Five for Friday (7.24.14)

five red buttonIt’s Friday again! Here are links to five great articles to keep you learning through the weekend.

Medal of Honor Goes to Soldier ‘Who Held the Line’ – This is what a hero does.

Jesus is for Losers – A needed reminder from Tullian Tchividian.

Nine Reasons Men Should Stay Away From Porn – Read this guys!

Can Neuroscience Help Us Disciple Anyone? – Amazing merging of science and theology!

Eight Ways to Help Your Pastor Have a Good Vacation – True words Mt Vernon!

Five for Friday (7.18.14)

5Here are five great articles to keep you thinking through the weekend! Go to church (somewhere) this Sunday!

Balancing Justice and Mercy in Immigration Reform – A great perspective on this divisive topic.

Catalyst’s Brad Lomenick on Secret to Success – Great interview with the guy who helped build the Catalyst Conference, a conference I look forward to going to every year.

The Road to Jericho & the Border Crisis – Another strong perspective on the border crisis from the top Baptist mind on the subject.

The Pastor’s Wife Who Went Crazy – Amazing first-person perspective on mental illness.

Why Are So Many Christians Afraid of Hollywood Bible Movies? – With more and more Bible epics coming out, this is a good word.

BONUS Video – For the guys, a history of hair fashion over the past 100 years.

Five for Friday (6.20.14)

five red buttonRick Reilly Last Column – The famed sportswriter is hanging up his hat. His last column provides some powerful perspective about the importance of family and sports (in that order)

The Symphony That Saved a City – An amazing historical story about the power of the arts in the human experience.

Christian Comparison Isn’t Pretty – Refreshing honesty for everyone who struggles with the temptation of comparison.

My Husband Doesn’t Need to See Your Boobs – Great reminder from a wife for all the ladies out there.

Hobby Lobby aims for Obamacare win, Christian nation – Interesting to see how a mainstream organization reports on this Supreme Court case. Read the comments at your own peril!

 

Five for Friday (5.16.14)

five red buttonSchool’s almost out! But that doesn’t mean you can’t stop learning! Here are five articles to keep you thinking throughout the weekend.

The Myth of Happy Parenting – Must read for all parents out there!

The Church Needs More Tattoos – Amen! Great article from Russell Moore.

My Abortion Story, An Open Letter to Emily Letts – A heart wrenching story about the realities of abortion.

4 Places to Encounter Jesus That May Surprise You – Insightful article from Jonathan Merritt. I’ve experienced these truths personally.

5 Phrases Every Wife Needs to Hear Daily – Words of wisdom, gentlemen.

Five for Friday (5.9.14)

five red buttonEnjoy your Friday!

Sex, Millenials, and the Church: Five Implications – Good insight into the next generation by Thom Rainer.

Leadership Lessons from Marvel – For all the comic book fans out there.

8 Things Healthy Couples Don’t Do – Must read for every married couple!

The Subversion of the Southern Church in the Civil Rights Era – Painfully accurate assessment.

Sunday is War! – Great perspective for those of us who show up to church each week.

 

Five for Friday (4.18.14)

five red button Happy Easter! Here are five links to keep you thinking throughout the weekend.

The “15 Second Kiss” Experiment – Married with kids? This article is for you!!!!

Do We Really Need More Churches in America? – Great perspective!

3 Big Questions Kids Ask on Good Friday – great perspective for those with curious kids.

Heaven is For Real – Good review if you’re considering watching the movie.

Saved From Hate – An interview with the son of deceased pastor of Westboro Baptist Church.

Five for Friday (4.11.14)

five red buttonFive more insightful articles to get you through the weekend. Enjoy!

A Thread Called Grace – A powerful confession of someone dealing with sexual abuse in his past.

A Year of Grieving Dangerously – Kay Warren talks about dealing with the suicide of her son Matthew.

God Used Me to Stop a School Shooter – An incredible interview with a woman who talked down a school shooter.

Let Them Eat Dirt – Amazing perspective for all parents out there who can tend to be overprotective.

The Incredible Story of a Rwandan Genocide Survivor – Powerful story!

Five for Friday (4.11.14)

five red buttonFive more insightful articles to get you through the weekend. Enjoy!

A Thread Called Grace – A powerful confession of someone dealing with sexual abuse in his past.

A Year of Grieving Dangerously – Kay Warren talks about dealing with the suicide of her son Matthew.

God Used Me to Stop a School Shooter – An incredible interview with a woman who talked down a school shooter.

Let Them Eat Dirt – Amazing perspective for all parents out there who can tend to be overprotective.

The Incredible Story of a Rwandan Genocide Survivor – Powerful story!

The Bully Pulpit, by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Fall Books PreviewThe Bully Pulpit is a riveting tale of two men and a magazine that changed the world. Telling the tale of Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and McClure’s Magazine, The Bully Pulpit transports the reader into a surprisingly pivotal time in American history, the dawn of the 20th century.

At the beginning of the 20th century, a pervasive culture of laissez faire had allowed corporations to run amuck and concentrate incredible wealth at the expense of the common man. Political parties were beholden to powerful corporations. Corporate trusts cornered the market on pivotal goods such as steel and beef and transportation such as railroads. A handful of men, the country’s first millionaires, held absolute sway.

