Links for Your Weekend Reading

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8 things remarkable people do everyday.

What is it that separates people who are highly effective in work (and life) from those who are less so?  Often it’s a few very specific (and learnable!) things. Acquire these eight simple habits and you won’t just get more done, you might actually change your life.

Ron Edmondson on 7 ways my introversion works for me as a senior leader.

It’s easy to concentrate on the big picture. You’ll seldom find me chit-chatting. It’s not that I don’t have casual conversations — I certainly do when I’m connecting with people — but communication for me is usually very purposeful. As a result, I tend to be able to be very big picture oriented. Very strategic in my thinking. I step back and observe everything often. I’m a deep thinker. Those are traits especially strong with most introverts. That has proven to be very profitable for my leadership and the teams I lead.

Tony Morgan on The day we visited a dying church.

The churches who make the transition successfully from dying to life share some common traits: They value reaching people outside the faith, They value a clearly defined pathway for spiritual formation, They value strong, healthy leadership, They value a bold, clear vision for the future, They value simple systems and structures.

5 signs you can’t handle more as a leader.

Most of us leader types are rarely satisfied with the status quo. But are you ready for more? Could you handle it if it came your way? When I think back to when I was a young leader, I know there were more than a few seasons when I wasn’t ready for more, even when more came my way.

Jared Wilson on Success is dangerous.

When we find ourselves in difficult ministries, where the word seems out of season and the soil inordinately hard, despite our sincere and faithful efforts to share the gospel in contextualized ways and love and serve our neighbors with gladness and kindness, many of us battle discouragement, but we at least theologically understand that sometimes God gives and sometimes he takes away.

Dads, date your daughter’s boyfriend.

Part of the problem is trying to understand a father’s role in his daughter’s pursuit of marriage. In today’s ideal scenario, she brings home a guy the whole family can love, and the rest is matrimony. But as good as ideal sounds, it’s hard to find that picture in the Bible, and ultimately it’s far too simple for most not-yet-married realities anyways.

9 fascinating facts about people who attend megachurches.

New people almost always come to the megachurch because family, friends or coworkers invited them. Fifty-five percent of megachurch attenders volunteer at the church in some way (a higher percentage than in smaller churches). What first attracted attenders were the worship style, the senior pastor and the church’s reputation, in that order.

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The Best Books I Read in 2013

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It’s that time of year again, time to share my top lists of the year. Monday, I shared the top sermon downloads from Revolution Church. Tuesday I shared the books that almost made my “best of the year” list. And yesterday I shared the albums that almost made my “best of the year” list.

To see my list of favorite books from past year, simply click on the numbers: 200920102011 and 2012.

To make this list, it does not have to be published in 2013, I only needed to read it in 2013. As always, this list was hard to narrow down, but here are the top 13 books of 2013. Buckle up book worms:

13. How to Deliver a TED Talk | Jeremy Donavan

If you speak for a living or are a pastor, this is a must read book. Donavan takes the best and worst of TED Talks and breaks them down into do’s and don’ts for speakers. You can read my review here.

12. Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret: Why Serial Innovators Succeed Where Others Fail | Larry Osborne

I love Larry Osborne’s stuff. It is so simple and straightforward. In this book, he looks at why some churches and organizations works and others don’t. His chapter on mission statements is worth the price of this book. You can read my review here.

11. Eat Move Sleep: Why Small Choices Make a Big Difference | Tom Rath

Health books are everywhere. Good health books are hard to find. This is one of the great ones. Two things stood out in this book: One, every choice we make matters. They all impact every part of our life. Two, Tom Rath looks at how to eat, move and sleep so that those choices make the most positive impact in our lives. You can read my review here.

10. Sex & Money: Pleasures that Leave You Empty and Grace that Satisfies | Paul David Tripp

There are some authors you should read everything they write. Tim Keller is one of them and Paul David Tripp is another one. No matter the book, you should read their stuff. Tripp takes the two biggest temptations and sins in our culture and shows how they leave us empty. Definitely a convicting book. You can read my review here.

9. Boundaries for Leaders: Results, Relationships, and Being Ridiculously in Charge | Henry Cloud

The primary message of this book for leaders is you get what you create and what you allow. You can read my review here.

8. Chasing Francis | Ian Cron 

I read this book one Saturday night, one of those hard, dark Saturday nights many pastors have. I could not put this book down as it resonated with me on so many deep levels. So, when you have that dark night, this is a book to read. Here’s my review of it.

