- Check out the post by Mac Lake for Frustrated Leaders. Good perspective!
- Perry Noble asks 5 Questions for Leaders. Interesting questions that all leaders need to ask themselves.
- If you need to build a staff, but don’t have a lot of ability to offer monetary incentive The Vanderbloemen Group has some interesting insights in this blog: 10 Non-Monetary Ways to Build a Healthy Staff
- One of the funniest videos I’ve seen in a while. I love Kid President!
Goals are important for personal growth. I set some every year. I think they have been vital for me. One goal that will bear eternal fruit for a believer is daily bible reading. Here is some research from Ed Stetzer and Lifeway Research.
These stats are both encouraging and discouraging. They are encouraging because almost 60% of believers read their Bible at least once a week. That’s good, it’s better than not at all. The problem is that only 1 out of 5 read their Bible everyday. As many have said, “you don’t eat once a week”. I think this stat is telling. We find time to do so many other things: watch unlimited hours of sports, research investments, and spend hours on social networks, but something that will actually strengthen our relationship with God and other believers we neglect.
Not Guilt, But Encourage
I don’t want to guilt people. We have busy lives. We have jobs, education, spouses, kids, and lots of responsibilities. So I want to make it easy for you. Here are links that will help you. They link to Bible reading plans. Some are things you can print and follow in your paper Bible. Some are Apps that you can use on your computer, iPhone, iPad or Android devices. Do something. Read the Bible.
YouVersion is a GREAT App. It is a FREE App. They have TONS of reading plans. Currently I’m doing the chronological reading plan. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS. You can set reminders to do the reading. You can share it on social networks if you want to encourage others.
Bible Study Tools has lots of great reading plans. They have a Book Order, Chronological, Chronological New Testament, Psalms, and more. This is a great site in general. Check it out at Biblestudytools.com
- 52 Week Reading Plan – A plan for 52 weeks of reading.
- 5x5x5 Bible Reading Plan – Read through the New Testament in a year, reading Monday to Friday. Weekends are set aside for reflection and other reading. Especially beneficial if you’re new to a daily discipline of Bible reading.
- Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Read through the Bible in the order the events occurred chronologically.
- Historical Bible Reading Plan – The Old Testament readings are similar to Israel’s Hebrew Bible, and the New Testament readings are an attempt to follow the order in which the books were authored.
- Eric Metaxas spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast and then wrote a book: No Pressure, Mr. President: Real Faith in a Time of Crisis. He was then interviewed by National Review online. This is a very funny, but very pointed interview where Metaxas speaks boldly for Jesus.
- I’m really looking forward to seeing The Hobbit at some point, but with a new baby it will probably be on DVD. This review by Melton Duncan just make me want to see it more. Yes, I’m a nerd.
- This week we saw total SEC dominance as Alabama destroyed previously undefeated Notre Dame. The game got a little boring and ESPN spent a little extra time on human interest stories and a significant amount of time on A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend. Denny Burk weighs in on this at his blog.
- This is an hilarious video for all dads out there. I’m A Daddy And I Know It!
Quick Hits is going to be a new weekly segment on my blog where I share some interesting thoughts, podcasts, blog posts, and articles that I’ve come across in the last week. The aim will be Gospel-Centered thoughts on leadership, public policy, sports, and the like. Hope it is beneficial.
- Mark Driscoll has a new book out called Who Do You Think You Are? I’m looking forward to reading it in 2013 (it’s on my reading list for the coming year). I’m especially looking forward to it after reading this review from Tim Challies.
- This is a really good post by Steven Furtick regarding goal setting. He says Don’t Put Jesus First This Year. Don’t worry, he isn’t being heretical.
- Interesting podcast from Dr. Mohler regarding the Fiscal Cliff. Check it out here. Dr. Mohler is a genius and will definitely be a regular on Quick Hits.
- Here’s a good article on Christian Parenting on The Gospel Coalition Blog by Jason Helopoulos.
- Here is a video that I am fully supportive of when it comes to grammar on the internet. THANK YOU MESSY MONDAY!
On Sunday I was able to preach at my church: FBC Pearland. I was thankful for the opportunity. Here’s the video if you’re interested:
In my message I spoke about a concept that can be very difficult to understand if it is new. The concept is Preaching the Gospel to Yourself. I’d like to take some time over the next few days and break it down so that it is more easily understandable.
What It Isn’t
- Preaching the Gospel to Yourself is not a schizophrenic way of trying to save yourself (although it might be fun to watch someone do this).
- Preaching the Gospel to Yourself is not (necessarily) getting in front of a mirror and calling down fire and brimstone (again, this could be funny).
- Preaching the Gospel to Yourself is not a cultic ritual (it sounds a little weird, but it isn’t crazy, I promise).
- Preaching the Gospel to Yourself is not a new practice. The author Jerry Bridges actually coined the phrase (check out this blog), but the idea is as old as the earliest books of the Bible.
What It Is
Today, I want to give the big picture about what Preaching the Gospel to Yourself is. Preaching the Gospel to Yourself is THE main way that believers will grow (AKA be progressively sanctified).
Check out 1 Corinthians 15.1-2
[15:1] Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand,  and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
Paul says some things about the Gospel.
- Paul preached the Gospel to the Corinthians
- The Corinthians received the Gospel
- The Corinthian Church (even with all of its faults) stands on the Gospel
- The Gospel continues to save the Corinthian believers.
How does the Gospel continue to save someone who has already received the Gospel? The Gospel saves positionally and then works progressively. In order to understand the larger concept of Preaching the Gospel to Yourself believers must understand that the Gospel does more than save them from Hell and the penalty and power of sin. The same Gospel that saves ALSO sanctifies (that is a big theological word that means to make you more like Jesus).
