Thought Thread: Positive

This week we're staying POSITIVE. A reminder: you can get the Thread in your email by clicking here.

1. LINKS
Prepare for the Worst Without Being a Pessimist
You can be a realist while being positive, but it takes the right attitude.

The Powerlessness of Positive Thinking
In some instances, however, a positive attitude can lead us toward failure.

Want To Be More Productive? Get Rid of Your Internet
Look, I just can't be positive about this, but there are some compelling arguments here.

My Thoughts: Five Forces of the Restoration Movement (FORTIFICATION)
The next installment of my series on the Restoration Movement. Building walls is satisfying and sometimes necessary. My religious tribe prepared for battle and never stopped.

2. RECOMMENDATIONS
BOOK: We Are All Weird: They Myth of Mass and the End of Compliance
In this short read, marketing/business guru Seth Godin advises that the weird will inherit the earth. Click here for some of my favorite quotes from this book.

DOCUMENTARY: 9/11
17 years ago today a national tragedy paralyzed us, but some fascinating stories of heroism emerged. I am still impacted by this one about one of the first NYFD units to respond the the Trade Centers.  

3. FREE SERMON DOWNLOAD  
The next sermon in a series on the Ten Commandments. Instead of fixating on the negativity of commands, maybe we should examine our willingness to obey.

CLICK HERE to download a PDF transcript of Commandment Seven

A few notes: 
1. All Scriptures are taken from the New International Version
2. The Smyth and Helwys Exodus Commentary by William Johnstone is the source of exegetical content in this series. 
3. Feel free to customize the message for your audience. Since these sermons are heavier on commentary, there is no need to attribute the content.  

As always, I’m thankful that you take the time to read this. If you have a thought about this thread, leave a comment below.

Photo by Maxime VALCARCE on Unsplash

Thought Thread: Respect

This edition of the Thought Thread is dealing with RESPECT. Click here to get the Thread delivered straight to your inbox.

1. LINKS
The Most Common Type of Incompetent Leader
There's a dark side to leadership, and it's important to acknowledge it.

The New Power Structure
"Once upon a time, power was held in the hands of a small elite." Not anymore.

Does a Higher Building Lead to More Risk Taking?
People take more financial risks when they're on higher floors. Who knew?

My Thoughts: Five Forces of the Restoration Movement (FINANCE)
The next installment on my series about this Second Great Awakening movement; among other things, I discuss the power of the postage stamp.

2. RECOMMENDATIONS
BOOK: Enlightenment Now
This Harvard professor, a disruptive thinker, offers some positivity about our world. This is a different read than I normally suggest; it's not for everyone, so click here to read some selected quotes from the book.

PODCAST: Seth Godin's Akimbo
Practically everything Godin makes is gold. This specific episode of his podcast discusses what people truly want in life.

3. FREE SERMON DOWNLOAD  
How do you honor your parents as you age? A sermon from The Ten Commandments.

CLICK HERE to download a PDF transcript of Commandment Five

A few notes: 
1. All Scriptures are taken from the New International Version
2. The Smyth and Helwys Exodus Commentary by William Johnstone is the source of exegetical content in this series. 
3. Feel free to customize the message for your audience. Since these sermons are heavier on commentary, there is no need to attribute the content.  

Thanks for reading. Have a thought about this thread? Leave a comment below.

Photo by Tiago Felipe Ferreira on Unsplash

Thought Thread: Rest

This edition of the Thought Thread is dealing with Rest. To make sure you can keep up-to-date with my biweekly list 'o' links, sign up to get the Thread to your inbox by clicking here. 

1. LINKS
The Moral History of Air Conditioning
Yes, your cooling system was once considered to be sinful. 

When Smartphones Come to Church
I don't buy this critique of tech in worship, but it's a worthwhile conversation.

A Hidden Wire Above Manhattan
I've actually seen this. A nod to ancient observances in the midst of a modern city.

