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Category Archives: Book Review

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I just finished reading The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel. Really good read. I would totally recommend it to all. I can say this-my understanding of the sabbath is now more spiritual as opposed to legalistic. As much as my generation craves work, success, technology, and adventure-we also crave rest and slowing down to enjoy the things we have created and the fruit of our labor. I think we are becoming more conscience of time and reality and we are seeking to find ways to slow-down and enjoy the journey.

From the book:

To gain control of the world of space is certainly one of our tasks. The danger begins when in gaining power in the realm of space we forfeit all aspirations in the realm of time. There is a realm in time where the goal is not to have but to be, not to own but to give, not to control but to share, not to subdue but to be in accord. Life goes wrong when the control of space, the acquisition of things of space , becomes our sole concern.

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So if you are looking for a breath taking story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Then I recommend A Long Way Gone: Memoirs Of A Boy Soldier.

It’s a true story of Ismael Beah. Ismael takes us on a horrendous journey. He does a great job of bringing the reader into the story. I felt like I was walking with him…I could see his smile, feel his pain. I heard the sound of the bullets, the cracking of the machetes and fear thumping through my soul. I felt as if I was walking with him, from village to village…I could see the African sky, smell the food and sense the tension of war.

Yes, It’s a gripping read, about a boy who’s life is turned upside down by the evil of war. It will make you sad, it will make you mad, and yes at times it will make you cry. Sometimes you think that this story can’t be true, that evil does not exist in this way. I wish I was right. But I’m not.

It seems to take a story to cause change. I know all about all these global issues. But truthfully it seems hard to grasp. That is until you know someone. There becomes an emotional attachment, a certain friendship. The story becomes real, the story become ours. It’s no longer about a country across the world, it’s about a boy that cries, runs, bleeds and suffers. I remember being a boy, I can’t imagine the pain and suffering.

Definitely a great book. A must read. But if you read it, you will be compelled to act. And that is a good thing!

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I finally finished Sex God. Good read. Rob tends to ask a lot of questions without going into detailed answers.

This book is spiritual and at the same time very practical. I think it will help the church not hide behind the fear of sex.

I wish Bell would have spent more time discussing his beliefs in regards to “women in ministry.” He touches on it, gives some hints and Scripture. But he does not deal with it from a deep theological perspective.

I think a lot of folks may misunderstand Rob. He is not really a theologian, but he is also not your typical “pastoral” writer. He just can’t be labeled. And you get the feeling that is how he wants it.

Below are some quotes that I enjoyed:

“Heaven is the realm where things are as God intends them to be. The place where things are under the rule and reign of God. And that place can be anywhere, anytime,with anybody.”

“How you treat the creation reflects how you feel about the creator.”

“To be a Christian is to work for the new humanity.” “A church exist to be displayed of the new humanity.”

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I had the privilege to get an advanced copy of The Big Idea. Yes, I feel special. No, really it was an honor. Thanks Dave for hooking me up.

The Big Idea: Focus The Message, Multiply The Impact was written by
Dave Ferguson, Eric Bramlett & Jon Ferguson.

I had a hunch that this book would be good. Especially from a “practical” standpoint. But I was taken back how the authors were able to weave theology & missionality within the context of The Big Idea. Therefore the book, in my opinion, had an even a deeper impact than I was expecting. I also enjoy the fact that the book was written by men who are actively engaged in the process. It’s not a history book about how they built a multi-site mega church and planted multiple churches in some of the least-church cities in America (Boston & NYC) 10 years ago. These boys are living within the mess and complexities of the Jesus mission via the local church. Which I think adds so much power and purpose to the book.

I also really like the “adaptability” of the book. It’s more fluid than stoic, and every church can take the ideas and principles and tweak them for their local community and environments.
This book can also “cross-pollinate” to various “streams” of church and even the business world. Whether your a mega-church, emerging church, church plant, or traditional/contemporary church, at the end of the day if you do a weekly gathering, then this book can quickly help you process that gathering and be more effective. And if the principles are followed, I think a lot of churches will see an overall improvement that will create a healthy local church culture. Good planning will help cause less stress and conflict, and increase the value of the church in their local community as we (church) strive to truly do our very best to communicate the Jesus story.

I think this book should be apart of every pastors library. Matter-of-fact, I think all church planting organizations should add this text to their “must reads” for future planters, it’s that helpful. I also like the fact the The Big Idea calls churches to be more effective, to become good stewards of our time and resources and to put our best foot forward as we try to serve the world and move the mission of Jesus forward.

You can also check out The BIG IDEA Resources & The BIG IDEA Blog.

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Dave Ferguson’s new book The Big Idea is now available. Check it out, and trust me…You will want to buy the book. It’s really good. If you know me, you know I would not just say that if I did not mean it.

Usually I give a book 10 pages to capture my attention. If I like it, I read it, if it’s not good, then it’s not worth my time. I already have enough info floating in my brain and trying to grab my attention.
Check out this following info from the introduction of the book.

Historically, more information has almost always been a good thing. However, as our ability to collect information has grown, our ability to process that information has not kept up.

Have you ever felt that way. So much info., you can easily get lost and confused. I truly believe that “less is more.”

