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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Are visits to heaven real?

It is quite true that heaven is a place of perfect bliss—devoid of all sorrow and sin, full of exultation and enjoyment—a place where grace and peace reign totally unchallenged. Heaven is where every true treasure and every eternal reward is laid up for the redeemed. Anyone whose destiny is heaven will certainly experience more joy and honor there than the fallen mind is capable of comprehending—infinitely more than any fallen creature deserves. But if you actually saw heaven and lived to tell about it, those things are not what would capture your heart and imagination.

Yancey Arrington on What to do when you’re in a preaching funk.

It seemed every time I stepped down from the pulpit my heart was full of frustration because, in my estimation, my sermons felt chunky, cluttered, or confused. There was an aimlessness about them. Everything kept coming off flat. They weren’t, for lack of a better term, ‘clicking’ in the hearts of the congregation (or for me for that matter). I would have people speak encouraging things to me after services but they were of the generic, southern politeness, garden-variety remarks that you would get no matter what because people are kind. And even if those messages were good, I didn’t feel that way. And if you don’t think your sermons are good, it doesn’t matter what others tell us. And for quite a season, that’s exactly how I felt. It was a Sahara of preaching because I felt desolate in the pulpit. It seemed no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t shake it. I still look back on that season and shudder. I hated it and wouldn’t wish it on any preacher.

Carolyn McCulley on How women easily confuse what they do with who they are.

Any change in what we do can easily trigger a crisis of identity — what is the story we are now to tell others about ourselves? While I think this is true for men, I think it is different, and perhaps more pronounced, for women because our productivity choices are scrutinized more often than those of men. That’s why the most divisive terms may be the dreaded “working mothers” versus “stay at home mothers.” If it were a simple description of the location of female productivity, that would be one thing. But these phrases are loaded with guilt and judgment.

Kevin DeYoung on Celebrity Pastors.

The term “celebrity pastor” is decidedly pejorative. I don’t know anyone who would be happy to own the phrase. That doesn’t mean we can’t use it. But it means we should not attach it to pastors in a knee jerk way. A Christian with some combination of influence, social media followers, books, a large church, and speaking engagements may be a public Christian or a well known individual, but let’s not use “celebrity pastor” unless we mean to say he relishes the spotlight, has schemed his way into the spotlight, and carries himself as being above mere mortals. Does this fit some popular preachers? Probably. Does it fit all of them? By no means.

Mark Dance on Should pastors be excited about everything?

Pastors sometimes feel pressure to show equal excitement about all of the ministries in our church, lest we show a hint of favoritism.  Well meaning members and staff lobby for their ministry’s rightful place in the promotional rotation, budget and church calendar.  Some of them even pressure the pastor to give a shout-out from the pulpit.

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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.

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  1. Tim Challies on A safe place for our kids shameful questions.
  2. A pastor looks at dads.
  3. Barnabas Piper on Why Christian leaders (like Mark Driscoll & John MacArthur) fighting is discouraging.
  4. 5 reasons people aren’t volunteering at your church.
  5. Michael Jensen on Is chastity possible?
  6. How to keep your home safe with the internet. Great insights for protecting your kids.
  7. Carey Nieuwhof on Is the pastor celebrity culture a positive or negative thing. Interesting thoughts on this subject.
  8. Sam Rainer on Why pastors neglect managing.
  9. Tim Keller on Why a covenant marriage matters. Marriage is a covenant, not a contract which our culture holds to.
  10. Thom Rainer on How pastors can develop thicker skin.

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. Rebecca Watson on 6 ways to get more done. These are helpful ideas to be more productive.
  2. What churches can learn from Chick Fil-A.
  3. Thom Rainer on Millenials reject Christians fighting. I’m a pastor and I’m tired of Christians fighting, which makes me wonder how sick our culture is of it.
  4. 5 ways a pastor can handle people leaving their church.
  5. Will Mancini on How to reach 20-something’s. Great profile of what makes Austin Stone so strong.
  6. How Andy Stanley and Tim Keller preach to Non-Believers. Great profile of two great communicators.
  7. Brian Howard on How to find a great youth pastor. This is so true.
  8. An open letter to Mark Driscoll. This whole thing is sad that he would lie on social media to push his book forward.
  9. How to be leaders of meaning in an age of information overload.

