Tag Archives: Book Review

Weekend Picks ~ 11-3-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

This thought-provoking series of articles has stretched my imagination and caused me to want to read Eugene Peterson’s book “Reversed Thunder”

Heaven Is EarthyJohn Frye
Heaven is immediate, not remote in either time or space. “Heaven is not what we wait for until the rapture or where we go when we die, but what is, barely out of range of our senses, but brought to our senses by St. John’s visions. … The vision of heaven is not a promise of anything other than what we have already received by faith; it does, though, promise more, namely, its completion” (172). Heaven is not a fantasy. It is not an escape from what is. If we don’t like what is, we may not like heaven. Heaven is the cosmos brought to completion.

Three Shifts to Increase Global EngagementDavid Dummitt
Three Shifts to Increase Global Engagement 
Global engagement isn’t a new idea to American churches. Mission programs, global outreach projects, generosity campaigns, and more have been a part of churches in the United States for centuries. Many methods, strategies, and best practices have come and gone, but like everything else, we need to evaluate what we are doing and adjust where we fall short of maximum effectiveness. 

Here are three shifts American churches can make to increase global impact…

You will need to free your mind from the “hijackers” for a while to read this longish article. Good luck…

‘Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopiaPaul Lewis
A company paying Facebook to use its levers of persuasion could be a car business targeting tailored advertisements to different types of users who want a new vehicle. Or it could be a Moscow-based troll farm seeking to turn voters in a swing county in Wisconsin…

Williams, 35, left Google last year, and is on the cusp of completing a PhD at Oxford University exploring the ethics of persuasive design. It is a journey that has led him to question whether democracy can survive the new technological age…

That discomfort was compounded during a moment at work, when he glanced at one of Google’s dashboards, a multicoloured display showing how much of people’s attention the company had commandeered for advertisers. “I realised: this is literally a million people that we’ve sort of nudged or persuaded to do this thing that they weren’t going to otherwise do,” he recalls…

“The dynamics of the attention economy are structurally set up to undermine the human will,” he says. “If politics is an expression of our human will, on individual and collective levels, then the attention economy is directly undermining the assumptions that democracy rests on.” If Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are gradually chipping away at our ability to control our own minds, could there come a point, I ask, at which democracy no longer functions?

“Will we be able to recognise it, if and when it happens?” Williams replies. “And if we can’t, then how do we know it hasn’t happened already?”

My experience as part of the leadership team of a multi-site church, who recently made the hard decision to close a campus, confirms the truth of this insightful article…

How to Tell a Campus Pastor from a Church Planter
Tammy Kelley
campus pastorIf you lead a multisite church and you’re trying to identify future Campus Pastors, you need to understand these differences or you may end up planting a church by accident. Likewise, if your mission is church planting, you will better set up new plants to succeed if you get this role right.

Here are several of the most distinctive traits of both groups…

Also, road-trippers…
Wrong Hands – Click image for a larger view.

Weekend Picks ~ 9-29-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

Review of a book that many should read who probably won’t…

How to Think in a Post-Truth WorldAndrew Wilson

Timely, because we’re currently swimming in a sea of punditry, post-truth, partisanship, and perpetual news, which seems to be making engaged thoughtfulness harder and harder. Encouraging, because in spite of all this, Jacobs is optimistic about the possibility of thinking


(Click here to read more about this book or to order from Amazon.)


Matt Chandler’s Village Church Ends Multisite Era
Kate Shellnutt
Matt Chandler’s Village Church Ends Multisite EraThe Village Church, the multisite Texas megachurch led by Matt Chandler, will transition from several campuses across the Dallas–Fort Worth (DFW) metroplex to individual autonomous churches within the next five years, leaving behind a multisite model for a deeper commitment to local ministry and church planting.

