Top Post of June

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In case you missed them, here are the top 10 posts for the last month:

  1. Pick a Church
  2. The One Thing Destroying Your Marriage That You Don’t Realize
  3. N.T. Wright on Gay Marriage
  4. Pastors Can Make the Worst Friends
  5. God Will Let You Have Your Sin
  6. Why Calvinism Matters
  7. What to do When You’re Too Tired to Work
  8. How Motherhood Begins, Continues, And…
  9. 11 Ways to Know You’ve Settled for a Mediocre Marriage
  10. 10 Books Every Christian Leader Should Read

Links for Your Weekend Reading

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Patrick Lencioni on The healthiest organizations win.

A healthy organization is one that maintains a cohesive leadership team, establishes clarity about what it stands for, communicates that clarity repetitively, and puts in place processes and systems to reinforce that clarity over time.

 How one church is using orderliness to attract millenials.

Jen Wilkin on Daughters and dating and how to intimidate their suitors.

Here’s the problem with shotgun jokes and applications posted on the fridge: to anyone paying attention, they announce that you fully expect your daughter to have poor judgment. Be assured that your daughter is paying attention. And don’t be shocked if she meets your expectation. You might want to worry less about terrorizing or retro-fitting prospective suitors and worry more about preparing your daughter to choose wisely. And that means building a wall. Instead of intimidating all your daughter’s potential suitors, raise a daughter who intimidates them just fine on her own.

The #1 lie parents believe about social media.

The #1 lie parents believe about social media is that that they have to be as tech savvy as their kids. Why is that a lie? Because you will NEVER be as tech savvy as your kids.

Thom Rainer on 10 tips to becoming a more productive pastor.

Pastors are thus expected to “run the race” constantly. But how can a pastor keep the pace in this marathon of ministry without burning out? How can a pastor remain productive with such demands? Allow me to offer ten tips to becoming a more productive pastor.

6 Tips to getting a better night sleep.

OK GO new song (Always blown away by the creativity of this band and this is incredible)

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N.T. Wright on Gay Marriage

This is so good:

You can read the transcript of the interview here.

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I Know What Will Fix my Marriage, But…

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If you’re married and have encountered a challenge in marriage, welcome to marriage.

The funny thing about the challenges we run into in relationship is that we often know the way out of them. We know the things that could fix it. We know the things we do to try our spouse nuts or hurt them. In fact, if someone were to ask you how to fix your marriage or make it more healthy, chances are good you could come up with a plan.

Yet.

Chances are very low that you would put that plan into action.

So you stay stuck.

Stuck in a marriage that isn’t happy. A marriage that isn’t affectionate. A marriage that doesn’t have an enjoyable sex life, if it has a sex life at all. A marriage that has little laughter or conversation.

It’s just there. Kind of like roommates sharing stuff. With some kids thrown in.

What do you do if you are in that place? Here are 5 ways to move forward and fix your marriage:

  1. Stop blaming your spouse. I know, your marriage would be better if your spouse changed. Where you are in your marriage is not all on your spouse. Both of you are to blame for where you are, no one bears 100% of the blame. What is your part of it? What did you to so that you would get to this place? Admit that to yourself, confess that to your spouse and ask for forgiveness.
  2. Admit you are here. Many couples don’t want to admit the season they are in. They want to pretend like everything is okay, they want to boast on Facebook about how much they love their spouse when they really want to kick them through a wall. Stop pretending, especially with your spouse. If you are unhappy, you both know it. Talk about it, give words to it.
  3. Decide you’ll last. Too many couples go into marriage with divorce as an option. Don’t. Decide you will last whatever comes your way. It will be hard, you will face things you didn’t think were possible when you took your vows, but you can get through it. It is amazing what happens when you take the exit door away from a situation.
  4. Create a plan and put some accountability to it. As you look at your marriage, get some advice. What is the thing that is harming your marriage? Is it accountability, schedule and pace, communication, intimacy? What is that one thing if you could change would take your marriage to a new level? Now, find a book or a couple that is doing that well and spend time with them, ask them what they know. Ask for their help. Create a plan out of the place you are in and share it with someone, create some accountability. When I committed to have a weekly date night with Katie and that I would plan it, I said it in a sermon. That put some teeth to the commitment.
  5. Believe the best in your spouse. This will probably be the hardest thing to do if you are hurt or angry at your spouse. You will believe any change they make is simply show, window dressing, trying to butter you up for something. It might be. Do your best to believe the best in your spouse and ask them to believe the best in you. I’m not promising you won’t get hurt in this relationship, you will at some point as it happens in every marriage. But believe the best in them. People have a way of becoming the people we believe them to be.

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Links for Your Weekend Reading

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8 things remarkable people do everyday.

What is it that separates people who are highly effective in work (and life) from those who are less so?  Often it’s a few very specific (and learnable!) things. Acquire these eight simple habits and you won’t just get more done, you might actually change your life.

