10 Books That Shaped Me

 

There are a lot of things that have molded and shaped me over the years. Some good and some not so good. Be that as it may, I was thinking this week about how there are a lot of great books I’ve read over the years that have come to define who I am. The Bible is obviously one of those and in a class all by itself. I put some thought in to what the 10 books that really shaped me were. If you haven’t read some of them, I highly recommend giving each one some attention. Each one molded, changed and shaped me in a different way. So let’s get started.

More

What's Your Cause?

Man…I hate it when that happens. Well, I actually love when this happens and hate it at the same time. Let me explain. You know how you get one of those random “signs” from God. Then you get another and another and another? All connected, all the same theme? Yep. I love that and I hate it too. It’s exciting and scary at the same time. So here has been the theme all week…

Causes…

It started small but seems to be leading to something. God is laying on my heart in a BIG ol’ way that there are causes to be considered, things to be done and it’s time to start getting creative. The latest in the string of “signs” came tonight when I got an email invitation to preview a new book called, get this, “The Cause Within You” by Matthew Barnett.

Are you serious?

Yep. So causes has been a theme written on my heart this week and now I’ve got an opportunity to read a book written specifically about this very subject. Matthew Barnett is the Pastor of an incredible ministry in LA called “The Dream Center“. I think this guy just might have a thing or two to teach about causes and finding yours. The Dream Center is an example of what can happen when one man catches the wave of his cause and rides is wherever God leads. Amazing.

I’m looking forward to diving into the book when I receive it and I’ll keep you all posted on what I find. Until then check out his website (HERE), the facebook page (HERE), his Twitter feed (HERE) and ask yourself this question….

What’s Your Cause?

What’s Your Cause?

Man…I hate it when that happens. Well, I actually love when this happens and hate it at the same time. Let me explain. You know how you get one of those random “signs” from God. Then you get another and another and another? All connected, all the same theme? Yep. I love that and I hate it too. It’s exciting and scary at the same time. So here has been the theme all week…

Causes…

It started small but seems to be leading to something. God is laying on my heart in a BIG ol’ way that there are causes to be considered, things to be done and it’s time to start getting creative. The latest in the string of “signs” came tonight when I got an email invitation to preview a new book called, get this, “The Cause Within You” by Matthew Barnett.

Are you serious?

Yep. So causes has been a theme written on my heart this week and now I’ve got an opportunity to read a book written specifically about this very subject. Matthew Barnett is the Pastor of an incredible ministry in LA called “The Dream Center“. I think this guy just might have a thing or two to teach about causes and finding yours. The Dream Center is an example of what can happen when one man catches the wave of his cause and rides is wherever God leads. Amazing.

I’m looking forward to diving into the book when I receive it and I’ll keep you all posted on what I find. Until then check out his website (HERE), the facebook page (HERE), his Twitter feed (HERE) and ask yourself this question….

What’s Your Cause?

Guys With Guitar Cases

Being the world traveler that I am, I began to notice a trend in airports that I visited…”Guys With Guitar Cases In Airports“. No matter the city, no matter the time of day, there is ALWAYS a guy carrying a guitar case in the airport. My hypothesis grew into a vision to create the most epic Coffee Table Book in the history of Coffee Table Books. I mean, who doesn’t want a book full of pictures with “Guys With Guitar Cases In Airports” sitting on their coffee table? Honestly.

It will be to Coffee Tables what Purpose Driven Life was to Churches.

It will be EPIC

Imagine the laughs as you gather the family around the coffee table and pour over picture after picture. With the combined efforts of my good friend David Schroeder, our vision is coming into focus. Not only is it started, it is gaining steam. With the help of friends on Twitter, we are starting to gather pictures from all over the United States (I hear that Nashville is like Mecca for Guys With Guitar Cases). We’ve received submissions from fellow road warriors like MochaDad for example. Just this evening we received submissions from Matt and Susan Manes as they made their way through the airport in Detroit.

Now that you have the tips, I send you off to assist in the most epic, most incredible coffee table book ever created. Hey, we’ve even got a website. You can twitter your submissions with a hashtag of #GWGCIA or you can always email them to me. This is your chance to be in on the ground floor of a huge opportunity. Don’t let it fly (get it???) by!

Some of our early photos:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

OutLive Your Life

For months now I have been telling you about the incredible new book by Max Lucado called “Outlive Your Life“. I gave you a brief preview HERE and a more detailed preview HERE. Well the wait is finally over! On Tuesday, Outlive Your Life is officially available from my friends at Thomas Nelson. If I could challenge you to get one book this year, this is the one. It is based on the book of Acts and is a call to action. You cannot read this book and not pause to consider the tremendous opportunity we all still have to change the world.

As hard as it is to believe, in just a few short months many people will begin making resolutions for a new year. Why not start today by getting a copy of “Outlive Your Life” (Max is donating 100% of author royalties from all Outlive Your Life products to benefit children and families through World Vision and other ministries of faith-based compassion). It will set your path for the remainder of this year. It will change the life of at least one child. It will be one of the best books you’ve read.

Even Through Tears

About 2 weeks ago, I was one of the crazy 500 people that crashed the servers at Thomas Nelson in anticipation of getting a copy of the book “Plan B” by Pete Wilson. Thankfully I made it through the server crash and received a copy about a week ago. While I can’t do a review until next week (Plan B hits the streets on May 4th), this book has been hitting me hard. Let me say this, go pre-order your copy today….after your finish reading this post of course.

As I read the chapter called “Darkness” (Chapter 8), I couldn’t help but think of so many people and so many scenarios that I know of right now. So many times when we can’t help but think “it’s not supposed to go like that”. So many stories of hurt, pain, struggle and what we think is just not right. From the book:

More

Two “Must Have” Books

Cover of
Cover of Love You Forever

On Monday nights, my oldest two children have piano lessons. This means that our youngest child and I get to spend some quality time with one another. I usually allow for whatever it is that she would like to do to fill this space of time. We play board games, watch a movie or, like last night, read books. As we settled into the chair with a huge stack of books, I though that the timing was perfect to introduce her to a book that my Mom read to me – “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch.

As I read through the book, I couldn’t help the crack in my voice. If you have children, this is one of my two “Must Have” books. Even if your children are older, it’s never too late to share this story (my mom read it to me when I was in college). The second “Must Have” book is called “I’ll Wait Right Here” by Ron DiCianni. This is another book that if you can make it through without getting all welled up, you’re a bigger parent than I am.

I’ll Wait Right Here” is a touching story about a Dad’s promise to his son. It was a gift from my sister for Christmas one year long before “the boy” was ever born. I read it to him once and could hardly get through it. While both stories really pull at the heart strings, they bring home the message of our love for our children. As silly as I thought my Mom reading this to me when I was all grown up was, I cherish that moment now. I treasure that story.

If you’re a parent, soon to be a parent, or know someone with children, both of these books are “Must Have” gifts. Pick them up today and make a memory or two for you and your child.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Two "Must Have" Books

Cover of
Cover of Love You Forever

On Monday nights, my oldest two children have piano lessons. This means that our youngest child and I get to spend some quality time with one another. I usually allow for whatever it is that she would like to do to fill this space of time. We play board games, watch a movie or, like last night, read books. As we settled into the chair with a huge stack of books, I though that the timing was perfect to introduce her to a book that my Mom read to me – “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch.

As I read through the book, I couldn’t help the crack in my voice. If you have children, this is one of my two “Must Have” books. Even if your children are older, it’s never too late to share this story (my mom read it to me when I was in college). The second “Must Have” book is called “I’ll Wait Right Here” by Ron DiCianni. This is another book that if you can make it through without getting all welled up, you’re a bigger parent than I am.

I’ll Wait Right Here” is a touching story about a Dad’s promise to his son. It was a gift from my sister for Christmas one year long before “the boy” was ever born. I read it to him once and could hardly get through it. While both stories really pull at the heart strings, they bring home the message of our love for our children. As silly as I thought my Mom reading this to me when I was all grown up was, I cherish that moment now. I treasure that story.

If you’re a parent, soon to be a parent, or know someone with children, both of these books are “Must Have” gifts. Pick them up today and make a memory or two for you and your child.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Currently Reading

My good friend (and soon to be 1/2 marathon running partner) David Schroeder from Thomas Nelson was kind enough to send me a copy of “The Search For God and Guinness”. I was wrapping up a few other books so was not able to start on it until just a few days ago. I’m only a few chapters in but already find this book to be fascinating. I’ll give you a full review sometime in the future, but if you’re wondering why I’m reading a book about beer (and believe me I’ve gotten questions), check out this quick video. This might explain why I find this book and the Guinness Company so amazing. Special thanks to my friend David. This will give us something to chat about over those 13.1 miles in Nashville!

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years – A Review

About 2 years ago, I got an email from a Pastor in the blogosphere with one simple question on it. It said “What’s your story”. That was it. Three simple words. I had no idea how to respond to that email. There were literally about a thousand directions I could got with the answer. I have since emailed, talked on the phone and even had the pleasure of meeting that Pastor in person once. Even though we don’t know each other well, I count him as a friend. One of the first things I said to him when we met in person was “remember that email you sent me and what you asked me?” Something about that question really struck a chord.

All of that brings me to the new book by another one of my favorite authors, Donald Miller. The new book is called “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” and it is one of the best books I have read this year. I literally COULD NOT put this book down. Something in it struck me and I felt as if I could have written pages of the book myself. Many of you know Donald Miller from his book “Blue Like Jazz” which seems to be at the top of many peoples “favorite books” list (including me). As much as I liked Blue Like Jazz, I actually liked “Searching for God Knows What” and “To Own a Dragon” even more. Of all of his books, To Own a Dragon left the biggest impact on me personally….until I read A Million Miles.

If you have read Donald Miller, you know that his writing is different than most authors. It’s more like sitting in a room with a guy as he just talks. You are pulled into the thoughts and ramblings of a guy that is just trying to piece this whole thing together. His books are at times, hilarious, and other times brutally honest. Maybe that is why I enjoy them so much. I think I would be fast friends wtih Donald Miller. He writes in a way that makes you think you would too.

The book picks up at the beginning with how they are going to make a movie from the book “Blue Like Jazz”. You can find out more about that project (HERE). What Donald quickly finds out is that there is more to a movie than just taking a book and putting it on film. He learns that the audience needs a story and quite frankly, his life is missing one. Most of the book is his writing of HIS story as he begins to really LIVE and not just exist anymore. This is where I found our story to be so similar. While I have never ridden a bike across the country (which Donald did for charity while writing this book), I can totally align with his thoughts from my running experiences this past year. Here is just one quote that I underlined:

After a while the story about training for Peru was going well. It was suspenseful, because I’d go work out with Dave, and every time I worked out, I’d feel out of shape, and that made me wonder if I had what it took to finish the hike. Suddenly my life wasn’t boring or meaningless. There was something I had to do in order to keep a bad thing from happening.

It’s true that while ambition creates fear, it also creates the story. But is a good trade, because as soon as you point toward a horizon, life no longer feels meaningless. And suddenly there is risk in your story and a question about whether you’ll make it.

A year ago I ran around the block with a friend (ironically also named Dave) and next thing I know we were signed up for a 4 mile race on Thanksgiving Day. I absolutely understand what Donald means in the quote above. I suddenly had risk in that I didn’t want to fail or quit that 4 mile run. I wanted to finish. That was me “pointing toward a horizon”. I suddenly had meaning and a place to distract me from myself. A year later and I have run a 4 miler, several 5K’s, a 10K, two half marathon’s and a full marathon. Its not about the races though. It is about what each of those have taught me about myself, my story and my meaning in life. The meaning is not running, but it is the vehicle by which I have been able to sort it all out. That is why this book, for me, became very personal and so treasured.

I HIGHLY recommend the book “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years”. If you are a Donald Miller fan, you will love this book. If you have never read Donald Miller, you will be a fan by the time you have finished it. Ask yourself the question that my friend Paul asked me 2 years ago right now….”What is Your Story?. If you don’t have an answer, there is NO better time to read “A Million Miles” and start writing your own story today!

I give “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” a 5 out of 5!

Fearless Book Review

fearless-audio-book-263x300This post is not about me. This review is not about me. The subject and the story leading into my review, however, are about me. More specifically, the subject is something that I would venture to guess many of us deal with on a daily basis. So let me begin by being real transparent about that elephant in the middle of the room called fear. It is real. So real that Max Lucado, one of my favorite authors has blessed us all by writing a book to remind each and every single person that reads it who is in control of our fears.

Over a year ago, I went to visit the doctor for a routine physical. I was suffering from some abdominal pain so when the blood test came back with a higher than normal bilirubin number, you can imagine what came next…fear. A quick visit to Web MD (which I recommend NO ONE does) revealed that one of the results could be the dreaded “C” word. All of the sudden that back pain on the left side, upper abdominal pain on the left side, high bilirubin and a gall bladder removal which didn’t fix the problem had this blogger freaking out. One Ultrasound, X-Ray and CT scan later and the results were still the same. “Pancreas looks fine, no idea why you’re having that pain”. Fast forward one year later. The Bilirubin has no real answer. The pain in my back has been called “muscular skeletal” and the abdominal pain is just “one of those things”. None of those answers help reduce the fear that lies within.

One week ago, while in the midst of reading the book “Fearless” by Max Lucado, I scheduled another annual physical. Still scared to death at what might happen and with honestly NO REASON why. I went to my physical convinced I would hear something I didn’t want to hear. The elephant in the middle of the room (fear) had taken up residency on my shoulders (maybe THAT explains the back pain?). I have allowed something which doesn’t come from our creator and the one that loves us to define my thoughts, dominate my days and interrupt my sleep. Fear is real and I deal with it (some would say don’t deal with it) all day and night. Just like my abdominal pain, it serves as a reminder of my past and creates a mess of my future. Enter the book FEARLESS….

Max Lucado has always been one of my favorite authors. His writing and his books have a way of simplifying the complicated and reminding us that our heavenly father wants nothing more than to be with us and love on us. While the subject of fear is real and can be identified, our response to fear is what will determine how we spend the days (and nights) of our lives. We can either be defined by it (like Peter when he “saw the wind” in Matthew 12:30) or we can determine to allow one of the 21 Christ-issued imperatives about fear to sink in and be our answer to fear (pg. 10 Fearless). As you can imagine, the chapter on “Worst Case Scenario” (Chapter 7) might as well have been written about and for me. It hit me write where I live and breathe each day. If it’s any indication, Heather (who has also read the book) noted that chapter when we were discussing the book. I hold the patent on the “worst case scenario thinking”.

Friends, I have read twenty one of Max Lucado’s books. I can say, with confidence, that the book “Fearless” is in the top 3 of all of them. “In the Grip of Grace” taught me to forgive my past and others and accept God’s gift of a grace while never being able to wrap my head around it. “Traveling Light” taught me to leave the burdens I have and the baggage I was never meant to carry somewhere in the past. “Fearless” went straight to my enemy, my “thorn” (as Paul called it), my elephant in the middle of the room and gave me ample reasons to kindly ask fear to leave my home. Am I cured instantly? No. However “Fearless” is a book and collection of reminders of the many reasons why I am on the way to recovery from my fears.

I recommend “Fearless” to anyone that reads this post. This is one of Max’s finest works. He has taken a subject that is relevant and real and delivered the prescription to what is bothering us. He has once again become the vessel by which God can deliver a message of love for his children. We were not created to fear, but to trust.

When the bilirubin number is abnormal….don’t fear….trust.

When the abdominal pain lingers….don’t fear….trust.

When the back pain persists….don’t fear….trust.

If you’re wondering about my physical, my doctor marveled at my BMI dropping from a 30+ one year ago to a “perfect 23”.The blood pressure reading was “122/80” after 6 months of NO blood pressure medicine and previous visits being pegged in the hypertension numbers. The doctor called tonight to say that my blood work looked “beautiful” too. The physical turned out to be a great visit and news.

All that fear. All that worry. All that self diagnosis and hours spent in “worst case”.

Nothing to fear.

I give the book “Fearless” a 5 out of 5.

Simply The Best!

wide awake imageOne thing that has always amazed me is how books seem to hit at just the right time. I actually recevied “Wide Awake” by Erwin McManus for Christmas along with 2 other books. I started the other two before I even opened “Wide Awake”. Then one day I sat down in a comfortable chair, put my feet up, opened “Wide Awake”

and fell asleep

True story. Ask “the boy”. He was sitting right there when it happened. So for 7 months this book has sat on the shelf and collected dust. I decided to take it with me on vacation back in June (along with one of the other Christmas books I have yet to read) and read it on the beach. Since the last book I read by Erwin McManus (Soul Cravings) didn’t really do much for me, I decided to start vacation off with “Faith and Doubt” by John Ortberg. Ortberg books always inspire and keep me laughing. His “Everybody is Normal Till You Get To Know Them” is in my top 5 favorites. Yet after a chapter or two, I found myself drawn to open up “Wide Awake” again and start with that book.

By the time vacation was over I had read half the book and was just looking for a time when I could read some more. I have folded more corners than I can count and underlined more quotes than I have ever underlined a book. It’s fitting that there is an eye on the cover because that is where this one hit me…square between the eyes. No other book has captured my attention or received more head nods in agreement. It hit right in the very place that I have been dwelling for nearly a year now.

This book is all about our dreams.

The dreams that God places in our hearts.

It’s about chasing those dreams no matter what the cost.

It’s about knowing that God is bigger than the obstacles in the way of those dreams.

BOOM! Now you understand why I underlined and folded corners. McManus spent 250+ pages “preaching to the choir”. Not only was I in agreement, I was convicted. Too often I think I let my human nature talk me out of what I know, in my heart, God has called me to do. All too often I have allowed my thoughts define the reasons why I shouldn’t when FAITH  should be the reasons I should.

When I closed this book, I can with conviction say that it is the best book I have ever read. Sorry Tony Dungy, “Quiet Strength” has officially slid to number two on my list.  I know that I will return, again and again, to “Wide Awake” for inspiration and a blueprint of dreams that will be fulfilled.

I give this book 5 out of 5!

Next up: An advance copy of the new Max Lucado book  “Fearless” thanks to my friends at Thomas Nelson.

More McManus

walking on beach3

This book (“Wide Awake“) is becomming one big book of life changing quotes. Love this book!

“Take time to invest in the people who are in your life. Slow down if you have to, and bring them with you. It is better to adjust your pace than to walk alone. A life well lived isn’t about who walks the fastest but about who has the most people walking with them. You can’t make time for everyone, but you can make time for someone. So invest well.”

-Erwin McManus from the book ” Wide Awake

"Wide Awake" Quotes

I have been reading the book “Wide Awake” by Erwin McManus recently. This is a great book. I have folded the corner of at least every other page (a signal that I liked something on that page) and underlined a majority of it. As an added bonus, I found out this week that Erwin graduated from none other than The University of North Carolina!  I will be sharing many of his quotes but here are just a few so far:

The unknown with God is better than the known without him

I think a lot of us are not on a path; we’re in a rut. We have confused comfort with peace, belief with faith, safety with wisdom, wealth with blessing, and existence with life.

Now what you have to ask yourself is this: am I willing to move from what I have to what I could create? Am I willing to give up what I know for what I don’t know? Do I keep shrinking back to the life I have because it’s the default mode for existence? Am I willing to risk everything I have to create the life you could have? This is the same tough choice that those who came before us and were marked by faith had to make.

Faith pushes you to pursue a God-sized dream, and hope pulls and inspires you to never quit until it is a reality.

To make even one dream come to reality, many other dreams have to be sacrificed on the altar of your imagination.

“Wide Awake” Quotes

I have been reading the book “Wide Awake” by Erwin McManus recently. This is a great book. I have folded the corner of at least every other page (a signal that I liked something on that page) and underlined a majority of it. As an added bonus, I found out this week that Erwin graduated from none other than The University of North Carolina!  I will be sharing many of his quotes but here are just a few so far:

The unknown with God is better than the known without him

I think a lot of us are not on a path; we’re in a rut. We have confused comfort with peace, belief with faith, safety with wisdom, wealth with blessing, and existence with life.

Now what you have to ask yourself is this: am I willing to move from what I have to what I could create? Am I willing to give up what I know for what I don’t know? Do I keep shrinking back to the life I have because it’s the default mode for existence? Am I willing to risk everything I have to create the life you could have? This is the same tough choice that those who came before us and were marked by faith had to make.

Faith pushes you to pursue a God-sized dream, and hope pulls and inspires you to never quit until it is a reality.

To make even one dream come to reality, many other dreams have to be sacrificed on the altar of your imagination.

Wide Awake

I’ve only read half of this book so far and it is incredible. It will challenge you to re-think and ask if you are where you should be and if you are doing what you should be doing. Great book.

Review – Cast of Characters

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was given the honor of reviewing a copy of the new Max Lucado book “Cast of Characters” by my new friends at Thomas Nelson Publishing. I also mentioned that I had the blessing of meeting Max and his wife Denalyn about a year ago. To this day it was one of the best memories of my life. It was great to see that the man behind the books is just as real as his writing. I count it such a blessing that this book came at just the right time for me. Several chapters felt like they hit right in a spot that I have been evaluating, discerning or questioning. The short version is that I loved this book.

