Check out

Color bound: My pastor has to look like me
“Because of his color, many people can now ‘relate’ to the office of the president because the president physically looks like them. How often do we apply that same mindset to our churches?”

Christians take “beliefs” fight to the European Court
Want a prophecy of where the US is heading? “British courts have found overwhelmingly against Christians, occasionally comparing their beliefs unfavourably with secular principles”

He desires a noble task: The Erosion of the Evangelical Pastorate
“The evangelical church has a problem. We’re going to run out of good pastors. For a variety of reasons, we are failing to sufficiently prepare the next generation of church leadership.”

Why creativity blocks happen and how to overcome them
Preachers may find this useful too.

How to transition between sermon points without losing your audience
Eric McKiddie: “I’ve had to learn how to decelerate, downshift, turn, and then accelerate again by using a transitional paragraph, rather than a couple of sentences. Here’s how I do it, in seven steps.”

Pain-filled memories
I’ve never seen a man walk through agonizing bereavement in such a transparent and edifying way.


Tweets of the Day


Making Ideas Happen: 99% Perspiration

Great ideas do not guarantee success. Having a great idea is only about 1% of the creative process. The other 99%, as Thomas Edison said, is perspiration.

Scott Belsky, creativity analyst and author of Making Ideas Happen, noticed that most ideas got lost somewhere in that sweaty 99% and set out to discover how to make more ideas actually happen: How to get from “Ping!” to product or service.

And BTW, creativity is not just something that painters and sculptors do. It’s something everyone does every day. We all have ideas, plans, and projects that we are trying to move from lightbulb moment to reality: Preachers make sermons; Homemakers make beautiful rooms, tasty meals, and kids birthday parties; Politicians make laws; Builders make houses; Gardeners make gardens; Farmers make food; Teachers make lesson plans, etc.

Belsky found that whatever activity he looked at, the creative “sweat” had three common characteristics:

  • Organizational Habits: Especially important in a world of information overload and constant connectivity.
  • Community Engagement: Ideas did not happen in isolation but rather through sharing and feedback.
  • Leadership Capability: An ability to build and motivate teams to overcome doubts and obstacles along the way to execution.

Belsky’s takeaway: Spend less time on looking for the next great idea and much more on making existing ideas happen.

The ideas that move industries forward are not the result of tremendous creative insight but rather of masterful stewardship. Yes, there is a method to the madness of turning an idea into a reality—it’s just not as romantic as you thought [Making Ideas Happen, 8].

“Eureka!” will disappear down the plughole unless it is clothed with organization, collaboration, and leadership. Productivity must be twinned with creativity.

As Making Ideas Happen is especially helpful in its discussion of organization and collaboration – not so much in the area of Leadership – I’ll highlight Belsky’s advice in these two areas over the next few days.

You’ll find more insights on making ideas happen at Belsky’s awarding winning website, 99%.


Check out

Seminary Education from a distance
Pros and cons of online or on location.

22 ways to humble ourselves
Great checklist for self-examination. Sad that we probably need 22 ways to even begin to be humble!

Kindles, iPads, and the digital reading experience
Aaron publishes the results of his reading experiments with different devices.

13 Young Social Entrepreneurs Making a Difference
Love the combination of creativity and philanthropy here.

Advice for everyone who writes
From someone who could, Charles Spurgeon. Bit painful for us daily bloggers!

How to pray when you’re depressed: A look at Psalm 13
Mark Kelly: “Psalm 13 is a special chapter in my Bible. There is a date, March 12, 2012, written next to the chapter heading. That day I identified with the psalmist, and poured out my heart to God like never before. It had been five long years of dealing with chronic pain, two major surgeries, limited physical ability, limited ministry, and horrible side effects of multiple medications that had brought me to this point. I was tired, depressed, worn down and God was silent. That day I “got real” with God.”


Tweets of the Day


My Top 10 Women’s Blogs

You read women’s blogs?

Yes, quite a few. And don’t worry, my wife knows, and she shares my enthusiasm too.

