Monday Morning Mind Dump…

mind dump

  • Today should be a big day in the course of my life.
  • If all goes as planned, I will finalize a book deal today for my first book.
  • Can’t believe that a goal I’ve had for over a decade is almost here.
  • I have spent the last 2 years working on a proposal and talking to publishers to finally reach this point.
  • Not sure how tonight will feel, but I hope it isn’t anti-climatic.
  • Yesterday was a busy day at Revolution.
  • We had 5 photographers taking free family pictures before and after the service.
  • Love how many gifted artists our church has and their willingness to bless our church like that.
  • The response to the pictures is always great.
  • Yesterday was one of those sermons that did not go as I expected it to go.
  • Preachers can relate to that.
  • In one regard it went really well and I communicated everything that I wanted to, which is always good.
  • In another regard, I felt like I preached 2 different sermons.
  • After I was done, the response was overwhelming, which was unexpected because how I felt.
  • Love how God works that way.
  • Had a first time guest come up right after the service and tell me he had become a Christian during the message.
  • Never gets old hearing that.
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here.
  • Read the new book Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration over the weekend. 
  • So many lessons for pastors and churches in it.
  • I don’t know about you, but I spent a good portion of the weekend following the NFL draft.
  • I can’t wait for football season.
  • I may have to blog about this, but maybe not, but I am tired of people saying, “Michael Sam is just a football player.”
  • So tired of hearing that because no one is treating him like that, especially Michael Sam.
  • Finally got to watch the new episode of 24 last night.
  • So good.
  • Funny how much it looks and feels like the old 24.
  • I thought, we really waited 5 years for them to do this?
  • Still great though.
  • I don’t know about you, but I am ready for summer to get here.
  • I’m excited for what lays ahead for my summer.
  • Hope you have some great plans.
  • Time to get back to it.
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Questions Every Blogger/Writer MUST Answer

Close up of vintage typewriter machine

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about why every leader and pastor should blog. If you decide to blog, here are a couple of things you need to think through:

  1. Why. Most people struggle with what to blog about, more on that in a minute. Why are you blogging? Why is it worth your time? If your goal with blogging is to build a platform to write a book, that’s a poor reason. Do you want to help people? Serve people? Get better at writing? Be famous? It is important to have a stated goal when it comes to your blog. Not everyone should blog. If you don’t have a compelling reason to start blogging, once the fad of it wears off, you will quit.
  2. What. This is the content. For me, I blog about things I find interesting and helpful. I blog about leadership, books, preaching, family, marriage, NFL, fantasy football, crossfit. Things I like. I assume that there are others out there who are interested in what I am interested in and so far, that seems to be the case. I will share things I think will be helpful to my readers and my church, things I’m learning, things I want to rant about, things about my kids and Katie. Some blogs are focused on one topic, which is great if that’s what you want to do. You should have a focus though, a grid that helps you decide what you do and don’t blog about.
  3. How often. This right here is one reason most blogs fail. They don’t blog enough. You can read about how to design a blog, what plug-ins to use, how to connect it to social media (and you should do all this). If you don’t blog on a regular basis, your blog will not get off the ground. I probably blog too much, but that’s my choice. Some blog 3 times a week or everyday. The point is, your readers need to know how often you will blog. People will tire of checking back on your blog for new information and it isn’t there, they will give up. I would say someone should start blogging when they can do it 3 times a week.

Blogging takes work, it is a job in many ways. You will spend hours writing, working on ideas, finding pictures for posts, responding to comments, looking for links to share and doing it all over again.

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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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Fast Company on The secrets of the best public speakers.

Why atheists lose debates with William Lane Craig.

Andrew at Evaluating Christianity has put up some excellent posts of advice on how to debate William Lane Craig (onetwothreefourfive). The reason Craig wins all his debates with atheists is not because his arguments are sound, but because he is a masterful debater. Craig has been honing his debate skills literally since high school. Not only that, but he is a Ph.D. philosopher and encyclopedic historian: an expert on the two subjects he debates, the existence of God and the resurrection of Jesus. Let me repeat. Craig has done 20+ years of Ph.D+ level research in the two fields he debates, has published hundreds of academic books and papers on both subjects, and has been debating since high school.

Justin Lanthrop on I’m a pastor. So, who are my real friends?

One of the most difficult parts of being a pastor, or working in church ministry, isn’t talked about much—and that is the difficulty of making close friends.

Sam Rainer on The biggest leadership distraction.

A lot gets said about followers that create distractions. Those distractions exist. And they can be great time wasters. The greater distraction, however, is the one created by the leader.

Why do so many pastors leave the ministry, the answers might shock you. So sad, but so true for many pastors.

It’s true that some pastors fall into temptation and yet others simply feel it’s their time to call it quits. But often it goes much deeper than that. And the stats reveal much.

Bill Tenny-Brittian on Preaching to a new target.

Most of us pastor-types were taught to preach primarily to a Modern, well-churched or well-church-experienced audience. The target of our preaching was essentially “one of us.”

Passionate Seattle Seahawks fans watch the NFC championship game in complete silence

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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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My latest post on The Blog of Manly: How to set goals and accomplish them.

Since we’re now into January and the luster of New Years Resolutions has begun to wear off, I felt like its time to share some ideas on how to set goals and keep them. Resolutions are just that, goals. They are hopes for the future. In December we look at our lives, the things we don’t like about them and set a goal to change that specific area of our lives.

The title makes it clear someone is really important—and that someone is you. God is Not Mad at You, Reposition Yourself, Your Best Life Now, Become a Better You, It’s Your Time… I’m noticing a trend here. Someone’s a pretty big deal, and apparently that someone is me. I feel so much better now. It’s advice that could easily be confused with the message from a fortune cookie.

Brian Howard on How to free up 8 hours in your week.

11 traits of churches that will impact the future.

To reach a changing culture, the church needs to change. Rapidly. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t need to change the message. Just the method. One is sacred. The other is not. What isn’t as clear is what the future church will look like, and what kind of characteristics will mark those churches. However, I think a few trends are becoming clear. Not all of these might be correct, but I think the following eleven traits describe the kind of churches that will have a significant impact a decade from now.

Ron Edmondson on 7 ways a wife is injuring her husband without even knowing it.

It’s an emotional injury. Sometimes those are the worst kind of hurts. The person doing the injuring: His wife. And she…most likely…doesn’t even know she’s doing it.

What one pastor would like to ask President Obama concerning abortion.

Let your husband love you. Great words for wives and moms.

I get it. The kids have been climbing on you all day. One or both of your boobs have been exposed 87% of the day and you’re sick of being clawed at, sucked on, licked, punched, kicked, pulled, snotted on, cried on, spit up on, pooped on, and peed on. You’ve wiped butts and noses and counters and walls all day. You’ve battled attitudes and arched backs and Dora the Explorer since dawn and you’re tired. So. So. Tired. I know. I really really do.

Taylor Gahm on The Gift of Inadequacy (This has a warning on language but the ideas he shares are really good)

More NFL Lip Reading (so funny)
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Control Your Own Destiny

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Yesterday was week 17 of a thrilling NFL season. As a Steelers fan, I could hardly believe that we still had a shot at the playoffs after starting 0-4. While it was disappointing we didn’t get in, and one of my sons did cry about it, but it got me thinking: football is easier when you control your own destiny. 

The same is true in life.

It is easier when you control your own destiny. 

Yet, so many people don’t.

Here’s what I mean.

We allow others to dictate what is important to us. What we spend our money on. What things our kids sign up for. Where we vacation. If we exercise or not or have an overall healthy lifestyle. Others dictate how we run our calendars, work habits, and even emotions.

For many people, very little of what they do is what they want to do.

Which leaves them tired, burned out, stressed, lifeless and ultimately, playing catch up instead of walking into the playoffs of life.

Here are 4 things you can do to control your own destiny:

  1. Decide you will. This is the first step of anything. If you are struggling with an addiction, you have to identify it and decide this is the time to change. It is the same with your destiny. Make a conscious choice to control it and put things into place to keep this true in your life.
  2. Accountability and systems to make it happen. You may need to have a friend hold you accountable with this. You might need to put some systems into place. If you have kids, keep the activities they do at a time to one. Not 4, but one. Keep the extra things you do to one. Will this keep you or your kids from having a well rounded, experiential life? I’m not sure, but that isn’t the goal. Who cares if they play 5 sports or do dance, horseback riding, cello lessons and soccer. Oh, you care? Someone else cares for you? Then read point #3.
  3. Identify the fear, idol, or desire that causes you to give away your destiny. This drives so much of what we do. We talked about this yesterday at Revolution. The fear we will miss out or not matter drives so much of what we do and the choices we make with our calendar, money and lifestyle. Stop it. Identify that this is a lie and identify the truth. The person who is driving this in your life did not die on the cross for you and rise from the dead to set you free. Jesus did. If you have trusted in this, you are approved. Your destiny is set. Which leads to the last one.
  4. Trust that God’s destiny is better than what someone else can come up with for you. Approval in God is hard to believe sometimes. The idea that I am approved as a follower of Jesus because of his death and resurrection is hard to believe. I can’t be more approved in him. There isn’t some approval waiting around a corner that I haven’t experienced yet. Because of this, my destiny is set and secure. This is a daily practice of reminding myself of this. Believing my destiny is secure and it is better than what I could come up with or the person(s) driving me right now.

