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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Carey Nieuwhof on If you’re the leader, you are the lid.

Over time, the team and organization you lead will never grow past where you’ve grown. If you stop growing in an area, people who want to grow past that point will simply find another leader to follow.

Did Jesus have a wife?

Last week, the Harvard Theological Review released a much-delayed series of articles on the fragment. After a series of investigations undertaken by diverse scholars, the general judgment claimed by Professor King is that the fragment probably is not a forgery — or at least that it dates back to ancient times. The analysis suggested that the fragment dated from about four centuries later than Professor King had first suggested. This would place the fragment, if authentic, in the context of eighth-century Egypt — hundreds of years after the New Testament was written and completed…In her major article released last week, Professor King defended the fragment’s authenticity, but acknowledged that — all previous sensationalism aside — “It is not entirely clear, however, how many women are referred to [in the fragment], who they are, precisely what is being said about them, or what larger issues are under consideration.”

Thom Rainer on The narcissistic Christian leader.

Narcissism should not be said in the same breath as Christian. The former is love of self; the latter is love of God in Jesus Christ. The world of narcissistic Christian leaders is complicated by the fact that these leaders rarely recognize their problem. And the disorder may not be readily apparent to those who see them from a distance. They can appear, at least on the surface, to be brilliant and charismatic.

Tim Challies on Help my kids are looking at porn.

By looking at pornography your children have violated your trust and shown themselves unworthy of it. That trust will need to be earned and regained over a period of time as they prove themselves responsible and obedient. You will need to be actively involved in training your children to use their privileges well and to use the Internet and their digital devices without this kind of behavior. You need a plan that will account for their devices and their lack of Christian character. 

Brian Howard on How to avoid burnout.

 Burnout might seem to come out of nowhere, but it really doesn’t. Burnout is often the by-product of poor choices on the part of a leader. There are patterns that lead to Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Collapses. These patterns involve not paying attention to what your body and soul really need.

Three kinds of shame.

Sin is muddy. When it splashes, we rightly want to clean it up. But sometimes our zeal to clean causes us to oversimplify sin’s muddiness by seeking trite answers for complex situations.

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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.

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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 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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9 lies in the not married life.

Singleness’s greatest sorrows are secretly reinforced every February in the souls of the not-yet-married still waiting for their wedding day. While many of our friends and family are inundated with dates, flowers, chocolate, and love notes, lots and lots of the valentine-less are overwhelmed with everything from impatience to bitterness, from shame to regret to confusion.

Rick Thomas on 5 sure fire ways to motivate your son to look at pornography.

Porn is first and foremost about the theater of the mind, where the young male can enter into his virtual world and be king for a day—or, in this case, king for a few minutes—as he satiates his mind with the risk-free intrigue of the cyber conquest.

Barnabas Piper on Why PK’s often hate the ministry and why so many are now in ministry.

Here’s what I learned from those PKs:

  • God’s grace is bigger than our frustrations and hurts (imposed on us or self-imposed) and bigger than our parents’ mistakes.
  • When we see mistakes our parents make that have hurt us or shaped us in ways we don’t like we become responsible for how we respond, either to follow Christ or not.
  • Whether or not our parents did a good job, being a PK is a unique blessing and creates an opportunity to serve God’s people that most don’t get.
  • The church is God’s people and part of God’s plan; to abandon it is to abandon what God has put in place.
  • Honoring our fathers and mothers is a really big deal and a really valuable thing. No, it doesn’t mean we must agree with them or imitate them, but it does mean we cannot resent them.
  • With few exceptions, our parents love us deeply. It’s worth figuring out how to connect with that love instead of holding on to hurt.

How Bill Hybels advises pastors and leaders to think about the Sunday service.