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. 8 Ways You Might Be Losing People in Your Sermons.
  2. Derek Rishmawy on Oprah Puts Rob Bell on Her Spiritual A-Team.
  3. Dear Parents with Young Kids in Church.
  4. Mike Lee on 5 Kinds of Youth Ministry Parents.
  5. God does not create all pastors equally.
  6. Barna on The most post-Christian cities in America. Not surprised, but saddened, at how high Tucson is. Revolution, let’s plant more churches!

#Hashtag w/ Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake

Cheap Kindle Books 9.10.13

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Here are some cheap kindle books. Not sure how long they’ll stay that way:

What God Did With Your Sins at Redemption

Came across this quote in a commentary on Ephesians as I’m prepping for my sermon this week:

It is tragic that many Christians are depressed about their shortcomings and wrongdoing, thinking and acting as if God still holds their sins against them—forgetting that, because God has taken their sins upon Himself, they are separated from those sins “as far as the east is from the west” (Ps. 103:12). They forget God’s promise through Isaiah that one day He would wipe out the transgressions of believers “like a thick cloud” and their “sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me,” He said, “for I have redeemed you” (Isa. 44:22). Even before the Messiah came and paid the price for redemption, God spoke of it as already having taken place. Depressed Christians forget that God looked down the corridors of time even before He fashioned the earth and placed the sins of His elect on the head of His Son, who took them an eternal distance away. He dismissed our sins before we were born, and they can never return. -John MacArthur

Links of the Week

  1. Support causes through designer T-shirts. This is such a cool idea.
  2. 10 ways to not grow a church.
  3. Sean Mortenson on 8 things you need to know about the Bible. If you have questions about the Bible and how we got it, this is worth reading.
  4. Perry Noble on 10 reasons you should not be dating him or her.
  5. John MacArthur answers questions from his church after spending over 30 years preaching through the New Testament. There is a whole conference worth of wisdom here for pastors and leaders.
  6. The #1 threat to the church today.
  7. Jamie Munson on 10 things to remember when building a leadership team.
  8. Jason Locy on When it comes to adoption, Christians should put up or shut up.
  9. Satan’s plan for your family.

Top Posts of January 2011

In case you missed them, here are the top posts for the last month:

  1. Where is the Gospel?
  2. Radical:  Taking Back your faith from the American Dream
  3. What Attracts People to Church
  4. What’s Challenging me Right Now
  5. Planning a Preaching Calendar
  6. 15 Ways to Improve your Marriage
  7. What Matters Most
  8. My Sermon Last Night
  9. 8 Reasons God Allows Trials in our Lives
  10. Saturday Night Mind Dump… (Sunday Edition)

Links of the Week

  1. Katie and I spent this week in Phoenix at the Acts 29 boot camp. In case you missed them, here are my notes from the different main sessions and breakouts I attended.
  2. Scott Williams on Creating a not to do list. This is one of the greatest things I ever did as a leader.
  3. Tim Challies on Hope in a pornified world.
  4. How to prepare for church and how to act at church to be an active participant.
  5. Todd Rhoads on You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. This is a sobering idea when you think in terms of your life and who you give your time to.
  6. 5 ways to get the most out of a sermon.
  7. J.D. Greear on What counts as plagiarism in a sermon?
  8. Social media and discernment. Don’t agree with all the points, but some good thoughts.
  9. True woman ran an interesting article on guys and pornography and what hope women have.
  10. Are you more excited about gospel centeredness or the God of the gospel?
  11. Cal Thomas on The Olbermann factor.
  12. A Christian couple is barred from adopting because of their beliefs concerning homosexuality.
  13. Matt Perman on a Theology of workflow and productivity.

Books for 2 Timothy Series

We just wrapped up our series Ultimate Fighter on 2 Timothy. It was an awesome 6 weeks in the life of our church. In case you are curious, here are the books I used and found helpful: