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.

Something to Laugh at on Father’s Day

How to Help Your Kids Fail

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Sunday I talked about how to fail forward as adults and how many people live their lives like they are using a whiffle ball bat, where they take away every possibility of failure. If you missed it, you can listen to it here.

Sadly, many parents parent this way. They stack the deck to make sure their kids never experience a setback or failure. Here are a few examples:

  • Your child announces at 8pm they have a project due tomorrow that they’ve known about for a week or two. What do you do? The whiffle ball bat parent jumps into action and gets it done, probably even finishing it after the child goes to bed.
  • Your child gets a trophy for every single sports team they are on or competition they are part of.
  • Your child never tries anything new, so the only activities they do are things they are good at (this is common among adults).

Think back to the parent and the 8pm project, what would happen if you didn’t finish the project and your child got an incomplete or F for that assignment? Would their life end? Probably not. A valuable lesson would be learned.

Because we as adults hate failure (and who doesn’t), we try to ensure that our kids don’t experience failure. The problem with that is failure is the best way to learn about something (besides learning from the failure of others). If we don’t allow our kids to experience failure of some kind, we don’t teach them how to bounce back from something, how to pick themselves up, how to react in a healthy way to life not turning out how they want (because that will happen as an adult).

In the end, we send them out of the house ill-prepared for life.

Sadly, I’ll hear from countless parents whose kids walk away from the church and one of the reasons has to do with failure and faith.

When it comes to faith, we don’t challenge and encourage our kids to have a God-sized faith. We don’t challenge them to pray impossible prayers, the ones that God will have to move for something to happen. In the end, they grow up seeing a God they don’t need, a God who seems less powerful than they are and they wonder, “Why have faith? Why have anything to do with God?” If you have a son, he sees the church as boring, not worth giving his life to and will find a mission that will drive his passion, but the world won’t be changed.

The dominos can be enormous.

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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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Ron Edmondson on 7 suggestions for an effective Easter.

This is an “all hands on deck” Sunday. Plan every detail you possibly can. Plan for and expect excellence. It’s that important. Hopefully by now you have already started talking about it, but people need to know the importance you are placing on the day. Make it a big deal, because it is a big deal.

Forbes ranks the 9 toughest leadership roles. Interesting where pastor and stay-at-home mom landed.

Tim Elmore on The different types of parents and how they affect their kids.

Tragically, this is often the case for many of us.  Instead of learning from our parent’s shortcomings, we echo them in our parenting. The opposite can also be true–in an effort to learn from our parent’s mistakes, we can swing the pendulum too far and commit the opposite error.  Instead of being passive, we smother (or vice versa).

7 reasons preachers should read fiction.

Imagination is a muscle. It needs to be exercised. Unlike movies, books make you use that imagination. When I think of Charles Spurgeon or Jonathan Edwards – what strikes me about their preaching is their vivid imagination.

Sutton Turner on How an executive pastor frees up a lead pastor.

One of the easiest ways an executive pastor can complement the lead pastor is by doing the things the lead pastor isn’t gifted to do. The lead pastor needs to do the things that only he can do, and the executive pastor needs to do the things that he and the lead pastor can both do.

5 reasons why one Christian teen didn’t rebel. Super helpful for parents.

My parents never encouraged any idea of teenage-hood rebellion. They never joked about us rolling our eyes, acting exasperated, or having attitude at all. Rather, they actually made us think that teenagers and the whole rebellion process was stupid and unnecessary. I always figured that I would grow up straight from child to adult, with no “silly teenage stage” in-between. You may think that this is no fun, or that kids need their time to be silly and make mistakes.

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The One Thing Destroying Your Marriage That You Don’t Realize

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On a regular basis I will hear from a parent, “My child is disrespectful to me or to my spouse and I don’t know what to do about it.” Or I’ll hear this from someone, “I can’t seem to connect with my spouse. We don’t connect sexually. We don’t connect emotionally or relationally.”

What is going on? I’m about to pull my hair out. I don’t know what to do.

Your kids reaction to you is a mirror of how they see you react to your spouse.

Here’s an example.

