Great Resource on Christian’s View on Money

15 10 2018

61kMMml7EkL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_So many personal financial talks begin with education and a budget.  That is not where Paul David Tripp in his book Redeeming Money:  How God Reveals and Reorient Our Hearts says begin.  In this book published by Crossway, Tripp takes us to the heart of the problem which happens to be the heart.

Tripp, who has been responsible for over 30 books or video series brings years of experience as a counselor to this book.  This book is filled with examples from those years of people who have allowed money to destroy them.

He encourages us to look at ourselves and believes that money is one of the principal ways to demonstrate who you think you are. By looking at a person’s relationship to money, you get a sense of that person’s identity.  Therefore, he tells you to take a good long look at your heart.

I personally took a lot away from his chapter 4 entitled:  Money and the Grace of Surrender.  In that chapter he looked at the Lord’s Prayer as a guide for us to surrender to the Lord and change our views of money.  He says, “Financial sanity doesn’t begin with hard work and careful budgeting, although both are beneficial.  Money sanity begins with surrender, a surrender that rescues us from ourselves and frees us to use what God has provided in the way he intended.”  From there he unpacks the Lord’s Prayer in a very helpful manner.

This will definitely be a book that I will refer back to as I come across this subject again in my life and preaching.  It is filled with convicting truth.  It made me think through my own personal view of money.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers for an honest review.

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Leaders Who Bring Life to Their Teams

18 09 2018

9780735290945If you are going to be the president of an organization that exists “to unify and equip leaders who love the Church” then you might want to know a thing or two about leadership.  Tyler Reagin, President of Catalyst, has taken on the subject in his newest book entitled The Life Giving Leader:  Learning to Lead from Your Truest Self, published by Waterbrook.

Reagin has had the opportunity of sitting under the leadership of Andy Stanley and has been influenced greatly by some of the leading leaders in the world including Craig Groeschel, who wrote one of the two forwards (the other is written by Andy Stanley).

Reagin unashamedly approaches leadership from a Christian perspective and encourages Christians to embrace their lives as leaders in this book.

His premise in this book is that we should breathe life into the people that we lead and spends the entirety of this book showing how that can be accomplished.  He encourages us to not see people as an interruption to our day but rather that they are our day.

I appreciated his words on self-awareness, something that I have struggled with in the past.  There have been plenty words spilt on awareness so I was happy to read discussion on this topic.

He ends his book with a discussion on a leaders call to sweat, sacrifice, surrender, and serve.  I found these chapters convicting and helpful.

Reagin in my opinion does a great job of balancing hard work with the need for down time and family.  He sets an example to his own team in this area.

All in all I believe that this is going to be a helpful book for those who wish to lead.  It certainly will go well with this year’s Catalyst theme:  Fully Alive.

I received this book from the publisher for an honest review.  I honestly liked the book.  You will too.





One of My Favorite Reads

5 09 2018

-bE2DwAAQBAJ            From time to time I read a book that makes a significant impact on my life.  The kind of book that cuts you deep but you can’t stop reading it.  It challenges you in your walk and in your heart.  Bob Goff has written such a book in Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People published by Thomas Nelson.  There is no wonder why this book has hit bestselling list as did his previous book Love Does to which this is a follow-up.

Bob Goff is a lawyer, speaker, world changer, and story teller.  He uses the art of story to bring across tremendous truths in this book.  In his book he says that we should follow the practice of Jesus who just loved everybody always.  Yes, we are to love the difficult ones too.  He says in his book, “I don’t want to get to heaven and have Jesus tell me my big opinions blocked someone’s view of Him.”

Goff sucks you in with story after story.  Almost every chapter is a story and some stories are extended over several chapters.  Each story has been taken from his life and each one has a tremendous lesson attached to it.  He encourages you to view people through the lenses of Jesus.  In the end his desire is for the world to see less of us and more of Jesus in our lives.  “I want people to meet you and me and feel like they’ve just met everyone in heaven,” says Goff.

Probably one of the greatest parts of this book is his challenge for you to love difficult people and he gives practical advice on doing that.  We are talking good, solid, advice.

I could fill this review with quote after quote from this author.  Probably the most powerful story is his last.  I found myself in tears reading it.

There is a reason why this book is a best seller.  His next book will be as well.  If you have never read Bob Goff, you need to.  His book needs to be your next purchase.  You will thank me.

Follow this guy on twitter at @bobgoff.  You will love his daily wisdom.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.  This was a pleasure.





Encouragement for the Small Church Pastor

5 09 2018

41qsejNasDL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_In over 25 years of ministry I’ve been to several church conferences.  I will admit that there have been several times where I’ve come home either feeling guilty for not pastoring well because I didn’t measure up to the success that was displayed at the conference, or I’ve come home and tried to implement their blueprint for our ministry when it just didn’t fit.  In the end it almost seemed like a worthless pursuit.  Since 90% of the churches are composed of 200 or less people, it makes sense for somebody to focus on the small church.

Karl Vaters speaks to the small church pastor in his newest book:  Small Church Essentials, Field-tested Principles for Leading a Healthy Congregation of Under 250 published by Moody Publishers.  Finally, there is a book for the rest of us.

