Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

What is the Church?

August 28, 2007

I’ve been rediscovering the essentials of the faith, a discipline I should be doing regularly. Right now, I’m digging into what Jesus called “My church.”

To begin with, I am reading through Charles Colson’s classic Being the Body. Last night, I read a good chunk in it and tonight I am taking notes. My hope is to go through this with our community in September.

Here are some excerpts about the definition of the church. It’s not even close to everything, and does not fully define it like Colson does throughout the book.

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    In direct response to Peter’s confession, Christ announced: “On this rock I will build my church.”

    And to that church He promised a vast grant of authority, which He called “the keys of the kingdom of heaven.”

    “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven,” Jesus said, “and whatever you lose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” The church was to be His instrument on earth, and whatever was done in His will would have eternal significance and consequence.

    Jesus’ response to Peter’s confession was to announce that He would build His church. And from that declaration we learn four crucial lessons about the church.

    First, the church is not a building. An ekklesia was a gathering of people. For the culture at large, ekklesia meant a public assembly of citizens. It was used when they were “called out” of the city to vote. Through its Hebrew counterpart, it also meant those whom He brought together and called by His name. The people of God.

    All references to the church, including the metaphorical “body” and “holy nation,” refer to God’s people.

    Second, the church is more than simply a collection of people; it is a new community. Many modern Christians see the Christian faith primarily, if not exclusively, as the gospel of “Jesus and me.”
    (more…)

Nice People Don’t Change the World

June 28, 2007

I just came across this book and idea that resonated with me. It’s by Lynne Hybels, wife of ministry guru Bill Hybels, and I believe it reflects the struggle of “many”. I don’t think this book is for women only, and in my opinion it might as well be called Nice People Don’t Change the World. Yet, she’s writing to women who only in general terms struggle with this more than men (men struggle with it their own ways). But I like how she uses that to help spur women to use their untapped potential, to “respond compassionately” to the world with the “talents, skills, education, and financial resources that women didn’t dream of in the past”.

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Nice Girls Don’t Change the World is also about Lynne’s transformational story “from a people pleasing ‘nice girl’ toward becoming a change-maker (or as she prefers to say, a ‘dangerous woman’)”, one “that has taken her through a painful crisis of identity, a pitch-dark night of the soul, and a fierce battle with fear.”

We’ve got to let go.

We’ve got to let go of the things that are tying us down, like fear, perfectionism and pride – and use what God has given us to change the world! We’ve got to stop hesitating and move far and away from passivity and indecisiveness, and have courage. Faith is having hope in the future. Fear is losing hope in the future. God says to never worry about tomorrow, but have hope in it – and focus on today. This is what makes a person come alive!

It’s so hard to motivate those who are gripped by fear because they’re afraid of making a mistake, and with so many options to choose from choosing anything can be a daunting thing. This is why we are afraid of commitment and would rather use our time to watch a few hours of Television than serve the world. And as our confidence drops and our focus hazes we become nice people. When we are too concerned about what people think of us it’s a sign of meism, which is rooted in selfishness and fear. All we have to do is re-surrender our lives to God and put our faith and motives in him, and we’ll move from nice to dangerous.

As Erwin McManus says (as I recall in my head, misquoted), “When we are out of God’s will, we are in danger, but when we are in God’s will we become dangerous.”

Contrast #1: The Dream

June 9, 2007

I love Tom Peter’s book Reimagine. It’s one of my all-time favorites. The book itself is a picturesque experience, chock-full of thought-provoking ideas and insight. I want to take the next couple days to share my notes in five posts about five contrasts.

First up, the dream.

We are in the dream business. The “experience” idea is a big stretch for many people in business. But we must stretch our minds, and our vocabularies, even further. Next stop on the value train: Dreams. As one business visionary put it, a dream amounts to “an opportunity to help clients become what they want to be.” This is not pie in the sky. “Dream” products provide returns to shareholders that far outpace the returns from “common” products. So, are you ready to enter the Dream Business?

