- 1st day in our new facility! Our team is amazing. They pulled it off without a hitch!
- Our very first visitor showed up about an hour before the service started…and we promptly sent him away in the back of a police car!
- Seriously though, he was inebriated and had a weapon. We really tried to be graceful, but eventually gave up. Hopefully he’ll come back when he’s not being disruptive.
- On a positive note, the entire setup looked and worked great. The worship team rocked it. The Kidway area was all over it. The sermon wasn’t too bad either:)
- We kicked off our series through the book of Romans. I’m super stoked to go through this book. No other piece of literature has had more eternal impact throughout history than this one.
- This is the book that gripped Martin Luther and sparked the Protestant Reformation. This is the book that stirred in John Wesley and resulted in the Great Awakening.
- Literally billions of people have been impacted by this book.
- Yesterday I spent most of the sermon discussing Romans 1:17, where Paul writes, “The just shall live by faith.”
- This is the theme that we will be exploring throughout the entire book. This was Paul’s battle cry. This was Martin Luther’s battle cry.
- This will be our battle cry.
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Here’s what I’ve been reading the past 4 months, in no particular order or preference:
Crazy Love by Francis Chan
Forgotten God by Francis Chan
The Tangible Kingdom by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay
AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay
The Divine Commodity by Skye Jethani
Essential Church? by Thom and Sam Rainer
Church in the Making by Ben Arment
The Forgotten Ways by Alan Hirsch
Stories of the Supernatural by Tyler Johnson
Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick
The Joy of Home Brewing by Charlie Papazian
Mark Batterson has quickly become one of my favorite authors of the day. Mark is a left-brained logical thinker who has also managed to harness the power of right-brain creativity and yolk the two together. In my opinion, this is a rare and valuable trait that more of today’s leaders need.
His first two books, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day and Wild Goose Chase dared me to chase after the God adventure for my life. I felt as if every chapter of these books dared me to go big in everything I do for God. Primal is different in that I feel as if Mark slowed down a bit in order to dig a little deeper. The entire focus of the book is an unpacking of Mark 12:30, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all you mind and with all your strength.” This passage is what Mark calls the “Primal” Commandment, and it is the simple precept on which our entire faith is built. We are to wholeheartedly love God with our entire beings. Mark proceeds to dissect this passage and barrages us with fascinating scientific facts that engage the mind, yet woos us with true, heartfelt stories of compassion that grip our hearts. All the while making brilliant analogies between the natural world and our spiritual lives that keep me asking, “Why didn’t I think of that?!”.
I tend to read a lot of books through about 2/3 of the way, and then get bored. All of the good stuff is usually up front, and the last third seems to be filler that was required by the publisher to make sure they met their page quota (whatever that is). Not so with Primal. Just when I thought perhaps it was going to slow down to a crawl, it accelerated like a roller coaster as it finishes its initial slow, methodological climb, only to release into a 100mph freefall, filling the riders with adrenaline.
Mark wraps things up with a cry for reformation. Much like the last reformation that changed the world, except the rally cry of the next reformation will not be sola fida, faith alone, but amo dei, love God. This is where I found myself on my knees, confessing that perhaps I have loved my dreams more than I have loved my God. As Mark says, “Everything minus God equals nothing. God plus nothing equals everything. At the end of the day, all that matters is God”. Reformation will happen when a people begin to love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. A rediscovery of something ancient, something primal. A rediscovery of the Greatest Commandment.
If you’re looking for a book to kick off the New Year, pick up a copy of Primal. You won’t be disappointed!
- A little light on attendance today, but what would I expect after the 4th?
- Diane Lake shared about her new book, “Full Circle: Coming into the fullness of Christ”.
- It was amazing how it flowed with the sermon today. Especially her chapter on Inheritance.
- BTW, they’re for sale for $10. I’ve read it and it is good. You can pick on up on Sunday.
