Archives For Books & Media

SparkWhat would it look like if a significant number of churches had to intentionally try not to multiply and the Lord added to their numbers daily? (Acts 2: 42-7)? In this FREE resource, Exponential Director Todd Wilson presses into Exponential’s 2015 theme, “SPARK: Igniting a Culture of Multiplication,” to give church leaders a vision for reproducing churches and the tools needed to see that vision come to fruition. The eBook sets the framework for Exponential’s 2015 eBooks series focusing on multiplication and champions Exponential’s focus on moving the multiplication needle in the U.S. Church.

Wilson highlights the prominent church cultures leaders most naturally create and challenges you to honestly assess which culture you’re creating. He points out that every church–regardless of your context or phase (pre-launch, launch or post-launch)–is creating a culture and takes readers through a thorough explanation of how culture is created and what is needed to create a multiplication culture.

He offers an exploration of what Scripture says about God’s command to multiply and out of that scriptural study comes fresh insight as he contends that the U.S. church needs both addition (what he calls the micro strategy of adding disciples one on one,…

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PleadingThe following is from the introduction of Pleading with Southern Baptists. The full ebook may be downloaded here for free

There is no great movement of God that has ever occurred that does not begin with the extraordinary prayer of God’s people. The time is now for us to come together before God in clear agreement, visible union, and in extraordinary prayer for the next Great Awakening and for the world to be reached for
Christ.

For the sake of our nation and the spiritually lost around the world, it is time to humble ourselves before God. For this, I plead with all Southern Baptist pastors, missionaries, laypersons, denominational leaders, churches, denominational entities, conventions, colleges and universities; from student to adult, regardless of age, vocation, or status.

As we come to God in humility and repentance, entering into this special season of extraordinary prayer, we plead with God for spiritual revival personally, revival in the church, and the next Great Awakening in the United States. As Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes:

And in movements of the Spirit the first thing that happens and which eventually leads to a great revival is that one man or a group of men suddenly begin…

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Biblical Portraits of CreationWhile perhaps understandable, it is also unfortunate that many Christians and churches only take on the biblical topic of Creation for the purpose of debating the relationship between the Genesis account and scientific views of origins. The result of that focus is that many Christians lack an awareness of the subject of creation as a source of worship of the Creator, as well as a foundation for understanding much of God’s work in redeeming us and ultimately making all things new. In Biblical Portraits of Creation, Walter Kaiser and Dorington Little seek to correct that deficiency with a series of short essays glorifying our Creator God.

Anyone opening this book looking for a technical response to challenges from evolutionists or higher critics will be largely disappointed. For the most part, these short pieces ignore that ongoing argument and instead focus on various texts dealing with Creation that inspire the reader to worship God and appreciate His work of Creation and all that it entails. Only two of the 19 chapters give primary focus to the early chapters of Genesis. Others focus on texts that deal with Creation…

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Gods Super ApostlesA team of trained Alpine skiers scaled Mt. Everest in an effort to rout the throne of a demon thought to have territorial control over a large swath of planet earth, and another group climbed the hill famous for the “Hollywood” sign in southern California while reciting a “divorce decree” intended to separate another demon named Baal from control over the entertainment industry. While these stories may tempt the reader to simply dismiss those involved as cranks, doing so would be a mistake. As documented in the soon to be released God’s Super Apostles by journalist Holly Pivec and theology professor R. Douglas Geivert, the New Apostolic Revolution (NAR) is a worldwide movement with the support of churches and organizations with as many as 3 million people in the United States. Pastors should be aware of the teachings and dangers of this movement.

Central to the NAR is the notion that churches and Christians must submit to the authority of modern day apostles and prophets if they are to be included in God’s plans for the expansion of His kingdom. These apostles, self-described as generals, and…

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Sexual BrokennessThe devil has no shortage of tools for destroying lives. And in today’s culture, one of his most effective tools is a distorted view of sexuality. The wreckage of such a view is everywhere: A marriage is broken by infidelity. A child is abused by a relative. A pastor is forced from his ministry due to a pornography addiction. A college student thinks back on her one-night stand with deep regret and a wounded heart. Such scenes are all too common. Perhaps no other human desire has been so distorted by our culture as sex. To borrow an illustration from C. S. Lewis, sexual desire has become like a piano key that is played at all the wrong times. Though God designed it for beautiful melodies, it has instead soured the music.

But there is good news. There is hope, because the gospel of Christ has the power to bind up every broken heart and heal every wound. The Word of God tells us that Jesus died to reconcile the sexually broken to himself. At the cross, he poured out his blood to make them whole again and to purify…

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Life on MissionMatthew was a tax collector. The Jews hated tax collectors because they were usually swindlers and “sell outs” who worked for the Romans. You couldn’t get any lower than a tax collector. They even had their own category. There were “sinners” and there were “tax collectors.” Like there are normal sinners, and then there are tax collectors.

So Jesus and the disciples came upon Mathew one day and Jesus says, “Why don’t you quit your job and follow me?” (Matthew 9) Matthew says “yes,” and the next thing you know Jesus is at a party at Matthew’s house. There are no details about what happened next, we just know that Matthew throws a party and Jesus is there.

So who would Matthew invite? MORE SINNERS!

Can you imagine the scene? Put it in modern day context. I can only imagine Matthew running back and forth from the kitchen, making sure everyone was being looked after as he listened to the conversations that took place around the table and out in the hot tub. He’s restocking the beer cooler. There is NON–Christian music on the stereo. You know Naughty Matt had a…

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The Absence of Prayer

By Jamin Goggin

The following is an adjusted excerpt from Beloved Dust (Thomas Nelson 2014).

