Friday, August 24, 2007

Book #15 -- True Light by Terri Blackstock

As the month of August winds to a close I have reached the halfway point to my goal of 30 books in 2007. While being behind (I should be at 20 to be on pace) I have several books started and feel like I can make a run at completing my original goal.

Earlier this week I completed True Light by Terri Blackstock. This book #3 in the Restoration series. I have now read at least 7 or 8 Blackstock novels and have enjoyed each one. They are usually of the murder mystery type with a slant on the spiritual.
This series deals with what would happen if massive EMPs destroyed all electronics and basically threw the world back to the early 1800's instantly. "no phones, no lights, no motor cars, not a single luxury...", I digress. It's funny how life's circumstances can help you understand the things that are truly important.
The characters of the series are developed in greater detail in this book. I don't know how many more books are planned for this series but I am anxious to read more after this one. The real life struggles of living out faith are explored more vividly than I can recall in any previous book. Mark Green is in a struggle for his freedom and life but must find a way to reconcile his faith in Christ with all that is going on.
If you have never read a Blackstock novel I encourage you to check one out. Obviously I would start with book #1 of a series but I don't think that you will feel that you have wasted any time in doing so. If you get book #1 in the series then you could catch up by the time the next installment comes around. Definitely great fiction with a message that will cause you to ponder, that equals superb writing.

Link Dump -- August 24th

It has been a week where i looked up and it was Friday... then I looked at this blog and realized that I hadn't posted since Monday. I thought, "that can't be", but the facts don't lie. I have had several things going through my mind this week but h ave not made/ taken the time to process them onto the blog, I need to get better at that. In the meantime, enjoy these links from around the blogosphere and I will do my best to get some new content flowing.

The church as abbey: Why rituals are important -- though provoking, agree? disagree?
American Gladiators is making a comeback -- they're taking applications now
the least religious countries
Quiz: Are you smarter than a 5th grader?
5 Tips For Better Blog Reading
7 Tips For Better Book Reading
President Huckabee?
COUNTDOWN TO HSM2! -- funny stuff (esp. if you have a female tween in the house)
Sermon on the Fall of Satan
Style or Substance? MacArthur's thoughts on church music
belonging w/out believing and believing w/out belonging
Book Review: They Like Jesus But Not the Church
Iraqi man sacrifices self to save U.S. soldiers I have a feeling that unfortunately this won't make much news in the mainstream media
Book Review: The Practice of the Presence I'll be talking more in the future about our need and failure to absorb reading/ teaching from those who have gone on before us

Monday, August 20, 2007

Addicted to Blogging???

I had seen this elsewhere but was reminded of this on Derry's blog. I guess it could bee 22% worse...

78%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Mingle2 - Dating Site

What to do with noisy neighbors

How do you handle noisy neighbors? When I left for work last night the houses on both sides of our were having outside parties. Not a big deal. At 11:30 my wife calls and says they're still going strong and she can;t go to bed. I tell her to give it until midnight and then call me back. At 1:30 she calls and says the one house has taken it inside but the other now has a huge bonfire and people screaming and yelling in addition to the music. I'm at work and can't go talk to them so I tell my wife to go ahead (it's now 1:50) and call the police.
They arrive and proceed to go the door of the house that went inside (they weren't the problem). Then they left. My wife has to call back to ask them to return to the noisy house. They do but when she calls me back she says they're still pretty loud. I didn't hear any more but when I pull in the driveway in the morning I discover that my mailbox has been smashed, presumably in retailiation. So part of me wants to go over and wake them up and read them the riot act, but I realize that won't solve anything. I decided to wait until the afternoon when I have gotten some sleep. As I prepared to go over I got the overwhelming sense that I should wait until later on. What? Why?
My problem is with just how big of a deal to make it. It has not been a regular thing but at the same time my wife and kids have a right to feel safe in their home and get some sleep. Praying for wisdom...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Day Off Blog -- August 17th

It's been a while and I need to get a few of my disciplines back in order; including making better use of my day(s) off. That include the accountability of blogging it. Friday I...
  • hung around home and did some reading
  • took a nap
  • ran some errands and hung out with my wife
  • pick the boys up from football
  • went to the high school foot ball game with Micki and the boys (Chargers lost the Mangy Lion 14-7, grrrrrrr)

not a bad day. I managed to avoid doing any "outside" work; on the other hand I didn;t do much I need to do around the house either. Guess that's a win some, lose some thing.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Link Dump -- August 17th

A lot of thought provoking material this week...

