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A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows through Loss by Jerry Sittser

July 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Book: A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows through Loss by Jerry Sittser

Lesson Learned: God uses loss to grow us

Rating: Amazing

Jerry Sittser lost his Mother, Wife, and one of his daughters when he was hit by a drunk driver on a family vacation. In this book he explains his loss and how he dealt with life after that loss. It is an amazing story of love and redemption. He answers the questions everyone asks after loss like: How do I go on without something I loved? Why does life seem so random? Will life ever be joyful again?

His loss is so severe, but he takes time to explain that his loss is no more than anyone else’s experience. Loss is loss no matter how it comes about and the same questions he asks are the questions everyone asks after a major loss. Each chapter opens with an applicable quote and my favorite one was this:

The edges of God are trajedy. The depths of God are joy, resurrection, life. Ressurection answers crucifixion; life answers death. Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki

God can only grow us through pain and while escaping pain would lead to an easy life it will also lead to a life void of depth and understanding. It goes back to the principle of only being able to truly love others if you accept and experience God’s love, truly give grace if you accept God’s grace.

It is impossible to live life without experiencing death, it is the end to anything of this world. Death always causes heart break, but that is also exciting because Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the broken hearted, he rescues those who are crushed in spirit”.

Categories: Book Review, Spirituality

Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller

June 20, 2010 1 comment

Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters by Timothy Keller

Rating: CS Lewis Amazing

Lesson Learned: You gotta identify and deal with your idols

First the book: Keller’s Counterfeit Gods will be one of those books in my library. It will be a book to place on a shelf within arms reach so that I can open it up when I’m dealing with falling more in love with this world than I am with Jesus and his plan for my life. He goes through the idols of money, sex and power and how those very obvious categories turn into idols in people’s lives. I love the idea that you know what an idol is when you are disenchanted by something you lifted up more than God. If a relationship brings you despair then did you love that person more than you loved God, and it isn’t that you love that person left it is that you love God more and you take away the things you expect from that person only God can provide. That’s what an idol does, it allows us to think we can fill a part of our life with something on earth that only God can fill.

Now Keller: I am surprised the book was easy enough for me to read. I expected something really difficult and heady, but what I found was something on the level of C S Lewis- no exaggeration. Having the great fortune to attend Keller’s church Redeemer as a student at NYU I can say without a doubt I am proud to have Keller on Team Jesus.

Categories: Book Review, Spirituality

This Beautiful Mess: Practicing the Presence of the Kingdom of God by Rick McKinley

June 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Book: This Beautiful Mess: Practicing the Presence of the Kingdom of God by Rick McKinley

Rating: Amazing

Lesson Learned: We don’t ask God to be the King of our Kingdom we enter his kingdom and subject ourselves as his citizens

This has been one of the most important books to the development of my faith. I don’t know why some of theĀ simplestĀ ideas have escaped me through the years when it comes to faith. God doesn’t want to come in to manage what I want to do, he wants me to enter his Kingdom so I can set out to do what he is already doing. I am a kingdom citizen.

Categories: Book Review, Spirituality

Real-Time Connections: Linking Your Job with God’s Global Work by Bob Roberts Jr.

February 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Book: Real-Time Connections: Linking Your Job with God’s Global Work by Bob Roberts Jr.

Rating: The Best

Lesson Learned: Excuses are Gone

If you are a plumber you dig water wells, if you are a police man you can help teach security best practices, if you are a teacher you can bring innovative curriculum to a place that is in need of it. There are no more excuses for you to sit on your rear and not mobilize to do something global…none. Real-Time Connections offers a way for ordinary people to take hold of their job and make a difference with it both locally and globally. We have done such a great job of segmenting our life so that we have work, home, friends, and community but this is a sick way of thinking. We spend the most time out of anything we do at work so we might as well become an expert and share that expertise with others. Its not about exporting Western Ideals it is about serving. This is Linchpin for Christians.

This is Roberts’ best book to date.

Categories: Book Review, Spirituality

The Multiplying Church: The New Math for Starting New Churches by Bob Roberts Jr.

February 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Book: The Multiplying Church: The New Math for Starting New Churches by Bob Roberts Jr.

Rating: Great

Lesson Learned: Church the area

If you have ever attended Northwood you would have heard Roberts say, “I don’t wan to be the biggest church in the area, I want to church the area.” This has been more than just something to say. The Multiplying Church is about how to take the latter course and ensure people have a place to call home.

Categories: Book Review, Spirituality

Glocalization: How Followers of Jesus Engage a Flat World by Bob Roberts Jr.

February 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Book: Glocalization: How Followers of Jesus Engage a Flat World by Bob Roberts Jr.

Rating: Great

Lesson Learned: Its not my pastors job

Kennedy really started to explore the idea of people to people diplomacy through the Peace Corp and whatever you might think this idea has made a difference in the world. It is easy to bash someones government, but it is harder to do so when you sit down with the ‘other’ and are able to hear their stories and understand their history. Glocalization explains how the average church member can engage our new globalized world. Missions is no longer track blasting and funding the IMB it is taking members and mobilizing them. This book will get you rocking.

Categories: Book Review, Spirituality

Transformation: How Glocal Churches Transform Lives and the World by Bob Roberts Jr.

February 16, 2010 1 comment

Book: Transformation: How Glocal Churches Transform Lives and the World by Bob Roberts Jr.

Rating: Great

Lesson Learned: It’s all about Glocal

Glocal is the merging of Global and Local. Roberts wants people to think both simultaneously not one then the other; our world demands this unique insight. The book is about Northwood and how it moved from being a mega-church to a church doing mega things in the world. Lots of people can be thankful for good friends and family, I get to be thankful for growing up in a church that demanded the most from its members and did everything it could from becoming a Sunday experience. Part of the equation was doing massive work in Vietnam. Through Northwood I have been able to go to Vietnam and do such things as plow ground for a clinic to meet with heads of state. For you to get what God is doing with Northwood this is an essential read. This book explains how Northwood ended up in Vietnam and what the impact has been on the church and its members.

Categories: Book Review, Spirituality