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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9 lies in the not married life.

Singleness’s greatest sorrows are secretly reinforced every February in the souls of the not-yet-married still waiting for their wedding day. While many of our friends and family are inundated with dates, flowers, chocolate, and love notes, lots and lots of the valentine-less are overwhelmed with everything from impatience to bitterness, from shame to regret to confusion.

Rick Thomas on 5 sure fire ways to motivate your son to look at pornography.

Porn is first and foremost about the theater of the mind, where the young male can enter into his virtual world and be king for a day—or, in this case, king for a few minutes—as he satiates his mind with the risk-free intrigue of the cyber conquest.

Barnabas Piper on Why PK’s often hate the ministry and why so many are now in ministry.

Here’s what I learned from those PKs:

  • God’s grace is bigger than our frustrations and hurts (imposed on us or self-imposed) and bigger than our parents’ mistakes.
  • When we see mistakes our parents make that have hurt us or shaped us in ways we don’t like we become responsible for how we respond, either to follow Christ or not.
  • Whether or not our parents did a good job, being a PK is a unique blessing and creates an opportunity to serve God’s people that most don’t get.
  • The church is God’s people and part of God’s plan; to abandon it is to abandon what God has put in place.
  • Honoring our fathers and mothers is a really big deal and a really valuable thing. No, it doesn’t mean we must agree with them or imitate them, but it does mean we cannot resent them.
  • With few exceptions, our parents love us deeply. It’s worth figuring out how to connect with that love instead of holding on to hurt.

How Bill Hybels advises pastors and leaders to think about the Sunday service.

“Imagine if I could give you a newsflash, that the person you’ve been trying to invite to church for the last 3 years is coming this Sunday.” With those opening words, Willow Creek Community Church senior pastor Bill Hybels grabbed the attention of the 1000 leaders gathered at the Church Leadership Conference in Riga, Latvia. But Bill would then ask, and answer, a question that every church leader must come to terms with:  “What are you hoping will happen to that woman or that man during that one hour church service?”

Dan Black on How to maximize your personal growth time.

The most common reason I hear as to why a leader does not invest in personal growth is because they don’t have the time for it. Personal growth does not happen by chance but requires a few key ingredients.

Growing leaders crave silence and solitude.

When was the last time you had meaningful time alone?

No meetings, no appointments. No phone buzzing. No music in your ear buds. No distractions.

Just stillness. Solitude.

My guess is for many of us the answer is it’s been a while.

What if I told you that your effectiveness and maybe even your longevity as a leader depended directly on finding and establishing regular periods of solitude?

Keri Seavey on Your spouse is not Jesus.

Both husband and wife often start life together, from authentic love and commitment (and a bit of naïve self-assessment), blissfully aiming to meet or exceed every spoken or perceived expectation placed before them in their desire for a great marriage. They may even maintain their success for a while. Yet, given time, we all bump up against our (and our spouse’s) weaknesses, limitations, and tenacious self-centeredness. This is when things begin to get messy.

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How to Get the Most Out of Reading

I get asked a lot about reading. What I read? How I choose the books I do and how I find time to read. I thought I’d share a few tips.

I am always blown away when I meet pastors or business leaders who don’t read. If you aren’t reading, you aren’t growing. If you aren’t growing, you are not reaching your potential as a leader, human, Christian, husband, wife, father or mother. As a Christian, if you aren’t growing and learning, we often miss out on what God wants to do in our lives because reading and growing keeps us humble. Anytime you meet a leader who is doing great things, I bet they are a reader.

First, how to choose a book worth reading. Listen to people you trust. For me, if I hear from multiple blogs, tweets or friends about a book, I put it on my list. One thing I’ve learned is that who we read shapes us, so read authors you respect, leaders you want to become like. This doesn’t mean you should never read those you disagree with, but we’ll get to that. The choice of a book is crucial. Books get expensive and there is nothing worse than starting a book and realizing it isn’t worth finishing. If you are curious about what I’ve read recently, you can go here. I review every book I read as a way to help with this. If you start to read a book that isn’t worth finishing (typically, if I am not into a book by page 60 and feel like it is a waste of time, I stop reading it), put it down. Don’t waste your time. And don’t feel bad about not finishing it.

Second, always be reading. I have stacks of books in my office that I want to read. I have a stack on leadership, marriage and personal spiritual growth. Take a book and highlighter everywhere you go. Never go to a meeting or an appointment without one. We waste so much time waiting for people or getting into the dentist or doctor’s office. This is the perfect time to read. Studies show the average person can read at least 1 page a minute (without skimming). If you have to wait 10 minutes, you just read 10 pages.

Third, have a plan. This goes back to the stacks. Ask yourself, what do I want to grow in? What do I want to get better at? Is it health? Leadership? Marriage? Communication? Education? Right now, we are working on our budget for Revolution and I asked our staff members, “In 2011, what is one thing you want to grow in?” I do this to help them create a plan of growth for the year. If you don’t have a plan, you won’t know what to read. If you don’t have a goal, you won’t know if you reached it. Also, set a goal for how many books you want to read in a year. For 2010, my goal was to read 100 books and I am almost there.

What things help you get the most out of reading? How do you choose books? What book are you reading right now that is worth reading?