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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How can a kid see God?

Have you ever considered that you may be the best chance your son or daughter has to see God?

Brian Dodd on 10 practices of maturing leaders.

We want leaders to grow up too fast.  We want them ready-made at an early age.  The reality is the best leaders are those who are seasoned.  They have battle scars and callouses on their souls.  The best leaders have made mistakes, fallen down but got back up to make a difference in the lives of people.  They have persevered.  The best leaders are developed in a crock pot, not a microwave.

Sam Storms on Should women serve as elders in a church.

I believe the NT portrays for us a consistent pattern of governance by a plurality of Elders. However, it is important to realize that even if this is not the case we can still determine whether or not women should be appointed to positions of senior governmental authority.

Matt Smethurst on Should pastors get a sabbatical?

“The stresses and strains of dealing with people—with souls—wears you down in a unique way,” he observes. Besides, he notes, even some companies in the secular world are starting to use sabbaticals. “They realize that refreshment makes a better employee.”

Mark Driscoll buys his way onto the NY Times Bestseller list. Kind of sad to read this (especially since the money came from the offerings of his church).

Seattle’s Mars Hill Church paid a California-based marketing company at least $210,000 in 2011 and 2012 to ensure that Real Marriage, a book written by Mark Driscoll, the church’s founding pastor, and his wife Grace, made the New York Times best-seller list.

Jared Wilson has a helpful post on What’s wrong with buying your way onto the NY Times Bestseller list.

1. It’s dishonest.
2. It’s egocentric and lazy.
3. It may eventually harm your reputation and will bug you in the long run.
4. It’s poor stewardship and bad strategy.
5. It disadvantages those actually gifted.

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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.

book

Fast Company on The secrets of the best public speakers.

Why atheists lose debates with William Lane Craig.

Andrew at Evaluating Christianity has put up some excellent posts of advice on how to debate William Lane Craig (onetwothreefourfive). The reason Craig wins all his debates with atheists is not because his arguments are sound, but because he is a masterful debater. Craig has been honing his debate skills literally since high school. Not only that, but he is a Ph.D. philosopher and encyclopedic historian: an expert on the two subjects he debates, the existence of God and the resurrection of Jesus. Let me repeat. Craig has done 20+ years of Ph.D+ level research in the two fields he debates, has published hundreds of academic books and papers on both subjects, and has been debating since high school.

Justin Lanthrop on I’m a pastor. So, who are my real friends?

One of the most difficult parts of being a pastor, or working in church ministry, isn’t talked about much—and that is the difficulty of making close friends.

Sam Rainer on The biggest leadership distraction.

A lot gets said about followers that create distractions. Those distractions exist. And they can be great time wasters. The greater distraction, however, is the one created by the leader.

Why do so many pastors leave the ministry, the answers might shock you. So sad, but so true for many pastors.

It’s true that some pastors fall into temptation and yet others simply feel it’s their time to call it quits. But often it goes much deeper than that. And the stats reveal much.

Bill Tenny-Brittian on Preaching to a new target.

Most of us pastor-types were taught to preach primarily to a Modern, well-churched or well-church-experienced audience. The target of our preaching was essentially “one of us.”

Passionate Seattle Seahawks fans watch the NFC championship game in complete silence

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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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  1. Trevin Wax on Don’t give your child a trophy for losing. Couldn’t agree with this more.
  2. Regular bedtimes help kids behavior.
  3. John Piper on Hijacking your brain from porn.
  4. Thom Rainer on 7 reasons your church needs to go on a diet. Being simple is the one of the defining characteristics of Revolution Church.
  5. Ryan Williams on 8 things I learned as a young lead pastor.
  6. 10 productivity tips for pastors.
  7. Ron Edmondson on 5 tips to be a better dad this week.
  8. Sleep & productivity.
  9. Mark Driscoll on 7 sabbath killers.

Elevation Creative: I Have Decided

Preach the Word 2013: Gospel Centered Preaching || Harvey Turner

bookI’m at the Preach the Word conference through Acts 29 today and as always, posting my notes to the sessions I attend.

