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The following are some resources for the week that you might enjoy. These are links to posts, articles, etc. that in some way caused me to think. Maybe you will find some of these useful as well.
A Tiny Life Ends in South Sudan. I read this piece in the New York Times recently. Very sobering. This a stark reminder of the impact of disease and poverty on families in South Sudan (and so many other places). Periodically, I have to read articles like this to bring perspective to my life and work.
Peter Scazzero has written a good post. Summer Reading Picks 2012. I appreciate lists like this.
What a great piece! How to Miss the Point: A Guide to Dimwitted Discourse. (Originally seen on Scot McKnight’s blog.)
Have you ever worked with someone who constantly attempted to micromanage you? You might find Michael Hyatt’s post “How to Manage a Micromanager” useful.
Paul Tripp has written a new book entitled Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry. I have not read the book but did enjoy the brief video promo that you can find here. This sounds very interesting.
You might be interested in one or more of the following links. Most of these resources surfaced within the last four weeks.
If you feel overwhelmed
This is a great article, by Peter Bregman, that appeared in The Harvard Business Review: “Two Lists You Should Look at Every Morning.”
For an interesting read
You might consider looking at The Browser: Writing Worth Reading. This is an interesting website that features “Today on FiveBooks Interviews” in which various people suggest the best reading on any subject.
You might enjoy these two interviews with Ian Morgan Cron on the life of a writer. See part 1 here and part 2 here. Be sure to see the notes on each page. Cron is the author of Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me, which is an excellent book that explores in particular the relationship between a boy and his father.
Thinking about ministry
Critical situations in the world
While I was away, I read Jeffrey Gettleman’s startling piece in The New York Times on the thousands of children who are fleeing Sudan. Oh my goodness.
I also read this sobering piece about a 13-year-old Afghan girl who was forced to marry and then was tortured. Fortunately, some sought justice.
The following are links to posts that I found particularly interesting this week. Maybe you will see something that interests you.
Have you been reading Jeff Goins’ series: 15 habits of Great Writers? It is very well done. I especially enjoyed one recent post in this series entitled: “Great Writers Share Other’s Work.”
Also be sure to see this letter to a writer who is losing confidence.
Particularly for men
On ministry and identity
Some ministers are perceived by others to be important. Meanwhile other ministers feel self-conscious and believe they have little, if anything, to offer. I reflect on this kind of self-perception in this post which begins with this sentence: “When I first began preaching and serving as a “full-time minister,” I soon realized that some preachers were considered to be important people.”
Be sure to see Wade Hodges’ post “Thirteen Lessons I’ve Learned From the Ebook Business.”
I’ll take one of these offices!
Hopefully one or more of these links will be helpful to you. I am so grateful that you come here each Monday.
Glad to see this changing.
I was glad to read this post! I’ve been concerned about this characterization for quite some time. “No more dumb old dad: changing the bumbling father stereotype.”
Fathers and sons: Do I ever relate!
Be sure to read this piece from Canda’s Globe and Mail. Do I ever relate! I once put a huge dent in the door of my father’s driver’s side car door (on a car that was practically new) as I put the car in neutral and tried to push it out of the garage. Unfortunately, as I was pushing it out of the garage, the door I had failed to close adequately got jammed against the door facing of the garage. Not good.
I found this post interesting: “6 Tech Concepts Changing the World.” I find it helpful to occasionally read such posts so I can keep up with changing technology.
Tony Evans and his dad.
What a great post! Tony Evans talks about the transformation of his dad.
Reflecting on Pastoral Ministry.
Ron Edmondson has written a good post: “7 Ways I Want to Improve as a Pastor.” A good post with insights worth thinking about.
Pete Scazzero (The Emotionally Healthy Church author) announces transition. Read about it here.
I love this powerful tweet by Mark Batterson (June 3, 2012) “if you are LOOKING FOR AN EXCUSE you will ALWAYS find one. quit making excuses and start making choices.”