Ron Edmondson on 7 ways my introversion works for me as a senior leader.

It’s easy to concentrate on the big picture. You’ll seldom find me chit-chatting. It’s not that I don’t have casual conversations — I certainly do when I’m connecting with people — but communication for me is usually very purposeful. As a result, I tend to be able to be very big picture oriented. Very strategic in my thinking. I step back and observe everything often. I’m a deep thinker. Those are traits especially strong with most introverts. That has proven to be very profitable for my leadership and the teams I lead.

Tony Morgan on The day we visited a dying church.

The churches who make the transition successfully from dying to life share some common traits: They value reaching people outside the faith, They value a clearly defined pathway for spiritual formation, They value strong, healthy leadership, They value a bold, clear vision for the future, They value simple systems and structures.

5 signs you can’t handle more as a leader.

Most of us leader types are rarely satisfied with the status quo. But are you ready for more? Could you handle it if it came your way? When I think back to when I was a young leader, I know there were more than a few seasons when I wasn’t ready for more, even when more came my way.

Jared Wilson on Success is dangerous.

When we find ourselves in difficult ministries, where the word seems out of season and the soil inordinately hard, despite our sincere and faithful efforts to share the gospel in contextualized ways and love and serve our neighbors with gladness and kindness, many of us battle discouragement, but we at least theologically understand that sometimes God gives and sometimes he takes away.

Dads, date your daughter’s boyfriend.

Part of the problem is trying to understand a father’s role in his daughter’s pursuit of marriage. In today’s ideal scenario, she brings home a guy the whole family can love, and the rest is matrimony. But as good as ideal sounds, it’s hard to find that picture in the Bible, and ultimately it’s far too simple for most not-yet-married realities anyways.

9 fascinating facts about people who attend megachurches.

New people almost always come to the megachurch because family, friends or coworkers invited them. Fifty-five percent of megachurch attenders volunteer at the church in some way (a higher percentage than in smaller churches). What first attracted attenders were the worship style, the senior pastor and the church’s reputation, in that order.

My blog will be moving in a few weeks and I don’t want you to miss anything. Simply click here to subscribe via email so that I can serve you better and continue to help you grow to become who God created you to be.

Something to Laugh at on Father’s Day

Top Post of May 2014

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

  1. 10 Books Every Christian Leader Should Read
  2. Why Missional Communities Should Take a Summer Break
  3. The One Thing Destroying Your Marriage That You Don’t Realize
  4. Why You Aren’t a Leader
  5. 11 Ways to Know You’ve Settled for a Mediocre Marriage
  6. When a Staff Member or Volunteer says, “I’m Done”
  7. Pick a Church
  8. 10 Lessons for the Church from Pixar
  9. Remove Barriers to What is Most Important
  10. 7 Reasons You Aren’t Communicating with your Spouse

My blog will be moving in a few weeks and I don’t want you to miss anything. Simply click here to subscribe via email so that I can serve you better and continue to help you grow to become who God created you to be.

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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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Shauna Feldhahn on Everything we know about marriage and divorce is wrong.

Perhaps most surprising, half of all marriages are not ending in divorce. According to the Census Bureau, 72% of those who have ever been married, are still married to their first spouse! And the 28% who aren’t, includes everyone who was married for many years, until a spouse died. No-one knows what the average first-marriage divorce rate actually is, but based on the rate of widowhood and other factors, we can estimate it is probably closer to 20-25%. For all marriages (including second marriages, and so on), it is in the 31-35% range, depending on the study. 

10 timeless leadership lessons.

Scott Cochrane on 4 disciplines leaders must master.

The natural instinct of every leader is to look forward at the distance still to be traveled towards the goal. But don’t forget the discipline of looking back at the ground that’s already been covered. Celebrating the progress already achieved builds tremendous momentum for the team. 

How to stay at a church for 27 years.

Pastor, never forget this: Hurt people hurt people! Sometimes you will become the brunt of other people’s “stuff.” You must be a great forgiver and forgetter! I used to get sidelined and even paralyzed by the criticism of others. At times, it has almost put me to bed! But it comes back to my daily time with God. In prayer, it is easy to forgive and even to forget. It wrecks me when someone dislikes me or writes about me being something I know I am not. However, the route to wholeness and healing is forgiveness toward all people and forgetting about it, always driving forward. Let it go, Pastor! If you hold that hurt, it will fold you and your ministry.

Skye Jethani on A case for shorter sermons.

Thom Rainer on 8 reasons it’s easier to not attend church today.

More and more, to be involved with a local congregation means you are counter-cultural. It’s now easier to see where the home base for congregations ends and where the mission field begins. There are fewer and fewer persons who show up at church services because they simply want to be part of the crowd. To the contrary, active congregants are now the exception in our nation rather than the norm.

Kid gets owned by bungee cord

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Thoughts on Turning 35

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I turn 35 today. It is hard to believe all that has happened in my life in 35 years. If the average man lives 70 years on earth, I’m at the halfway point. That has caused me to reflect on things I’ve learned as I look forward to the next 35 years. Here you go:

  1. Pick something you are passionate about and give your life to it. I knew at 18 that I wanted to plant a church. While it took my until I was 28 to do it, everything in my life led me to that moment. I meet so many men who float through life, aimlessly wandering from one job to the next, unsure of what to do with their life. They also seem to have no idea what makes them passionate, what makes them excited, all they know is they hate their job and are miserable. They look at their life and think, “This is all there is” so they play video games, work a dead end job or look at porn. I just preached on this topic on Sunday, but find something worth giving your life to for Jesus and don’t look back.
  2. Commit to your wifeI met Katie when I was 16 and fell in love. She is everything I could hope for in a wife and more. We just celebrated 12 years and every year gets better and better. We’ve had our bumps and hard seasons but through it all, we’ve pushed through, got closer to Jesus and got closer to each other. I love laughing with her, talking with her, cooking with her, and watching her blossom in her artistic gifts. I have a number of friends on their second marriage or are getting divorced and it is so sad to watch people walk through that or see other couples settle for a mediocre marriage. That is their legacy, that they didn’t stay committed, they didn’t push through the valleys to make it to the mountain top.
  3. Protect your healthWhen you are 20, playing a sport year round, you can sleep in, eat whatever you want and probably lose 5 pounds in the process. Except then you get older. I meet a lot of guys who are starters and they start businesses and churches and then burnout in the process. They don’t exercise, sleep well, protect their finances, their calendars and their health deteriorates. I have a friend who is so burned out he has to take three 1 hour naps a day to survive. You are in charge of your health, no one else can protect it. It is hard to stay motivated to workout and eat well, but the end result is worth it (and the end result isn’t a certain body it is living well and longer).
  4. Make your kids a higher priority than they are. It is easy to make other things more of a priority than your kids. Men make their jobs, they make carting their kids to activities more of a priority than having a relationship with them (and yes you might be at their stuff, but you aren’t building a relationship with them while they do it). Each of our kids are different and like different things. It is a challenge as our family has grown for Katie and I to spend time together, have a weekly date night (because my relationship with Katie is more important to our family than our relationship with kids), have hobbies and friendships and spend time with our kids, but the investment is worth it. Make sure you are having regular daddy dates with them, doing things they enjoy with them, not just watching them do things.
  5. You are responsible for your relationship with God. No one else is responsible for this. Your pastor isn’t, you are. If you aren’t growing in your relationship with Jesus, that is your fault. Men like to pass this off to someone else, but it is on them. Spend time with God. I’m not a morning person, but reading my bible is the first thing I do when I get up.
  6. Read more. Every great leader is a reader. I don’t think this is a coincidence. While women tend to read more than men, if you are a man who wants to accomplish something, you need to keep growing. Don’t be content with what you know, push for more knowledge, more skills, hone the skills you have. If you don’t know what to read, start here and here.
  7. Make some close friends and invest in those relationships. Men are not good at friendships with other men. If you ask most men who their close friends are, you will get blank stares. The older I get the more important close friends are. I’m an introvert so I don’t have a ton of relationships, instead, I prefer to have a few close friendships with people I connect with regularly. Make this a priority. I have talked with a number of men who are in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s who have no close friends and it is tragic.
  8. Find a mentorMen need mentors. They need someone who is further in life when it comes to their career, leadership, being a father and husband, managing money, their relationship with God. Look at your life and see the areas you want to grow in and find someone who is further along in that area. I have multiple mentors in different areas. I simply ask them, “I want to get better at _____, you are better at that than I am, can you help me grow in that area?”
  9. It’s not too late to accomplish goals. If you have a goal, go for it. I have had a goal to write a book and I’m almost there. Too many men seem to have a lot of goals and hopes and never do anything. This leads men to have midlife crisis, feel aimless, have regrets as they look back on their lives. Decide today what is going to matter most in your life, how do glorify God the most and do that. Put your energy towards that.
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Top 10 Posts for April 2014

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In case you missed them, here are the top 10 posts for the last month:

  1. Heaven is for Real
  2. When a Staff Member or Volunteer says, “I’m Done”
  3. Getting Married is Easier than Staying Married
  4. Why Revolution Church Doesn’t Have a Women’s Ministry
  5. You’re One Choice Away from Wrecking Your Life
  6. Get the Men, Win the War
  7. The One Thing Destroying Your Marriage That You Don’t Realize
  8. Why You Aren’t a Leader
  9. Stop Giving Him an Out
  10. What I’ve Learned from Being Married for 10 Years
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