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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Dorie Clark on Why we can’t stop working.

The ROI of work is immediately apparent. You get instant feedback and, oftentimes, instant gratification in the form of raises, promotions, new contracts, or general approbation. The arc of family life is different. In the moment, it can be banal, boring, or discouraging.

Perry Noble on 7 ways to be rich.

Give it TIME…what we spent years messing up will most likely not be fixed in three days, or even three weeks!

Dave Bruskas on 4 priorities for pastors from Christmas to Easter.

Christmas, with all its ministry demands, has come and gone. You’ve had a few days off. But you are still very tired as you approach the long run to Easter. How should you prioritize your time and energy? What can you do to recover?

Will Mancini on Ministry trends of 2014 leaders can’t ignore.

Sometimes you can dismiss a trend as a fad. Like Crocs, the Harlem Shake, or flash mobs. At other times to dismiss a trend is just a mistake. As in every era, some of today’s trends will become tomorrow’s reality. Innovative leaders aren’t afraid to embrace change and to be some of the first in on the shifts they see around them. In that spirit, here are 5 trends you’ll no longer be able to dismiss in 2014.

Tony Merida on 9 benefits of expository preaching.

Expository preaching is an approach that is founded on certain theological beliefs, such as the role of the preacher according to Scripture, the nature of the Scripture, and the work of the Spirit. Therefore, many of the benefits for doing exposition are hard to measure. However, nine practical-theological benefits are worth noting.

If you miss your family, you miss everything.

7 crippling parenting behaviors that keep your kids from becoming leaders.

I was intrigued, then, to catch up with leadership expert Dr. Tim Elmore and learn more about how we as parents are failing our children today — coddling and crippling them — and keeping them from becoming leaders they are destined to be. Tim is a best-selling author of more than 25 books, including Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their FutureArtificial Maturity: Helping Kids Meet the Challenges of Becoming Authentic Adults, and theHabitudes® series. He is Founder and President of Growing Leaders, an organization dedicated to mentoring today’s young people to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Ed Stetzer on 5 ways to teach your kids to hate the ministry.

To put it bluntly, a lot of pastors’ children hate the ministry. My team interviewed 20 pastors’ kids who are adults now. They provided some insights that were both inspiring and disturbing. Children with a pastor-parent can grow to hate the ministry for many reasons, but there are five guaranteed ways you can make sure they hate being a pastor’s kid (PK).

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Money and the Vision of a Church

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Most pastors hate to talk about money. People also don’t like to hear pastors talk about money. Yet, money is a huge issue in people’s lives. They mismanage it, get divorced because of it and it often ruins their lives.

The reality for churches and pastors is:

There is a direct correlation between giving in a church and vision.

I was talking with some pastor’s the other day and the question of how to increase giving in a church came up.

Now, if you aren’t a pastor you may think this a coarse conversation to have. Why would a pastor want giving to go up? The reason is simple:

  • Giving is a heart issue. Jesus said as much in Matthew 6:21. If giving goes down, it shows that the heart of the people in the church aren’t there, their passion and worship is somewhere else besides Jesus. 
  • It shows that they might need to hear solid, biblical teaching on the topic.
  • It shows buy-in.

It was this last reason that struck me as I thought about.

While churches can increase giving and generosity by having a giving challenge (you can listen to me here giving our last giving challenge), or teaching on giving (which many pastors need to start doing).

What many churches need do a better job at is communicating a compelling vision. When the giving at Revolution has gone down it has been during the seasons where our vision was cloudy or if felt like our vision wasn’t going anywhere.

Tell stories. Show how your church is winning. Talk about how your vision is happening. Make videos, show people it is happening.

People want to be generous, they want to be part of something that is winning, something that is going somewhere.

Links of the Week

  1. Mike Breen on Why the missional movement will fail part 1 and part 2. Mike has been instrumental in our change to missional communities and this is a huge reason why churches fail in this area. Great insight.
  2. Joe Thorn and (Fake) angry Calvinists.
  3. Ed Stetzer on Denominations.
  4. 12 questions to confirm your calling to plant a church.
  5. Jen Smidt on What is beautiful part 1 and part 2.
  6. Can megachurches be missional?
  7. Trevin Wax on 5 ways to redeem your ride to work.
  8. 10 suggestions to raising Godly children.
  9. Mark Driscoll on Women & ministry.
  10. Top 5 reasons why people don’t give to your church.

