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

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.

book

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.

Tuesday Morning Book Review || The Conviction to Lead

bookI’ve never read a book by Al Mohler, but after reading his latest book The Conviction to Lead (kindle version), I was certainly impressed.

I loved the angle this book took in comparison with other leadership books. This book was less about what a leader does and more about who a leader is.

Mohler said,

The problem is a lack of attention to what leaders believe and why this is central. If our leaders are not passionately driven by the right beliefs, we are headed for disaster. At the same time, if believers cannot lead, we are headed nowhere.

So, what is a conviction? According to Mohler it is…

Convictions are not merely beliefs we hold; they are those beliefs that hold us in their grip. The leadership that really matters is all about conviction. The leader is rightly concerned with everything from strategy and vision to team-building, motivation, and delegation, but at the center of the true leader’s heart and mind you will find convictions that drive and determine everything else. You can divide all leaders into those who merely hold an office or position and those who hold great convictions. Life is too short to give much attention to leaders who stand for little or nothing, leaders who are looking for the next program or riding the latest leadership fad, trying on idea after idea but driven by no deep convictions. Convictional leaders propel action precisely because they are driven by deep convictions, and their passion for these convictions is transferred to followers who join in concerted action to do what they know to be right. And they know what is right because they know what is true. Without conviction, nothing really matters, and nothing of significance is passed on.

Here are a few things that jumped out to me in my reading:

  • Leaders want to lead organizations and movements that make a difference—that fill a need and solve real problems. That story frames the mission and identity of the organization, and explains why you give your life to it. The excellent leader is the steward-in-chief of that story, and the leader’s chief responsibilities flow from this stewardship. Leadership comes down to protecting the story, bringing others into the story, and keeping the organization accountable to the story. The leader tells the story over and over again, refining it, updating it, and driving it home.
  • Real leadership doesn’t happen until worldviews are changed and realigned.
  • The great aim of leadership is to lead followers continually into a deeper and more comprehensive love for what is most real, most true, most right, and most important.
  • The most faithful and effective pastors are those who are driven by deep and energizing convictions. Their preaching and teaching are fueled by their passionate beliefs and sense of calling. With eternity hanging in the balance, they know what to do. They see every neighborhood as a mission field and every individual as someone who needs to hear the gospel. They cannot wait until Sunday comes and they can enter the pulpit again, ready to set those convictions loose.
  • When the mission is ambiguous and the beliefs of the organization are nebulous, passion dissipates quickly.
  • Every great leader is a great teacher, and the greatest leaders seize every opportunity to teach well.
  • Ideas do drive the world, and beliefs determine actions.
  • If you don’t have a message, don’t try to lead. If you do have a message, your task is to communicate it effectively.
  • The goal of communication is not to impress but to convey meaning and purpose.
  • Leadership requires a constant flow of intelligence, ideas, and information. There is no way to gain the basics of leadership without reading.
  • Leaders get things done. Faithful leaders get the right things done in the right way.
  • The essence of leadership is motivating and influencing followers to get the right things done—putting conviction into corporate action.
  • Any leader unwilling to force change is destined for ineffectiveness.
  • If the leader’s main task is to lead by conviction, then the convictions must be more central and prominent than the leader’s personality.
  • Leaders are the stewards of vision, conviction, beliefs, and strategic decisions.
  • Effective leaders give intensive personal attention to the budget because that’s where the real convictions of the organization show up.
  • Speech is the currency of great leadership.
  • That is a central principle of leadership. When leaders speak, we speak for the movement, the organization, the company, the congregation, or the institution we lead.
  • We have turned to a God that we can use rather than a God we must obey; we have turned to a God who will fulfill our needs rather than to a God before whom we must surrender our rights to ourselves. He is a God for us and for our satisfaction, and we have come to assume that it must be so in the church as well. And so we transform the God of mercy into a God who is at our mercy. We imagine that he is benign, that he will acquiesce as we toy with his reality and co-opt him in the promotion of our ventures and careers.
  • Before making a decision, the leader’s preliminary task is to determine if a decision actually has to be made.
  • Leaders take words seriously because we live and die by them.

All in all, this is a leadership book worth reading.