On Hugh Hefner’s legacy…

One Man’s Dream Destroyed MillionsJon Bloom
This is precisely what we humans are so prone to do: to view others, and the world, as a projection of our own fantasies. Even we Christians can lose sight of the world as a battlefield of horrific cosmic warfare, with people caught in its crossfire needing to be rescued, and see it as the place where we want our dreams — self-centered, self-serving, self-exalting, self-indulgent dreams — to come true. The more we indulge such fantasies, the more inoculated and numb we become to reality and the less urgent we feel about the real needs of other real souls…

…on the occasion of Hugh Hefner’s death, let us resolve all the more to abstain from fantasy passions of the flesh, which wage war against our souls — and not just ours but others’ souls as well (1 Peter 2:11). When we look at a woman, whether she’s Marilyn Monroe, the girl from Ipanema, a co-worker, classmate, fellow church member, another man’s wife, or our own wife, let us say to ourselves and, when needed, each other: “she is not your playmate!”

2 Lessons from a Bygone ChurchRob Tims
What we can do with our family ancestry we must do with our spiritual heritage. Our faith is not new. We come from a long line of spiritual generations, and we stand much to gain by considering their wins and losses … what they did well and where they failed … if we are to serve the Lord at least as faithfully as they did…

I see two things the church today must emulate from the first church … things that we may be ignoring today.

First, we see a church that embraced diversity, and diversity at the leadership level….

Second, we see a church that gives itself to worship and mission (not one or the other)…

Normal teenage behavior?
Zits – Click image for a larger view.

Tuesday Picks ~ 4-18-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

A brief review of a book I’ve been wanting to read…

Between Heaven and the Real WorldDarryl Dash
170418I would have read this book simply for its entertainment value, but it did more than entertain. It gave hope. It pointed to the beauty of the gospel in the middle of difficulty and tragedy. It’s a book that shows the beauty of a life that’s been touched by the grace of Jesus.

I haven’t seen Chapman perform in almost 17 years. But now I’ve seen something more valuable than a concert. I’ve seen, through this book, his life, and that life has shown me Jesus. And for that I’m grateful.

We can rest in the finished work of Christ, but we can’t coast…

The Coasting ChristianAaron Earls
bike work Christianity coastChristianity is a daily faith. It is built on choices each day that become habits and disciplines. It must be lived out, not simply remembered.

Our faith is an outworking of our relationship with Jesus. Coasting only becomes an option in our minds when we forget we are trying to draw closer to a person.

One day, we will feel the fresh breeze on our face as Christ declares over us, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Then everything around us will be drawing us toward Him. Gravity will be working in our favor. Our coasting will only take us deeper with Him.

Until then, however, we cannot coast. No matter how far you’ve come or what you’ve previously accomplished, you cannot take your feet off the pedals.

Yes, there are many good things about it…

What We Gained When We Lost the HymnalTim Challies
A few weeks ago I wrote an article titled What We Lost When We Lost Our Hymnals… I meant to point out that there are consequences in shifting from one medium to another—in this case, shifting from hymnals to… projection. It is true of every new technology that it brings benefits and drawbacks. Neither hymnals nor PowerPoint are exempt from the rule.

Where that article focused on what we lost when we shifted from hymnals to projection, today I want to focus on what we gained. When our churches turned away from hymnals to instead sing lyrics projected on a screen, here is some of what we gained…

Living Easter every day…

Do You Really Know This Story?Melissa Edgington
So, here is the challenge in the days after Easter… Are we living, on the Tuesday after the resurrection, as if we really know this story? Are we… content to settle into the joy and the hope of it, the sheer love of a Savior who says that no casket can hold us? That it can’t hold our dearest ones? Are we trusting in the God of Easter morning to handle whatever is coming?

We must live this short, troubled life with a resurrection mentality. With a soul that never stops smiling over Easter morning. With a mind that remembers that the risen Savior proves that death and sin have no power here. With a faith that can stand at the foot of an open grave, knowing this is not the end, not even close. I know this story, we will whisper with a smile, and we will lean on our risen Savior. He is alive forever, and so are we.

The unseen damage of cat videos…

Thursday Picks ~ 3-16-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

I read an article this past week called, “Why the church doesn’t need anymore coffee bars.” Maybe you did too. I love David Santistevan’s response…

What Every Pastor & Worship Team Needs To Consider Every WeekDavid Santistevan
WHAT EVERY PASTOR & WORSHIP TEAM NEEDS TO CONSIDER EVERY WEEKIn no way do I want to disrespect this amazing family and the tragedy they are experiencing. I honestly have no idea. But I do know this – music, lights, coffee, and graphics aren’t the problem. The reason we make these aesthetic choices is to serve people.