The Gospel has long lasting effect after it is believed. The Gospel is the thing that believers are supposed to go back to time and time again in order to help them grow. The Gospel is essential not just to get out of Hell, but to daily look like Jesus.
Point to Ponder: The same Gospel that saves also sanctifies. Why do you think that is? Spend some time on that. I’ll write again tomorrow and hopefully explain this concept a little more clearly.
Christ is all,
I think Candi Finch nailed some stuff that is never talked about in regards to women.
Earlier, we discussed mainstreaming of pornography in socially acceptable mediums. Today we’re talking about how the mainstreaming of pornography and our increasingly sexualized culture is impacting girls and women.
Instead of being a gift designed by God to be enjoyed by a man and woman in a committed, marriage relationship, sex is used by our sin natures and Satan as a tool to ensnare us. Second Peter 2:19 states, “a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.” Unfortunately, many people—men and women—are slaves to some form of sexual immorality. Some say that viewing or reading some form of pornography is “victimless” recreation; just a harmless diversion that is safe because it doesn’t hurt anyone else. Frankly, that’s just naïve. The first victim pornography takes down is you – you are creating an appetite in your mind for things that cause lust, which brings forth sin. (Jms. 1:14-15)
Read The Rest of the Article Here
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called[
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
We often quote these verses at Christmastime. Earlier in the passage, we are told that the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. And indeed, as believers in Jesus, we have. Our sin was deep and inescapable. It separated us from God. It was a problem we could not solve alone. But God provided a rescuer in Jesus Christ (I’m no pastor. I just like to read. And I’d feel guilty if I didn’t credit this idea to Tim Keller, and maybe a little to Sally Lloyd-Jones.).He gave us a son. He looked like us, talked like us, walked like us, and ate like us, but he was in one very important way not like us at all. He was without sin. He was the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. He came in love to die for our sins, to pay the debt we had before God that we could not. To restore peace between God and his children. To show us that God’s government—the way the world really works—is not like the governments of men at all. In his government, peace reigns, not division. Citizens—those who believe this good news about Jesus Christ—do not hold any exalted position or credit they are due with a closed hand. They are instead free to consider others better than themselves. They are not served, but instead, serve others (Philippians 2). They obey God because they love him.
And Isaiah tells us that there will be no end to the increase of this government. In the whole world the good news of Jesus will bear fruit and grow, until Jesus’ return (Colossians 1:5-6). It is then that this true government will be revealed, along with his true kingship. It is a government that will be upheld forever. We who are citizens of it have a life that is hidden with Christ in God at the present. It isn’t always easy to see. But when Christ, who is our life, appears, so also we will appear with him in glory (Colossians 3:1-4). We will be revealed for who we really are, too. We are sons and daughters of the true king, who, by what Christ has done and that alone, have been brought into this kingdom.
Jesus rescued us. He is sitting at the right hand of God. He will return. Can we then, set our minds on things above, and not on earthly things? Can we sing for joy to the Lord as Paul and Silas did in jail, victimized by an earthly government which treated them unfairly (Acts 16:16-34)? Can we offer this happy, free grace to those who do not believe? Paul and Silas did. Surely, we can, for the joy that is in Jesus Christ!
Last night I thought Twitter and Facebook were going to literally explode. I watched the election results like many Americans. Personally, I voted differently than the results played out last night. I was disappointed.
I was also disheartened. I wasn’t disheartened by Barack Obama winning (I voted for Romney). I wasn’t disheartened by the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado (I think this is a big mistake for those states). I wasn’t disheartened that Maine and Maryland voted to approve gay marriage (Although, I was deeply grieved that traditional marriage was dealt such a big blow).
Can I tell you why I was disheartened? Believers in Jesus were despairing.
Followers of Jesus all over social media were bemoaning the fact that Obama was president, that “we’d have four more years of communism”, and that judgment would be coming in the morning. I’m not going to comment on any of that.
I’m going to ask a simple question: Christian, Is Your Hope In Political Change?
Our hope is not in presidents, senators, representatives, judges, justices, or any piece of legislation. Our hope isn’t in republicans, democrats, or independents. Our hope isn’t in the supreme court being conservative or progressive. Our hope isn’t political and when we despair over politics I think it reveals something. I think it unveils what we are really trusting in. I think it shows what really matters to us.
Our Hope Lived. Our Hope died. Our Hope rose again. Our Hope is returning. Our hope isn’t Mitt Romney or Barack Obama. Our Hope is Jesus!
Let me say that again: OUR HOPE IS JESUS!
Politics doesn’t fix anything. Politics doesn’t deal with the deep issues of the human heart. Politics doesn’t get anyone to Heaven. JESUS DOES!
Christian, stop despairing. Christian, live like you have hope…because you do. The President is Barack Obama, pray for him. The Kind is Jesus Christ, worship Him.
Christ is all,
Some Scriptures for Reflection Today:
Everyone wants to improve their spiritual lives. Here are 5 things you can do RIGHT NOW (like in the next 10 minutes) to improve your relationship with God and others.
1. Pray. Spend (or should I say invest) a few minutes in:
- Praising God for something
- Confessing sin to God
- Thanking God for something or someone
- Asking God for something
2. Read and Meditate on this Scripture (Isaiah 26.3-4)
”  You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
 Trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.
(Isaiah 26:3-4 ESV)”
3. Listen to this song
4. Encourage someone else via Phone call, Email, Facebook, Tweet or whatever. Tell someone what you are thankful for about them or something that they do well or whatever.
5. Give. Maybe give some money to your church or favorite charity. Maybe give some money or food to the homeless guy you drive past all the time. Maybe give a larger than usual tip to the waitress you have at lunch or dinner. Give.
Christ is all,