Lots-o-Links 1.24.14


Outstanding. It's a score, so it's not a collection of songs. But I think you will love it and love working to it. Beautiful.

Getting Big Projects Done: Best Practices from Successful Writers from Unclutterer

Break things into bite-sized pieces and create daily habits

"How to Discourage Artists in the Church" by Phil Ryken - This is from 2013, but I read it again and it's so helpful. Here's one point (remember, this is the wrong thing to do)...

"Demand artists to give answers in their work, not raise questions. Mark Lewis says, "Makecertain that your piece (or artifact or performance) makes incisive theological or moral points, and doesn't stray into territory about which you are unresolved or in any way unclear. (Clear answers are of course more valuable than questions)." Do not allow for ambiguity, or for varied responses to art. Demand art to communicate in the same way to everyone."

Why I Am A Continuationist by Sam Storms & Why I Am A Cessationist by Tom Schreiner

These two pieces at The Gospel Coalition give helpful, scholarly, theological and experiential reasons for their views. 

How to Handle Discouragement in Ministry

"Watch the full six-minute video to see [Darrin Patrick, Paul Tripp, & Voddie Baucham] discuss isolation, broken trust, pastors as body parts, and more."

Lots-o-Links 1.2.14

The links

Albert Mohler - "Some Thoughts on the Reading of Books" - Here are his main points, but you should read his whole article. Reading between the lines, I think he reads lots of comic books.

  1. Maintain regular reading projects.
  2. Work through major sections of Scripture.
  3. Read all the titles written by some authors
  4. Get some big sets and read them through
  5. Allow yourself some fun reading, and learn how to enjoy reading by reading enjoyable books.
  6. Write in your books; mark them up and make them yours.

ScribblePreach.com - "14 Resolutions for Writers" - I encourage you to check out ScribblePreach. I've been reading Nick for a short time and enjoying it. Here's one of his resolutions...

Start a project you can finish. Finish something this year: a short story, a series of essays, a short book. Before moving onto the big novel or book, finish something small to keep your momentum going.

Journal of Biblical Manhood & Womanhood - "The Wedding Vows 20 Years Later" - My post was published in the Fall 2013 issue...

I love you, Molly. Keep walking with me in these broken bodies and with these selfish struggles with sin; hold my hand, and let’s stay on this narrow path to something far better than what has so far been so amazingly good.

John Piper - "Don't Waste Your Weaknesses in 2014"

In 2014, I encourage you to identify and exploit your weaknesses for the glory of Christ.


Since 2007, millions of people have read books and taken inventories designed to find our strengths. These are useful for positioning people in places of maximum effectiveness.

But I am calling you to give attention and effort in finding your weaknesses and maximizing their God-given purpose.

Lots-o-Links 6.12.13

The links

10 Reasons To Get Married & Have Kids Young

My list would look a little different than this, but Molly and I got married young, had kids young, and we love to encourage others to do the same. 

Tim Keller On How To Get Into Gospel Conversations

A video, but more importantly a nice outline of what Keller says.

Justin Taylor - On Writing Well

Go read more on Justin's four points:

  1. Read Slowly
  2. Read a lot
  3. Write to think
  4. Write and rewrite

Stephen King on God

King crop

Stephen King wrote one of my favorite books on writing called On Writing. His take on adverbs clearly has stuck with me. He has also written a popular book here or there. Terry Gross' interview of King on Fresh Air yesterday was really good, including a bunch of quotes worth checking out. Here's a great example. You should go listen to the whole thing.

I choose to believe it. ... I mean, there's no downside to that. If you say, 'Well, OK, I don't believe in God. There's no evidence of God,' then you're missing the stars in the sky and you're missing the sunrises and sunsets and you're missing the fact that bees pollinate all these crops and keep us alive and the way that everything seems to work together. Everything is sort of built in a way that to me suggests intelligent design. But, at the same time, there's a lot of things in life where you say to yourself, 'Well, if this is God's plan, it's very peculiar,' and you have to wonder about that guy's personality — the big guy's personality. And the thing is — I may have told you last time that I believe in God — what I'm saying now is I choose to believe in God, but I have serious doubts and I refuse to be pinned down to something that I said 10 or 12 years ago. I'm totally inconsistent.