I knew a couple who made fun of each other. It was how, they would say, “joked with each other.” The problem was, everything they said to the other person had a little bit of truth in it. “We’re always late because of this one” (laughter). “Wow, your husband does that, wish my husband wasn’t so lazy” (laughter). “Sweetie, look at what Joe got for Sue. Remember when you got me a necklace 5 years ago” (laughter). “So, you’re the couple that has sex 5 times a week. I’ve heard about couples like that. What’s that like?” (laughter).

Those are real lines that I’ve sat and heard a person say in front of their spouse and a group. Consequently, those aren’t even the worse ones.

Now, each time the whole group laughed (some nervously).

Each time and don’t miss this: There was truth in each statement. 

Couples use joking and making fun of their spouse as a way of communicating truth. Now, this is a destructive and unhealthy way to communicate truth, but nevertheless a powerful way.

The problem is that over time, it is disrespectful, it tears the other down and it does not build oneness in your marriage. Eventually, the only communication that happens in your marriage is nagging, nitpicking and making fun.

Why?

Because your spouse will reciprocate.

If you have kids, this gets magnified.

Your child will see how you tear down your husband, how you make fun of your wife and do you know what they will think? That’s how I communicate to mom or dad.

The respect a child shows a parent will always be less than the respect a husband gives his wife, or a wife gives to her husband. Always. 

So, back to the statement at the beginning.

Every time I hear those statements, my heart breaks. It means people are miserable. It means that the picture of the gospel that marriage is supposed to be is broken to the world around it. It means couples aren’t communicating well. That couples aren’t fighting well.

It also means that as children watch, the cycle will most likely continue. They will see how to relate to their parents (in an unhealthy and disrespectful way). Boys will see how his mom treats her husband with disrespect and condescension and think, “If I want a woman to respect me, I need to dominate her, I need to be rough with her” instead of loving and serving her. Daughters will watch her father disrespect her mom and think, “that is how men treat women, they make fun, they put down, they do not show love and respect to women.”

When moving from this, when a child disrespects a parent, it is best if the other parent correct the child. Simply saying, “That’s not how we talk to daddy, we talk to him with respect.” If the child is older and responds with how disrespectful you are. Take the opportunity to admit your sin to your child and apologize. Yes, be angry at their sin, but realize their sin is simply from watching you. 

If you are not proactive, this cycle will just continue and that is disastrous to your marriage and family (and one day to the marriage of your child).

If you aren’t careful, this is the one thing that will destroy your marriage (and your family) and there is a good chance you don’t realize it. 

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Tell the Story of Your Kids

What is your story?

This week, Ashton turned 5. Hard to believe he is 5.

It meant that it was also time for me to write him a birthday letter. This is a practice I started with our daughter when she was born.

One of the things I believe a dad can do it help to tell the story of their child’s life to them. I feel like with the rise of technology and pace in our lives, we lose an aspect of stories and remembering.

So, every year on their birthday I write them a letter about what happened in their life in this past year. How our family changed, how they changed, milestones in their life. I save each letter and will give them to them when they turn 18 or graduate from college. I haven’t decided yet.

My hope is that this will be a chronicle of what happened, a way of showing them how they became who they are, where they came from. As I talk to a lot of young adults, there seems to be a loss of not only who they are, but where they have come from. A rootless feeling for many.

I want them to see their heritage, so that as they move into the world as an adult, they know where they came from and who they are.

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Helping Your Kids Process People Who Walk Out

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One of the hardest parts of parenting is helping your kids process the people who walk out of their lives. It might be a parent, a friend, or if you are a pastor, someone who used to attend your church.

As Revolution Church has grown, people have moved away, moved to a different church or just altogether decided to be done with church. All of them hurt.

This came up in our home the other night as one of our kids asked about someone who used to be in our MC and if they were coming over to watch the Super Bowl. We said, “No, they go to a different church now.” Our son looked at us and asked, “Why?”

That moment as a parent is hard, especially if that person hurt you as well. You want to be honest with your child, but you also don’t want to give your sin to your child and you want to help your child have a healthy view of that person.

It can be equally hard if you are an adoptive parent and your child asks, “Why am I here?”

So what do you do?

