, bond issues and capital stewardship programs.
Church leaders should look for a finance company with the capability to conduct a needs
analysis as well as design and implement a cost-effective financing package that will have
a positive effect on the health and vitality of a church’s ministry for years to come.

By the way, my surgery was successful.

A Few, Easy Steps:
Applying For A Church Loan

The following illustrates some of the criteria necessary for initiating the loan
process:

Step One: In order to make the process run more efficiently, churches
should gather at least three years of financial statements detailing if their cash flow
will cover the anticipated debt service on the requested loan. With these statements,
churches should be prepared to provide a detailed church history, attendance figures and
the reason for their loan request. Be aware that all special contributions and
fund-raising activities are listed separately. Remember, having more information is better
than not enough. Do not be afraid of listing too many details in reference to your loan
request.

Step Two: Church administrators should acquire an appraisal of the
church and all of its properties. In most instances, a short form appraisal will be
suitable for an initial loan review. Keep in mind that in addition to total debt to income
ratio, the loan to value ratio will be an important factor in determining a church’s
ability to finance a loan. A proper appraisal balanced against the church’s accounting
records will help determine if the church is prepared to handle a bank loan. On average,
the ratio of the requested loan should not exceed 70 percent of the appraised value of the
church properties.

Step Three: Using all the aforementioned data, including the appraisal
form, churches then should complete a loan application for their desired lender.

Step Four: When meeting with the prospective lender, churches should
address any and all financing concerns, including any special or unusual conditions
concerning the loan request.

Charles H. Major is president of RSI Financial Services Inc. based in Dallas,
Texas. RSI provides biblically-based, consultant-led stewardship programs for more than
3,400 churches nationwide.

Point of Preference of Using a Consolidation Loan

When you are hindered with a scope of debts from a combination of loan experts it can be difficult to suitably manage your records. Managing different obligations – particularly high intrigue obligations – can deplete your records dry and make budgetary organization an irritating and perplexing system. These days, when various people have been able to be dependent using a credit card, various people wind up juggling a variety of obligations and for a couple of this can quickly incite missed or late reimbursements and loan boss trouble – additionally a hurt FICO assessment.


One response for help you with rebuilding your assets is an obligation consolidation loan. Using a commitment consolidation loan to manage your records can advantage you in different ways. Firstly, you could save yourself a fortune in enthusiasm by wrapping up most of your higher interest tinier obligations with one lower rate consolidation loan. This can reduce your month to month reimbursements altogether occasionally, furthermore diminishing the measure of hobby that you pay on your obtaining general. Amongst the sorts of higher interest obligations that you can pay off with a consolidation loan are store cards and cards, both of which are known for their higher financing costs. Another point of interest of using a consolidation loan to repay humbler obligations and modify your cash is that you can really ease budgetary organization. With one and just bank to oversee as opposed to a couple, and one and only repayment to make each month, the potential outcomes of missing reimbursements is diminished, which in like manner lessened the threat of hurting your credit.


It is in like manner less requesting, less troublesome, and far less frustrating to need to make one and only repayment consistently as opposed to different reimbursements. Consolidation loans are an amazingly effective strategy for revamping your assets, in any case you do need to practice resolve while using this procedure for budgetary organization. You should be attentive that you don’t keep running up additional obligations yet again, for instance, credit and store card equalities, or you could quickly wind up back at the beginning stage with an additional consolidation loan to oversee on top of your remarkable obligations. You can take out Consolidation loans on a secured or an unsecured reason, so paying little heed to whether you are a property holder you can use these loans to manage your assets. If you take out an unsecured consolidation loan you ought to have extraordinary credit. Contract holders that settle on a secured consolidation loan will find some incredibly forceful plans and a choice of repayment periods on offer, which can hold reimbursements down, and even those with terrible credit will every now and again be successful in getting an unsecured consolidation loan.