Lots-o-Links 9.17.12

LotsoLinks Header Orange


"This website exists as the on-line presence of Authentic Manhood, a bold movement to lead men to live the life of truth, passion, and purpose they were created to live." Contributors include Justin Buzzard, Eric Geiger, and others. 

Joe Thorn: Praying for Your Pastor

There are a number of pastors I pray for regularly, and these are some of they ways I lift them up. I hope you will join me as you pray for the leaders God has given you.

9 Writing Books That Will Inspire You To Write -- Today (Check the whole list. I really like the top 3.)

  1. On Writing by Stephen King
  2. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
  3. Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg

Street Pastors --> What Is A Street Pastor? (Interesting idea)

A Street Pastor is a Church leader/minister or member with a concern for society - in particular young people who feel themselves to be excluded and marginalised - and who is willing to engage people where they are, in terms of their thinking (i.e. their perspective of life) and location (i.e. where they hang out - be it on the streets, in the pubs and clubs or at parties etc). 

Street Pastors will also be willing to work with fellow activists, church and community leaders, and with agencies and projects, both statutory and voluntary, to look at collaborative ways of working on issues affecting youth, and initiatives that will build trust between them and the Street Pastors.

I'm Buying This Book -- check this interview, reviews & responses by Moo, Bock, Horton

Lots-o-Links 8.17.12

Web link

Some new, some I'm just getting to, but here are some links to check out...

Good Book Company Giveaway: Tim Challies is giving away a bunch of The Good Book Company Bible study guides. Great chance to get theologically solid studies by guys like Tim Chester, Justin Buzzard, and Mark Dever. Also, keep an eye out for $2 Tuesdays from The Good Book Company starting next week!

GCM Conference: Highly recommend the GCM Conference coming up in September in Huntsville. My Soma School experience has me in love with GCM and what it is working to do. Sign up!

Paul Tripp: 6 Traits of a Pastor In Awe of God (get your awe back) | "I counsel you to run now, run quickly, to your Father of awesome glory. Confess the offense of your boredom. Plead for eyes opened to the 360-degree, 24/7 display of glory to which you have been blind. Determine to spend a certain portion of every day in meditating on his glory. Cry out for the help of others. And remind yourself to be thankful for Jesus, who offers you his grace even at those moments when grace isn't nearly as gloriously valuable to you as it should be."

J.I. Packer: Advice to Aspiring Writers - 1. Go deep in personal worship. 2. Write to hit hearts. 3. Write from a sense of calling.

The Gospel Project is worth checking out, if you haven't already. Curriculum for kids, students, and adults. Exciting new resource from Ed Stetzer, Trevin Wax, & LifeWay.

Lots-o-Links 1.18.12

Web link

The Death of the Fringe Suburb

For too long, we over-invested in the wrong places. Those retail centers and subdivisions will never be worth what they cost to build. We have to stop throwing good money after bad. It is time to instead build what the market wants: mixed-income, walkable cities and suburbs that will support the knowledge economy, promote environmental sustainability and create jobs.

Seven Tips for Talking with Your Neighbors About Jesus

For whatever reason, it’s easy for Christians to clam up and get weird when talking about their faith in the day-to-day. Here are a few tips to make bridge those inhibitions and get the conversation going...

An Appreciation of Bird By Bird by Anne LaMott (get it at Amazon or on Kindle)

I thought I was teetering on the edge of crazy with no way to explain to anyone for fear they would quickly need to catch a bus. I was not crazy, or at least not in an inordinate way. With each turn of the page a brilliant sky of possibility opened up to gaze in. Now I might look crazy to some when looking up into that firmament. But, I knew I wasn't the only one. 

Richard Baxter on Meditation

The duty which I press upon thee so earnestly, and in the practice of which I am now to direct thee, is, “The set and solemn acting of all the powers of thy soul in meditation upon thy everlasting rest.” More fully to explain the nature of this duty, I will here illustrate a little the description itself-then point out the fittest time, place, and temper of mind, for it.

Groundhog Day is coming, and it's Groundhog Days in Woodstock, IL -- the movie Groundhog Day was filmed in Woodstock, IL 1992 and released in 1993. Watch it again this Groundhog Day. And if you are in the Chicagoland area, stop by Woodstock for the festivities.

Music That Doesn't Break Your Concentration


When I write, study for sermons, etc, I often like to listen to music to drown out other distrations and give my work some rhythm. If it's too lyric-driven (which is a lot of the music I like), it doesn't work. Here are a few of the albums I enjoy when I'm doing work that requires concentration and focus. Name in the comments some albums and artists you like to work to.

NPM09: Writer's Almanac & Kingsolver Quote

03-keillor-300The Writer's Almanac is a daily podcast and NPR radio spot hosted by Garrison Keillor. It's just over 5 minutes a pop with some interesting stuff about writers and the world (birthdays, historical events, etc) explained with writers in mind. Never just a list of facts, Keillor does an excellent job including things worth thinking about.  He always finishes with at least one poem.  Think of The Writer's Almanac as a kind of 5 minute devotional for writers. If you are a writer or aspire to write one day, I encourage you to follow along with this great podcast.

One fact mentioned in yesterday's podcast is the birthday of author Barbara Kingsolver. I loved the Kingsolver quote Keillor reads about how to improve at writing.

It is harrowing for me to try to teach 20-year-old students, who earnestly want to improve their writing. The best I can think to tell them is: Quit smoking, and observe posted speed limits. This will improve your odds of getting old enough to be wise.

Lots-o-Links 3.31.09


Molly Update: Molly is very, very tired.  Every day she sleeps about the right amount of time and feels like lying down for the rest of the day. She can't nap well and never feels refreshed or energized. It's very frustrating for her. I regularly walk in the house or walk upstairs from my office and find her on the couch or in the bed. Her attitude is in the right place but her body just won't keep step. Calls to the neurologist and medication adjustments continue.


Curator: An American Beer Garden. If wishing made it so.

Listen free to the new Great Lake Swimmers album, Lost Channels, at Paste.

Seth Godin: Ignore Your Critics

Jonathan Dodson: Is beauty in the eye of the beholder?

Tim Chester: A review of Rob Bell's Everything is Spiritual

Donald Miller: Advice on writing from Stephen King. Unfortunately Miller spells it "Steven" which should be another piece of advice on writing. While we are on writing, what about cut and paste writing?

Kevin Gregg is the Cubs' closer, not Carlos Marmol. It's not as sexy to set up, but Marmol has been good at it.

Rapping flight attendant...

The Big 5: Books on Writing

Poetry_by_AbstraKtPhotographyI'm always interested in books on writing and becoming a better writer.  It's easier to read books on writing than to write, but the question is still worth asking...

What are your Big 5 books on writing?

These should be books written with the intent of teaching you to write.  I know other books can help you be a better writer (including books about writers), but let's stick to your favorites on the art and craft of writing.  It can be about fiction or non-fiction writing.  It can be about poetry, articles, essays, letter writing, or most anything else.  This is not a list of books on how to write a sermon.  Feel free to throw one or two in there on grammar issues or issues directly related to writing if you like.  If you don't have 5, no prob.  List what you have read that you like.

Lots-o-Links 4.9.08

Sbcvoices_win_crop_3I have now won the second blog voting contest!  That has picked me up, between the two contests, $175 in online bookstore gift certificates: $50 for Westminster Seminary bookstore, $50 for Amazon, and $75 for Eisenbrauns.  Woohoo!  I will order The Reason for God copies from Westminster and Amazon.  Eisenbrauns was a late addition to the first place prize and doesn't carry Keller's book, so I will be picking up some books for my personal library.   Thanks for all your effort!  And thanks to Scot McKnight for his effort to find some votes for me.

On a side note, the total official vote count for all blogs was "666" as you can see by the screen capture.  While some might find that a bit off-puttin', I think it's awesomely hilarious.

O Lord, let there be a blog contest for the cost of hotel, airfare and conference fee for the Total Church North America Conference.  I WANT TO GO!!!

Carolyn Mahaney: How to Help Your Husband When He is Criticized

John Piper on C.S. Lewis on writing.

Al Hsu on "The New Suburbanists."

Scott Hodge has some advice for those who are thinking about change.

Makoto Fujimura: A Wedding and the City.

10 Questions Every Leader Should Ask

Growing Sustainable Suburbs

Top 10 Myths About Networking

Joe Thorn is now making my voicemails on his cell a matter of public consumption.  I want to be upset, but it represents such a positive side of me that I can't help but propagate it...

Lots-o-Links 3.2.08

The_ghost_with_black_fingers_by_raiQuick God Story: My family is still sick, sick, sick.  Unbelievable virus we are dealing with.  We were all feeling better and now most of us are getting symptoms back.  Our youngest now has 103+ temp again.  Ugh.  But all praise to God for this story.  Saturday afternoon my debilitating fever and aches stopped and I had tons of energy Saturday night and plenty for the task this morning.  I mean I went from the worst day so far on Saturday morning, and then full of energy and vigor Saturday evening.  Then soon after gathered worship today my fever came back as did my aches and terrible cough (I didn't cough once during the sermon).  There may be some medical explanation for why I had such a dramatic health hiccup, but I know WHO is getting the credit.  I was truly singing this morning, "How Great is Our God."

Speaking of how sick I am, it would really help me turn this frown upside-down if someone would present me something this awesome with Joe Thorn's likeness on it.  It would make my year! (HT)

When was the last time you wondered how Michael Foster would approach church planting differently?  Exactly.  And he promises to elaborate.  I'm demanding he gets on it asap.

You need to make your way to the Vintage Jesus Newsroom, where Steve Camp goes for his devotional time.

Poythress, The Shadow of Christ in the Law of Moses, online free.

PastorHacks is into Jott (and Pinger).  I've been using Jott for a while now with great success and productivity.  I think Joe Thorn told me about Jott (I had to say that because he will speak harshly to me this week if I don't mention it.  I don't like it when Hobbits get mean, especially when I'm sick.).

I may have mentioned this before, but Piper/Bethlehem's accountability stuff is worth checking out. 

You should check out Abraham Piper's crazy little experiment of a blog.  Alas, he is his father's son.  (Only four more words.)

Speaking of numbers, Baptist Reformed types will probably not like Scot McKnight's new article, "The 8 Marks of a Robust Gospel."  Why?  It's one short.  I actually haven't read it yet, but McKnight is always worth reading (even when tragically wrong!).  No heckling me please.  I'm sick.

Here's Eugene Peterson at the 2007 Writer's Symposium by the Sea (isn't that where George McFly first kissed that chick from Howard the Duck?).  The story he tells about Bono is worth the whole thing.  (HT)

Lots-o-Links 12.20.07

Podcasts I Enjoy

Ipod5Here are podcasts I enjoy, listed by category.  I hope you might find some of them helpful for you.  I'm leaving off my poetry podcasts for another post.


Audition (Mars Hill Audio): Ken Myers in an NPR style commentary on culture and Christianity through Myers' commentary and interviews.  This is a free spin-off of the Mars Hill Audio commentaries. 

Catalyst: Covers both church leadership issues and cultural issues through interviewing Christian leaders, authors, pastors, etc.  I really enjoy the Catalyst podcast, though I find myself skipping the first several minutes of pre-interview conversation about Catalyst Conference stuff and other random bits.  The interview is the meat, and it's consistently thoughtful and engaging. 

Church Leader Insights: Pastors Nelson Searcy and Kerrick Thomas of The Journey Church in NYC talking together about church leadership, church growth, church planting, systems, evangelism, etc.  A lot of info of what has and hasn't worked for them.  I always come away with insights for pastoring and ministry, even if you don't approach ministry in quite the same way as these guys.

Covenant Worldwide: At least 15 free seminary classes are available on the topics of biblical theology, OT and NT, apologetics and outreach, the Reformation, life and letters of Paul, and more.  What the heck are you waiting for?

