Posts Tagged ‘ book reviews ’

Jesus Manifesto: Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola

Wow, what a refreshing book.  For an in depth, incredible, complete book review of this book, check out my friend, Kyle Gilbert’s review. However, I’m going to do something a little different than my normal reviews.

Here are my reasons not to read this book:

Don’t read this book if:

–       you enjoy the status quo Christianity

–       you want to come to church and feel good about yourself

–       the name Jesus = warm fuzzy feelings

–       you gauge your spirituality purely on what you are doing

–       you love cute, well packaged messages more than anything

–       “you” and “I” litter your faith talk

–       your faith is based more on what’s in it for you than anything else

–       you follow Christianity more that Christ

–       you would rather sit with the people you always sit with than go to those who need you more

–       you aren’t willing to see Christ for who He really is.

So there you have it. Enjoy this book and drink deeply from Jesus.

Jesus Manifesto

Stay Tuned for the Jesus Manifesto review…

… coming soon…

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 <> 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 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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.

Forgotten God – Overview

I finished reading Forgotten God by Francis Chan yesterday, but delayed blogging about it right away. While yesterday was just a rough day after recovering from my first (of what will be many) FIX Quarters, the delay wasn’t due to exhaustion or busyness – but I wanted to soak in the book for a day to try to collect my thoughts. FG in many ways was a great deal like Crazy Love, but in many ways I believe it was more challenging, more hard hitting, more to the core of modern Christianity than much that I’ve read in the past few years. I am still trying to digest all that was written in FG so for my first (well technically my second) post about it, I’m just going to pull our some quotes and write a few things about them for you. Watch for future posts concerning FG and my struggles with it and how it’s challenged me on a deeper level than did Crazy Love

“I also believe that the Spirit is more obviously active in places where people are desperate for Him, humbled before Him and not distracted by their wealth or comforts (like we are)” p. 17 – I read this post and it immediately slapped me in the face.  I moved my mp3 player,  cut the Tivo off, turned off my TV, and put away any other distractions and felt the weight of this statement.  (ok, that was just for effect… I didn’t have my mp3 player with me).  Sometimes you read something that you knew was true, but you choose to ignore it for whatever reason.  You know, maybe you just didn’t like how it made you feel like junk because you’re not living up to it. My life, minister or not, does not show a desperation for the HOly Spirit to act and work in my life. Sadly, I can do ministry without Him and probably do it sort of well.  May I cast off the worry of my comforts and be desperate for Him.  

People are more likely to describe the quality of the music or the appeal of the sermon than the One who is the reason people gather for “church” in the first place p. 31 — Well, if that’s not a slap in the face of my life, I dont know what is! You have pretty much described me well.  Thank God that I am in a church now that focuses more on the Spirit’s moving than the music, but it’s so easy to slip into this way of thinking.  

In Chapter 3, Francis lays a simply but effective theology of the Holy Spirit that rivals my seminary classes. I wish that my class work would have been this good to read! (no offense Mr. Grudem) In doing so, Chan asks “When was the last time you were saddened because your sin pained the Holy Spirit” (72) – Sadly, I cant remember the last time I thought about paining the Holy Spirit. I think about sinning against God – but not about paining Him. Maybe I should more.

Chapter 5 (which was my absolute favorite chapter) really challenged me to take my relationship with the Holy Spirit seriously.  My life is too safe and too loud too much!  The story about the man locked away for his faith and how, upon getting his freedom, longed for the persecution he once endured. I’ve heard similar stories before, but this one really stuck with me. If today, I was hit with persecution, how would I respond? How would I act.  May God help me to quiet my life and not worry about running toward safety and more running toward the cross.

The last thing I want to talk about is something I saw a long time ago in Experiencing God – God’s Will “for my life.”  It’s not the point!!! God wants me to be concerned with His will. period.  It’s about walking with Him daily. “God cares more about our response to His Spirit’s leading today, in this moment, then what we intend to do next year.” (120) It’s so easy to get caught up in what God is going to do than what He’s doing right now!  

FG really made me stop and think and ask this one super important question – Am I letting the Holy Spirit do anything in my life and if so, what?  After you read it, I believe you will be asking the same questions and will end up at the same place I am right now – desperately wanting to remember daily the Forgotten God.