Reducing Workplace Stress

Stress is seen as an unavoidable part of having an adult career. Some people even brag about how tired and anxious they are as a result of their jobs. They have been conditioned to believe that dealing with stress at work every day is normal. They step into situations that make them feel constantly nervous and on the brink of a breakdown because they think those feelings are natural facets of impressive jobs. Stressful work environments are not healthy, and they should not be treated as if they are normal.


Many people are pressured into thinking that they have to endure stressful workplaces because of the precarious nature of today’s economy. They do not want to leave jobs they dislike without knowing for sure that they would be able to easily find new ones. They work overtime without being properly compensated, and they skip their breaks for fear of appearing lazy. Employers take advantage of their employees’ unwillingness to stand up for themselves. They assign demanding tasks knowing that their employees will do whatever they can to keep their jobs, even if they have to stay late at the office or bring the work home with them.


Another thing that contributes to stress at work is the knowledge that no matter how much effort one invests in her work, her paychecks will not be large enough to cover all of her expenses and allow her to lead the lifestyle of her choosing. Today’s young adults are carrying massive student loan debt, and their expensive degrees have not gotten them the jobs that they thought they were going to have after graduating. The sense that one will never break even financially creates an extreme feeling of defeat, though it would be unwise to react to this pressure by ceasing to work altogether. Continuing to work even though the salary is inadequate is a leading cause of discontent among the millennial generation.


Job stress is compounded by the lack of time available to pursue other interests. When a person spends a lot of time at work, her whole identity becomes tied to her job. This means that problems at work do not stay at the office. They are the only things going on in the person’s life. Maintaining an active social life is incredibly difficult if one is constantly worried about keeping her job.


It is not always possible to advocate for oneself at work, since everything comes down to the whims of her boss, who might not be entirely reasonable. Read more here about how to reduce stress outside of the workplace. One good way to cut down on office anxiety is to lead by example. She should try to inspire her coworkers to start working at more reasonable paces and to take all of their breaks. If possible, she could make some changes in her area of the office to eliminate interruptions that would impede her ability to work calmly. She could even make some minor lifestyle changes outside of work that would make her look forward to going to the office every day. Reducing workplace stress is necessary if one intends to build a long-term career and build a lifestyle around it.

Breast Augmentation Myth: Large Implants Correct Droopy Breasts

After having children, many women find their breasts seem deflated and droopy, making them self-conscious about putting their swimsuits back and spurring them to sit at home watching Jersey Shore instead of going out to the shore. Although these so-called “reality” TV shows are likely to give you a false impression of what your breasts could or should look like, they aren’t the only thing generating myths about breast augmentation in New Jersey. Internet media sites are just as responsible for misconceptions about breast augmentation options as “reality” shows are for creating an unrealistic image of a woman in a bikini.


In an effort to cut costs (and corners) on augmentation, some sites tell women that overly large implants are the cure-all for sagging breasts. On the surface, it seems logical that a large implant might refill a sagging breast enough to lift it back up, but this is actually a common breast augmentation myth. Loss of volume and sagginess are two different issues. While they can be corrected at the same time, they have different root causes and require different procedures.


Breasts sag for two main reasons: stretched skin and lax ligaments. Having children and breastfeeding can stretch the skin, but so can heavy breasts, age, and improper breast care. Adding more weight with implants to already sagging breasts isn’t going to help the situation. And if the nipple has already stretched too low on the breast, the implant will only exaggerate the problem. To correct stretching, women with sagging breasts need their breast skin lifted with the excess cut away, but the problem is more than skin deep. Ligaments that have stretched also need to be shortened and the tissue reattached.


Oftentimes, a breast lift alone is enough to get women their confidence back and have them reaching for their swimsuits with pride. To get that Jersey Shore physique, though, or just to fill out an old swimsuit in the days before your breasts lost volume, you may want to add implants to your augmentation package along with the lift. For young mothers, implants alone may be all they need if their ligaments are strong and their skin isn’t too stretched. It’s never a good idea, however, to use large implants as a shortcut to a full surgical procedure if you’re trying to rebuild the foundation of your breasts. This may have you going under the knife a second time to do the job right with breast implant revision surgery. It really isn’t worth believing everything you read on the Internet, or everything you see on Jersey Shore, for that matter. Talk to a board-certified plastic surgeon before making any surgery decisions.