“Imagine if I could give you a newsflash, that the person you’ve been trying to invite to church for the last 3 years is coming this Sunday.” With those opening words, Willow Creek Community Church senior pastor Bill Hybels grabbed the attention of the 1000 leaders gathered at the Church Leadership Conference in Riga, Latvia. But Bill would then ask, and answer, a question that every church leader must come to terms with:  “What are you hoping will happen to that woman or that man during that one hour church service?”

Dan Black on How to maximize your personal growth time.

The most common reason I hear as to why a leader does not invest in personal growth is because they don’t have the time for it. Personal growth does not happen by chance but requires a few key ingredients.

Growing leaders crave silence and solitude.

When was the last time you had meaningful time alone?

No meetings, no appointments. No phone buzzing. No music in your ear buds. No distractions.

Just stillness. Solitude.

My guess is for many of us the answer is it’s been a while.

What if I told you that your effectiveness and maybe even your longevity as a leader depended directly on finding and establishing regular periods of solitude?

Keri Seavey on Your spouse is not Jesus.

Both husband and wife often start life together, from authentic love and commitment (and a bit of naïve self-assessment), blissfully aiming to meet or exceed every spoken or perceived expectation placed before them in their desire for a great marriage. They may even maintain their success for a while. Yet, given time, we all bump up against our (and our spouse’s) weaknesses, limitations, and tenacious self-centeredness. This is when things begin to get messy.

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Top Posts of January

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It was a great first month of 2014 on my blog. Tons of traffic and interactions. If you missed anything, not to worry, here are the top 10 posts for the month:

  1. When a Staff Member or Volunteer says, “I’m Done”
  2. The 3 Most Destructive Words a Man Hears Growing up Are: “Be a Man”
  3. Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace
  4. What I Eat
  5. 10 Gospel Truths about Homosexuality
  6. Photoshop, Beauty & Women
  7. 6 Ways to Stay Motivated to be Healthy
  8. Leading Up
  9. The Weight of Pastoring
  10. Why do a Series on Men & Women?
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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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Porn hurts women.

Imagine being the woman who has to convince herself not to take it personally when her husband would rather “whet his appetite” by ogling another woman. It’s just the way men are wired; they can’t help it. It’s got nothing to do with me.But her man arouses himself with enhanced, airbrushed images of nineteen year-olds willing to humiliate and abuse themselves. It’s hard to pretend everything’s alright when she’s pretty sure he’s thinking of other women while he has sex with her.

Ron Edmondson on How physical training helps spiritual training.

One would have to be living under a rock to not know we have grown larger as a people in the United States. Obesity is a growing concern in our nation. And, few in the church have bothered with the issue or even seen it as a problem. We have no problem addressing issues such as greed or guilt, but seldom do we approach the word gluttony. Yet, in my opinion, and experience, how I feel physically almost always impacts my spiritual life.

When women lust.

We all know that men struggle with lust. But what about women? While it’s becoming more common to hear of women’s struggles with pornography use, many women still perceive that they have the moral high ground over men. Such comparisons don’t help because men and women often struggle in different ways.

 

Stephen Altrogge on The internet makes us all miserable.

In the good old days of jealousy and comparison and coveting, we compared ourselves to those close to us. When someone near to us succeeded, we felt like a failure. But the good old days are gone. Now, thanks to the Internet, we can feel like failures all the time.

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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Jason Johnson on 5 things Christians should stop staying.

We mean well, don’t we? But sometimes our attempts to say something spiritual actually come out unbiblical, or at a minimum, not very helpful. Here’s the 5 I hear the most…

David Romano on God, gays and advice.

As a Christian walking away from the homosexual lifestyle, I have some do’s and don’ts I’d like you to keep in mind when addressing this issue.

Tim Challies on Mobility, Pornography and Privacy.

Did you buy your children an iPod or iPhone or other mobile device for Christmas? You just bought them the major porn-consumption device. So what are you going to do to protect them from it? One of the most popular articles I wrote in 2013 concerned The Porn-Free Family. I will be returning to the subject in the new year, but for now, I want to point out an important fact: Most of our attempts to block pornography and to use accountability software are effective only or primarily on desktop devices.

