Around the Interweb (07/18)

The Problem with Pastor as Rock Star

Ed Stetzer recently produced this challenging piece over at Challies dot com:

You can just check the headlines. When a rock star pastor falls, the church rarely recovers. When they do, it is through extricating their identity from that of the pastor’s abilities and personality. No pastor is indispensable. It’s good for pastors to remind themselves, “Others filled the role before you were born and others will fill it after you’re gone.”

But the rock star pastor constantly needs more attendees, Facebook fans, and Twitter followers. In a twisted bit of logic, they work to make the gospel well-known through their own fame.

Some have pointed to the multi-site movement as an illustration of how the church has sold out to make rock star pastors famous. Personally, I am not anti-multi-site. When partnered with church planting, it has great potential. Nevertheless, while I’m not “anti,” I do urge caution. At times, I’ve joked about “rock star celebrity pastors beaming their graven image all over the country.” If you are a rock star pastor, perhaps you believe that the church can simply not go on without you. You would be wrong.

Pride was inherent in the fall of Adam and it rears its head whenever one person deems the church’s future to ride on their shoulders or voice. Multi-site, or any program, as a necessity derived from the attention needed by a rock star pastor, is idolatry.

Read the whole thing here.

In Other News

Jared C. Wilson: Your Church might not be a Church if…

Michael Krahn: How I discovered Chris Tomlin

Don’t Waste Your Life Sentence: A new film from Desiring God. Here’s the trailer:

In Case You Missed It

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

True and False Worship, the sermon I preached at Poplar Hill Christian Church on July 11, 2010

A review of Mike McKinley’s new book Church Planting is for Wimps

People are imitating you; are you worth imitating?

Canadian Youth and Christianity

Recently Ed Stetzer released some of his research regarding Canadian young adults and their view of Christianity & the church. After taking a look at some of the data, there were a couple of things that were interesting to me:

  1. Unchurched[1] Canadian youth are far less hostile toward the church than their American counterparts
  2. They’re far more open to a Christian sharing their faith than you’d think (89% responded positively), but far less likely to examine the Bible for themselves (51% say they’d be willing to study the Bible if a friend asked them, and only 32% would be willing to join a small group to learn about Jesus and the Bible)

Now, I get that stats and numbers aren’t all that compelling or even all that interesting for most of us; however, there’s something important for us to learn:

If people are willing to listen to us share our faith, shouldn’t we be doing so?

This has been the experience of some friends from church who are a part of our evangelism team. Every week, they’re out talking to people, sharing the gospel whenever they can, praying with people…

And the people they’re talking to are willing to listen.

So, what would happen if today—and I’m just saying if—we asked a random person if we could talk about our faith with them?

What’s the worst thing that could happen?

That they ignore you—or that they say, “yes”?

1: The “unchurched” are defined as those who do not belong to or participate in a local church

Around the Interweb (01/24)

“It is Well with My Soul…”

Churches Helping Churches released a powerful video presentation of the devastation in Haiti on Friday, one that is tempered with incredible hope: 

At 4:57, Mark Driscoll interviews a pastor from Haiti who, despite everything, still has joy. When asked why he’s smiling, where is his joy, he answers, “It’s from the Lord.” 

God is good, folks. 


 

In other news

John Newton in a letter to Rev. Thomas Jones (October 20, 1767): “As to myself, if I were not a Calvinist, I think I should have no more hope of success in preaching to men, than to horses or cows.” (via Kevin DeYoung

“Tell Bud, ministry isn’t everything.  Jesus is.” (via Ray Ortlund

Ed Stetzer: “Be careful with your words. You only have so many to use in your upcoming sermon, so choose them wisely. Those words may comprise your very last sermon. Have you considered that?” 

More photos from Haiti (via Compassion’s Flickr page): 

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.4540560&w=425&h=350&fv=offsite%3Dtrue%26offsite%3Dtrue%26lang%3Den-us%26page_show_url%3D%252Fphotos%252Fcompassioninternational%252Fsets%252F72157623133539077%252Fshow%252Fwith%252F4293585965%252F%26page_show_back_url%3D%252Fphotos%252Fcompassioninternational%252Fsets%252F72157623133539077%252Fwith%252F4293585965%252F%26set_id%3D72157623133539077%26jump_to%3D4293585965]

more about “Haiti Earthquake“, posted with vodpod 


In case you missed it

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts: 

My review of Joshua Harris’ new book, Dug Down Deep. Read the review then go buy the book. 

Airing my frustration with progressive sanctification

If the gospel is dull, then what is worth being called exciting

Martyn Lloyd-Jones reminds us that the gospel is the most exciting and astounding thing that has ever and will ever happen.

