Links for Your Weekend Reading

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Thom Rainer on 11 mistakes I made as an author.

6 questions every leaders should ask.

Andy Stanley shares six questions every leader should ask and Michael Lukaszewski shares some application on them.

Time Magazine lists 9 terrible habits you need to stop doing immediately.

What makes Malcolm Gladwell so interesting.

 If you believe that Gladwell’s success is primarily driven by his writing, I think you’ve overlooked the most important factor. What makes him most interesting is not the narratives themselves, but rather the ideas behind them.

I am Ryland – the story of a male-identifying little girl who didn’t transition.

It grieves me to think of what Ryland’s parents may be robbing her of by choosing a gender for her at such a young age.  I hope that, if/when she decides that she is a woman, that they will support her in this.  That they won’t force her into their agenda to save face. I am writing this to offer another perspective.  Because I believe in freedom.  I believe that people should be free to have interests that don’t fit the social norm.  That children should be allowed to be children.  With all of their silly, fantastical play.  They should be allowed to believe that they are a dog, a Superhero, a Mommy, or a rock.

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. How to become as interesting as Malcolm Gladwell.
  2. Tim Challies on The art and science of the humblebrag.
  3. Rodney Stark’s Myth Busting.
  4. Mark Regnerus on A mom and dad really do matter.
  5. How to know if you are Christian celebrity wannabe.
  6. Joe Thorn on What small churches can do.
  7. How to become an optimist.
  8. Barnabas Piper on God’s justice in the tragic death of a child.

Monday Morning Mind Dump… [Lunch Edition]

  • It was quite the weekend in our house
  • Saturday night after almost 4 years of waiting, Katie brought Judah home from Ethiopia
  • Hard to believe the journey to this moment has been so long
  • We are loving it and adjusting well
  • Say a prayer for us as we add him to our family, as he learns the English language and the patience we need while we adjust
  • Sunday was a great day at Revolution
  • We baptized 4 people
  • Always love hearing the stories of how Jesus has changed lives
  • Never gets old
  • I preached on John 14 and talked about who the Holy Spirit is and what He does
  • I had so many notes I could’ve preached for 3 hours
  • The Holy Spirit tends to be a divisive topic which is sad because without Him we are lost
  • He does so much and Christians tend to be ignorant as to what He does
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here
  • Last Monday, I started my sleeve tattoo
  • Super excited about it as Katie and I have been planning it for almost 2 years
  • It is a koi fish with 6 flowers (1 for Katie and 5 for the kids)
  • The flowers will be colored in with their birth stone colors
  • Pumped about how it has turned out so far and I can’t wait to fill it in
  • I’m performing the wedding of some Revolutionaries this weekend
  • I love being a part of weddings and the process of premarital counseling
  • Really excited for this couple
  • We’re doing a child dedication in church next Sunday
  • I love seeing parents make a commitment to how they will raise their child(ren) and hearing their missional communities make a commitment to the parents and the child
  • It really is moving
  • Over the weekend I read through most of Malcolm Gladwell’s new book David & Goliath
  • Like his other books, this was utterly fascinating
  • His books are just so interesting
  • Picked up Mark Driscoll’s new book A Call To Resurgence this morning
  • Definitely a book every pastor should read as we don’t live in the Christian nation most Christians think we do
  • I was reading through John 15 this morning which I’m preaching on this Sunday
  • So much in those verses on how we stay connected to Jesus and not feel alone
  • Can’t wait to unpack them this Sunday at Revolution

Soccernomics

I first heard of Simon Kuper & Stefan Szymanski’s book Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Germany and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan, Australia, Turkey – and even Iraq are Destined to Become the Kings of the World’s most Popular Sport from Mike Wilbon on PTI.

As a fan of leadership books, the world cup and anything soccer (except for the MLS), I knew this was a book I would enjoy. I was not disappointed.

This book is right up the same alley as books by Malcolm Gladwell. The authors use a variety of studies, statistics as well as historical data and look at the reasons why certain countries dominate the world cup and why other countries don’t. They look at why the MLS will never be huge, the difference between football worldwide and the NFL (this was a fascinating study as to how England created colonies and America didn’t around the world and how that has affected the popularity of Soccer around the world compared to American football, which is destined to play second fiddle).

There are a few things the authors talked about concerning soccer as a sport, how teams are run and some applications I thought of as it pertains to church and pastoral leadership:

The price of a transfer and what you pay your players. Transfer among soccer teams is unique when it comes to sports. One team pays another team for a player, that players contract is torn up and they negotiate a new one. This is not how American sports teams work. What the authors point out is that what you pay as a transfer fee does not determine how good a player performs, but what you pay the players in terms of salary makes all the difference. The teams that are successful are the ones who work the transfer market better than everyone else. They buy players when they aren’t expensive and sell them when they are at the peak of their game. In soccer, 30 is over the hill.

