7 early warning signs your hearts is growing hard in leadership (Carey Nieuwhof): One of the greatest casualties in leadership is the human heart. So many leaders see their hearts grow hard over time. How does it happen? Well, like a physician, police officer or paramedic who sees difficult things every day, you develop a way of dealing with the pain. And some of that’s healthy. But if you don’t monitor things carefully, you can move into full seasons where you don’t feel much of anything at all. Your heart can grow hard. How do you know you’re there or heading there? Read more at CareyNieuwhof.com.
6 encouragements for introverted church leaders (Jon English Lee): Even as an introvert, when I realize that Christ has taken the initiative to reach out to me in love, then I can find the strength to initiate conversations with strangers. Read more at Southern Equip.
Dare to hope in God: How to lament well (Mark Vroegop): We don’t stop crying after birth. It continues because the world is broken. While tears and sorrow are part of our humanity, there is an often-neglected prayer language in the Bible for our travels through a broken world: lament. Read more at Desiring God.
Putting the “service” back in worship service (Chad Ashby): Week after week, many of us attend a worship served, not a worship service. Don’t understand what I mean? Perhaps this will help. How many of your Sundays look like this? You show up, and parking lot attendants greet you. Faithful teachers instruct you. Ushers find a seat for you. A well-practiced worship band leads singing for you. Your pastor preaches a faithful, God-glorifying sermon to you. Childcare workers care for your children. And after all that, you pick up your kids and simply return home. I wonder: have we strayed from the way the early church approached their gatherings? Read more at 9 Marks.
A simple strategy to pray for non-believers (Chuck Lawless): Many, if not most, churches are not reaching many non-believers. If you want your church to begin changing this pattern, at least lead them to pray for lost people. Based on the Bible’s teaching about non-believers and evangelism, here’s a simple strategy for praying for specific non-believers. Read more at ChuckLawless.com.
You believe the prosperity gospel (Jared C. Wilson): What the prosperity gospel — sometimes called “name and claim it” or the “health-and-wealth gospel” — relies on is a pragmatic spirituality that correlates circumstantial blessings or curses with human strength, achievement, or even faith. Here are 4 ways ordinary evangelicals like you and me sometimes fall prey to a kind of prosperity gospel in our thinking. Read more at For the Church.
This is America: American consumerism has crept into the sacred beliefs of our faith. Rather than understanding that faith in Christ means that He gets our everything, many Americans believe that Jesus is just a nice addition to their already nice lives. We wouldn’t say that, of course, but our beliefs are exposed in the way we are living. To be honest, this type of “Christianity” is not only disturbing, but I believe it is a false gospel that is deceitful and damning to our culture. Read more at Things We Didn’t Know.
1000 sermons will change your life (Trevin Wax): Preaching is formative in ways that go beyond mere information retention. Every time a pastor opens up the Word and preaches the gospel, he is showing his church how to approach the Bible. Pastors who elevate the Scriptures week after week, sermon after sermon, lead their people to approach the Bible in the same way. Read more at Lifeway Voices.
Are you improving? Thoughts on getting better, particularly at preaching (Jonathon Woodyard): Given the gravitas of the preaching event, pastors should strive to grow in their preaching skills. Yet, how often are pastors encouraged to spend time on this part of their ministry? Perhaps I’m off here. Maybe there are numerous calls to improve as preachers. Praise God if that is so. And if it is, count this article as simply on more voice urging pastors to spend some energy improving their preaching. Read more at Theology Along the Way.