Monthly Archives: April 2014

Links for Leaders

Leadership-1

Do you consider yourself a leader?

Are there people who come to you for advice or guidance?

 

Do you want to learn more about leading or how to lead?

Do you want to learn how to become an effective leader?

If any of these questions apply to you, you should take the time to check out these links.

Charles Specht has compiled a list of the top leaders online: 50 Top Leaders in Leadership Blogging.

Michael Hyatt is one of the most recognized leaders today. He is definitely a go to source for anything regarding leadership: Michael Hyatt’s Blog.

If you are in leadership now, or see yourself in some position where you lead others in the future, you need to check out Catalyst: Catalyst Conference.

The director of Catalyst is Brad Lomenick. Check out his website here: Brad Lomenick.

Right along with Brad, is Andy Stanley, another key component of Catalyst: Andy Stanley.

This list is not all inclusive as I know there are other leaders out there who are extremely effective at leading and helping others lead well. This is just a beginning list to help get you started and pointed in the direction of people who truly understand what leading is all about. So check out these links and get on the road to becoming a better and more influential leader.

 

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The Dude’s Guide to Manhood

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This is the second book I have read by Darrin Patrick, the first being For the City which he and Matt Carter wrote together. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical about this book before reading it. With a title like The Dude’s Guide, one could get the feeling the author is being prideful in writing a book such as this, claiming to know what it takes to be a man. Using terminology such as “The Dude’s” anything could be a ploy to grab at the heart of any male. However, I have to say this book is neither of those. I am glad I did not let the title push me away from reading it because this is a book that I needed to read and one I believe every man should read.

Why do I say this? Simple. As you read through this book, you are presented with a true, biblical perspective on what a man should be. Culture has skewed our perspective on what men should be. The world tries to say men who are more into video games than work are still growing up, thus why adolescence has been extended to past college. Men who cheat on their wives are in many cases no longer looked down on. Men who work so much they do not have time for their children are in some cases praised. Men are allowed to be vulgar, uncommitted, even lazy among other things. And because society has allowed this, men have dropped to that level. Men and porn are about as synonymous as baseball games and hot dogs or beer. It is not just expected that men will look at porn and we should just accept it. TV shows and movies now present this as just acceptable, even with a married man. All of this is just sad. Men have stooped to the low that the world has said is ok for them. We need a new standard, especially among Christians, to get men to be men.

How do we do this? One way would be to get this book, read it and then apply it to your life. At the end of the book, Darrin ties everything he just wrote together with the fact that for us to be men, we have to start with God and our relationship with Jesus. Without God, living as a true man is impossible. Without God, we will continue to settle into what the world says is ok or acceptable for men. If all we do is try to attempt everything Darrin writes in this book and use it as a 10 step program to become a better man, we will fail somewhere along the way. Without our relationship with Jesus fueling us in this fight, we will become overpowered and live in defeat.

This book is not for the weak. It is easy to succumb to the world’s pull and allow ourselves to live as weak men. But that is far from what God has called us to be. Our ultimate example of what a man should be is Jesus Christ. How he treated people, how He loved people, how He touched lives should be what drives us. God’s ultimate goal for men is to become like His Son and that is the standard by which we need to measure ourselves, not by those men around us. I am planning on using the discussion guide from this website, http://thejourney.org/media/dudes-guide-manhood, to help facilitate a men’s study at my church.

Men, get a copy of this book. Women, buy a copy for the man in your life. Churches, have your men go through this book. The church and the world need men to start being men again, and not the counterfeit men the world has put before us and claimed is manhood. The men presented in beer commercials are not the men God has called us to be. Even the most interesting man in the world, as one commercial claim, is a far cry from true and authentic manhood. There is so much more to being a man then just sleeping with as many women as possible and drinking beer and smoking cigars. God has called us to this and it is much more fulfilling than the counterfeit men the world produces.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


What is Biblical Theology?