Cast of Characters can probably best be summed up as a “greatest hits” from some of Max’s other books. He has taken sections where he gave insight into, as the book says, “common people in the hands of an uncommon God”. His ability to tell their story and give another look into how God can use ANYONE for his purpose was refreshing. I think we often hear the stories, but forget that God will use people in amazing ways to glorify his name and advance his kingdom. Check out this list of “characters” (*notes my favorite chapters):

Joseph
Matthew
Woman Who Washed Jesus Feet
Mephibosheth *
Samaritan Woman
Mary, Martha and Lazarus *
Abigail
Paralyzed Man
John *
Paul
Two Criminals *
Moses
Joseph *
David *
Esther
Job *
Nicodemus
Jairus
Rich Young Ruler
Sarah, Peter and Paul
Lazarus
Peter

It is quite a list and quite a book. If you’re looking for a gift for someone for Christmas, I would highly recommend “Cast of Characters”. Even if you have read all of Max’s previous books, this is a wonderful collection which will inspire you no matter where you are on the journey. God has blessed Max Lucado with the gift of reaching people right where they are. This book will do the same. Thanks again to Thomas Nelson for the honor of previewing it and thank you Max Lucado for using your spiritual gift to advance the Kingdom!

Reading Wish List

It’s that time again. I am compiling my reading wish list and am pretty excited about what is available now. Thanks to my good friend Stef, I have already crossed The Winners Manual off the list. Not only did I get to cross it off the list, it came autographed by one Mr. Jim Tressel! Stef went the extra mile on that gift! Thank you brother.

Here are just a few of the books I hope to read over the next few months. You can find my entire list (HERE) How about you? Any recommendations from something you have read lately?

1. Faith and DoubtJohn Ortberg

2. The Air I BreatheLouie Giglio

3. FacedownMatt Redman

4. Wide AwakeErwin McManus

5. Simple ChurchThom S. Rainer

6. Vintage JesusMark Driscoll

7. Wild Goose ChaseMark Batterson

8. UnChristianDavid Kinnaman

9. Raising Dad Thom S. Rainer

10. Organic ChurchNeil Cole

Quotables

Sorry friends, really busy week this week. In the meantime, I thought I would post some more quick quotes from “Cast of Characters” by Max Lucado. I’ll have a full review before the end of the week (the short version is that it’s awesome!).

“Changing Direction in life is not tragic. Losing passion in life is.”

“Behind every avalanche is a snowflake
Behind every rock slide is a pebble
An atomic explosion begins with one atom
And a revival can begin with one sermon.”

“Getting even is only natural. Which, incidentally, is precisely the problem. Revenge is natural, not spiritual. Getting even is the rule of the jungle. Giving grace is the rule of the kingdom”

“Yesterday you can’t alter, but your reaction to yesterday you can. The past you cannot change, but your response to your past you can.”

“To forgive someone is to admit our limitations”

Which Are You?

A long travel day helped me get through rougly 87 pages of “Cast of Characters” by Max Lucado yesterday. I have to save my complete review for when it is all done. I will tell you that this book could not have come at a better time. If it is any indication of how good it is, I am folding corners like crazy with great quotes and insight. One I had to share today was from John 12: 1-9. I am sure that many have heard the comparisons to Martha being a “worker” and Mary being a “Worshiper”. Max also includes Lazarus and Judas in this chapter. You can read the quote below, but the question I had to ask myself this morning is…”which are you?”

If you are a Martha, be strengthened. God sees you service

If you are a Mary, be encouraged. God recieves your worship

If you are a Lazarus, be strong. God honors your conviction (testimony)

But if you are a Judas, be warned. God sees your selfishness.

-Max Lucado from the book “Cast of Characters

Way To Live

I brought “Velvet Elvis” with me on this trip to re-read. It’s been about a year or so since I read it, so I thought I would run through it again. It only took a few pages to remind me why it is one of my favorite books. Check this out:

“I’m convinced being generous is a better way to live.

I’m convinced forgiving people and not carrying around bitterness is a better way to live.

I’m convinced having compassion is a better way to live.

I’m convinced pursuing peace in every situation is a better way to live.

I’m convinced listening to the wisdom of others is a better way to live.

I’m convinced being honest with people is a better way to live.

This way of thinking isn’t weird or strange; it is simply acknowledging that everybody follows somebody, and I’m trying to follow Jesus.”

-Rob Bell

Summer Reading List

An interesting thing happened last week as I was cleaning out the archives of this blog. I realized that there is a direct connection between personal growth and the times when I was reading consistently. I chalked up my lack of personal growth reading recently to a shortage in new book releases. Boy was I wrong! A visit to Lifeway produced a list which will soon be filled at CBD. Although summer is speeding by, here is the quick list of books I hope to power through in the next few months.

1. “Vintage Jesus” by Mark Driscoll

2. “Winners Manual” by Jim Tressell

3. “Wide Awake” by Erwin McManus

4. “Walking with God” by John Eldredge

5. “Axiom” by Bill Hybels

6. “No Athiests in Fox Holes” by Patrick McLaughlin

7. “Downpour” by James McDonald

8. “Raising Dad” by Tom S Rainer

I’m always on the lookout for more good reads. How about you? What are you reading? Any recommendations?

I Ordered Mine!

I can’t believe it has been two years since roughly 30 other men and I went through the book “Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge. Something special happened over the course of the 8 weeks within this group. Although we have all continued on our own journeys, I think what happened in “Wild at Heart” has stayed in “Wild at Heart”. It was something I will never forget.

One of the men that joined us for the 8 weeks is a man named Ken Neff. While I did not know Ken before WAH started, I had the honor of getting to know him throughout the 8 weeks. Ken and a few of the other men in the group took our charge to create a “band of brothers” seriously and continued to meet long after WAH ended. My family and I had the honor of joining Ken and his family on the 4th of July for an evening of food, freinds, fellowship and fireworks!

I write this post to highlight a new venture for Ken. He has released a book called “Thoughts on Becoming a Journeyman“. I had the opportunity to preview it while at his home. I also just ordered my own copy today. I’ll have a review once I get a chance to read through it, but I can tell you that Ken is a man after Gods own heart. He has an incredible family and has been a blessing in my life. Take a minute and visit Ken at KenNeff.com.

Before I even read through it, I know I can say “thanks Ken”!

You Can Do It!

For those fans of the book “Quiet Strength” by Tony Dungy, here is something new to consider. Tony has put together a story book for children called “You Can Do It”. You can find all of the details and ordering information (HERE). Quiet Strength continues to sit atop the “Arms Wide Open Best Book I ever read list”. For those that have not read it yet, it is now available in paperback. Praise the Lord for Tony Dungy!

Somewhere, someone read that title and shouted out a Rob Schneider “Water Boy” reference. I just know it….

Good Reads

I decided to start re-reading “Chasing Daylight” again last night. This is one of those books that should be required reading once a year. The message seems to always be very timely. Below are a few underlines from the first time I read this book.

  • “There are things God does for you and things God waits for you to do. The journey begins when you choose. Stop wasting daylight. Choose a life of meaningful adventure. When you do, you will live in the epicenter of God’s activity”
  • “Like Rahab, we are always just one choice from a different life. At our worst, good is only one decision away.”
  • “Do what you know you should do, and you will know what to do. God clarifies in the midst of obedience, not beforehand”.
  • “All of us pass a bit of ourselves on to others. You better like who you are and make what you give to others from yourself a gift and not a curse.”
  • “The most important decisions of our lives will require us to forsake invisibility and risk becoming visible. Whenever you choose to seize divine moments, you move from invisibility to visibility.”
  • “Many times when we claim we are waiting on God, He is waiting on us.”

