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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6 ways to stay off the emotional roller coaster of ministry.

Ministry is an emotional roller coaster. Much of leadership is for that matter. One day you’re on top of the world,. The next day you want to bury yourself in a deep cave. You probably think only the way to get off the emotional roller coaster of ministry is to quit. To leave it for a more normal life. It’s not. In fact, I don’t recommend it.

Thom Rainer on 10 fears of church leaders.

Leading a church means the leader will have critics. Sometimes the criticisms become so frequent that it seems easier not to lead. For pastors and other church leaders, the steady inflow of negative comments becomes emotionally, spiritually, and physically draining.

Joshua Shaw on 7 ways to engage men in church.

One would think that with the rise of church planting and prolific pastors and authors advocating for a type of “strong man” Christianity, we would see a difference in the membership of young fast-growing churches. But from mine and many others’ experiences, this trend of a manless Christianity has not only continued, but gotten worse. We have done everything we can to open the doors for their acceptance and involvement, but when push comes to shove, the idea of staying at home watching ESPN, designing a logo for a new company, finishing a work project, or merely sleeping in, becomes top priority.

Eric Geiger on Your leadership shelf life.

Leadership is always a temporary assignment—always. It is a temporary assignment because leaders do not ultimately own the teams, ministries, or organizations that they lead. They simply steward what the Lord has entrusted to their care for a season. Wise leaders embrace the temporal reality of leading, and they prepare the ministry for the future. Because the assignment is fleeting, developing others for leadership is an essential responsibility of a leader.

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Not a Man

Saw this on Sportscenter last night and since I just preached on a what a man is, here is a great example of what a man isn’t.

Here is why that isn’t what  man is (and it has nothing to do with his hat). A man stands up and protects a woman. End of story. Any man worth his salt will always as their first reaction protect the woman they are with. Even if that means getting hit in the head with a baseball.

Marriage, Cheating, Football & Steve McNair

I’ve been watching with the interest since last Saturday about the death of Steve McNair. One of the best quarterbacks of our time, killed in a murder-suicide (according to ESPN).

What this shows, once again is how easy it is to cheat, but also how dangerous it is.

I think in our culture, we’ve become used to the idea of cheating and we have a nice word for it, affair. But as Mark Driscoll says, “Affairs are what you get dressed up for, affairs are the prom. Cheating is adultery.” We need to use the right words so we understand the damage they inflict. Affair/adultery/cheating, however you want to slice it, it will inflict sometimes, irreconcilable pain. Even Skip Bayless at ESPN understands this when he tweeted, “McNair findings prove once again that affairs can be extremely dangerous. The danger makes them more exciting. But it can be lethal.”

I think most people would agree that cheating whether in a marriage or dating is wrong. But how does it happen? What is considered cheating?

It happens because on some level, there is a need that is not being met. It might be a need that you are aware of and have even talked with your significant other about, or it might be a need you have not realized. When that need is not being met, you will instinctively go looking for someone to fill that need. When that happens, cheating becomes easier.

There is a great book His Needs, Her Needs that lays out the basic needs for men and women. When these needs are not met, according to the authors, your love bank is not filled, it makes withdrawals. When your love bank is empty, you look to fill it.

For men, the needs are: sexual fulfillment (this is different from just sex), recreational companion, an attractive spouse, domestic support, and admiration/respect.

For women, the needs are: affection, conversation, honesty and openness, safety and security, and family support.

What often happens in our culture is we only see the womens needs as the necessary ones. “Of course he wants sex” people will say. Or, “how degrading, an attractive spouse.”

Think about it like this, if your husband talked with you with as much enthusiasm and frequency as you have sex with him, how would you like that. If the answer is, “he already does” then you have a problem.

Katie and I sat down early in our marriage and explained to the other what each one of these needs meant for us. It is different for each person. Your husband defines what is attractive, not a magazine cover, so let him tell you. If you do this, you will actually meet the need of conversation (look at that!)

There are also different levels of cheating. It could be physical (which is what we often think about) or it could be emotional or mental. Cheating happens when we allow someone we are not married to to meet a need that our spouse should be meeting.

So how does cheating happen? It doesn’t just happen, it takes place over weeks, months, sometimes years. Slowly, your love bank depletes and it is not refilled. Then, a man shows you attention, he is easy to talk to, interested in your life and you find yourself opening up to him, wishing your husband was like that. You are right there.

Or, a woman compliments you, she takes pride in how she looks (ironically, study after study say that people cheat on their spouse with someone less attractive than their spouse, so it isn’t looks), takes an interest in you, asks about what you like and bam.

Katie and I often talk about how we don’t meet with someone of the opposite sex alone and we get some weird stares. The reason. If you aren’t alone with someone, you aren’t in the position to cheat on your spouse. If you don’t share intamite things with someone, you can’t be amazed by someone. This doesn’t mean you aren’t friends with people you aren’t married to, but it does mean you are guarded around those people.

Do you share things with people of the opposite sex that you don’t share with your spouse? Are you making memories or having experiences with someone you aren’t married to? Do you find yourself looking nice for someone you aren’t married to? Do you find yourself thinking about what someone other than your spouse is doing? How they’ll be dressed when you see them tonight? When you are talking or having sex with your spouse, do you find yourself thinking about that person?

If you answered yes to any of these, you are having an emotional affair. Which sometimes, but not always, leads to a physical affair.

See how easy it is?