Cheap Kindle Books [2.10.14]

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22 Quotes from “Prophetic Preaching”

If you preach, I’d highly recommend you pick up the series by Craig Brian Larson on preaching. Here are some quotes from Prophetic Preaching:

  1. We can avoid and deny this spiritual disease for years until someone uses God’s Word, not as a weapon to bludgeon us, but as a scalpel to cut through our layers of excuses and evasions. It takes courage and compassion, but these trustworthy pastors speak the truth, identifying our sin, calling it by name, and then gently leading us to the One who can heal our souls. That summarizes the ministry of prophetic preaching.
  2. Prophetic preachers don’t sugarcoat the truth; they don’t ignore or minimize the painful verdict; and they’ll declare what we need to hear, not necessarily what we want to hear.
  3. Prophetic preaching always begins with a high view of Scripture. There’s an assumption that God has something to say right now, in this city, to this group of people gathered for worship—young and old, rich and poor, American and Nigerian and Brazilian and Korean, believer and skeptic.
  4. Prophetic preachers also know that during each sermon human souls hang on a precipice between good and evil, God and idols, obedience and rebellion, heaven and hell. Marriages, families, and communities desperately need direction and healing. Thus the end game of preaching isn’t providing information or entertainment. People (both Christians and non-Christians) need to repent, believe the gospel, grow in Christ, and serve the world.
  5. There’s also a dark side or a danger in prophetic preaching: a lack of love for others.
  6. We’ll never break and win hearts with narrow, prudish, moralistic messages.
  7. Biblical preaching always invites people into Jesus’ grand “kingdom adventure.” In other words, if we ask people to release their idols, we had better hand them something more adventurous and satisfying.
  8. Prophetic preachers dare to proclaim that ultimately there’s nothing more heroic, attractive, and adventurous than trusting Christ.
  9. The very concept of purity is much more attractive than morality. Morality, whether this is a misunderstanding or not, seems to traffic in rules—to say, “Here are the strictures; you need to mind your p’s and q’s and behave yourself.” Purity calls us to a life of God-ward-ness and adventure; there’s something heroic about it. There’s something winsome about the life of purity.
  10. The authority for prophetic preaching doesn’t reside in the preacher. It’s not in the preacher’s personality (although God can use many different personality types) or in the preacher’s attempt to be relevant. The preacher’s authority has one basis: the authority of God’s Word.
  11. God’s Word like a lion: let it out of the cage, get out of the way, and it will take care of itself.
  12. People are hungering to hear someone preach the truth of God’s Word without reservation.
  13. There are two elements that every preacher should have: urgency and clarity.
  14. Clarity brings power and the authority of God’s Word. Urgency—or the sense that this message matters, so decide today—also brings the authority of God’s Word.
  15. The goal of a preacher’s message is that at some point people would feel convicted. Conviction implies that people are overcome with the gaps that exist between the lives they’re living and the lives God wants them to live. Conviction can happen at the entry point of the gospel or at some point in the process of progressive sanctification.
  16. Prophetic preaching derails when it starts speaking forcefully about stuff that the Scriptures don’t address forcefully.
  17. Postmodern people aren’t seeking experiences; they’re seeking God. And the point of preaching is to unveil him.
  18. In studying a passage to preach, I ask three questions: Who is God? How is he revealed in this text? What are the most natural inclinations that resist or deny that truth?
  19. If you are preaching, and your audience is learning truth, but they could never imagine being like you—responding to the world like you, thinking like you, and feeling like you—that’s not good.
  20. When you look at the New Testament and what it says about the church’s responsibility with respect to what is declared, the authority for preaching is never placed in the community.
  21. Too often people see preaching as just teaching, but if it doesn’t have a component of exhortation and challenge that calls people to change, to grow in Christ, or to take purposeful steps to build the kingdom, it’s not really preaching; it’s only teaching.
  22. Never preach a text you haven’t lived or that hasn’t lived in you.”

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.

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

The Rest of God

Rest is not something I always do well. I try. Some seasons are more balanced than others. I want to rest well. Sleep well. Eat well. I want to hear God, but sometimes I get so busy that I drown out his voice.

On my shelf, I had Mark Buchanan’s book The Rest of God for several years. I started it probably 4 times but never finished it. Last week, I picked it up determined to finish it.

