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

links-of-the-week

  1. Kate Conner on 10 things I want to tell teenage girls
  2. Ron Edmondson on 7 common energy and time wasters for leaders.
  3. Thom Rainer on the 5 love languages of pastors.
  4. Epic quotes from Howard Hendricks. Great nuggets of wisdom here.
  5. Scot McKnight on Tips to be a better writer.
  6. Ed Stetzer and the Explosive growth of megachurches.

The Evolution of Mom Dancing

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. Kathy Keller on A year in biblical womanhood. I haven’t read this book, but after reading how sloppy the author handled biblical interpretation, which is the main thrust of the book, seems like it would be a waste of time.
  2. Homosexuality and the modern church.
  3. Barnabas Piper on 7 things every pastor’s kid needs from their pastor/dad. Convicting stuff.
  4. Andy Stanley on Why a church environment matters more than we think.
  5. 10 rules about meetings every pastor should abide by.
  6. Russell Moore on iPads, iPhones and Christians parenting.

Does Homeschooling Deny the Missional Life?

Last week, Scot McKnight reposted some of Tony Jones’s thoughts on homeschooling and being missional on his blog. Tony believes homeschooling denies the missional life. Here’s what he had to say:

But it seems to me that if I am truly committed to living a missional life, then I must enroll my kids in the public school. That is, I am committed to living a life fully invested in what I might call the “Jesus Ethic” or the “Kingdom of God Ethic,” and also fully invested in the society — in fact, you might say that I live according to the Kingdom of God for the sake of society….

Similarly, formal education was formerly for the societal elite. But in a democracy, education is for all, with the understanding that the more educated we all become, the more humane we will be toward one another (this, of course, is open to debate).

So it seems to me that to withdraw my children from public education is to not play my (God-given) role as a missional member of society — like I can’t just choose to withhold my taxes. We give our children all those vaccinations when they’re young not necessarily to protect themfrom polio (since the chances of any one of my children getting it is exceedingly small) but because we live in a society, and part of the contract within the society is that we will never again let polio gain a foothold.

So I can’t think, “I’ll just pull my kids out of the public schools — what difference will one less follower of Jesus make in a school full of hundreds of kids?” I don’t, as a Christian, have the option to “opt out” of the societal contractInstead, I live under a mandate to be the most involved, missional societal participant that I can be.

Let me start off by saying, whatever you choose to do for schooling for your kids is completely your decision. I personally don’t think a family should put their kids in a Christian school, a charter school, a public school or homeschool them. I think each parent needs to make that choice, and it may even be different for different kids in your family. I knew a family that had 3 kids, one was home schooled, one was in a public school and the other was in a private school as it was the best for each child.

Here’s why I’m posting about this and why I took offense to it. We homeschool our kids. We made that choice after having our oldest in school for a quarter and saw what it did to our schedule, especially since I work on the weekend. We lost too much of our family time because of my work schedule. We’ve made the decision to evaluate each year what is best for our kids and our family and right now this is what is best for us.

Tony is right on one hand because many families homeschool their children to protect them from the world. I don’t think this is a good idea. At some point they will encounter the world around them. But to say that it denies the missional life it to say that every Christian who has their child in a public school is living on mission. If that were the case, our schools would be drastically different.

Living on mission and homeschooling simply means you have to be more intentional about how you life on mission, how you bring the culture into the life of your kids. You have to think through it.

Here are some things we do:

  • Our kids go to school 3 days a week for specials: gym, art and music. This helps them to meet other kids, be in a school, it allows us to meet the teachers and build a relationship with them.
  • Be outside. People walk around neighborhoods, they work in their yards, on their cars. Play out front instead of in the back. People walk around our neighborhood around 6pm, so we try to play out front then.
  • Invite your neighbors over, get to know them. Football started this week and that is an easy invite to a neighbor.
  • Get involved in the school. You can volunteer at the school, be a part of fairs or carnivals the school puts on that are open to the public.
  • Ask the principal how you could serve at the school and then follow through.

[Image Credit]

Links to Get You to the Weekend

  1. Scot McKnight on America’s premier heresy
  2. Becoming Well-Spoken: How to Minimize Your Uh’s and Um’s.
  3. Justin Buzzard on Twenty Ideas for Dating Your Wife.
  4. Mark Batterson on How to be famous in your own home.

Links of the Week

  1. If you lead something complex, loneliness will follow.
  2. Perry Noble on 5 core values of a declining church.
  3. Why I quit following celebrity pastors on twitter and why you should too.
  4. Ed Welch on An intrusion into the Christian bedroom. Some helpful things here.
  5. The historical reliability of the Bible. Helpful stuff.
  6. Michael Horton on Application in sermons.
  7. The gospel and marriage explain one another.
  8. Ed Stetzer interviews Scot McKnight on his book The King Jesus Gospel. You can read my review of the book here.
  9. 5 suggestions on raising boys. Love the last one, one of our dreams with our kids is to have the house their friends want to come to.
  10. Fight the funk.

Top Posts of January 2012

In case you missed them, here are the top posts for January 2012:

  1. Favorite Books of 2011
  2. One of the Most Misquoted Verses in the Bible
  3. Sex, Marriage & Fairytales
  4. The King Jesus Gospel
  5. 15 Ways to Improve Your Marriage
  6. The Role of Men in Family
  7. The Circle Maker
  8. Why I Preach Like I Do
  9. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs
  10. Stephen Colbert on a Christian Nation

The King Jesus Gospel

Our family spent the past week with family in Kansas City and some downtime. 2011 was a long, hard season for us for a number of reasons. But while I had 2 weeks off from preaching, I spent a lot of time reading. So, this week I’ll be sharing some book reviews from the road.

