N.T. Wright on Gay Marriage

This is so good:

You can read the transcript of the interview here.

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Heaven is for Real

With the movie Heaven is for Real coming out this week, I’ve gotten questions on whether I think this book and movie is worth seeing and reading and if it is true. This is the best thing I’ve found on it.

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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.


Charles Stone on 8 ways pastors can refresh their tired souls.

The degree to which you love yourself corresponds to the degree to which you love others. Caring for ourselves was difficult for us to do without feeling guilty. We unwittingly thought that dying to ourselves for the sake of the gospel meant dying to marital intimacy and joy in life. We had died to something God had never intended we die to.

J.D. Greear on 4 things you should pray for your pastor.

One of the greatest joys in my life is serving as pastor. But ministry can be both messy and exhausting. That’s why I am so thankful for the prayer warriors in our congregation. I truly believe that one of the main reasons the Summit has grown is simply that God has answered the bold prayers of those in our congregation. The most important ministry anyone in our church can be involved in is that of prayer.

Why most churches are not reaching unchurched 20-something’s.

We want to ask questions.
Voice our doubts.
Explain our struggles.
Confess our sins.
Confide our fears.

And we want the church to do it with us.

Ryan Huguley on Sweat your sermon intro.

The first pastor who really taught me about preaching once told me, “If you open strong, close strong, and hit your transitions, your sermon will take care of itself.” While it’s a bit more complicated than that, he was largely correct. Many sermons fall apart before they even start, crash and burn because of an inability to “land the plane”, or lack clarity due to confusion in transition.

David Murray on The 10 types of church leaders.

The case for fewer friends.

When it comes to friendship, quality matters more than quantity.

Peter Leithart on Are Christians obsessed with Sex?

Are Christians obsessed with sex? I would ask, “Compared to whom?” Peter Leithart argues, “Faced with these charges, we get defensive and protest that we are equally concerned with other things – with economic evils, with militaristic violence, with the degradation of the environment. We shouldn’t be defensive. We should say that we’re concerned about sexual behavior and norms precisely because of the effect they have on the poor, the way sexual immorality is linked with violence. We should say that we guard God’s commandments regarding sex because violation of those commandments will produce social chaos. Sexual behavior and sexual norms are a key barometer of social health. If things are disordered in our bedrooms, they will be disordered in boardrooms and cabinet offices.”

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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.


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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Theology Doesn’t Have to be Boring


I’ve heard a lot of sermons that are just dry and boring. In fact, I’ve preached sermons that are dry and boring.

What makes a sermon dry and boring?

When a pastor preaches everything he has read, making his sermon more of a commentary book report. Or, when he takes all the theology in the passage and has a debate about it, not making it personal or matter.

Does every theology matter to everyday life?


The sovereignty of God affects our view of pain and good times. The love of God affects how we view ourselves, our sin and God.

This past Sunday I preached on the resurrection. It is easy if you are a Christian to take this doctrine for granted. You’ve heard Easter sermons. You’ve read the gospels. But think for a minute, someone rose from the dead. Think how insane that sounds.

But, as I read books on the resurrection, they focused simply on the debate surrounding the resurrection. This is helpful and good. The problem, especially in the reformed circles I run in, is that most sermons simply stop at the debate or information about the resurrection.

The resurrection matters more than just a debate. 

Without the resurrection, there is no hope for us. There is no freedom from sin and death. There is no hope after death. There is no hope for freedom from addiction and pain. There is no hope that one day the world will be made right.

You cannot simply teach the truth of a doctrine, you must show how that truth impacts your daily life so that your church sees the beauty of that doctrine. 


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Cheap Kindle Books [12.9.13]


Here are some cheap kindle books. Not sure how long they’ll stay that way:

The Great Treasure of Suffering


The sufferings, which appear so hard and objectionable to us in our lives are in reality full of the greatest treasures a Christian can find. They are like the shell in which a pearl rests. And what is the pearl, the end result of the sufferings? Hope. Suffering produces hope. And hope does not disappoint us. Where there is still hope, there is no defeat; there may be every kind of weakness, much clamor and complaining, much anxious shouting; nevertheless, because hope is present, the victory has already been won. -Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Quoted in In Search of Deep Faith


One Way to Make Church Memorable


Every pastor when they write a sermon and preach it want people to remember it. Most people though forget most of what is said in a sermon. This is why it is important to have one point instead of five.

You can use visuals, video clips, readings, stories and a host of other things to make your sermon and church memorable.

One thing that we do at Revolution that helps to make church memorable is to line up the songs with the sermon. 