My Thoughts: Five Forces of the Restoration Movement (FREEDOM)
A series about my (un)denominational tribe. Even if you're unfamiliar with our church Movement, you'll find our journey fascinating. 

2. RECOMMENDATIONS
BOOK: Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
Cal Newport offers his insight for more robust performance. I collected some quotes in this pdf.

TED TALK: The Power of Time Off
A designer's Ted Talk suggests integrating sabbath periods in your career for better work.

3. FREE SERMON DOWNLOAD  
For some Christians, the Sabbath command seems least relevant. They are mistaken.

CLICK HERE to download a PDF transcript of Commandment Four

A few notes: 
1. All Scriptures are taken from the New International Version
2. The Smyth and Helwys Exodus Commentary by William Johnstone is the source of exegetical content in this series. 
3. Feel free to customize the message for your audience. Since these sermons are heavier on commentary, there is no need to attribute the content.  

Thanks for reading. Have a thought about this thread? Leave a comment below.

Photo by Vu Thu Giang on Unsplash

Thought Thread: Name

This edition, our thread is name. Get the Thought Thread emailed to you by signing up here.

1. LINKS
The Limits of Friendship
Social media skews Dunbar's Number. How many relationships can we keep today?

How Cities Are Like Kim Kardashian
Some love (?) for my Indianapolis friends, with lessons about names and networks.

Why Our Brains Fall for False Expertise
We have a list of names we listen to. But what happens when they're the wrong ones?

My Thoughts: Five Forces of the Restoration Movement
A new series I'm starting about my (un)denominational tribe. Even if you're unfamiliar with our church Movement, I'm sure you'll find our stories interesting. 

2. RECOMMENDATIONS
BOOK: How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times
Words matter and so does brevity. Learn why here. Click here for some selected quotes from the book.

PODCAST: The Christian Silicon Valley
Introduced on This American Life, Gimlet Media reports on the church planting start-up culture.

3. FREE SERMON DOWNLOAD  
In the third commandment, we learn about the ultimate four-letter word. 

CLICK HERE to download a PDF transcript of Commandment Three

A few notes: 
1. All Scriptures are taken from the New International Version
2. The Smyth and Helwys Exodus Commentary by William Johnstone is the source of exegetical content in this series. 
3. Feel free to customize the message for your audience. Since these sermons are heavier on commentary, there is no need to attribute the content.  

Thanks for reading. Have a thought about this thread? Leave a comment below.

Photo by inanc avadit on Unsplash

Thought Thread: Contain

This edition's thread: contain. If you'd like the Thought Thread emailed to you, go ahead and sign up here.

1. LINKS
The Case Against Lectures
We communicators need to reexamine how people learn best.

Your Brain Doesn't Contain Memories
Thinking about how we recall our past is mind-blowing.

How To Get Kids To Pay Attention
Lessons from the Mayans about motivation.

My Thoughts: You Start With One
I'm blessed to know this great church in New England and loved sharing their story. 

2. RECOMMENDATIONS
BOOK: Don't Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style
Ideas are trapped if they're not communicated effectively. In this book, a marine biologist in Hollywood recognizes that scientists could do a better job of publicizing their findings Read some selected quotes so you can see if the book might interest you. 

VIDEO: Free Hugs/Blind Trust
Look, I'm not a hugger. Still, I found this social experiment fascinating.

3. FREE SERMON DOWNLOAD (Ten Commandments Series)
The second of the Ten Commandments discusses idolatry but is really about containment.

CLICK HERE to download a PDF transcript of Commandment Two

A few notes: 
1. All Scriptures are taken from the New International Version
2. The Smyth and Helwys Exodus Commentary by William Johnstone is the source of exegetical content in this series. 
3. Feel free to customize the message for your audience. Since these sermons are heavier on commentary, there is no need to attribute the content.  

I hope you enjoyed this content. Have a thought about this thread? Leave a comment below.