The second book I read was The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited by Scot McKnight. I had heard a lot about this book, so I was glad to read it. I loved the vision that Scot puts forth in this book of the gospel.

His point is that too much of Christianity focuses the gospel simply on the death of Jesus, the forgiveness of our sins and how one can avoid hell and go to heaven. While that is part of the gospel, that is only a part of it.

One statement he made that stopped me in my tracks was, “Do you need the Old Testament for your gospel to be true? If not, you do not have the gospel.” Many times, the gospel that is preached in churches in America, the gospel that is shared with friends and family does not need the Old Testament.

One of the other things he pushed on was the question that people ask, “Did Jesus preach Paul’s gospel?” He even tells a story of a pastor saying, “Jesus couldn’t preach the gospel because he hadn’t died on the cross yet.” Scot’s wit comes through in his response, “Poor Jesus, he was born on the wrong side of the cross.” This statement shows how shallow our gospel is.

Which has led to what Scot calls a “salvation culture” in our churches instead of a “gospel culture.” A salvation culture is concerned only with salvation and getting to heaven, which is not the whole point of the gospel. While a gospel culture focuses on transformation, not only of individual lives, but also of the entire earth, which is the point of the Bible.

One of the things McKnight continually pushes on is that in our salvation culture, we simply share the plan of salvation, which is not the gospel. It boils Jesus down to only our Savior, which he is. But Scripture teaches that “The gospel story of Jesus Christ is a story about Jesus as Messiah, Jesus as Lord, Jesus as Savior, and Jesus as Son.” If the gospel we share does not point to Jesus as all those things, we have not shared the gospel. In our world today, we focus on Jesus as the Savior from my sins, but avoid the idea of Jesus as Lord and King of my life (which explains the lack of maturity in many people who attend church, they “are going to heaven” but still running their lives). This might bristle you, but think about the 4 first books in the New Testament, they are called “The Gospel according to Matthew…” What are they about? They tell the story of Jesus, his birth, life, miracles, teachings, death, resurrection and ascension. Gospels is not a genre of writing, they are the gospel.

Here are a few other things that jumped out:

  • The gospel is the story of Jesus of Nazareth told as the climax of the long story of Israel, which in turn is the story of how the one true God is rescuing the world.
  • Most evangelism today is obsessed with getting someone to make a decision; the apostles however, were obsessed with making disciples. Those two words – decision and disciples – are behind this entire book. Evangelism that focuses on decisions short circuits and – yes, the word is appropriate – aborts the design of the gospel, while evangelism that aims at disciples slows down to offer the full gospel of Jesus and the apostles.
  • The gospel doesn’t work for spectators; you have to participate for it work its powers.
  • One reason why so many Christians today don’t know the Old Testament is because their gospel doesn’t even need it.
  • The gospel is to announce good news about key events in the life of Jesus Christ. To gospel for the apostle Paul was to tell, announce, declare, and shout aloud the story of Jesus Christ as the saving news of God.
  • Because the gospel is the story of Jesus that fulfills, completes, and resolves Israel’s story, we dare not permit the gospel to collapse into the abstract, de-storified points in the plan of salvation.
  • Jesus died with us, instead of us, and for us.
  • There is not such thing as gospeling that does not include the summons to respond in faith, repentance, and baptism.

All in all, I was really challenged by the larger vision of the gospel this book puts forth. I loved his emphasis that Jesus is the gospel and that we need the whole Bible for a full gospel. I love the Old Testament and have always been fascinated by the imagery in the Old Testament and have often been saddened by how few other Christians have the same love, but without the Old Testament, Jesus and the New Testament do not make any sense.

Sunday Afternoon Mind Dump…

  • Feels so good to be home
  • We spent the last 10 days with Katie’s family in Kansas City
  • After a marathon travel day yesterday, it is nice to be sitting on my couch and watching the NFL playoffs
  • It was sad to miss Revolution the last 2 weeks, but the longer I’m in ministry, the more and more I see the need for breaks from preaching throughout the year
  • If you missed either of the last 2 weeks of our series Hope When Life Hurts the Most, you can listen to part 1 and part 2
  • Still blown away by how many people showed up at Christmas Eve at Revolution, we had our highest attendance ever
  • Makes me so excited about what God will do at Revolution and through Revolution in 2012
  • After taking 2 weeks off from preaching, I’m so excited to get back into it and kick off our series Weird next week
  • We’re going to spend the next 6 months as a church going through the books of 1 & 2 Peter
  • In fact, all our missional communities will also be studying these books throughout the week
  • So excited for that
  • Speaking of sermons, if you’d like to see which sermons were the 5 most downloaded in 2011, go here
  • Many of you asked and wanted to make sure you didn’t miss, but here are my favorite booksfavorite albums and top posts of 2011
  • I read 2 books while in Kansas City that will easily be on my favorites list in 2012: Journeys to Significance and The King Jesus Gospel
  • Time for a digital blackout and watch my Steelers beat the Broncos

Links of the Week

  1. Introverts in the church. I haven’t read this book yet, but as an introvert, I’m grateful people are talking about this.
  2. 7 negative effects of porn.
  3. Scott Thomas on What pastors can learn from the Penn State scandal.
  4. Is there a megachurch bubble?
  5. Mike Breen on what the American church will look like in 10 years.
  6. Gospel Coalition on importan female voices in the church.
  7. Andy Stanley on Creating a come and see culture.