Wow, almost 2 months

It’s been almost 2 months since my last post.  Some family members of mine who shall remain nameless have let me know that I need to update more so here you go!

The past few weeks have been crazy.  We went to Shocco for our Middle School Ministry (aptly called MSM) summer camp at Shocco.  It was a blast and I feel that we really connected with some of the students in a real way.  Then we get back to find someone else had paid up a visit and grabbed a couple of things to remember us by (you have to ask to get the whole story).  Next, we left for our High School Ministry (HSM if you are interested) summer mission trip.  It was awesome.  Now that our big summer trips are over and we are just relaxing and hanging out with students throughout the rest of the summer, we want to make the most of every opportunity.  Needless to say, it’s been a very busy first month of the summer.

I havent updated my reading rainbow in a while, but I am rereading Maxwell’s Be a People Person and currently reading Jesus Manifesto, which is a great book that places the emphasis solely on Christ.  It’s great. Go pick it up! Anyway, There should be more book reviews and summer stuff to come.

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is comfortable and familiar ok?

I know what you are thinking, “2 blog posts from Brandon in 1 day, it must be my birthday.” Well, if it is your birthday, happy birthday. If it’s not, lets pretend and sing a song…

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday even thought its really no-ot, happy birthday to you.

And speaking of songs, if you haven’t bought Carlos Whittaker’s Ragamuffin Soul, you should go to iTunes now and get it.  I cant stop listening to it.  I am having to force myself to actually work and not just completely stop to take it in. Shameless plug over.

Last night, Loswhit did a conversation with his fans about his new album and he quoted a chorus from one of his songs. It’s been stuck in my head all day long.  It’s from the song “We Will Worship You” and it goes like this:

Save us from these comforts

Break us of the need of the familiar

Spare us any joy that’s not in you

And we will worship You

That’s good stuff! Like I said, it’s really been in my mind today.  What’s so familiar in my worship that it is literally hindering my connection to the Father?  That’s the question I’m wrestling with right now.  May you wrestle with it too.

Review: “The Money Answer Book” by Dave Ramsey

I got a recommendation for Booksneeze from a friend of mine and I took it. I thought it would be a cool way to get to read/review some books and possibly boost my blog reader stats. I’ve been doing a lot of reading on personal and church leadership.  I guess it boils down to this. I think I’m a crappy leader.  I know God wants me to be a better leader, so I’m asking Him for help. But I digress…

The first book I got from Booksneeze was The Money Answer Book by Dave Ramsey.  Now, what does this have to do with leadership, you may ask. Well, maybe nothing, but I feel like it is helping me get leadership of my finances and I believe that God wants me to have that as well.

Basically, I have 3 views on this book.  If you have read any of Dave Ramsey’s other books (Financial Peace or The Total Money Makeover), then you have already ready The Money Answer Book. This is not a book to be read and expect anything ground breaking or earth shattering concerning Dave’s principles.  I guess it would be crazy to expect something different from him, to be honest.  His principles of financial management haven’t change and wont.

However, if you have not read any of his books, this is a great place to start.  Without going into a great amount of detail, he highlights nearly everything that he stands for.  It really can whet the appetite for some of his other books, especially The Total Money Makeover. The Money Answer Book is a perfect place to begin your journey down the road to financial peace.

Since I have read Financial Peace and The Total Money Makeover is sitting on my shelf waiting, I really viewed The Money Answer Book as a great tool for me.  I look at it as a money search engine or a quick reference guide.  The way that he lays this book out, you don’t have to read it chapter by chapter. You can check out the table of contents, find a subject that you are curious about, and skim through all the topics in that chapter until you find an answer to your question.  It really is very handy. I appreciate books that want to make my life a little easier, and The Money Answer Book does just that.  But I would make sure that you read Ramsey’s other books too, so you can get the full picture as to the details of what he is talking about in this one.

I give it 3.5 stars for it content and 4 for its functionality

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

prayer

I am still on the journey to become a better leader.  I’m reading Spiritual Leadership by Henry Blackaby right now.  I just read the chapter that discusses the need for leaders to pray.  In this chapter, Blackaby throws out 6 reasons why leaders should pray.  I thought I would just write quickly how each one of these reasons have played out in my life.

1.  Nothing of eternal significance happens apart from God.  If we want to know what God wants, we must ask him!  I remember several times over the past 8 years of student ministry wandering what God wants me to do.  It’s always interesting to me how, I may be clueless, but when I begin to pray about it, God shows me.   I can’t know God’s direction if I dont seek it out and ask Him.