I have just come through a busy season. We had another church merge with us, which meant my responsibilities expanded and involved me taking my family day (most weeks) and being at the other church to build relationships and preach. We had an elder resign, which took a toll on me emotionally and mentally. I have also been making 2-3 tripes to Phoenix each month building relationships with Acts 29 pastors and learning how to better train leaders at Revolution through the Surge Network (more on this later). To add to that, since January, we’ve almost doubled as a church and we added another worship gathering which over time takes a toll physically from having to preach twice.

This past month I realized I was just wiped. So, I grabbed Buchanan’s book off the shelf.

What I most appreciated about this book was how he described Sabbath. Sabbath is not just a day, it is a state of your heart, it is the pace you live. He says, “Sabbath is both a day and an attitude to nurture such stillness. It is both time on a calendar and a disposition of the heart. It is a day we enter, but just as much a way we see. Sabbath imparts the rest of God – actual physical, mental, spiritual rest, but also the rest of God – the things of God’s nature and presence we miss in our busyness.”

The reality though is that busyness robs of us things. It robs our health, relationships, relationship with God, etc. We convince ourselves that the busier we are, the more we will accomplish, but have you ever noticed the ones who accomplish the most over the long haul tend to be the most balanced. They are healthy, sleep well, eat well and have community around them.

By breaking sabbath, we actually lessen the greatness of play, vacation, eating, etc. What I never realized until reading this book was the scope of the heart of sabbath.

Sabbath in Scripture begins at night, with sleep. Which is an appropriate picture of the heart of Sabbath. Sleep is “a necessity. It is a relinquishment. It is self-abandonment: of control, of power, of consciousness, of identity. We direct nothing in our sleep. We master nothing. In sleep, we become infants again: utterly vulnerable, completely defenseless, totally dependent. Out of control.” If you read that definition again, you will see why most of us break sabbath. We like power, control. We don’t like to be vulnerable or dependent on anyone, let alone God.

Sabbath shows us our helplessness. It reminds us of our humanness.

One thing I took away was learning to live in the present, especially with my kids. It is easy to convince yourself that your kids can wait or to be with them while thinking of something else. This past week, Katie was at day camp with the other kids and Gavin stayed home sick. Everyone left and I turned on Toy Story 3 for Gavin and was going to go get ready for the day. He asked me to watch the movie with him. I decided to lay on the couch, watch the movie and get ready later. My sermon and work still got done this week.

Buchanan sums out how we should think on Sabbath and live it out:  Cease from what is necessary. Embrace what gives life. 

Once a week. In your heart, everyday.

If you are fast moving, control freak. Don’t rest well. Like me. This is a book you should definitely grab.

Why Freedom is so Hard

I’m reading through Mark Buchanan’s book The Rest of God. It is one of those books that has nothing to do with sermon prep or leadership, but is really challenging me in terms of pace, how I rest and trust God and experience his freedom.

He points out something interesting in terms of sabbath and why we don’t experience rest, but I think it has broader implications as to why we don’t experience freedom in the gospel. Buchanan says, “We don’t get restored because many people don’t want to be made well.” He points out that in the gospels Jesus asked people if they wanted to be made well. Which seems like a silly question. Almost like asking, “Do you want to be free from that addiction? That thought pattern? That hurt?” But it is a good question. Many of us don’t want to be made well.

We get used to it. We carry it around. We learn how to wield it as power in our lives and hold it over people. We learn how to hold it over God (or so we think).

The reason many people can’t imagine freedom from that hurt, pain or addiction is because they don’t want to imagine life without it. They want to stay in. They want to stay hurt, stay addicted. That may sound silly, but at the end of the day, bondage is easier than freedom. Bondage means giving up. Bondage means not trusting in God.