90 Day Giving Challenge

Tonight, we continued our series The Story of God and Mike preached on generosity from the book of Malachi. When it comes to the topic of money and giving back to God, people get very private and touchy about it. The Bible does not say that being rich is wrong or sinful, just how we get rich, what we do with it, what it says about us. One of the things we do twice is a year to help people in the area of money and generosity is what we call the 90 day giving challenge. I love seeing people take this challenge. When we did it back in March, we had 15 people take the challenge. Every time we give it, more and more people take it.

One of the things I have come to see in my own life and in the lives of others is the deep connection between our money, how we use it and God. I believe that God works through people who are generous with their stuff, time and money. For a few reasons:

  1. It gives God a chance to show His power.
  2. It shows God that we in fact trust Him.
  3. Generosity is the pathway to freedom.
  4. Generosity is evidence of a changed life.

While I don’t believe the Bible lays out a specific amount that we are to give (here is a great article that I pulled a lot of information from for tonight). I know many pastors point to 10% as the tithe, but the tithe in the Old Testament was actually closer to 22%. In the New Testament we are given principles when it comes to giving. They are:

  1. We should give.
  2. It needs to be systematic. We need to decide how often we will give.
  3. It needs to be generous and sacrificial. It should cost something. (Not giving will cost us something, but you’ll have to listen to my talk to here that part)
  4. It needs to be proportional.
  5. It needs to be intentional.

For Katie and I, we started at 10%. It was a round number, which helps. But when we began, it was sacrificial. As we have gotten older, God has blessed us with more, our giving has changed. I’ll post later about what that is.

Here is how how the challenge works. If you are not giving, start. If you are giving a little, move to greater generosity.

We don’t lay out a specific amount. Just look at the 5 principles above. For the next 90 days, give back to God through Revolution. If you feel at the end of those 90 days that it was a waste of time, you didn’t see God move in your life, you didn’t see God stay true to Scripture. Just tell us and we will give you the money back.

It is that simple.

Still not sure? Here is a video we showed tonight from Kat, a woman in our community.

Links of the Week

  1. Christianity Today on Sex, money…pride? Why pastors are stepping down.
  2. Michael Hyatt on Why you don’t get retweeted.
  3. Discerning the idols of your heart.
  4. Guy Kawasaki on 7 reasons why your blog fails.
  5. A prayer for pastors before and after preaching.
  6. Videos from the gospel coalition conference on church planting. So good.
  7. Casey Graham on 3 mistakes pastor’s make when they talk about money.
  8. Depression claims more and more pastor’s.
  9. Jon Nielson on Why students stay in church after graduating high school. Stats are really bad in this area, but this is a great look at what keeps those students.

90 Day Giving Challenge

Tonight, we continued our series in the book of James and I preached on “How to be Rich.” The Bible does not say that being rich is wrong or sinful, just how we get rich, what we do with it, what it says about us. One of the things we do twice is a year is what we call the 90 day giving challenge. I love seeing people take this challenge.

One of the things I have come to see in my own life and in the lives of others is the deep connection between our money, how we use it and God. I believe that God works through people who are generous with their stuff, time and money. For a few reasons:

  1. It gives God a chance to show His power.
  2. It shows God that we in fact trust Him.
  3. Generosity is the pathway to freedom.
  4. Generosity is evidence of a changed life.

While I don’t believe the Bible lays out a specific amount that we are to give (here is a great article that I pulled a lot of information from for tonight). I know many pastors point to 10% as the tithe, but the tithe in the Old Testament was actually closer to 22%. In the New Testament we are given principles when it comes to giving. They are:

  1. We should give.
  2. It needs to be systematic. We need to decide how often we will give.
  3. It needs to be generous and sacrificial. It should cost something. (Not giving will cost us something, but you’ll have to listen to my talk to here that part)
  4. It needs to be proportional.
  5. It needs to be intentional.

For Katie and I, we started at 10%. It was a round number, which helps. But when we began, it was sacrificial. As we have gotten older, God has blessed us with more, our giving has changed. I’ll post later about what that is.

Here is how how the challenge works. If you are not giving, start. If you are giving a little, move to greater generosity.