Around the Interweb (01/03)

The Gospel Coalition Launches the For the Love of God blog

The Gospel Coalition has launched a new blog—one that’s not really a blog at all, but a free digital version of D.A. Carson’s two volume devotional For the Love of God. For the Love of God is designed to walk a person through the Bible in a year with commentary provided by Carson. For example, January 2 you would read Genesis 2; Matthew 2; Ezra 2; Acts 2 and Carson’s commentary on Genesis 2. An excerpt follows:

WHAT A STRANGE WAY, we might think, to end this account of Creation: “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” (Gen. 2:25). Hollywood would love it: what an excuse for sexual titillation if someone tries to place the scene on the big screen. We hurry on, chasing the narrative.

Yet the verse is strategically placed. It links the account of the creation of woman and the establishment of marriage (Gen 2:18-24) with the account of the Fall (Gen. 3). On the one hand, the Bible tells us that woman was taken from man, made by God to be “a helper suitable for him” (2:18), yet doubly one with him: she is bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh (2:24), the paradigm of marriages to come, of new homes and new families. On the other hand, in the next chapter we read of the Fall, the wretched rebellion that introduces death and the curse. Part of that account, as we glean from tomorrow’s reading, finds the man and the woman hiding from the presence of the Lord, because their rebellion opened their eyes to their nakedness (3:7, 10). Far from being unashamed, their instinct is to hide.

HT: Justin Taylor


In other news

Ed Stetzer shares some new research on how Protestant pastors spend their time

Michael Hyatt asks seven questions to consider about last year

John Piper shares 10 resolutions for mental health


In Case you missed it

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

My favorite books of 2009: Part 1 & part 2

A few books I’m looking forward to in 2010

A review of Spurgeon’s All of Grace

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: Be Different from the World

Around the Interweb (12/13)

Tim Challies: The Next Story (His Next Book)

Tim Challies, the world’s most famous Christian blogger and author of The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment announced his next book this week.

The working title: The Next Story. The publisher: Zondervan.

True story. Here’s what Tim had to say:

Since I wrote The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment I’ve often been asked the obvious question: what next? That’s a good question, of course. I have deliberately been biding my time. I’ve been in no real hurry to jump into my next project. A few ideas have come and gone, but none have been intriguing or original enough that I’ve wanted to dedicate a year of my life to them. The commitment to a certain topic is really a commitment to spend at least six months reading and writing about it and then a further six months (at minimum) doing interviews about it, speaking about it, preaching about it, and so on. The last thing I wanted to do was find a topic that would bore me and leave me dreading it.

[...] The book’s working title is The Next Story. I’m really pleased with the title, but it does have a downside in that it is remarkably difficult to pronounce (try saying it out loud). It is a book about technology in general and digital technology in particular. Even the least technical among us are being pressed from all sides by technology. Like it or not, we rely upon it in unprecedented ways. Many people feel that they are analog creatures in a digital world. Christians are beginning to awaken to this reality and are trying to think critically and biblically about many new realities brought about by technological developments. Yet, there are few helpful and sympathetic voices for those who wish to do so but have no idea how. I’m hoping to fill this gap, creating a book that will help Christians think well about technology. I do not intend to discuss Facebook and Twitter and whatever will be big and popular next month. I want to discuss technology in the bigger picture so that the book will be applicable today, tomorrow and ten years from now.

If all goes well, the book will be published in hardcover in the spring of 2011. And it will be published by Zondervan. I’m guessing that this will be a surprise to a few people. Frankly, it is a bit of a surprise to me. But in the end it was clear that Zondervan had the best all-around offer, from the financial, to the marketing, to the audience. Zondervan will take the book to a whole new audience, I’m convinced, and will work hard to help me find interesting speaking opportunities. They put together a fantastic proposal and I had no hesitations in signing on with them.

This is very exciting news and I’m thrilled for both Tim and Zondervan (and a very wise move on Zondervan’s part).  I’ve no doubt that he’ll bring the same thoughtfulness to this book as he did his first.

Look for The Next Story in 2011.


In Other News

Molly Piper cordially invites you to break your heart

Kevin DeYoung on The Christian Century and the New Calvinism

Michael Hyatt believes the SI Tablet might be the end of book publishing as we know it (and he’s excited!)