Folded Corners

My good friend Denny taught me a trick a few years ago of folding the corner on the pages I wanted to remember. I let my fingers do the walking through those page folds tonight and below are the quotes that I found. Interesting that they mean as much to me now (maybe more) as they did when I read Chasing Daylight by Erwin McManus a year ago.

“We all want miracles and then spend our lives avoiding the context in which miracles happen” (pg 71)

“Most of life’s challenges are a test of first-dimension faith – trusting God with your relationships; trusting God with your finances; trusting God with your career; and making decisions based on His character in the midst of those arenas.” (pg 73)

“If a prayer’s ultimate intent is to fulfill God’s will, we can move with confidence, even if God doesn’t answer that prayer the way we expect. The more closely we reflect God’s heart in our prayers, the more often our request will match His response.” (pg 74)

“Faith is all about character, trusting in the character of God, being certain in who God is and following Him into the unknown”. (pg 75)

“But don’t look for God to fill in all the blanks. Don’t wait for Him to remove all the uncertainty. Realize He may actually increase the uncertainty and leverage all the odds against you, just so that you will know in the end that it wasn’t your gifts but His power through your gifts that fulfilled His purpose in your life.” (pg 78 )

“Are you willing to live a life that honors God and reflects His character and leaves the outcome to Him? Are you willing to live by faith and trust Him to be faithful? There will be days on this journey of faith when the outcome will be clear, and you will not like the implications. On those days you must, like Jesus, declare ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done’ (Luke 22:42)” (pg 81)

The Only Thing That's Good In Me

200px-michaepose.jpgLet me begin by thanking Kerri for her recommendation of the new Michael English book “The Prodigal Comes Home” a few weeks ago. I started reading it on Friday and couldn’t put it down until I finished it last night. I am still thinking about it today. It’s not a fairy tale story. I won’t give away details, but I recommend this book to anyone. To those that struggle with addiction, self-doubt, Religion vs. Jesus, failure, doubt and self control…this book is a must read. It’s a story of Gods endless pursuit of our heart and His matchless grace.

Michael has also released a new single called “The Only Thing That’s Good In Me”. After reading his book, the lyrics take an entirely new meaning. The two parts that spoke to me directly were:

“If you would walk the hallways of my heart
And see things as they really are
I wonder if you might be surprised.
Seeing faded walls of pride and fear
Rooms I filled with faithless tears
Corners where I’ve stood in compromise”

“The only thing that’s good in me is Jesus
The only thing that’s good in me is Jesus
I’ve lived long enough to know
No matter what this life might show
The only thing that’s good in me is Jesus”

I’ve learned over the years that the web and blogs can make this big ol’ world pretty small. That being the case, if you know Michael English, or have any way to contact him, I post this message below to him directly.

Michael – Thank you for being transparent. Thank you for putting your struggles, failure, battles and long road home in print for others to read. I pray that you continue on your road to healing. I pray that God uses your journey to bring others into a loving relationship with him. I pray for his strength and power as you walk each day in a renewed relationship with him. Thank you again.

The Only Thing That’s Good In Me

200px-michaepose.jpgLet me begin by thanking Kerri for her recommendation of the new Michael English book “The Prodigal Comes Home” a few weeks ago. I started reading it on Friday and couldn’t put it down until I finished it last night. I am still thinking about it today. It’s not a fairy tale story. I won’t give away details, but I recommend this book to anyone. To those that struggle with addiction, self-doubt, Religion vs. Jesus, failure, doubt and self control…this book is a must read. It’s a story of Gods endless pursuit of our heart and His matchless grace.

Michael has also released a new single called “The Only Thing That’s Good In Me”. After reading his book, the lyrics take an entirely new meaning. The two parts that spoke to me directly were:

“If you would walk the hallways of my heart
And see things as they really are
I wonder if you might be surprised.
Seeing faded walls of pride and fear
Rooms I filled with faithless tears
Corners where I’ve stood in compromise”

“The only thing that’s good in me is Jesus
The only thing that’s good in me is Jesus
I’ve lived long enough to know
No matter what this life might show
The only thing that’s good in me is Jesus”

I’ve learned over the years that the web and blogs can make this big ol’ world pretty small. That being the case, if you know Michael English, or have any way to contact him, I post this message below to him directly.

Michael – Thank you for being transparent. Thank you for putting your struggles, failure, battles and long road home in print for others to read. I pray that you continue on your road to healing. I pray that God uses your journey to bring others into a loving relationship with him. I pray for his strength and power as you walk each day in a renewed relationship with him. Thank you again.

I Got Tagged – One Book

I got tagged by Mudpuppy

01. One book that changed your life
Wild at Heart” – I found out some things that I had put under heavy lock and key that needed to be dealt with. It’s taught me much about being a husband, father, man of God and friend.

02. One book that you’ve read more than once
Everybody’s Normal Until You Get To Know Them” -One of my favorite books of all time. If I had to choose one book that defined how I believe God wired me, this would be it. John Ortberg outlines our deep desire to live in community with one another, love one another, help one another and understand that we are all on the journey.

03. One book you’d want on a desert island
The easy answer here would be “The Bible“. Since that is a given, I would say “Traveling Light” by Max Lucado. He breaks down the 23rd Psalm by explaining that we are carrying burdens we were never meant to carry. We are living out of someone else’s suitcase at times. Incredible book.

04. One book that made you laugh
Blue Like Jazz – For once I found an author that could write like I think. Donald Miller is all over the place in terms of his thought process. It was like having lunch with a friend.

05. One book that made you cry
When Christ Comes” -This actually just happened a few weeks ago. Max Lucado dedicates a part of the book in the chapter called “You’d Do it All Again” to painting a picture of what the day we arrive in Heaven could be like. Meeting people we never knew we impacted and seeing our family. Gets me every time.

06. One book that you wish had been written
“What to Tell Yourself and Others When There are No Answers”

07. One book that you wish had never been written
The Jerusalem Countdown” -It’s not John Hagee’s fault. He wrote a great book. I guess I wish it had never been written because there wasn’t a need for it to be. But sadly, it’s all there and he does a good job of blueprinting the inevitable.

08. One book you’re currently reading
Believe it or not, I am “between books” right now. Have started a few, but currently not reading anything.

09. One book you’ve been meaning to read
90 Minutes in Heaven” by John Don Piper.

10. Now tag five people:
I’m gonna tag some new bloggers to the web: Ernie Ley, Kristy Bower, Mike Conners, Chris Kelley, Denny George, Ted Williams,

"Black Friday"

cart.pngIf you’re like me, you are probably just about to go crazy after all of the “Black Friday” ads on TV today. The parade this morning was out of control. It was like a 3 hour commercial with a little parade mixed in occasionally. If you’re headed out in the morning or just making your own list and checking it twice, below are my recommendations for Christmas gifts this year. I’ve personally tested each one. They are lead free and will make great gifts. I highly recommend them all. Happy hunting!

1. “Iris to Iris” by Building 429. Might be my favorite CD this year. Can’t get enough of it.

2. “Remedy” by David Crowder Band. Ranks right next to “Iris to Iris”.

3. “Quiet Strength” by Tony Dungy. Best book I have ever read.

4. “When the Game is Over” by John Ortberg. Classic Ortberg book.

5. “All That is Within Me” by Mercyme. Not their best, but it’s Mercyme!