Harvey Turner is the founding and preaching pastor of Living Stones Churches based Reno, Nevada, with locations in Northern Nevada & Northern California. Harvey has studied at Multnomah University, Western Seminary, and received his Masters in Missional Leadership at the Resurgence Training Center in Seattle, Washington. Harvey also serves as the Regional Director for the West Region of Acts 29, which oversees church planting in Nevada, California, and Hawaii for the Acts 29 Network. Harvey and his wife, Rachael, have three children.

Harvey looked at how to present the gospel in preaching, which for me was incredibly helpful. Here are some thoughts:

  • The origin of Living Stones Church was taking sound doctrine to people who didn’t know Jesus. 
  • At least 50% of the growth at Living Stones is conversion growth.
  • When the church gathers, evangelism should be in mind, it should be evangelistic.
  • Because Jesus came and is coming again, we have to share that. It will happen.
  • Preaching is not complete if it is not evangelistic.
  • Your ministry (2 Timothy 4:1 – 5) will be fulfilled if you are an evangelist.
  • It is possible to do ministry and not fulfill your ministry.
  • People don’t become Christians to be seen as good, to be good people, to be well thought of. People become Christians because they met Jesus.
  • People are intrigued by Jesus. It is our presentation that creates a stumbling block.
  • Jesus helps us when we tell people about Jesus.
  • A spirit filled church is a church that lifts up Jesus.
  • You can’t plant a church with a bunch of Christians from other churches.
  • If your church plant is not fueled by evangelism, you will attract all the bitter Christians from other churches. You don’t want those people.
  • You need to cater your ministry to those who are not in your ministry.
  • The ministry of the church is for the sake of God’s elect.
  • Election is not just the people who are already followers of Jesus. Election are those that are found and those that will be found.
  • Every sermon Jesus gave was to followers of his and those who didn’t know him.
  • Evangelism and discipleship go hand in hand.
  • If you are taking your church deep, you will be raising up an army of evangelists. That’s a deep church.
  • The call to discipleship is the call to be a fisher of men.
  • The only way to do ministry is to reach people who don’t know Jesus.
  • The best evangelists in your church are those who just got saved in the last 4 weeks.
  • What glorifies God is when a sinner meets Jesus.
  • Evangelism is work, no two ways about it.
  • The apostle Paul is the first reformed guy and instead of waiting for the elect to come to the church, he went around preaching to people who didn’t know Jesus, looking for the elect.
  • Preaching evangelistically must come your personal evangelism.
  • The only way to communicate to people who don’t know Jesus is to talk to people who don’t know Jesus.
  • You aren’t invited people to the evangelical subculture, you are inviting them to Jesus.
  • When you preach, always talk to non-Christians. Talk to them even if they are not there.
  • Preach in such a way so that it is obvious that you believe that someone is going to get saved.
  • When you preach, you need to say less and prove more. We need to prove what we say.
  • When you preach, it should be overly obvious that you believe everything you say.
  • Preachers are the lead theologian, missionary and apologist for your church.
  • You have to model evangelism for your church.
  • Think through things your church is doing that hinders evangelism.
  • The gospel has to be the center of every sermon.
  • Evangelize the saved and the unsaved in every sermon.
  • A lot of guys don’t preach the gospel because they’re bored with it.
  • Maybe the reason churches swell at Christmas and Easter because that’s the only time most churches preach Jesus.
  • Believe that when we preach about Jesus, people are going to get saved and be changed.

This was easily the most challenging session to me as this is an area that I need to grow in as a communicator.

Preach Better Sermons || Mark Driscoll

bookI’m watching the online conference Preach Better Sermons today and wanted to share some of the learnings I picked up. One of the speakers is Mark Driscoll. Mark is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington, and is one of the world’s most downloaded and quoted pastors. He and his wife, Grace, co-authored Real Marriage, which became a #1 New York Times best seller. His audience, fans and critics alike, spans the theological and cultural left and right. He was named one of the 25 most influential pastors of the past 25 years by Preaching magazine in 2010, and his audio sermon podcast is regularly #1 on iTunes’ Religion & Spirituality chart and has been among the Top 50 of all podcasts at times.

