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 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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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

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.

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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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Monday Morning Mind Dump…

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  • Yesterday was off the charts at Revolution
  • This series on manhood has simply been one of my favorite series, although Beautiful was a close second
  • Yesterday I preached on the battle we fight against sin, temptation, negative emotions and addictions
  • I’m blown away by the example that Samson is for us of what not to do
  • Loved all the conversations I had afterward as people continued to wrestle with things
  • I think for many people, the pain of being chained to something is so great, they just feel like they can’t move forward
  • Always shake my head at the guy who tells me porn isn’t a temptation
  • Let’s say that’s possible
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here
  • I also have a long list of books, websites and other helpful things here to help you fight temptation and sin in your life
  • Not overly sad that the Olympics are ending
  • We barely watched any of them
  • I’m a bigger fan of the summer ones
  • It also means we are canceling our cable until the NFL rolls around again
  • For the first time since starting Crossfit, I’m taking a week off from lifting this week
  • It will be interesting to see how my heart and emotions deal with it, but I think it will also be good for my body
  • I have my next coaching appointment this week with Brian Howard
  • I’m already seeing the payoff to this
  • Pastors, if you don’t have a coach, you should get one
  • Started a book over the weekend that you should read if you are a pastor
  • It’s called People Pleasing Pastors
  • Good heart work for pastors
  • I can’t remember if I said this last week, but I’m going to Indonesia for 8 days this summer
  • Really excited about how that will change my viewpoint
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Breaking the Chains of Addiction

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I spoke on addiction today at Revolution Church. If you missed it, you can listen to it here.

As a way to help men and women stuck in what seems a losing battle against addiction, temptation, negative emotions and be able to move forward by choosing the hard right over the easy wrong, here is a list of resources we put together to help.

My good friend Brian Howard also has a blog about 4 ways to protect your house from porn, which I would highly recommend if that is a struggle for you or your kids.

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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

Michael Hyatt on If you want to be more productive, get more sleep.

Brandon Cox on You can have growth or control, but you can’t have both.

Our gut reaction to rapid growth is to immediately try to control it. We need more systems. We need more machinery. We need to stabilize the institution. I know… let’s form some committees…

Rick Warren on How to handle growing pains in church.

There is no growth without change. And there is no change without loss. And there is no loss without pain. A church that wants to grow without going through growing pains is like a woman who says, “I want to have a baby but I don’t want to go through labor.” Is the pain worth it? Yes, it’s worth it. People need the Lord and as long as one person doesn’t know Christ we have to keep reaching out. As your church begins to grow you’re going to face a lot of different criticisms. But there are three really common ones to prepare for starting with these three.

Ronnie Martin on Pastor, stop lying.

Here’s my concern: are we being honest enough with others to let them bear our burdens? Or does outward silence indicate inward boasting? When burden-bearing only goes one way, it ceases to be burden-sharing. Inevitably, we will fail to carry this weight on our own. I believe my friend succumbed to this temptation. But I didn’t realize it happened to me, too.

Daniel Darling on What Pastors Owe Their People.

As Dan points out, pastors owe it to their congregants to preach the whole counsel of God—including the tough passages.

Join Mike Leake & Tim Challies for 31 days of purity.

The 31 Day Purity Challenge will be similar to the other prayer challenges. I’ve written about half of them and Tim has written the other half. We will also have a few guest posts (from some people that you might know). Each day we’ll have a scripture passage, a short devotional, and then a prayer. Tim and I will post them on our respective sites and they’ll also be posted to our Facebook group.

This group, though, is different than the others. We are encouraging you to commit to 31 days of detox as well. This challenge will actually benefit you more if you can find a group of guys at your church to do this together. But we also have the Facebook group to assist in this. As we are praying we are also committing to aggressively pursuing purity in our lives.

Ray Ortlund on Faithful pastor, you’re not crazy.

A text message came in from a pastor friend.  I’ve known him for decades.  He is the kind of man for whom the adjective “saintly” was invented.  He pastored a thriving church for many years.  Then someone on staff stabbed him in the back and rallied others to get him thrown out.  The objections to his ministry had no substance.  “The issues” were not the real issues.  As Moishe Rosen, founder of Jews for Jesus, said to me once, “Some try to pull down a prominent man, not because they themselves wish to take his place, but because doing so gives them a feeling of power.” My friend had met with someone from his former church, wishing to reconcile.  But the person blew him off.  All that the meeting accomplished was to re-open an old wound. So here is what I want to say to my friend: You’re not crazy.  This has been happening to God’s men since Cain and Abel.  It is one way you identify with Jesus himself.

