Links for Your Weekend Reading

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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9 lies in the not married life.

Singleness’s greatest sorrows are secretly reinforced every February in the souls of the not-yet-married still waiting for their wedding day. While many of our friends and family are inundated with dates, flowers, chocolate, and love notes, lots and lots of the valentine-less are overwhelmed with everything from impatience to bitterness, from shame to regret to confusion.

Rick Thomas on 5 sure fire ways to motivate your son to look at pornography.

Porn is first and foremost about the theater of the mind, where the young male can enter into his virtual world and be king for a day—or, in this case, king for a few minutes—as he satiates his mind with the risk-free intrigue of the cyber conquest.

Barnabas Piper on Why PK’s often hate the ministry and why so many are now in ministry.

Here’s what I learned from those PKs:

  • God’s grace is bigger than our frustrations and hurts (imposed on us or self-imposed) and bigger than our parents’ mistakes.
  • When we see mistakes our parents make that have hurt us or shaped us in ways we don’t like we become responsible for how we respond, either to follow Christ or not.
  • Whether or not our parents did a good job, being a PK is a unique blessing and creates an opportunity to serve God’s people that most don’t get.
  • The church is God’s people and part of God’s plan; to abandon it is to abandon what God has put in place.
  • Honoring our fathers and mothers is a really big deal and a really valuable thing. No, it doesn’t mean we must agree with them or imitate them, but it does mean we cannot resent them.
  • With few exceptions, our parents love us deeply. It’s worth figuring out how to connect with that love instead of holding on to hurt.

How Bill Hybels advises pastors and leaders to think about the Sunday service.

“Imagine if I could give you a newsflash, that the person you’ve been trying to invite to church for the last 3 years is coming this Sunday.” With those opening words, Willow Creek Community Church senior pastor Bill Hybels grabbed the attention of the 1000 leaders gathered at the Church Leadership Conference in Riga, Latvia. But Bill would then ask, and answer, a question that every church leader must come to terms with:  “What are you hoping will happen to that woman or that man during that one hour church service?”

Dan Black on How to maximize your personal growth time.

The most common reason I hear as to why a leader does not invest in personal growth is because they don’t have the time for it. Personal growth does not happen by chance but requires a few key ingredients.

Growing leaders crave silence and solitude.

When was the last time you had meaningful time alone?

No meetings, no appointments. No phone buzzing. No music in your ear buds. No distractions.

Just stillness. Solitude.

My guess is for many of us the answer is it’s been a while.

What if I told you that your effectiveness and maybe even your longevity as a leader depended directly on finding and establishing regular periods of solitude?

Keri Seavey on Your spouse is not Jesus.

Both husband and wife often start life together, from authentic love and commitment (and a bit of naïve self-assessment), blissfully aiming to meet or exceed every spoken or perceived expectation placed before them in their desire for a great marriage. They may even maintain their success for a while. Yet, given time, we all bump up against our (and our spouse’s) weaknesses, limitations, and tenacious self-centeredness. This is when things begin to get messy.

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Book Notes | The Business of Belief

bookI recently read a short, fascinating book by Tom Asacker called The Business of Belief: How the World’s Best Marketers, Designers, Salespeople, Coaches, Fundraisers, Educators, Entrepreneurs and Other Leaders Get Us to BelieveWhile written from a business leaders perspective, the application for pastors who preach every week are enormous. Because, let’s be honest, pastors are in the business of belief and seeing the beliefs of people changed.

I think one thing that is easy for pastors to forget is that changing beliefs is hard and an enormous task. We forget that when someone wrestles with Jesus and the implications of following Jesus, what barriers they have and what that will do to their lives.

Here are a few notes from it:

  • Every new product, service, cause and idea must now work overtime to capture people’s attention.
  • Today’s most forward-looking people and organizations are moving beyond attention. They’re acutely aware that it’s not enough to simply have people know about them and their agendas. They need people to choose them, support them, work with them, and recommend them. In other words, they need people to believe.
  • Belief is an incredibly difficult concept to wrap one’s head around because, like fish in water, our heads are swimming in belief. Beliefs touch every facet of our lives, mundane and profound, from the religions we choose to inform our spiritual and moral lives to the products we purchase to make us look.
  • We choose what we choose because we believe in it. And those beliefs are (or were) driven by our desires.
  • Belief is what humans do. Our personal beliefs define our choices, shape our lives and, collectively, determine our futures. Nothing is more important than belief. If you want to change the world, if you want to change your world, if you want to succeed at work, in the marketplace, or in any other social endeavor or organization, belief is your Holy Grail.
  • Beliefs are really nothing more than working assumptions. Most are provisional, conditional and have varying degrees of certainty
  • Reason is simply a tool to help the brain get what it cares about (and to feel good about it).
  • We only see what we’re prepared to see, and what we expect to experience influences what we do experience.
  • Our minds crave consistency in our beliefs and behaviors. We want to appear logical, to ourselves and to others. And when faced with evidence which contradicts our beliefs, our minds work to eliminate the psychological discomfort.
  • We don’t really want total control and responsibility. We want guided control—based on an empathetic assessment of our feelings and desires—along with the freedom to create our own meaning, our own story, without external pressure or coercion. What we want is the illusion of control.
  • There is no distinction between what you do and what you desire.
  • We are not computers. We don’t optimize our decisions. We decide, and believe, in order to feel good. And to avoid feeling bad.
  • If we desire something, we’ll be attentive to the evidence that supports it and inattentive to conflicting evidence.
  • Desire drives belief, which motivates people to seek out information and act in certain ways that help them attain those desires.
  • Changing a belief is like crossing a footbridge stretched above a deep chasm; it requires motivation (a reason) and consideration (evidence).
  • Every leader knows that before you can lead people, you have to know where they want to go.
  • Want is not the same impulse as need, nor is it simply a wish or a dream. Want, or desire, is a motivating force which shapes our choices.
  • People don’t venture down an unfamiliar path, unless they can visualize their desired destination.
  • Great leaders simplify the belief process by eliminating difficulties and competing options on our attention. They work really hard to make belief really easy.

This Weekend @ Revolution Church

Last week we looked at how at how we know something is true. This week, we are going to look the other side of that coin, how do we know when something is false, when we are believing lies about ourselves, and the world around us. Not only that, but once we know something is false, a lie, what do we do with that? How do we handle that and move forward in the truth?

As we looked at truth last week, we saw how many of us so often fall into believing lies about our past, our sin, even God’s grace. There is freedom to knowing something is true or a lie. There is freedom when we live out of the truth of who we are and who God is. If you’d like to read ahead this week, read 2 Peter 2:1 – 22.

There are a ton of things coming up at Revolution in the next few weeks that I want to make sure you don’t miss:

  • Next week, May 26, is our first night of being in 1 service together as an entire church. To read more about why we are doing this, go here. I’m really excited to have our whole church together to worship in 1 service this summer.
  • We are starting a brand new series on June 2 called So You’re Dead…Now What? We will look at what happens after we die, how our lives impact life after death, what heaven and hell are like now, what they will be like in the future, when Jesus will return. It is going to be an action packed 4 weeks that you won’t want to miss.
  • June 9 is our next child dedication. If you have questions about it or would like to participate by dedicating your baby or child, please email Jared Carter.
  • Our next baptism will be on June 16. If you are interested in getting baptized or have questions about it, please email Mike Miller.

As I said, lots of things going on and coming up at Revolution Church.

I’m looking forward to seeing you this Saturday, our final weekend with these service times: 4 & 5:30pm. Bring someone with you as we celebrate and gather as a church family.

Remember, we meet at 6620 E 22nd St.

See you Saturday.

This Weekend @ Revolution: How do you Know What’s True

So far, this series through the book of 2 Peter has been one of my favorite series we’ve ever done. The theme of looking at the lies we build our lives on is so important. If we don’t build our lives or make decisions based on truth, we end up in the wrong places, often hurt and living a life we wish we could trade in.

Last week, we looked at The Lie that Affects our Whole LifeIf you didn’t grab the 10+10 questions or the family bible study questions, you can download them by clicking the links. If you are new to Revolution Church and curious why we provide these questions or how best to use them, here is a quick blog post to answer those questions.

This weekend we will be continuing in 2 Peter and looking at 2 Peter 1:16 – 21 and looking at how we know what is true in our life and in our world. We are bombarded everyday with messages. Online, in magazines, on TV, through friends. We have our favorite authors, favorite artists, even our favorite pastors, but how do we know if what these people are saying is something that we should follow. Most of us go by the sensory response of if what they are saying makes us feel good or if it aligns to what we already think, but Peter spells out a standard for the church that is far more reliable. Even for Peter, an apostle , who was an eyewitness of the death and resurrection of Jesus says that the test of a true teacher is not their resume, not their success and not their popularity. The ONLY litmus test by which true teachers are to be judged is on their alignment to what Scripture teaches. Because of this, a litmus test for the health of a Christian, is that their love, awareness and dependence on the Bible should be constantly growing.

