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Top Books in 2015

November 22, 2015

I review a lot of books on this blog and many others influence the posts I write.

In fact, my best books of the year are always some of the most read posts.

Just in time for the holidays and those needing gift ideas, I will give you my…

Top Books in 2015 which I have read.

I will link to the appropriate articles and reviews in the summary, but my aim is to tell you how these books are still impacting me months later.

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Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us

Hands down one of the best books on grace I have ever read. The part which sticks with me is the emphasis on seeing grace from cover to cover in Scripture. My teaching has taken on more of a “from Genesis to Revelation” flavor since reading this book.

Recently I heard a team leader of a communication team wanting to protect his first year staff from sitting under too many seasoned, veteran speakers so as not to feel a sense of insecurity. While I can appreciate the pastoral nature of this leadership, I disagree with it from a long-range perspective. If your young communicators or leaders are not exposed to experienced mentors, the bar will remain low. As the years roll by your product, will be reduced to a lower common denominator.

In other words, if young communicators cannot see someone to emulate and be challenged to advance, they will never reach their potential. There is a certain degree of insecurity in youth which shows us how much we need to grow.

In this lies the process of self-evaluation. Speakers must watch techniques of others to learn and grow. We all need to see ways in which we can improve.

Being a grace blog, we often focus on promises of the New Testament and the New Covenant.

Does that make the Old Testament irrelevant?
Is the old in Old Testament representative of something that has no value in modern-day?
Was the God of the Old Testament different than the one we love and serve today?

The short answer is NO!

Keep reading and I will explain why.

Recently, while reading a book on grace, I observed the author go to great lengths to show the Old Covenant,  even Old Testament, has no value in our lives today.

While agreeing with many of his points and interpretations on the grace of God, I could not disagree more with his perspective on the Old Testament.

Here is a quote from the book.

Make Moments

April 15, 2014

Just as we pulled up to join the convoy of safari vehicles, the leopard we had been tracking jumped from his tree and sped off into the bushes.

We just missed our moment.

The setting was Krueger National Park in South Africa. I was taking my parents on a safari during their visit to our family.

We had marked a tree in the park as a leopard dining area, having seen an impala carcass hanging from its branches. A fresh kill would surely give us our elusive leopard sighting.

Our guide parked the vehicle and we waited. One by one, the other tourists departed for other pursuits. Our guide suggested we wait.

How often in life to we miss amazing moments because we are in a hurry to our next appointment?
Do we miss the gems life has to offer because we do not slow down enough to even notice?

The most common view of life with God today is a picture of us living under divine rules in order to avoid calamity.

Follow the rules, live right, and God will bless us. Right?

We want God on our side. In simple terms, we want to move his hand or manipulate him.

A God who controls everything gives us rules, so we try to exert control over him in order to reduce uncertainty.

We do this by:
1. Rituals (religious practices which appease God)
2. Morality (certain behaviours to be done or avoided)

Its like the great exchange.  I give you worship and righteous behavior, you give me __________.

It’s a formula: I give you this, you give me that.

We motivate people towards sexual abstinence telling them, “If you don’t have sex you will have better grades, sports success, and have amazing sex when married.”