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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How pastors can care for their kids.

Pastors also need to think and act intentionally. Our actions or inactions are powerful influences.

Dave Bruskas on Persevering as a pastor.

It is estimated that 1,700 pastors leave vocational ministry per month. Perhaps even worse is that almost half of those who haven’t left yet are thinking about doing just that. So how can a pastor stay in ministry?

Joel Osteen and American Christianity.

Joel Osteen is the prime provocateur of a seductive brand of American Christianity that reduces God to a means to our ends. A message that beckons multitudes to the table of the Master, not for the love of the Master but for what is on the table. He is the de facto high priest of a new brand of Christianity perfectly suited for a feel-good generation. And while a host of pretenders (including Prince) follow in his train, Osteen is clearly the biggest of the bunch—according toPeople magazine, “twice as big as the nearest competitor.” And his claim to America’s largest church is just a small part of the story. With one billion impressions per month on Facebook and Twitter, Osteen is the hip new personification of God-talk in America.

Jen Acuff on A simple way to create momentum in your marriage.

What we’ve learned though is that even as we work on different things, there is a simple way to create momentum in our marriage. I call it “the art of starting parallel.”

Does God harden someone’s heart?

Without question, the answer is yes, he does. The Bible speaks of God’s active agency in hardening hearts with unmistakable bluntness.

Luke Simmons shares what he learned on visiting 6 churches in 4 days.

Preaching really matters a lot. The sermon is the longest part of any service and, as a result, plays a huge role in the effectiveness of the service. The services I enjoyed the most had the best, most engaging, most gospel-centered preaching and the services I enjoyed least had the weakest preaching. Worship leaders need to lead. Everywhere we went had music. None of it was awful. Some of it was tremendous. But the best places were places where the worship leaders actually led. They prayed, they exhorted, they helped you engage. Anyone can play a gig. But we need worship leaders to lead.

Tim Challies on Outrage Porn and The Christian Reader.

When we are outraged about every little matter, we lose our ability to be outraged about the most important matters. When we respond with outrage to every little offense, eventually we become hardened to the things that actually matter. If everything is outrageous, nothing is outrageous.

Five Things We Teach Our Kids When We Don’t Know They’re Watching.

As adults we often tend to believe that kids aren’t paying attention.  But, we teach them so many things when we don’t even realize that they’re tuned in.  And, for the record, kids are always tuned in, even when they seem mesmerized by the TV.  Here are five things we teach our kids when we don’t know they’re watching.

Ever wanted to see if you could get a palace guard to smile?

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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

  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

Links to Get You to the Weekend

  1. Scot McKnight on America’s premier heresy
  2. Becoming Well-Spoken: How to Minimize Your Uh’s and Um’s.
  3. Justin Buzzard on Twenty Ideas for Dating Your Wife.
  4. Mark Batterson on How to be famous in your own home.

Links of the Week

  1. Jeff Vanderstelt closed our series Uprising at Revolution and what spiritual power means, how to tap into it and how it can change a city. Definitely worth a listen.
  2. Hollywood is suddenly hot for the Bible.
  3. Does Joel Osteen not know or not care?
  4. Tony Morgan on Knowing who should be on a senior leadership team.
  5. Involving children in a missional community.
  6. Rick Warren on 3 ways to overcome loneliness in ministry.
  7. On mission this Halloween.
  8. Ed Stetzer on What to do with “issue Christians.” Great advice here.
  9. Church attendance ceilings.
  10. Grace Driscoll on Being a Pastor’s wife.

Links of the Week

  1. 10 Questions to increase volunteer engagement.
  2. Luke Simmons on How to start family worship.
  3. Indications of a thriving supernatural church plant.
  4. Mike Breen on How do you make missional disciples.
  5. Is your church too cool?
  6. Scott McClellan on A different kind of pew research. This is a great insight for pastors.
  7. How can God possibly use brokenness in a pastor’s life.
  8. Al Mohler on Should the scriptures be dragged kicking and screaming into the modern age?
  9. Why young Christians aren’t waiting anymore.
  10. Brad Lomenick on Leading millenials.
  11. Stream the new Phil Wickham album. So good.

Links of the Week

  1. The Village Church on Churches planting churches. Right now, we are starting to work through plans to plant our first church as Revolution. I’m hoping this happens in the next 2 – 5 years. This vision is also one of the reasons I am excited about Revolution joining Acts 29.
  2. To your tweets into a journal.
  3. Sam Harris of Fast Company wrote an article about contradictions in the Bible. Justin Holcomb and Matt Perman wrote two great responses to the article. You can read Justin’s here (love Justin’s title Why Fast Company need to do their homework) and Matt’s here. On the same topic, if you have questions about the Bible, how we got it, if there are contradictions in it. A great book to check out is The Big Book of Bible Difficulties.
  4. Is the church afraid of modesty?
  5. Jamie Munson on Leading your family in stewardship. One of the roles of a husband/father is to lead their family. The area of stewardship, how your family spends their money, time and resources all fits under the category of stewardship.
  6. How great leaders aspire action.
  7. Ed Stetzer’s take on George Barna’s research on the resurgence of the reformed camp.
  8. Josh Buice on The troubling view of Joel Osteen. Joel has a new book out and was recently on The View and continued his teaching of not wanting to offend anyone with the gospel.
  9. The journey of Lecrae. If more rap was like Lecrae, I would listen to more rap.
  10. Perry Noble on The price of being a leader.
  11. Is it possible to be too nice as a leader? Ron Edmondson thinks so, great stuff.
  12. Mark Driscoll on Daddy christmas tips. These are great and a must read for every dad.