5 ways to relax on your Christmas break.

So you’re off for Christmas, but some of you for sure are going to have a hard time winding down. I know I do. Being a driven kind of person, the idea of doing nothing but resting is unsettling for me. But rather than secretly doing email while your family isn’t looking, pacing the house because you can’t sit still or being agitated most of the time, there is an alternative.

Brian Howard on How to remember 2013 and set goals for 2014.

Welcome to the day after Christmas! Each year between Christmas and New Years I walk through a simple exercise to help me think through the past year and plan for the coming year.  I originally learned this exercise from David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, and have customized it over the years. My wife and I both walk through it, and I use it with those I coach as well. Allocating an hour or two over the next week to walk through this exercise will help you to start the new year well.

Jon Acuff on The empty shelf challenge.

Empty a shelf in your house somewhere. Every book you read from now until December 31, 2014 goes on the shelf. (Waiting until January 1st to do something awesome is stupid and fake.) At the end of the year, I guarantee you will have read more than you did in 2013. Best of all, you’re scientifically more likely to accomplish something when you have people working on it with you.

Justin Taylor on How to read the whole bible in 2014.

Do you want to read the whole Bible? The average person reads 200 to 250 words per minute; there are about 775,000 words in the Bible; therefore it takes less than 10 minutes a day to read the whole Bible in a year.

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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Tony Morgan on Be intentional instead of excellent.

One of Willow Creek Community Church’s core values states, “We believe excellence honors God and inspires people.” I agree with that. This value has shaped Willow’s ministry through the decades. And, because Willow has embraced this value, many churches have followed their lead and claimed this value as well. Of course, we need to acknowledge that excellence is not a distinctive anymore–it’s expected.

Tim Challies on The dark side of Christian celebrity.

We have a love-hate relationship with celebrity culture. We who consider ourselves part of this New Calvinism hate the idea of celebrity, but have no clear idea how to avoid the reality. We say we hate a celebrity culture, yet stories about our celebrities dominate blogs and periodicals; a sure way to draw in massive amounts of traffic is to write about each new scandal connected to each of our celebrities. We see the dangers posed by a culture of celebrity, but also see that to some degree it is unavoidable. After all, there are men and women we honour and respect and look up to, who are worthy of our regard and worthy of the leadership we give them.

Al Mohler on Nelson Mandela and the Ironies of History.

When it comes to human rights and human dignity, Nelson Mandela has to be put on the side of the heroes, not only of the 20th century, but of any recent century. He is, as an ironic view of history would remind us, one of those necessary men. A necessary man who nonetheless is a man whose feet were made of clay, as his biography reveals very clearly.

3 ways to turn Christmas guests at your church into regular attendees.

Christmas visitors are not like normal visitors. Every year, a significant percentage of them will leave your Christmas services with good feelings, but no thoughts of returning. They came because it was the thing to do. They don’t expect to be back until Easter.

Michael Lukaszewski on What a pastor thinks. Totally agree with this and so do your pastor.

This post is my attempt to unpack a little bit of what goes on in the mind of a pastor.  At different times in my ministry, I’ve wrestled with each of these things.  Maybe I’m alone in my weirdness, but I have a hunch someone will relate.

Walt Mueller on 10 things to tell students about porn.

As a Christian, I am encouraged for the reason that this new push-back is testimony to the integrated nature of how God has made us. In other words, science is now telling us that something we’ve increasingly seen as benign or even virtuous is actually quite dangerous. God has indeed made our sexuality as a good thing. . . but we are indulging it out of the bounds of his plan. When we step out of the bounds of that plan, bad things happen.

Mark Driscoll on Changing trends in the American family.

The American family is changing, and it will never be the same.

Ryan Huguley on 5 ways to love your pastors kids.

