Links for Your Weekend Reading

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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Mark Driscoll on 3 pieces of advice for Easter.

Please pray for your preacher this week. This is not a normal week for them. They have already been running hard since the new year started and are exhausted, overwhelmed, and probably have a lot going on in their personal life that is taking their energy in addition to the ministry. Give them some grace and space. Encourage them. Let them know you are praying for them. Do all you can to take any other duties off of them this week.

Justin Taylor on Christianity is the world’s most falsifiable religion and has survived.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg on I’ve earned my place in heaven.

The New York Times reports: But if he senses that he may not have as much time left as he would like, he has little doubt about what would await him at a Judgment Day. Pointing to his work on gun safety, obesity and smoking cessation, he said with a grin: “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”

Russell Moore on Same sex marriage and the future.

So what should we do? Well, precisely what we should have done before and after Roe. We should recognize where the courts and the culture are, and we should work for justice. That means not simply assuming that most people agree with us on marriage. We must articulate, both in and out of the church, why marriage matters, and why its definition isn’t infinitely elastic.

Daughter Performs “Youth” (love this band)

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Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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Trevin Wax on The 4 stages of writing.

I recently came across the HBR Guide to Better Business Writing, a book that has a chapter on the four stages of the writing process. Reflecting on my experience writing blogs and non-fiction books, I recognized these stages even if I’d never consciously labeled them this way.

Tim Challies on The porn-free family plan.

The tragedy of Michael Sam.

Michael Sam is so much more than a gay man. He is a man that is made in the image of Almighty God. His sexuality was never meant to hold the weight of his identity. Every time that he is referred to as the first openly gay NFL player what is happening is that his humanity is being robbed.

Things Disney Characters do That Would be Creepy if You did Them

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Links for Your Weekend Reading

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

book

Brandon Hilgemann on 5 mistakes pastors make on easter and how to avoid them.

Resurrection Sunday is next week. It will be a big day in churches around the world, so be careful to avoid these five mistakes pastors can easily make.

Kenny Luck on Sexual atheism.

In a recent study conducted by ChristianMingle.com, Christian singles between the ages of 18 to 59 were asked, “Would you have sex before marriage?” The response? Sixty-three percent of the single Christian respondents indicated yes. In my 30 years of youth and adult ministry experience, this is as unfiltered, direct and honest as a question and answer can be. It is equally honest to say that nearly nine out of 10 self-proclaimed single Christians are, in practicesexual atheists. In other words, God has nothing to say to them on that subject of any consequence or, at least, anything meaningful enough to dissuade them from following their own course of conduct. It is the ultimate oxymoron. A person who at once believes in a wise, sovereign and loving God who created them and all things, can also believe simultaneously He should not, cannot or will not inform their thinking or living sexually. It reminds me of those famous red letters in Luke’s Gospel where Jesus says, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46, NIV). There is disconnect between identity and activity.

Tim Challies on Why “how many people go to your church” is a bad question. Great perspective.

Instead of going to the easy question of, “How many people go to your church?” why don’t we ask things like this:

  • How have you seen the Lord working in the lives of the people in your church?
  • What evidences of the Lord’s grace has your church experienced in the last few months?
  • What are you excited about in your church right now?
  • Who are you excited about in your church right now?
  • What has the Lord been teaching you?
  • Who have you been discipling recently? Tell me about some of the future leaders at your church.

Joel Miller on Internet porn and the decline of faith.

Since the early 1990s, there has been a significant uptick in Americans abandoning their faith. After crunching the numbers, one researcher says contributing factors such as upbringing and education only explain part of the increase. What about the rest? Could it be related to porn?

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Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

book

Trevin Wax on The uselessness of twitter battles.

Twitter is a place for conversation, but once we go into battle mode, I think the legitimate conversation is already over. Twitter battles are like putting on a spectacle for the perverse pleasure (or dismay) of the Twitter audience. Has anyone watching one of these debacles ever said, “You know what? You convinced me! I’m wrong and you’re right.” No one. Ever.

21 ways to perk up your productivity.

Chuck Lawless on 10 ideas from wise leaders.

Give your family veto power over your schedule.  He’s an incredibly busy man, but he somehow manages his schedule well. Here’s what he taught me: involve your wife before you make a commitment that requires you to be away from home after work hours. Be prepared to change your schedule if your family says, “We need you at home.” You’ll be less likely to lose your family in the midst of busyness if they have opportunity to help you plan your schedule.

Denny Burk on How to deal with false teachers.

Not every purveyor of false teaching is a lackey of the Devil. We have examples in scripture where bona fide believers are the source of error in the church. Apollos was a man mighty in the scriptures who taught accurately about Jesus but who nevertheless was only familiar with John’s baptism. In Apollos’ case, his deficient teaching was an error of omission. He simply did not yet know the full apostolic message. Priscilla and Aquila came alongside Apollos and explained to him the way of God “more accurately” (Acts 18:26). Presumably, Apollos responded favorably to their correction such that Paul would later identify Apollos as a co-laborer in preaching the gospel (1 Cor. 3:5-9).

3 tips on being a friend of sinners.

If Jesus was a friend of sinners, we should be too, it seems — somehow, someway. And instantly, this discussion can drift into a much bigger one about Christians and culture and all that. But instead of going there, let’s just talk friendship for a minute. Friendship, which is not without its implications, is more practical and relevant than a primer on the church’s posture in society. So in that light, here are three tips on being a friend of sinners.

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Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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Will Mancini on Why your church is working at only 50% of its effectiveness.

The problem is that most churches have a general sense of their mission rather than clearly defined and contextually crafted mission.

Jon Acuff on 6 tips to get up earlier in the morning.

Daniel Cooly on Pastoral envy.

So, after an average first pastorate, we moved from Canada to a church plant of 120 people in New Mexico. I was ready to become a workaholic, see our church grow, have a meltdown, repent of my selfishness, lead a seminary department, and write a best-seller entitled Dogs Playing Poker. Actually, I’ve never wanted a mega-ministry, but a growing, healthy ministry would be awesome.

Denny Burk on How to spot a false teacher.

The Bible suggests at least six characteristics that commonly identify false teachers. Not every false teachers exhibits all of these characteristics at once, but often times they present some combination of these traits.

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Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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6 ways to stay off the emotional roller coaster of ministry.

Ministry is an emotional roller coaster. Much of leadership is for that matter. One day you’re on top of the world,. The next day you want to bury yourself in a deep cave. You probably think only the way to get off the emotional roller coaster of ministry is to quit. To leave it for a more normal life. It’s not. In fact, I don’t recommend it.

Thom Rainer on 10 fears of church leaders.

Leading a church means the leader will have critics. Sometimes the criticisms become so frequent that it seems easier not to lead. For pastors and other church leaders, the steady inflow of negative comments becomes emotionally, spiritually, and physically draining.

Joshua Shaw on 7 ways to engage men in church.

One would think that with the rise of church planting and prolific pastors and authors advocating for a type of “strong man” Christianity, we would see a difference in the membership of young fast-growing churches. But from mine and many others’ experiences, this trend of a manless Christianity has not only continued, but gotten worse. We have done everything we can to open the doors for their acceptance and involvement, but when push comes to shove, the idea of staying at home watching ESPN, designing a logo for a new company, finishing a work project, or merely sleeping in, becomes top priority.

Eric Geiger on Your leadership shelf life.

Leadership is always a temporary assignment—always. It is a temporary assignment because leaders do not ultimately own the teams, ministries, or organizations that they lead. They simply steward what the Lord has entrusted to their care for a season. Wise leaders embrace the temporal reality of leading, and they prepare the ministry for the future. Because the assignment is fleeting, developing others for leadership is an essential responsibility of a leader.

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Links for Your Weekend Reading

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

book

Jared Wilson on Why Easter giveaways are unwise.

Every year some churches seek to outdo themselves — and their local competition — by luring unbelievers (and I suppose interested believers) to their Easter service(s) with the promise of big shows and in some cases big giveaways. One guy in Texas made national news for giving away new cars. Another church has dropped prize-filled Easter eggs out of helicopters to gathered crowds below. Local churches with more modest budgets sometimes promise door prizes like iPods or iPads or gift certificates to local restaurants.