Trevin Wax reminds us that contextualization goes both ways


In Case You Missed It

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

A review of Andy Deane’s very helpful book, Learn to Study the Bible

Building Christmas traditions with my family

Ed Stetzer points us to a study on the effects of pornography

The Effects of Pornography

Ed Stetzer points readers to a new study by Patrick F. Fagan examining the effects of pornography:

A new study done by Patrick F. Fagan examines the effects of pornography on individuals, marriage, family and community. Fagan is Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Research on Marriage and Religion at the Family Research Council. He specializes in examining the relationships among family, marriage, religion, community, and America’s social problems. This study is important for everyone to read as it demonstrates that it has damaging effects on individuals and families. In the summary Fagan explains,

Pornography is a visual representation of sexuality which distorts an individual’s concept of the nature of conjugal relations. This, in turn, alters both sexual attitudes and behavior. It is a major threat to marriage, to family, to children and to individual happiness. In undermining marriage it is one of the factors in undermining social stability.Social scientists, clinical psychologists, and biologists have begun to clarify some of the social and psychological effects, and neurologists are beginning to delineate the biological mechanisms through which pornography produces its powerful negative effects.

Some of the findings inside the study include: [Read more...]

Attack of the Ginormous Study Bibles

I saw this video over on Ed Stetzer’s website and it gave me a good laugh. I love my ESV Study Bible—it’s fantastic. It’s packed with information and really, really helpful.

And, as an added bonus, it’s big enough to use as my home security system!

(I wonder if the folks at Crossway would consider that as a selling point?)

I don’t know much about the HCSB translation, aside from taking a quick look on their website, but it looks like a pretty decent translation. Very easy to read, which is always a plus.

So, if you’ve got a Study Bible, what do you like about the one you have?

Sunday Shorts (06/21)

Mostly Dead vs. All Dead

What’s Andy Naselli’s favorite illustration of the Arminian view of human depravity (and it’s integral relationship to the concept of prevenient grace)?

The Princess Bride, of course!

Andy cites this as the crucial part of the exchange:

“Well it just so happens that your friend here is only mostly dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. . . . Now mostly dead is slightly alive. All dead—well, with all dead, there’s only usually one thing that you can do.”

“What’s that?”

“Go through his clothes and look for loose change.”

If you’re not reading Andy’s blog, you really should.

Leadership Book Interview: Unfashionable

Ed Stetzer interviews Tullian Tchvidjian about his book, Unfashionable. Here’s the intro:

Tullian Tchividjian’s new book, Unfashionable boldly addresses the issue of what it means to be the church in the world, while refusing to be of it. This is a theologically driven book that calls the church to “contextualize without compromise.” Tullian’s is a voice of reasoned, biblical sanity when many who are having this discussion are talking past one another with unhelpful and exaggerated rhetoric. I spoke with Tullian recently and asked him to talk to us about this new book.

Read the whole interview at Ed Stetzer’s blog.

He Stinketh: Thoughts on Rob Bell’s Velvet Elvis

Nick Carter posted a short, but enjoyable review of Rob Bell’s Velvet Elvis:

…would I recommend this book to others? To be honest, probably not. So, is Nick just jumping on the bandwagon with all the other staunch traditionalists and defenders of orthodox doctrine? I hope not, but I have to ask… what’s so wrong with orthodoxy? If you’ve read with interest Velvet Elvis and came away with a sentiment of disgust for the “old” way of the reformers and for the guard dogs of doctrine in conservative academia today–then you’ve proven my point. That being the likely reaction of readers is precisely why I would not recommend this book.

Read the rest at TrueVictories.com

In case you missed it

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

The Persevering Prophet: Fruit What makes a ministry fruitful?

Book Review: Just Do Something Reviewing Kevin DeYoung’s latest book on discerning God’s will and decision-making

Made in the Image of God: Holiness How humanity images God in the pursuit of holiness

Music Review: Rain City Hymnal Reviewing Re:Sound’s first full-length release, Rain City Hymnal

Advance: The Resurgence of the Local Church

The Advance conference begins Thursday in Durham, N.C. Speakers include Matt Chandler, John Piper, Mark Driscoll, Ed Stetzer, Eric Mason, JD Greear and more.

From Advance09.com:

Christ promises to build the Church, and that no force will prevail against it. Yet, the local church has been heavily battered in battle. Sadly, churches in America are in steady decline, with over 4000 closing their doors and 500,000 members leaving each year–never to return. This is not what the Lord desires. The Apostle Paul tells us that ” . . . through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places”. The local church is called to lift-up Jesus so that all the world might see Him. The local church is called to make known the Gospel and to be the vehicle of redemption for the world. Led by local churches, Advance09 is a conference committed to the resurgence of the local church for the glory of God. Our aim is to equip attendees with the Gospel so that the local church might become all that Jesus calls it to be. At this conference, we hope to ensure that on our watch and in our time we honor Jesus and see the resurgence of the local church. Advance09 is open to anyone: pastors and lay-leaders; church members and regular-attenders. We invite you to join us in this Great Cause.