Archives For Reading

Top Books Read in 2017

November 24, 2017

Below is a list of the top books I have read in 2017. I’d recommend these as gift ideas or for your own personal growth.

Growing Young: Six Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church

This is the best leadership book I have read in some time. Fuller Seminary studies growing churches and how to keep young people in church. Their insights are very timely for the missions organization I previously served with and the church I now work with.

 

When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself

If you are a leader who takes missions teams or sends them from your church, this is a must read. This book gave me words to articulate my strategy as a missions pastor following 25 years of missionary service.

 

I have an attraction to leadership books which describe real leaders, rather than those with a polished, corporate facade. I fully acknowledge we can learn from books touting secrets and methods, but I find much more encouragement in those which help me lead in and through my weaknesses.

An all time favorite of mine is Leading with a Limp by Dan Allender, which I have spoken about multiple times on this site.

A new addition to these ranks is a book I am currently reading. The Way of the Dragon, the Way of the Lamb by Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel is study of leadership in weakness.

Coupled with their musings, they interview multiple humble giants of the faith. The authors spent time with J.I. Packer of Knowing God fame, Eugene Peterson who paraphrased the Message, and several others. The heroes share many of their observations on the North American church, which has been largely influenced by power, prestige, platform and personality.

Best Book I’ve Read in 2016

November 22, 2016

The best book I have read in 2016 is Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud.

It deals with the difficult process of ending things in our lives. This could be letting an employee or co-worker go, ending a bad habit, or making a needed change in our lives.

Take a look at some of the wisdom Cloud shares in this book.

“Your attempts to fix should also include a realistic assessment of the potential for recovery and whether or not you are indulging in false hope. Leaders by nature are often optimistic and hopeful, but if you do not have some criteria by which you distinguish legitimate optimism from false hope, you will not get the benefits of pruning.”

Working in a volunteer organization, I found the next one very challenging.

The number one objection to grace says if you give people a big grace they will do whatever they want.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer in The Cost of Discipleship famously called this cheap grace.

I do not believe any grace is cheap since it cost Jesus everything.

I would rather argue the cheapening of grace comes not in it’s cost, but in our response to the gift we have been given. After all, Bonhoeffer and anyone speaking against a cheap grace is not referring to the price Jesus paid.

They are speaking of our response having received this amazing grace.

We don’t want people to think they can do whatever they want without consequence.

Grace is never without consequence.

Paul addressed this in Romans 6:1-2. After proclaiming an enormous grace, he knew the natural tendency of people to see what they can get away with.

Wise and Foolish

October 4, 2016

In my recent readings of Proverbs, a repeated idea kept jumping of the pages. Words like rebuke, correct, instruct, teach, and train kept popping up. To take these things to heart is called wisdom in the Bible.

When I came across some similar ideas in Henry Cloud’s excellent book, Necessary Endings, they caught my eye.

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Here are a few of traits Cloud gives for both the wise and foolish person:

Traits of the Wise Person:

  • When you give them feedback, they listen, take it in, and adjust their behavior accordingly.
  • When you give them feedback, they embrace it positively. They say things like, “Thank you for telling me that.”
  • They own their performance, problems, and issues and take responsibility for them without excuses or blame.
  • Your relationship is strengthened as a result of giving them feedback.