What is Biblical Theology

Can Biblical theology be covered fully enough in just over 100 pages? The simple answer is no, but that is not the aim of this book. Jim Hamilton knows there is much more to the topic, so he does not dig as deep as you can, but stays at the surface to keep the book simple but effective. The question this book addresses is “How do you read the Bible?” Jim Hamilton sets out to help people see the Bible as a whole instead of simply as parts. As I have grown older, I have come to understand the Bible was written to be taken wholly as one complete book about God and His plan for the world, and not just little parts. Too often, when I was younger, as I would read the Bible, I would read it as a self-help book. I would believe the Bible was written to simply help me become a better person and to make something of my life. I thought it was all about me. However, the Bible is not all about me, it is all about God. God is the center and when we put ourselves at the center, we miss the whole point of the Bible.

The back of the book has this to say:

The Bible recounts a single story – one that began at creation, encompasses our lives today, and will continue until Christ’s return and beyond. In What is Biblical Theology?, Jim Hamilton introduces us to this narrative, helping us understand the worldview of the biblical writers so that we can read the Old and New Testament as those authors intended. Tracing the key patterns, symbols, and themes that bind the Bible together, this book will help you understand Scripture’s unified message and find your placein the great story of redemption.

This book is written to help people understand Biblical theology, and thus, be better able to read and understand the Bible as a whole. In the book, biblical theology is “the interpretive perspective reflected in the way the biblical authors have presented their understanding of earlier Scripture, redemptive history, and the events they are describing, recounting, celebrating, or addressing in narratives, poems, proverbs, letters, and apocalypses” (p. 16).

This book would be a great addition for someone who does not have the time or money to attend a Bible or theology school. What is Biblical Theology is not written to be an “end-all” book on theology, but in my opinion, this book would be great for the person who desires to understand the Bible on a deeper level while they read. It is simple enough for the casual reader to understand but deep enough to give the reader a beginning grasp of biblical theology.

If you are someone who has not had the Biblical education you might have wanted or desired, pick this book up as it will help you in your understanding of the Bible and grow your devotional life along the way. If you are a seasoned pastor who has been in the ministry for years, this book would be worth your time as it might help you find ways to make the Bible come alive to the people in your congregation.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Crossway in exchange for this review. Thanks for taking the time to read this review and feel free to leave comments or questions.

 


Weekly Scoop 4/4

Friday means it is time for the weekly scoop. Here are a few links you should check out today or this weekend:

For parents of children and youth, this article is a good read: Why I would Never force my kids to go to church.

This is a great article posted on the CNN Religion Blog by Dan Darling: Millenials and the false gospel of nice.

It is so easy for us to take verses in the Bible out of context for the purpose of encouragement or offering hope and for many other reasons. But, as this blog points out, it is not a good thing: 5 Verses we need to stop misusing.

Ed Choy presents a great post on what Romans 7 is really saying: Why the struggle of Romans 7 should not be applied to Christian experience.

Tim Challies on Christian Celebrity and the Conference Culture.

A well written article by Trevin Wax on the controversy stirred up by World Vision over the past couple weeks: The Fault Lines before the Evangelical Earthquake.

Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus has been covering conflicts from Bosnia to Afghanistan for more than 20 years, earning a Pulitzer Prize in 2005. Here are 40 amazing shots: Afghanistan: Seen through the lens of Anja Niedringhaus.

Lastly, here is a TED talk from 2012 that is making it’s rounds again on the internet. If you are not aware that human slavery still exists today, you need to watch this. Even if you are aware, you should watch it and let it move you to see what you can do: Photos that bear witness to modern day slavery.

Thanks again for checking out this week’s scoop. Feel free to share this with others through Twitter or Facebook, and if you have read something this week that you believe is worthy of inclusion in one of my weekly scoops, leave it in the comment section.