Lee Camp interviews Walter Brueggemann as he reflects upon his life.
“Stop Looking for Excuses not to be Awesome” by Jeff Goins. A very good post!
Ernest Hemingway at his standing desk.
Evangelical leaders on Twitter (New York Times).
A must read
“Five Secrets Pastors Refuse to Tell” by Thom Rainer.
I found this post by Mike Martel helpful: “Ten Ways to Make Your Writing Quick and Easy.” I am not sure if the suggestions necessarily make writing quick and easy. However, these are excellent suggestions for anyone who is challenged to be creative.
Regarding the Truth
Don’t miss this excellent article from the Wall Street Journal (appeared in the print edition on Saturday, May 26, 2012). Dan Ariely has written a thoughtful piece entitled “Why We Lie.”
You might enjoy reading “Before You Quit.” It appears on Jesus Creed, Scot McKnight’s blog. I wrote this after seeing my youngest daughter graduate with her Master’s degree which caused me to reflect on a time when I almost quit.
I just read Alyce McKenzie’s very fine book Novel Preaching. Each year, I read several books on preaching which help me in evaluating where I need to grow in my own preaching. McKenzie’s book offered some very good suggestions.
In his column on CNN online, William J. Bennett featured the commencement speech of former Navy Seal, Eric Greitens who spoke at Tufts University. The speech is featured in the column and is excellent. Greitens is a 38 year old Rhodes scholar and humanitarian worker. (Thanks Mark M. for calling my attention to this.)
My blog has experienced technical difficulties lately. Hopefully, these problems have been worked out now. Thanks for your patience with this. Please let me know if you experience difficulty with the blog in any way
I am really indebted to all of you who read this blog, some for a very long time.
In Mentor Like Jesus, Regi Campbell writes about some people in their 90s who were surveyed a few years ago and asked this question:
“What are three things you wish you had done that you didn’t do?”
These people responded with a number of answers. The three most prevalent responses were:
“Take more risk.”
“Focus more on things that will live beyond me.”
I have thought about how I might answer this question. I probably would say, “Focus more on what I desire to do and not allow fear to hold me back.”
How would you answer this question?
There are some people I don’t kid. I don’t joke with these people. I don’t think I have permission to do so.
Perhaps you know people like this. They are deeply serious people – especially about themselves. They might tell a joke or tease someone but
you don’t feel as if you have the permission to do this with them. It’s not that these people are unpleasant or mean. No, they are just serious – deadly serious!
You can quickly put people at ease by laughing at yourself.
I love to be around people who laugh at themselves. These people don’t mind telling you stories about silly things they have done. They tell stories on themselves and then enjoy the laughter of other people. They have a way of putting others around them at ease. I feel so comfortable around such people.
I mention this because sometimes I do and say silly things as well. I can tell you numerous stories about the occasions I have misplaced my keys. I have lost my keys at the meat counter at the grocery store. I once lost them in the dean’s office in graduate school. At a Hardee’s in Atlanta, I once put them on a tray along with my trash from breakfast and then accidentally tossed them into the trash can. I then had to put my arm into the trash can and fish them out. Why do I tell this? It is just part of being human. We do silly things at times.
Yet, there are people I don’t feel comfortable with. I don’t tease them or use very much humor with them. I don’t feel at ease around them. They take themselves far too seriously for that. I recall once watching a friend trying to playfully tease such a person. The guy got tense and then shot back some sort of barb. It was an awkward moment. I think my friend learned that the other guy was very self-conscious and took himself very seriously. I doubt that he was playful with the guy again.
Again, put others at ease by laughing at yourself. I’ve taught classes before when I have said something incorrect. Maybe I got a Bible reference wrong. Maybe I passed out class notes and made an error in the notes. Perhaps someone caught the error and brought it to my attention. When this happens I try to smile and say something like: “Thanks for this. I need all the help I can get.” Such a statement has a way of putting others at ease.
This is just a suggestion. But, why not give it some thought this week?