The Cerebral Palsy Advice Clinic

BACKGROUND: The duration and severity of systemic hypotension have been related with altered neurodevelopment. Cerebral circulation is pressure-passive in low birth weight infants with early systemic hypotension who receive cardiovascular support. The treatment of early systemic hypotension is controversial, because it has been associated with short-term and long-term morbidity in retrospective studies. However, there has been no prospective information on cardiovascular support for hypotension and morbidity.

OBJECTIVE: Our goal for this prospective study was to evaluate the effect on neurodevelopment resulting from the use of vasopressors/inotropes for early systemic hypotension. METHODS: Low birth weight infants with early systemic hypotension (<24 hours of life; study group) were assigned randomly to receive dopamine (2.5-10 microg/kg per minute) or epinephrine (0.125-0.5 microg/kg per minute) in progressively larger doses until target blood pressure was attained (treatment-success subgroup). Hemodynamically stable patients who did not receive cardiovascular support were the control group. Outcome measures were serial cranial ultrasound up to 40 weeks, structured neurologic evaluation (every 3 months), and neurodevelopmental test at 2 to 3 years of age. RESULTS: One hundred thirty patients were included (study = 60; treatment success = 38; controls = 70). Study-group patients had lower birth weight, gestational age, and 5-minute Apgar score, higher rates of premature rupture of membranes, need for cardiorespiratory resuscitation at birth, and sickness shortly after birth than the control group. The patients in the study group also had significantly higher serum troponin I levels at birth. Initial cranial ultrasound findings did not differ between groups, but the final cranial ultrasounds revealed higher rates of severe periventricular hemorrhage in the study group and higher rates of normal cranial ultrasounds in the control group. Only the latter remained when the treatment-success subgroup and control group were compared. Multivariate analysis did not detect any association between final cranial ultrasounds and the use of vasopressors/inotropes. Sixteen infants died and 103 were followed up (90% survival rate). No differences between groups were found in the rates of abnormal neurologic status, developmental delay, or combined adverse outcome (death or cerebral palsy or severe neurodevelopmental delay). CONCLUSIONS: Cautious use of cardiovascular support to treat early systemic hypotension in low birth weight infants seems to be safe. The question of whether raising systemic blood pressure to within a normal range will improve outcome should be examined by using appropriate study designs.

Identifying an Addiction and How to Start the Recovery Process

Alcohol or drug addiction is a warning signal that indicates people to keep a check on the addict. There are many addicts who have been living their life without projecting any signs of addiction tendencies. But there are signs which will help you know that your children or any other family member is an alcohol or drug addict and needs a rehab recovery.


The first sign of addiction is dilated or red eyes along with slurred speech. In addition to this the addict may develop cold and sweaty hands and would experience difficult in concentrating in anything. The other signs of addiction may be noticed by seeing the behaviours of these addicts and it includes moodiness, impatience, dangerous or violent tendencies and actions. Other things that can be observed are extreme acts of energy in weird behaviours like fatigue, dancing and talking. Paranoia is an effect that is noticeable which confirms the fact that the person is an alcohol or drug addict. In this condition the person will disregard or decrease his attention from his appearance and personal hygiene. If you want to find the signs of addiction in your child then you may notice obvious dishonesty, accumulating depression and change in friends group. At the time of identifying the signs of addiction, it is vital to know that the use of drug or alcohol manifests from different behavioural inconsistencies and changes and there are a lot of communalities between them.


Isolation is a behavioural change that many addicts resort to as they will be withdrawn emotionally and escapes to a place that is quiet and dark. The person also loses interests in activities and hobbies in which he or she usually participated before. Mood swings are also a very common sign that is noticed in the addicts. The various moods of an addict include irritability, fatigue, depression, anxiety and sweating which will change drastically from one moment to another.