It’s similar to saying at a restaurant that background music, tables, chairs, air conditioning, and decor doesn’t matter. Only the food matters. Sure, we go to a restaurant to eat, but the vibe aids in our enjoyment of the prime rib. Without the careful, compassionate thought that is given to the aesthetics, we might not return. Sitting on a concrete slab in complete silence with the best fish & chips in the world is fine, but not necessary.

Keeping Jesus at the center doesn’t need to be in opposition to programmed lighting. Pointing people to the Savior in the midst of their pain doesn’t need to conflict with a specialty coffee bar. The answer isn’t to strip our services of intentional programming, color, sound, songs, coffee, and the chocolate chip biscotti’s at the cafe counter.

All can work together.

I’ve been thinking about buying this book…

This Is Our Timea book review by Darryl Dash
BH-ThisIsOurTime_900x600It’s not enough to analyze common myths. “Christians who shine the light of the gospel on the myths of our world do not simply say, ‘This is right and this is wrong,’” Wax writes, “but ‘This is better.’ The gospel tells a better story.”

It is possible for us to live faithfully in our time. Wax not only teaches us how to recognize cultural myths, but he shows us how to respond and to point to a better story.

I’m a fan of someone who can think clearly and express truth beautifully. Wax has done us a great service by writing this book so that we can understand our time, and learn how to live with wisdom and faithfulness.“We live in light of the truth, trusting that the flame of faithfulness that passes from generation to generation will never go out.”

The Surprising Power Of Little ThingsMatt Rogers
http://theblazingcenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/little-things-1700x1133.jpegI can’t control my life—and neither can you. People do all sorts of things we can’t control. Life throws us curves we’d never anticipate. It’s just the way things are. Sometimes these little things work in our favor—propelling us further, faster than we once thought possible. Sometimes the little things work against us—derailing our plans before we ever begin…

… The power of little things should make me more mindful of the affect the little things I do can have on others…

…These simple acts of worshipful obedience can have a profound impact on those around me. They can be the God-given means of orchestrating the steps of others so that they walk the path God has ordained for them.

Sure, in and of themselves, most of the things you and I do are little but that doesn’t make them insignificant. In fact, it’s the cumulative effect of little things that shape our future.

My perfect day…
Dilbert – Click image for a larger view.

My Picks for 10-27-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

Oprah and the trouble with our DIY spirituality – Joel Miller
oprah diy spirituality
“…Stephen Mansfield identifies and describes four pillars of Oprah’s take on faith and spirituality. Nos. 2 and 3? “Opposing religions can be casually blended” and “Religions can be redefined at will.”

Not only does this approach disregard what various religions and traditions say about themselves, it elevates the individual over them, who now arbitrates for himself what’s true, what’s good, what’s beneficial, and so on.”

From another point of view…

In Defense of Oprah’s Belief Series – Jes Kast-Keat

“If one watches Belief and is looking for creeds and confessions to adequately defend the Christian faith, then you will be disappointed. Yet, if one watches with a generous heart to the spirit of lived religion, one might be encouraged to find the words of Jesus — “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” — being lived out in authentic ways.”

Wisdom from Seth…

“No one clicked on it, no one liked it…” -Seth Godin

“…you can architect content and sites and commerce to get a click. But you might also choose to merely make a difference.”

We Cannot Be Silent – book review by Tim Challies
(Click on the image for Amazon purchase info.)

“We Cannot Be Silent is Mohler’s attempt to speak truth into this moment of crisis. He does so with boldness and conviction. He looks first at the cultural shifts that preceded and birthed this revolution. Then he shows what the Bible says about sex, gender, and sexuality. He lays out the current and future challenges to the church. He concludes with brief answers to thirty challenging questions: The biblical authors did not have the category of orientation, so aren’t they talking about something different than we are? Is homosexual sin worse than other sins? Are people born gay? Should a Christian attend a same-sex wedding ceremony? Can a person with same-sex attraction change his or her orientation? If so, how?”

Ever wonder why all those pop songs sound kinda the same? Well, it’s pretty simple; They all use the same 4 Chords!
(Warning: I wish there wasn’t, but there’s an f-bomb toward the end.)