7. The Pastor’s Justification: Applying the work of Christ in Your Life & Ministry | Jared Wilson

This book is very similar to Paul David Tripp’s book Dangerous CallingA challenge to pastors to apply the gospel they preach to their own lives and hearts. A great book for doing the deep dive for a pastor and confronting their idols. It also helps that Wilson is hilarious in this book. You can read my review here.

6. Discipleshift: Five Steps that Help Your Church to Make Disciples who Make Disciples | Jim Putnam, Bobby Harrington, & Robert Coleman

The effects of this book will be felt at Revolution for years to come. As we’ve moved more and more towards a missional community model, this book has helped us hone our system of making disciples. This graph has been huge for us. You can read my review here.

5. Give them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus | Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson 

If you are a parent or will be a parent, this is the one parenting book you have to read. It shows you how to parent to your child’s heart, which is the only way to change a child and see them become who God created them to become. You can read my review here.

4. Leadership as an Identity: The Four Traits of Those Who Wield Lasting Influence | Crawford Loritts

What set this book apart was that it had very little “here’s what a leader does” advice. This book is all about what influences and shapes a leader. Ultimately, what shapes a leader will eventually come out in their actions. You can read my review here.

3. A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World | Paul Miller

This is the book on prayer.  So good. I love the idea of prayer cards and have since created them on Evernote to use. You can read my review here.

2. In Search of Deep Faith: A Pilgrimage into the Beauty, Goodness, and Heart of Christianity | Jim Belcher

This book almost made the jump to #1, it was close. This book is part parenting book, part history, part travel, and faith. It shows the roots of Christianity and how to bring those into your family. One thing Katie and I want is for our kids to know the history of Christianity and that it is not a faith that just appeared in the last 100 years. You can read my review here.

1. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action | Simon Sinek

I love leadership books, so it makes sense that one of them is #1. A leadership book was #1 last year too. This book was insanely good. If you are a leader, this is the one book you have to read in 2014. So good. You can read my review here.

Tomorrow you’ll get my last list of the week: the top 13 albums of the 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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  1. How to become as interesting as Malcolm Gladwell.
  2. Tim Challies on The art and science of the humblebrag.
  3. Rodney Stark’s Myth Busting.
  4. Mark Regnerus on A mom and dad really do matter.
  5. How to know if you are Christian celebrity wannabe.
  6. Joe Thorn on What small churches can do.
  7. How to become an optimist.
  8. Barnabas Piper on God’s justice in the tragic death of a child.

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 Elmore on 3 huge mistakes we make leading kids and how to correct them. Parents, teachers, kids pastors and student pastors need to read this. So helpful.
  2. Bringing clarity to organizational language.
  3. Jared Wilson on How your preaching might increase sin in your church.
  4. When everyone else has a better sunday than you. Every pastor feels this at some point, and this is good encouragement.
  5. Ron Edmondson on How to stop being a people pleasing pastor.
  6. 9 observations on the lonely pastor. Every pastor and church member needs to read this.
  7. David Dunham on Superman pastors are bound to fail.
  8. How to design message series for the unchurched.

Tuesday Morning Book Review || The Pastor’s Justification

bookEvery 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 The Pastor’s Justification: Applying the work of Christ in Your Life & Ministry (kindle version) by Jared Wilson.

In the midst of reading a lot of leadership and preaching books this summer, this was a good break for me and a good one to work on my own heart as a pastor.

Jared walks through 1 Peter 5 and the passage written to elders and what it means to shepherd and lead your people. He does this really well in the first part of the book. The second part is where it drifts a little bit and moves into the 5 pillars of the Reformation. Now, the second part was just as helpful as the first part, but I found the first part to be more worthwhile to where I am personally right now and the idols that I tend to float to as a pastor.

Here are a few things that jumped out:

  • Very few people lose sleep over “the way church is going.” But the pastor does.
  • The laity starts Monday fresh, fill. The pastor starts Monday exhausted, empty.
  • It is devilishly easy for pastors to believe their own hype.
  • The primary problem in pastoral ministry, brother pastor, is not them. It’s you. You are your biggest problem.
  • Pastor, the people you currently have in your congregation are those whom God in his wisdom has dispensed to you. They might not be the people you’d handpick if you had your druthers, but be measured by the fact that God handpicked you to be a citizen in his kingdom.
  • Pastor, do not let your vision for the church you want get in the way of God’s vision for the church you actually have.
  • How we see God on Monday morning will affect whether we oversee his church willingly or under compulsion.
  • The minute I begin seeing God’s people as problems to be solved (or avoided) is the minute I’ve denied the heart of Christ.
  • Pastor, your platform is not your grounds for pastoral legitimacy. It’s the other way around. And you might be able to folio your readers or wider audience, but you won’t be able to fool your local church for long. And you will never be able to fool God. There will be a reckoning for “hired hands” who don’t feed his sheep.
  • Pastor, whatever you are, your church will eventually become.
  • Preaching is pastoring, pastoring isn’t preaching.
  • Lots of people can preach the gospel better than you; but nobody can preach a better gospel than you if yours is the true one.
  • A message of grace may attract people, but a culture of grace will keep them.
  • Our churches want their pastors to be like one of them, except when difficulty hits, and then they want them to be Obi Wan Kenobi.
  • God does not grant trouble without granting strength.
  • Rebuking heresy sounds so intolerant. And this is because it is.
  • Many local churches have ceased fishing for men and instead become keepers of the fish tank.
  • Putting scriptures in your sermon is not the same thing as preaching the scriptures.
  • Preaching and sharing the gospel is sometimes like tossing a ping-pong ball to a statue.
  • We are not charged with creating fruitfulness but preaching the word.
  • When a church is faithful to preach the gospel and demonstrate the gospel’s implications, it will usually find that it attracts and is attracted to the kind of people Jesus attracted and was attracted to.
  • The pastor’s commitment in the pulpit until the day he dies, then, out to be the theme of Christ’s redeeming love.
  • What you win them with is what you win them to.
  • We have to stop doing flashy things. Flashy things tend to burn out quickly.
  • Lots of pastor’s are kingdom minded until a new church plant starts near them.

If you are a pastor, this is a book worth reading this summer. Some good conviction and direction in it.

The Cross is Not about You

In many churches, not only is sin never mentioned – because it hurts people’s feelings or what have you – the cross is rarely mentioned. And when the cross is mentioned, because we don’t want to talk about sin, it becomes the great affirmation of our specialness rather than the great punishment for our unholiness. The cross becomes not the intersection of God’s justice and mercy but the symbol of God’s positive feelings about our undeniable lovability. -Jared Wilson, The Pastor’s Justification

The Things Pastors Know and See

The pastor can be the loneliest soul in the congregation, wandering out in the point man position, scoping the land for danger all by himself, yet always feeling the tug of those needing his attention on the back of his coat. The pastor is a multitasker not just of duties but of personalities and problems. Many Christians are focused on their own journey; the biblical pastor is too, but he’s also focused on yours. And his and hers and the next guy’s. In one day he might hold a dying woman’s hand, grive in the office with a couple on the verge of divorce, celebrate 100 days of sobriety with someone, and then go home and laugh with his wife and kids at a Munsters rerun. The pastor is ministerially multipolar.

The vantage point of pastoral ministry is a heavy and secret thing. Good pastors aren’t always spilling everybody else’s guts, so one hour he may be rushing out on a benevolence call on his day off, and the next hour hear from another the accusation that he is selfish.

True story.

The accuser knows nothing of the benevolence call, and the good pastor does not feel compelled to defend himself using it as evidence. He has his own perspective and trusts God will vindicate him in due time when all things are revealed. The recipient of the benevolence has his perspective too. And the next day he may be asking, “But what have you done for me lately?”

Sister serious is concerned about the way Sister Broken lets her son squirm during the worship service without disciplining him. But the pastor knows that Sister Broken is recovering from an abusive ex and is growing in Christ, and that to clamp down on her about her squirmy son at this point would risk further bruising a heart in need of healing. -John Newton (Found in The Pastor’s Justification)

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. 6 types of people in your missional community.
  2. Jon Bloom on 7 things to pray for your kids.
  3. Perfectly timed roller coaster pictures. If you need a good laugh, this is it.
  4. Jared Wilson on Cultivating a culture of graciousness in your church. Culture is what matters and decides things in a church. This is a great quality to pursue in your culture.
  5. 5 ways to find joy in a job you don’t love.
  6. Penn Jillette defends the Pope to Piers Morgan. Then read what Trevin Wax had to say on it.

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 for Your Weekend Reading

  1. Jared Carter on 9 reasons my family is excited about Revolution Church moving to Sunday mornings.
  2. What the gospel demands of parents.
  3. Jared Wilson on Monday’s for pastors. If you aren’t a pastor, be sure to pray for your pastor on Monday’s.
  4. Paul Tripp on Don’t settle for mediocre preaching.
  5. Ray Ortlund on You and your pastor. Great post.