Photo by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash

Thought Thread: Separate

The thread of this edition is separate. Want the Thought Thread emailed to you? You can sign up here.

1. LINKS
Your Best Work May Feel Too Easy
There can be a disconnect between productivity and struggle.

On Leaving Facebook
Why one person chose separation from the pull of social media. 

How Tech Companies Own Your Day
Another article from the digital world—maybe some tech detachment is a good idea.

My [Wife's] Thoughts: I'm Always Writing
My better half encourages you to keep making stuff. 

2. RECOMMENDATIONS
BOOK: Creativity Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration.
One of the first of a recent slate of books bridging the gap of creativity and business. Get a taste of the book with some selected quotes here.

MOVIE: Lion
On Netflix: a man separated from his mother at an early age searches for his birth family.

3. FREE SERMON DOWNLOAD
The first of the Ten Commandments tells us to abandon all other gods. 

CLICK HERE to download a PDF transcript of Commandment One

A few notes: 
1. All Scriptures are taken from the New International Version
2. The Smyth and Helwys Exodus Commentary by William Johnstone is the source of exegetical content in this series. 
3. Feel free to customize the message for your audience. Since these sermons are heavier on commentary, there is no need to attribute the content.  

Thanks for reading. Have a thought about this thread? Leave a comment below.

Photo by Todd Diemer on Unsplash

Thought Thread: Commitment

This week's thread is commitment. If you'd like to get the Thought Thread in your inbox, sign up here.

1. LINKS
Being Busy Can Ruin Your Workday
Commitment to the clock can potentially hinder your productivity.

The Secret of AA: We Don't Know How It Works
This is a longer read from a few years ago. Alcoholics Anonymous heals addiction through commitment but, over 80 years later, we're not sure why.

Relationships Are More Important Than Ambition
In this graduation season, a lesson that is often overlooked.

My Thoughts: If I Were A Rich Man
Back in 2012 I had some thoughts on where to commit my money. I still feel the same today.

2. RECOMMENDATIONS
BOOK: Finding Favor: God's Blessings Beyond Health, Wealth, and Happiness
My friend Brian Jones tackles a tough topic in his latest book. Take a look at some selected quotes here.

PODCAST: Revisionist History
The 3rd season of Malcolm Gladwell's storytelling podcast is out and it includes the tale of the world's most controversial semicolon.

3. FREE SERMON DOWNLOAD
Another message leading into a series on the Ten Commandments, with a teaching about the commitment God was making to his people.

CLICK HERE to download a PDF transcript of Put A Ring On It (Exodus 19)

A few notes: 
1. All Scriptures are taken from the New International Version
2. Feel free to customize the message for your audience. Since these sermons are heavy exegetical, there is no need to attribute the content.  

As always, thanks for taking the time to chew on this. Feel free to leave a comment below if you want to chime in. 

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

Thought Thread: Rescue

This week's thought thread is rescue. Remember, if you'd prefer to receive the Thought Thread in email form, sign up here.

1. LINKS
Did Cars Save Cities From Horse Manure?
Sometimes history stinks, sometimes it makes you think(s).

The Silent Saviors
In 2011, 50 men worked on the leaking Fukushima nuclear reactor to rescue their country

When Robots Take Over the World, Compassion Will Save Us
A scientist's experience with cancer brought clarity to his understanding of A.I.

My Thoughts: Euthanasia, Life Plans, and the Stories We Tell Ourselves
Much has been written about the power of story. But sometimes stories go awry.

2. RECOMMENDATIONS
BOOK: Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear
A political speech writer implores us to choose words to save and inspire. If you're curious about this book, get a preview with some selected quotes.

VIDEO CLIP: A Very Marvel Rescue
This clip from X-Men Apocalypse shows a hyper-fast super hero saving some mutant high schoolers from certain death. 

3. FREE SERMON DOWNLOAD
I'm offering a new series on the Ten Commandments. To prepare, here's a teaching that sets up the need of God's people to be saved.

