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 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

Charles Stone on 8 ways pastors can refresh their tired souls.

The degree to which you love yourself corresponds to the degree to which you love others. Caring for ourselves was difficult for us to do without feeling guilty. We unwittingly thought that dying to ourselves for the sake of the gospel meant dying to marital intimacy and joy in life. We had died to something God had never intended we die to.

J.D. Greear on 4 things you should pray for your pastor.

One of the greatest joys in my life is serving as pastor. But ministry can be both messy and exhausting. That’s why I am so thankful for the prayer warriors in our congregation. I truly believe that one of the main reasons the Summit has grown is simply that God has answered the bold prayers of those in our congregation. The most important ministry anyone in our church can be involved in is that of prayer.

Why most churches are not reaching unchurched 20-something’s.

We want to ask questions.
Voice our doubts.
Explain our struggles.
Confess our sins.
Confide our fears.

And we want the church to do it with us.

Ryan Huguley on Sweat your sermon intro.

The first pastor who really taught me about preaching once told me, “If you open strong, close strong, and hit your transitions, your sermon will take care of itself.” While it’s a bit more complicated than that, he was largely correct. Many sermons fall apart before they even start, crash and burn because of an inability to “land the plane”, or lack clarity due to confusion in transition.

David Murray on The 10 types of church leaders.

The case for fewer friends.

When it comes to friendship, quality matters more than quantity.

Peter Leithart on Are Christians obsessed with Sex?

Are Christians obsessed with sex? I would ask, “Compared to whom?” Peter Leithart argues, “Faced with these charges, we get defensive and protest that we are equally concerned with other things – with economic evils, with militaristic violence, with the degradation of the environment. We shouldn’t be defensive. We should say that we’re concerned about sexual behavior and norms precisely because of the effect they have on the poor, the way sexual immorality is linked with violence. We should say that we guard God’s commandments regarding sex because violation of those commandments will produce social chaos. Sexual behavior and sexual norms are a key barometer of social health. If things are disordered in our bedrooms, they will be disordered in boardrooms and cabinet offices.”

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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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Marrying a Man Who Looks at Porn

Heath Lambert provides a sound answer to an urgent question: Should I marry a man who has a problem with pornography?

Tim Challies on I’m better than you.

I’m kind of a jerk. For as long as I’ve been able to think about myself, my heart, my life, I’ve known that I’m a sinful person. I’ve never doubted the reality of my depravity. And if there ever had been any doubt, being married and having children and immersing myself in a local church has provided all the proof I, and they, need. I’m just plain better than you. Somewhere deep inside I believe it’s true and too often I live and act like it’s true. But lately I’ve been considering one simple and disturbing aspect of this sin: I’m better than you.

How a church grows past 200, 400, & and 800.

I’m going to assume leaders are praying and that the church is biblical and authentic in its mission. I’ll also assume that leaders want to church to grow. But even with all those conditions in place, too many churches just can’t push through. And even once you get past 200, some churches can’t make it past 400 or 800.  Again, not for lack of desire or opportunity. So why can’t they grow? They simply haven’t structured for growth.

Mike Leake on Parenting and the sufficiency of Scripture.

My wife and I poured over article upon article. Book upon book. We were met with rules upon rules. Occasional grace but mostly a list of things to do as a parent and things not to do. We learned about how to biblically discipline. How to shepherd our child’s heart. How to bring up a boy. How to talk to him. How to swaddle him. What not to do. What to do. 30 reasons why pacifiers are the devil incarnate. And 55 reasons why they aren’t. Through all of this reading we developed a theology of parenting. And in that theology of parenting were several rules. If we broke these rules we were being bad parents. (For some reason, a couple of years later I found myself back on Amazon searching for books on grace for parents).

Al Mohler on How to read books.

In the course of any given week, I will read several books. I know how much I thrive on this learning and the intellectual stimulation I get from reading. As my wife and family would be first to tell you, I can read almost anytime, anywhere, under almost any kind of conditions. I have a book with me virtually all the time, and have been known to snatch a few moments for reading at stop lights. No, I do not read while driving (though I must admit that it has been a temptation at times). I took books to high school athletic events when I played in the band. (Heap coals of scorn and nerdliness here). I remember the books; do you remember the games?

You are not a Christian just because you like Jesus.

Jesus is even popular with people who aren’t Christians. He garners a lot of respect from the great men and women of other faiths. The fourteenth Dalai Lama, one of the primary leaders of Tibetan Buddhism, called Jesus “an enlightened person” and heralded him as a master teacher. Hindu leader Mahatma Gandhi wrote warmly about Jesus, “The gentle figure of Christ, so patient, so kind, so loving, so full of forgiveness that he taught his followers not to retaliate when abused or struck, but to turn the other cheek, I thought it was a beautiful example of the perfect man.” The renowned scientist Albert Einstein once told The Saturday Evening Post, “I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene [Jesus].… No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.” Even the Qur’an refers to Jesus as a prophet and messenger of God.

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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Tim Kimberley on Should a Christian couple live together before getting married.

