Lots of Cheap Kindle Books 4.18.12

There are a ton of great kindle books for cheap today:

$2.99

$3.49

$3.82

$3.99

$4.99

Links of the Week

  1. Letters to a young pastor. I’m reading this book right now and it is a great book for young pastors, tons of wisdom.
  2. Phil Cooke on the secret to great teams.
  3. Porn blamed for children’s sexual behavior.
  4. Dave Ferguson on What stats a church should count.
  5. Russell Moore answers “Should I marry a man addicted to porn?
  6. Start – Stop – Continue. Great advice for pastors and leaders.
  7. Teens & porn: stats you need to know.
  8. Dave Kraft on The importance of picking the right people for the right teams.
  9. Forbes on Girls for Sale! Changing the Conversation on Exploited Kids in the U.S.

Why I Preach Like I Do Part 2

Yesterday, I talked about some things that guide the preaching at Revolution. Today I want to unpack the second thing that drives our preaching.

We preach for life transformation, not knowledge transference.

I realize if you are a pastor, you would say this is why you preach. But often our sermons say the opposite. In listening to a lot of sermons online, it seems like the goal for pastors is to either show how smart they are or how smart they can make their churches.

In my opinion, one of the most crucial steps in sermon prep is editing, choosing what you will not share. This is difficult because there is often more a pastor would like to share than he has time for. I am one of those guys who loves theology. I love to talk about it, read about it. I could spend hours talking about the sovereignty of God. As interesting as that as is to me, when I preach, I have to show my church not only why that doctrine is true and beautiful, but how that impacts their life. Most pastors seem to stop at, “it’s true” and then move on.

Why does it matter that Jesus was God and human? Why does the Holy Spirit matter?

When preaching, you must always answer the “why does this matter” question.

This is one of the reasons I love preaching through books of the Bible. I’m able to build on each sermon each week. I can quickly refer to something as a reminder, show the context, which helps to answer why an author mentioned what he mentions and then make an application that has to do with life transformation.

All the doctrines I love are about life transformation, we just need to help our people see them.

Two books that have helped me immensely in this area is The Big Idea and Communicating for a Change

Favorite Books of 2011

Every year I list out my favorite books of the year. This year, my goal was to read 50 books and I’m happy to say I did it. For me, one of the ways I relax is reading. I’ve also learned that when it comes to being a great leader and communicator, you have to read. In case you are curious about years past favorites, you can check out my favorite books from 2009 and 2010.

What makes this list different from the music list is that I had to read the book in 2011, it didn’t have to be published in that year. To make this list, I look for books that challenged my thinking and are shaping me as a man, father, husband, leader, pastor and communicator.

Here they are (in no particular order):

  • Rumors of God by Jon Tyson & Darren Whitehead. This book looked at how God is moving in our world and how to see evidences of God’s hand and how faith is playing out in our world. This was a book that didn’t have a lot of things to take from it, but one that I thoroughly enjoyed and found myself feeling really encouraged at the end. Here is my review.
  • What Good is God?: In Search of a Faith that Matters by Philip Yancey. Very similar to Rumors of God, but different enough to make it worth reading. Yancey shares 10 stories from 10 trips he took around the world. After telling the story of seeing pain, tragedy, suffering and faith, he shares the sermon he gave at that place. A great, great book. Here is my review.
  • The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs by Carmine Gallo. I’ve become a big fan of Apple and Steve Jobs over the last few years. This book is a great look at what made Jobs a great communicator. This has huge implications for pastors. Here is my review.
  • Barefoot Church: Serving the Least in a Consumer Culture by Brandon Hatmaker. Don’t read this book unless you want to be convicted and see God challenge you to go to new places when it comes to how you think about money and the world around you. I read this book in 1 evening, it was that good and found myself having to repent of several things in my heart. Here is my review.
  • Great by Choice by Jim Collins. Jim Collins is another author that if he writes it, I’ll read it. So much research, so much for leaders to learn. While this book was not as good as Good to Great, it was a close second. Here is my review.
  • A Work of Heart: How God Shapes Spiritual Leaders by Reggie McNeal. If Reggie McNeal will write it, I’ll read it. This book, though a few years old, had so much in it. I remember reading this book at the beginning of the year and finding myself highlighting almost every line. Quite possibly the best book I read all year. Here is my review.
  • The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan. Rest is not something I always do well. Sabbath has a lot of meanings, I have young kids, life is busy and the excuses mount up. If you are looking to be challenged and move towards more rest in your life and enjoying the presence of God, this is a great book to read. Here is my review.
  • Moneyball by Michael Lewis. I’m not a huge baseball fan, but I wanted to read this before seeing the movie. Haven’t seen the movie yet, but the book was awesome. Great look at some of the science of baseball, and a fascinating story of one man and one franchise. If you are a baseball fan, you should definitely read this book. Here is my review.
  • On the Verge by Alan Hirsch & Dave Ferguson. A great look at what is ahead for church leaders and how they move forward to have an impact for the gospel. This is one of those books that every pastor who wants to see their church make an impact needs to read. Here is my review.

