Thinking Out Loud

November 25, 2015

Wednesday Link List

First, because nothing speaks to the advent of our Lord’s coming better than Hello Kitty:

Hello Kitty Advent Calendar

Just one month today until the jolly fat man (not John Hagee) comes to visit.

Our closing graphic is dedicated to whoever does PowerPoint at your place of worship:

Bad Slide Spacing

November 18, 2015

Wednesday Link List

The Cup That Stole Christmas

Of course, there are probably things more important than coffee cups we should be concerned about…

…Time to kick off another edition of the news roundup where other news roundups get their news roundups, unless they get it from another news roundup or don’t borrow from another news roundup… 

…But first, we’re pleased to note another great match on Tinder:



Actual photo of one Christian bookstore's recommended shoebox items: Operation Christmas Child, saving the world one piece of cheap, useless, breakable crap at a time.

Actual photo of one Christian bookstore’s recommended shoebox items: Operation Christmas Child, saving the world one piece of cheap, useless, breakable junk at a time.

Time to close in prayer:

Kids Praying


November 14, 2015

The Pastor and the Worship Leader Need to Be Best Friends

Note to readers: Because we were away all day Friday, this post was scheduled before we learned of the tragic events in Paris, France yesterday. For that, we have no words.

I came across the article in the spring of 2007 in Worship Leader magazine, never realizing how it was about to change my life. They interviewed a number of worship leaders in the U.S. — magazines like WL are usually unaware that anything exists outside the U.S. — on the subject of their relationship with their senior pastor.

worship-leaderMany mentioned the need for friendship, the need to be doing things together outside the office. As someone who was involved in a weekly worship activity that resulted in a senior pastor relationship which was entirely “task related,” I suddenly figured out why I had the nagging feeling that something was missing. The WL magazine article very clearly articulated the disconnect I was feeling, and realizing that was not about to change, I quit doing that job at that particular church. 

Basically, I realized that I was a utility, an implement; and while he was willing to listen to my opinions about a variety of subjects, I was really there because I knew how to play the piano. Nothing more. But what to do with the extra time and creative juices?

I knew that I made the right decision each morning when I would log in to the internet. Both the readers of this blog and the writers at the vast number of other blogs I monitor each week have gave me a new ministry life that far exceeded the boundaries of anything I was doing previously. And it wasn’t a cold turkey ending to my music life: I occasionally still got to do a few things musically, but also reached an age where I was actually consulting with other worship leaders and getting to give all kinds of advice, some of which was actually respected.

But I often consider the question of the relationship between pastor and worship-person, and here is what I have concluded:

(1) It’s not enough to know where the Holy Spirit is leading and guiding you and your congregation in the worship element of the service; you need to also have a sense of where the Holy Spirit is leading and guiding the senior pastor in the teaching element of the service, and the other participants leading the service, too. You need to work, no make that minister well together.

(2) While the Holy Spirit is able to impart all kinds of information like this to you supernaturally, and while the Holy Spirit is hopefully leading both pastor and worship leader in the same direction, this aspect of ministry can only work well if the pastor and worship person know each other well as humans, as people, as friends. It’s only when I know the natural impulses and responses that a person manifests on a human level that I can truly appreciate when God is doing something unique on a given day on a supernatural level. You need to know each other well.

Worship leaders and pastors should be good, good friends. Maybe not BFF friends, but they should have both a good working relationship, and a good off-task relationship.

November 11, 2015

Wednesday Link List

Rick Webster Rick is a poet, so the above is to be expected. But unexpected was the revelation at that Ben Carson actually owns this picture: Ben Carson at the Right Hand of Jesus And now on to the links…

On a serious note, today is Veteran’s Day in the US and Remembrance Day in Canada. The freedoms we enjoy in places like North America, western Europe, Australia, etc., are here because someone paid the price so you wouldn’t have to. I’m guessing there’s also a sermon illustration in there, don’t ya think?

November 4, 2015

Wednesday Link List

door knockers

Welcome to a new, slightly slimmed-down link list. The bottom line is that blog engagement is not what it once was, and Thinking Out Loud is no exception. Providing 35-40 links is a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work; work for which we don’t get paid, as the blog is not monetized. So it’s actually the number of hours spent on this week’s link that were cut. If you send in suggestions then the quantity might go up slightly in those weeks. 

Top links last week were (1) Reformed/Anabaptist; (2) Worship industry killing worship; and (3) Gospel Centered ministry. 

The Wednesday List Lynx; one of many, actually that have been featured here.

The Wednesday List Lynx; one of many, actually that have been featured here.

Also, if you only show up here once a week, 6 days ago there was a Thursday Link List you missed.

For our closing graphic, Mad Magazine gets rather serious:

Debt Problem - Mad Magazine

October 29, 2015

Thursday Link List

substitutionary atonement

Only the 8th time we’ve ever done this. Why?

  • Because the book review I was going to post still wasn’t ready
  • Because I find I can now do this in my sleep
  • Because I’ve already done lots of Halloween and All Saints Day related pieces before

Here we go:

Speaking of evangelism, here’s a t-shirt that gets it all done quickly:

Y'all Need Jesus

P.S. I’m prepared to do daily link lists if someone wants to pay me the big bucks!

October 28, 2015

Wednesday Link List

Praying to Barbie? No, you can't buy them, but as this story at Religion News Service reports, you can see them at an Argentine art installation.

Praying to Barbie? No, you can’t buy them, but as this story at Religion News Service reports, you can see them at an Argentine art installation. “Barbie is depicted as Joan of Arc, Virgin of Guadalupe — Mexico’s patron saint — and Mary Magdalene, with a low-cut dress that shows her chest. Ken is shown as Buddha and Moses…” Click the image to read the full story.

Only in America: These evangelistic Halloween treats are,

Only in America: These evangelistic Halloween treats are, “a tri-color candy–yellow, orange, and white, the colors of God–in the shape of a pointed seed and sweetened with honey.” Click the image to read the full story at Religion News Service.

I didn’t get around to putting the top five clicks from last week on Twitter, so here they are: (1) 8 Reasons the Worship Industry is Killing Worship, (2) creative church error-404 pages, (3) Lynne Hybels; 40th Anniversary of Willow Creek, (5) John Hendrix church doodles; and (5) Larry Tomczak. (Let me know if you prefer them here, or on Twitter.)  Now on to this week’s…

Finally, it turns out while we weren’t paying attention last month, the comic strip Mutts by Patrick McDonnell ran a series of panels with quotes from Pope Francis. Here’s two of my favorites:

Pope Francis Mutts Sept 24 2015

Pope Francis Mutts Sept 22 2015

Back to the Winter: Don’t forget that here in North America, this is the weekend we all get to go back in time; from Daylight Saving to Nightdark Losing.

Daylight Saving.

12 More Links! Tomorrow we feature a Thursday Link List for only the 8th time ever. Don’t miss it.

October 21, 2015

Wednesday Link List

Bill and Lynne Hybels

So…any guesses who these people are? Or why they chose to share the photo with a bear whose last moments don’t look particularly happy? Answer below.

ELCA 404 Page


October 14, 2015

Wednesday Link List

I know some of you come here looking for the weird stuff, so let’s waste no time. This week, we only had to go to the website of Creflo Dollar:

Creflo Dollar Ministries Screenshot October 11 2015

You can read more about that at this link. (If you didn’t grow up in the church and feel you so far missed hearing about financial prosperity during the Good Friday and Easter services, you didn’t miss what isn’t there.) This later resulted in this cartoon.

Now on to the regular stuff:

KJV License Plate


If you find a link that is blocked by a pay-wall, let us know so we can remove it. Please try to have your link suggestions in by 6:00 PM EST via email or Twitter.

October 7, 2015

Wednesday Link List

Life on Mars


  1. For those of you really into links, note that the blog aggregator Alltop has been reformatted. You can read the intro or a summary (depending on the source) to each article now by simply waving your mouse over the links at their site. Check out Alltop Church and Alltop Christianity. (So grateful to be in such great company at this site!)
  2. If you missed it, this past Saturday there was a shorter Weekend Link List
  3. The #IamAChristian graphic below is sized-ready for your Facebook profile pic and ties in with the UCC shooting last week, a rather sobering thought as you post it.

I Am a ChristianNow, on to this week’s catch…

We end with a personal favorite from the new Christmas Worship Volume Two by Paul Baloche. In this song Rita Baloche combines beautiful lyrics with a classic tune:

Older Posts »

The Silver is the New Black Theme. Create a free website or blog at