CLICK HERE to download a PDF transcript of Rescue (Exodus 1)

A few notes: 
1. All Scriptures are taken from the New International Version
2. Feel free to customize the message for your audience. Since these sermons are heavy exegetical, there is no need to attribute the content.  

As always, thanks for reading this stuff. Leave a comment below about anything of interest. 

Photo by Ishan @seefromthesky on Unsplash

Thought Thread: Faithful

This week's thought thread is faithful. If you'd like to receive the Thought Thread in your inbox, sign up for this biweekly email here.

1. LINKS
You Need To Take More Naps
It's science, folks: consistent napping is useful. So finish reading and schedule your siesta. 

Are You A Self-Interrupter? 
Our tech toys have the potential to keep us from being faithful contributors.

It's All About Reputation Now
The future of influence is linked to our faithfulness. Are you a trustworthy source?

My (Wife's) Thoughts: America's Fastest Growing Megachurch
Christianity Today published my wife's piece about a church just a few miles from our home that's utilizing entrepreneurial strategies for the benefit of the gospel. 

2. RECOMMENDATIONS
BOOK: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
Our habits dominate our lives. Why not rewire them for the greater good? If you're wondering if this is a book worth your time, click this link to read some selected quotes.

VIDEO CLIP: A Real Life Forrest Gump
Since I ran a marathon last weekend (and will run another this weekend), I felt compelled to share this video of a guy who retraced Gump's entire epic run. 

3. FREE SERMON DOWNLOAD
The final sermon from a series on the book of Colossians. The exclusivity of Christ is seen as He is faithful

CLICK HERE to download a PDF transcript of Why Jesus Wins: Faithful (Colossians 4:7-18)

A few notes: 
1. All Scriptures are taken from the New International Version
2. The primary source of textual research used is the Smyth and Helwys commentary on Colossians by Nijay Gupta
3. Feel free to customize the message for your audience. Since these sermons are heavy exegetical, there is no need to attribute the content.  

As always, thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment below about anything of interest. 

Photo by Emily Campbell on Unsplash

Thought Thread: Vigilance

This week, we're thinking about Vigilance. If you'd like the Thought Thread sent straight to your inbox, you can sign up for this biweekly email here.

1. LINKS
Not All Practice Makes Perfect
The research of Anders Ericsson has revealed much about how vigilant practice can help us expand our skill set. I recommend this article as a good introduction to Ericsson's work. 

You Don't Need to Be Hacked
In this digital age, there are people trying to apply technological approaches to personal health. Biohacking is a vigilant approach to health care that has become extremely popular. But is the body something that can be controlled like a computer?

Teach Kids Creativity
For years I've consistently introduced my daughter to STEM oriented skills. In this article, however, the author makes the case for relying more on increasing children's creative skills than their tech toolbox. 

My Thoughts: Compassion Fatigue
Last summer I reflected on my work in urban ministry. It can be difficult to be diligent when continually faced with those who lie to gain compassion. Read how I've learned to combat these feelings of anger when reaching out when you're jaded.

2. RECOMMENDATIONS
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
Combining information with inspiration, Angela Duckworth combines psychological research, anecdotes from sports and business, and life experience to provide practical strategies for accomplishing your life’s goals. If you're contemplating reading this book, click this link to read some quotes.

"Don't Give Up, Don't Ever Give Up"
Every so often, I'll go back and watch this video of North Carolina State basketball coach Jim Valvano. One month before he died, he delivered this inspirational speech on ESPN. His summary of his life is a lesson in vigilance. 

3. FREE SERMON DOWNLOAD
Another in this series from the book of Colossians. This week, we see that VIGILANCE is another aspect affirming the exclusivity of Christ. 