6. “Glory Revealed” by Various Artists. Another one of the best this year.

7. “The Pursuit of Happyness” with Will Smith on DVD. Incredible movie.

8. “Father Knows Best” by Wendell Jamison. A very entertaining book for dads with kids who have questions.

9. “Daughtry” by Daughtry. Excellent debut album from the former American Idol star.

10. “3:16” by Max Lucado. Had to sneak Max in here somewhere.

Other recommendations -“Ultimate Hits” by Garth Brooks, “The Altar & the Door” by Casting Crowns, “The Blessing” by John Waller, “This Moment” by Steven Curtis Chapman, “Sex God” by Rob Bell, “Facing Your Giants” by Max Lucado, “Portable Sounds” by Tobymac and “See the Morning” by Chris Tomlin.

“Black Friday”

cart.pngIf you’re like me, you are probably just about to go crazy after all of the “Black Friday” ads on TV today. The parade this morning was out of control. It was like a 3 hour commercial with a little parade mixed in occasionally. If you’re headed out in the morning or just making your own list and checking it twice, below are my recommendations for Christmas gifts this year. I’ve personally tested each one. They are lead free and will make great gifts. I highly recommend them all. Happy hunting!

1. “Iris to Iris” by Building 429. Might be my favorite CD this year. Can’t get enough of it.

2. “Remedy” by David Crowder Band. Ranks right next to “Iris to Iris”.

3. “Quiet Strength” by Tony Dungy. Best book I have ever read.

4. “When the Game is Over” by John Ortberg. Classic Ortberg book.

5. “All That is Within Me” by Mercyme. Not their best, but it’s Mercyme!

6. “Glory Revealed” by Various Artists. Another one of the best this year.

7. “The Pursuit of Happyness” with Will Smith on DVD. Incredible movie.

8. “Father Knows Best” by Wendell Jamison. A very entertaining book for dads with kids who have questions.

9. “Daughtry” by Daughtry. Excellent debut album from the former American Idol star.

10. “3:16” by Max Lucado. Had to sneak Max in here somewhere.

Other recommendations -“Ultimate Hits” by Garth Brooks, “The Altar & the Door” by Casting Crowns, “The Blessing” by John Waller, “This Moment” by Steven Curtis Chapman, “Sex God” by Rob Bell, “Facing Your Giants” by Max Lucado, “Portable Sounds” by Tobymac and “See the Morning” by Chris Tomlin.

More Quiet Strength

I’m still on the road and now about 3/4 of the way through “Quiet Strength”. Below are a few more quotes that really stood out to me as I read them tonight:

“How would your business do if you spent the amount of time on it that you spend on your wife and family?”

“What will people remember us for? Are other people’s lives better because we lived? Did we make a difference? Did we use to the fullest the gifts and abilities God gave us? Did we give our best effort, and did we do it for the right reasons?”

“God’s definition of success is really one of significance-the significant difference our lives can make in the lives of others. The significance doesn’t show up in won-loss records, long resumes, or the trophies gathering dust on our mantels. It’s found in the hearts and lives of those we’ve come across who are in some way better because of the way we lived.”

“I think people look more closely at our actions in the rough times, when the emotions are raw and our guard is down. That’s when our true character shows and we find out if our faith is real. If I’m going to call myself a Christian, I have to honor Jesus in the disappointments, too.”

Talent is God-given; be thankful.
Praise is man-given; be humble.
Conceit is self-given; be careful. (Dave Driscoll)

Strong stuff and a great book. One other point of interest is Tony’s involvement with “All Pro Dad” which he founded while in Tampa Bay. I have been to one breakfast with this group and it is something I recommend highly. Check their web site, which also includes a daily email advice section. For the moms out there, they also have the “imom” program for mothers and Family Minute program for families too. Even more resources are available at coachdungy.com.

Yep, I’m a fan…..

Quiet Strength

1414318014_l.gifA very long layover AND a flight delay last night in Atlanta was a blessing. Yes, I said a blessing. It gave me the opportunity to read over half of the book “Quiet Strength” by Tony Dungy. Our company headquarters are in Indianapolis and I appear to be on a career collision course to end up there one day. I am “this close” to ditching my Raiders gear in favor of the Colts. This is a great book and Tony Dungy is an incredible man of character.

One of the many things that struck me was something he said about his study of the book of Nehemiah. Here’s what he learned in the course of studying Nehemiah for a year.

I learned three key truths from Nehemiah.

First, Nehemiah’s opportunity came in God’s time, not his own.

Second, Nehemiah diligently prepared his mind and his heart so he would be ready when God’s time arrived.

Third, Nehemiah needed to be prepared to take on the problems, doubt, and adversity that would come his way both from the outside and from within.

Considering what my role with this organization is, and some other things that Heather and I have been praying over, that is some sound advice. We must trust Gods timing. We must prepare our mind and heart to be ready when it arrives. We must be prepared to face adversity.

Much more to come from “Quiet Strength

Christmas is Coming…

form_handsandbook.jpg

Christmas is coming, this blog is getting fat.
Please put a nickel in this bloggers hat.

That was terrible, but hey, I figured it was worth a try. I heard about this site called BLURB.COM that will take your entire blog and publish it in a book form. I thought this was a very cool idea, then I caught the pricing. So, if you’re in the giving mood and have lots of money to spend, Christmas is just around the corner. Wouldn’t a hard cover copy of “Arms Wide Open” look nice on your coffee table (sarcasm included)?

Donations graciously accepted 🙂

Because of Love

40 Days of Hope – Day 4

This morning’s devo from Max Lucado’s “3:16” was all about love. Since I have much to learn and this devotional reminded me of that, I’ll just quote Max himself. These are words to ponder today –

…that’s what love does. It puts the beloved before itself. Love goes the distance…

Do I put “the beloved” before myself? Do I go the distance when it comes to love? Do I quit when it gets rough or do I commit to doing what needs to be done for the sake of love? God himself left his throne to sleep in a stall his first night. That makes sippy cups, stories at night, playing catch in the yard or listening to someone else talk about their day seem so small doesn’t it? I have much to learn about love.

Tomorrow – “Jesus Goes Home First”

Father Knows Less

If you have ever been driving and gotten that question from the back seat that you just can’t answer, help is on the way. Here’s a preview clip for a new book by Wendell Jamieson.

[Youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=NCJYL_zLb4c]

Caught in the Middle

40 Days of Hope – Day 3

For todays devo, Max Lucado takes a look at Joseph and his decision with Mary. Of the 3 days, this one has challenged me the most. Maybe it’s because I am a father and a husband. Maybe it’s because I am convicted by the fact that Joseph did what I don’t know if I could or would have. He did what was right in the face of tremendous danger, ridicule and a fall from the public eye. He was a man of tremendous honor and respect in the community. He was caught in the middle.

“Fearless warriors in a picket fence,
reckless abandon wrapped in common sense
Deep water faith in the shallow end

and we are caught in the middle
With eyes wide open to the differences,

the God we want and the God who is
But will we trade our dreams for His

or are we caught in the middle” – Casting Crowns

I don’t know if it can be said any better than Casting Crowns sums it up. How often do I have “deep water faith in the shallow end”? How often am I really willing to trade my dreams for his? How often am I caught in the middle? I am in no way comparing a daily battle or two to what Joseph was faced with. I don’t know if I can get my head around the decision he had to make, let alone do what he did. Yet he made it. He wasn’t caught in the middle for long. Matthew 1:24 says “…he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him…”

He put everything else on the line to do the will of God. He placed Mary and her needs before his own. He was willing to risk for what God called him to. He didn’t get caught in the middle.

