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.

book

  1. Duane Smets on The pruned planter.
  2. 5 questions every sermon must answer.
  3. Rich Birch on 7 signs your church is struggling.
  4. 10 things that should be on your to-do list today.
  5. Cheryl Edmondson on How to handle it when people talk about your husband, the pastor.
  6. How to write the bottom line in your next sermon.
  7. Dan Black on Benefits to breaking your normal routine.
  8. Tony McCullom on Your first 500 sermons will suck.
  9. What keeps leaders up at nights.
  10. J.D. Greear on What’s the deal with the ‘T’ in LGBT?
  11. Luke Simmons on What I admire about Mormon missions.
  12. An unknown pastor is not the same thing as an ordinary pastor.
  13. Aimee Byrd on Women preaching and blogging. Great insights here.

Reflections on Titus

We finished our series Convergence on the book Titus this past Sunday.  It was awesome spending the last 4 weeks in this little book.  Titus is only 46 verses long, and just a page and a half, but it packs a lot in.  You can read my thoughts on each week at the link above, but I wanted to share a few overall thoughts.

The main point of the book of Titus is Godly living & truth must go hand in hand.  This is all over the book.  Titus was written by Paul to Titus, who was living on the island of Crete and leading churches there.  Paul lays out how the church is to function, how they are to be organized, what their community is supposed to look like, etc.  All the things that Paul talks about give the churches advice on how to be different from the culture around them.  Everything from leadership, doctrine, relationships and reaching out to those less fortunate or different from them. 

Many of the topics in Titus are controversial and difficult to deal with.  Things like leaders needing to be the husband of one wife and the role of women in churches, the roles of men and women in marriages, dealing with false teachers.  All of these things can be an incredible witness to the world around us or make the world not believe in God. 

The book closes with how to do good in the world that we live in.  The world we live in is broken and in need of a Savior and we can do good by showing who Jesus is and the grace that he gives to the world.  It was a very interesting series to do.

Convergence: Leading out of Chaos (Titus 1:1 – 9)

picture1.jpgpicture1.jpgWe began our journey through the book of Titus today.  Really excited about this series.  Today we looked at verses 1-9 of chapter 1.  I was a little nervous about today because it was the longest sermon I have ever preached.  It actually came in at 53 minutes.  Going in, I knew it was going to be this long, but I think it went well.  The tough thing when preaching through a controversial topic like women in ministry is that if you don’t give enough background, you can actually create more questions than you answer. 

The main point of this passage though is on integrity.  One of the things I have learned about leadership is that if you don’t have integrity, then you aren’t a leader worth following.  Our society has become a place where CEO’s embezzle money, Presidents have affairs and church leaders end up in between, usually doing the same things.  This creates a problem and this is what Paul hits over and over in Titus.  Godly living must go hand in hand with truth.  Without both, you will miss the mark.  We have people doing either one, but rarely both, and this is what makes the gospel lose strength.  People don’t believe people who don’t live lives congruent with their words.  And when people see someone living good, if they don’t have truth, it takes them down the wrong path. 

Today was also a sad day in the life of our church.  After a lot of prayer and conversations, Dan Marques, one of our elders came to the conclusion that after 7 years, it is time to step down as an elder.  He has been an elder since Beginnings began.  Being an elder is hard work and Dan felt that he needed to pull away to concentrate more on his family life, which is completely understandable.

As I was getting ready for this week I was struck by something:  there are 31, 103 verses in the Bible and only 17 verses list out the qualifications of elders.  There are 66 books in the Bible and only 3 (1 Timothy, Titus & 1 Peter) list the qualifications of elders.  For me, I take comfort that God is moving in our community.  In June, we laid out this series and decided to do Titus and on the day that we go through the passage about elder qualifications, this passage became incredibly applicable for our church.  I wish it wasn’t true, but it is where we are. 

As I have been researching this book, it has been amazing to see how much Paul is able to pack into 46 verses.  We are only spending 4 weeks in Titus, but we could probably spend 3 months in it.  It is an interesting book, so I am really excited about this series in the life of our church.  Particluarly because Titus was written to newer churches on the island of Crete.  Beginnings is a newer church, with most of our church being new to either faith or to Beginnings.  That is why we decided to do this book.