2. Prayer brings the Spirit’s filling.  As a sophomore in college, I was dry.  I was in a place where I just didn’t see God doing anything in and around me.  So I began to pray. Not only that, but I got others to pray with me.  Soon, I was more aware of the Spirit’s leading than ever before.  I knew He was with me.

3. Prayer brings God’s wisdom. THis one isn’t necessarily from me, but think back to King Solomon. The wisest man in the world.  And what he did… he asked for it.  When we ask God for things (like wisdom), He answers.!

4. Prayer accesses God’s power. Terrified. That’s all that I can say about how I was. How I am.  Seems I get this way every time I try to share the gospel with anyone.  I know, maybe I shouldn’t admit that, but I do.  And when I pray, God gives me the power to do so. For me, power = courage

5. Prayer relieves stress. Jesus said come to me all you who are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest.  Rest knocks out stress.  Rest comes from prayer.  Prayer calms me, refocuses me, makes sense of crazy, haphazard thinking.

6. Prayer reveals God’s agenda. I’m sure that you can think of a time when this happened to you.  (you can refer back to number 1 for more about this one). God shows His plan to His people via prayer.

I can remember as a young minister, God laid a certain girl in my student ministry on my heart.  I began to pray for her.  She hadn’t been to church in a while and I really wasn’t sure about her relationship with the Father.  Anyway, I prayed.  I prayed and got her small group leader to pray too. That Wednesday, I sat in our youth room floor (which also doubled as the senior adult mens sunday school room, but that’s another story) and prayed for this certain girl. Well, guess what… she was there that night. Not only that, but she gave her life to Jesus that night.  I didn’t have any communication with here over the 3 days I prayed for her. I just prayed.  And God worked. Makes me wonder why I don’t pray nearly as much as I need too…

My Beautiful Idol

Very few times in my life do I read something and just stop.  There’s a lot that I read that impacts me.  Most of what I read (especially the nonfiction stuff) makes me stop and reassess something, anything about my life, my ministry, my relationship to the Father.  

And then there was My Beautiful Idol.

I am 2 days removed from finishing Pete Gall’s manifesto (not sure he would call it that, but I do).  I did take a break from reading leadership books, or so I thought, and picked this book up with no expectations. The reviews I read looked good and a friend of mine talked about it, so I ordered the book.  I was in no way prepared for what I read when I tore through this book.  I am still processing it all, but within My Beautiful Idol, I found instruction, encouragement, and guidance on leadership skills, Bible teaching, and a whole host of other topics.  I look forward to falling back into this book to examine just what I have learned from Pete Gall’s autobiographical confession. Thanks Pete. Oh and if you follow me on twitter, I’ll be really pumped!

I’m not Bill Hybels

I just finished reading Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels.  It was a really good book and has challenged me in many of my leadership areas. However, one thing is for sure – I am not Bill Hybles.

As I read his strategy and procedures for ministry, life, staff, etc, it was easy to see that God has not gifted me in the same ways as he has Bill. And that’s perfectly ok!  I’m fine with that.  I have been on a journey over the past few months to refine my leadership style and become exactly who God want me to be. With the help of other pastors/authors and friends, this is slowly happening. Most of the books I have read have pushed me to become more of who God wants me to be.  This happened some in CL, but mostly, I just got the feeling that I was reading it for the read and not necessarily for anything else. I was able to pull some good stuff out of there, but as a whole, I’ve read many more things that have been beneficial to me as a leader since January.  God bless Bill and the WCA, I admire him, but I dont want to become him.  I just want to be the leader God designed me to be.

what to do with all these cheese balls

I have a massive jug of cheese balls in my office. I bought them for a competition we were going to do during our Disciple Now, but we never did it. So now I’m stuck with a 35 oz jug of cheese balls. Some of you might be saying, Wow, that’s incredible.  But here’s the problem, I really dont care too much for cheese balls. Now if they were animal crackers, I would be all about it, but not cheese balls. So I’ve determined to try to find something for them to go to.  Maybe a civic organization.  Does anyone know if the Civitans like cheese balls?  Maybe I will give them to someone less fortunate –  someone with just a box of cheese balls.  I strangely remember Cartman liking them, didn’t he do a whole song about it one time? But, sadly, these are not cartoon cheese balls, therefore I cannot send them to him.

So does anybody have a good idea what I can do with this huge jug of cheese balls? All suggestions will be appreciated.  Just leave your recommendation as a comment. Thanks