Having a pastor for a dad has been a nightmare for many kids. Sadly, many pastors are careful preachers, but crappy dads. Sometimes, it is not the pastor-dad’s fault, but an overbearing, unhelpful, and hurtful congregation. My dad was not a pastor, but I had enough friends who had a pastor for a dad to know that it’s not easy. This is a critical issue for me as parent of three kids and a pastor of a young church. I want them to love Jesus. I want them to love me. I want them to love the Church. You may not attend my church, but if you read my blog, you most likely attend some church. So, here are five ways you can help love your pastor’s kids.

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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Nick Roen on An alternative script for same-sex attraction.

“There is nothing wrong with living a gay lifestyle. In fact, if you repress who you are, you will never live a happy, fulfilled life. Be true to yourself!” This is the overwhelming message of society regarding homosexuality. Mark Yarhouse refers to this as “the gay script,” the blueprint for how homosexuals are to live. “Embrace who you are,” a swelling number shout, “and you will find happiness!” I disagree.

Fast Company on 10 surprising stats about social media that will make you change your social media strategy.

Tom Ascol on 35 lessons from being a pastor for 35 years.

Thirty-five years ago this month I began serving my first church as pastor. The Rock Prairie Baptist Church in College Station, Texas took a major risk on a senior Texas A&M student by issuing me a call to be their pastor. It was my happy privilege to serve them for nearly two years before being called to the Spring Valley Baptist Church in Dallas. I am currently in my twenty-eighth year of serving Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida. As I recently reflected on the last thirty-five years I wrote down some lessons learned and convictions I’ve come to or continued to hold.

Thom Rainer on Pastors and christmas gifts.

I asked a simple question on Twitter: What do you do for your pastor at Christmas time? For pastors, I asked what their congregations gave them at Christmas. Though my survey was not scientific, it was nevertheless revealing. I am truly concerned about how congregations treat pastors. I thought the issue of the Christmas gift would at least be an indicator of such concern.

Matt Walsh on Men, your porn habit is an adultery habit.

I know a guy who cheats on his wife. He cheats on her every day. He cheats on her multiple times a day. He’s a husband and a father and a serial adulterer.

Mark Driscoll on How many people should go on the honeymoon?

In the absence of any cultural definition of gender or marriage, let alone any restriction on sex, relationships in our society will only get cloudier. We will see polygamy legalized in my lifetime, perhaps even in the next twenty years.

Michael Lukaszewski on Why people don’t do what you preach.

Your content was carefully researched, outlined in detail, and prayed over it multiple times. You put in hours of study on an important topic and you communicate your guts out, only to have people walk out the door and forget everything by lunch or kickoff. You delivered a faithful, accurate, truthful and well-written message. And nobody did anything.

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. Eric Simmons on I hate porn, I love Jesus.
  2. The difference between buzzwords and leadership.
  3. Melissa Kruger on The loving intolerance of God.
  4. How some not famous pastors prep a sermon. Great wisdom here.
  5. Carey Nieuwhof on 3 essentials for a leader’s inner circle. As a leader, the people closest to you is one of the most important decisions you will make.
  6. Brian Dodd on 10 practices of leaders of fast growing churches.
  7. Dan Reiland on 10 basic people skills leaders should have.
  8. Why I believe in the doctrine of election.

Jimmy Fallon’s Best Musical Impersonations

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. Ed Stetzer on Has Dr. King’s dream come true?
  2. Mark Driscoll on It’s all about the numbers. Really well said.
  3. 6 subtle signs your organization has silos.
  4. Jay Dennis on Pornography and pastors.
  5. 10 questions to ask about your work/life balance.
  6. Perry Noble on The one thing that holds leaders back.
  7. Seeing God in your work.
  8. John Stott on How to preach with authority.
  9. 10 football books leaders should read.
  10. Dave Bruskas on How to rest in ministry.
  11. Donald Miller on People aren’t following you because you aren’t clear.
  12. What Matt Chandler wished he knew when he started ministry. This series is gold for pastors and those entering ministry.