CLICK HERE to download a PDF transcript of Why Jesus Wins: Vigilance (Colossians 4:2-6)

A few notes: 
1. All Scriptures are taken from the New International Version
2. The primary source of textual research used is the Smyth and Helwys commentary on Colossians by Nijay Gupta
3. Feel free to customize the message for your audience. Since these sermons are heavy exegetical, there is no need to attribute the content.  

As always, thanks for reading the Thread. Feel free to respond to any of this below. 

Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

Thought Thread: Vulnerable

We're chasing the thread of VULNERABILITY in this edition. If you'd like a streamlined version of Thought Thread, sign up for the email update by clicking here. 

1. LINKS
The Vulnerability of Power
It's difficult to remain positive when witnessing power corrupted. But the key to contesting this abuse might actually be our own vulnerability. This piece by a USC business professor is a compelling read.

The Challenge of Doing the Right Thing Well
Too often our lack of pride prevents us from becoming a better version of ourselves. In Masters' Season, the author of this Harvard Business Review article uses Tiger Woods as an example of humility (no, really!) and suggests we challenge our views of vulnerability.

Complete
Just a couple of weeks ago, Julie Yip Williams passed away at a young age of cancer. Her life was amazing (covered by CBS in this video) but her last words are a testament to transparency. Do yourself a favor and read her last blog post.

My Thoughts: It's Real To Me!
Next week is Wrestlemania and it motivated me to be a little vulnerable and express my feelings on professional wrestling.

2. RECOMMENDATIONS
The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future
We all know that the world is changing but how can we anticipate strategy when change comes so fast. I feel Kevin Kelly does an excellent job of guiding the reader through this conversation. If you're wondering whether or not to read the entire book, click here to read some selected quotes.

The Power of Vulnerability by Brené Brown
Of all the links I've provided in the Thread thus far, I wondered if this was the least obscure. Brown has emerged as a go-to voice, but here thoughts in this Ted Talk are must listen, even if you've heard it before.

3. FREE SERMON DOWNLOAD
Some of the most argued texts in the Bible deal with the roles of husbands/wives and slaves/masters. In this message, you'll see that Jesus still wins because of VULNERABILITY. 

CLICK HERE to download a PDF transcript of Why Jesus Wins: Vulnerable (Colossians 3:18-4:1)

A few notes: 
1. All Scriptures are taken from the New International Version
2. The primary source of textual research used is the Smyth and Helwys commentary on Colossians by Nijay Gupta
3. Feel free to customize the message for your audience. Since these sermons are heavy exegetical, there is no need to attribute the content.  

Thanks for reading the Thread. Feel free to reflect on anything below. 

Photo by Juan Carlos Pablo on Unsplash

Thought Thread: Perspective

This week, it's the thread of PERSPECTIVE.
Don't miss a Thought Thread; get it directly to your inbox. Sign up here. 

1. LINKS
Autonomy Vs. Impact
When I talk to young leaders, they routinely struggle to decide where they want to serve. Is it better to lead in an established organization or to start something brand new? This Silicon Valley investor details how he encourages people to view the two options.

The Ineffable Grandeur of Churches
Old church buildings are cherished by us people of faith. But how are they perceived by people who don't believe the story behind the architecture? This article doesn't end in faith, but we followers of Jesus could gain a fresh perspective by listening to these reflections.

The Power of Words
I saw this short video years ago, but it left quite an impression on me. We need to change the way people think about that which they routinely ignore. 

My Thoughts: Play the Man!
About twelve years ago I wrote a blog post about an obscure incident in Protestant History. Whenever I try to gain perspective, I benefit by looking to the past.  

2. RECOMMENDATIONS
When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel Pink
Important decisions require careful consideration. But among the many perspectives we examine, rarely do we consider timing. One of my favorite authors mines statistical data to suggest some answers to the question, "When?" If you're wondering if you should get the book, click here to read some selected quotes.