Is Hillary a drag? World Magazine discusses if the former first lady is actually a detriment to some campaigns.
Who is Consuming Whom?
Christian Bloggers Network a re post of a list of Christian bloggers
Never Forget a To-Do Item Cool tool, I'll be trying this ASAP
Reading Classics Together - Holiness -- this will be fun and definitely educational.
Sunday is Sacred -- part 1 of a series on getting prepared to worship
Small Group Video Trainings - great resource
Top 13 Worst Slogan Translations Ever thanks to BON for this and the next one
Comically Large Things

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

If God is Sovereign, why pray ???

One blog that I have recently found is Pulpit Magazine. There is a series currently running that discusses the above topic. The following is an excerpt from part 1. You can check it out here.

When people make plans, it is not uncommon for those plans to fail or to be thwarted in one way or another. In contrast to His creatures, however, Almighty God always brings about that which He has purposed. In a word, God is sovereign.
This truth is perhaps most clearly seen in the words of Isaiah 46:9-11, where God demonstrated His superiority over the Babylonian idols...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Mark Batterson -- August 9th -- Chase the Lion

Earlier this year I read Mark's book, In a Pit With A Lion On a Snowy Day. You can see my review HERE. When I heard that he would be speaking at GCC I was excited. Last Thursday night was the night and I was able to attend. What follows are my notes from his message...

Isa. 55 - Your best thought on your best day falls short of the mind of God.

2 Samuel 23:20ff
- we have a hindsight bias to the Bible
- we know the outcomes of the stories and have lost our awe of them
- might heaven be like Sports Center where we can see the replays of what happened in Scripture?
- Benaiah had a decision to make when he encountered the lion...
1. RUN AWAY -- live another day for sure
2. ATTACK -- seize an opportunity and hang a trophy on his wall
- the church is too focused on sins of commission and rarely deals with sins of omission.
- you can do "nothing wrong" and still do "nothing right" -- the enemy loves this one !!!!
- Jesus called the servant whop buried the talent wicked
- are you playing OFFENSE ???
- Tactics of the enemy that have not changed:
Luke 22:60 -- Peter's Denial -- Pavlov and conditioned reflexes
- Did Peter have remorse every time he heard a rooster from that day forward?
- John 21 -- Jesus reconditions Peter's reflexes...
- if you fear God you need to fear nothing else
- don't accumulate possessions -- accumulate experiences
- Hebrews --- Jesus is the author of our faith
- Are you living life in a way that is worth telling stories about?

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Consider the lilies. Enjoy the journey. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. Don't let what's wrong with you keep you from worshipping what's right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze a new trail. Criticize by creating. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don't try to be who you're not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away. Chase the lion!

Link Dump -- August 13th

Not just what, but HOW! a few creative ideas about building relationships that lead to invitations
In case you ever wanted to make your own bacon - mmmmmmmmm bacon
Lowe's Makes "Katrina Cottages" Available Nationwide - a new spin on affordable housing
Young adults aren't sticking with church - this article has received a lot of buzz around the blogosphere this week
Interview with Mike Jones, the Man Who Exposed Ted Haggard’s Hypocrisy WARNING: this interview does contain some graphic content
Leadership Lessons from My Baseball Dad 1 (of 5) first of a great series of poss by Craig Groeschel
The Four Marks of a Disciple
Book Recommendations

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Book #14 -- Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy & Nathan Whitaker