You will see more of what you study. What you measure/celebrated gets repeated is an oft repeated leadership phrase. Whatever a church holds up as important and talks about, that is what people will do. If you never talk about small groups, sharing your faith, giving, chances are that no one in your church will think they are important and consequently, they won’t do them. I’m often asked by people what I took away from my time as an intern at Willow Creek. For me, it was how focused they are on their mission and how many people share their faith and bring people to church. The reason is they talk about it, a lot. Think about your church, if you have trouble getting people to do something, is it because you have not made it important?

Relocation. This chapter was fascinating. Because soccer is an international sport, teams in different countries sign players from a variety of countries. When a team pays a transfer fee, most (in fact, almost all) teams do not worry about relocation for the players. They don’t care about the language barriers, new housing, moving a family, they just expect a player to show up and perform. Churches are notorious for this when they hire a leader from another church. They just assume that because someone was successful somewhere else, they will be successful anywhere. They don’t take into account what the relocation process will be like, the time it will take a new leader to acclimate to the new culture. I remember moving from one church to another. One was very laidback and casual, so at the new church I wore jeans and t-shirts to the office because no one said otherwise. It wasn’t until various people complained did my boss say something. It is a little thing, but little things add up. This is why churches are not hiring more and more staff from within, which I think is a good idea.

How managers are hired. Teams in every sport, hire a new coach or manager very quickly. Churches are the same. They have a need, and they hire someone as quickly as possible. When patience would not only fill the position, but often give them a person who would last longer. But, they do something teams don’t do, they fire slowly. It is “unChristian” in their opinion to let someone go who is not up to par. Recently, we worked through a process of how we will hire new staff members at Revolution and raise up new elders. For potential elders, the process will take around 12 months. This way, we will raise up the highest leaders in our church slowly, instead of quickly. I think this is healthy. One of the reasons we are doing this is because we want to make sure the new leader knows what is at stake, what it will take to be a leader.

All in all, if you are a leader and a fan of soccer, this is a book definitely worth checking out, especially during this month of great soccer known as the world cup.

Favorite Books of 2009

I’m a reader. Period. I always have 3 – 5 books going at a time. Everything from sermon prep, leadership, parenting, marriage, church history, spirituality, novels and anything else I’m interested in. I learned a long time ago that leaders are readers, they should read a wide variety of topics and they should read from people they agree and disagree with.

In case you are curious, and you are because you are still reading, here are my top 10 favorite books of 2009 (my favorite at the top):

  1. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years (Donald Miller). This book grabbed and affected me in a way I did not expect and in a way few books have. I found myself laughing, thinking about my life and tearing up from time to time.
  2. The Performance Factor (Pat MacMillan) Very easily the best book I have ever read on the topic of teams. In fact, our staff team, to kick of 2010 is going to work through this book.
  3. Leading on Empty (Wayne Cordeiro). This is a book is a must read every leader, every board member, pastor, spouse of a pastor or leader needs to read. Too many leaders are burning out and not finishing well. This book really caused Katie and I to evaluate our pace, health and how we can sustain ourselves to make it the long haul in ministry.
  4. Water from a Deep Well (Gerald Sittser). Much like Miller’s book, this one grabbed me. I had to read this for school and honestly was not excited by it. It was easily the best book I read for that class.
  5. Primal (Mark Batterson). I’ve always liked what Mark Batterson writes. Ever since I met him back in 2004, he has challenged me as a leader and in my own spiritual journey. Mark breaks down the great commandment, how that applies to our lives and how it might be the key to not only having a more fulfilling relationship with God but also the best way to reach our culture.
  6. Counterfeit Gods (Timothy Keller). Anything by Keller is worth reading. This is no exception.
  7. Surprised by Hope (N.T. Wright). This is a great look at what the beliefs have been about heaven, hell and the afterlife throughout church history; comparing that with what people believe now and how the church should respond and how that affects our mission.
  8. Preaching on Your Feet (Fred Lybrand). This book completely changed the way I preached. While I was moving to preaching without notes, this book sealed it. One of the most important things I have done this year at Revolution.
  9. Outliers (Malcolm Gladwell). I don’t read Gladwell to make a lot of changes in my leadership, although that happens. He is the type of author read to learn something interesting. This book does not disappoint. It is a fascinating look at success and what it does and does not take to be successful.
  10. Money, Possessions & Eternity (Randy Alcorn). This book messed with my mind in the area of money and stuff. I read it for our series How to be Rich and it is by far the most thorough book on the subject. I was convicted on just about every page.

In case you are curious, here are my favorites from 2008.