We don’t lay out a specific amount. Just look at the 5 principles above. For the next 90 days, give back to God through Revolution. If you feel at the end of those 90 days that it was a waste of time, you didn’t see God move in your life, you didn’t see God stay true to Scripture. Just tell us and we will give you the money back.

It is that simple.

 

A Story from the Giving Challenge

A few weeks ago, I laid out the 90 day giving challenge to our church, which we are in the middle of right now. One of those doing the challenge recently sent me this story and I wanted to share what God is doing through this challenge:

“With this last giving challenge, we decided we would up our tithe and give back to God in a big (but very scary) way. We have been struggling making our mortgage for a very long time and had applied for a home modification time and time again for the last year and a half. Last month our lender sold our mortgage to another bank who said we had to start the lengthy process and paperwork all over again.  We resorted to the fact that we most likely would lose our home and have to move our family of five to a smaller more affordable home, but we started the paperwork over once again while praying for God to move in a big way. Then the other day we went to the bank and took out the largest amount we have ever tithed (which in cash looks like so much more when you have bills that need to be paid). After getting home from the bank there was a package from the new lender. Our lender offered us a permanent loan modification by reducing the amount of our loan and dropping our interest rate to an astounding 2%! This meant our mortgage has actually been reduced by 50% and we are able to stay in our home! By being faithful and giving God our finances, we have been so blessed and feel very grateful!!”

Love seeing how God works when we are obedient.

90 Day Giving Challenge

Tonight, I preached on the topic of money and stewardship and its connection to our relationship with God as well as the rest of the world. While this is a topic often misunderstood and very personal, the Bible has a lot to say about it. When it comes to this topic and others like it, this is another reminder of why I like preaching through books of the Bible. It forces us to look at topics we normally wouldn’t look at.

One of the things I have come to see in my own life and in the lives of others is the deep connection between our money, how we use it and God. I believe that God works through people who are generous with their stuff, time and money. For a few reasons:

  1. It gives God a chance to show His power.
  2. It shows God that we in fact trust Him.
  3. Generosity is the pathway to freedom.
  4. Generosity is evidence of a changed life.

While I don’t believe the Bible lays out a specific amount that we are to give (here is a great article that I pulled a lot of information from for tonight). I know many pastors point to 10% as the tithe, but the tithe in the Old Testament was actually closer to 22%. In the New Testament we are given principles when it comes to giving. They are:

  1. We should give.
  2. It needs to be systematic. We need to decide how often we will give.
  3. It needs to be generous and sacrificial. It should cost something. (Not giving will cost us something, but you’ll have to listen to my talk to here that part)
  4. It needs to be proportional.
  5. It needs to be intentional.

For Katie and I, we started at 10%. It was a round number, which helps. But when we began, it was sacrificial. As we have gotten older, God has blessed us with more, our giving has changed. I’ll post later about what that is.

So, tonight, as I preached through Nehemiah 12:44 – 47 and looked at this new church and how they worshiped through their finances, I laid out what we call the 90 day giving challenge.

Here is how it works. If you are not giving, start. If you are giving a little, move to greater generosity.

We don’t lay out a specific amount. Just look at the 5 principles above. For the next 90, give back to God through Revolution. If you feel at the end of those 90 days that it was a waste of time, you didn’t see God move in your life, you didn’t see God stay true to Scripture. Just tell us and we will give you the money back.

It is that simple.

We closed tonight with a story of someone who did this the last time.

Automate Your Giving

This past Sunday we had our partnership class. There are several things we call all of our partners to do:  be in a group, pray for Revolution, attend Revolution, serve on a team and honor God with their finances.

There is always one question that comes up in the area of giving, “Why do you have automated giving at Revolution? Doesn’t that take the worship out of it?”

It is a great question and honestly, one we wrestled with as elders before deciding to give this option to our church. In the end, we felt like offering this to those who attend Revolution Church was a good idea, for a few reasons:

  1. You are better able to plan when it comes to giving. You know when it will happen and you know that you will not miss an opportunity give back to God, even if you are not at church.
  2. It is worship because you decide it is worship. Just because someone gives back to God in a service does not make it worship if the person’s heart is not a worshipful heart. We have many people who will write on a giving envelope, “Gave back to God online this week.” “Gave through my automated giving this week.” This gives you a chance to put something in the offering box if you like.

Those are the two biggest reasons and objections I hear. Automated giving is the option that we encourage everyone to do. It is the way we honor God with our finances.