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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Help Revolution Church Plant More Churches

We are continuing our Christmas offering at Revolution Church and today highlighted Acts 29 and church planting. Church planting is a big part of our vision and dream at Revolution. For us, 10% of our budget goes to church planting. We’ve helped plant churches in Tucson, other parts of America and around the world.

Part of our Christmas offering this year will go to planting Revolution Church | Midtown, Lord willing by the end of 2014/beginning of 2015.

Here’s a video of what we are a part of:

Help Revolution Church Fight Sex Trafficking this Christmas

Every year at Revolution Church we do a Christmas offering. This is a chance for our church to give above and beyond what it normally does and give it away to bless others and move the gospel forward in Tucson and beyond.

In years past, we’ve helped to build wells in Africa, fight homelessness and sex trafficking in our city, and plant churches in Tucson and around the world.

So far, we’ve given away over $20,000 away.

This year, we are hoping to raise over $10,000, which would be our largest Christmas offering ever.

One of the organizations we are partnering with is The A21 Campaign.

Here’s a video as to why we are partnering with them.

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. Yancey Arrington on The grace of repenting to your kids. We do confession each night together as a family and it is becoming an important practice in our family when we reconcile with each other.
  2. Removing the lid of your organization.
  3. Tony Morgan on 10 things people want before they start to give at your church.
  4. Ron Edmondson on 7 ways to protect a pastor’s kid.
  5. The leader who can’t let go.
  6. Mike Leake on 5 reasons why our small groups stopped doing book studies and why I’m glad about it. We do sermon based discussions in our missional communities and it is the healthiest thing our church does.
  7. Jonathan Dodson on Sermon prep.
  8. One reason why parents (especially men) church attendance is declining.

Generosity is Motivated by Gratitude

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Generosity. Money. Tithing. Serving. Stuff.

All are things we have opinions on but few pastors move into the realm of preaching about them. I know when I started Revolution Church, preaching about money or asking for money in campaigns was difficult for me. Not because I was worried about what others would think, but because I didn’t have the healthiest relationship to money and stuff. Truth be told, I loved money and stuff a little too much when we started 5 years ago.

In John 12, we see how we are supposed to think about money, stuff and generosity through two women: Mary and Martha.

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. -John 12:1-2

Mary and Martha put on a dinner to honor Jesus. Martha however is not at the table, but serving. It is interesting that John points this out, but I think he does so because Martha is serving, worshiping and honoring Jesus as best as she knows how. She is using her gifts, using the talents God gave her to honor Jesus. Often, we want someone else’s gifts, someone else’s talents. We wish we could have a more upfront role when God has designed us to be in the background. We wish we had the boldness someone else has, but God designed you the way you are so that you can honor and worship him that way.

If you don’t use your gifts, everyone loses.

Mary however is not cooking or serving in this way, she honors Jesus in another way.

Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?”He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” -John 12:3-8

Mary takes perfume that is valued at 1 years salary, this is not a simple generous gift. This was her security.

There is no mention of a husband, so if Mary was single, this was her fall back plan for a rainy day. This was her retirement, her nest egg. This was the ball game. She put it all on the line to honor and worship Jesus. Was it crazy? Yes. Did it honor Jesus? Yes.

Now, does this mean you and I should give everything we make in a year away? Maybe. God calls people to give away things they aren’t even sure they can afford.

What it shows us though is the relationship we should have with our money, stuff and talents.

For Mary and Martha, they didn’t worship or honor Jesus to get something from him. They didn’t give so that God would give back to them. They did this out of gratitude. In John 11, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. This was their gratitude for how Jesus has worked in their lives.

When we have a proper relationship with our money, stuff, calendar and relationships, we are motivated by gratitude, because of what God has given to us.

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Money and the Vision of a Church

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Most pastors hate to talk about money. People also don’t like to hear pastors talk about money. Yet, money is a huge issue in people’s lives. They mismanage it, get divorced because of it and it often ruins their lives.

The reality for churches and pastors is:

There is a direct correlation between giving in a church and vision.

I was talking with some pastor’s the other day and the question of how to increase giving in a church came up.