After finding the signs of addiction, the first step is to admit the existence of the problem. Even though it is a difficult task but the reward on acceptance outweighs the price you may have to pay for not disclosing the fact to the addict. You can also opt for rehab recovery where the initial step will be detoxification which is done only in the presence of medical personnel. Detox will help the alcohol or drug to get out of your system but even now the person may be addicted to the drug or alcohol. Thus you will need to create and sustain a healthy lifestyle for the addict where the drug or alcohol abuse triggers and stressful situations are reduced. This will require a supportive and strong environment where the addict does not feels isolated or alone.


The other steps which an addict can resort to include-


Attending drug or alcohol addiction support meetings


Getting a sponsor who will help and counsel the addict when he or she feels the urge of taking drugs or drinking alcohol


A supportive network of many other recovering addicts


A therapist who helps and specializes in drug and alcohol addiction and who helps the addict through out the recovery process

Penis Under The Knife: Is Enlargement Surgery Right For You?

Few things in life weigh as heavy on a man’s mind as those feelings of sexual inadequacy and penile inferiority. That grim believe that you don’t measure up in the bedroom.


Penile enlargement in all its many forms, has become a booming industry over the last 15 years. Recent statistics reveal that four out of every ten men are disappointed in their penis size, and have considered surgical enhancement at some time in their lives.


For those men who do feel short-changed in the trouser department by mother nature, surgeons wait in their hundreds, scalpels poised with the promise of giving you that bigger penis you’ve always dreamed about.


According to some of the best known penis size surveys and polls conducted by the likes of kinsey institute, durex condoms and others, the average erect penis size measures in at approximately 5.5 – 6.5 inches in length, and 4.5 – 5.5 inches in girth.


It’s estimated that over 70% of all men worldwide fall within the average penis size range above. Yet despite these reassuring statistics, family doctors and sexual health workers report that most men who undergo penis enlargement (phalloplasty) surgery are average in size or above, and have no need for enlargement. It’s all in the head they say.


Is there really such a thing as the “Ideal penis size”? If the male enhancement industry is anything to go by, then the answer is yes. Men want more size and they’re willing to pay for costly surgery to achieve this goal.


However, surgery may in fact not be the ideal solution for those men seeking a bigger penis. The penile enlargement procedure involves cutting the suspensory ligaments which hold the penis up at an angle from the pubic bone. Once the penis has healed, assuming there are no complications, there may be up to 1-2 centimeters of extra penis length exposed when in the flaccid state. Unfortunately, the size of the penis remains unaltered when erect, unless weights are used for up to 8 months to increase the size.


Since this type of surgery is less than ideal for men who want more size when erect, what other options are there? First, men who carry a little weight may be hiding their true base length behind a pad of fat, so weight loss may reveal more size. Aside from losing weight, what else can be done?


There are hundreds of non-surgical products on the market for penis enlargement. Devices, pills, ointments and guides are all available, and it’s likely that you’ve seen or heard about many of them already. However, it’s not known whether many of these work, and how many pose risks to your health.


Manual exercises on the other hand, which have slowly risen in popularity over the last 5 years, do offer results for those men who are diligent enough in their training endeavours.


This all natural method of enlargement through exercise is both safe and natural, provided you follow instructions carefully.

Phen375 – A Fat Burner That Really Works

Recently, we can see more and more overweight people turning to slimming pills as their weight-loss solutions. Out of all the products available in the market place, fat burners have become the preferred choices. Dieters want to choose one fat burner that really works, and because of this, Phen375 has become their preferred choice.


What exactly is Phen375?


Phen375 is the short name for Phentemine375, a fat burner for weight loss. It is a multi-function fat loss supplement approved by the U.S. FDA. It is a safe legal alternative to the old strong appetite suppressant drug – Phentermine.