Top Post of 2011 – #2: The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs

Over the last 11 days of 2011, I’ll be posting the top 11 posts of 2011. Here is #2: The presentation secrets of Steve Jobs.

Over the weekend I read through The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any AudienceWhile not all of it was completely applicable to pastors (as Jobs didn’t have to do a presentation or sermon once a week), there was a lot of nuggets in there for any leader or communicator.

The author, Carmine Gallo shared 18 things that Jobs did in his presentations that every communicator needs to do. Here are a few that jumped out to me personally as applicable for pastors.

Plan in analog. Before starting to write a sermon or presentation, know where it will go. Don’t start with pictures, slides, graphics, notes or handouts. Research, plan, know the goal and then write it.

Answer the question that matters most. According to Gallo, when people listen to a presentation they have one question, “Why should I care?” While that is not the only question a pastor should answer in a sermon, I believe Gallo is right in that, if you don’t answer this question it will be hard to keep their attention when you get to Jesus.

Create twitter-like headlines. This has been written about by Dave Ferguson in The Big Idea and Andy Stanley in Communicating for a ChangeHave one main idea you are trying to get across, not 3 or 5 points. One thing, hammer it over and over.

Make it look effortless. Preaching is hard work, it is weighty. But, when you stand up to preach, you should be so prepared that it looks effortless. You should know your topic, be ready, confessed your sins to God, preach with a right heart that it just flows out of you.

Here are a few other things that jumped out:

  • Jobs didn’t sell products, he sold the dream of a better future.
  • Jobs explained the why before the how.
  • The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.
  • Your brain craves meaning before details.
  • In a presentation, start with the big picture – the problem – before filling in the details (your solution).
  • Always answer, “Why do you need this?”
  • Ideas are more easily remembered when associated with a picture.

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs

Over the weekend I read through The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. While not all of it was completely applicable to pastors (as Jobs didn’t have to do a presentation or sermon once a week), there was a lot of nuggets in there for any leader or communicator.

The author, Carmine Gallo shared 18 things that Jobs did in his presentations that every communicator needs to do. Here are a few that jumped out to me personally as applicable for pastors.

Plan in analog. Before starting to write a sermon or presentation, know where it will go. Don’t start with pictures, slides, graphics, notes or handouts. Research, plan, know the goal and then write it.

Answer the question that matters most. According to Gallo, when people listen to a presentation they have one question, “Why should I care?” While that is not the only question a pastor should answer in a sermon, I believe Gallo is right in that, if you don’t answer this question it will be hard to keep their attention when you get to Jesus.

Create twitter-like headlines. This has been written about by Dave Ferguson in The Big Idea and Andy Stanley in Communicating for a Change. Have one main idea you are trying to get across, not 3 or 5 points. One thing, hammer it over and over.

Make it look effortless. Preaching is hard work, it is weighty. But, when you stand up to preach, you should be so prepared that it looks effortless. You should know your topic, be ready, confessed your sins to God, preach with a right heart that it just flows out of you.

Here are a few other things that jumped out:

  • Jobs didn’t sell products, he sold the dream of a better future.
  • Jobs explained the why before the how.
  • The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.
  • Your brain craves meaning before details.
  • In a presentation, start with the big picture – the problem – before filling in the details (your solution).
  • Always answer, “Why do you need this?”
  • Ideas are more easily remembered when associated with a picture.

Top Posts for July 2011

In case you missed them, here are the top posts for the month of July.

