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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Thom Rainer on Pastors and vacations.

Two years ago I spoke to a pastor about his church. After he shared with me all the areas in which he had been involved and the ministries he led, I asked him an innocent question: When do you take vacation? His answer flabbergasted me. “I don’t,” he said. I thought maybe he had misunderstood me, so I clarified. In the past six years that you have served as pastor, when did you take a vacation? “I haven’t,” he reiterated. I had heard him right the first time. This pastor had deprived himself and his family for the past six years. I anticipated burnout was not far away. Unfortunately, I was right.

A peek inside Max Lucado’s writing process.

Max is the author of almost 100 books with more than 80 million copies in print. There are probably less than five authors in the world who are that prolific—or that successful. It’s mind-boggling.

Paul Levy on Success in ministry is dangerous, accountability doesn’t work and other thoughts on falling from grace.

Recently I’ve spent some time with two friends who were in ministry but have fallen morally and so now find themselves out of a job that they loved, separated from their families and, in all honesty, struggling. I’ve showed what I’ve written to them and I wouldn’t say they were overjoyed at what I had to say but both agreed I could put this on here.

David Murrow on Holiday services and men.

Why are holiday services, which draw huge numbers of irreligious men, so ineffective at engaging them? I believe that holiday services are, by their very nature, poorly suited for men. They tend to hide the church’s greater mission under a mountain of religious tradition and ceremony. Holiday services also give men a skewed perspective on what the gospel is all about.

Kara Powell on What your calendar says about your view of God.

If I want to find out what a leader thinks about God, I don’t look at their prayer journal or their preaching. I look at their calendar. Everyone I know grapples with busyness. It’s often how we define ourselves. When someone asks us, “How are you?” our default answer is frequently one word: “Busy”. This busyness cuts across boundaries of faith, vocation, and socio-economic status.

Shawn Wood on His sermon prep system.

The job of a church planter and pastor has a lot of moving parts, but for me, the biggest of them is my time preparing to preach.

James MacDonald on When men act like men.

Everywhere you look, men are in trouble—falling to superficiality, entertainment lifestyles, sensuality, secularism, lives lived apart from God, reaping for themselves and their families the harvest of what they have sown. Someone needs to throw men a life line. Men are are sinking, and only Jesus Christ can save them. Christ Himself must invade the territory of men’s hearts and rule without rival or equal.

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. Eric Simmons on I hate porn, I love Jesus.
  2. The difference between buzzwords and leadership.
  3. Melissa Kruger on The loving intolerance of God.
  4. How some not famous pastors prep a sermon. Great wisdom here.
  5. Carey Nieuwhof on 3 essentials for a leader’s inner circle. As a leader, the people closest to you is one of the most important decisions you will make.
  6. Brian Dodd on 10 practices of leaders of fast growing churches.
  7. Dan Reiland on 10 basic people skills leaders should have.
  8. Why I believe in the doctrine of election.

Jimmy Fallon’s Best Musical Impersonations

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. Yancey Arrington on The grace of repenting to your kids. We do confession each night together as a family and it is becoming an important practice in our family when we reconcile with each other.
  2. Removing the lid of your organization.
  3. Tony Morgan on 10 things people want before they start to give at your church.
  4. Ron Edmondson on 7 ways to protect a pastor’s kid.
  5. The leader who can’t let go.
  6. Mike Leake on 5 reasons why our small groups stopped doing book studies and why I’m glad about it. We do sermon based discussions in our missional communities and it is the healthiest thing our church does.
  7. Jonathan Dodson on Sermon prep.
  8. One reason why parents (especially men) church attendance is declining.

Mark Driscoll on Sermon Prep, Preaching and More

Watched this great interview with Mark Driscoll today on the topics of preaching and sermon prep. If you preach, this is a great interview to watch. Lots of wisdom.

The Sins of a Pastor || Your Bible is for More than Sermon Prep

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Pastors, like any person sin. While this may be surprising for some people as they put their pastors and their wife on a pedestal, it is true. Because of the nature of being a pastor and the life they live, their sins are often not obvious and ones that no one will ever know about. In fact, some of the most hurtful and dangerous sins are ones that a church and elders can unknowingly encourage. These sins are not in any particular order, just the order I wrote them in. This is the first part in a series of blogs on The Sins of a Pastor. 

The first one is Your bible is for more than sermon prep. 

Most pastors spend the majority of their week in their Bible working on a sermon. There is a debate among pastors as to whether that should count as their devotions or if they should separate their devotions from sermon prep.

For me, my devotions are tied into my sermon prep. Right now, I am preaching through John. As I work on each sermon, I spend the first part of my week simply mediating on the passage I’ll be preaching from. This allows the text to become personal and work on my heart so my sermon becomes an overflow of what God is doing in me.

Because of planning ahead, I also use my devotional time to research future sermon topics and let different books of the Bible speak to me. For example, a few years ago I was going to do a series on Habakkuk but on vacation really felt like I needed to read through 1 & 2 Peter everyday while we were away. I had no idea why, just a sense that I needed to dive into these books. Through those readings, we changed our sermon calendar and I ended up preaching through those books.