I faced a circle of blank stares. It was a standoff, and I was willing to wait. As a youth pastor, I had grown accustomed to this response from my students. I had asked a simple question: “Would anyone be willing to pray?” But as any youth pastor can tell you, it is not that simple. You would think I had asked the group of teenage boys if they had viewed pornography recently. Eventually, the same student that always broke the awkward silence prayed, if for no other reason than to alleviate the anxiety of his peers.

As a youth pastor, I encountered many difficult and disheartening moments, such as finding out a student lived a completely different lifestyle than I had known. However, as my tenure in youth ministry grew, those moments of cold sweat from my students became the saddest. The sadness only increased when I discovered that prayer was missing from their lives completely. My students simply had…

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Vanderbloemen Bird NextSuccession has been a hot topic in many church leadership circles lately.

William Vanderbloemen, former pastor and President/CEO of executive search firm Vanderbloemen Search Group just wrote a book on the subject called Next: Pastoral Succession That Works, which is a church leader’s comprehensive guidebook to understanding what you can do now to prepare for the day your church faces a leadership transition.

Brandon: What is the overall big picture of Next?

William: It really comes down to one sentence: Every pastor is an interim pastor.

Why? Because unless you plan on pastoring your church after Jesus returns, every church will have to face the reality of a leadership transition. Are you ready? Most people aren’t. Many church leaders equate succession planning to retirement planning. However, smart church leaders realize that succession planning is much more than that. We hope that this book will be a conversation starter and a guide for pastors and church boards as they look to the inevitable reality of transition.

Brandon: In Next, you mention the old adage, “Everyone wants to talk about succession…until it’s their own.” Why do you think many pastors feel that way?

William: What…

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Be the Message“I’m sick of sermons” are the first words in Pastors Kerry and Chris Shook’s new book launching today, Be the Message:  Taking Your Faith Beyond Words to a Life of Action (Foreword by Rick Warren, WaterBrook Press, September 9, 2014) as well as Be the Message Church-wide Challenge on Sunday, November 16.  Never ones to shy away from honesty and truth, Kerry and Chris go on to say, “Don’t get me wrong.  I love the call that God has placed on my life, and I love teaching His life-changing word.  I still believe there is deep value in all that.  But, increasingly, I’m feeling I talk so much about God that I sometimes fail to really experience Him.  I want to talk about God less and walk with Him more.  I want to hear about God less and experience Him more.”  In this interview, just as in their books, Kerry and Chris have chosen to speak as one.

First, since it’s coming up soon, what is the Be the Message Church-wide Challenge, and how can pastors get involved?

On November 16th we’re signing churches up now from…

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Forgive UsAs American culture has become less deferential, not to mention at times more hostile, to traditional Christianity, a variety of theories as to what has gone wrong and how it should be fixed have been set forth. The four authors of “Forgive Us” – Mae Elise Cannon, Lisa Sharon Harper, Troy Jackson, and Soong-Chan Rah — suggest that the anger that many have for the American church is justified. In that vein, they have penned this work as an expression of repentance, asking both God and people to forgive the church for various sins.

While such a call to repentance and confession is not entirely unusual, their particular vantage point may be to many readers, as “Forgive Us” expresses repentance from the perspective of the evangelical left. Over the last several decades, those of evangelical faith who hold more liberal political views have been frustrated by the dominance of the religious right in public awareness of evangelical political engagement. Recent years have brought more awareness to the fact that some evangelicals hold liberal political views and tend to engage the culture in more collectivist terms, with a greater…

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SimplifyThe path to simplicity is not for the faint of heart. It’s a process that requires total honesty. So let me pose the question: How depleted are you? How long has it been since you have felt fully replenished?

Jesus told Martha that her only hope was to pull up a chair, unplug from all the busyness, and begin a conversation with the only one who could restore her frenetic heart, settle her spirit, and get her heading back to true north. Is the same true for you?

Allow me to ask a follow-up question: Would an honest conversation with Jesus, in an unrushed setting, help you, too?

Of all the leaders I’ve had the opportunity to meet—from CEOs to nonprofit execs to politicians to church leaders—guess which type is most likely to have a problem with being overwhelmed, overscheduled, and exhausted?

Senior pastors! Card-carrying, seminary-graduated women and men of the cloth. Exhaustion runs rampant among pastors. This subject comes up in every city, every country, every culture, and every language group in which I’ve had the privilege of doing some mentoring and training. It’s a universal theme.

Here’s what I often do with my…

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Purple FishPurple Fish: A Heart for Sharing Jesus, by Mark O. Wilson was released last month by Wesleyan Publishing House and is receiving rave reviews from early readers who can’t put it down.

In this inspiring, practical book, Mark O. Wilson uses fishing and treasure hunting as metaphors, offering a fresh, new approach for sharing Christ with others, especially for those who feel inadequate and intimidated by witnessing. Purple Fish shows how it can be a delightful adventure of faith, filling your own soul in the process.

Through amazing and often humorous stories as well as many practical suggestions Wilson encourages the reader to rethink what it means to bring lost people to Jesus.”They are lost treasures,” says Wilson, “not lost causes.”   It will leave readers saying, I haven’t thought of it that way before. I can do that!

Leonard Sweet, best-selling author and theologian recently remarked, “Every now and then a book appears out of nowhere and is destined to be a classic — or should be. Mark O. Wilson’s “Purple Fish” is best bought by the box and distributed to every church. It is the most exciting, fun and accessible book…

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