  1. On the Verge: A Journey into the Apostolic Future of the Church
  2. My Journey of Losing Weight
  3. Losing Weight Part 7: The Idol of Being in Shape
  4. The Role of Men in Family
  5. 15 Ways to Improve Your Marriage
  6. Planning a Preaching Calendar
  7. The Next Series at Revolution: The Vow
  8. Adoption Puzzle
  9. Parents, Read with Your Children
  10. Summer Preaching Break

Reading 50 Books in 2011

I am halfway through 2011 (and so are the rest of you). One of my goals this year was to read 50 books, I figured since I’m halfway through the year, I’d share with you my progress in case you’ve missed some of my thoughts on these books. As I’ve said before, what I love about looking back on the reading I’ve done, I can see how God has worked in my life and shaped my thinking. So, here goes. They are in order of reading:

  1. Missional Community Life by Porterbrook Network
  2. Why Johnny Can’t Preach by T. David Gordon
  3. Exponential: How You and Your Friends can Start a Missional Church Movement by Dave & Jon Ferguson
  4. Reclaiming Adoption: Missional Living Through the Rediscovery of Abba Father by Dan Cruver
  5. Gospel Change by Porterbrook Network
  6. Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes us Just by Timothy Keller
  7. Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip & Dan Heath
  8. On the Old Testament (A Book You’ll Actually Read) by Mark Driscoll
  9. The Message of the Old Testament:  Promises Made by Mark Dever
  10. Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell & the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived by Rob Bell
  11. Practicing Greatness: 7 Disciplines of Extraordinary Spiritual Leaders by Reggie McNeal
  12. A Work of Heart: How God Shapes Spiritual Leaders by Reggie McNeal
  13. The Confession: A Novel by John Grisham
  14. Five Ministry Killers and How to Defeat Them by Charles Stone
  15.  The Prodigal God by Tim Keller
  16. Wrestling an Angel: A Story of Love, Disability, and the Lessons of Grace by Greg Lucas
  17. The Drama of Scripture by Michael Goheen & Craig Bartholomew
  18. Speak Like a CEO by Suzanne Bates
  19. How the Mighty Fall by Jim Collins
  20. Redemption: How Jesus Frees from the Idols we Worship and the Wounds we Carry by Mike Wilkerson
  21. The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan
  22. Moneyball by Michael Lewis
  23. On the Verge by Dave Ferguson & Alan Hirsch

On the Verge

Just wrapped up reading On the Verge by Dave Ferguson and Alan Hirsch.

If you want to read a book that will tell you to keep doing the same thing, hoping your church will change or reach more people. If you want someone to tell you to keep pushing for the status quo in your church and not change anything. This is not the book to read.

But, if you want to read a book on the future of the church, our world, how to take your church into the future to reach the world around us, this is the book to read.

The premise of the book is to look at how the world has changed and what the church needs to do in response to that to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. It definitely is a book that will push your thinking, but also give you practical ideas on what to do. It is a book that will take you from the safety of your world into the unknown. And that is what it scary for many pastor’s. Unfortunately, most pastor’s do not do unknown, even though we live in the unknown (but that is another post).

As Mike Breen points out in the foreword, “If we are to build strong centers of mission-churches that resource networks of missional congregations and communities, we need the strongest attractional forces and the most vibrant missional impulses to be present.” That is what this book presents.

One of the things that drives the book in its point of how to build a movement of churches is that every person in your church can be a church planter/missionary and your church has everything you need to do what God has called you to. Many pastor’s say they believe this, but I wonder if we actually live this out in our leadership. One of the things that has me excited about the future of Revolution is some fo the things we are putting into place to make this happen, some simple training ideas we will be using to train our people to be missionaries in their world.

At the center of this idea of movement is discipleship. I remember Jeff Vanderstelt asking me “how many people could leave Revolution and plant a church.” The answer to that question shows you the level of discipleship in your church. My answer was, “not many.” That was a year ago and that has pushed our leadership to figure out how to change that answer to “many.”

One of the things I appreciated in the book was the back and forth between Dave and Alan’s voice. They have different perspectives, but want the same thing. It made the book move along and keep your attention.

I was reminded while reading, why we are giving our lives to building a movement in Tucson. We are not playing at church planting. Lives, marriages, families, careers, and eternities are at stake. We need to get it right.