Often though, pastors will use the reasoning that so much of their job and life is spent in the Bible. “I spend so much time on my sermon that I don’t need to spend time alone with Jesus.” I’ve never had a pastor tell me this, but it runs through many pastor’s heads. What happens then is they preach from a dry heart, from a place that is not meeting with Jesus. They spend so much time discipling other people that they aren’t feeding themselves. They don’t read books outside the Bible that challenge their thinking or bring conviction to their life.

As long as sermons are helpful, no one will notice this sin. Pastors can fly under the radar for years on this and their elders, wife and church will have a hard time knowing. Over time, it will become obvious that a pastor is working from past time with God, meaning, they are running off the fumes of years past. Because pastors often move from churches and job to job, people aren’t able to notice that he is preaching old sermons or using the same stories.

How do you know if this is happening? Here are a few ways:

  • If a pastor has no new illustrations of God’s grace in his life
  • The pastor does not talk about being pushed out of his comfort zone.
  • He has no conversations with unchurched neighbors.
  • He is not praying big prayers for the Holy Spirit to move.
  • His heart does not break for his people and those who do not know Jesus.

Come back tomorrow and we’ll talk about the second sin of pastors, the sin of being untouchable.

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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

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. Thom Rainer on The 5 types of critics in your church.
  2. Trevin Wax on The strengths and weaknesses of working from home. I work a lot from home and I would agree with most of this post.
  3. 5 steps to preparing a sermon.
  4. Ed Stetzer on The misquoted divorce stat.
  5. 5 tips for parents who put their kids before their marriage. Too many parents do this to their own detriment and their children.

Links to Start the Week Off

  1. The gospel coalition on How to win the public on homosexuality. I think the points made in this article as to how we should engage this debate is right on. Our view of this reveals so much about our view of ourselves, God and his plan for our lives. 
  2. What sermon prep really looks like. Yep. 

Links of the Week

  1. Tim Challies on What we can learn from the Rob Bell controversy. Helpful things on criticism here.
  2. Steven Furtick on Why pastor’s should take several weeks off in the summer. This is why I take several weekends off in a row each summer. So important for me, my family and our church.
  3. Charles Stone on Why a pastor should do sermon prep outside of the office. Couldn’t agree more.
  4. Craig Groeschel on Why it’s important for your family to unplug occasionally.
  5. Perry Noble on 7 things to do to raise a Godly daughter.
  6. But, “I’m too busy to be missional.”
  7. Will Mancini on Questions to ask on your summer break. I’m excited to work through these in a few weeks when I have my summer preaching break.
  8. Dealing with the preacher’s adrenaline meltdown. Preaching can be killer on your body because of the adrenaline. Here are some helpful things to work through. If you don’t preach, read this to see what those who preach go through each week.
  9. Homosexuality and the Gospel.

Radicalis Session 2b: Radical Preaching (Andy Stanley)

Session 2 at Radicalis also had a sermon from Andy Stanley on preaching. If you haven’t picked up his book on preaching, you need to. Totally changed the way I preach.

Here are some thoughts from his session:

  • If we are not careful, our approach to preaching will trump our goal in preaching
  • People in our country abandon churches today because they went to one
  • In marriage, approach is everything, it’s the same with preaching
  • Having the right goal is not contingent on being right, it’s contingent on approach
  • Andy Stanley’s goal for preaching is “for people to live their lives as if God is with them”
  • My goal in preaching, must shape my approach
  • What is your goal when you preach?
  • I want to lure people into the Scripture and rub their noses in it, take one sticky statement and jam down into their heart and then send them out
  • What is your approach?
  • Five questions Andy Stanley asks each week when he preaches (in bold)
  • Who is this about…really?
  • As long as the preaching is about me, I will fail in my approach to draw people in and give them something to do when they go out
  • The pressure we feel is “What am I going to say” instead of “Who will be there and what do they need to hear”
  • If someone I care about said to me, “I’m coming to your church one more time and if something doesn’t happen, I’m not coming back”
  • The way you get over you, is you get so thoroughly prepared that you don’t even have to think hard about what you are doing
  • What’s my burden?
  • This the one thing you have to say and you will die if you don’t get to say it
  • Dig it til you find it
  • Build everything around it
  • Make it stick
  • If you only had 1 minute, what would you say?
  • To understand why, submit and apply.
  • What is the 1 thing that you have to say?
  • Where’s the tension?
  • If there is no tension, no one will pay attention
  • What is the question this message answers?
  • What is the tension this message resolves?
  • What is the mystery this message solves?
  • What is the issue this message addresses?
  • For people to do something, they must be interested, they won’t be interested if there is no tension
  • Do I own this? Have I internalized this message?
  • If you don’t own it, it won’t flow
  • The best way to internalize the talk is to memorize pieces, not points
  • We don’t preach point, we only have 1 point
  • If you can think through the pieces, you don’t need notes
  • Our minds don’t work in points
  • Am I allowing the text to speak?
  • Bring your energy to the text
  • You need to uncover the energy in the text
  • Don’t spend all your energy on your cool stories
  • If you are afraid of losing people’s interest in the Bible, you aren’t prepared

This was a great session. So many things to chew on. If this session was the only session I came to so far, it would have been worth the trip (and the money).