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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Dorie Clark on Why we can’t stop working.

The ROI of work is immediately apparent. You get instant feedback and, oftentimes, instant gratification in the form of raises, promotions, new contracts, or general approbation. The arc of family life is different. In the moment, it can be banal, boring, or discouraging.

Perry Noble on 7 ways to be rich.

Give it TIME…what we spent years messing up will most likely not be fixed in three days, or even three weeks!

Dave Bruskas on 4 priorities for pastors from Christmas to Easter.

Christmas, with all its ministry demands, has come and gone. You’ve had a few days off. But you are still very tired as you approach the long run to Easter. How should you prioritize your time and energy? What can you do to recover?

Will Mancini on Ministry trends of 2014 leaders can’t ignore.

Sometimes you can dismiss a trend as a fad. Like Crocs, the Harlem Shake, or flash mobs. At other times to dismiss a trend is just a mistake. As in every era, some of today’s trends will become tomorrow’s reality. Innovative leaders aren’t afraid to embrace change and to be some of the first in on the shifts they see around them. In that spirit, here are 5 trends you’ll no longer be able to dismiss in 2014.

Tony Merida on 9 benefits of expository preaching.

Expository preaching is an approach that is founded on certain theological beliefs, such as the role of the preacher according to Scripture, the nature of the Scripture, and the work of the Spirit. Therefore, many of the benefits for doing exposition are hard to measure. However, nine practical-theological benefits are worth noting.

If you miss your family, you miss everything.

7 crippling parenting behaviors that keep your kids from becoming leaders.

I was intrigued, then, to catch up with leadership expert Dr. Tim Elmore and learn more about how we as parents are failing our children today — coddling and crippling them — and keeping them from becoming leaders they are destined to be. Tim is a best-selling author of more than 25 books, including Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their FutureArtificial Maturity: Helping Kids Meet the Challenges of Becoming Authentic Adults, and theHabitudes® series. He is Founder and President of Growing Leaders, an organization dedicated to mentoring today’s young people to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Ed Stetzer on 5 ways to teach your kids to hate the ministry.

To put it bluntly, a lot of pastors’ children hate the ministry. My team interviewed 20 pastors’ kids who are adults now. They provided some insights that were both inspiring and disturbing. Children with a pastor-parent can grow to hate the ministry for many reasons, but there are five guaranteed ways you can make sure they hate being a pastor’s kid (PK).

OK Go “This too Shall Pass”
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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

Matt Walsh on Abstinence is unrealistic and old fashioned.

You could ask any married person who slept with other people before meeting their spouse (I wouldn’t recommend actually asking this, I’m just trying to illustrate a point here): are you happy about it? Are you glad that you gave yourself to someone other than the person you now love eternally? If you could go back to those times, would you stop yourself? Was it worth it? Really, was it worth it? Do you wish you could say that your spouse is the only person who has experienced these intimate, sacred moments with you? Are you proud that there are other men or women in the world who have seen this side of you? Are you satisfied that what you give to your spouse is now secondhand?

Don Carson on 6 reasons not to abandon expository preaching.

I distinguish expository preaching from topical preaching, textual preaching, and others, for the expository sermon must be controlled by a Scripture text or texts. Expository preaching emerges directly and demonstrably from a passage or passages of Scripture.

Men, how being fat can destroy your family.

Those knees sound like broken glass yet? How about the constant back pain? No energy, you say? Out of breath? Does any of this surprise you? It shouldn’t! You probably could have prevented all of these things by shedding some of that extra tonnage you’re carrying around.

Scott Williams on Learn to expect great things.

Success and great things come to those who expect it and those who step out and make it happen. The key to success is living from the spirit of expectancy.

So, “Atheist Mega-Churches” are a thing.

To have a service when there’s no One you’re serving…well, that would be like inviting friends over for a movie night, but staring at a blank wall. The concept is good, but the execution is empty.

Addie Zierman on 5 church phrases that are scaring off Millenials.

Here is what I can tell you about millennials: We grew up on easy answers, catchphrases and cliché, and if we’ve learned anything, it’s that things are almost always more complicated than that.

Thom Rainer on Thank you pastor’s wife. This is so true. You should thank your pastor’s wife.

You may have one of the most thankless roles in the world. You receive no compensation, but there are many expectations of you. At times you are expected to be omnipresent; and other times you are expected to be invisible. Rarely at any of those times does anyone express gratitude to you. Thank you pastor’s wife.