Here are 7 things to keep in mind when you help your child understand why someone walked out:

  1. Understand what is your sin and how it affects you. Every time a relationship ends, there is a death. There is sin on both sides. You may be convinced there is more sin in the other person, and there may be, but that isn’t important at this moment. Your response about this person, to this person, when you talk to others about this person will show if your heart is healed and if you have let go. If you struggle with letting go of people or your past, listen to this sermon Katie and I preached on the topic.
  2. Ask your child about that person. Let your child have a chance to talk about this person. As an adult, you have probably discussed the person and situation at length and may be tired of talking about it, but your child may not have had the opportunity. They may have just realized that person isn’t around anymore or this may be the first time they want to discuss it. Let them talk it out. Also, ask them what they miss the most. This will give you a window into the hole that is in their heart and how it can best be filled.
  3. Don’t lie. Whatever you do, don’t lie. Don’t stretch the truth to make this person look worse. It is easy to do, but that is not helpful (and a sin).
  4. Protect their heart. Don’t go into all the details. They don’t need to know if they are wrecking their life, that isn’t helpful. Don’t give them your jaded view of the person.
  5. Talk about who is still in your life. Switch gears and talk about who is coming over, who is still in our life as friends and family. Ask them who they are thankful for and why.
  6. It is not about the child. Remind them of the hard truth that while it might feel to them as a child that it is about them, it is not. This will be something you may continually have to remind your child, especially in a divorce or abandonment situation.
  7. Be prepared to be disappointed. As a parent who has been divorced or has adopted or has married a deadbeat, you will often have to pick up the pieces for your child and make do. This is part of parenting. You may not have realized it when you signed up, but it is part of it, just like the fun times. Be prepared. Protect your heart. Do not let another person steal your joy and fight with everything you have for the joy of your child.

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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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Josh Watt on The technology question every parent must answer.

A lot of parents are hesitant to be proactive in their children’s life of technology, because they just can’t keep up with the speed at which it’s changing. Other parents are hesitant, because they haven’t seen good parenting modeled in this area. The other reality is parents are on the front end of parenting the digital generation and frankly we are all learning as we go. Yet there is another hindrance to parents being proactive in their children’s online lives, and it is this inner struggle we all have to varying degrees: “Don’t my kids have the right to some privacy?”

What you need to know as a pastor about the new ruling from the Wisconsin judge concerning housing allowance.

The clergy housing allowance isn’t a government establishment of religion, but just the reverse. The allowance is neutral to all religions. Without it, clergy in small congregations of all sorts would be penalized and harmed.

Andrew Walker on Jesus and the same-sex marriage debate.

If Christians are to support same-sex marriage, they should do so by way of intellectual honesty and acknowledge their abandonment of biblical authority, for there is no reasonable way to deduce from Scripture an exegetical case for same-sex marriage.

Mike Niebauer on Is it actually harder to be a pastor than doing another job?

As a pastor who often hears other ministers teach and preach, I am disturbed by the number of times pastors allude to their jobs as being particularly difficult. Yes, we face many challenges—ministry may involve times of high emotional and spiritual duress—but I don’t think these difficulties merit special recognition with regard to other vocations. After all, being a pastor involves almost no manual labor, which makes it physically easier than most other occupations in history. It doesn’t require a 60- to 80-hour work week, unless you somehow equate longer working hours with more of the Holy Spirit’s presence. And although the emotional and spiritual challenges faced are difficult, teachers and social workers—to take just two examples—face similar or greater obstacles.

Aaron Armstrong on She’s done the impossible.

This weekend, Mark Driscoll broke the Internet in half. Again.

Ron Edmondson on 5 ways for an introvert to survive the holidays.

It’s the holiday season again. I love the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I really do. But, for us introverts, it can also be a very difficult season. We are far more likely to be placed in awkward, uncomfortable situations.

Tim Challies on 10 steps to preach from an iPad.

There are many ways to go about it, but I will tell you about the system I have been using for the past year or so. I have found that it works very well. You need only two programs to do this: Pages and GoodReader (or Word and GoodReader if you use a PC). While I continue to use a full-size iPad, this system will work just as well with the Mini.