Hidden Brain Podcast: Alan Alda wants us to have better conversations
The star of TV's M.A.S.H. has reinvented himself through his fascination with scientific concepts. In this podcast, Alda reflects on what he learned as an actor and how active listening can help all of us gain a better perspective while interacting with others. 

3. FREE SERMON DOWNLOAD
This sermon series on Colossians (WHY JESUS WINS) continues in the first half of chapter 3 with the topic of PERSPECTIVE. In this epistle, Paul advocates for the exclusivity of Jesus

CLICK HERE to download a PDF transcript of Why Jesus Wins: Perspective (Colossians 3:1-17)

A few notes: 
1. All Scriptures are taken from the New International Version
2. The primary source of textual research I used is the Smyth and Helwys commentary on Colossians by Nijay Gupta
3. Feel free to customize the message for your audience. Since these sermons are heavy exegetical, there is no need to attribute content to me.  

Thanks for reading the Thread. Feel free to reflect on anything below. 

 Photo by Jan Traid on Unsplash

Thought Thread: Balance

Welcome to the Thought Thread. We're going to think about BALANCE this week. If you're interested in this kind of content, subscribe to the Thought Thread and get it in your inbox every two weeks. You can sign up by clicking here. 

1. LINKS
Google's Approach to Work/Life Balance
If you're like me—prone to workaholic tendencies—you struggle to find that sweet spot between career and family. Read about Google's institutional exploration on how their employees can establish healthy paths forward.

If You Think You're a Genius, You're Crazy
This scientific article discusses how the same mental processes used by the brilliant are found in those who struggle with rationality. Here's an area where balance is truly the critical difference.

Get It Done or Do It Right?
Productivity demands that we ship, getting projects completed in a timely manner. But how do we react if we're more invested in doing the job well?

My Thoughts: Silence or Shouting? Listening to Kids
In this blog post, I consider the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida. I don't wade into the issue of gun control, as I'm more fascinated by the teens stepping up to make their voices heard. What role should children take in shaping society?

2. RECOMMENDATIONS
The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail--but Some Don't by Nate Silver
Everyone wants to predict the future, but it's difficult to see through our noisy culture. In this book, a statistician unveils a data-driven guide to finding balance between what's important and what isn't. Before you commit to reading, here are some selected quotes from the book.

Man On Wire
Philippe Petit went rogue and walked a tightrope between the two World Trade Center towers. You can watch this documentary about his feat on Netflix.

3. FREE SERMON DOWNLOAD
I wrote a sermon series on Colossians entitled, WHY JESUS WINS. In writing to this church, Paul explains the exclusivity of Christ. This week, see how Jesus embodies balance.

CLICK HERE to download a PDF transcript of Why Jesus Wins: Balance (Colossians 2:16-23)

A few notes: 
1. All Scriptures are taken from the New International Version
2. The primary source of textual research I used is the Smyth and Helwys commentary on Colossians by Nijay Gupta
3. Feel free to customize the message for your audience. Since these sermons are heavy exegetical, there is no need to attribute content to me.  

As always, thanks for reading the Thread. If you have thoughts about any of the above articles, feel free to start a conversation below. 

Photo by Ken Treloar on Unsplash

Thought Thread: Removal

Welcome to the Thought Thread. This week we're contemplating REMOVAL. Subscribe to the Thought Thread and get it directly to your inbox. I'd love for you to sign up by clicking here. 

1. LINKS
Abandon Your Good Idea
Sometimes we get more by subtraction. A computer science professor shows his math for decision-making, urging us to purposely remove projects from our to-do list. 

What is Your Locus of Control?
Who bears the blame when things go wrong. The concept of locus of control should lead us to give up making excuses for external factors and take responsibility for our failures.

The Death of Clothing
Have you purged your closet recently? Discover why the clothing industry is concerned that people are removing items from their wardrobe without replacing them. 

My Thoughts: Explaining the Impossible
Even if you haven't been diagnosed with Olympic fever, there are endless lessons to be gained from the Winter Games in South Korea. In this post, I reflect on, what I believe to be, the defining moment of these Olympics, when one competitor erased conventional wisdom.