DREAMS

! Contrasts

WAS to IS

    “Mere” experiences to Wild imaginings…and dreams fulfilled
    Things done well to Things not thought possible
    “It’s really good” “You can do that?”
    Pleased to Elated
    Surprised to Stunned
    Selling to customers Tempting customers
    “I’m not sure I need it.” to “I GOTTA HAVE IT. NOW.”
  • • Dramatically. ALTER. Perspective.
    • Adventures….in “Dreamketing”
    • Project: Dream
    • Extreme Dream
    • Transformation Guaranteed!
    • Dream Language
    • Insane Solutions and Cultures
    • Dream Weave
    • Dream Metrics
    • The “Feel” of Dreams. If you build it….
  • Touch people’s dreams. Tell stories and entertain. Promote dream, not product. Build brand around Main Dream. Build a buzz, hype, cult.

      Excitement. That’s right.
      Surprise. That’s right.
      Impossible. That’s right.
      Destiny. That’s right.
      Change. A lot of it.

    Dreams. Just do it. Just be it.
    Re-imagine it! Go for the things that are nuts! Take the leap. Once more, with feeling!

    This is your moment

    September 13, 2006

    “This is my moment, I thought. If I don’t seize the opportunity, if I don’t step out of my comfort zone and risk it all, if I let too much time tick on, my moment will pass. I knew that if I didn’t take advantage of this opportunity, I would replay it in my mind for my whole life, wondering: What if? Why didn’t I? This was my shot. Even if it didn’t work out, I still had to try it.

    I made up my mind to leave Starbucks and start my own company. My idea was to open stores that would serve coffee by the cup and espresso drinks, concentrating on high-traffic downtown locations. I wanted to re-create the romance and artistry and community I had seen in Italy.”

    “Part of what constitutes success is timing and chance. But most of us have to create our own opportunities and be prepared to jump when we see a big one others can’t see.

    It’s one thing to dream, but when the moment is right, you’ve got to be willing to leave what’s familiar and go out to find your own sound. That’s what I did in 1985. If I hadn’t, Starbucks wouldn’t be what it is today.”

    ~Howard Schultz, Pour Your Heart into It: How STARBUCKS Built a Company One Cup at a Time

    I can relate. Read the last sentence of the second paragraph twice. We’ve got to re-create the romance and artistry and community we see in Starbucks. Schultz ended up buying out a little company called Starbucks and as we know and enjoy, he took to the world.

    Thank You Donald Miller

    November 9, 2005

    Words began to flow when I read ole Donald Miller. I am inspired. I am lifted. I feel more whole.

    Sure, there’s a bit of envy in the way he writes. He’s darn good. But I remember to remember that there are always people who go before us to inspire. The more people there are who can write like this man, the better off we are. It just means there will be better writers and more people inspired, a better planet, indeed. Because of him, I am a freer thinker and a better writer.

    He’s books are one of the very few that I actually read every word and thirst for more. Just picked up his latest, Through Painted Deserts, and I am truly amazed, once again. .

    Marriage Books

    August 25, 2005

    I feel like I’m in writing boot camp. These past couple months I have been revising a book for the guy I work for the most – Josh McDowell. In the 80’s he wrote “Secret of Loving” and sold a slew of books. He’s kept me really busy for over a year but this baby hasn’t been the most rewarding. I am surely grateful, but bored to death – as well. It’s a book full of quotes, excerpts and statistics from journals, magazines and other books. All of which I am responsible to replace with something similar and new. The problem for me is that this is not my niche subject. Maybe it will be one day.

    Yesterday, I counted over 400 articles and journals I have combed through. I’ve yet to count how many marriage, love and relationship books there are in my huge wooden basket in the living room. To be honest, I’d rather not think about marriage for a while. If you wonder why, it’s because 1) I have other subjects burning I’d ready to write about & 2) I’m unimpressed with the books we’re putting out there on relationships, marriage, sex and love. They lack something – maybe it’s depth (I’ll go into that at another time) yet they have plenty of fluff and reference the same people over and over.

    The only way I’d love to write about marriage is to add some philosophical juice to it. Make people think. Yancey does what he does so well because he makes you think. He works really hard to be fresh and creative. These books are simple and clear but not original. Maybe, I’m too into it right now to be objective. What do you think about marriage books?

    I have one week for FINISH – and I’d appreciate your prayers. I’m reminded tonight that learning is living, and that is because growing yourself grows people. True love is underscored in giving, never in recieving. A way of thinking I learned today is: You are changed most by the love you give.

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