Monday Morning Mind Dump…

  • What a day yesterday at Revolution
  • The first week of Meaning was incredible
  • So many guests yesterday
  • I had a couple of friends come yesterday that God is definitely working on
  • Love seeing the gears move in people’s heads and hearts as the gospel takes root
  • We had our highest non-holiday attendance yesterday for the past year
  • Crazy how God is working in the lives of people
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here
  • We’re having a baptism next week and I’m blown away by the stories of redemption that we’ll hear as people take the next step of publicly declaring their faith
  • Yesterday we kicked off sign-ups for our new spring missional communities that are launching at the end of month
  • Stunned by how they continue to grow and how God continues to use them
  • Can’t believe we will have 10 of them
  • Jared shared about his MC yesterday and how they were able to work with office depot to give over 1400 dry erase markers to Magee middle school
  • Office depot dropped over $1,000 off the price
  • Can’t wait to hear how the teachers react
  • We have another home study today for our Ethiopian adoption
  • It’s been almost 3 years that we’ve been in this process
  • Definitely teaching me endurance as we wait
  • Always makes me wonder why it has to take so long
  • Started a great leadership book yesterday
  • Read great reviews about it, so I’m excited about the angle
  • It is about why what the leader believes is the most important part of the leader
  • Definitely a different take on leadership
  • Next week at Revolution I’m teaching on a topic I’ve never preached on: handling boredom in our lives
  • Everyone is bored, we all wish we had someone else’s life, so we’ll see what the gospel has to say about that
  • Should be fun

[Image Credit]

Links to Help You Get to Friday

  1. 12 words of encouragement for pastors. Great list. 
  2. Al Mohler on The goal of sex within marriage and how porn robs that. Love the idea that sex within marriage is the fulfillment of the rest of the marriage relationship. 
  3. How fear robs us. Great insights into what fear does in our lives. 
  4. Pete Wilson on How worry is killing us
  5. Mike Breen on Why the leadership movement is leaving your church leaderless
  6. 12 things a veteran church planter wished that he knew when he started. Great list for pastors and church planters. 
  7. The 5 mistakes CEO’s (and pastors) make when speaking
  8. To end with a great movie coming out:

Links to Jumpstart Your (Short) Week With

  1. Summer family activity book from The Village Church. This is definitely worth downloading if you have a family. 
  2. We are kicking off a brand new series this Saturday at Revolution Church called So You’re Dead…Now What? We’ll be exploring heaven, hell and the afterlife. 
  3. Tony Morgan on the book Replenish.
  4. If you want to go to the next level in any area of your life, get a mentor. Here’s how to catch a mentor.
  5. Why you should read Christian biographies
  6. If you have a child in Planet Rev, here is what they learned on Saturday night. If you aren’t following the Planet Rev blog, you need to do so. 
  7. Scott Cochrane on 3 indicators you are developing the wrong person as a leader. 
  8. The seduction of Pornography and Integrity of Christian Marriage
  9. Jonathan Dodson on What to say when someone says “the bible has errors.”

Links for Your Weekend Reading

  1. CNN on The demise of guys: How video games & porn are ruining a generation. Also, check out the author giving a talk at TED on the topic here. This reality is one of the reasons Revolution Church exists. 
  2. Here is a new song Paul is teaching this weekend at Revolution Church
  3. Evangelize, don’t indoctrinate your kids. Great word for parents. 
  4. Al Mohler on The Bible condemns a lot, but here’s why we focus on homosexuality
  5. 7 tips on communicating well
  6. Jared Wilson on What Jesus does with sin

Links I Like

  1. The deep limitations of digital church
  2. J.D. Greear on Homosexuality and the gospel part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4
  3. Are Mormons Christians?
  4. Justin Buzzard on That idol that you love, it doesn’t love you back.
  5. A biblical view of success.
  6. Ryan Huguley on 7 ways to prepare for worship
  7. 3 reasons you need to attend the Planet Rev parent meeting tonight if you are a parent at Revolution Church
  8. Scott Thomas on The pastor’s wife is simply a wife

Links of the Week

  1. Leaders you need to be following on twitter. If you are leader, you should be following the people on this list.
  2. Developing as a preacher. If you want to become a better communicator, read this.
  3. Rediscovering the old fashioned shave. I have to admit, I’m intrigued by this.
  4. Thom Rainer on The lifecycle of a pastor. Helpful stuff for pastors and churches and why some are effective and others aren’t.
  5. Are you in better shape than the average man?
  6. Craig Groeschel on How a pastor trains his church. This is solid stuff.
  7. 23 reasons for rapid church growth.
  8. Reading is one of the things that sets great leaders apart.
  9. Michael Hyatt on 10 mistakes leaders should avoid at all costs.
  10. What we organizations can learn from the leadership of Steve Jobs.
  11. Kevin Eikenberry on 10 great morning habits.
  12. If you are a parent, you need to read this.
  13. Al Mohler on Abortion is as American as apple pie. This is pretty eye opening.
  14. What we can learn from Newt Gingrich’s marriages.
  15. Russell Moore on The gospel in an abortion culture.