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

  1. What John Maxwell is reading. If you want to read great leadership books, read what John Maxwell reads.
  2. Ed Welch on The lasting pain of adultery.
  3. 5 ways you can teach your kids about their sexual development.
  4. Donald Miller on Why 20-Something’s are delusional.
  5. The Haddon Robinson principle of preaching.
  6. Thom Rainer on How to kill a sermon.

I agree with Trevin’s assessment—”there are no words“:

Links to End the Week On

  1. Charles Stone on Preaching sticky sermons. Great post. 
  2. Brad Lomenick on How to get things done. Super helpful. 
  3. 4 reasons to preach through books of the Bible. This sums up why we preach like we do at Revolution. 
  4. Leadership training that works
  5. Scott Williams 5 reasons you should tweet in church
  6. 5 books you should read if you preach or if you want to preach
  7. If you are a parent at Revolution Church, here is why you need to pick up the family bible study each week. 
  8. Using Pinterest for the glory of God

Preaching: The Art of Narrative Exposition

While Preaching (kindle version) by Calvin Miller does not say anything other preaching books don’t say. This was easily one of the most helpful preaching books I’ve ever read.

The premise of the book is that expository preaching is what pastors should using when it comes to preaching. The reality of our culture and the way our brains are wired is that stories and images (narrative) is what sticks. The goal of preaching is to bring these two things together.

One of the more helpful things from this book is how Miller talked about exegeting the pastor and the church before anything else. This gets skipped very often, but the kind of person a pastor is affects his sermons in a big way. If he is untrustworthy, does not have character, is not prepared. All those speak to his sermon and the impact it makes, or lack thereof. A church also wants to know how a passage has affected you as a person. This insight was huge for me. Don’t just tell your church what the Bible says, tell them how it has changed you, why is this so important to you personally. If it isn’t, you will struggle to make it impactful to them.

Understanding an audience is crucial to a sermon. Knowing where they, their struggles, questions. All go into what you say. While we need to preach the Bible unapolegtically, we need to know our audience to know how to most clearly communicate it to them.

Here are a few things he said that jumped out to me:

  • Most people go to church expecting to be challenged with the ought-tos of life.
  • Preaching is an art in which a studied, professional sinner tells the less studied sinners how they ought to believe, behave, and serve.
  • Preaching has a calling far greater than just making sermons interesting. Preaching exists to create the kingdom. Merely getting and keeping attention is too small a job description for this critical, redeeming art. Preaching has work to do – a lot of work to do – and honest sermons are in league with God’s ultimate plan of conforming souls to the image of his son.
  • Preaching must be committed to 2 goals: first it should be passionate and second, fascinating.
  • Preaching is rescue work. It arrives on the human scene with splints and bandages to save and heal – and restore the world to all that was lost when the gates of Eden clanged shut.
  • If I kept reminding the church of the Savior’s commission to go into all the world and make disciples, things tended to go pretty well. If I failed to remind them of that, the people didn’t do as well.
  • When the times comes to stand up and preach on Sunday, the pastor may be well assured that all those smiling faces are not schooled on doctrine, but they believe fervently what they believe. They do not have a lot of convictions, but they never run out of opinions.
  • Every sermon must continually do two things. First, preachers must never forget the chasm that exists between secular thinking and what the word of God says. further it must always keep in mind that the distinction between these two understandings is easily blurred.
  • Doctrinal preachers often fall into the trap of giving their congregations the notion that the Bible is something to know but not necessarily live by.
  • The noblest of prophets should feel before they advise.
  • Preachers must always be thinking of the application all the time they are dispensing information.
  • Good preaching can do great things but only when it deals with life in the moment.
  • Sermons are preached to effect change.
  • The difficulty of achieving clarity when we preach most often lies in failing to adequately answer the question, “Why are we preaching?”
  • To really hold an audience, they must sense that what you are saying is important, at least to you.
  • To prepare a great sermon begins with a greatness of being that comes from a magnificent obsession with the Savior.
  • Listeners are needy and want a firsthand confessional exegesis of the text. They want to see inside the preacher’s soul. They want to know how the preacher first discovered the text, how it came to mean so much, and in what ways it is found to be true.
  • Sermons go a step further in making a definite moral point. Sermons, far more than novels, exist to be changers of behavior and opinion. Sermons are heart cries to make some point that is crucial to God become crucial also to the believer.

What I appreciated most is that I agree with the goal that Miller has for preaching: Transformation. Passing information can happen in a book or a class, but people are changed in a sermon. Miller said, “Preaching is effective as long as the preacher expects something to happen – not because of the sermon, not even because of the preacher, but because of God.”

