Monday Start

The following are links to posts that I found particularly interesting this week. Maybe you will see something that interests you. startnow8nor.png

Everything New

Check out this video by Jeff Cook that Scot McKnight posted. It is very good. I look forward to reading the book. You might enjoy his website.

On writing

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

Have you seen Patrick Morley’s new book Man Alive? You might enjoy the website as well.

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.”

Regarding e-books

Be sure to see Wade Hodges’ post “Thirteen Lessons I’ve Learned From the Ebook Business.”

I’ll take one of these offices!

The Libraries, Studies and Writing Rooms of 15 Famous Men.”

Monday Start

Hopefully one or more of these links will be helpful to you. I am so grateful that you come here each Monday.start_button_gif (1).gif

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.

The future.

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.


Check out this post from my friend Allan Stanglin’s blog regarding a recent piece in the Wall Street Journal regarding “sheep stealing.” Very interesting.

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.

Monday Start

Inspiring storiesstart (1).png

Don’t miss this inspiring story. A small community and school rallies behind a homeless girl. Now she is on her way to Harvard! Also, make sure you see the video about the high school runner in Ohio who helps a member of the opposing team across the finish line.

An outstanding book

I just finished N.T. Wright’s Simply Jesus. It is thought provoking and well written. Perhaps most helpful is Wright’s attempt to tell the story of Jesus in light of the larger biblical story.

Does a person have to go to seminary?

Does a person have to go

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to seminary in order to be an effective minister? Not necessarily. However, Scot McKnight, in an excellent post, gives ten reasons why such study might be very, very helpful.

Now this is interesting

“10 Ways Airplane Travel Taught Me to be a More Productive Writer” by John Saddington.

Serious about growing?

Parts 1, 2, and 3 of the Ministry Inside series featuring habits that can be useful for any church leader who is serious about growing, learning and developing.

Preparing messages

You might enjoy these videos featuring Tim Keller talking about sermon preparation.

An interview with Walter Brueggemann (part 2)

Brueggemann reflects on “success through conformity,” the seduction of prestige, drawing the “prophet card,” and doubting our own work. This is an excellent interview!

Monday Start


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!

Standing up!

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.

Monday Start


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.”

Jesus Creed

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.

Commencement Speech

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.)

Thanks for Your Patience

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 wayThank_you_small.jpg

I am really indebted to all of you who read this blog, some for a very long time.

Monday Start (Resources for the Week)

Are you a blogger or do you use any form of social networking?


Check out Michael Hyatt’s new book Platform. You might notice the freebies that you get if you purchase the book this week. I just finished the book. I wish I had read this book eight years ago when I began this blog! Very helpful.

Are you stuck in your thinking?

Margaret Marcuson has written a fine post: “Ten Ways Church Leaders Can Get More New Ideas.” Even reading through her list gave me a couple of good ideas.

I found this fascinating.

Check out this video with Ken Burns. Burns reflects on what it means to tell stories about history. Interesting.

A call to the church.

Karen Spears Zacharias has written an excellent post regarding child abuse and the opportunity for the church to make a difference. One of my daughters is a social worker in an abuse shelter. Through her I have become especially sensitive to this heartbreaking reality.

Good Theology, Good Ministry?

Skylar Thomas reflects on a new book entitled The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry by Andrew Root and Kendra Creasy Dean. Very interesting! (Appeared on Scot McKnight’s blog.)

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Book Review: Subversive KingdomSubversiveKingdom_R4_Comps.indd

Ed Stetzer has written an interesting and inspiring book about the subversive nature of the kingdom.

What does it mean to be a part of the kingdom of Jesus? Stetzer pushes back against status quo Christian living by presenting a robust guide to help the reader imagine life in the kingdom of God. We are called to live a subversive life in that our loyalty has changed from one kingdom to another.

Stetzer suggests that the kingdom is not only a different way of thinking and living but also is a mandate for action.

What does it mean to be rescued? What does it mean for our kingdom loyalties to be changed? We respond by living subversive lives. We “rebel against the rebellion.” Stetzer does a wonderful job of unpacking this.

He answers the questions so many of us ask as we consider the kingdom life. What are the implications of such a life? What does this look like in everyday, normal life? Again and again, Stetzer reminds the reader that the answers regarding the practical implications of the subversive life are found in Jesus and the Gospels. He invites us to think about the broken world and the mission of Jesus in this world and, consequently, the mission that the church carries out.

As one who teaches/preaches each week, I found his book particularly helpful. Far too often, Christians speak of the kingdom life with a vagueness that is difficult to grasp on street level. Consequently, the kingdom life remains a theory instead of a distinct lifestyle. I found the chapters “Uncommonly Good” and “Rules of Engagement” to be especially strong as Stetzer speaks regarding the power of the kingdom life in this world. He fleshes this out for the reader by providing a good picture of what this life might look like every day.

He concludes with the section “A Subversive Plan of Action.” The book was helpful in expressing some of these issues in a concise, memorable manner. This should be helpful to the readers in general and to preachers who attempt to communicate some of these concepts to congregations. For example, he writes that there are two critical questions that should follow one’s initial identification as a citizen of the kingdom:

What is the King’s mission?

What is my role in the King’s mission?

The book contains the wonderful vision of what the kingdom looks like when it is lived out on this earth. It is a reminder that the kingdom, unlike “conventional church,” is robust and dynamic. In fact, the ordinary man or woman can live a significant kingdom life by simply following Jesus in the ordinary course of everyday living.

(Note: I received a complimentary advanced reader copy for review.)

What Do You Wish You Had Done that You Didn’t Do?

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.”

“Reflect more.”

“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?

Put Others at Ease by Laughing at Yourself

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?