Fermi Project: Discussions with leaders on culture, the future, the Church and the Gospel.  It's hosted by Catalyst guys Gabe Lyons and Andy Crouch.  It's only on episode three, but I've enjoyed it tremendously so far.  A great, concise podcast.

Internet Monk Radio: Michael Spencer's thoughts on theology, ministry, his critics, yadda.  The worst aspect of this podcast is his love affair for the Cincinnati Reds.  Yuck.  But if you can get past that, Spencer can often deliver thoughtful insights on a variety of issues.  Warning: If you don't know Spencer and his online writings, some of this won't make much sense.  It's for the devoted.

National New Church Conference:  Interviews with conference speakers dealing with church and church planting.  Have learned a lot from this podcast and highly recommend it for church leaders.

Practically Speaking: North Point boys (Andy Stanley, et al) on the Seven Practices of Effective Ministry.  It's a "dead" podcast in that there are no new episodes, but their seven podcasts I have found very helpful as a pastor.  I've listened to them more than once, and will listen again.

Resurgence: Mark Driscoll's missional resource that includes talks from various conferences and lectures pertaining to ministry and theology.  Lots of good stuff here.


Filmspotting: A weekly podcast from Chicago featuring new movie reviews, top 5 lists, interviews and insightful film talk with Adam Kempenaar and Sam Van Hallgren. It's also found on Chicago Public Radio.  Ugh, this is a great podcast.  The best movie podcast I know of.  Even when I disagree with a particular take on a movie, which isn't often, these guys are still compelling in their arguments.  Worth every second.


KEXP Live Performances: In-studio concerts at KEXP for all to hear.  I've found some great new stuff from this podcast.

KEXP Song of the Day: Live performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent musicians that KEXP thinks listeners should hear along with songs from more well-known artists.  Why not?

Introductions to newer bands and/or new albums through a free song.

NPR All Songs Considered: An eclectic mix of fresh music by emerging artists and breakout bands -- from NPR.org's Web-only music show.   Good stuff.

Paste Culture Club: A wonderful music magazine's podcast.  Always a treat.


Capitol Hill Baptist: Pastor Mark Dever is one of the most important living Southern Baptist pastors/preachers, and a pastor who I have had a chance to talk with a bit.  He has seen a remarkable change over the years of his church in D.C.  Dever is obsessively expository in his approach.  If you want to know the Bible, this is a great way to digest it.  Dever is also well known for tackling very large sections of text, including single sermons on entire books of the Bible.

Cornerstone Simi: Pastor Francis Chan is fairly new on my radar, but I have enjoyed what I have heard so far.

The Journey - St. Louis: Pastor Darrin Patrick is a friend and has seen some great things happen after planting in St. Louis.  A good preacher, and a young leader worth watching.

Mars Hill Church, Grand Rapids: Pastor Rob Bell is a controversial writer and speaker in the emerging church movement.  I find him very engaging and biblical, though we would surely differ at points.  He challenges me with living the Gospel.

Mars Hill Church, Seattle: Pastor Mark Driscoll is a different sort of controversial writer and speaker in the emerging church movement.  He has been very influential in my ministry and life.

Village Church: Pastor Matt Chandler is SBC, Acts 29, and one of the best young preachers I've heard.  Probably my favorite younger preacher to listen to over the last few months.  Some people trip over a few of his stylistic traits at first, but please persist and you will find so much worth hearing. 


This American Life: Ira Glass hosts this show of first-person stories and short fiction pieces that are touching, funny and surprising.  An amazing show that takes a topic and surrounds it with pertinent stories.

Fresh Air (for Joe, "frosshhaar"): Terry Gross hosts this daily take on contemporary arts and issues.  Good stuff on politics, faith, entertainment, etc.  (Please no emails on her political POV, as if I don't know.)  A great show nearly every day.

Writers on Writing: Barbara DeMarco-Barrett hosts this weekly show on the art and business of writing.  She interviews authors, poets, literary agents, etc.  A staple in my life.  Great insights through great interviews.