Friday, December 17, 2010

Imagining Church

Seeing Hope in a World of Change

By Gary and Kim Shockley

Do you have a vision for what the church should be? There is a lot of controversy in our church today about what the church of the future should look like. Gary and Kim Shockley do an excellent job in this book of asking us to look to the future of the church and how we should determine what the church should look like without telling us how it should look. At first that may sound like it fails to do what we want and it some ways maybe it does. There are no recipes here, no this worked here so it will work for you, but many ideas on the process for deciding how your church can develop a plan for what God would like to see your church become.

Gary and Kim have started two churches and Gary now is the director of Path1, the United Methodist Church new church start consulting agency. While sharing their stories of both their experiences in the church and working as consultants with other churches they challenge you to be willing to look at the church in new ways. They will ask us to look at the way the church connects to the community, focuses on worship and funds its ministry in a new light.

I think you will find this will help you design a process that will allow you to lead your church into the future that God desires for you, a disciple making and growing congregation that is likely to look very different than how you have looks in the past.

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Celebration of Sex

By Douglas Rosenau

If you want to have one book on your shelves dealing with sex and relationships this just might be the best book I have read.

While many Christian books deal excellently with the importance of relationship in marriage or the mechanics of good sex this book does both and an excellent job of tying the two together. I find it interesting how many people think that you will just know what to do and enjoy a sexual relationship with your spouse as if it is the most natural thing in the world and then find themselves disappointed it was not what they expected it to be.

Rosenau does a great job showing how this wonderful gift of God can be a tremendous blessing to our marriage. He does not shy away from topics that have often been ignored or undervalued like fantasy, erogenous zones, lovemaking cycle, the mess, mutual pleasuring, body image being orgasmic, desire and frequency, sexy after forty-five, disabilities, malfunctions, affairs and additions. It is all here in this one volume that will make you smile, laugh and maybe even cry as you realize what an awesome gift God has given us to share with our spouse.

If you want to have one book on your shelf, or in the nightstand so the kids don't see it, this is a great book for your library.

As a pastor I have had conversations on almost every topic in this book with someone in the last 15 years.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Mentor Leader

by Tony Dungy

You should read this book! I don’t know that I have ever made that broad of a statement before about a book. The truth is we are all leaders in someone’s life whether we want to be or not. Each of us in mentoring someone be it our children, the people we work with or go to school with. Someone is watching you and learning how to act.
While using his experience as a football coach at all levels this is not a book about football. It is about leadership and what it takes to be the kind of leader that develops other leaders. Dungy says “Unity of purpose and a desire to make other people better must start at the top if these goals are going to ripple through an entire organization.”
“Building a life of significance, and creating a legacy of real value, means being willing to get your hands dirty. …. Whether it’s your business, your school, your community, or your family, if you want to make a difference in the lives of the people you lead, you must be willing to walk alongside them, to lift and encourage them, to share moments of understanding with them, and to spend time with them, not just shout down at them from on high.” We must focus on the significance if we want to make a difference in the world we live in.
The marks of a mentor leader are character, trustworthy traits, competent, focused on integrity, secure in their own skin, and be authentic. He makes it clear that to be a mentor leader we must be willing to learn and to be mentored ourselves.
He uses Jesus as a model and is not afraid to show how his faith has impacted his work and helped him grow as a man and a leader.
I hope you will take the time to allow this book to impact your life.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Insight on Romans

By Chuck Swindoll

I was thrilled to see that Chuck Swindoll was going to write a series of Bible commentaries and looked forward to this first one and was not dissapointed.
This is a great commentary for those that want to learn more about Paul's teachings and is written is such a way that I can recommend it for both lay and clergy. Lay people will like it because it is written in language that everyone can understand like all of Swindoll's writing but they will still learn a great deal about this foundational book of the Bible. Clergy will find it will help them present a message that the non Biblical scholar can understand and recieve insight from.
This commentary will challenge you, make you think and encourage you as you reflect on what Paul taught the church at Rome and has been used for years to teach those of us that have followed.