Here are some things that jumped out from his segment:

  • It’s impossible to take the Bible and not see mission. 
  • Being sent is everywhere in the Bible.
  • God’s people are on mission to see more people become God’s people.
  • People showed up at your church, they expect to hear from the Bible.
  • To preach to men you have to say hard things.
  • Churches have this opportunity to teach men how manage money, be married, raise kids, work hard. Nowhere else will teach them all that.
  • Let God speak through your personality and who you are.
  • Give yourself grace to find out who you are and grow into who you are meant to be.
  • There is a difference between a flock and an audience, shows the difference between a pastor and a speaker.

Saturday Night Mind Dump…

  • Tonight felt weird
  • I wasn’t at Revolution but it was awesome to hear how God worked in people’s lives and how great of a job our team did
  • As always
  • For me, it is exciting and freeing to know that when I’m not at Revolution it not only goes well, it goes great and we don’t skip a beat
  • Not every pastor can say that, so I don’t take that lightly
  • Grateful for Luke coming down to preach for me
  • I’ve been at Soma School all week at Soma Communities and God has been working in profound ways
  • We are getting ready to go to the next level at Revolution and the training I’m getting this week is a big part of it
  • Can’t wait for what God has in store
  • If you’re curious for a taste, check out this video
  • It has been beautiful all week here and then tonight, the Seattle weather showed up
  • What has been cool this week is that the holy spirit has been confirming over and over in my heart what lays ahead for us as a church
  • Can’t wait for what he has in store
  • Excited about spending the day with some of the leaders here from Phoenix tomorrow in Seattle and get some good seafood, I can already taste it
  • Since I didn’t get to preach tonight, I’m so excited for next week
  • Not only do I get to preach, but we are doing baptisms in the service next week, which is always awesome
  • You definitely don’t want to miss it
  • And it’s a perfect night to bring someone, the stories during baptism are so cool and a great example of the gospel

Sunday Night Mind Dump…

  • Blown away right now
  • The weekend kicked off in a powerful way at our Good Friday service at Revolution
  • If you missed it, make plans to be there next year
  • Always a powerful night remembering the cross and what Jesus did in our place
  • Last night was simply unreal at Revolution last night
  • We kicked off a brand new series on the Old Testament
  • We had 8 people indicate that they accepted Christ
  • And then I found out today that since last year, Revolution has grown by 187%
  • I’m just stunned
  • I loved looking at the connection cards last night to not only see those who took that life changing step but also reading the connection cards of those who brought them putting in the prayer line that they were praying for their friend to accept Christ
  • Love the passion that Revolutionaries have to see lives changed and to believe in the power of the gospel for lives to be changed
  • Last night was also our first night with The Crossing officially joining us
  • So excited about the energy and passion that they have and will bring to our church
  • We announced last night that we are having another newcomer’s brunch on May 1st
  • We have so many new people that we are doing them back to back
  • If you are interested in coming, email Chuck Tommervik
  • If you missed last night, you can listen to it here
  • What I’m excited about in this series is the fact that I will get to preach on stories and books of the Bible I haven’t preached on before
  • You can also download the study guide for this series here and this week’s devotional questions are here
  • If you are looking for an easy to get into the Bible, this is it
  • Our spring small groups just ended and the stories of what God did over the semester have been so cool to hear
  • Over the summer, we are going to take a break from small groups and do community dinners throughout the summer as an easy way of getting to know other people
  • There will be more details about this in the coming weeks
  • Just finalized this past week with Paul our sermon schedule for the rest of the year
  • So pumped about what we will be preaching on
  • Today was an awesome low key day in our house
  • It was nice coming off a busy couple of weeks to have nothing going on
  • It will be capped off by my favorite night of the week:  date night
  • This week, we are starting an experiment in leadership development at Revolution, pretty excited about it and how God might use this to help our church multiply quickly
  • Right now, there are a ton of things that are happening behind the scenes as we make plans to multiply our church several times in the next few years, I would covet your prayers for myself and our leaders for wisdom as we plan and lead and follow God’s plan for Revolution
  • To go along with that, in a few weeks I will be heading up to Soma in Seattle to spend a week at their leadership training school
  • They are an Acts 29 church that is doing some incredible things in Seattle and have multiplied several times
  • Really excited about learning from them
  • Got a new tattoo on Thursday that I love
  • So excited how it turned out
  • When I sent my mom the picture she said, “They can make crosses smaller”
  • Always a mom
  • Anyway, time to get back to my lazy Sunday
  • Don’t miss next at Revolution as we continue our series in The Story of God and look at Genesis 3 to see where life went wrong
  • If you’re wondering why our world is the way it is, what to do about it, what God is doing about it, you need to be there next week
  • And bring someone with you, it is going to a powerful night capped off with a very clear gospel presentation
  • Praying we see even more people make a decision to follow Jesus the week after Easter
  • Be praying with me

