Play to Your Strengths

Today for Leadership Journal I interview the wildly popular author, speaker, and blogger, Jon Acuff. Besides being the proprietor of the very funny Stuff Christians Like blog, Jon is the author of several bestselling books, including his latest, Start. It was a wide-ranging interview in which Jon gave me some great thoughts. The first question I asked him was this: You’re known for writing humor that pokes fun at the evangelical culture. How important is humor for church leaders in their speaking ministry? I think it’s important. I would caution people this way: if you’re not funny or if it is not a gift, don’t feel you have to do it. If you’re not comfortable talking with a white board when you are speaking, don’t feel like you have to use one, even if it becomes popular. Play to your strengths. You should always use humor to some degree. But I would never tell somebody, “If you...

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Don’t Judge Me By My Worst Day

I was driving home the other day and flipped on the local sports radio station here in Chicago. I enjoy listening to sports talk--particularly ESPN 1000, WMVP. For the most part the talk is lively, there are good interviews, and the discussion is about something that takes my mind off of the other pressing and important things of the day. On this particular afternoon, the hosts were interviewing the Chicago Cubs' President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein. Now if you're a sports fan (and if you are not, I'll allow you time to repent right here), you'll know that Theo is the Great Hope of Cubs nation right now. We haven't won a title in over 100 years. We've had our hearts ripped asunder by near misses in the playoffs, particularly the unforgettable, trama-inducing 6-outs-away-from-the-World-Series game that featured Steve Bartman and the ball interference in 2003 against the Florida Marlins. We're...

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The Invisible Line

This post was inspired, in part, by an ironic blog post I recently written by a progressive evangelical on a controversial subject. You can guess which subject it is and when you guess, you will be right. But what was funny, ironic, and sad at the same time was this idea: The Church is too quick to declare certain behaviors right and wrong. That's judgmental and just plain . . . wrong. So let me get this straight: You are absolutely sure that its wrong, sinful, terrible to tell someone that their behavior is wrong. This, my friends, is the new tolerance. I've seen this repeated over and over again in the last few weeks/months/years by people who want to help the Church shed it's stuffy reputation. And I get it, in some ways. I think there are areas where the Church needs to repent, times when the Church has...

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Laboring in the Word of God

Today, for my Leadership Journal interview, I had the privilege of speaking with Dr. Philip Ryken, President of Wheaton College. Prior to coming to Wheaton, Dr. Ryken was pastor at the historic Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. I've enjoyed Dr. Ryken's preaching and his books. They seem to combine excellent scholarship with an easy-to-read pastoral tone. Among my favorites are Solomon and Loving the Way Jesus Loves. I also enjoy his commentaries in the Preaching the Word commentary series coauthored with Dr. R. Kent Hughes. The interview was wide-ranging on a few topics. One of the questions I asked him was about the intersection between scholars and pastors: What are some ways you would counsel pastors to be more scholarly and scholars to be more pastoral? Like a lot of Presbyterians, I have always admired the ideal of the scholar-pastor. When I was a student at Wheaton in the 1980s, John Piper gave an outstanding...

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