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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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Tim Challies on 6 deadly enemies of marriage.

Marriage is under attack. Marriage has always been under attack. The world, the flesh and the devil are all adamantly opposed to marriage, and especially to marriages that are distinctly Christian. Marriage, after all, is given by God to strengthen his people and to glorify himself; little wonder, then, that it is constantly a great battleground.

Thom Rainer on 11 things I learned from pastor’s wives.

The number one challenge for pastors’ wives is loneliness. That issue arose again and again. Many of these ladies have no true confidants. Some have scars from bad relationships. More than a few have experienced depression. Some still are.

Ann Voskamp on The cure for burnout.

The only way to lead a symphony is to turn your back to the crowd, the critics, the court.

Busy all the time: over-scheduled kids and the freedom of the gospel.

As a suburban youth pastor in a context where nearly all of my students attend college, I witness every day the madness and fallout from the frenetic, overloaded schedules of these children. Parents feel helpless and trapped in this lifestyle, while kids are flat-out exhausted and overwhelmed. Three terms capture the tone of statements I hear from parents when they lament over the busyness of their family: robbery, obligation, and inadequacy.

Kevin DeYoung on Yes, we are judgmental, but not in the way you think.

Evangelical Christians are often told not to judge. If there is one verse non-Christians know (after, perhaps, some reference to the “least of these”) is that’s Jesus taught people, “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matt. 7:1). Of course, what the casual Christian critic misses is that Jesus was not calling for a moratorium on moral discernment or spiritual evaluation. After all, he assumes five verses later that his followers will have the wherewithal to tell what sort of people in the world are dogs and pigs (Matt. 7:6). Believing in the sinfulness of sin, the exclusivity of Christ, and moral absolutes does not make one judgmental. Just look at Jesus.

Jim Gaffigan on Parenting 4 kids

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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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Denny Burk on Beware of self-appointed pastors.

The pastoral office is reserved for those who are gifted for the ministry and who meet a defined set of character qualifications (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). The men who meet these qualifications are not self-appointed. The church is to recognize and set these men apart for the ministry (1 Tim. 4:14). The issue is not whether one recognizes his own giftedness and qualification. The issue is whether the people of God recognize it as well.

Tim Challies on Don’t pray in circles. (Katie and I appreciated Batterson’s book for the way it challenged our prayer lives, but Tim is spot on with this.)

Jesus’ disciples asked Jesus as simply and clearly as they could: “Teach us to pray.” When Jesus taught his disciples, he said nothing about prayer circles; if anything, he said the opposite when he told them to pray privately and in a quiet place. When Paul wrote to the people he loved, he often told them how and what he was praying on their behalf, and he said nothing about prayer circles. Praying in circles is absent in any and every form.

Matt Chandler on Being engaged in the battle over abortion.

When I begin to have conversations with some of my aunts and uncles and how they wish they would have marched with King but they were just indifferent, they just thought it would work itself out. How they wish they could get back into time and fight the noble fight. Instead, they were quiet… I think [abortion] is going to be one of those issues for us. Science is already pushing the ball forward rapidly. In 1973, when Roe v. Wade occurred, there was no sonogram. We can see our babies in the womb now. There are studies now showing the baby is dreaming in the womb. Science will eventually, I believe, turn over Roe v. Wade. It will only be a matter of time.

Shane Blackshear on 5 ways to be unsatisfied with your church.

“There is no perfect church, and if you find one, don’t join it because you’ll ruin it.” I don’t know who first said that, but it’s true. All churches are strong in some areas and weak in others. Hopefully churches are always working on those weaknesses, but if we can’t settle for anything less than perfection, then we’re in real trouble.

Brian Howard on The power of positive leadership.

Have you ever given thought to how much positive vs. corrective feedback you give to your family or team? Perhaps if we focused more on teaching and encouragement rather than criticism we would see completely different results than we are used to seeing.

Carlos Whittaker on Megachurch myths.
Myth: Mega-Churches should spend their money rescuing orphans with all their dollars instead of building fancy buildings. Truth: They should rescue orphans. They should also rescue Bob the 38 year old banker who lives off of Tower Place Drive in Buckhead.
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