Today, we spend more time studying information then in the past, leaving us with less time for action.

Now get this one, man I just want to go and pray:

In the last decade we have not seen an increase in church attendance in any country in any state in all of the United States with the sole exception of Hawaii. Yet at the same time, The Prayer Of Jabez, The Purpose Driven Life and the Left Behind series have been some of the biggest bestsellers in all of publishing-not just Christian publishing.

But more information that leads to less action is a big big problem, particularly when the action we desire is to accomplish Jesus mission.

You can also check out The BIG IDEA Online.

First let me say this, Off-Road Disciplines is a book that can add value to the church. The preface of the book is to deal with those “other” disciplines, not your more typical discussed disciplines such as prayer, fasting and scripture reading.

For some this may come off as a bit unspirtual, however it’s important to factor in the overall goal of the author. When reading a book one must ask this question, “Did the author reach his intended goal?”

Dr. Creps weaves his way throughout scripture, mission of the church and cultural exegesis. I think all can find value in the book and I do not want to box the book and it’s content into any certain stream, but let me say this: If you know a denomination, church, pastor, or simply a genuine Christ-follower who seems to have lost their way in this new world that we live in, then get them this book, and fast. I can see a lot of benefits that could really help a disconnected generation understand important culture shifts that have taken place within the past 20 or so years.

If you are one that is well versed in culture, then certain parts of the book will simply help refresh your memory and remind you that many in the church are still stuck in an era that no longer exists.

I loved chapter 10. Man how many times do we ask God to use us but we get so busy we cannot slow down to be used?

Chapter 8 is also vital. In an age where Christians seem to be drawing lines in the sand (emerging, non-emerging, modern, Reformed etc) Dr. Creps reminds us of the importance of blending our differences.

Chapter 4 is vital if you are a pastor, leader or whatever, you need to have a reverse mentor. Times change fast, what is “in” and relevant today will be forgotten and lost tomorrow. I’m 33, I need a 23 year old to help me understand his/her world that includes a lifetime of email, Internet and global travel.

Chapter 12 did cause me to pause and realize that I may differ with Dr. Creps. For years I thought it was my place to wait and allow the older pastors to do their thing and then my time would come. Somewhere along the way I began to realize something important. Life is too short, and this so called “baton” that they were going to pass to me was a baton that I did not want to carry. I live in a new world, old philosophies that exist in those so-called “batons” are no longer relevant for me and my generation. But, I can say this, in part it’s wrong for me to think this way while I’m not sitting around and waiting for someone to pass me a baton to carry forward. I do think it’s important for the “older” generations to pass on a baton that includes character, humility, grace and passion for Christ and His Church and the world around them. So on one hand, I need to re-frame my philosophy and understand that there is still value in the passing of the baton.

Would I recommend this book? Yes. Get it, buy and give it away. Agree with it, disagree with it and allow it to cause struggle and questions that exist in your life. This will cause growth and maturity and for that I’m thankful that Dr. Creps wrote this book.

You can also vist Dr. Creps website here and blog here.

Yesterday I received a copy of Dave Ferguson’s new book: The Big Idea. I quickly flipped through it…Lot’s of really good & needed information. If your a church planter, worship designer or pastor, you need to pick up a copy. It’s well worth the price. Full book review coming next week.

My buddy Chad has some nice thoughts on Earl Creps new book in his Off Road Disciplines Book Review post.

Ashdown also shared this following nugget from Off Road Disciplines:

“The practice of evangelism involves making room for the Spirit to draw the sought (people) into a saving encounter with the Seeker (God) through Christ. The Church’s job is not to save people but to shape the space in which God calls them to Himself.”

Brilliant!

0787985201.jpgSo I started reading  Earl Creps book Off-Road Disciplines: Spiritual Adventures of Missional Leaders. So far, it’s good. I like it. Earl has a creative writing approach. I enjoyed the following quote:

How can I be changed so that others will find me worth following in mission? The way to develop a missional ministry, then, is to be transformed into a missional person, “so that everyone may see your progress.” In the end, my best practice must be me.

I love that type of thinking. My greatest responsibility is me. At this stage in my life, I so resonate with that statement. I have so much vision and passion. Yet, my priority is always making sure that I’m healthy and connected to God, that my life is filled with balance, wisdom and accountability. Every leader must lay a foundation that is strong, wise and Godly.

Shalom

PlanterPlanet.com is an aggregator of other church planters. I’ve followed planter planter for the past 6 or 7 months. It has been great to hear stories of what God is doing across the globe, via these planters and their teams.

So I thought I would jump in the fray and I emailed the PP admin, only to find that my buddy John is the dude backing this site, funny, who knew! Thanks John for taking time to do this and allow other planters to connect. I can’t help but think this website has been a blessing to so many.

Anyhow, I just moved to Austin and I’m looking to plant a church in the near future. I have a few doors open and it’s going to be a fun ride for sure.

I’ve just moved from Blogger to WordPress and I’ve added some recent posts below. I’m looking forward to future conversations.

BTW-If you want to subscribe to my blog here is the  feed:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/MusingsByMarlow 

Peace & Love from Austin!

I’m doing a mini blog series on The Church.

Book Review: In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day.

Book Review: Simply Christian.