Here are my favorite albums of 2009.

Saturday Night Mind Dump…

  • Great night tonight
  • Really weird not having Paul there, but Austin did a great job
  • I don’t know if Revolution would be where it is today without the help that Austin gave us at the very beginning and in helping us find Paul
  • If you are interested in participating in Revolution’s fast this week or fasting in your own life, here is the fasting guide we put together to help you
  • In case you missed it, here are some things I am excited for the holiday season
  • Get to perform a wedding tomorrow, love being a part of weddings
  • Got Malcolm Gladwell’s new book What the Dog Saw in the mail today, so pumped to read this
  • Anything he writes is worth reading
  • Some other books I’m hoping to get through before Christmas that I’m really excited about:  Relational Intelligence and The Performance Factor
  • Planning to take Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to do some serious writing and finish the study guide and small group guide for our series we are starting in January
  • It is going to be the most important series we have ever done at Revolution
  • Seriously
  • We’re having 15 people over for Thanksgiving, love having a packed house for the holidays
  • This past week was my monthly lead pastor coaching network
  • I am blown away by how much I get out of it and how big of a difference it is making at Revolution
  • It was cool reminiscing with Austin tonight as he led worship for us right when Revolution got started a year ago
  • Since the last year at this time, we have tripled
  • Crazy what God has done in the last year
  • The number one question I’ve gotten during this series is what do you do if you can’t afford to tithe, here are my thoughts
  • Really excited to have Ben, Austin and the Common Ground band with us next week
  • Love the partnerships we are building with other churches in Tucson
  • That really is the only way we will ever have a shot at being a force in Tucson, working together
  • Really excited to see how God uses our church fast this week
  • Can’t wait to see how God stretches our church
  • In case you care, I switched from Twitterberry to UberTwitter on my phone
  • Way better
  • My cousins and great Aunt and Uncle came down from Scottsdale tonight to hear me preach
  • First comment, “I was pleasantly surprised, you were better than I thought”
  • Awesome
  • Blown away again tonight just watching all of our leaders, how hard they work, how selfless they are and how sold out they are to the mission
  • Thanks for helping to make Revolution happen
  • I can’t believe I get paid to do this

Outliers: The Story of Success

book coverJust finished Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers and it is by far one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read.

The book looks at how people are successful. The idea in our world is that success comes from hard work, being smarter than the other guy. But what Gladwell points out is that is not the end of the story. Sometimes, you can be those things and not be successful.

Gladwell looks at how to know whether your child will be a star hockey or soccer player based on what month they are born in. What the Beatls and Bill Gates have in common. Why Asians are so good at math. Why star New York lawyers have the same resume.

Outliers are those who have been given opportunities – and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them. For hockey and soccer players born in January, it’s a better shot at making the all-star team. For the Beatles, it was Hamburg. For Bill Gates, the lucky break was being born at the right time and getting the gift of a computer terminal in junior high. Joe Flom and the founders of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen and Katz got multiple breaks. They were born at the right time with the right parents and the right ethnicity, which allowed them to practice takeover law for twenty years before the rest of the legal world caught on.

This really was a fascinating read on why people are successful and why others are not. All successful people are not the same, sometimes you have to be born at the right time, in the right place, to the right family. But then, you have to do something with it.

Saturday Night Mind Dump…

  • Intense night
  • Tough subject:  Pain
  • God was really moving tonight and working in people’s lives
  • I’ve been praying all week that people would find healing tonight
  • Steph’s story was powerful, what a sign of God’s power, grace and healing
  • Thanks for sharing that
  • Love that we’re doing more video stories, really powerful stuff
  • Apparently I’m not cool because I don’t get what all the excitement is about when it comes to picking your facebook username
  • Got to hang out with a bunch of guys last night and play poker, good times
  • Lost $20, but got close
  • This has been on my mind all week
  • Played cornhole for the first time tonight, pretty fun game, I might be hooked
  • I haven’t finished it yet, but this book is one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read
  • I decided a few weeks ago to take a break from my D.Min. work, tough decision, but I think it is the right one
  • Landed on our preaching calendar for the next year, really excited about it and what God will be teaching our church in the coming year
  • I am reminded every week how blessed I am to have the team we have at Revolution
  • Love the dedication of our volunteers
  • They work and don’t complain and are mission focused
  • Love it
  • We talked a little about our next 2 series at Revolution, this one happens in July and this one happens in August, 2 great topics
  • I’ve been working on our partnership class a lot recently as we’re hoping to roll that out in August
  • Stay tuned
  • If you want to get baptized on July 4th, let me know
  • Got to share some of our story of getting Tucson tonight
  • Just reminds me how much God works behind the scenes and how good life is now and how far God has brought us and Revolution
  • It’s only just begun…