Quick Book Reviews: Matt Chandler, Tullian Tchvidjian & Bob Franquiz

There are 3 books that came out recently, that have been very helpful for my spiritual walk right now.

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The first is One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World by Tullian Tchvidjian.

Tullian tackles the topic of why we are so weary instead of refreshed in our spiritual journey. That for many people, it is the endless running of trying to be more, do more and improve their standing in the eyes of God. When, as a follower of Jesus, you cannot do anything to improve your standing before God.

This message, if understood by Christians would lead to more life, more joy and less burning out to show God how awesome you are.

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The second one is To Live Is Christ to Die Is Gain by Matt Chandler. Chandler walks through the book of Philippians in a helpful and refreshing way. I used this book for a week or so as my devotional (reading through a passage in Philippians and a chapter of the book).

I found this to be a helpful way to move through a book of the Bible and be able to understand more fully what Paul meant when he said, “to live is Christ but to die is gain.” It is a great book that shows what is most important in life and how to move towards that in practical ways.

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The third one is Pull: Making Your Church Magnetic by Bob Franquiz.

I’ve become friends with Bob over the last few years, been a part of his coaching network and gleaned stole all kinds of ideas from him. He is simply a genius when it comes to church systems, church growth and marketing. His book, Pull, is all his best knowledge put together in one book. The chapters on Facebook ads and using social media to spread the word of your church are worth the price of the book.

Become Who You Were Created to Be

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Revolution is going to turn 5 years old this Sunday. It is really hard to believe that the church God birthed in me 13 years ago while living in Chicago actually came to be with 11 people who prayed and dreamed together in Tucson, AZ. Over the coming week as we gear up towards Sunday I thought I’d share some of the dreams that drove us to start Revolution and still drive us to this day.

The first is to help people become who they were created to be. 

This might sound simplistic and something every church sets out to do, but it s the heartbeat of my preaching and our church. Jesus said in John 10:10 that he came to give life, overflowing and abundant life. All throughout the New Testament, we see places where we are told that God wants us to be holy, set apart, to live the life we were created to live. Not a shell of that life where we indulge our idols or chase empty ambitions, but life.

This means every week, we want to challenge people in our sermons to confront the idols of the heart and show people the truth of the gospel. We want our MC’s to weekly confront each other in areas where they aren’t believing the gospel, but instead are living out of lies. When people are seeking to control things, make decisions to gain approval or power, our hope is that people will challenge each other lovingly with the truth of the gospel and remind each other to be who they were created to be.

This means, we don’t believe anyone is accidental. God doesn’t need us to be someone else, live out someone else’s gifts, vision or dreams. He doesn’t need us to try to live up to someone else’s standard. He needs us to be us. He created us to be us.

For Revolution, this is the gospel piece. This is where we challenge those who are not yet Christians to take that step and begin following Jesus. For those who are Christians, this is where we challenge them in sin patterns and to be holy as Christ is holy (1 Peter 1:16).

For anyone to become who they were created to be, a few things must happen:

  • You have to talk about creation. You have to talk about how God created the world to be. People must see how they and those around them were created in the image of God and what that entails.
  • You have to talk about the brokenness in our lives and in our world because of the fall. You have to talk about the reality of sin and hit it head on.
  • You have to talk about the resurrection. The cross matters greatly, but I get fearful when I hear pastors talk about the cross and then never mention the resurrection. As Paul tells us, talk about both (1 Corinthians 15:14).
  • You have to talk about the kingdom and the reign of Jesus and what it means to live forever in the kingdom of God, the way God meant the world to be. You have to give your people a vision of what God intends and why that matters. Too often, pastors do not help people imagine a better future because of the gospel.

Bob Franquiz sums this up well in his book Pull: Making Your Church Magnetic:

Great preaching aims for repentance in each message. This is the goal of every message we teach. Repentance means to change your mind, and we must all changes minds about false beliefs we’ve had, false teachings we’ve held, false ideas we’ve hung on to, and false securities on which we’ve depended. The essence of the gospel is embracing Christ and walking away from idols. The question to ask is, “What is the false god, false belief, false idea, or false teaching we’ve held on to, and how does the gospel require us to respond?” When you preach for a decision with unbelievers, the answer is obvious: you want people to come to Christ. When you teach this to believers, it’s a bit more difficult, but something always tries to draw us away from the gospel. Our goal is to keep believers and unbelievers face-to-face with the gospel.

Monday Morning Mind Dump…

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  • Yesterday at Revolution was a special day
  • Not only because of what God did and continues to do, but also because for what it meant to me personally
  • Our church turns 5 this coming Sunday and remembering where our church was 5 years ago is hard to imagine today
  • Every church planter knows that the week before you launch is one of the most intense weeks of their lives
  • The fact that God brought us through it, made us stronger and has grown us to where we are is evidence of his grace towards us
  • It is going to be an awesome day to celebrate this coming Sunday
  • We’ll be baptizing people, sharing about what God has done in the last 5 years and looking towards the future as we look at how God has a place in his family for everyone if we simply “Come Home”
  • Yesterday was an intense day as far as the sermon topic goes
  • I preached from John 11 on Lazarus being raised from death to life and looked at why God allows pain and suffering, where God is when that is happening to us and what those things tell us about God’s character
  • An all around intense day
  • You can always sense that as a pastor, the weight that people are carrying as it relates to the topic
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here
  • Friday night was a fun date night
  • Katie has been getting more and more into photography and is great at it
  • There’s a good chance you’ve seen some of her pictures on this blog or her Facebook page
  • We headed up to La Encantada to scope out some places to shoot and for her to practice on me
  • I told her she should’ve gotten a better model
  • After that, we headed to Blacno for dinner
  • So good
  • Spent the weekend reading an advanced copy of Pull: Making Your Church Magnetic by Bob Franquiz
  • Pastors, pre-order this book and start reading it when it comes out next week
  • It has so many helpful nuggets in it
  • Yesterday was painful in that I had to watch my Steelers play like a Jr. High football team
  • Horrific
  • In the end though, football is back so that is awesome
  • We are praying a big prayer this week that we will hear from Ethiopia about our embassy date when we can bring our son home
  • We’d appreciate your prayers with us in that

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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  1. What your church can learn from Joel Osteen and his church. While I disagree with much of Osteen’s theology, this article is a great read for pastors and what they can learn from him.
  2. Brian Croft on How a pastors should schedule his week.
  3. How to help your child read with discernment.
  4. Bob Franquiz on The challenges of an introverted pastor. Definitely have applied these in my ministry.
  5. How do Tim Keller, John Piper, Mark Driscoll & Alistair Begg prepare a sermon.
  6. Rich Birch on 5 time wasters for pastors.
  7. What to learn from a church spy. Pastors need to read this.
  8. Doug Wilson on A childish life. Great look at the growing desire of what Time Magazine calls “The Childfree life.”
  9. What the teen choice awards tell us about youth culture. If you don’t read Walt’s blog and you are a parent or a pastor, shame on you.
  10. Sam Storms on Why God doesn’t save everyone.
  11. When you pray with your children, you are teaching them how to pray.

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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  1. How to wreck a pastor. A lot of truth here.
  2. Bob Franquiz on Green room pastors.
  3. Why Andy Stanley is such a great communicator.
  4. Jenni Catron on Takeaways for leaders from the leadership summit. Great stuff here.
  5. 7 ways to keep your MC from growing. This is sarcastic, but so true.
  6. Luke Simmons takeaways from the leadership summit day 1 and day 2. Wish I was there but appreciate how many people blogged about it.
  7. Why we really sleep in.
  8. Casey Graham on 3 reasons you are a lonely leader.

What’s it like to be 7 feet tall and dunk (Watch Roy Hibbert dunk while wearing google glass)

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
  1. The greatest challenge facing high school students. It’s not what you expect.
  2. Brian Dodd on 10 truths about pastors of fast growing churches.
  3. What it costs to be a complementarian.
  4. Bob Franquiz has a NEW resource: The Productive Pastor. I haven’t read it yet, but everything I’ve read from Bob in the past has been amazing. Expecting nothing less about this one.
  5. 7 lessons for next generation leaders.

Links of the Week

  1. John Piper on Race and the gospel. John Piper also wrote a book on this topic called Bloodlines that is very helpful on the topic. 
  2. Rick Warren on Breaking growth barriers for church growth
  3. A helpful review of The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller
  4. Russell Moore on Should Christians boycott Starbucks. I’d say no, but that’s my answer to most boycotts. Never saw a boycott in the NT and the church seemed to explode. 
  5. When parents ask the wrong questions
  6. Shawn Lovejoy on 12 secrets every leader should know
  7. J.D. Greear on 35 things I wish I knew when started pastoring
  8. Workaholism.
  9. Bob Franquiz on 5 ways to keep growing after Easter
  10. 10 tips on preparing and preaching on Easter.

Thoughts from Easter Ninja

Paul, Mike and myself spent some time last week listening to the Easter Ninja conference. So, so helpful.

Here are some things we took away:

  • Pray for Easter and those who will attend. If you as a pastor, leader, church believe that the truth of Easter is life changing (and you should), then pray for that day, what will be communicated and who will attend.
  • Plan. Too many pastors and church planters are fly by the seat of their pants people. This means sermons aren’t as prepared as possible, music is prepared like it could be or should be, pastors are unclear about what they are communicating. Right now, you should know what you will communicate, your hook.
  • Plan the week after Easter. It is awesome that someone comes to your church on Easter weekend. What is the next step? If they become a Christian, what is the next step? If they give for the first time, what is the next step? If they don’t make a decision to follow Jesus, but decide to come back next week, what will they hear? Not only should you know what you are communicating Easter weekend, you need to know what you are inviting them back to. What will you communicate the weekend after Easter.
  • Talk about Jesus and the hope of the gospel. Don’t be cute on Easter or any other weekend. Our culture has a lot of hopelessness and pain in it. Positive thinking, diets, books will not fix this. The gospel will. Be clear about who Jesus is, what he has done, is doing and will do. Then call for them to make a decision.

For us, we are going to have invite cards starting 4 weeks before Easter and will challenge everyone at Revolution to pass out one invite card a day for 30 days. To be praying each day during those 30 days leading up to Easter. We are also doing a baptism during our Easter services, with clear next steps that night to follow Jesus and come back and get better connected at Revolution.

We are praying for 500 people that night. Here’s why: I/we believe that the message of Easter is life changing. I want my neighbors and friends who don’t know Jesus to know him. To have their life rocked by the gospel.

Revolutionaries, I want to challenge you to be praying about this with us. Start praying now for those who will be invited, for those who you will invite. It is going to be a powerful night.