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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Josh Watt on The technology question every parent must answer.

A lot of parents are hesitant to be proactive in their children’s life of technology, because they just can’t keep up with the speed at which it’s changing. Other parents are hesitant, because they haven’t seen good parenting modeled in this area. The other reality is parents are on the front end of parenting the digital generation and frankly we are all learning as we go. Yet there is another hindrance to parents being proactive in their children’s online lives, and it is this inner struggle we all have to varying degrees: “Don’t my kids have the right to some privacy?”

What you need to know as a pastor about the new ruling from the Wisconsin judge concerning housing allowance.

The clergy housing allowance isn’t a government establishment of religion, but just the reverse. The allowance is neutral to all religions. Without it, clergy in small congregations of all sorts would be penalized and harmed.

Andrew Walker on Jesus and the same-sex marriage debate.

If Christians are to support same-sex marriage, they should do so by way of intellectual honesty and acknowledge their abandonment of biblical authority, for there is no reasonable way to deduce from Scripture an exegetical case for same-sex marriage.

Mike Niebauer on Is it actually harder to be a pastor than doing another job?

As a pastor who often hears other ministers teach and preach, I am disturbed by the number of times pastors allude to their jobs as being particularly difficult. Yes, we face many challenges—ministry may involve times of high emotional and spiritual duress—but I don’t think these difficulties merit special recognition with regard to other vocations. After all, being a pastor involves almost no manual labor, which makes it physically easier than most other occupations in history. It doesn’t require a 60- to 80-hour work week, unless you somehow equate longer working hours with more of the Holy Spirit’s presence. And although the emotional and spiritual challenges faced are difficult, teachers and social workers—to take just two examples—face similar or greater obstacles.

Aaron Armstrong on She’s done the impossible.

This weekend, Mark Driscoll broke the Internet in half. Again.

Ron Edmondson on 5 ways for an introvert to survive the holidays.

It’s the holiday season again. I love the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I really do. But, for us introverts, it can also be a very difficult season. We are far more likely to be placed in awkward, uncomfortable situations.

Tim Challies on 10 steps to preach from an iPad.

There are many ways to go about it, but I will tell you about the system I have been using for the past year or so. I have found that it works very well. You need only two programs to do this: Pages and GoodReader (or Word and GoodReader if you use a PC). While I continue to use a full-size iPad, this system will work just as well with the Mini.

Everyone Communicates, Few Connect

bookEveryone talks. This is an indisputable fact.

If you are a pastor or a leader, you talk, a lot. But is anyone listening? Do you connect with the people you are talking to?

That’s the point of Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People do Differently (kindle version) by John Maxwell, this week’s Saturday book review. If you want to see some of the past books I’ve reviewed, go here.

If you’ve ever read a book by Maxwell, you know you are in for a bunch of one liners, a ton of quotes and a bazillion stories. When it comes to communicating, I can’t think of a better way to get the point(s) across.

It is a fast read with a ton of great content on how to connect with the people you are communicating with. Whether that is one-on-one, in a small group or in front of an audience. He even gives some of his tips on how to connect through writing.

The bottom line of communication is that the ones who connect are the ones who inspire people to take action. The goal of preaching is not to pass on information, but to inspire change, to move people forward in their relationship with Jesus, to take that next step, to start following Jesus, to become the person God created them to be.

I loved this from Maxwell,

I think of myself as a motivational teacher, not a motivational speaker. What’s the difference between the two? A motivational speaker makes you feel good, but the next day you’re not sure why. A motivational teacher makes you feel good, and the next day you know why and take action. In other words, the first kind of communicator wants you to feel good, and the second wants you to do good.

Here are a few things that jumped out in the book:

  • Connecting is everything when it comes to communication.
  • Good communication and leadership are all about connecting.
  • Connecting is the ability to identify with people and relate to them in a way that increases your influence with them.
  • successful presidents exhibit five qualities that enable them to achieve things that others don’t: vision, pragmatism, consensus building, charisma, and trustworthiness.
  • To succeed with other people, you need to be able to connect.
  • Those who build great companies understand that the ultimate throttle on growth for any great company is not markets, or technology, or competition, or products. It is the one thing above all others—the ability to get and keep enough of the right people.
  • Whenever people take action, they do so for their reasons, not yours or mine.
  • Any message you try to convey must contain a piece of you. You can’t just deliver words. You can’t merely convey information. You need to be more than just a messenger. You must be the message you want to deliver.
  • If you want to win over another person, first win his heart, and the rest of him is likely to follow.
  • I’ve learned that if you want people to be impressed, you can talk about your successes; but if you want people to identify with you, it’s better to talk about your failures.
  • The “Four Unpardonable Sins of a Communicator”: being unprepared, uncommitted, uninteresting, or uncomfortable.
  • When a speaker doesn’t say something with conviction, we remain unconvinced.
  • If I had to pick a first rule of communication—the practice above all others that opens the door to connection with others— it would be to look for common ground.
  • Effective communication takes people on a journey. We cannot take others on that journey unless we start where they are. Only then can we connect and try to lead them where we want to take them.
  • As leaders and communicators, our job is to bring clarity to a subject, not complexity.
  • Good teachers know that the fundamental law of learning is repetition.
  • People pay attention when something that is said connects with something they greatly desire.
  • Good communicators understand that people do things for their own reasons, not for the reasons of the person doing the talking.
  • Inspiring communicators always expect a lot from their listeners.
  • If we treat people as who they can become, they will be inspired to rise to the level of our expectations.
  • Vision without passion is a picture without possibilities. Vision alone does not inspire change. It must be strengthened by passion.
  • Connectors inspire people to move from “know how” to “do now.

As I said, if you are a pastor, leader or communicator, this is a book you should read. Highly recommend it.