Thursday, April 29, 2010

Book #11 - Primal

Jesus said to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. In Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity, Mark Batterson takes this commandment and breaks it down into the heart, soul, mind, and strength of Christianity. Batterson has to be one of the most brilliant leaders in the church today. He was able to take this very foundation teaching of Jesus and explain the depth of what Jesus was really saying.
I love Batterson's humility and sharing of personal stories that brings the reader into the context of the narrative. You can't help but get sucked into this book. I didn't want to put it down as I read it. Many times throughout the book, my pulse quickened at the truth that was revealed. Good, good stuff!

Book #10 - Breaking the Missional Code

I first heard Ed Stetzer speak at the Innovate conference held annually at Thomas Road Baptist Church last year. It is being held this year on May 18-19. While I was there I purchased his book Breaking the Missional Code: Your Church Can Become a Missionary in Your Community.
A change needs to occur in the church today. We have moved away from the original design and responsibility of the local church as set forth in the New Testament. But as Stetzer puts it, "it has been our experience that many are simply not ready or wiling to pay the price, at least not to the extent that it needs to be paid" to be a missional presence in our communities. We must be willing to commit to being the incarnational Body of Christ in today's world.
If that makes your heart beat fast and if you want to learn what that looks like in other places and how it can happen in your community, then I recommend you reading this book.

Book #9 - Swtich

This is the most practical book I have read this year, maybe in the last couple of years. For some reason Chip and Dan Heath sent me their latest book Switch: How to Change Things when Change Is Hard a few months before it was released to the public. I am so glad that they did. I loved their first book - Made to Stick, but this one was even better.

Change is always happening. Sometimes the change is good and healthy and other times it isn't. Whatever kind of change that is happening, it is almost always difficult. Here are three big takeaways for me:
  1. What looks like a people problem is often a situation problem.
  2. What looks like laziness is often exhaustion.
  3. What looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity.

This book practically equips you to realize these three truths and what to do about it. I highly, highly, highly recommend this book.

Book #8 - Sticky Church

Too many churches have a small front door and a revolving back door. Larry Osborne's book Sticky Church describes how his church North Coast Church in northern San Diego County addresses this issue head on.
I learned so much from this book that I have passed it on to many on our staff and leaders in our congregation. Our small group leadership team has studied it together to learn best practices. Larry has been the pastor of North Coast Church for over 20 years and he has learned a great deal over the years. I love to learn from leaders who have been there, made mistakes, learned from them, and then pass on that great wisdom.
The essence of the book is about small groups. What I love about this book is that it isn't about plug and play what is happening at this one church and all of your problems with be eliminated. It is a very practical book, but it also makes it very clear that what works in some places doesn't work in others. What is important is doing what God is leading your church to do. We all need to be reminded of that.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


On Easter I completed P90x!
I didn't take a before picture and I am vain enough that I didn't take an after picture either. The picture to the right is Tony, he is the one who beat my body for the last 90 days. I don't look like him. LOL! But I did lose 12 pounds and two inches on my waist. I have more energy, more strength, and I can run a couple of miles without having a heart attack.
This morning I read 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." I think we need a biblical understanding of how we look at our bodies - in a healthy way. My response to what I believe God expects of me in honoring Him with my body is to be in better shape - exercise, eat healthy food, and get the rest I need. Doing P90x was my way to jump start that process.
One of the things I was reminded about through my 90 days is the power of community. I typically got up at 5:30 in the morning to work out for the 60-90 minutes it takes to do P90x. There were plenty of mornings that I didn't want to get up and do it, but I knew that my friends at church and on Facebook would ask me about it. It was great accountability. I didn't want to say that I bagged it that morning. And you know what, when I didn't post that I did my workout, someone would ask me. That was huge.
It's the same way with our journey to be more like Jesus. There are days that it is just plain tough. I believe that is why God gave us a church family and people who care about us and love us. We are not to do life alone. We are a community of believers. We are to encourage one another and love each other. We need each other.
So what's next for me? I am going for a long run tonight and continuing to eat healthy. Many of you have asked what I ate to celebrate. I had a calazone, a half a piece of Oreo cookie pie, and a bowl of ice cream. It tasted very good, but to be honest, I was sick to my stomach. My body now likes to eat healthy, it craves it. I want that for all aspects of my life that I can honor God.