Tech Growth in Lincoln

Bloomberg featured Lincoln today as an emerging tech hub in the midwest. Strong salaries, low cost of living, and reasonable real estate prices are major contributors to the growth:

High prices on the West Coast are making it easier for the fresh crop of computer-science graduates and other techies to choose heartland hubs that are growing, in part, because putting down roots there doesn’t require a small fortune.

You don't have to search long to find evidence of serious growth in Lincoln.

The tech echo-boom is already starting to hipsterize Nebraska’s capital city. The downtown now has three sushi restaurants, a speakeasy serving $12 cocktails and dozens of startups filling once-abandoned warehouses. New workers are pushing up real estate values. Home prices are up almost 14 percent since 2012 and apartment rents have risen 38 percent.

It's an exciting time to call Lincoln home—even if you don't care for sushi.

Eating Spicy Food Linked to a Longer Life

Nicholas Bakalar:

After controlling for family medical history, age, education, diabetes, smoking and many other variables, the researchers found that compared with eating hot food, mainly chili peppers, less than once a week, having it once or twice a week resulted in a 10 percent reduced overall risk for death. Consuming spicy food six to seven times a week reduced the risk by 14 percent.

This is great news! I'm eating buffalo wings this week to celebrate.

(HT: David Chartier[1])

Todd, you came back!

Todd Bumgarner, lead pastor of 2 Pillars Church, on his return from sabbatical:

But do you want to know how the overwhelming majority of people have responded? They’ve said, “We didn’t think you would come back.” I’ve had—no exaggeration—over 15 people say something like that.

Fortunately, Todd did come back. But, as he explains, it isn't always a bad thing if a pastor doesn't return to "ministry as usual" following his sabbatical:

Pastoral sabbaticals (whether the pastor is paid or unpaid) are a regular, normal, and healthy thing for healthy churches.

And even when a pastor comes back from a sabbatical and quits… that’s still healthy because the sabbatical revealed the fact that that pastor wasn’t healthy. Something was off. Whether it was his health, his pace, his marriage, his walk with God, or his calling—something was off. And the healthiest thing for that pastor could be, to step back (and possibly down) in order to address that lack of health.

Glad to see you back in the saddle after a restful season away, Todd. Welcome back.


John Stott on the closing verses of 2 Timothy:

Paul is fully alert to the difficulties, however, both internal and external. Timothy himself is inexperienced, infirm and shy. The world’s opposition is strong and subtle. And behind these things stands the devil, bent on ‘taking men alive’ and keeping them prisoner. For the devil hates the gospel and uses all his strength and cunning to obstruct its progress, now by perverting it in the mouths of those who preach it, now by frightening them into silence through persecution or ridicule, now by persuading them to advance beyond it into some fancy novelty, now by making them so busy with defending the gospel that they have no time to proclaim it.

Sermon Preparation Time

Thom Rainer:

These numbers represent total sermon preparation time per week, and the increase from a decade ago is dramatic. Of the pastors we surveyed, nearly seven out of ten spend eight or more hours in sermon preparation. More than four out of ten spend eleven or more hours; and more than one out of five spend 15 hours or more preparing sermons each week.

I am encouraged. In past studies, I have found a correlative relationship between time in sermon preparation and church health metrics. The greater the time in sermon preparation, the more likely the church is to be evangelistically effective, have a higher retention rate of members, and have a higher weekly per capita giving.

Simply stated, when the pastor spends more time in the Word, the church tends to be healthier.

Jason Snell on David Letterman

In anticipation of David Letterman's final show this week, Jason Snell gives his take (an interviews others about theirs) on Letterman's significance and legacy on The Incomparable podcast.

I didn't get a chance to listen until after Wednesday, but I found it to be really interesting. If you're a fan of David Letterman, Johnny Carson, or late night talk shows in general, I'd recommend giving this a listen.

A Story of Redemption

Tim Burge, a member of the 2 Pillars Church community, shared a before-and-after snapshot of his new life in Christ on the 2PC blog today:

He willingly paid the horrible penalty necessary for humanity to be redeemed and reunited with Him in eternity, and in paying that price and rising again, He defeated the hold that sin and death had had over us. Despite my horrible brokenness (and my tendency to revert to seeing Him as a scowling, disappointed patrol cop), I know that He loves me perfectly and fully. It paints a sharp contrast for a journey I know I’ve only just begun.

Praise God.

Battling Sexual Sin

Rosaria Champagne Butterfield:

Today, I now stand in a long line of godly women — the Mary Magdalene line. The gospel came with grace, but demanded irreconcilable war. Somewhere on this bloody battlefield, God gave me an uncanny desire to become a godly woman, covered by God, hedged in by his word and his will. This desire bled into another one: to become, if the Lord willed, the godly wife of a godly husband.

And then I noticed it.

Union with the risen Christ meant that everything else was nailed to the cross. I couldn’t get my former life back if I wanted it. At first, this was terrifying, but when I peered deep into the abyss of my terror, I found peace.

Butterfield provides a strong testimony about the power of the gospel over sin as well as a helpful introduction to John Owen's writings on sin, temptation, and repentance:

Indeed, John Owen’s understanding of indwelling sin is the missing link in our current cultural confusion about what sexual sin is — and what to do about it.

The Missional Legacy of Saint Patrick

Bob Thune:

It’s no accident that St. Patrick’s Day is identified with all things Irish. Within 200 years of Patrick’s arrival, Ireland was a Christian nation. One man gave his life to see a nation reached with the gospel – and today that nation still celebrates his influence.

Thune's post honoring "one of the greatest Christian missionaries in history" is a must-read this St. Patrick's Day.

About Ash Wednesday and Lent

On today's episide of The Wednesday Conversation, a great podcast produced by Coram Deo Church Community in Omaha, Mike Kresnik discusses Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent with Pastor Bob Thune and Pastor Dusty White.

Before you blow off Lent as irrelevant or legalistic, invest 25 minutes and give this a listen.

Then subscribe to The Wednesday Conversation.

© 2015 Adam Stahr