I’ve found many women have a unique gift to write about the Christian faith and life. They approach subjects and events differently to men; they see angles and dimensions we are blind too; and they remind us of the important roles and responsibilities that God has given to Christian women, stimulating prayer and appreciation for God’s work in them and through them.

I’m listing my Top 10 Women’s Blogs below, but I’d love to hear your recommendations too. Use the Comments to tip us off about other Christian women’s blogs that are worth a click.

Her.meneutics
The ladies blog on Christianity Today features a wide variety of top-quality writing on current issues, many of which have a special angle for women.

Woman of God Magazine
Trillia Newbell, a gifted young African American, pops up all over the blogosphere (The Gospel Coalition, Desiring God, etc), but you’ll find a lot of her writing at Woman of God Magazine as well. She’s a lively and transparent blogger, a writing star of the future I think.

The Upward Call
Kim Shay writes a short blog almost every day about books, theology, and life as a mature (hope she doesn’t mind that adjective!) mother of grown-up kids. Another transparent writer, I especially enjoy her book reviews and her ability to connect her faith with everyday life. (Update: Just noticed here’s a group blog that Kim’s also involved with: “The six of us are in what is often called the “afternoon,” of life, meaning we are all forty years and older”).

Domestic Kingdom
Gloria Furman and friends bring the Kingdom of God to the kitchen sink. Not sure if they’d put it that way, but they have a unique ability to draw deep and practical theology out of the usually routine and mundane events of mothering and wifing. I’m very much looking forward to Gloria’s first book.

Girls Gone Wise
Mary Kassian doesn’t blog as often as others, probably about 4-5 times a month, but she is always worth reading. Many hours of research and deep thought go into each article. If you are battling to raise wise girls in a wild world, you probably need Mary’s book and blog.

The Christian Pundit
Can I squeeze this one onto this list even though it’s only 50% female? I think so. The Christian Pundit is a relatively new blog run by husband and wife team, Bill and Rebecca Vandoodewaard (a colleague of mine at PRTS). Rebecca doesn’t miss her targets and you get Bill as a bonus!

En Route: Scribbles from along life’s way
As I worship in the same church as Daryl and Kara Dedert, maybe I’m a bit biased on this one. If you subscribe to Kara’s blog, you’ll have your eyes and heart opened to the pain of raising a child with disabilities; but you’ll also see God’s grace superabounding through it all. Raw, real, gritty, gracey.

Homeschool on the Croft
Ann gives me my daily dose of Scottish nostaligia! Lots of great photos and down-to-earth stories from the island I used to pastor in. Sometimes she overdoses on sheep and sunsets, but she’ll soon have you longing to visit Scotland. Oh, and she’s a real Americophile. So if any American wants a house swap…

The Life and Times of a Homeschooling Mom of Seven
Now all the way to South Africa for another upbeat, spritely homeschooling family blog that majors on arts, crafts, recipes, outings, books, etc. The title alone should be enough to intrigue you! Always lots of fascinating links to follow up, especially if you also follow the Twitter account.

Redeemed Reader
WORLD famous Janie Cheaney and Emily Whitten provide reliable reviews of kids books at different age levels. Their aim is to “shine a gospel light on children’s literature so that Christian parents, educators, and the children they nurture may read in a more redeemed and redeeming way.” And they do that extremely well.

So, ladies, who have I missed?

UPDATE
From the comments, here’s a list of your recommendations. Let me check these out over the next few weeks, and in a month I’ll post an updated list of Top Women’s Blogs.

Housewife Theologian
Girl Talk
True Woman
No Greater Joy Mom
Femina Girls
Jen Wilkin: The Beginning of Wisdom
modobjectathome
Gospel Grace
Practical Theology for Women
Angie Smith: Bring the Rain
Young Wife’s Guide to Gospel-centered Homemaking
Scripture Thoughts
A Holy Experience
Nourishment for the Soul
Chronological Bible Teaching
Narrow Path Home