The Early Bird Gets The Link

Here are some links to get your weekend started. 

3 Ways to Get Leaders from Pew to Pulpit
If we are going to raise up preachers we must give space to try. Many young preachers get their feet wet in a student ministry or Wednesday evening service, but there is something powerful when the whole church gathers together to hear God’s Word proclaimed. There are a number of places where preachers can get experience but if the goal is to prepare them for preaching to a whole congregation, there will need to be space for this to happen. 

Three Strategies for Overcoming the Superficial Life

Paul is calling us to discipline the focus of our minds so that we fix the mind, the focus of the mind, on things that are worthy and that have the potential to deepen and strengthen and purify our souls. The specifics that I would recommend would be these.

Discipleship for The Rest of Us

Sometimes I read books and articles on discipleship and I wonder who in the world they’re written for. And then I remember: Oh, yeah — for people who give the Sunday School answers in Sunday School but save the real life-or-death, grasping-for-meaning, gasping-for-breath grappling with God for those rare moments when they’re all alone, undistracted, and unable to fend off the crushing sense of their own inadequacies and apprehensions about the world and their place in it. A lot of the ways the evangelical church does discipleship seem designed for people who don’t seem to really need it. It’s like the uber-toned Crossfit junkie who adds a spin class to his weekly schedule, because, well, why not?

Why does “at-home” work matter—and how does it help us raise little people who love reading?

But what if it’s this attitude that is actually robbing men and women of a deeper understanding of at-home work? Of it’s value and significance? That is among the many things Courtney Reissig and I discuss today on Reading Writers.

10 Questions to Help Us Analyze Our Smartphone Habits

Whoa! These 10 questions are convicting. 

Deep And Wide Churches

deep and wide

Last night as I was reading an assignment for school, Professor David Feddes quoted a comment by Peter Eldersveld from 1959 about measuring success, Peter says “a typically modern standard of what constitutes success, measuring everything in terms of mere numbers–always counting instead of weighing.”

Measuring By The Numbers

Numbers never lie, right? According to the Pew Research Center 70.6% of adults in the United States call themselves Christian. If this number were true, I would venture to say we would be living in a very different United States. Too often, as the church, we have been consumed with numbers and use numbers as our sole metric of success. We are consumed with, professions of faith, dunking people in water and adding them to the church roll.

When we elevate numbers as our sole metric of success, we will end up with a diluted church body. Many churches across America are filled with the “unregenerate church member”. These are people who may have walked an aisle, received baptism and were added to the church members roll, but were never really saved by the Gospel of Christ. Many churches are happy to do so because it gives the appearance of success. Unfortunately some unregenerate church members end up in leadership positions in churches and cause more harm than good.

Weighing and Counting

As churches we want to grow deep and wide, we should count and weigh. Using numbers as our only metric of success will lead to disaster. Who can forget the crowds of people who were following Jesus in John 6, but when Jesus put them on the scale and weighed their discipleship, we discover they were following Christ for selfish gain. When put on the scale, the people of John 6 rejected Christ.

We need churches to be deep and wide churches. Wide churches are churches who carry the mantle of missions in their community and share the Gospel of Christ. Wide churches are churches who add to the church people who are being saved, baptized, getting involved through church membership and walking with the Lord daily.

We also need deep churches. Deep churches are churches who have a strong discipleship culture who are not satisfied with just adding to the church, but are concerned with the individual growth of those who are being added. Deep churches are churches who have developed a leadership pipeline, a system of training, to help a person move from a disciple to a discipler. Successful churches are deep and wide churches.

May the Lord produce an abundance of deep and wide churches across our communities, the nation and our world.

Until Next Time

grow deep and help the church grow wide

 

The Early Bird Gets The Link

There are some great links today, happy clicking.

8 Sins You Commit Whenever You Look at Porn

When you open your browser and begin to look at those images and videos, you are sinning in ways that go far beyond lust. Here are 8 sins you commit when you look at porn.

On Going To Church

Here are a few links worth your time on going to church. The Worst Consequence of Skipping Church

15 Really Strange Reasons Not to Attend Church

The Real Reasons Your People Aren’t Turning Up To Church Every Week

Hope you take a look at those. 

The Bible’s 4 Essential Teachings about Politics

If we want to understand a Christian view of politics, therefore, the first thing we need to do is look at clues from the Bible’s main storyline. One way to tell the story is to divide it into four acts—Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Consummation. In this article, I will do exactly that, and will briefly relate each act to the notion of politics.

Seven Ways to Overcome Satan

So how do we fight? How do we overcome Satan’s attacks?

The Early Bird Gets The Link

Here are Tuesday’s links.

Why the Lord’s Prayer Is So Offensive

The Lord’s Prayer is not mild, inoffensive, vanilla, listless, nominal, wishy-washy, or wallpapery. If you don’t worship the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is deeply subversive, upsetting, and offensive—from the first phrase to the last.

10 Reasons to Be Humble Toward Opponents

I think it’s unlikely for a work of church revitalization to go on without overcoming significant human opposition. But God commands us to be humble toward our opponents, entrusting ourselves to him. This is among the greatest displays of grace. And it’ll be instrumental in transforming your church.

What Can Church History Teach Us About Wolves?

Several years ago I did a series on heresies and heretics. Preparing the messages helped me understand church history better and more carefully articulate the orthodox faith. It also helped me notice some patterns (and non-patterns) related to false teachers. I discovered that church history can teach us a lot about wolves.

