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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How pastors can care for their kids.

Pastors also need to think and act intentionally. Our actions or inactions are powerful influences.

Dave Bruskas on Persevering as a pastor.

It is estimated that 1,700 pastors leave vocational ministry per month. Perhaps even worse is that almost half of those who haven’t left yet are thinking about doing just that. So how can a pastor stay in ministry?

Joel Osteen and American Christianity.

Joel Osteen is the prime provocateur of a seductive brand of American Christianity that reduces God to a means to our ends. A message that beckons multitudes to the table of the Master, not for the love of the Master but for what is on the table. He is the de facto high priest of a new brand of Christianity perfectly suited for a feel-good generation. And while a host of pretenders (including Prince) follow in his train, Osteen is clearly the biggest of the bunch—according toPeople magazine, “twice as big as the nearest competitor.” And his claim to America’s largest church is just a small part of the story. With one billion impressions per month on Facebook and Twitter, Osteen is the hip new personification of God-talk in America.

Jen Acuff on A simple way to create momentum in your marriage.

What we’ve learned though is that even as we work on different things, there is a simple way to create momentum in our marriage. I call it “the art of starting parallel.”

Does God harden someone’s heart?

Without question, the answer is yes, he does. The Bible speaks of God’s active agency in hardening hearts with unmistakable bluntness.

Luke Simmons shares what he learned on visiting 6 churches in 4 days.

Preaching really matters a lot. The sermon is the longest part of any service and, as a result, plays a huge role in the effectiveness of the service. The services I enjoyed the most had the best, most engaging, most gospel-centered preaching and the services I enjoyed least had the weakest preaching. Worship leaders need to lead. Everywhere we went had music. None of it was awful. Some of it was tremendous. But the best places were places where the worship leaders actually led. They prayed, they exhorted, they helped you engage. Anyone can play a gig. But we need worship leaders to lead.

Tim Challies on Outrage Porn and The Christian Reader.

When we are outraged about every little matter, we lose our ability to be outraged about the most important matters. When we respond with outrage to every little offense, eventually we become hardened to the things that actually matter. If everything is outrageous, nothing is outrageous.

Five Things We Teach Our Kids When We Don’t Know They’re Watching.

As adults we often tend to believe that kids aren’t paying attention.  But, we teach them so many things when we don’t even realize that they’re tuned in.  And, for the record, kids are always tuned in, even when they seem mesmerized by the TV.  Here are five things we teach our kids when we don’t know they’re watching.

Ever wanted to see if you could get a palace guard to smile?

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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.

book

  1. Barnabas Piper on Trading street corners for social media. This is a great look at how Christians act online.
  2. Ten things Ed Stetzer has learned on twitter.
  3. Luke Simmons on How to keep what is most important in a church, most important. This is a great message for leaders.
  4. Books to read on loving God and loving others. Great book list.
  5. Paul Alexander on Leadership lessons he wished he’d known when he was younger.
  6. What Adam Ramsey wish he had known about student ministry and preaching when he started. I’m really enjoying this series on The Resurgence.
  7. R.D. McClenegan on 6 lessons I learned as a rookie pastor.
  8. 16 ways to reignite momentum.
  9. J.D. Greear on Lead by influence, not command.

The Hypocrite

Here is a teaser video for the final week of the LifeSuckers Series @peopleschurchtv. This series was great and this video was hilarious.

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
  1. Seth McBee on Satan in the suburbs. Great reminder of how Satan shows up when people are on mission, yet Jesus is more powerful.
  2. 4 keys to creating momentum in your church.
  3. Nick Bogardus on The search for authenticity.
  4. Text and tweet during a church service.
  5. Tim Challies on Is a wife’s job harder than her husband’s job?

Leading & Living in the In-Between Times

As a leader, you will often find yourself in the in-between times of life and leadership. What I mean by the in-between is that you know where you are going personally, your dreams, goals, or with your church or organization, you see the vision, the place. But you can’t go there yet. It might be timing, it might be that you need more finances, more leaders, maybe you are needing to allow people time to train or get used to the idea.

Whatever it is, the in-between time is tough to not only live in, but lead in.

This past year I felt this. I knew where Revolution was headed as we made some changes to strengthen our missional communities but I had to wait for the rhythm of the year to make those changes. I had to make sure our leaders understood them and were on board. We made some staffing changes to prepare us for the road ahead. We had to wait for the right time, for the right person, the finances. We had to move as a church and we knew that we were moving to Magee and moving to Sunday morning for a couple of months before talking about it with the whole church.

The in-between.

In the in-between, you know where you are going, but you can’t talk about it with everyone. You need to wait for more information, for things to fall into place before you let people know and clarify things. A leader lacks influence when he says, “In 8 months this change will happen. So, we’ll just wait until then, but it’s coming.”

In the in-between,  you can get antsy, frustrated because it isn’t getting here. The frustration also comes from seeing things as they are when you know what they will be like and you have to wait for it. That’s not easy. It means biting your tongue, grinning and bearing some things until its time.

The in-between is also a time that your faith is stretched, you learn about your impatience, your lack of belief in the power and control of God as you wonder why He is taking so long, as if His timing is not perfect.

Leadership in this time is difficult because momentum is easily lost. The reason it can be lost is because you as the leader have moved into the future, but you can’t talk about it yet. Consequently, you are running out of steam on where things are. You have to stay mentally engaged in the present, where God has you and your church.

The in-between time is also the time that grows us the most. That’s the blessing of it. Without it, we can never get to the place God wants us to be. It is easy to despair in the in-between, but if we do, we miss the point of it.

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Links of the Week

  1. Basic twitter tips to help you tweet smarter.
  2. Will Mancini on Momentum is not vision.
  3. Some great thoughts from Matt Chandler on how to handle suffering in life.
  4. JR Vassar on Eat, Pray, Love, the New Spirituality and the Superior Beauty of Christian Spirituality. Great thoughts on culture, spirituality and what is finding its way into churches.

Links of the Week

  1. Nancy Ortberg on 3 steps to creating momentum where you are. Momentum is a leaders best friend, it takes time to create, it is easily lost, but it is so important in a church. You can tell when it is or is not there.
  2. Perry Noble on Leading a team. A must read for all leaders.
  3. Wayne Daley on Being a man of action and Having integrity.
  4. Greg Despres on the Uniqueness of the Bible.
  5. Mark Batterson on What success is. Everyone is trying to accomplish it, but how do you define it?
  6. Bill Hybels on the state of the church.
  7. Scot McKnight on Thoughts on a pastor’s schedule. This is a huge resource for leader’s in any organization, but specifically pastors.
  8. Paul Ingram laid out what God has been doing at Revolution in the first year of life. Love what God is doing and that Paul and Jennifer are part of making that happen.
  9. Ed Stetzer on Why missional churches don’t do global missions and how they can fix that. This is a very challenging article, it definitely clarifies the definition of missional.