Thom Rainer on What attracts millenials to church.

Millennial Christians, and a good number of seekers among their generation, are gravitating to churches where the teaching and preaching is given a high priority. They are attracted to churches whose focus is not only on the members, but on the community and the world. Inwardly focused congregations will not see many Millennials in their churches.

Sam Rainer on When Vision Stops.

If you pastor for any length of time, you’ll undoubtedly face an issue when something “unforeseen grinds the church to a halt.” Sam shares how to lead in the wake of those events.

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Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

book

How to optimize your energy and your tasks to work better.

Do what you’re best at when you’re at your best.

 

Jonathan Merritt on Grace. I can’t recommend his new book Jesus is Better than You Imagined highly enough.

Brian Dodd on 16 tips to be a great speaker.

Because leaders have to cast vision and inspire those on their teams to action, the ability to communicate well is a necessary skill each leader must have.

Reflections on the Noah movie. Helpful list.

Gloria Furman on Missional motherhood.

Eternity means that childrearing is an awe-full, serious joy.

Tim Challies on 7 things a good dad says.

“I love you.” Men can be so petty, so prideful, and hold back those words. Yet there is no good reason for it. The more awkward it feels, the more urgent it is. From the dads I admire I’ve learn that a father needs to say, “I love you,” and he needs to say it often.

 

 

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Links for Your Weekend Reading

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

book

Jill Popp on Having kids when you aren’t ready for them.

God doesn’t give us children when we are old and wise and mature, but when we are young and ignorant and need to grow. In other words, he gives us children in the middle of the sanctification process; and our children, in turn, become a significant means of producing growth in our lives.”

Art Rainer on 4 Reasons Why Churches Need Good Directional Signage.

One of the most common mistakes I noticed as a church consultant was the lack of directional signage in churches. It’s as if churches expected people who had never been in their building to know exactly where to go on their first visit. Obviously this is a problem. Art shares four reason why your church should not only have directional signage, but good directional signage.

Brian Dodd on 7 practices of growing churches.

Joe McCormick on 3 communication tips for leaders.

Choose your words carefully and economically. Effective leaders today are mindful communicators, aware of the needs of their audience as well as the message they are trying to get across, briefly.

Ronnie Floyd on How Should You Respond When You Do Not Meet the Expectations of Others?

As a pastor, people will have unreasonable expectations of how you are to lead the church and fulfill your pastoral duties. Ronnie shares how to respond when it happens.

Rick Warren on How to Stay Relevant

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Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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Kevin DeYoung on Why Is This Issue Different?

Why do Christians feel the need to divide over the issue of homosexuality or gay marriage? What makes this issue different from, say, differences in church polity or views on baptism? I think that the question is even asked is a strong indicator of the pervasive spirit of the age in the church, but Kevin’s answers are detailed, thorough, and strong, particularly point #4: “[C]ommending homosexuality involves the core of the gospel because it urges us to celebrate a behavior of which the Bible calls us to repent.” This is exactly the point many of us were trying to make about the initial World Vision decision; calling fair what God has called foul directly compromises the integrity of one’s claim to provide distinctly Christian ministry.

Greg Thornbury on Noah.

Our small group spent a considerable amount of time both before and after film hearing from Aronofsky himself and co-writer Ari Handel. Both were interested in listening to and responding to our theological and critical reactions. My immediate response was that this was a film with profound moral and theological imagination. My thoughts below are my conclusions after several weeks of reflection.

Paul Rezkalla on If all religions are true, then God is cruel.

“All roads lead to the same destination.” While I can understand the sentiment of inclusivity, this idea pictures an evil God. Religious pluralists often reject exclusivist positions for positing a cruel God who only made one way to reach him. But if all religions are true, then God is cruel. And not just cruel—God is an incompetent, cosmic child-abuser. If religious pluralism is true, then God is the father in the second scenario. He saw the train coming, yet he decided to pull the first lever and kill his son, rather than pull the second lever.

2 year old and basketball trick shots

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