On Perfectionism

D. A. Carson writes, “A couple of years ago I sat down for coffee, after prayer meeting, with one of the most able preachers I have ever heard. This man is extraordinary. I have never heard him preach without finding my mind informed and my heart challenged . On the relatively rare occasions when I can listen to him, his ministry invariably reshapes my thinking by the Word of God . Though only in his late forties, he serves in a strategic church. But that night, over coffee, he quietly began to speak words along these lines: “Don,” he said, “if the truth be told, I am getting tired. For the first time I understand why some able preachers end up in administration or teaching at the age of fifty . I cannot maintain this level of ministry, Sunday after Sunday, week after week, without burning out. I am tired. And I confess I am enough of a perfectionist that I do not want to go into the pulpit unless I am thoroughly prepared. Unless I feel the message is ready, I am not content to preach it.”

I responded with a few platitudes, and we prayed together. Some months later, I was preaching and lecturing in Australia, when someone passed on to me one of the sayings of Broughton Knox, formerly the principal of Moore Theological College. According to this report, Knox told his students, “God is not interested in one hundred percentism.” There is a sense, of course, in which that is the only thing God is interested in. He wants us to trust and obey him wholly; he wants us to serve him with 100 percent loyalty. But then the focus is on him. What Broughton Knox meant is that very often what we call “one hundred percentism” is not unrestrained allegiance to God and his gospel but merely a reflection of a perfectionist personality. For some people, unless they tackle whatever they are doing with 100 percent of their energy and competence, the task is not worth doing at all. They cannot live with themselves unless they work that way. Frequently they are the high achievers. But from a Christian perspective, this attitude may turn out to be nothing more than another form of self-worship— in short, a form of idolatry. So I wrote to my fellow preacher and cited Broughton Knox: “God is not interested in one hundred percentism.” The fact is, I told him, I would much rather listen to him preach for thirty or forty more years at 80 percent of his capacity, than for three or four more years at 100 percent of his capacity. If the choice is to be made on the basis of what is for the good of the church, of the number of people who would hear the gospel powerfully and intelligently presented, and therefore on the basis of what would bring most glory to Christ, the same decision would be called for. In all our pursuit of excellence, we must never worship excellence. That would simply be idolatrous.”

A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers (bold mine)

MCCA 2014 Workshop: Do you love me more than your Phone?

Main Idea: Your phone is a revolutionary device that can hinder or help your walk with Christ.

[PDF of slides]

Revolutionary …

Hinder …

… deep relationships

The Social Media Irony

… deep life


Help …

… you connect with God

The Bible App

Go Tandem website, iOS app, Andoid app

PrayerMate website, iOS app, Android app, Amazon app

Unreached People of the Day websiteiOS app, Android app, Amazon app

… others connect with God

One Life website, iOS app, Android app

Two Ways to Live website and iOS apps

Should You Post a Selfie?

Think Before You Post

… others connect with God’s people

“Social Proof”

“People care more about what others say about your church than what your church says about itself.”  – Brady Shearer

How Many Teens are Actually Leaving Facebook?

(or not:)

Survey: Teens Say They Are Using Facebook More

Your Church Should Be Paying Attention To Instagram

20 Great Ways To Use Instagram At Your Church

Not On App Store


How to prepare and speak with a side-by-side translator

Language diversity


Give your notes beforehand. – Even if only an outline, the less surprises, the better for the translator!

Highlight specific texts (like Scripture). – It is much more difficult (and dangerous) for the translator to “wing” translating Scripture – especially when it is not necessary.

Manuscript illustrations. – These tend to require precise language (e.g. – “love interest” or “the Hulk”) and don’t translate easily.

Use stories and jokes thoughtfully. – It only clouds if it doesn’t translate culturally.

Budget 75% more time. – Side-by-side translation shouldn’t double your speaking time, but it will increase it.


Think Twitter in your phrasing. – How much could you memorize and translate at time?

Allow your translator to speak. – Don’t cut him/her off! Honestly, he/she is more important than you because the listeners only understand him/her.


Thank your translator!

Learn for next time!

MCCA 2012: Eat the Word


(6/30/12 version)

Intro stuff

Pre-workshop music: Word by Sho Baraka

Intro game: Make It or Break It?

Personal Devotions

“The Christian faith is the most exciting drama that ever staggered the imagination of man—and the dogma is the drama …. this terrifying drama in which God is the victim and the hero. If this is dull, then what, in Heaven’s name, is worthy to be called exciting? The people who hanged Christ never, to do them justice, accused Him of being a bore—on the contrary; they thought Him too dynamic to be safe. It has been left for later generations to muffle up that shattering personality and surround Him with an atmosphere of tedium. We have efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certifying Him “meek and mild,” and recommended Him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies.” – Dorothy Sayers

[related resource]

Top 10 Most Read Books in the World

by Jared.


Have a plan

“The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists in shoving it all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life coming flowing in.” – C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity

Mix it up.

Time with God (PDF)

Listening to a sermon



  • Reverent and expectant attitude
  • Prayerful heart
  • Physically prepared


  • Actively engage!
  • Sit strategically
  • Open your Bible: “There are few more encouraging noises for the preacher than the rustle of Bible pages among the congregation when he announces his text. He should draw comfort from that, more than from the sounds of approval for what he is saying during the sermon. A faithful congregation will draw faithful preaching out of their pastor. Conversely, it is very hard to persevere as a faithful teacher of the Word of God to a congregation that does not want it taught to them. To some extent congregations get the preachers they deserve, because preaching is a two-way process: the attitudes of the preacher and congregation must unite in a humble hunger for God’s Word.” – Mark Ashton in Worship by the Book
  • Take notes


  • Reflect
  • Obey: Submit to the text

Leading a small group


How to lead

How to lead a diverse group

Designer Compassion

Darcy Creech has redefined what it means to live the dream.

“I’d rather be driving a 16-year-old Ford truck and building water wells around the world than driving a car with monthly payments that could be sponsoring 10 kids,” says the business whiz and Nantucket Island notable, who’d rather be called humanitarian than successful.

Darcy got involved with Compassion in 2010, part of a full-life transformation that followed years as an A-list party girl in her well-heeled community. She was adored by friends for her pizzazz, flamboyant life, and dazzling business success — the very things she now says left her with a bankrupt soul.

via Designer Compassion.

Read the whole (brief) article about this radical transformation — including how Darcy shrewdly responded to the fact that “the world’s entire water crisis could be solved for $20 billion, less than half the $50 billion Americans spend shopping on Black Friday.”