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Archives For Book and Music Reviews
I finished The Leadership Secrets of Billy Graham today, and I must say this was a great read. I had to read this for a class I’m taking in seminary, so I didn’t really know what to expect. It turned out to be a fascinating glimpse into the life of a great man of God. This was one of my favorite leadership books, so I highly recommend it to others wanting a Biblical view of true servant leadership.
The book reminded me of the very first event we ever took a youth group to. In 1996, Jennifer and I took a group of teens to Panther Stadium in Charlotte for the youth night of one of Billy Graham’s crusades. Michael W. Smith and D.C. Talk were there in concert and it was a night I won’t forget. Billy Graham spoke powerfully, yet simply, and we saw many people respond to the power of the Gospel. It taught me a valuable lesson early in my ministry that true power lies in the Word of God.
While I knew a lot of facts about Billy Graham and recognized him as a great preacher, I don’t think I had ever realized he was a great leader. It was something that I really had never thought about. This book talked about the many different facets of his ministry. It is amazing to think of how many lives have been touched through his preaching and through the different ministries he started or helped. It was refreshing to read stories from the people who were closest to him and learn about his humbleness and authenticity. Here is the description from the book.
Tony Morgan understands churches, and he has been writing about the organizational details of church for quite some time. Lately, his focus has been on releasing shorter eBooks instead of traditionally published titles. You can download his latest eBook, Hanging Up the Leisure Suit: How to Get Unstuck, by going to http://tonymorganlive.com/hanging-up-the-leisure-suit/
This is the latest in a series of books about the cultural changes taking place in our culture and how these changes affect churches. The first book in the series tackles the reasons why your church is stuck, and now he turns his attention to the solution by discussing how you can turn things around and get unstuck. This is a leadership book about strategy and systems, and it is helpful for pastors and church leaders.
If your church is stuck in the past, maybe it’s time to consider making some changes. Here are some signs from the book that your church is stuck.
- The church has stopped growing.
- The congregation is aging.
- Giving has declined.
- Spiritual growth has stalled, and people are just “consuming” ministry.
- People aren’t serving.
- People have stopped reaching their neighbors.
- The church isn’t developing leaders.
- Communications are confusing and lack purpose.
This is a short book (really more of a long article) full of practical advise and wisdom. The page on characteristics of a healthy system is awesome and definitely worth your time to read. You don’t have anything to lose, so go ahead and download it. I really think this is the type of book that will help churches reclaim their mission and break free from the status quo.
Finally, I encourage you to check out all of Tony’s books on his website. While you at it, check out Tony’s blog. If you are not already reading it, you definitely need to add it to your blog reading list.
I’m really excited about the new book from Greg Hawkins and Cally Parkinson titled Move. It is the latest book from the Reveal research project about Spiritual Growth. Activities and events don’t automatically make people grow in their faith, and this book takes a hard look at how we can truly help people mature in Christ. I have read the previous two books in the series and I just picked this one up on Kindle today. As a pastor, I don’t want our church to go through the motions. I truly want to see hearts and lives transformed. Read the quote below and watch the video about the book to find out more.
Are people in our churches really growing closer to Christ? Based on surveys from over 280,000 people in more than 1,200 diverse churches, Move presents the startling results of the latest REVEAL research. The book draws on compelling stories from people of varying spiritual maturity, as well as pastors who are equally candid as they talk about the spiritual health of the American church.
I just finished reading The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns and I wanted to share my thoughts. It’s a book that has been on my reading list for a while now, and I’m glad I finally got the chance to read through it while on vacation last week. This is a book that will challenge you in compassion. Are we really doing enough to combat the problems around the world? Do we understand the Gospel and the implications of the Gospel? Can we really make a difference? What does God expect of us? Again, this book will definitely make you think.
I love reading biographies, and this book can be considered part autobiography and part challenge. It’s the story of Richard Stearns, the current president of World Vision. To me, the most enjoyable part of reading this book was learning about his journey to his current position and calling. It always amazes me to see how God orchestrates the details of our lives and this book reinforces the fact that nothing happens by coincidence.
The idea and purpose behind the book is stated clearly in the opening on page 2.
The idea behind The Hole in Our Gospel is quite simple. It’s basically the belief that being a Christian, or follower of Jesus Christ, requires much more than just having a personal and transforming relationship with God. It also entails a public and transforming relationship with the world.
You can’t argue with the fact that the American church needs to do more to fight global disease and poverty, and this book makes a clear call to get involved and make a difference. It is compelling and powerful. For me personally, it really opened my eyes to the causes and consequences of poverty, hunger, and disease. But I also struggled with parts of the book, continue reading to find out why.
A few weeks ago, I read the latest book by Craig Groeschel titled WEIRD: Because Normal Isn’t Working. When you look at what is considered normal in today’s society, maybe being weird isn’t so bad. Here’s a great quote about the theme of the book.
Normal infects our faith as well, both what we believe and how we live it out. When we consider how people relate to God, it’s normal to either reject God altogether or believe in him while living as if he doesn’t exist. In churches, normal is lukewarm Christianity, self-centered spiritual consumerism, and shallow, me-driven faith. God has become a means to an end, a tool in our toolbox to accomplish what we want. The majority of people claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. And all this is normal. But normal isn’t working.
This book reads like a sermon series, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It is challenging as Craig examines different areas of our lives to see if we are normal or if we are weird.
- Part one examines how we use our time
- Part two examines how we manage our money
- Part three examines our relationships
- Part four examines society’s view of sex
- Part five examines our values
One of the reasons that I liked this book was that it is grounded in real life problems of today’s society. I’m afraid that many pastors (and many books) are answering questions that no one is asking. This book tackles real life problems, and it handles them based on what the Bible teaches. Here are some of the passages in the book that I highlighted.
Over the next few days I want to share a few book reviews with you. I just finished the book Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus by Kyle Idleman and it is a book I highly recommend. This book can be summarized by a simple question, “are you a fan of Jesus or a follower of Jesus?” A fan is an enthusiastic admirer. A follower is so much more. This book asks some tough question and it really makes you think. Can you really call yourself a Christian if you don’t follow Jesus?
Not a Fan is similar in message to Crazy Love or Radical, but the tone of the book is very different. Idleman has a unique blend of seriousness with humor that keeps you engaged while reading. I literally found myself laughing at his references to pop culture. This is really a book that is hard to put down. I enjoyed the real life examples sprinkled throughout the book, and I kept highlighting passage after passage. The Kindle version is currently only $4.99, so that is the version I read.
The Not a Fan website has more information about small group studies, study guides, and sermon resources for churches. As a pastor, it’s tough not to read this and think about how it would be a great sermon series. I’ll have to think about it, but this is a study I definitely would like to take our entire church through. Here are a few quotes to let you know what the book is about.