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. If you want to be a great leader, you must have vision.
  2. Donald Zimmerman on How to structure your worship ministry. This makes me appreciate Paul Ingram all the more.
  3. Personal branding for introverts.
  4. Tim Challies on Do you have a personal relationship with Satan?
  5. Great leaders are rarely normal, well-adjusted people.
  6. Garrett Kell on How to destroy your marriage before it begins.
  7. Hannah Joiner on Secrets for dads with daughters.
  8. Stop trying to date yourself. Great word for singles.
  9. Chan Kilgore on What he wished he would’ve known about leadership, parenting and satanic attacks when he started pastoring. If you are a pastor or thinking about it, this is a great series of blog posts.
  10. Will people have a chance to repent after they die?
  11. Trevin Wax on When your kids say “Dad, I know all the bible stories.”
  12. What one pastor wish he would’ve known about critics and parenting when he started pastoring.
  13. Thom Rainer on 7 tips for introverted pastors.
  14. The most important interview Rick Warren has ever done. I watched this last night and was blown away while watching it. Really a moving interview.
  15. How to not make a hiring mistake.

An Awkward Interview on a New book

New Song on Sunday at Revolution

So excited for Paul to teach this song to our church. Listen to it and come ready to sing it out.

If you are looking for some good worship music to listen to at home, download this album from Elevation Worship (this is the album that this song appears on).

This Weekend @ Revolution Church: Fearless

I love the first week of a brand new series. I am off the charts excited about this one for a few reasons:

  1. Joshua is one of my favorite books of the Bible. He is so easy to relate to for me. He is a guy who has seen God do some incredible things, he has a desire for God to use him to do incredible things and to have a big faith, and yet, God is constantly having to remind Joshua that He is always with Joshua, that He will never leave him and for Joshua to not be afraid.
  2. I will be sharing where we are moving as a church, when we are moving and how you can be involved in that process. After almost 6 months of looking for a place, I am so excited to share about the doors God has opened to us and what lays ahead.
  3. Paul will be teaching this new song that will be an anthem for this series. So listen to it, learn it and come ready to sing loud.

I will be preaching out of Joshua 1:1 – 9 and 3:1 – 17 if you want to read ahead this week.

So, bring someone with you for this great night.

I’ll see you this Saturday, at 5pm. 

Remember, we meet at 6620 E 22nd St.

See you Saturday.

Leaders Lack of Faith

As Katie and I are reading through the bible in 90 days, I’m sharing things that have jumped out to me. It’s interesting what jumps out to you when you read 12 pages of the Bible in one sitting. Today I’m working through Numbers. I often think Leviticus and Numbers are the reasons people don’t read through the Bible when they set to to do so. But, if you skip them, you skip some gems.

Today I came across Numbers 11:11 – 15. The nation of Israel is in the wilderness and they are whining to Moses. So Moses goes to God:

11 Moses said to the LORD, “Why have you dealt ill with your servant? And why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me? 12 Did I conceive all this people? Did I give them birth, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a nursing child,’ to the land that you swore to give their fathers? 13 Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me and say, ‘Give us meat, that we may eat.’ 14 I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If you will treat me like this, kill me at once, if I find favor in your sight, that I may not see my wretchedness.”

As a leader, I can resonate with Moses. Being a pastor can be hard. People have expectations of you, your wife and your family that are impossible to live up to. People will expect you to be like their last pastor, even when they didn’t like their last pastor. They will complain about the music, even if they like the music. I remember a mentor telling me once that when it comes to being a pastor, everyone in your church thinks they know how easy it is and how to do it better than you. He said, “Honestly, you are probably the least qualified in their minds to do your job.” While I’m blessed to not have the church he had and have a great team of people who support us, believe in us, pray for us, hold up my arms when I’m tired. It can be difficult.

So I can relate to Moses and his whining to God about the nation of Israel.

But, Moses and leaders often miss something. God called him to lead the nation of Israel. In the same way pastor, right now, God has called you to lead and love those under your care in your church. No matter how difficult it is, God has designed you to lead them. He has called you, your wife and other leads to come alongside of them, love them, bring the gospel to bear on their sin and idols.

I can relate to Moses because I can understand wanting to blame God when life and leadership get hard. When the people I’m called to love are hard to love. When the church I’m called to lead is difficult or not going according to “my plan.” I get his lack of faith and trust in God.

God’s response is great in Numbers 11:16 – 18:

16 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Gather for me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. 17 And I will come down and talk with you there. And I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone.

He tells Moses, “Get some other leaders, get some other men to walk with you, to carry the burden.”

I’m convinced, one of the reasons many pastors and ministry leaders suffer in their leadership, one of the reasons it is so difficult is because we make it difficult by doing it alone, by carrying the burdens alone, dealing with angry people alone. We suffer in temptation and sin alone. We don’t let people in, we don’t let people help, we don’t let people care for us, pray for us, love us. We don’t admit we aren’t superman, that we need help.

At Revolution, I’m blessed to have an amazing team. Mike, Paul and I often joke that together we make a great leader. It’s true. I need them, in the same way that they need me.

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The Lens of Leadership

Over the last 2 weeks, I’ve announced some changes in our leadership at Revolution. Mike Miller joined our team as the Pastor of Community Care. This process began a year ago as we were joining Acts 29. We began thinking through the lenses of leadership that Acts 29 uses, the offices of Jesus: prophet, priest & king. The addition of Mike is taking this process for us at Revolution to a new level.

In case you aren’t familiar with this idea of leadership, commonly referred to as triperspectivalism. Because church planters like huge words.

This week, I’m blogging on these lenses and how they are affecting our leadership at Revolution and how we develop leaders.

The Old Testament establishes three primary leadership offices for the people of Israel:

  • Prophets: God’s messengers to his people
  • Priests: Mediators who approach God on behalf of his people
  • Kings: Rulers who govern God’s people

In the New Testament, we see that Jesus perfectly fulfills each of these offices. He is our final and authoritative Prophet (John 1:1). He is our Great High Priest (1 Peter 5:4). And he is the conquering King of kings (1 Timothy 6:15).

The prophet is the Bible guy (I’m using guy because it is shorter, women have the same lenses). When a prophet reads the Bible, they ask, “What does this tell me about God?” They love verses, mission, doctrine, theology. All they need is a verse for it to be true. They don’t need feelings, just a verse. For them, it is all about the mission and truth.

The priest is the relational guy. When a priest reads the Bible they ask, “How does this passage make me feel?” They are all about shepherding, relationships, making sure everyone is cared for. They are on the lookout to make sure everyone is connected, feels loved, wanted. They want to make sure no one falls through the cracks.

The king is the systems and organizational guy. When a king reads the Bible they ask, “What does this make me want to do?” They want steps. They love excel, spreadsheets, things that add up, budgets. They want systems to care for people, systems to move people from one place to the other. They want to be organized.

Since the beginning of Revolution, we have operated in terms of roles instead of gifting and lenses. With Mike joining our team, we are moving towards a team leadership design. In case this is your first trip to my blog, I look through the prophet lens. Paul Ingram looks through the king lens and Mike looks through the priest lens. No lens is more important than another. They are all important in a leadership team setting. From the beginning, we wanted Revolution to be built on more than just one leader, now we are able to start making that happen.

Paul will be handling the finances, structure, organizational side of the church, along with overseeing the worship aspect. I will be the primary communicator, developing other communicators, vision casting, developing leaders. Mike will be responsible for connecting people, training the priests in our church to grow in the gifting.

As we move towards missional communities, we are training future MC leaders to think through this. If they are a priest, they need to partner with a prophet and king to share leadership so that not only will ever get cared for but so they will be organized and have a mission.

This balances our church in a way that we have not been before. For the longest time, we were great at doctrine, mission and organization. Caring and shepherding people did not happen to the extent that it should have. This transition will help us to do that while not sacrificing what we’ve done well to this point, it makes us stronger.

Here is a helpful video from Mark Driscoll on these lenses of leadership.

Kids in Church

Recently at Revolution, we moved to 2 services. It is still crazy to me to see what God is doing at Revolution and how he is moving. Love being a part of it.

Anyway, as part of the new schedule of things on Saturday nights, we started using the same curriculum for the elementary kids in both hours. By doing this, we are encouraging parents who are there for both services to take their elementary child with them into the service. As a parent, I understand the scariness of this, but also the benefits of it. In the last 2 weeks, it has not been the easiest task having Ava in the service, but I am already starting to see the benefits and how they far outweigh the costs.

This past week, I was preaching on the wicked rich from James 5:1 – 6. Ava is very artsy and creative and would do crafts 24 hours a day if we let her. To help her in paying attention, Katie asked Ava to draw a picture of what I was preaching about. She drew a picture of a man with gold, saying that was the rich guy and a poor man who was asking the rich man for money. She told me the rich man didn’t give the poor man any money and that God was not pleased by this. What is interesting is that neither Katie or I told Ava what I was preaching on, she picked up.

Two other things jumped out. Paul mentioned that now that we are in 2 services we have some empty seats and challenged us to invite people and pray for those we are discipling to Jesus. When we were praying before bed this past Saturday night Ava told me, “Dad, we need to pray that all the seats at church get filled, that people will invite their friends so they can become forever friends with Jesus. Dad, I’m going to start praying for that.”

Don’t tell me a 5 year old can’t pay attention in church and get something out of it.

Then, yesterday we were reading to our kids in their Bible and it was the story of the night before Jesus’ death and they were doing the passover. Katie started telling Ava that what Jesus was doing is what we now do at communion to end our service.

If you are a parent at Revolution, don’t miss the chance to take your kids into church. In 2 weeks, we have had some very easy open doors to talk with Ava and God and the Bible.

One last thing, ask God to give this opportunity to talk with your kids. It is scary, I think it is scarier to talk with kids about God than adults. Ask him to give you courage, opportunity and the words. He has already told us to do this (Deuteronomy 6) and I believe he will answer our prayers.

Saturday Night Mind Dump…

  • It’s been a few weeks since I blogged a mind dump because of the holidays
  • Amazing night tonight at Revolution
  • I feel like I say that most weeks, even though when it isn’t as good as tonight, I do say that as well
  • But tonight was a powerful night
  • Paul was on vacation tonight and A.J. did a great job of leading tonight
  • Love seeing new leaders getting developed and stepping up
  • It was great having a week off from preaching
  • We showed a video from Craig Groeschel tonight called “One Thing”, you can listen to it here on our podcast
  • It walks through 4 questions to ask to discover the one thing God is calling you to
  • In case you are curious, here are my goals for 2011 (I do goals instead of resolutions because goals actually get done)
  • This week I start getting trained through Acts 29 for the surge school
  • This is going to be the primary way we train up potential leaders, elders, pastors, small group leaders, and church planters at Revolution. It is a seminary on-site
  • I can’t wait for this to get off the ground in the coming year
  • As I’m going through the curriculum, I am getting so much out of it personally
  • It covers leadership, pastoral care, theology, mission and community
  • Speaking of things coming up
  • I had a meeting this week, that if everything falls into place will be a complete game changer for Revolution in 2011
  • I’ll share more details as it becomes official, but it is awesome
  • I did the best of lists that most blogs do, so if you missed them, here are my my top albums, books and posts of the past year
  • It was cool putting these lists together to see what God has done in my life over the past year, how I’ve grown and the journey I’ve been on
  • Blogging, reading and music have a way of telling a story
  • I can’t wait for next Saturday as we kick off our new series on the book of James called Give. Me. Faith.
  • I realize that I say that for every series we do, and I am excited for every series we do
  • But this one is going to be special for our church in a way no other series has been and I believe it is going to push us as a church in ways no other series has
  • James is one of my favorite books of the Bible and I have been waiting to preaching through it
  • So many great things and is coming at the right time for our church
  • Many of you have asked and we will have the study guide for James available this coming Saturday
  • Also, next Saturday our sign ups for small groups will start
  • Katie has some chocolates sitting next to me that are hard to not eat
  • Tomorrow is donut sunday at our house and watching a big Steelers game, we need that week bye
  • We’re also having our new years day meal:  Brats
  • Right now, I’m reading some great books that are worth checking out:  Decision Points (great look at how George Bush made decisions, I’m learning a lot about him) and To Change the World (this book is stretching my thinking more than any book has in a long time, highly, highly recommend it)
  • Right now, I am in one of those places where I see God moving in ways I could not have guessed he would move, in powerful ways in my life and the life of my church and I am grateful
  • I told Katie that I love when God reminds me how much he cares about me and our church
  • He is orchestrating things in a way that I could not have even written
  • Stay tuned, 2011 is going to be off the hook

Worship Leaders and Speaking

I put a quote on facebook the other day that I figured would anger a few people, and sure enough, it did. Matthew Barnett, lead pastor of the Dream Center said, “You know you’re in trouble when a worship leader stops singing, pulls out a Bible and says, “I have a word.”

Here is the point, this doesn’t mean a worship leader should never say anything. The problem for many worship leaders is that they say things on the fly, not planning them out, in the emotion of the moment AND very few worship leaders have the gift of teaching. When they talk, they are actually moving out of their gifting and not serving the church well.

As a speaker, there is nothing more frustrating than getting off stage just to have the worship leader stand on stage and recap your message in 5 minutes. In fact, I have had worship leaders say, “I bet Josh would say that” after I spoke. The problem is that I didn’t say it.

Think about it like this. If Paul got done with a set at the end of the night, I walked on stage, picked up his guitar and started playing it and said, “I just love that song, why don’t we sing it again?” That’s what it is like when most worship leaders talk in a service.

This is one of the things that I appreciate about the relationship I have with Paul, we both do what we are good at. Let me say this, I could not do what Paul does. I have no desire to do it, but I know that if I did it would not serve God or our church well. I believe that worship leading is like a sixth sense. It takes amazing skill to be able to put songs together, to lead people in worship, to help them understand what worship is and how to worship God instead of themselves. He spends hours every week working on the 30 minutes of the service that he is on stage and all the details that go into that when it comes to sound, video and lighting. In the same way, speakers spend 10 – 20 hours a week working on a sermon.

What this gets into is the the teamwork that a pastor and worship leader have and living in their gifting to serve the church well together.