Now, if you aren’t a pastor you may think this a coarse conversation to have. Why would a pastor want giving to go up? The reason is simple:

  • Giving is a heart issue. Jesus said as much in Matthew 6:21. If giving goes down, it shows that the heart of the people in the church aren’t there, their passion and worship is somewhere else besides Jesus. 
  • It shows that they might need to hear solid, biblical teaching on the topic.
  • It shows buy-in.

It was this last reason that struck me as I thought about.

While churches can increase giving and generosity by having a giving challenge (you can listen to me here giving our last giving challenge), or teaching on giving (which many pastors need to start doing).

What many churches need do a better job at is communicating a compelling vision. When the giving at Revolution has gone down it has been during the seasons where our vision was cloudy or if felt like our vision wasn’t going anywhere.

Tell stories. Show how your church is winning. Talk about how your vision is happening. Make videos, show people it is happening.

People want to be generous, they want to be part of something that is winning, something that is going somewhere.

Links of the Week

  1. Mike Breen on Why the missional movement will fail part 1 and part 2. Mike has been instrumental in our change to missional communities and this is a huge reason why churches fail in this area. Great insight.
  2. Joe Thorn and (Fake) angry Calvinists.
  3. Ed Stetzer on Denominations.
  4. 12 questions to confirm your calling to plant a church.
  5. Jen Smidt on What is beautiful part 1 and part 2.
  6. Can megachurches be missional?
  7. Trevin Wax on 5 ways to redeem your ride to work.
  8. 10 suggestions to raising Godly children.
  9. Mark Driscoll on Women & ministry.
  10. Top 5 reasons why people don’t give to your church.

90 Day Giving Challenge

Tonight, we continued our series The Story of God and Mike preached on generosity from the book of Malachi. When it comes to the topic of money and giving back to God, people get very private and touchy about it. The Bible does not say that being rich is wrong or sinful, just how we get rich, what we do with it, what it says about us. One of the things we do twice is a year to help people in the area of money and generosity is what we call the 90 day giving challenge. I love seeing people take this challenge. When we did it back in March, we had 15 people take the challenge. Every time we give it, more and more people take it.

One of the things I have come to see in my own life and in the lives of others is the deep connection between our money, how we use it and God. I believe that God works through people who are generous with their stuff, time and money. For a few reasons:

  1. It gives God a chance to show His power.
  2. It shows God that we in fact trust Him.
  3. Generosity is the pathway to freedom.
  4. Generosity is evidence of a changed life.

While I don’t believe the Bible lays out a specific amount that we are to give (here is a great article that I pulled a lot of information from for tonight). I know many pastors point to 10% as the tithe, but the tithe in the Old Testament was actually closer to 22%. In the New Testament we are given principles when it comes to giving. They are:

  1. We should give.
  2. It needs to be systematic. We need to decide how often we will give.
  3. It needs to be generous and sacrificial. It should cost something. (Not giving will cost us something, but you’ll have to listen to my talk to here that part)
  4. It needs to be proportional.
  5. It needs to be intentional.

For Katie and I, we started at 10%. It was a round number, which helps. But when we began, it was sacrificial. As we have gotten older, God has blessed us with more, our giving has changed. I’ll post later about what that is.

Here is how how the challenge works. If you are not giving, start. If you are giving a little, move to greater generosity.

We don’t lay out a specific amount. Just look at the 5 principles above. For the next 90 days, give back to God through Revolution. If you feel at the end of those 90 days that it was a waste of time, you didn’t see God move in your life, you didn’t see God stay true to Scripture. Just tell us and we will give you the money back.

It is that simple.

Still not sure? Here is a video we showed tonight from Kat, a woman in our community.

Links of the Week

  1. Christianity Today on Sex, money…pride? Why pastors are stepping down.
  2. Michael Hyatt on Why you don’t get retweeted.
  3. Discerning the idols of your heart.
  4. Guy Kawasaki on 7 reasons why your blog fails.
  5. A prayer for pastors before and after preaching.
  6. Videos from the gospel coalition conference on church planting. So good.
  7. Casey Graham on 3 mistakes pastor’s make when they talk about money.
  8. Depression claims more and more pastor’s.
  9. Jon Nielson on Why students stay in church after graduating high school. Stats are really bad in this area, but this is a great look at what keeps those students.