This book was more than I had expected. Many books of this genre do a good job of telling the story of the subject and go on to talk about how faith played a part in their life. This book is about Tony Dungy and his faith is not a part of his life, it is his life. Every story leads to an acknowledgement of God and His role in Tony's life.
It is interesting to get a glimpse into the life of one who has attained the top of his profession, and to acknowledge that he was the first African American to do it. The value for me came when I realized that this is not about doing something extraordinary. He is a man who has been faithful with what he has been given and has continued being faithful in the biggest arena available to him. All by following one of his main philosophies of coaching, "do what we do". That is to continually stick to the game plan, never panic, and do the little things better than the opponent.
Tony is a winner at football, life, marriage, and fatherhood. He shows the importance of setting proper boundaries and priorities; especially in a profession that is known for the opposite. He has seen the highs and lows in his professional and personal life and has come through with an amazing testimony. This is a book that can (and should) be read by young men and adults. Even those who may not directly be football or Colts fans will be drawn by his story. I highly recommend it and look forward to passing my copy around. Others have been inspired to do the same. Miami Dolphins head coach Cam Cameron was so impressed with the book that he bought 1000 copies out of his own pocket to distribute at a coaching clinic. When you read it, you'll understand why.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A fun time of the year.

Football practices have begun. High Schools and the NFL have been at it over a week, Jr High started yesterday, and ND started Monday. In fact, if you go HERE you can watch video from every practice and press conferences, etc. 24 days until the first game against GT.

And it's still baseball season too.

Thought to ponder...

"The price of freedom of religion, or of speech, or of the press, is that we must put up with a good deal of rubbish."

--- Robert Jackson

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Link Dump -- August 7th

After catching up a bit; here are a few links of interest (at least to me)...

What to Do Next? (Here’s Help) -- when there's more to do than time to do it
emerging chaos -- very thought provoking
“Don’t Let Your Daughter Send an Invitation to Her Party” -- I don't always agree with Ingrid but I think there is something dads can learn from this for sure
Doxology -- A great post on the history of this song at Revitalize Your Church
Semper Gumpy: A Missional Creed?
Seven Questions A Staff Member Must Ask About Themselves -- these can apply to anyone, not just those in full time ministry
To Read or Not To Read -- the McCullough quote is quite convicting.
The 10 Most Caffeinated Diet Drinks
Waiting for My Husband After the Bridge Collapsed -- John Piper wrote a poem in the aftermath of the bridge collapse
Credit Card Survival Tool -- I just might have to get one of these
Need? What Need? -- Dan has again hit the pulse of the church. Anyone wonder why the church is viewed as irrelevant by outsiders?
Jesus' Unanswered Prayer
Every command an opportunity, an invitation, and a test
I’m surprised there isn’t a Michael Vick chew toy -- oh there is...
Breaking Stupid Laws --- BON never disappoints

Book #13 – The Leadership Game by Tom Mullins

It may seem somewhat cliché to say that this is a book that came along with the right message at the right time. However, the contents of this book have spoken directly to where I am in my personal and ministry lives at this point.
I was introduced to Pastor, strike that, Coach Mullins at this year’s General Conference in Portland. He speaks with experience, excitement and authority on the subject of being a leader in the church and doing it as a coach. I resonate so well with this and have in fact been feeling for some time that that is the role that we should be taking as church leaders. We need to enable others to get into the game and then encourage and coach them along the way. Coach Mullins has brought these thoughts together in this book and has given me something tangible to place with how I have been feeling that God is directing.
Taking from his own personal experiences and the experience and wisdom of 8 National Championship NCAA football coaches he lays before us a plan to win in the arena of leadership. This text is useful for anyone in a leader role and transcends from sports, to the boardroom, to the tool shop to the church. I especially enjoyed the section dedicated to applying these principles to ministry. This is one of a small, but growing, number of books that I keep either directly on my desk or within easy reach to be used as a reference as I work.
At a short 150 pages this is a must read for anyone who is or aspires to become a leader of people. I am excited to apply these principles. I can imagine how the church will attack it’s mission when we realize that we are not the owner and only the coaches and players. This change of perspective alone will lead us on the path to be winners. I also have a review soon of another of his books, The Confidence Factor, which is a 31 day devotional journey. I’ll leave with the 7 coaching principles:


Book #12 – Wormwood by G.P. Taylor

I picked this book up recently because it was on sale. A couple years ago, just prior to the release of this book I believe, I read Taylor’s first book, Shadowmancer. I thought that it was a pretty well written book and thought that I would get to reading Wormwood. I finally got around to it.
Taylor’s writing deal heavily in the supernatural and the doings of angels and demons play a major role in his books. As the story began I found myself confused a bit and having a hard time seeing where the plot may be leading and what the story was actually about. I stayed with the book and was glad by the end that I had. I have found that many good stories reward those who persevere.
The many characters in this book serve to point to the reminders that sin has a great hold on us and attracts us away from our true calling. Flawed people are we all. We all must chose the voices that we will listen to. As the book reaches it’s climax, Abram (actually an angel named Raphael) has the following conversation with Blake:
“Humans have always relied on their own instincts to do right. You have searched for power and wealth, and have starved your souls with your fancy philosophies and non of you have noticed. It would be better that you believed in nothing than everything served to you as belief.”
“But what ---,” Blake tried to interrupt.
“And as soon as calamity strikes you raise your hands to the air and cry out to the sky for help. You hope that all will be forgiven and goodness will come running like a frail servant bound in chains of your making, bowing and begging and tugging at his old grey beard, thankful that he’s been remembered. Well, it’s not like that!”

All I can say is, “how true!” We look to seek after the things we want and the power we desire and to be in total control until something comes along and reminds us that we never really have had that power we search after. Then we want to turn to our heavenly Father for rescue and answers.
If you are looking for a page turner book that might just make you think about how you are going through life, this could be a great book for you. It also is a powerful reminder that there is some much to reality than we truly see, know, or understand. We seem to need the constant reminder that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood” and that there are powers and principalities at work in the world around us at all times. The battle is real, even if the outcome of the war has been settled.

Monday, August 6, 2007

BOOK #11 – The Great Physician’s RX for Weight Loss

BOOK #11 – The Great Physician’s RX for Weight Loss
by Dr. Jordan Rubin

I picked this book up last week in an effort to help a new discipleship group find some curriculum. I have previously read Dr. Rubin’s book The Great Physician’s RX and had enjoyed it. This book is a small one and can be read in an afternoon. It covers the main seven principles that he goes by (see below) and expounds on their direct connection to weight loss.
I appreciate the way that Dr. Rubin writes from a personal point of view. He has lived these principles in his life. While he has never personally struggled with being heavy, he understands what it is like to have health struggles. The book also includes testimonies of some who have applied these principles to their lives.
Some, myself included, my struggle with some of the principles as far as making them practical. To me the idea of dipping my hands in soap and snorting salt water is a little over the top. I also would struggle with eating absolutely no pork products. Maybe I am the one who needs to reevaluate? I do think that if followed, even with some slight modifications, these principles would hold well for anyone looking to gain health and lose some weight.
I am convinced that the keys to weight loss/ control beyond just “eat less and exercise” are allowing God to be a part of our lives, becoming more intimate with Him, and finding a partner(s) to travel the road with us. There is safety and success in numbers; we have to be willing to engage in the accountability steps.

Seven Principles for Health
1. Eat to Live
2. Use whole food nutritional supplements
3. practice advanced hygiene
4. condition your body with exercise
5. reduce the toxins in your environment
6. avoid deadly emotions
7. live a life of prayer and purpose

Back in the connected world

Except for a few short periods I was without web access for the past week. I spend most of my time at Prairie Camp. It was a great week! Almost 20 kids made a decision for Christ on Wednesday night. I also was able to get quite a bit of reading done (I was able to type some reviews that I hope to get posted today.), previewed some curriculum, and hang out with friends (which seemed as often as not to include euchre).
I call this week our official end of summer. We are buying school stuff, football practice starts for the boys, and we try to establish some sort of a routine. That will include a return to regular blogging. I'll be having the book reviews, a link dump, and some other things I have had on my mind or have been working on. Changing the pace is good; getting the groove to accomplish the daily tasks is good as well.