Saturday Night Mind Dump…

  • Tired, but a good tired
  • Tonight was the first night of 2 services
  • So cool to see how many people stepped up to make it happen
  • It is humbling to me all the people who work to make Revolution happen every week and the passion they have to help people in Tucson find their way back to God
  • I am blown away every week by the caliber of our leaders, we really do have the greatest leaders a church could ask for
  • It was a pretty intense sermon for me tonight, very personal and pastoral for me
  • It is heart breaking to know people who are making choices contrary to God’s word and you see how the story is going to end and you just want to stop them
  • That’s what I felt tonight
  • We ended the sermon with a really powerful sermon that you can see here
  • If you missed it, I’d really encourage you to watch it
  • I was challenged, being 31 and thinking that my life is so short, it doesn’t last forever and how my choices would be different if I lived with the reality of that and the reality that Zac said, “You may have already lived past the halfway point of your life”
  • Wow
  • In case you missed last night, you can listen to the message here
  • I will admit, I didn’t know how tonight would go and if anyone would be there since Arizona had a big basketball game overlapping both services
  • Awesome to see how God continues to grow our church
  • We had more people in the 1st service than we did when we launched
  • Excited about taking a retreat day this week and head up to Mt. Lemmon
  • A much needed thing to clear my head and keep my heart close to Jesus
  • If something in tonight’s message jumped out to you and you’d like to do some more reading on learning how to set goals and make plans in a Godly way and learn how to trust in the character of God and his sovereignty as the basis of those goals, check out these books:  Soulprint: Discovering Your Divine Destiny by Mark Batterson, The Holy Wild: Trusting in the Character of God by Mark Buchanan, and Chazown: Define Your Vision. Pursue Your Passion. Live Your Life on Purpose. by Craig Groeschel
  • Started reading a book last night that is really challenging me, great look at the inner life of a leader
  • Katie and I are heading up to The Crossing tomorrow night, the church we’re merging with to hang out with them and attend church
  • I’m really excited for Easter weekend when they join us
  • Hoping to wrap up the study guide for our next series this week
  • Really excited about spending 5 months preaching through the Old Testament
  • That’s all I got, barely keeping my eyes open

Saturday Night Mind Dump…

  • What a day
  • What a night
  • I got to speak at The Great Adventure conference today, always a good time speaking to a room full of men
  • Love calling men to step up and be the men of God that God has called them to be
  • Tonight was the 3rd sermon I’ve preached this week but I am amazed at how God sustains us and gives us the strength right when we need it
  • It is humbling all the doors God is opening for me to speak outside of Revolution
  • Awesome to be able to serve the church that way
  • This week, you could tell that Satan was working behind the scenes to stop a lot of stuff in our church
  • But, Jesus always wins
  • It is always a reminder that we are going down the right path when experiencing spiritual warfare
  • We wrapped up our series on 2 Timothy tonight
  • Be sure to go to our fan page and share what you learned in this series
  • It has been an awesome 6 weeks in the life of our church going through this short book
  • I have grown to love this book
  • If you are a young leader or in your 20’s – 30’s, you should definitely spend some time in it
  • Talked about legacy and finishing well tonight
  • It is so sad that so many people in our culture do not finish their lives, marriages, career’s or faith well
  • Paul lays out his motto in 2 Timothy 4:7 – No retreat. No reserves. No regrets.
  • The story I shared at the end of my talk came from this book
  • I shared this tonight, but I think this sums up why so many lives are empty
  • If you missed tonight, you can listen to it here
  • Tomorrow is a big day in our house
  • We have nothing on the calendar except watching our beloved Steelers go 3-0
  • Been reading a great book this week that I think is a must read for any man
  • This gets at the heart of what God calls a man to become
  • Paul taught a new song tonight that totally sums up this series
  • In case you are curious about where I am speaking in the month, you can check out my schedule here
  • If you are looking for a great worship album, this is the one to get
  • I am so, so excited about next week at Revolution
  • We are celebrating our 2 year anniversary by having a baptism and kicking off a new series
  • The next 3 months as we go through the book of Philippians I think might be the best 3 months in the life of our church
  • I believe God is going to do some big things in people’s lives
  • So, come to church next week in pairs (meaning, bring someone) and be praying this week asking God to do some big things and to move in power in people’s lives
  • Time to go lay on the couch with my beautiful wife, eat some carrot cake with way too much frosting and watch The Prince of Persia
  • Don’t forget, be there next Saturday, be ready for a big night and BRING SOMEONE
  • It will be an awesome night