Monday, May 10, 2010

It's Your Ship

Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy

Captain D. Michael Abrashoff

If you are willing to be challenged to look at leadership in new way from someone who made changes in one the most traditional rigid organizations in the world, the US Navy, this book will make you think in new ways. While serving as the captain of the USS Benfold he transformed one of the poorest performing ships in the Nave to one of the best.

This is the story of the need to change with both those that had authority over him and those over which he held authority. Providing leadership that has an impact is the center of this story. In chapters titled, Lead by example, listen aggressively, communicate purpose and meaning, create a climate of trust, look for results, not salutes, take calculated risks, go beyond standard procedure, build up your people, generate unity and improve your people’s quality of life, he leads you through the process of change that he used.

As a pastor of a church in a traditional mainline denomination I found the wisdom here well worth the time it took to read this relatively short book. We often think that our progress and ability to make a difference are too limited by the traditions and structure of the church. Here is a look at someone that worked in that environment and made a difference.

Monday, March 8, 2010

7 things he’ll never tell you {but you need to know}

By Kevin Leman

This is a book for ladies that love their husbands and want them to know it. God designed us male and female and that means we are different in many ways. In this book Kevin Leman talks about what men crave in their relationship with their wife. Most men are terrible at allowing anyone including their wife to know what they really need in life. I found myself smiling and saying things like "so I am not weird!" and "I know exactly what you are saying!" as I read this book.
"It's Thursday and I am out of words already." (But if you want to keep talking honey, go ahead)
"Think of me as a four-year-old that shaves."
"I have a purple dining room, and I couldn't care less!"
"I'm desperate for you to need me."
"I've thought about sex 33 times today, and it's not even noon."
"I told you I didn't want to go!"
"I'd take a bullet for you."
Those are the topics for the seven chapters helping you understand how to connect with your husband and tell him you love him.
This will go on my recommended reading list for couples during premarital and marriages counseling as well as those that are just trying to improve their relationship.


By Douglas Estes

If you are interested in the newest frontier of the church then this is a must read for basic understanding of the virtual world. I had been looking for something that would help me as a person with limited technological understanding to understand the virtual world and how the church can move into it and this book gave me a great basic understanding.
Estes says that "Today is the third most exciting time to be alive in Christian history: we're on the cusp of the third wave of the church." The first two were the advent of the Roman road system and the expansion of the written word and the invention of the printing press. Now the internet has opened up a new wave of communication possibilities in the virtual world. "Just as the church in ages past needed masons, architects, and artists to create spaces where people could feel prepared to worship God, so too does the church today need coders and futurists with contrite hearts to build new types of churches for new types of people."
There is no doubt that the internet is going to play an integral part of the future of our churches. Most of us have wanted to dip our fingers in by using a web page or maybe a social network but very few are willing to explore the virtual world of creating a church online. This book will challenge you to think in new ways about your internet presence as well as giving you some food for thought for your local brick and glass building. He is a pastor of a local church as well as working to create an effective internet presence.
Written in an easy to read non-techno style I think you will find it a thought provoking and challenging book. I recommend it.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Nineteen Minutes

By Jodi Picoult

You should read this book! I don't often run across a book that I think could help transform a community if people read it but this is one of them. While it is a novel and so a work of fiction it is very clear that it was well researched and based on possible reality.
It opens with a young man walking into his high school and shooting, killing and wounding many students. The story really isn't about the event of the shooting, it is about what lead up to it and the immediate aftermath of this incredible disaster. If you have ever asked yourself if that kind of thing could happen in your school I think this will open your eyes to how easy it could happen. As with every event like this there is a story behind the perpetrator that most of us really don't want to hear about after the event.
Bouncing back and forth between the time of the shooting and its aftermath and the history that led up to it with the main characters she weaves a story while dealing this issues we all face every day. It will challenge you to think about our relationships with our children, parents, student, teachers and other peers. It deals with peer pressure including sex, bullying, beauty and athletics.
I hope you will take the time to read this and then talk to the kids in your life and ask the question, "How can I help make sure this doesn't happen here?"