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Category Archives: Books

Another youtube clip from Brian Mclaren on his forthcoming book Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope.

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Carl over a the Revival Blog asked me what ONE book I would recommend to future church planters. Man, that is such a tough question. So many great reads. But if I had to choose one book to give to a church planter-off the top of my head I would recommend Erwin McManus book An Unstoppable Force.

This book is not a specific book on church planting…Instead the book really deals with the idea of movement from a church’s perspective.

From Erwin’s website:

An Unstoppable Force will:

  • Challenge you to see God’s vision for the mission and purpose of the church.
  • Help you to explore specific changes in the culture that call for immediate change in the church.
  • Offer practical ways for your church to find its unique voice and identity to express Christ’s love and faith to your culture.
  • Present interactive questions in each chapter to foster discussion about the life of your church, its focus on Christ, and how it can be a richer influence on your culture.

Our mini-vacation started this morning. It seems weird that I’m not at church. A part of me wants to go. Of course it was not hard to get over as the family headed to Kirby Lane Cafe this morning. Ah…the goodness.

Looks like we are off to the beach in the morning. God help us; I’ve heard so many conflicting comments in regards to Texas beaches…Trust me-Texans rarely talk bad about Texas, most Texans I know think they’re already in heaven…No need to die!

On another note. I’m currently reading The Kite Runner…Man so gripping. Whenever I read books like The Kite Runner  and A Long Way Gone it reminds me why I do what I do. Humanity needs to hear the Jesus story.

I think the next book on my list is Harry Potter Book 1. True stories cause me to stay awake at night and get angry over the brokenness of our world…So no matter what happens to Harry and friends…At least its fiction.

I’m currently reading Billy Hybels book Holy Discontent: Fueling the Fire That Ignites Personal Vision.

It’s a good read. Very convicting. A few years ago I found my Holy Discontent…Which is this:

To help my generation re-discover the real Jesus.

That is my mission and passion in life. What’s yours?

I’ve read hundreds of books on leadership, time management, marketing, productivity etc. Five have really stuck with me. I keep going back to the principles that I learned in these books. A few example below:

“Are the right people on the bus.”

“Begin with the end in mind.”

“Tipping Point.”

“Do I inspire a shared vision?

My top five leadership books are:

7 Habits of Highly Effective People: This book truly shaped culture in the mid 90’s.

Good To Great: Thoroughly researched. I think this is a “must-read” book. You can trust the data.

E-Myth: I’ve started businesses and this book was vital. I need to re-read it. This book deals with the reality of business and how hard it is to make it and keep it going.

Leadership Challenge: Very thorough book. Yet it’s 5 main points are memorable and simple.

Tipping Point: A quick read that really helps understand the mind of a consumer and how an idea can become viral.

Don’t get me wrong. I know there are a lot of other good books. Some I still need to read (Marcus Buckingham) but these five have really influenced me and helped me understand what it means to lead an organization.

I need a break from reading church related stuff. So I picked up some books that should sharpen my business skills and help stretch my creativity.  Which is really needed at this point.

Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win

Made To Stick

The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)

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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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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.

I love Amazon…It’s quite an addiction to be frank. So this morning my books arrived. (actually yesterday, but I did not know that) Here’s what I got:

Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication. I’ve heard good things about this book, looking forward to learning and being stretched. Hoping this book will enhance my communication skills.
This Beautiful Mess: Practicing the Presence of the Kingdom of God. I’m so looking forward to reading this book. I think Imago Dei Community is a great example on how a church can be attraction & incarnational.

And I also picked up a new ESV Thinline Bible. I wanted to read the Bible as purely devotional. No study aids to distract. Just me, the text and the Holy Spirit. Somehow I want to fall in love with the Bible again and again.

BTW-It’s sunny today in Austin. Man, we’ve been without the sun for 10 days. That is way to long. Yes I’m a wimp. But I love 65 degree Sunny days, must be the California kid that still resides deep in my soul.

Time for church.

Shalom