Links of the Week

  1. Stop hatin’ on other pastors & ministries. This is right on (for the most part). The only discrepency I have with Scott is when a pastor is leading people into heresy. You need to call that out, you don’t need to hate on them, but you do need to address it.  
  2. Pastors are bible guys. I am loving this series by Acts 29 on what a pastor/elder is. Pastors have to be bible guys, men need to be bible guys.
  3. Sam Rainer on church staffing in 2020. This is interesting, no idea if it will come true, but I definitely think some of it will happen.
  4. In America’s, Christian faith, a surprising comeback of rock-ribbed Calvinism is challenging the Jesus-is-your-buddy gospel of modern evangelism.
  5. The gospel and marriage.
  6. Donald Miller on 10 reasons pastors are important.

Top Posts for August 08

Here are the posts that generated the most traffic in August, in case you missed them:

  1. Tattoo
  2. Church Unique:  How Missional Leaders Cast Vision, Capture Culture & Create Movement
  3. Fantasy Football Draft #1
  4. Joel Osteen on 60 Minutes
  5. Fusion:  Turning First Time Guests into Fully Engaged Members of Your Church
  6. Saturday Night Mind Dump  (8/2/08)
  7. How to Break Growth Barriers
  8. Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership
  9. Saturday Night Mind Dump  (8/23/08)
  10. Ava’s 3

Convergence: Protecting Yourself from Spiritual Disease (Titus 1:9 – 16)

Today was part 2 of our series Convergence through the book of Titus.  We looked at Titus 1:9 – 16.  This was a difficult passage to work through because spiritual disease is not something we often talk about or even think about.  Consequently, you almost have to convince people, this is a big deal. 

Some of the diseases that we looked at were pluralism, not to say that it is bad, but that it is a reality of our world.  The danger it presents to Christians is when we bring pluralism into our Christianity, when we start looking around and say, “What if I add this about buddhism or add this about Islam to my Christian walk.”  The other problem is that often as Christians, in an effort to not offend anyone, we cut corners, we don’t take stands when we should.  When we do take stands, we are often not heard because of the way we take our stand.

We also showed a clip of Joel Osteen preaching.  I have never met Joel, I have never read any of his books, I have only heard him preach.  The danger that he presents is the old debate about the ‘health & wealth’ gospel.  Joel’s definition of a healthy Christianity is when we have no relational strains, no debt, no pain, that we are not victims, but victors.  The reality is, because of sin, we will not always be free from those things.  When this becomes a disease is when we look for that in our Christian walk & when it doesn’t work, we say things like, “I tried the God thing & it just didn’t work for me.”  I wrestled all week with whether or not to show this, because I don’t want to make fun of Joel or say, I am more spiritual than him, but I feel a responsibility as the pastor of Beginnings to show people what others are saying.  Also, this passage is addressed to the false teachers on the Island of Crete, and I see what Joel Osteen is saying as false. 

The interesting thing about spiritual disease is that you are always that last one to see it.  We get so wrapped up in the fact that we are right, that we have things going the way they should, it is everyone else that is a heretic or wrong.  This is where community comes in, to have those people who can say tough things to you, tell where you are missing the mark and help you find spiritual health. 

Without that, here are a few ways to spot it in your life:  The obvious is when you start to do something or believe something that is contrary to what the Bible teaches.  I remember talking to someone about a situation and they asked me what the Bible said and I told them, showed them the verse.  He looked at me, he was a leader in the church I worked at and he said, “I don’t buy that.”  I said to him, “It is right there.”  To which he said, “I know it’s right there, but that just gets in my way.”  That’s a clue.  If your Christian walk has become more about you and less about God, that is a clue.  For example in small groups around the country the question is asked after reading a passage “What does this mean to you?”  It does not matter what a passage means to us, it matters what it means to God.  The question we ask in our small groups is, “Of all the things that could be here, why is this here?  Why this verse?”   

If you find yourself thinking, how can I blend Christianity with Buddhism, Wicca, and Mormonism.  That is spiritual disease. 

If you missed today, you can listen to it here & you can join the conversation on our discussion blog here

Passages we looked at:
Titus 1:9 – 16
Matthew 15:11, 15 – 20
Luke 11:37 – 41
Titus 3:9 – 11

Books to check out:
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality:  Unleash the Power of Authentic Life in Christ  (Pete Scazzero)
The Great Omission  (Dallas Willard)