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Rex Ryan: The Model Father?

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This past Saturday, Rex Ryan, head coach of the NY Jets caused a stir in New York City by skipping out on the last day of cuts and going to see his son dress for a college football game at Clemson. His son is a walk on for that team.

If you aren’t familiar with “cut day” for the NFL, it is when all teams must get their rosters to 53 players. This day was Saturday, the same day as the Clemson football game.

According to one NY reporter, “his trip to watch his son play is ‘big F.U. to all of the players,’ that coach was going to watch son play…Ryan shirked his professional responsibilities for personal ones.”

Did he shirk his professional responsibilities for personal ones? According to ProFootballTalk, “Ryan had permission from the Jets owner to attend the game.”

Let’s say it is true and he had permission to attend the game. The question becomes if it was a wise move.

From the perspective of a father, the answer is yes. They didn’t decide who was being cut that morning. Those cuts were in the process all week. It isn’t like Rex Ryan could not be reached if something came up.

How many times does your son dress for his first college football game? Once. You can’t replace that. I still remember my first college soccer game that I dressed for. I was so excited about it and my dad surprised me by driving 5 hours one way to see it. Right when the game was over, he drove 5 hours back because he had to work the next day. And I played 0 minutes in that game, but he was there to see me dress. I had accomplished one of my goals and he didn’t miss it.

That’s choosing what matters.

If you are a dad, you have professional responsibilities and personal responsibilities. Everyday is a balancing act of those 2 worlds. There are times you won’t be able to get back. The “first” experiences your kids have of anything is one of those. Being at games, recitals, plays, concerts, don’t come around again. As a father, every choice you make with your time and your family has enormous implications for years to come. Every adult can look back on their childhood and see the absence or presence of their father and know this is true.

I would say, as a father, Rex Ryan made the only choice that should have been on the table.

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Monday Morning Mind Dump…

mind dump

  • Such an awesome day yesterday
  • We had our highest non-holiday attendance ever!
  • So amazing how God continues to grow our church
  • We had to add more chairs, which we almost ran out of
  • I preached on one of my favorite passages yesterday, John 10
  • Had someone else take the step of following Jesus
  • We’ve had at least 1 person every week for the last month
  • Never gets old seeing people start following Jesus
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here
  • I had my fantasy football draft last night with some guys from church
  • Can’t wait for football to start
  • So ready
  • If you’re curious, you can see my team here
  • This week, our paperwork should be submitted to the embassy in Ethiopia to bring our son home
  • This is a huge step, so pray that nothing slows it down
  • You can read Katie’s last blog post (and see some pictures) on the journey here and here
  • We still need to raise close to $3,000 to bring him home, so if you would like to help us, you give a tax deductible gift here
  • Every little bit helps
  • Wednesday we are shooting our 5 year anniversary video
  • So excited to celebrate what God has done on September 15th and look towards the future
  • Lord willing, this time next year we will begin preview services for Revolution Church|Midtown
  • Speaking of midtown
  • This past week, I got to spend some time with some pastors leading or planting churches in midtown praying together for each other and our churches
  • Love the unity that God is bringing to Tucson
  • Definitely a change since we moved here 7 years ago
  • Got to go and buy the fabric Katie will use to make our kids halloween costumes yesterday
  • A princess, 2 crusaders and 2 vikings
  • Should be pretty funny
  • Our boys are excited that they get weapons
  • Yes, we go trick or treating
  • Here’s why
  • Friday on date night, Katie and I went to see The Butler
  • So good
  • Adopting a child of another race, the movie made a huge impact on me and the history of our country and world
  • Til next week…