This weekend is Mother’s Day and because of that, we will be having a special opportunity for you to take a family picture for FREE. Before both services, you and your family can get a free family picture through a photographer that attends Revolution Church. This is a great opportunity for your family. This is also a chance if you don’t have kids to send a picture to your mom and update your facebook picture. If you are a woman, call the men in your life (sons, husband, brother, nephews, son-in-law) and tell them that for Mother’s day, you simply want them to join you for church and for them to treat you to dinner afterward.

I know for many of us, this weekend is an exciting weekend as we celebrate the women in our lives. For others, this is a painful reminder. For some, it is the reminder of a mother who is no longer with you. For others, it is the reminder of the dream of being a mother that has not been fulfilled. Because of that, at the end of each service during our prayer time, we want to invite those who don’t celebrate this weekend, but who instead you mourn in this area of your life. We want to invite you during the response time of communion to go to one of our leaders in the prayer corners, for us to pray over you. God is sovereign, and His comfort is real, even when life is the hardest.

Remember, we meet at 4 & 5:30pm at 6620 E 22nd. St.

See you Saturday.

This Weekend @ Revolution: The Lie that Affects Our Whole Life and Faith

So many great things happened at Revolution Church right now. I announced that in conjunction with our move at the end of August, we will be moving to 1 service on May 26th. The reason is that all the places we are talking to right now are larger than where we meet right now and we want to be prepared for that. I’m excited about this on a number of levels: we get to worship as an entire church in one room this summer, God is preparing us for some big things as we look to move to a larger facility and he uses Revolution to help people find their way back to God. By making this transition now, it helps us to make sure our teams and systems are ready for 1 service instead of 2.

We also announced 2 weeks ago that Jared Carter has joined our staff team as the Next Generation Pastor overseeing Planet Rev and Rev Up. He had a parent meeting this past week for parents of Planet Rev kids and announced that this week we are introducing an electronic check in for Planet Rev. You can read all the details here at the Planet Rev blog. If you are a Revolutionary parent, I’d encourage you to subscribe to this blog to stay up to date on what is happening in Planet Rev.

Also, this past week, we started a brand new book of the Bible, 2 Peter. The theme of 2 Peter is simple: many of us believe lies that affect our lives and our faith in Christ. On Saturday, we looked at how we fight one of the biggest lies in our culture, the lie of having more. If you missed it you can listen here.

This week, I’ll be preaching from 2 Peter 1:5 – 15 and looking at some of the doubts that many people wrestle with: have I sinned too much for God’s grace, is it possible for me to lose my salvation, can I do something for God to stop loving me. Many people can easily believe that God exists but then struggle with believing that God cares for them, loves them and forgives them. If we see these lies and the truths that combat them, it actually affects everything about our relationship with Jesus.

So, do whatever you have to do to be at Revolution this week (and bring someone with you, you never know how a simple invite can make an eternal difference). An easy to invite someone is to send them an e-vite.

Remember, we meet at 4 & 5:30pm at 6620 E 22nd. St.

See you Saturday.

Lies Pastor’s Believe

Saturday night I started a series on 2 Peter. One of the themes of 2 Peter is combatting the lies that we believe. All of us believe lies in our lives and those lies shape us. Lies that we aren’t good enough, strong enough, that I owe God, that we can be in control, that God doesn’t love us. Lies like these, shape us.

Pastor’s believe lies as well. I know that might be a shock, but as I was standing in front of our church, I shared for a few minutes some of the lies that I as a pastor combat.

Lie number 1, what happens at Revolution is because of me. All pastor’s know this isn’t true, but we easily believe it is. You can tell by their mood after they hear how many people were at church, what the offering was like, how the kids ministry went. Much of what they feel about their sermon is based on what they can read on people’s face, the connection they feel or lack thereof.

Lie number 2, God loves me more when I preach. It’s getting closer to summer and I always take a few weeks in a row where I don’t preach. As I get closer to it, this lie is starting to creep up. I love preaching. I feel like God has gifted me to do it and I love using this gift for His glory. It is an honor. But it is easy for me to feel like God loves me more because I preach or that I feel his presence more in my life when I am preaching.

Lie number 3, if I’m not at church, it will fall apart. As a church planter, you will battle this. Will people care about your church as much as you do? What happens if your church completely falls apart when you aren’t there? While many struggle with this, I’ve never actually heard of a church closing because a pastor was gone for a week. Revolution will not fall apart if I’m not there, but like lie #1, it is easy to fall into.

As a pastor, you need to do what you challenge your church to do. Wrestle with what these lies reveal. When you believe these lies, what does that say about you, about your belief in God and the gospel. What is the truth of those lies.

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