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Denny Burk on What did Jesus think of homosexuality?

Erik Raymond on Unconditional love.

In one sense this is true, God’s love for his people is not based upon what they do or do not do. But this does not mean that God loves us unconditionally. If God loves anyone he loves them conditionally.

Barnabas Piper on Are millenials less godly than previous generations?

So what is it young people are leaving behind? In many cases they are leaving a faux godliness. Millions of lost people, people hanging their hat on morality or mere attendance, populated the pews of the church in previous generations. They were just a lot harder to pick out than those who brazenly walk out the door, so hard we can’t even be sure how many there were.

Aaron Armstrong on How should we talk about God?

While God is very comfortable attributing feminine characteristics to Himself, when He does so, it is typically in the form of a simile—God’s love and longing for His people is like that of a mother hen’s for her chicks. His anguish over sin is like that of a woman in labor. But when God chooses to reveal Himself, and when He gives us context for our relationship with Him, He does so in the masculine—as Father.

Mike Leake on Missional love.

Love is essential to who God is and it’s out of this love that he sent his Son to die. God’s love (and all true love) is not insular. It’s not looking in and loving oneself. That’s why the two greatest commandments according to Jesus are love God and love neighbor. That’s also why God as trinity is essential orthodoxy. God has been and will always be a God who overflows in his love for others. This originates with his love within the trinity and overflows onto us.

You are not the next anyone!

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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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My latest post on The Blog of Manly: How to set goals and accomplish them.

Since we’re now into January and the luster of New Years Resolutions has begun to wear off, I felt like its time to share some ideas on how to set goals and keep them. Resolutions are just that, goals. They are hopes for the future. In December we look at our lives, the things we don’t like about them and set a goal to change that specific area of our lives.

The title makes it clear someone is really important—and that someone is you. God is Not Mad at You, Reposition Yourself, Your Best Life Now, Become a Better You, It’s Your Time… I’m noticing a trend here. Someone’s a pretty big deal, and apparently that someone is me. I feel so much better now. It’s advice that could easily be confused with the message from a fortune cookie.

Brian Howard on How to free up 8 hours in your week.

11 traits of churches that will impact the future.

To reach a changing culture, the church needs to change. Rapidly. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t need to change the message. Just the method. One is sacred. The other is not. What isn’t as clear is what the future church will look like, and what kind of characteristics will mark those churches. However, I think a few trends are becoming clear. Not all of these might be correct, but I think the following eleven traits describe the kind of churches that will have a significant impact a decade from now.

Ron Edmondson on 7 ways a wife is injuring her husband without even knowing it.

It’s an emotional injury. Sometimes those are the worst kind of hurts. The person doing the injuring: His wife. And she…most likely…doesn’t even know she’s doing it.

What one pastor would like to ask President Obama concerning abortion.

Let your husband love you. Great words for wives and moms.

I get it. The kids have been climbing on you all day. One or both of your boobs have been exposed 87% of the day and you’re sick of being clawed at, sucked on, licked, punched, kicked, pulled, snotted on, cried on, spit up on, pooped on, and peed on. You’ve wiped butts and noses and counters and walls all day. You’ve battled attitudes and arched backs and Dora the Explorer since dawn and you’re tired. So. So. Tired. I know. I really really do.

Taylor Gahm on The Gift of Inadequacy (This has a warning on language but the ideas he shares are really good)

More NFL Lip Reading (so funny)
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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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Mike Leake on People don’t become angels and you shouldn’t want them to.

You won’t be an angel when you die. And thank God for that. Angels aren’t in union with Christ. But real flesh and blood people like you and I are in union with Christ. We’ll enjoy Him forever in a way that an angel cannot.

Ron Edmondson on 7 warning signs a leader is about to crash.

I’ve learned there are some common indicators that a leader is heading towards burnout. The sooner we can recognize them, the sooner we know to reach out for help.

Archie Parrish on Avoiding burnout.

The term burnout was coined by rocket scientists to describe shutting down a jet or rocket engine by exhausting or shutting off its fuel. Dr. Herbert J. Freudenberg, in his 1974 book Burnout: The High Cost of High Achievement, was the first psychologist to use this term. He defined burnout as “the extinction of motivation or incentive, especially where one’s devotion to a cause or relationship fails to produce the desired results.”

Aaron Armstrong on Is church growth all about the pastor?

When it comes to church attendance, nothing matters as much as the ability of the pastor to deliver good sermons. If a pastor is good at his job, the church grows. If he’s bad at his job, the church shrinks. Sounds unspiritual—but it’s true. It shouldn’t be this way—but it is. Each week is a referendum on the pastor’s ability to deliver an inspiring sermon.

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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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Aaron Armstrong on Encourage your pastor, be fruitful.

How do you encourage your pastor? In some ways, the answer seems obvious. We know we should pray for them (and hopefully we do). We know we should thank them. We know we should find ways to help them (all ideas I’ve discussed here). But there’s another way we can do this—simply, by being fruitful.

Marlena Graves on Raising Christians kids in a sex filled culture.

I believe the porn pandemic and other forms of illicit sex are really a result of our failure to love God and our neighbors. Consequently, we cannot merely fixate on “Don’t do this, don’t do that” instruction or on isolating our children. They need to know deep down why we do what we do or don’t do.

Tim Challies on Stopping an affair before it begins.

At one time or another, most of us witnessed the devastation that comes through infidelity in marriage. We have seen marriages stretched almost to the breaking point and we have seen marriages destroyed by an unfaithful husband or unfaithful wife. Affairs do not begin with sex. Falling into bed with a man who is not your husband or a woman who is not your wife is simply one step in a long chain of events, one decision in a long series of poor decisions.

10 Ways to leverage Christmas to reach unchurched people.

So…how are you leveraging Christmas to reach unchurched people? After all, there is really only one time of year left in Western culture when our culture still celebrates something Christians hold dear, and that’s Christmas. What surprising is that many churches don’t really leverage it to make the impact it could.

David Murrow on How to preach to men.

It’s been said that a good sermon is like a good skirt: long enough to cover the essentials, but short enough to keep you interested.

Thom Rainer on 6 pastoral lessons from the coach of a football team that never punts.

The joy, work and beauty of motherhood.

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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Thom Rainer on 7 ways pastoring has changed in the last 30 years.

We are out of clichés about change or the pace of change. Sometimes we forget how much particular vocations have changed in a short time. In fact, in thirty years pastoring has changed in ways we likely would have never predicted or imagined.

Mark Driscoll on 16 daddy Christmas tips. Here are mine.

Tis the season for Dad to drop the holiday ball, stress out as the money is being spent for presents, and miss yet another providential opportunity to lovingly lead his family.

Brian Dodd on The one thing every pastor needs to do to go to the next level.

As a leader it is always important not to project your personal experience onto others.  Their journey is not your journey.  What God is showing you may or may not be what He wants to show another leader.

Brandon Cox on 2 false assumptions to leave behind when you preach.

I realize that we pastors are going way beyond motivational speaking in our sermons. We are sharing the gospel and leading people to the cross. But we are still speakers and communicators nonetheless, and our effectiveness and influence depend on our understanding something about the nature of speaking.

Aaron Armstrong on Book hoarders.

Up until recently, A&E ran a creepy show called Hoarders, showing the struggles of people who can’t part with their stuff and their road to recovery. These are people who are living surrounded by overwhelming amounts of stuff—and often in terrifyingly unhealthy situations.

Mez McConnell on My ministry is harder than yours.

One thing, however, picks away at me as I travel and speak to church planters, pastors, leaders and lay people. It is simply this. The misconception that somehow what we are doing here in the schemes of Scotland is particularly brave or difficult and requires some sort of super human faith and character. Like it is actually hard graft.

Michael Horton on How Can Jesus Be the Only Way?

 

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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Josh Watt on The technology question every parent must answer.

A lot of parents are hesitant to be proactive in their children’s life of technology, because they just can’t keep up with the speed at which it’s changing. Other parents are hesitant, because they haven’t seen good parenting modeled in this area. The other reality is parents are on the front end of parenting the digital generation and frankly we are all learning as we go. Yet there is another hindrance to parents being proactive in their children’s online lives, and it is this inner struggle we all have to varying degrees: “Don’t my kids have the right to some privacy?”

What you need to know as a pastor about the new ruling from the Wisconsin judge concerning housing allowance.

The clergy housing allowance isn’t a government establishment of religion, but just the reverse. The allowance is neutral to all religions. Without it, clergy in small congregations of all sorts would be penalized and harmed.

Andrew Walker on Jesus and the same-sex marriage debate.

If Christians are to support same-sex marriage, they should do so by way of intellectual honesty and acknowledge their abandonment of biblical authority, for there is no reasonable way to deduce from Scripture an exegetical case for same-sex marriage.

Mike Niebauer on Is it actually harder to be a pastor than doing another job?

As a pastor who often hears other ministers teach and preach, I am disturbed by the number of times pastors allude to their jobs as being particularly difficult. Yes, we face many challenges—ministry may involve times of high emotional and spiritual duress—but I don’t think these difficulties merit special recognition with regard to other vocations. After all, being a pastor involves almost no manual labor, which makes it physically easier than most other occupations in history. It doesn’t require a 60- to 80-hour work week, unless you somehow equate longer working hours with more of the Holy Spirit’s presence. And although the emotional and spiritual challenges faced are difficult, teachers and social workers—to take just two examples—face similar or greater obstacles.

Aaron Armstrong on She’s done the impossible.

This weekend, Mark Driscoll broke the Internet in half. Again.

Ron Edmondson on 5 ways for an introvert to survive the holidays.

It’s the holiday season again. I love the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I really do. But, for us introverts, it can also be a very difficult season. We are far more likely to be placed in awkward, uncomfortable situations.

Tim Challies on 10 steps to preach from an iPad.

There are many ways to go about it, but I will tell you about the system I have been using for the past year or so. I have found that it works very well. You need only two programs to do this: Pages and GoodReader (or Word and GoodReader if you use a PC). While I continue to use a full-size iPad, this system will work just as well with the Mini.

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. Aaron Armstrong on Are buildings a hinderance or a help to churches? I think the last question of, “do we need a building” is a question more churches should ask.
  2. Brian Dodd on 13 Habits Of Highly Friendly Churches.
  3. Rosaria Champagne Butterfield on DOMA and the Rock.
  4. Paul Alexander on the dark side of vision.
  5. Dan Black on Should church leaders adopt best practice business and leadership principles.
  6. 3 things dying churches can do to avoid going out of business.

The Biggest Mistakes Young Preachers Make

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. Luke Simmons on Quality always leads to growth in a church.
  2. 10 habits of highly successful leaders.
  3. Aaron Armstrong on 2 ways to encourage dad’s on father’s day.
  4. Characteristics of leaders who last.

Top 15 Christian Cliches

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. One report about educators bringing porn into schools. This is simply astounding the adults would suggest showing porn to kids in school could be a good thing.
  2. What makes a good church member. Helpful list.
  3. Kevin DeYoung on Preparing college students for graduation.
  4. 7 Honest Church postcards. Good for a laugh.
  5. Ed Stetzer on 3 church planting mistakes to not make. Definitely things we look for in potential planters with Revolution.