Monday Morning Mind Dump…

mind dump

  • Feels like forever since I’ve done this blog post
  • Feels good to be back in a normal rhythm
  • It was incredible being  back at Revolution yesterday and having the chance to preach live
  • It had been 8 weeks since I preached a live sermon there
  • I missed my church, a lot
  • I preached from John 9 and looked at how Jesus redeems and heals the darkest places of our lives
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here
  • At the end of the service Paul said in the closing, “I’m so glad to have Josh back, when he’s gone, I don’t know what to do”
  • So funny
  • The last few weeks have been a roller coaster of a ride as we went to Ethiopia to meet our son
  • We will return in a few weeks to pass embassy and bring him home
  • We need to raise $5,000 to do that
  • So you can help by donating here and click the donate button (it’s tax-deductible), so we can bring him home
  • On our many plane rides I got to watch a ton of movies and read a lot of books
  • Made it through The Making of a Leader, Unusually Excellent, One Way Love, Brain Rules, First, Look Before You Leadand To Live is Christ
  • Reviews are coming
  • Katie and I also got to spend 3 days in Rome on our way back
  • The crazy thing was that it saved us over $3,000 in airfare to stop in Rome instead of flying straight home
  • Turns out summer mission trip season worked against us in going to Africa to meet our son
  • Tonight the Steelers have a preseason game on TV, so the whole family has their Steelers shirts on today
  • Can’t wait for real football
  • Can’t wait for Revolution next week
  • Unpacking the picture of who God is from John 10:1 – 21 and how God protects us, rescues us, watches over us and ultimately wants to give us life and not death
  • It’s going to be a powerful day

Monday Morning Mind Dump…

mind-dump

  • Yesterday was a super long day, but a really good one
  • It started off with some MC leader training
  • Really excited to see more and more people stepping up to get involved and wanting to be leaders at Revolution
  • One of our big prayers is that by January, our MC’s will double from 10 to 20
  • We continued our series Jesus Changes Everything yesterday and looked at John 1:35 – 51
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here
  • I talked about how Jesus does not call us to ask him into our hearts, pray a prayer or make him our personal savior
  • Instead, He calls us to follow him, to make him Lord
  • The implications on this are enormous
  • A couple of books that have been hugely helpful to me in this thinking are J.D. Greear’s Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart and David Platt’s Follow Me
  • Booked our summer vacation this past week, so excited about a week in San Diego with Katie and the kids
  • I can almost hear and smell the ocean simply by typing those words
  • Yesterday we had another newcomer’s lunch
  • It’s amazing to me that we’ve had 4 of those in 2013 and so far have had almost 80 newcomer’s at them total
  • Unreal
  • So excited for the NFL draft this weekend
  • The NFL draft signifies that the NFL season is almost here and I don’t have to hear about baseball and basketball
  • They move too slow for me
  • Tomorrow night I’m speaking on the U of A campus at a ministry called EPIC
  • I get to talk with college students about self-control
  • Should be a fun night
  • I’m trying to remember the reaction I would have to someone talking to me about self-control in college
  • I’d love to hear what you would tell them if you were talking to them
  • Leave a comment here
  • Katie and I are also trying to nail down our final fundraiser for our Ethiopian adoption as we just got out “on-deck email”
  • Stay tuned for how you can help after we put more details together
  • It is crazy to think that by the end of 2013 our agency thinks we’ll take 2 trips to Ethiopia and bring our child home
  • Exciting and scary all at the same time

Monday Morning Mind Dump… [Afternoon Edition]

mind-dump

  • Getting this up a little later than normal on Monday’s, but that should be okay
  • Yesterday was a great day at Revolution
  • I preached on the doctrine of Jesus being God and being God in human flesh while on earth
  • Essentially a theology class on a Sunday morning
  • It was awesome
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here
  • I am loving the feeling of the gospel of John right now
  • Definitely a great change up after going through Ecclesiastes as a church
  • This past weekend was a special weekend for me personally as Katie and I celebrated our 11th Anniversary
  • We are celebrating it twice
  • We’re going to see Sigur Ros this week
  • I can’t wait to see them
  • Last week we went out to see Wicked, which was incredible
  • We were able to get $120 tickets for $40
  • I haven’t posted a music monday in awhile, but did one today you can check out if you missed it
  • Really excited for Revolution this week as we look at how to prepare the way for Jesus in our lives and the lives of others
  • If you want to live on mission and see the world changed, you have to prep it for that change
  • Love how John lays that out in his gospel
  • Finishing up a really funny book on raising daughters called Big Daddy’s Rules
  • Yes it is written by a non-Christian actor
  • Yes it has some swearing in it
  • Yes, it is awesome and has tons of insights for fathers
  • I have never laughed this much while reading a book, which is a good thing for me right now and slightly annoying for Katie when we read at night
  • Ready for March Madness to end tonight, because that means we are one day closer to the NFL starting
  • I got Louisville winning