If you are looking for a great book on preaching, this is one worth picking up.  

Q: Preaching to Believers & Seekers

I got asked last week and I’ve been asked this by leaders from time to time, but the question goes like this, “How do you preach to believers and seekers?”

This question begins with what I believe is false thinking, that believers and seekers have different needs.

I want to be clear, believers and seekers are in different places on their spiritual journey. A person who walks into a church who has been walking with Jesus for 30 years compared to someone who has walked in for the first time, are in different places. They ask different questions. They’ll even tell you they have different needs. But in reality, they are looking and asking the same thing, just in different ways.

Those who do not yet follow Jesus are asking, “How can I save my marriage? Communicate with my teenager? Get my finances in order? Find happiness in life?” They may even be asking deeper philosophical questions like, “Why did God allow that to happen in my life? Is God real or is this just a cosmic accident?”

Those who are followers of Jesus are asking, “How do I grow in my relationship with Jesus? How do I pray? Read my Bible?” They are also asking, “How can I save my marriage? Communicate with my teenager? Get my finances in order? Find happiness in life?” They may even be asking deeper philosophical questions like, “Why did God allow that to happen in my life? Is God real or is this just a cosmic accident?”

Each person who walks into a church on the weekend or a missional community during the week wants to know if John 10:10b is true. Does Jesus promise life? What is this life? How do I get it?

Now to be clear, no one has ever walked up to me and asked this question, but underneath the questions people ask, the prayer requests people list, the hurt in their eyes as we pray over them at Revolution, they want to know this. Is there life? How do I get it?

In the end, believers and seekers are asking the same thing, they are asking a gospel question.

This is one of the reasons I love preaching through books of the Bible. Every single week I will have multiple conversations that start like this, “how did you know that was exactly what I needed to hear” or “how did you know I was wrestling with that this week?” The funny thing about that is we plan our sermons 12 months in advance.

Now, when you preach to each of these groups, you will have to do some things differently. Believers will give you the benefit of the doubt. Often if you say something is in the Bible, they’ll believe. Seekers are more skeptical. They want to know why they should trust you, believe you. They often think you have something up your sleeve, like you are selling them a bill of goods.

This is another advantage to preaching through books of the Bible. You simply preach the next line in the book, the next verse, the next topic. They are able to open the Bible and see where you are, that you aren’t making it up.

What do you think? Are believers and seekers asking the same question?

Links of the Week

  1. Harvard Business on 8 ways to communicate your strategy.
  2. Dispelling myths of expositional preaching. I love expositional preaching and these are definitely myths.
  3. Leadership network on Finding and developing a campus pastor.
  4. Shaun King on Stressed out pastors, crazy sins, and the death of pastor Zach Tims. This is a great, and sad look at what it can be like for pastors and how a church can help.
  5. 13 things Perry Noble would tell church planters. Great list here for planters or those thinking about it.
  6. Joe Thorn on Preaching like a man on fire.
  7. Tim Chester on 12 reasons to give up porn.
  8. Glenn Stanton on The link between premarital sex and divorce.
  9. Can parents make faith for their kids last?
  10. Tim Chester on Is your dining room table on mission?
  11. Jen Smidt on A wife’s testing ground.
  12. Great singleness, great marriage & great sex.
  13. Bob Franquiz on Why you have no leaders in your church.

Links of the Week

  1. Some helpful responses to the death of Osama Bin Laden: The Resurgence on Loving Your Enemies, John Piper on Is God glad Osama Bin Laden’s dead?, and Justin Taylor on How should Christians think about the death of Osama Bin Laden?
  2. Perry Noble on I’m sorry your life/church is so normal. My thoughts exactly.
  3. Four reasons your church isn’t growing.
  4. Some wives of Acts 29 pastors share how they develop gospel relationships and how much they share with other women in the church. This is a tough balance as a pastor and wife, to develop community but also to know what to share and with whom.
  5. Sam Storms on What forgiveness is and is not.
  6. Practical tips for expository preaching from Alistair Begg.
  7. Bob Franquiz on Don’t preach to Mom on mother’s day. As crazy as that sounds, Bob is right on.
  8. Susan Hunt on Redeeming Womanhood. Katie and I just taught on this last week and these are some great resources on what biblical womanhood is.
  9. Matt Chandler on Is church membership biblical. This is a great look at what matters in relating to a community of Christians.
  10. Mark Driscoll on How to know if you are called to plant a church.
  11. Russell Moore on Remember the infertile on Mother’s Day.