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 the String: What is Thought Thread?

Looking back at my professional career, I've had woven together some non-traditional experiences: from working in the church, to teaching in a seminary, to starting a congregation in the city, to working in finance . . .

In this off-the-beaten-path journey, I was forced to formulate my own view of the world—thinking differently about work (and ministry) and discovering how random threads can combine to create new systems of thinking.

So why keep this to myself? This is why I started the Thought Thread.

Every two weeks, I’ll release an idea and pull on the string that binds various resources together. Among other things, you can expect:

  • Links from around the web. I've always pulled content from random sources to challenge my own thinking. I’ll provide items from off the beaten path that you might otherwise have missed.

  • Book, podcast, and film recommendations. There's a constant flow of new content released on the internets daily. I'll show you what you might have missed.

  • A free sermon. Since I’m an ordained minister, I’ve developed a large collection of spiritual content. So if you're a preacher caught in a bind and need something to teach, or if you’re someone wanting a deeper exploration of the Bible, this will be a resource you can use.

Welcome into my brain. Take your shoes off before entering.