Top Posts of January

top 10 list 2010-resized-600

It was a great first month of 2014 on my blog. Tons of traffic and interactions. If you missed anything, not to worry, here are the top 10 posts for the month:

  1. When a Staff Member or Volunteer says, “I’m Done”
  2. The 3 Most Destructive Words a Man Hears Growing up Are: “Be a Man”
  3. Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace
  4. What I Eat
  5. 10 Gospel Truths about Homosexuality
  6. Photoshop, Beauty & Women
  7. 6 Ways to Stay Motivated to be Healthy
  8. Leading Up
  9. The Weight of Pastoring
  10. Why do a Series on Men & Women?
Enhanced by Zemanta

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

Nick Roen on An alternative script for same-sex attraction.

“There is nothing wrong with living a gay lifestyle. In fact, if you repress who you are, you will never live a happy, fulfilled life. Be true to yourself!” This is the overwhelming message of society regarding homosexuality. Mark Yarhouse refers to this as “the gay script,” the blueprint for how homosexuals are to live. “Embrace who you are,” a swelling number shout, “and you will find happiness!” I disagree.

Fast Company on 10 surprising stats about social media that will make you change your social media strategy.

Tom Ascol on 35 lessons from being a pastor for 35 years.

Thirty-five years ago this month I began serving my first church as pastor. The Rock Prairie Baptist Church in College Station, Texas took a major risk on a senior Texas A&M student by issuing me a call to be their pastor. It was my happy privilege to serve them for nearly two years before being called to the Spring Valley Baptist Church in Dallas. I am currently in my twenty-eighth year of serving Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida. As I recently reflected on the last thirty-five years I wrote down some lessons learned and convictions I’ve come to or continued to hold.

Thom Rainer on Pastors and christmas gifts.

I asked a simple question on Twitter: What do you do for your pastor at Christmas time? For pastors, I asked what their congregations gave them at Christmas. Though my survey was not scientific, it was nevertheless revealing. I am truly concerned about how congregations treat pastors. I thought the issue of the Christmas gift would at least be an indicator of such concern.

Matt Walsh on Men, your porn habit is an adultery habit.

I know a guy who cheats on his wife. He cheats on her every day. He cheats on her multiple times a day. He’s a husband and a father and a serial adulterer.

Mark Driscoll on How many people should go on the honeymoon?

In the absence of any cultural definition of gender or marriage, let alone any restriction on sex, relationships in our society will only get cloudier. We will see polygamy legalized in my lifetime, perhaps even in the next twenty years.

Michael Lukaszewski on Why people don’t do what you preach.

Your content was carefully researched, outlined in detail, and prayed over it multiple times. You put in hours of study on an important topic and you communicate your guts out, only to have people walk out the door and forget everything by lunch or kickoff. You delivered a faithful, accurate, truthful and well-written message. And nobody did anything.

Planning a Preaching Calendar

book

I mentioned in my mind dump on Monday that we have our sermons for 2014 planned out and I got a few emails from guys asking how we plan that far in advance, what goes into it, how we decide what to do that far in advance, etc.

So, here are some thoughts.

First, why plan that far in advance. This often gets debated. Should you plan at the last minute or plan ahead. The fly by the seat of their pants guys will often say, “I’m waiting for the Holy Spirit to speak” or “If you plan that far in advance, you will take the Holy Spirit out of it.” I’ve learned that the Holy Spirit can speak 1 hour before I preach a sermon and 1 year before I preach a sermon. I just need to listen. I think planning ahead is biblical and wise, whether it is your life or ministry. Can you take the Holy Spirit out of things by planning that far in advance? Yes. You can also take the Holy Spirit out by being a last minute guy because you are more likely to preach what you want to preach.

Here are a few things I think through when planning a preaching calendar:

  1. What have I already preached on. It is important to know what you have already preached on and not repeat it. If you have just done 3 NT books of the Bible, change it up. We try to alternate between old testament and new. It doesn’t always happen that way, but that’s the rhythm we seek to have. We are in John right now and before that we did Ecclesiastes, Ephesians, Joshua, and before that 1 & 2 Peter. You don’t have to rigidly lock into that, but it helps to make sure you are preaching different books, topics and genres of Scripture.
  2. What topics do I feel like my church needs to hear. This gets at who is at your church, who you are hoping to reach, what questions your culture is asking. Every year at our church, we seek to preach on marriage, relationships, generosity, and money. We will hit those topics every single year regardless of what books we preach through. Why? Our culture is always asking questions about those things. In this point, you need to think through time of year. We talked about doing a series on pain and suffering in February 2014, but people aren’t asking those questions then. They are still asking questions about meaning, purpose and how to have a better new year, be a better person. You can argue those aren’t great questions to ask, but you can’t argue with the fact that they are asking those questions.
  3. What haven’t I talked on recently. This helps to identify the places you gravitate towards and help expose things you are afraid to address or have simply skipped. This is when you look back at your old sermon schedule and see where you’ve been.
  4. What am I passionate about. This can be good and bad. It is good because you have to preach what you are passionate about. Otherwise, no one will listen. It is bad because you can easily preach what you are only passionate about. It took me 5 years at Revolution to preach through a whole gospel. Why? Because I love the NT letters more. That can be unhealthy for a church if it goes too long. Other preachers stay in the gospels and ignore Paul, or ignore the OT.
  5. Where is my church going. This is a vision question. What is coming up in the next year that you can preach towards? For Revolution, we are praying towards planting Revolution Church | Midtown next year, because of that, I want to preach towards that. We are going to go through 1 Corinthians next year leading up to that moment. This will allow me to hit topics of a gospel centered church, what the gospel does, talk about how a church responds to divorce, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, how a church functions with spiritual gifts, leadership and other issues that arise in a church. This means though, as a pastor you need to lead with vision and know where you are going.

[Image]

Saturday Night Mind Dump…

  • Tonight was one of those nights where I was reminded of the weight of preaching
  • I talked about wisdom and decision making and the reality that we don’t end up somewhere by accident, instead, we are where we are because of a series of choices
  • As I was preparing this week and preaching tonight, I kept thinking about the people in our church that I know are wrestling with choices they are making or have made
  • It definitely brought the weight to the front of my mind
  • As I finished, you could feel God working in the room, it was a powerful feeling
  • If you missed tonight, you can listen to it here
  • We are having another rummage sale for our adoption next week
  • If you are interested in helping set up or work the rummage sale or if you have anything you’d like to donate, let us know
  • We are collecting stuff in our neighborhood tomorrow, praying that our neighbors will be stirred to be a part of this and not think we are crazy
  • Speaking of our adoption, here is the latest update on our adoption: we’ve raised over $3,000 in the last 14 days!
  • Found out this week, I am going to be a live blogger for the Together for Adoption conference in Phoenix in October
  • If you are thinking about adopting, want to figure out how to be involved with adoption, this is an event you definitely want to check out
  • Been reading The Praying Life right now, really challenging me in my prayer life and how I connect with God
  • I’ve been working on the study guide for our next series, so excited about preaching through the Old Testament
  • Hoping to finish that this week
  • Been pretty blown away this week watching the coverage of the NFL labor talks, reminded of how easy it is to want more than what you have
  • Don’t forget, we go to 2 services in 2 weeks, starting on March 26th