Somewhere in the Middle” by Casting Crowns.
From the CD “The Altar and the Door“.

Tomorrow – “Because of Love”

What You're Holding

dad4.JPGOn day 2 of “40 Days of Hope” from Max Lucado’s3:16” Max speaks directly of Mary as she held Jesus after his birth (“Mary Cradles God”). The image in this post came directly to my mind. This was taken after the birth of our first child. I remember it like it was yesterday. Looking at this small gift that had the entire world ahead of him. I wondered what he would be like. I hoped I could teach him to avoid my mistakes and give him the wisdom to know better. I never knew he would be what he is today. I never knew the pride I would already have in this little child.

I wonder if Mary had any idea what she was holding that night. While the angels told her who he was, I wonder if she could even imagine what this baby would do for this world. I wonder if she realized that his tiny hands would build, teach, heal and ultimately hold the nails.

God So Love The World” by Hillsong

Tomorrow – “Joseph, Caught In The Middle”

What You’re Holding

dad4.JPGOn day 2 of “40 Days of Hope” from Max Lucado’s3:16” Max speaks directly of Mary as she held Jesus after his birth (“Mary Cradles God”). The image in this post came directly to my mind. This was taken after the birth of our first child. I remember it like it was yesterday. Looking at this small gift that had the entire world ahead of him. I wondered what he would be like. I hoped I could teach him to avoid my mistakes and give him the wisdom to know better. I never knew he would be what he is today. I never knew the pride I would already have in this little child.

I wonder if Mary had any idea what she was holding that night. While the angels told her who he was, I wonder if she could even imagine what this baby would do for this world. I wonder if she realized that his tiny hands would build, teach, heal and ultimately hold the nails.

God So Love The World” by Hillsong

Tomorrow – “Joseph, Caught In The Middle”

Where He Went…

shepherds.jpgThis is the first reflection of the “40 Days of Hope” from the Max Lucado book “3:16” that a few of my friends and I are doing together. For day one, Max pointed to the night that Christ came to the earth (“An EXTRA-Ordinary Night”). His quote to end the devotional was rich and classic Lucado –

“So he went to the shepherds. Men who don’t know enough to tell God that angels don’t sing to sheep and that messiahs aren’t found wrapped in rags and sleeping in a feed trough.”

I was struck by that line. It reminded me that the more I think I learn about God, the less I probably really know. I was reminded that I think that “the Christian thing to do is …..(insert statement here), when really, I don’t have the first clue what God will do. His way is better. His way is perfect. It might not be the way I drew it up, but you can’t argue with greatness.

Tomorrow– “Mary Cradles God”

For more, check out Gabe’s thoughts on his blog – http://www.xanga.com/gtaviano 

40 Days of Hope

0849901936.jpgA few of the guys from AC180 and I are going to try something starting October 1st. I figured I would extend the offer to this blog as well. The new Max Lucado book “3:16” is both a book about John 3:16 and a 40 day devotional book. The first 150 pages are Max breaking down the words of that verse. The second part is dedicated to 40 days of short devotionals which he calls “40 Days with the Son“.

Beginning Monday, October 1st, several of us are going to go through the 40 days together (wherever you may live). We’ll be blogging our thoughts and comments over at AC180.com as well. So, if you’re interested you can join us this coming Monday to start the 40 day journey. The best price we have found for “3:16” was at  Walmart for $15.83. Let us know if you’re going to be joining us so we can pray for one another. Looking forward to sharing the journey with you all!

Book Reviews

413ypc0mspl_ss500_.jpgI had an opportunity the past week or so to read two of the books that I have really been looking forward to. The first was “When the Game is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box” by John Ortberg. I’m a pretty big fan of Ortberg and this one didn’t disappoint at all. There are times when it is good to just go back to the basics, take a pause and evaluate some things. This book will do that. You will find yourself taking some stock in what matters most.

If you are a fan of John Ortberg’s writing, you will love this book. You will find the usual gut wrenching stories one minute, laugh out loud stories the next. I give it a 5 out of 5. Would make a very good small groups study as well.

41kp9sl1b4l_ss500_.jpgThe other book I just finished was “3:16” by Max Lucado. Now before you think I am some kind of speed reader, “3:16” is a very quick read. It’s only 140 pages. This is only a partial review. The second half of “3:16” includes a 40 day study. I am going to go through that with a friend or two in the next couple of weeks so I will post the rest of the review in roughly…40 something days.

The first half of the book is a signature Lucado book. Much like Ortberg he mixes funny analogies, personal stories, research and gut wrenching stories to expand his points. There is a chapter about hell that really paints a not-so-fun picture. This would be a good book for outreach, small groups and non-believers especially. I give the first half a 4 out of 5.

Next up is Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy.

Beyond Words…

Have you ever had that question where you are asked “if you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be”? My list isn’t really all that inspiring or extensive. There is one name that would be at the top though. Max Lucado. If I could choose one author that has inspired, challenged and changed me, he would be the one. It’s not that I am a crazed fan or anything, I just would like to shake his hand. Today…I got that chance.

img_3601-1.jpg

Someone must have tipped Max off about the fact that if you want to score points (like he would need or want to) with me, love on my kids. Before I could even introduce myself or shake his hand, he had left his chair and given my son a full fledge “Bear Hug”. I was pretty well JELLO after that.

img_3597.jpg

I brought a copy of “3:16” for him to sign and my son chose “A Hat for Ivan” which Max wrote as well. It’s one of his favorites. Max knelt down, looked my son in the eye and said “Austin, God has a very special hat made for you as well. It might be a policeman, a fireman or maybe even an athlete. God made one just for you“. I said “we are shooting for basketball player at North Carolina, but understand if that one doesn’t fit”. Max and his lovely wife Denalyn took time to love on each one of the kids. He even held Brynn’s little face in his hand at one point.

img_3599.jpg

It was one of the most special and memorable 5 – 10 minutes I have ever had. Although we were just 5 more faces in the line of people that he has and was to meet, Max and his wife never made us feel that way. I will never forget it. So the next time someone asks the question about who I would like to meet, I can say “I already have”.

img_3598.jpg

Laws of the Lighthouse

The following comes from the Max Lucado book “In the Eye of the Storm”. It’s an older book by Max (1991), but one I had not read yet. I needed something lite to read on my one hour flight to Charlotte yesterday. When I went to the book shelf, this one jumped out at me. I have not finished it yet, but what I have read so far was perfect timing.

I had to share these bullet points in what he calls “Laws of the Lighthouse”. According to Max, these are “God-given, time-tested truths that define the way you should navigate your life“. I couldn’t agree more.

  1. Love God more then you fear hell.
  2. Once a week, let a child take you on a walk.
  3. Make major decisions in a cemetery
  4. When no one is watching, live as if someone is.
  5. Succeed at home first.
  6. Don’t spend tomorrows money today.
  7. Pray twice as much as you fret.
  8. Listen twice as much as you speak.
  9. Only harbor a grudge when God does.
  10. Never outgrow your love of sunsets.
  11. Treat people like angels; you will meet some and help make some.
  12. “Tis wiser to err on the side of generosity than on the side of scrutiny.
  13. God has forgiven you; you’d be wise to do the same.
  14. When you can’t trace God’s hand, trust his heart.
  15. Toot your own horn and the notes will be flat.
  16. Don’t feel guilty for God’s goodness.
  17. The book of life is lived in chapters, so know your page number.
  18. Never let the important be the victim of the trivial.
  19. Live your liturgy.