Phen375 ingredients


Phen375 functions via its unique combination of 5 synthesized components to cause weight loss. The key ingredients used in the pills are enzyme boosters such as 1,3,7-Trimethylxanthine, Sympathomimetic Amine, Capsaicin-1.12, Dehydroepiandrosterone, L-carnitine, LongJack Tongkat Ali 50:1, and 1,3-Dimethypentylamine Hydrochloride. These ingredients of phen375 works to increase the rate of metabolism, convert calories into energy, and suppress your appetite.


Phen375 weight loss results


As far as the expected weight loss result is concerned, you have to be practical and realistic. Based on the records of average results achieved by the past and existing users, you can expect this supplement to help you lose up to 5lbs per week. If you are very fat and have a lot of fat mass to lose, you may be able to lose more weight and have more energy. All these are achievable because Phen375 diet pills incorporate the most successful formulation of ingredients that truly work to burn off your fat fast.


Working mechanism


Phen375 causes weight loss by increasing the metabolic rate through suppressing your body’s ability to synthesis fat from carbohydrates and melt the body’s fat reserve at the same time. It will basically help you use more calories that you consume.


Phen375 works in multiple ways to cause fat loss. First, it stimulates your brain to create a “you are now full” signal to suppress the appetite and decrease food cravings, thus causing you to eat less food. It also works to boost the metabolism, so that more fat and calories will be used to supply the required energy. This product breaks down your fat reserves and converts the fat into energy. It also increases your energy level, for you to do more exercise and carry out more physical activities. It mimics the body’s reaction to having taken exercise, to burn more fat.


See how Phen375 has helped Marcy to lose 40 pounds in just 8 weeks:

Side effects


There are two sides of Phen375 side effects – both the positive and negative sides. While on Phen375, the surge in energy level makes you feel great, and you would feel more energetic to perform your daily activities. Another effect is that it actually makes you burn fat faster, which is a rather positive side effect. This fat burner has been clinically proven to work without any serious negative effects. In fact, there are little or no unwanted side effects; the most you can feel is slight increase in heart and pulse rates. Other reported negative effects of this product are dizziness and change in consistency of stool. However, the usefulness and safeness of Phen375 can only be seen with the genuine pills.


Where to buy


In order to avoid getting any fake pills, you really must know where to buy this product or else you will stand a high chance of being swindled or end up getting the fake pills which not only does not work, but causes unwanted negative effects to your body. In fact, the only place on earth where one can get this fat burning supplement is literally by purchasing straight right from the dedicated website known to be managed by the suppliers.


Review


Phen375 is good; it works effectively to cause safe weight loss. You can find many such testimonials from the product’s users. However, we do not encourage you to just jump into the conclusions and buy this weight-loss supplement straight away just because Phen375 reviews say it is good. It is very important for you to take a closer look at the product’s ingredients, does it work and how does it work, the benefits and side effects, whether Phen375 is safe, etc. Also, before you start taking this supplement, you should consult your doctor to find out whether it is supplement is suitable for you and that it will not do any harm to your body.

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A Few Things you Ought to Think about Debt Loans

The current money related condition has bolstered if not enticed numerous people to apply for debt loans. Some debt loans promoters assert that their offers will push us to bafflingly discard most of our debts. Those promoters incorrectly lead us to carry such debt loans with the need to pay off our debts at a less costly cost where the reimbursements are totally easy to do. Such thoughts will clearly achieve numerous people to end up with awful credit. Overall, our own particular budgetary condition is a reflection on a condition whether we are stuck in a deplorable circumstance or not. Genuinely, debt is an issue faced by every second borrower we know. Choosing the right response for these issues will be extremely troublesome and risky. A couple of marketing experts declare that each of the undertakings they offer will have the opportunity to alleviate the customer’s debt loans within minutes; some say they can cut the customer’s financing cost in a half and some more. You should not give in such false commitments.