Satan Wields Ignorance of the Word as a Weapon

The same shadow of doubt is cast on God’s Word today. It’s always subtle, and it’s always war. “Did God actually say” appears on the shelves of Christian book stores, in the words of popular online bloggers, and in the claims of Netflix documentaries. Someone on Facebook shares the “real” Greek or Hebrew meaning though it contradicts the obvious and plain meaning of easily understandable words. A writer claims the cultural context of the words carry more weight than the eternal-never-passing-away truth of them: “Would God really say that if He were writing the Bible nowadays?” And like Eve, if we remain unfamiliar with what God said, we become easy targets.

He’s Memorized 42 Books of the Bible

In 2014, Baptist Press wrote a story about Andy, who at that time had memorized an astounding 35 books of the Bible. Since then he has added another seven.

The Early Bird Gets The Link

My wife and I were away for the weekend at a preaching conference which was a much needed getaway. I hope you enjoyed your weekend, here are some links to get your week started.

Good news in one of the saddest verses in Scripture

“When Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away to follow other gods,” wrote its author.1 “He was not wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord his God, as his father David had been.”

The Great Command for the Husband

From the very beginning, the devil has attacked marriage and the institution of family. That has been one of the most common attacks in the arsenal of the devil. From the beginning, the devil cast a shadow of doubt on the Word of God, and he thereby divided the first marriage and brought great ruin into the world with misery and death. From that one sin, the devil successfully attacked the family. Things have not changed today.

You Aren’t the Good Samaritan 

What if the person we—and the lawyer asking the question—are most supposed to identify with in the story is not the priest or Levite or the Good Samaritan? What if, instead, we were primarily like the guy bleeding on the side of the road?

8 Departure Dangers from Gospel-Centrality

There are lots of distractions from and temptations to discard a commitment to gospel-centeredness.

Feasting As An Act of War

I heard Andrew Peterson recently recall a scene in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. In that Narnian world blanketed by snow (where it is always winter and never Christmas), the White Witch comes upon a party in the woods, where she finds “decorations of holly” and “something like plum pudding.” A bunch of merry animals are enjoying a feast in celebration of a visit from Father Christmas, the return of Aslan, and the signal that winter will soon end. At once, the Witch demands the animals deny the good news, and when they refuse, she turns them into stone. The merry feast was to the evil witch a declaration of war.

The Early Bird Gets The Link 

Here are some links for your Thursday. 

We Need More “Parlour Preachers”

In short, one who is fluent in the gospel has their mother tongue in the gospel. They see and hear the world through the gospel filter and demonstrate an ability to speak the gospel into the everyday stuff of life.

Present Darkness

Scripture’s transparency on the lows of life are a testament to its credibility. The realities of what it means to be human are on display. To know that God-fearing, faithful people (prophets, kings, and apostles even!) struggled with despair, fear, and doubt is greatly validating for people today who are trying to reconcile their faith walk with their mental health battles. They’ve too often heard that if they had enough faith, they wouldn’t have the struggles they have.

The Gospel Doesn’t Accommodate

Why are we so willing to set aside the hard sayings of Jesus and opt instead for a Jesus of our own creation? Perhaps C.S. Lewis was right after all, we’re half-hearted creatures.

The Crushing Illusion of Control

The surpassing power belongs to God and not to us—and the moment we get that wrong (and we will, friends), we panic, we fear, we are anxious, we search for some sort of fix to give us back the illusion of control: exercise, diets, essential oils, medication, massages. None of those things is wrong in and of themselves, but they can all numb the thing we need most: to remember God is the one with surpassing power and not us. And more than numbing us, they can crush us.

We Need More Bible in Youth Ministry

But we teens need Bible study — more than we even realize. Here are four reasons I believe pastors, teachers, youth leaders, and Christian parents need to encourage and exhort us to study the Bible, and teach us how to do it.

You Can’t Love Missions without Loving the Local Church

When people perceive missions and the local church as two wholly distinct and therefore mutually exclusive Christian lifestyles, we don’t just lose quality people who would have made great missionaries; we build churches who believe that missions is something “those people” out there do, not us.

16 B&H Ebooks on Sale for Only $2.99 or Less Each

Check it out

The Early Bird Gets The Link

Here is your daily round up of links.

Acts 29 Debates Spiritual Gifts

Worth the read.

God Does Not Answer Selfie Prayers

Personal cameras were designed to allow us to capture special sites, events, and persons in our lives. But the rear-facing camera has become more important than the front-facing one. Who knew that for most people the most special thing they can capture in a picture is themselves?

Beware, lest the “selfie” mindset infiltrate your prayer life.
Survey Reveals Many Evangelicals Are Confused About Adultery

The survey looks at how the general population as well as subgroups based on gender, race, and a variety of religious subgroups, answer the question, “How often, if ever, would you say the following activities would be cheating on a spouse or partner?” Here are the results for evangelicals:

Eight Ways to Pursue the Ministry of Reconciliation

What are some practical ways we can open our hearts and deliver God’s loving message of reconciliation to those who don’t even realize they’re searching for it?

Translating God’s Name

Interesting thoughts. 

The Lesser Known Joseph

There are two very famous men in Scripture who share the name Joseph. There’s the Old Testament Joseph, the great savior of the nation of Israel, whose amazing story from abandoned brother to Egyptian lord is chronicled in Genesis. Then there’s the New Testament Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, who believed in the angel’s report and became the guardian of the young Messiah. But there’s a third Joseph, often overlooked because of the drama of the moment onto which he stepped.