This seems like second nature to us, but I am amazed at how many worship leaders and preachers are not on the same page. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a worship service and the worship leader introduces a song by giving a 2 minute sermon that has nothing to do with the sermon and the point of the day.

A lot of times people will debate if preaching is the reason the church gathers on a Sunday or is it worship. I would say it’s both. If you don’t have both, you’ve failed to do something very important as the gathered church.

At Revolution, we use worship music to set up the sermon and then for the sermon to set up the response time and communion.

To make your church memorable, you have to do a few things:

  1. Decide to connect the dots for people. People come to church with their brains all over the place. They often rushed to get out the door, had a fight on the way to church, a screaming child. They are tired and stressed from the week. They fall into the chair at church exhausted and wanting to catch their breath. They need help connecting the dots. Talk about how songs connect to a sermon. In recent weeks at the end of my sermon I’ve talked about why we are doing a song that we are doing. You don’t always have to do this. But decide that you will do the work of working with your pastor or worship leader to connect the dots for your people.
  2. Plan ahead. If you want to do anything great or creative or connecting the music with the sermon, you have to plan ahead. You can’t decide on Wednesday what you will preach on this Sunday. Does the Holy Spirit change things? Yes. Two weeks ago I rewrote my sermon at 11pm on Saturday night. That isn’t a pattern for me. We plan about 15 months in advance to that the person leading worship can spend time in the passage and let the verses speak to them as they prepare a set list.
  3. Have a worship leader that cares deeply about theology. Thankfully this is becoming more and more important. In the past, being a worship leader meant you could play guitar and sing. The bar has been raised in churches, which is a good thing. Your worship leader does not have to have an M.Div. in theology, but they need to know theology, care about doctrine and be able to discern if worship songs are doctrinally correct. Some of the most popular worship songs today are theologically incorrect. And never miss this pastor: your church will often learn more about God from the songs they sing than from listening to your sermon. 
  4. Listen to the worship set while you prep your sermon. After talking through my sermon with Paul or the worship leader on Monday morning, when I get the final list, I will make a playlist for my iPod and listen to it in the car, while I am prepping my sermon or taking a run. I want the words to get into my head and my heart. This helps me connect the verses I’m preaching on to the songs we are singing, which helps to make church more memorable to someone when they leave the service.


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Quick Book Reviews: Matt Chandler, Tullian Tchvidjian & Bob Franquiz

There are 3 books that came out recently, that have been very helpful for my spiritual walk right now.


The first is One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World by Tullian Tchvidjian.

Tullian tackles the topic of why we are so weary instead of refreshed in our spiritual journey. That for many people, it is the endless running of trying to be more, do more and improve their standing in the eyes of God. When, as a follower of Jesus, you cannot do anything to improve your standing before God.

This message, if understood by Christians would lead to more life, more joy and less burning out to show God how awesome you are.


The second one is To Live Is Christ to Die Is Gain by Matt Chandler. Chandler walks through the book of Philippians in a helpful and refreshing way. I used this book for a week or so as my devotional (reading through a passage in Philippians and a chapter of the book).

I found this to be a helpful way to move through a book of the Bible and be able to understand more fully what Paul meant when he said, “to live is Christ but to die is gain.” It is a great book that shows what is most important in life and how to move towards that in practical ways.


The third one is Pull: Making Your Church Magnetic by Bob Franquiz.

I’ve become friends with Bob over the last few years, been a part of his coaching network and gleaned stole all kinds of ideas from him. He is simply a genius when it comes to church systems, church growth and marketing. His book, Pull, is all his best knowledge put together in one book. The chapters on Facebook ads and using social media to spread the word of your church are worth the price of the book.

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. What your church can learn from Joel Osteen and his church. While I disagree with much of Osteen’s theology, this article is a great read for pastors and what they can learn from him.
  2. Brian Croft on How a pastors should schedule his week.
  3. How to help your child read with discernment.
  4. Bob Franquiz on The challenges of an introverted pastor. Definitely have applied these in my ministry.
  5. How do Tim Keller, John Piper, Mark Driscoll & Alistair Begg prepare a sermon.
  6. Rich Birch on 5 time wasters for pastors.
  7. What to learn from a church spy. Pastors need to read this.
  8. Doug Wilson on A childish life. Great look at the growing desire of what Time Magazine calls “The Childfree life.”
  9. What the teen choice awards tell us about youth culture. If you don’t read Walt’s blog and you are a parent or a pastor, shame on you.
  10. Sam Storms on Why God doesn’t save everyone.
  11. When you pray with your children, you are teaching them how to pray.