It will require exactly a chance to get some answers concerning debt loans. A honest to goodness learning on such debt loans will offer you some help with deciding the best one. Here are a couple of basic things to consider before applying for debt loans Never trust that securing debt loans will be shoddy and basic: combining the debts will needs a lot of money. In spite of the way that the general routinely planned portion is lower, the debt loans are going to cost you some money. The advance you are going to pay off will be set in a long haul installments which implies cost you more money, likewise the high financing costs connected on such debt loans.


Never trust any person who assurances to diminish your installments by giving you a lower hobby. The truth is that such leasers generally will add certain charges to your portion. Such charges will totally construct your weights, likewise that there are some consolidators who should follow up for your benefit known not the installments.  On condition that your FICO assessment is incredible, you can apply for an individual advance at a lower financing cost. A home estimation advance will be suitable for the people who have a home with incredible worth. Apply for such credit that has a modestly low financing cost and duty deductible. Orchestrate with your credit association for a predominant financing cost. Asking for better terms would worth to endeavor.  Getting a recommendation from respectable affiliation or expert would give you the best course of action in uniting your debts.


An individual should reliably think about every dialect from the promoters that offers “speedy, basic” undertakings in taking out his debts, since such offers tend to lead the person into a more significant debts as opposed to having a lessening so as to fit framework that will advantage him the measure of their debts. Painstakingly pick the moneylender – both individual bank and budgetary foundation – with amazing reputation that will really catch up for your advantage in directing and also managing your debt loans.

Soldiers Bible Ministry to Print Special Allied Forces Pocket Bible

11/05/2009
Soldiers Bible Ministry (SBM), a division of 501(c)(3) Heart of God International Ministries Inc., announced today its plans for a special Heritage Edition Soldiers Pocket Bible.

“Our goal is to provide complete pocket Bibles for any allied soldiers, sailors, Marines and/or Air Force personnel around the world, especially those in harm’s way,” said John Hoben, volunteer executive director of SBM. “We provide Bibles to those who request them in their native language, along with Bible study materials from solid sources that resonate well with military personnel,” Hoben added.

Plans for this edition include a camouflage cover titled, “The Word.” Also included are the official preambles for all 50 states, highlighting the use of “Almighty God” or similar titles. This new publication will also include the facsimile reprints of the original Soldiers Pocket Bible, which will be presented either in the front material or in pamphlet form to be inserted into each copy, reminding the reader of the precious heritage of the Word of God in the military throughout history.

Initial release will include a 1611 King James Version and/or the Geneva 1599 version. A modern English translation such as the International Standard Version (ISV) is also being considered for subsequent release.

Empty Tomb Speculates How Member Giving, Church Benevolence Can Improve

10/23/2009
Staring in the face of a seemingly interminable recession, some experts see a way that church giving – and charitable giving – can improve if churches change their approach to stewardship.

Churchgoers have to be made aware that the annual percentage of their income that they give to charity is 2.26 percent. The Bible asks for 10 percent. In an ideal world where everyone tithes (at least at churches in the United States), an additional $161 billion would flow to churches and charities. Even if the ideal isn’t possible, the authors of “State of Church Giving Through 2007: What Are Our Church Billionaires Thinking – Or Are They?” suggest that putting a continued emphasis on tithing and Biblical imperatives will cause people to give more, according to an article in the Charlotte Observer

The writers are Sylvia and John Ronsvalle, the leaders at Empty Tomb Inc., an Illinois-based research organization that studies stewardship and how churches spend money.

The book reveals another mistake churches have made, whether by choice or not: continually decreasing benevolence – that is, decreasing the amount the church gives to outside charities, ministries or larger church networks. In 2007, benevolences bottomed out at 14 percent of church giving, down from 21 percent 40 years earlier. In the eyes of the authors, many churches have turned their focuses inward, claiming that they have to take care of themselves first (i.e. pay the bills) before supporting other endeavors. And if churches are able to pay their own bills, they tend to get complacent.

Lastly, one more change the authors propose is for churches to rally their big donors, or “wholesale millionaires.” They assert that lobbying the big givers to match the combined combination of little givers will work to increase giving, even in a recession.