2. RECOMMENDATIONS
The Republic of Suffering: Death and the Civil War by Drew Gilpin Faust
I recently finished viewing the entire Ken Burns' Civil War documentary and used this book as supplemental reading. The president of Harvard suggest that the way we Americans view death today was influenced by this conflict. In case you're not excited about reading this, I compiled some notes that might interest you. 

Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things
In our hyper-consumeristic age, many of us are fascinated by decluttering. While this film shows examples of dramatic examples of removing stuff from everyday life, it's a conversation that the biblical authors grappled with as well. The documentary is available on Netflix.

3. FREE SERMON DOWNLOAD
Through April, I'm sharing sermons I wrote on Colossians for a series called WHY JESUS WINS. The apostle Paul explains the exclusivity of Christ to this ancient church and to us today. See how Jesus' ability to remove makes him different.

CLICK HERE to download a PDF transcript of Why Jesus Wins: Removal (Colossians 2:2-15)

A few notes: 
1. All Scriptures are taken from the New International Version
2. The primary source of textual research I used is the Smyth and Helwys commentary on Colossians by Nijay Gupta
3. Feel free to customize the message for your audience. Since these sermons are heavy exegetical, there is no need to attribute content to me.  

Thanks for reading the Thread. If you have thoughts about any of the above articles, feel free to start a conversation below. 


Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash

Thought Thread: Humility

Welcome to the Thought Thread. This week we're pulling on the thread of HUMILITY. Remember that the best way to keep tabs on this content is to subscribe to the newsletter via email. You can sign up for it by clicking here. 

1. LINKS
Why people fall for narcissistic leaders
Leadership research continues to mine new concepts explaining why we tend to follow certain leaders. If you've ever wondered why egotistical leaders seem more prevalent than humble ones, this article might help explain it.

Are you really that good?
While humility is a spiritual issue, we should recognize that our very human nature can work against us. While teaching in Seminary, I made this point to my students via the Dunning-Kruger Effect. This short video is a great summary of the concept. 

Humility from the Holy Land
In 2005, when my wife and I visited Israel, I was surprised at how many churches were built over biblical sites. While it was sometimes distracting, I've always remembered the architecture of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Here's an inspirational thought concerning the pilgrimage to the manger site.

My Thoughts: Coworkers or Competition?
Ministry leaders face what seems to be a paradoxical challenge: to elevate the kingdom (universal) AND motivate our church (local). Sometimes this leads us to feeling competitive with other churches. When planting an urban church, I myself struggled with it. Here's a reflection on how I came to grips with my jealousy of other ministries.

2. RECOMMENDATIONS
The Knowledge Illusion by Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach
These scholars deconstruct the myth that we humans are fully rational. Again, as the Dunning-Kruger affect affirms, it's important to recognize that our minds play tricks on us to keep from being humble. Before you read, you can click here for some selected quotes.

12 Years a Slave
During Oscar season, we're reminded of the great movies of our past. The 2014 Best Movie winner is not only a compelling choice during Black History Month, but it unravels the struggle of free man Solomon Northup's journey of humility after being sold into slavery. Currently, the best digital rental rate is on Amazon.com.

3. FREE SERMON DOWNLOAD
I'm continuing an examination from Paul's letter to the Colossians, entitled WHY JESUS WINS. As we examine the exclusivity of Christ, we dig into his humility.

CLICK HERE to download a PDF transcript of Why Jesus Wins: Humility (Colossians 1:15-29)

A few notes: 
1. All Scriptures are taken from the New International Version
2. The primary source of textual research I used is the Smyth and Helwys commentary on Colossians by Nijay Gupta
3. Feel free to customize the message for your audience. Since these sermons are heavy exegetical, there is no need to attribute content to me.  

Thanks for reading. If you have thoughts about any of the above articles, feel free to start a conversation below. 

