Archive for June, 2009
A few years ago, Willow Creek Community Church did a study called REVEAL to try to determine the effectiveness of their ministries and programming when it came to making disciples. Their conclusions were surprising to some (not surprising to others) and lead to some interesting thoughts on what makes people grow in their faith. This resource is a talk that Greg Hawkins, the man behind REVEAL, gave to a group of church planters a few years back.
I confess that this is a more “under the hood” kind of resource that may only appeal to those who think about ministry programming and design (like I do), but if you’re a person that has ever felt stuck in your spiritual growth, I think this resource might help you understand some of the factors that contributed.
For an interesting video that helps explain what this talk is about, check it out below.
Two of my favorite and most helpful Bible teachers over the years have been John MacArthur and John Piper. In this incredible interview, they talk about their lives, ministries, struggles, regrets, and passions in a way that I find encouraging and instructive. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
Some of you read the title and thought, “Wow, how dark is this? He’s recommending a funeral eulogy?”
Yes I am.
It’s a recording of Dr. Wayne Grudem speaking at his daughter-in-law’s funeral a few years ago after she was tragically killed in a car accident, just 3 months after her wedding to Dr. Grudem’s son Alexander. Though it’s emotional to listen to, it’s worth the 17 minutes that it will take you. I love it for two main reasons: 1) It makes me believe that Heaven is real and 2) it’s instructive to hear a world-class theologian apply truth to a personal and painful real-life situation.
After church on Sunday, my family is heading out of town for our summer vacation. It will include 3 days/nights in Vail, Colorado for the Acts29 Lead Pastor’s Retreat, where we hope to connect with some of our fellow church planters and wives for a time of mutual encouragement and refreshment. In particular, we’re looking forward to time with the pastors and wives of some other metro Phoenix churches (Praxis, Missio Dei Communities, Old Town Bible, and others). After that, we’ll spend some time with my parents in Denver and then head to Toledo, Ohio to be with Molly’s family. We’re super-excited to get some rest, get out of the intense Arizona heat, and spend time with our families.
While I’m gone (thanks to a cool feature of this WordPress blog that allows me to write posts now and schedule them to be published later) I’m going to have a number of posts with resource recommendations that you don’t want to miss. If you’ve read this blog much, you know that I’m kind of a resource junkie. So, check back over the next few weeks and feed your heart with these great resources.
Another key topic from last Sunday’s sermon was idolatry. We often don’t recognize our idolatry because it’s so subtle, but it drives all of our sinful actions and thoughts and really shapes who we become.
This has been something I’ve thought and learned a bunch about in the last year or so, and recently I heard a message that was a great summary of idolatry and its implications. The message, from the Advance09 conference, was by Mark Driscoll and entitled “Ministry Idolatry.” He specifically is speaking to pastors and ministry leaders, but it’s very relevant for anybody’s life.
In last Sunday’s sermon, we focused quite a bit on the need for ongoing repentance. This is the idea that we don’t just turn from our sin one time, but that the life of the follower of Jesus is a life of constant turning. With that in mind, I want to recommend a brief, helpful article by Tim Keller entitled “All of Life is Repentance.” It’s worth reading, re-reading, and really trying to work into the fabric of your life.
Sadly, many Christians live out of a moralistic mindset (do this, don’t do that) rather than a gospel mindset (isn’t God wonderful!). Here’s a great, short video clip of Matt Chandler explaining a sad example he experienced and proclaiming the kind of love Jesus has for broken people.
Here’s a nicely done video of one the 1031 Sermon Jams mixes of an excerpt from John Piper.
Here’s part of a video of a message by Andy Stanley called, “The Principle of the Path.” The first 6.5 minutes are especially good and are part of a talk that the men in our Leadership Development Community Group were listening to for this week.
Wow. It’s been almost a full month since I last posted. I promise to get back in the groove. For now, I thought I’d just post 10 thoughts and lots of links…
- I’m really enjoying the study and teaching for our current series on Jonah. It’s challenged me personally and I think it’s something our church needs to hear, especially the next few weeks.
- Our Community Groups are off to a great start. We have 178 people signed up(!) not including the 15-20 students who are part of the new student ministry.
- After Jonah we’re going to study the church’s core values, digging into a new passage each week.
- I’m so excited about our new Associate Pastor, Matthew Braselton. He’s going to bring so much to our church and it’s great to have another partner in ministry. We’ve been enjoying this book together.
- I love these blogs: Straight Up, Kacey Luvi Photography (you can see some of her pictures of our family here and here), Drew Litton, Mike the Middle Child, and Between Two Worlds.
- I find the podcasts from the Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders to be interesting, enjoyable, and stretching as a leader.
- Twitter is much more fun and useful than I originally anticipated. John Piper’s twitter feed is a great example of why.
- I was very sad to hear this week of another Christian Pastor who disqualified himself through sexual sin. It serves as a great warning for me and anyone else in leadership. “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1 Cor 10:12)
- These sports articles from The Onion were very funny: Detroit, Pittsburgh Both Attempting To Lose Stanley Cup, Avoid Expensive Victory Parade, Rafael Nadal Thinks He Disappointed Millions By Losing French Open.
- As an auditory learner, I’m so thankful for so many wonderful audio resources that are free online. Here are a few that I’m listening to: Alistair Begg (all his sermons were recently put on for free by Truth for Life), Andy Stanley’s Leadership Podcast, the recent Advance09 Conference, and A Conversation Between John MacArthur and John Piper.