You are counseling a couple, who claim to be Christian, that are sleeping together and believe they are “married in their hearts”. They would like to become members of your church. Describe how would you handle this couple, including how you would address the issue of being “married in their hearts?”

Brian Dodd on 8 practices of great churches.

Are you looking to build an enduring church?  Are you looking for a level of ministry  success which can be sustained for a decade?  Are you looking to build something of lasting value?  Of course you do.

7 signs your church is making inroads with unchurched people.

Just because a church is growing doesn’t mean it’s filling up with unchurched people. How do you know you’re really making inroads with the unchurched?

Jon Acuff on Dear Church, 11 signs your burning out your staff.

I love the church and for the part I’ve played in these problems, I apologize. If you work at a church thanks for doing what you do. My kids, my marriage and my town need you.

Marci Preheim on Gospel centered sex.

If a couple consistently applies the implications of the gospel to the marriage bed, they will inevitably have a healthier marriage.

What does it mean to be gospel centered?

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. Tim Challies on When God says to get drunk.
  2. One leader’s system for getting things done.
  3. Sam Rainer on Healthy churches are messy.
  4. How to craft a sunday service to engage those who are not engaged.
  5. Scott Williams on Why so many leaders are like Miley Cyrus.
  6. Reflections on planting 2 churches.

Tuesday Morning Book Review || Sex & Money

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Every Tuesday morning, I review a book that I read recently. If you missed any, you can read past reviews here. This week’s book is Sex & Money: Pleasures that Leave You Empty and Grace that Satisfies (kindle version) by Paul David Tripp.

This is an incredibly important book. I can’t emphasize that enough.

At the beginning, Tripp gives us a picture of where he is going and why this book is needed:

Neither sex nor money can deliver the promises that we think they’re making, and each area is more dangerous than we tend to think. Both function today in the surrounding culture like spiritual solvents eating away at the very fabric of human community. Both have the perverse power to master your heart and in so doing determine the direction of your life. Both give you the buzz that you’re in control  while at the very same time becoming the master that progressively chains you to their control. Both off you an inner sense of well-being while having no capacity whatsoever to satisfy and craving more. Both hold out the possibility of finally being satisfied but instead cause you to envy whoever it is that has more and better than you do. Both sell you the lie that physical pleasure is that pathway to spiritual peace. Both are work of the Creator’s hands but tend to promise you what only the Creator can deliver. Both are beautiful in themselves but have become distorted and dangerous by means of the fall.

If you struggle with sexual sin, being open in your marriage about past hurts, have dealt with sexual abuse or addiction, you should read this book. If you struggle to see the beauty of your body or pleasure or how your sexuality can lead you to worship Jesus, you should read this book. If you struggle with money, debt, buying things you can’t afford, worrying about others approving of you because of your stuff, you should read this book.

Probably, if you are reading this review, you should read this book.

Here’s a video of Paul Tripp explaining why the book is needed:

We are all Treasure Hunters

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Jesus says in Matthew 6:19 – 33 that we are all treasure hunters. We name things as important to us, and we all live to get and experience what we have named as important. We all chase some golden dream. Our choices and actions are purposeful. There are things that we tresasure and things that we don’t. There are things that we become convinced we must have. There are treasures we have acquired and horde, and there are treasures we are yet working to get. And our lives follow the trail of choices, decisions, and actions that have been magnetized by what we hold dear. -Paul David Tripp, Sex and Money: Pleasures That Leave You Empty and Grace That Satisfies

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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. Brad Lomenick on 6 key lessons he learned in his 20′s. Good stuff.
  2. 7 things preachers can learn from Andy Stanley’s sermon to students.
  3. Brian Dodd on 10 ways to show pastors and leaders love.
  4. Brian Howard on 3 ways to be more productive as a pastor.
  5. Loneliness in leadership is a choice.
  6. Tim Challies on How far is too far.

Middle Class Problems

The Ragamuffin Trailer (interested to see this as I love  Rich Mullins music)

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. Melissa Kruger on Is it better for kids to hear about sex in church or at school? Great point of view from this parent.
  2. Rob Bell on Whether we should call God “mother.” Rob Bell has always challenged my thinking, but he keeps getting further and further into bad theology.
  3. Ed Stetzer on What the changing opinion of same sex marriage in our culture means for churches and pastors. This is a dividing issue. It is not a civil rights issue as some would want you to think. Here are some resources I put together on how a Christians should respond to homosexuality through the lens of the gospel, along with 10 gospel truths about homosexuality.
  4. Seth McBee on How kids learn to follow Jesus.
  5. Brian Howard on Why family meals are so important. I couldn’t agree more.
  6. How to know if you have what it takes to be a preacher.

Top Posts of December 2012

In case you missed them in all the rush of the holidays, here are the top 10 posts for the last month of 2012:

  1. Accountability
  2. My 12 Favorite Books of 2012
  3. 15 Ways to Improve Your Marriage
  4. My Top 12 Albums of 2012
  5. Sex Doesn’t Equal Intimacy
  6. Is Love a Choice or a Feeling (And Why it Matters)
  7. What “Be Still” Means
  8. Happy Birthday to my Beautiful Wife
  9. My Journey of Losing Weight
  10. Planning a Preaching Calendar