All I Need

simplicity

My life is full. I have more than I need. I have more clothes than I can wear in a couple months, and yet most of the time, I wear the same clothes time and again. I often waste food because I do not eat the leftovers from a meal. That in and of itself is amazing, that I have leftovers. I live in a home that offers shelter. I have many conveniences and nice things that help make my life extremely satisfying. In fact, many people around the world would love to have my life. Often, I do not think in this manner. Many times I allow myself to have pity parties because I might not have something that someone else does and it leaves me desiring it. But the simple fact is, no matter how hard your life might appear, I can guarantee you there is someone in the world right now, who if they knew you, would rather have your life than the one they are living. Why are we so easily dissatisfied? Why do we find ourselves wanting more than we need? Why am I so selfish?

This morning, I was reading through my Bible reading plan on YouVersion and read through Numbers 11. I see I am not alone in my desire for more. The Israelites have been led out of Egypt by Moses and they are now free from the slavery they had been in for many, many years. God had provided everything they needed. The Israelites had seen firsthand the miracles God performed before even coming out of Egypt. They had seen the Red Sea parted and they walked on dry land between two walls of water, nothing holding them up. Sometimes I wonder if they could actually see fish or other animals swimming around in the water. Or maybe someone tried to dive in to the wall of water. Either way, this is pretty amazing; nothing like this had been done before. God was physically present every day: in the form of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. They could physically see that God was with them. I can look at my life and take notice of the same thing, not so much in a cloud or pillar of fire, but God gives evidence that He is with us. I can often overlook it but the signs are there.

However, when we read in Numbers 11, we see the people complaining. How could someone complain when they have already been through all they have been through? Not only did they begin complaining, they began to long for Egypt. Remember what Egypt was for the Israelites? It had become slavery. They were not free people. They were enslaved. The first verse of Numbers 11 says this: “And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes.” What misfortunes did they have? They had everything they needed. God had provided time and again what they needed. And the most important thing they needed was His presence, but they missed it. But, it continues. Look ahead to verses 4-6:

Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now, our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.

Read those verses a couple times and let the irony sink in. Then think about your life. We have strong cravings too don’t we? I know I do. It is amazing how our tastes or desires for stuff can be affected by the world around us without us even noticing it. God wants to bring us all to a place where we come to understand we have ALL WE NEED IN HIM. The Israelites did not need the food of Egypt to be content. God had provided what they needed, which most importantly, was His presence, yet they missed it. I miss it every day. They had the food they needed to remain strong. God was providing for them each and every day. Had they forgotten the hardship of their lives in Egypt? Had they forgotten their misery of being driven day after day to work for Pharaoh, to do his bidding?

This happens to me quite often. I see something I want so I find a way to get it, though I had no need for it, whatever IT is. IT is different for each of us. However, God was trying to help the Israelites see that ALL THEY NEEDED was HIM. They did not need all the extra luxuries of Egypt because all it did was distract them from being the people God had called the Israelites to be. And they were comfortable in their slavery. If the Israelites had taken a minute to look at God and check their hearts, they would have seen this. Yet they missed it.

When I take a minute to check my heart, it helps me curb my desires for more stuff, more of the things of this world that do not truly matter. Will my life be any less exciting if I do not get the latest model of something? Am I experiencing a life less satisfying due simply to the fact I do not have _____? If so, then my heart is in the wrong place because all I need is God and when I seek Him first, He has promise to provide everything I need. My problem is too often my wants go further than my needs. God has me right now in a place where I am learning to curb my desires for wants by helping me focus on how He has provided my needs. This is not an easy place to be because of everything around me screaming for my attention and that I pay it some of my mind. However, when I get to a place where I can quiet those screams, it is there God reveals to me I have so much. My life is full. And my life is full so I can use it to impact those around me with the Gospel of God’s grace. My life is not full simply for my pleasure. My life is full to bring glory to God. I find myself praying that God will keep me in this place and that I will continue to curb my desires for more in this life because all it does is drown out the voice of God. I want God’s voice to be the loudest I hear, not the cries for more stuff.

What about you? Are you in a place like this? I would love to hear your story. I pray this encouraged you in some way and feel free to share this with others. Thank you for taking the time to read this post.