The Latest From Rob Bell

sg.jpgThe best part of my recent trip to St. Louis is that I finally had the opportunity to finish reading “Sex God” by Rob Bell. The biggest challenge is writing a review of a book covering such a taboo subject. Here’s the deal, Rob Bell is great. If you were a fan of “Velvet Elvis”, NOOMA or Mars Hill Bible Church, you will love this book. He really is brilliant, clever, informative and relevant. I can’t think of a better, more respectful author to cover this subject as well and in depth as he does.

Although I’m not looking forward to the “birds and bees” discussion, Rob Bell provides biblical information to support “THE talk”. I will be putting this one on the shelf for conversations that will one day take place with my son and eventually my daughters.

While the whole book was good, Chapter Seven (“Under the Chuppah”) and Chapter Eight (“Johnny and June”) were my personal favorites. I read Chapter eight, which is about marriages that last and are contagious, sitting next to an elderly couple in the lobby of my hotel. How appropriate it was. Also, the commentary in the Epilogue is priceless. I give “Sex God” five stars. If you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your reviews as well.

Next Up – “Soul Cravings” by Erwin McManus

I Want my CBD

Based on many of your reviews, posts and comments, I placed a new order with CBD today. I’m like a kid at Christmas when I place these things. With all of the flights and time in the hotel, I am once again back on track with the yearly reading plan. Below is what I ordered. Your feedback and recommendations are always welcomed –

1. Screwtape Letters – by C.S. Lewis

2. Mere Christianity – by C.S. Lewis

3. Sex God – by Rob Bell

4. Soul Cravings – By Erwin McManus

5. To Own a Dragon – By Donald Miller

I still have the following on my bookshelf ready to read as well.

1. Prayer – By Philip Yancey

2. The Jesus I Never Knew – By Philip Yancey

3. In The Eye of The Storm – Max Lucado

4. He Chose the Nails – Max Lucado

5. God Came Near – Max Lucado

I’m always looking for more as well so pass along what you’re reading or have read that you recommend. April’s a very busy travel month, so I anticipate many posts related to what I’m reading.

Somethings Just Don't Mix..

So much for the excitement of my flight to San Antonio. Here’s a riddle for you. What do you get when you combine an already anxious mind, the book “Where is God When it Hurts”, a doctor in the seat behind you doing his dictation in a tape recorder of some horrible cases and a 3 hour flight? Well, let’s just say if it was a 4 hour flight, you’d probably be reading about me on the news. Since I am in Texas, I will say it like this…”Ya’ll, I was about to lose my mind”!

Luckily, we landed, Doctor Dictation put away his tape recorder, I put on my iPod and put away the book and order was restored. I was going to bring “In the Eye of the Storm” by Max Lucado with me on this trip, but didn’t like the idea of storms and planes together. All that to share this one quote from the “Where is God When it Hurts”. It is in reference to what CS Lewis refers to as “pain, the megaphone of God”

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains, it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world”. – CS Lewis

“Where is God When it Hurts” is a fascinating book in which Philip Yancey dedicates hours of research into the human body. It is amazing to learn how these bodies we live and move in operate. Especially after 3 hours on a plane to San Antonio!

Somethings Just Don’t Mix..

So much for the excitement of my flight to San Antonio. Here’s a riddle for you. What do you get when you combine an already anxious mind, the book “Where is God When it Hurts”, a doctor in the seat behind you doing his dictation in a tape recorder of some horrible cases and a 3 hour flight? Well, let’s just say if it was a 4 hour flight, you’d probably be reading about me on the news. Since I am in Texas, I will say it like this…”Ya’ll, I was about to lose my mind”!

Luckily, we landed, Doctor Dictation put away his tape recorder, I put on my iPod and put away the book and order was restored. I was going to bring “In the Eye of the Storm” by Max Lucado with me on this trip, but didn’t like the idea of storms and planes together. All that to share this one quote from the “Where is God When it Hurts”. It is in reference to what CS Lewis refers to as “pain, the megaphone of God”

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains, it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world”. – CS Lewis

“Where is God When it Hurts” is a fascinating book in which Philip Yancey dedicates hours of research into the human body. It is amazing to learn how these bodies we live and move in operate. Especially after 3 hours on a plane to San Antonio!

Influence

daylight.gifIf you ever wondered how to make a man get misty eyed on a flight from Baltimore to Columbus, give him a copy of “Chasing Daylight” by Erwin McManus and see what happens. More specifically, take him directly to Chapter 4 and have him read the story on page 117-121 about “Ron the Gas Station attendant” and “Dave the UPS Driver”. Folks, I thought I was gonna need a tissue. What an incredibly heartbreaking, but powerful story about the impact we have on other peoples lives. The stories to long to repeat here, but the quotes from McManus bear repeating:

“The power of influence when we seize divine moments can be disproportinate to its apparent importance. What may look like an inconvenience might be no less than the beginning of a life-changing opportunity.”

“We must never underestimate where influence can take us. One of the ways to miss divine moments is to treat what we consider nominal influence as irrelevant. We must never underestimate the importance of one moment, one word, one deed in the life of another human being.”

I think this story and these quotes hit home because it is very similar to a story that happened to me as I was conducting my “goodbye tour”. It’s a bit lengthy as well, but the bottom line was it showed me the impact that we have on others lives. You don’t have to be a professional athlete, be on a stage or do anything special to have influence. Often the biggest influence one can have is in the life they live. There are those we influence and those that influence us. As McManus said, it’s no coincidence that the word “flu” is in the middle of influence. It’s something you can catch and spread without even knowing or seeing it.

Would You Go Back?

Over the weekend, I got pulled into watching the movie “Big” with Tom Hanks. I say “pulled” because it’s one of those movies that just draws you into watching it, even if you have seen it 100 times. Make that 101.

You probably remember this one. Tom Hanks is a little boy who makes a wish to be big, wakes up big, gets a job, falls in love, and makes a wish to return to the way he was. He offers to have his new found love make the same wish and go back to her childhood with him. Susan says; “no thanks, I don’t want to go through all of that again”.

I sat there wondering, knowing what I know now, would I go back and do it again? Would I change anything? How would things have turned out differently? If I could find the magic “Zoltar” machine, would I drop the quarter and return to a date in the past? Are there things I would change? Would you?

With all of this in mind, I read this from “Chasing Daylight” by Erwin McManus –

“One moment in the past continues to haunt every moment of your life. A moment in history that steals from you all the moments in the future. Is there a moment you keep reliving again and again? To relive the past is to relinquish the future. If you are willing to let go of the past, then you are ready to step into the future. When you choose to remain stuck in a moment, you become incapable of seizing divine moments”

That’s pretty sound advice. When I think of “going back” I can probably circle a few dates on the calendar that I would go to. There are definitely moments I would change. But the reality is that these dates are history. They are gone. To live in them is to “relinquish the future”. Just as Susan did in “Big”,

I think I’ll stay BIG too….