Vaters authored The Grasshopper Myth: Big Churches, Small Churches, and the Small Thinking that Divides Us (2013), speaks extensively at conferences on the topic of the small church, and writes a blog on small churches for Christianity Today. He has put a lot of thought on the subject.  He even pastors a small church and shares stories in his book on how he has had to overcome many of the challenges in his pastorate as small church pastors all over.

One of the first things Vaters does in his book is alleviate this feeling of insignificance that small church pastors may feel at times because of the size of his church. He grows through great lengths to show that small doesn’t necessarily mean unhealthy and that our goal should be becoming a great small church.  Personally I found this very encouraging.

What I found helpful was the practical advice given in this book on tackling the issues and problems that arise in a small church, that a larger church doesn’t have.  From dealing with difficult people to dealing with a lack of resources, there is some truly helpful tidbits in this book.  I even found myself convicted a few times for how I’ve handled things recently.

All in all I believe that this will be a helpful book for small church pastors.  I could see small church pastors meeting together to go through this book.

I have always been a small church pastor and probably will remain in that role.  In closing I believe that there is a special place in Heaven for those pastors who work 40 hour weeks while pastoring a flock.  I’m thankful for the opportunity to read this book.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher for an honest review.  I’m thankful for the opportunity.





Hurting? This is an Excellent Read!

6 06 2018

downloadHave you ever read a book and you could only think of is the people that you needed to pick up a copy of it?  That is exactly how I felt as I began my journey with author Sarah Van Diest in her book God in the Dark:  31 Devotions to Let the Light Back In published by NavPress.  The words of this book were first written to a friend who was in great pain.  Knowing that there was nothing that she could do to make the pain go away, she resorted to praying and writing him letters.  Each day she would send her friend a small note with her thoughts on a section of Psalm 119.  Those small notes and a few more added just for the book are what you have in this devotional read.  This devotional is vGod in the darkry personal and each day’s read is short and concise.  This book of 160 pages is so full of truth, encouragement, Scripture, God, hope, and faith.  If I sound as if I’m gushing about it, then you would be correct.

I could just about tweet this whole book out, if that was possible.  Of course I commend this book to you or somebody that you might know that is in a dark place right now.  It is a wonderful reminder that God is always present in our darkness.  The same comfort that the author sought to bring to her friend who was hurting, can be brought to you.

I received a copy of this book for an honest review.





Does Your Church Welcome?

17 04 2018

765452You never get a second chance to make a first impression.  That is something that I have personally reminded my first impressions team at the church that I pastor.  That statement and more like it were reinforced to me in Thom S. Rainer’s book Becoming a Welcoming Church, published by B&H.

In this book Rainer challenges us to think through whether or not we are as welcoming as we think that we truly are.  When we take an honest look into the mirror, we find that when we think that we are friendly and welcoming, we are really focused on ourselves and not outsiders.  It is so easy to get complacent and therefore lacking in this area.

This short book by Rainer encourages you to look at your church from the eyes of an outsider.  Discussions about signs, websites, safety, cleanliness, greeters, and welcome centers are vital.  They are short but concise.  He touches so many areas of the church in so little time.  What I like about this book is that this is something that I can hand to my leaders and be assured that they will read it.

Each chapter has a list of discussion questions that could help you or a small group think deeper about your own situation.  I found the questions to be very helpful.  There is also a church facility audit in the back of the book as well as a secret guest survey that one might give to someone that you have attend a Sunday at your church to see how you are doing.

This is a very helpful book and there is a companion book entitled We Want You Here that can actually be presented to first time guests of your church.

Yes, I do recommend this book to you and your guest services team.  I plan to share it with mine.

I received a copy of this book for an honest review.





Solid Read on Worship

24 03 2018

11957eb“Worship is our response, both personal and corporate, to God—for who He is! And what He has done! Expressed in and by the things we say and the way we live.”  That is how Louie Giglio describes worship in his book The Air I Breath:  Worship as a Way of Life published by Multnomah.  Giglio, who is the Pastor of Passion City Church and the Founder of the Passion movement, a movement hoping to impact a generation to live for the fame of Jesus Christ, understands worship.  His label that he helped create, Six Step Records, has been a leader in producing some of the best known worship songs of the past decade.  I believe this makes Giglio the perfect person to be speaking about worship to us.

This book, which is a short but impactful read, begins with showing us the truth that everyone is truly a worshiper.  He says, “You simply follow the trail of your time, your affection, your energy, your money, and your loyalty.  At the end of that trail you’ll find a throne; and whatever; or whomever, is on that throne is what’s of highest value to you.  On that throne is what you worship.”  That is powerful and so true.  We don’t have to teach people how to worship.  According to the author people are already prewired to do that.  The question is what or whom are they worshipping.

The remainder of this short book is an unfolding of the definition that the author presents.  I found the book very thoughtful, full of Scripture, and easy to read.  As a pastor I will find myself pulling this book down from my shelf whenever I’m in need to think about worship.  I certainly recommend it to you.

I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review.