The American economic and political systems were designed to help the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Many wanted reform, but they could not muster the courage to battle the headwinds needed to see the revolution of change begin. Enter Theodore Roosevelt. A hurricane of a man and a person almost unique in American history, Roosevelt took on the role of reformer and by sheer force of will helped America turn a critical corner in her storied journey.

The bulk of this book focuses on the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt and his chosen successor William Howard Taft and their transformation of the American way of life. Along the way the author traces a critical voice that helped crystallize the support of the American public at critical junctures: McClure’s magazine. Called “the golden age of journalism,” the author does a tremendous job recounting an easily forgotten aspect in the battle for modern America. McClure’s magazine galvanized public sentiment and gave Roosevelt and Taft the ammunition they needed to goad an unwilling legislature to pass much needed reform. It’s an amazing tale of the stars aligning for a few short years and meaningful reforms being passed in our country.

At 750 pages, this book is not for the faint of heart, yet it’s a solid read and wonderful reminiscence of the greatness that America can aspire to if she so chooses.

LESSONS LEARNED

1. The power of one person and a vision. I’ve read numerous books about Theodore Roosevelt and continue to be fascinated with him as a man. His drive, his force of will, his determination and buoyancy allowed him to shape the country to his will in a way rarely seen before or since. Can one person make a difference? Absolutely. History has proved this time and time again.

2. All good plans can go astray. Roosevelt had picked William Howard Taft (a close personal friend) as his chosen successor in the 1908 presidential election. Riding Roosevelt’s legacy, Taft easily sailed to victory but strayed from Roosevelt’s vision enough that Roosevelt himself challenged his good friend and successor for the 1912 Republican nomination.

3. Little moments make a big difference. The night of Roosevelt’s presidential victory in 1904, Roosevelt made a declaration that would come to haunt him for years. Fresh off his victory, he publicly vowed to not seek a third term (at that time still allowed). Roosevelt would later say that he would willingly chop off his arm if he could take back that pledge. The secret power behind Taft’s success in his career was his loving, supportive, and incredibly smart and savvy wife, Nellie Taft. She was his rock, his anchor. A few weeks into Taft’s presidency, Nellie Taft suffered a debilitating stroke and never fully recovered. Taft’s presidency was never the same.

4. There can be too much a good thing. This book beautifully captures the arc of Roosevelt’s rise and fall, from eager reformer to overzealous power hog one step away from crazy town. During his final presidential run as a third party candidate, Roosevelt delved deep into demagoguery, proposing to do away with the Supreme Court and putting all national issues up for a vote. In his mind that would work well, because he knew how to galvanize popular opinion like no one else, but it would have been a chaotic step for our country. As much as I admire Roosevelt, I’m glad he was defeated in his final presidential run. Too much power for too long had warped his sense of perspective, with serious possible harm for the country.

5. Roosevelt’s movement was ultimately successful. The progressive movement embodied by Roosevelt led to some incredible leaps forward that we take for granted today, including the 17th and 19th amendment to the Constitution: the direct election of senators and giving women the right to vote. Both more widely distributed power to the people and enabled the general public to have their say in their country’s future.

6. The progressive movement was the golden age of journalism. Never before had journalists been so able to capture and form the conscious of the country than during the years of Roosevelt’s presidency. They were men and women of high moral aptitude with an inner drive to educate the public, not just drive up sales. As others joined the bandwagon this type of journalism denigrated into the muckraking so decried by the President. But for a short span, journalism was a healthy conversation, not driven by deadlines or circulation figures, but driven by a common goal to better the country. Oh even for a hint of that in today’s media wars.

10 Things You Learn After 50 Years of Ministry

chuckRecently I was watching an old Catalyst talk where Chuck Swindoll shared ten things he’s learned in over fifty years of ministry. Those thoughts are so great I thought I’d share them with you:

1. It’s lonely to lead. The more decisions you make, the more you lead, the lonelier you become. Leadership can be lonely.

2. It’s dangerous to succeed. Many of us have a plan for failure, but most of us don’t have a plan for success. Too much success too early can ruin any person.

3. It is hardest at home. Leading on Sundays is easy. Leading your family is something else entirely. It’s truly hardest at home.

4. It is essential to be real. You’ll never be like the famous preacher you try and emulate. Be real. Be yourself.

5. It’s painful to obey. Look in Scripture. Any time God called someone to obey him, it was a step of faith. It was painful.

6. Brokenness and failure are necessary. This is absolutely true. Until we’re broken of our own pride and self-reliance, we’ll never be vessels usable by God.

7. My attitude is more important than my actions. Some of us as ministers can be hard to be around. It’s not just our actions, but our attitudes that are important.

8. Integrity eclipses image. Ministry invites fakeness as ministers try to exhibit the aura they feel others expect from them. Image will always be eclipsed by integrity.

9. God’s way is always better than my way. You can learn this one the easy way or the hard way, but sooner or later you’ll realize that God’s way is always best. Always.

10. Christ-likeness begins and ends with humility. To truly be like Christ means to humble yourself and serve others. There is no other way.