Photo by Tom Barrett on Unsplash

Thought Thread: Relationship

Welcome to the first edition of the Thought Thread. This week I'm thinking about RELATIONSHIP. Remember that the best way to keep tabs on this content is to subscribe to the newsletter via email. You can sign up for it by clicking here. 

1. LINKS
The Ikea Effect
I found this concept fascinating because I've had an old piece of Ikea furniture sitting in my basement for years. This pop-psychological label states that people place a higher than average value on things they create themselves. As ministry leaders seek new ways to mobilize their churches, are there ways we can further release the creativity of worshippers so their relationship with Jesus is even more dynamic?

How Smart Should a Leader Be?
One of the reasons I started Thought Thread was to inspire Christian leaders to become better learners. There is a danger, however, when leaders position themselves as more intellectual than their followers. How can you create healthy relationships with your subordinates when they think you're a know-it-all? This research offers some advice.

Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble
We're hearing a lot about Bitcoin lately, but very few people understand it. Over the past months, I've repeatedly been asked to explain it, and this New York Times article does as well as anything I've seen to break it down simply. While I'd suggest that Bitcoin is actually a commodity rather than a currency, keep an eye on the technology behind the fad. Our relationship with blockchaining will far outlast this cryptocurrency and will infiltrate many aspects of our lives. 

My Thoughts: A Better Rule For Christian Men
Last month, I wrote some thoughts on the Billy Graham Rule (now known as the Mike Pence Rule) You might not agree with my perspective, but it's important for male Christian leaders to consider how we ought to interact with the women in our church.

2. RECOMMENDATIONS
Scale by Geoffrey West
In this book, a theoretical physicist shows the relationship between organisms/organizations and growth. Those of us in ministry should be fascinated to see that a secularist believes that the propensity for growth is hardwired into the DNA of the universe. Before you read, you can click here for some selected quotes.

Heavyweight
This podcast is produced by Gimlet Media and explores where relationships went wrong. To be clear, this isn't a Christian podcast, so be aware that there might be some language that one could find offensive. 

3. FREE SERMON DOWNLOAD
Over the next few months, I'll be sharing a sermon series I taught from Paul's letter to the Colossians, entitled WHY JESUS WINS. My goal here was to help the people in my church see that Jesus and Christianity make exclusive claims, making it unique among all other worldviews. 

CLICK HERE to download a PDF transcript of Why Jesus Wins: Relationship (Colossians 1:1-14)

A few notes: 
1. All Scriptures are taken from the New International Version
2. The primary source of textual research I used is the Smyth and Helwys commentary on Colossians by Nijay Gupta
3. Feel free to customize the message for your audience. Since these sermons are heavy exegetical, there is no need to attribute content to me.  



Thanks for reading. If you have thoughts about any of the above articles, feel free to start a conversation below. 

Photo credit: Dustin Lee on Unsplash

Pulling on the Thread

Entering my third decade of ministry experience, I've had the opportunity to connect with thousands of church leaders and hundreds of churches. From teaching in a seminary, to planting a congregation in the city, to now working in church finance, my experiences forced me to take a unique view of the church: to think differently about our work and to discover how random threads can be woven together to create new trains of thought. 

That's what Thought Thread is all about. Twice a month, I release an idea and trace the thread that binds together various resources. So you can expect:

  • Links from around the web. For years I've drawn content from random sources to provide an atypical perspective on ministry. Here you'll find items from off the beaten path.
  • Book, podcast, and film recommendations. There's a constant flow of new content developed daily. I'll show you what you might have missed and how it can help. 
  • A free sermon. I'm not claiming to be the best communicator, but I am good at developing content. If you're caught in a bind and need something to preach/teach, you can use this resource. At the very least, it'll give you a starting point. 

I'm here to serve. Thanks for tethering your life to ministry in order to change people's eternity. I pray something here will help you in your work.