Saturday Night Mind Dump…

  • Good night
  • Really different feel tonight
  • We started tonight a little differently than normal, started off a little slower and more subdued
  • Definitely fit the feel of the night and topic, but felt weird as I started preaching
  • Right now, I’m listening to the Kings of Convenience, definitely a good end to the night
  • I think the topic tonight:  balance, margin, discouragement, stress and burnout are such huge things that we need wrap our hands around them
  • It really is a faith issue
  • Whenever we push through, live stressed, worry, we are telling God, “You aren’t big enough to handle this”
  • Here is a great quote I shared tonight from Dan Allender & Tremper Longman
  • If you missed tonight, you can listen to it here
  • Got to have dinner with a newer family at our church, always love meeting the people God is sending to Revolution
  • We announced an upcoming series I Want a New Marriage
  • Check out the site and spread the word to as many people as possible!
  • We mentioned our partnership class tonight, go here for more information and to sign up
  • Jennifer and the Planet Rev. team did an awesome job with getting everything done for their fall kick off tonight
  • If tonight struck a chord with you or if you want more resources on what we talked about tonight, check out Making Room for Life by Randy FrazeeThe Rest of God by Mark Buchanan and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazzero
  • All are fantastic books that have helped Katie and I understand margin and balance, understand how our emtions fit into our relationship with God and to find rest
  • Here is a great talk by Darrin Patrick called “The Life & Death of the Missional Leader.” Great look at how to handle depression, stress and burnout as a leader.
  • Here are some scary stats concerning pastors and burnout
  • We have our small group tomorrow night, we’re looking at what the Bible has to say about divorce, should be an interesting discussion
  • The book we are discussing has been a great study to Katie and I personally, really eye opening
  • Our group was able to serve our city last week, always a great thing to do in the context of community
  • Ava wrote her name this week, very cool milestone for her
  • Gavin turned 2 this past week
  • I posted some recent pics of the kids here
  • Crazy to think our kids are that old
  • Loved writing Gavin’s letter, one of my favorite things to do as a dad
  • This past Thursday was one of my favorite days of the year, the Steelers first game (doesn’t matter if it is the preseason, football is football)
  • This is an awesome thought, what if this was true for Revolution?
  • Thursday I start my lead pastor coaching network, really exciting about this personally, as well as what it will do for Revolution
  • I think God is going to do some huge things through it!
  • You don’t want to miss next, we’ll be ending our series with a bang:  How would you live if you found out today was your last day?

Saturday Night Mind Dump… (Vacation Edition)

  • Here’s my mind dump, vacation style
  • We left Friday for San Diego and so far, the weather has been amazing
  • It is supposed to be a high of 78 while we’re here
  • It’s true what they say, “You don’t know how badly you need a vacation until you are on it”
  • We needed it
  • Here’s a picture of why I love vacation
  • Go here to see pictures from our adventures today
  • Katie has me hooked on french press coffee now, it is addicting
  • Heard tonight was a great night at Revolution
  • Don’t know about anyone else, but how awesome is it to have Paul on our team?
  • I’m continually blown away by the level of creativity that comes out of our creative team
  • If you missed tonight, you can listen to the message here
  • Got a lot of great feedback about the TV evangelist video we made, I’ll post it when I can
  • Heard it was a great kick off to our brand new series
  • You don’t want to miss next week, it is going to be even cooler
  • Dave Ramsey will be talking about debt, something a lot of people have
  • Gonna get together a few times this week with Jim Johnson, he’s been a guy who has been challenging my thinking the last few times we’ve hung out
  • Tomorrow we’re going to church at Kaleo, love going to church on vacation with Katie
  • I don’t have to do anything but sit down and listen, really refreshing for someone who speaks a lot
  • Speaking of that, I am loving having this month off from preaching
  • I am really excited about preaching our next series in August
  • The lead pastor at Kaleo, David Fairchild is a guy worth reading and listening to
  • His ideas on tri-persepctival leadership are really shaping how we do and think about leadership at Revolution
  • If you missed our 4th of July BBQ/Baptism, you can see pictures here
  • While on vacation, I’m reading two really good books: The rest of God and Leadership Gold, I’ll blog some thoughts when I’m done
  • Saw this billboard today, definitely a reminder why we’re preaching on marriage and divorce this fall
  • Love our schedule for the week (wake up, exercise, lunch, nap, go somewhere cool, dinner, bed, do it all over again)
  • That’s a vacation
  • Now I’m getting back to it
  • Good night from 66 degree San Diego