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Showing posts from June, 2010

Once Upon A Marriage Week Four: He Said, She said

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This week is the conclusion of the sermon series that I've been working on for the past four weeks: Once Upon a Marriage: Biblical Principles for Real Relationships.

I had a vision when I planned this sermon series some months ago that for the final day I needed some help to preach the Scripture passage that I had chosen (or that had chosen me).  The Scripture passage is one of the most challenging--if not the most challenging passage--in the Bible that directly addresses marriage and relationships:  Ephesians 5:21-33

Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord, Paul exhorts the church at Ephesus, and Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church. 

I asked my wife Merideth if she would help me by team teaching this passage with me.  She was reluctant at first, but soon caught the vision and the need to have a female voice heard in the midst of the discussion of "submission" and "love" as outlined by Paul.  She is a highly successful businesswoman, a lawy…

Tribal Leadership - A Review

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Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups To Build A Thriving Organization by Dave Logan, John King, Halee Fischer-Wright; Harper Collins Business, 2008. 

Tribal Leadership is one of the more effective "how-to" books on tribalism in the workplace and marketplace that I have recently read.  Like Seth Godin's groundbreaking Tribes, Tribal Leadership casts a vision for leadership that reflects the new open-source, niche-oriented, localized and nimble business-model that is emerging from the Great Recession and into the 21st Century.  Unlike Tribes,Tribal Leadership digs in to the nuts and bolts of what this looks like, based on data, countless interviews, and the insight of three authors, all of whom are experts in respective fields and all of whom are part of CultureSync. CultureSync is an innovative consulting firm that assists businesses and business leaders create vibrant strategies for the new marketplace.

Tribal Leadership asserts that there are 5 Tribal Stages that …

Thy Kingdom Connected - Book Review

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Thy Kingdom Connected: What the Church Can Learn from Facebook, the Internet, and Other Networks by Dwight J. Friesen; Baker Books, 2009

I think the best way to describe Thy Kingdom Connected is that it uses a systematic approach to define and support a form of open-sourced, "network" ecclesiology.  In other words, Friesen uses traditional means to describe something new and decidedly non-traditional that is happening in the church.  And ultimately, Friesen embraces the need for the Church to become more "networked" in both it's beliefs and praxis.

This "network" lens is, according to Friesen, "a lens through which we can hope to see the world as an integrated whole rather than a dissociated collection of parts."  The recent phenomenon of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and even MySpace is seen by Friesen as a gift to the Church as it begins to navigate the uncertain waters of the 21st Century.  The emerging culture that surrounds t…

Linchpin: Seth Godin Delivers The Goods... Again

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Linchpin: Are You Indispendable? By Seth Godin

Seth Godin is a flipping genius.  His books "Purple Cow" and "Tribes" blew my mind and helped me to become a more effective leader and marketer, of sorts.  He's one of those guys that just seems to know what comes next in an ever-changing, post-Great Recession, open-source business culture.

Linchpin is a Godin's left-of-center manifesto on what it will take to be successful in the world that has emerged from the economic carnage of the last few years.  In Godin's assessment, traditional forms of leadership are not producing the kind of results in business that they once did.  Building on his wildly successful book Tribes, Godin doubly asserts that anyone can become a leader, and that any leader has the potential to be an artist.  And in the end, those leaders who care more about creating art than making money, a name for themselves, etc. will find that they are indispensable. 

I think the one quote that sor…

Once Upon A Marriage - Week 3 "For Men Only"

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When I planned my sermons for the summer a few months ago, I didn't realize that the day I elected to preach a sermon to "men only" would be Father's Day.  Coincidence?  I think not.

God has a way of showing off when it comes to that kind of thing, though. 

At any rate, I started my journey toward the sermon this week by thinking about manhood.  More specifically, I thought about what sort of cultural messages that men receive about what it means to be a "real man."

This is my man card.

If my manhood gets called into question (unlikely) I can produce this card and reveal to the world that I am a card carrying man.  Because I have the Man Card iPhone application for my phone, I also have the power to revoke another man's Man Card if he says something like, "I really liked 'The Notebook.'" or "I just knitted a sweater." 

I kid.

Do you know what question men get asked more than any other question?  It's not "boxers or …

Once Upon A Marriage Week 2: "For Women Only"

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I found this picture on the Internet of the "Perfect Woman"

The photo is a computer amalgamation of several photos from some of the most beautiful and well-known models & actresses in the world.  Here's what it looks like:

It got me thinking about all of the screwed up ways that our culture defines "womanhood."

For example...  this photo montage displays a decided preference for appearances over substance.  But then, the preference of our culture for appearances over substance has been going on for several millenia.  Especially when it comes to women.  Human beings don't change a whole lot over time, it seems. 

Then there is the way that women are "empowered" to be "like men."  Take a look at this iconic advertisement:


This was an ad for Virginia Slims cigarettes, back in the day when they used to advertise cigarettes.  Virginia Slims was a cigarette "for women," and the marketers wanted women to feel empowered to smoke th…

Sermon Share: Open Source Sermon Help

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Behold. The greatest preacher hair I have ever seen.  

I have to wonder:  If I had hair like that, would I be a better preacher?  I think it's almost certain.  If I had preacher hair like this, I would be as strong as Samson and as eloquent as Paul.  I would slay Philistines with one forward thrust of my hairspray cemented forelock.  

The ladies would dig me. 

But alas, my hair is thinning and I have no Samson-strong forelock.  

However... I do preach on occasion.   And while I will never be able to pull off some stupendous preacher hair by copying dudes with dos, I have benefited from the wisdom of some very generous people over the years. 

I got to thinking about all of the great pastors and preachers (without awesome preacher hair like our friend above) who have shared their wisdom, their sermons and their technique with me both directly and indirectly.  

So I decided to create a page on my website which you can access HERE.   From this page you can download audio, sermon notes, bul…

Change Your Church For Good: Leon's "Book of The Year" for Churchy Types

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Change Your Church For Good
(Revised Edition), Brad Powell; Thomas Nelson, 2010

This book was originally published as "Change Your Church For Good: The Art of Sacred Cow Tipping," and has been updated for a new generation of church leaders by author, pastor, blogger and church innovator, Brad Powell.  Powell is the pastor of NorthRidge Church in Michigan, where he has been pastoring since 1990.  Powell relates how he entered into what was then Temple Baptist Church with the realization that the church was dying and had become completely irrelevant to non-Christians, especially those who were coming of age in a Post-Christian society.  Now NorthRidge is home to thousands of members on three campuses and was recently named the Midwest's "Fastest Growing Church."  The transformation that Powell relates is one that has taken nearly 20 years, and was filled with obstacles, trials, tribulations, crises and eventually unbelievable joy, hope and unprecedented growth.  P…

Once Upon A Marriage: Week One

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I've been on vacation all week with my family--the first long vacation that we have had together in I don't know how long.  It's also the first real, honest to goodness road trip that my wife and I  ever attempted with both of our boys.

We drove to North Carolina to stay at my in-laws house for one day and then drove to Pittsburgh where we hung out and enjoyed the city for a day or so, ate at an amazing diner in Buffalo, NY, and then made our way up to our ultimate destination: Niagara Falls.  We did all of the tourist-y stuff at Niagara--everything we could think of at least.  We laughed, played, ate awesome meals... it was easily my favorite family vacation ever. 

Then we had to drive 14 and a half hours back to NC. 

Did I mention that my wife is 28 weeks pregnant and has a broken foot? 

Did I mention that there were two boys...ages 15 and 5... in the same car... in the back seat... for 14 and a half hours? 

Did I mention that my littlest boy had not pooped for five day…