Weekend Mind Dump…

  • I used to do this on Saturday, but now that we have 2 services I find that I am wiped by the time I get home and have very little brain power left
  • So, this will usually be done on Sunday’s
  • Let me start off by saying, I love 2 services
  • The spirit, power, energy and momentum in both services is awesome
  • It has been pretty split as far as attendance goes in each service
  • Last night was crazy, we had so many first time guests, over 20
  • I stood there asking, “Where do all these people come from?”
  • Last night was our 2nd highest attendance ever
  • It was a tough message last night, preaching on the point of pain and suffering is a hard message to give
  • The situations that make us ask that question are real, heart breaking, raw
  • I believe Scripture has a ton to say on how we understand those moments and the nature of God if we are willing to listen, often we aren’t
  • The things people asked for prayer that they are dealing with are enough to make anyone beg for Jesus to come back and right all the wrongs of the world once and for all
  • Maybe that is one of the points, pain and suffering makes us long for Jesus to return
  • If you missed last night, I’d encourage you to listen here
  • I got to speak at Intervarsity on Thursday night
  • Love speaking to college students
  • They really believe that what happened in the book of Acts could actually happen again
  • While some adults have questions about God changing a city or a campus, students don’t see why it can’t happen
  • What was even cooler was seeing a bunch of them at church last night
  • Love when the weekend goes as it has
  • Friday night, Katie and I went out to celebrate our 9 year anniversary
  • It is crazy to think we have together almost a full decade
  • We are blessed to be one of those couples that has done the hard work and is happier today and more in love today than when they got married
  • On our anniversary, I shared some of the things we’ve learned about marriage over the years, you can read them here if you are curious
  • Recently, I’ve been doing a bunch of reading and researching on leadership development, community, discipleship and mission
  • There is a lot going on behind the scenes of our church preparing for the future and how we take everything to the next level
  • I will be sharing some of these things over the coming months, all I can say is:  I and the leaders at Revolution are more excited about what God is doing in and through our church and what he will do in the future than ever before
  • It is awesome
  • Katie and I are heading up to the crossing tonight for their 2nd to last service
  • Really excited for them to join us and be a part of what God is doing in our city and church
  • Last night we announced what Easter weekend will look like at Revolution
  • Good Friday, we are showing the film from Mars Hill called Who Killed God?
  • This is a powerful look at the crucifixion
  • On April 23rd, we are kicking off a brand new series called The Story of God
  • That night, I’ll be talking about how God made us in his image, what that means, how that shapes our identity and how we look at each other and our world
  • We will also be having a baptism that night
  • If you are interested in taking that step, simply email Chuck Tommervik
  • An easy way to stay up to date on what is happening at Revolution is on our Facebook page, if you haven’t “liked” it, go here and do so
  • Next week, I will wrap up our series on James and look at if prayer works, how does it work, how do we handle moments that God says no
  • You don’t want to miss it