- Worship was great. I think our worship experience each week has SOOOO much to do with our individual expectations. If we really worship God and believe he’s going to show up, then he does.
- We started a new series today called “Joshua Generation”. We’re going through the book of Joshua for the next 2 months and it is going to be great!
- I’m glad to be preaching again. It was nice having 4 weeks off, but I missed it.
- I have a Media page on the website now where you can listen to podcasts of the sermon. Click here for Sunday’s sermon. You won’t want to miss it!
- The final tally is in: we gave $1000 to the One Prayer initiative last week to plant1000 churches in Sudan, Cambodia, India, and China. I’ll post updates when I hear more about the total giving from the 2000 churches involved.
- This Sunday’s service is going to be in Boyd Park just down the street from the building. It’s on Washburn. Same time. Bring some chairs!
I just finished a book called “I’ll Have What She’s Having: The Ultimate Compliment To Any Woman Daring To Look Life In The Face” by Bobbie Houston of Hillsong Church. I know, you’re wondering why I read this book. I’m obviously not a woman. Well, it sort of happened by accident. I was sitting in the living room with my kids and this book was sitting in the magazine rack next to the sofa. I picked it up out of boredom and started to read it, and before I knew it, I had finished it. It was actually an excellent book.
Here’s the point: I can learn something from every person on this planet. Bobbie Houston actually had a lot to say about leadership. Her and her husband have been leading Hillsong Church in Australia for over 25 yrs. She should have something to say! When I think I can’t learn from someone, I have become unteachable. Heck, I can probably learn something from Charles Manson. It may be what not to do in life, but I can learn something.
Pastor Steven Furtick from Elevation Church asks all potential staff members during the interview process what they think of such and such leader, usually a well-known preacher who may be somewhat controversial. If all the potential staff member can do is criticize, then they are unlikely to get the job. I love it. You see, he’s searching out the attitude of the potential new hire: are they a learner, or are they too critical or too full of themselves to learn from others? It’s a great question that we all need to ask ourselves from time to time.
I’d sit under Brian and Bobbie Houston’s leadership any day!
Whether you’re a business leader, civic leader, or church leader, this book is for you. This has got to be one of the best books that has come out in some time. If you’re a leader of any type, you need to download this book. It’s free.
What someone has done is taken the best blogs of 2008, from some of the best church leaders in North America, and compiled them into a book format, arranged by author.
You can read one entry a day and it will last you the entire year. Or you can do as I do, and just keep reading until your eyes turn bloodshot because the entries are all so good!
Here’s a list of books that have been influential in my life, particularly in the last few years. The number of times I read each book is in parentheses:
Blue Like Jazz (2) by Donald Miller
Mere Christianity (2) by C.S. Lewis
Searching For God Knows What (1) by Donald Miller
Good To Great (1) by Jim Collins
They Like Jesus But Not The Church (1) by Dan Kimball
The Lost Deep Thoughts (3) by Jack Handey
Jim And Casper Go To Church (1) by Jim Henderson and Matt Casper
What’s So Amazing About Grace (2) by Phillip Yancey
Victory Over The Darkness (2) by Neil Anderson
Visioneering (1) by Andy Stanley
The Life-Giving Church (1) by Ted Haggard
The Supernatural Power Of A Transformed Mind (2) by Bill Johnson
The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team (1) by Patrick Lencioni
Go Big (1) by Bill Easum and Bil Cornelius
Wild At Heart (1) by John Eldridge
The Purpose Driven Church (1) by Rick Warren
Launch (1) by Nelson Searcy and Kerrick Thomas
Planting Missional Churches (1) by Ed Stetzer
Where The Red Fern Grows (10) by Wilson Rawls
Based on the number of times I’ve read each book, it looks like my top 2 favorites are Where The Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls, and The Lost Deep Thoughts by the famous SNL philosopher, Jack Handey I haven’t read Wilson Rawls in a number of years, but I read it so much growing up that I just about wore the book out.