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Category Archives: Books

Plundering the Strong man

21When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” 22And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.” 23And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. 27But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered. (Mark 3:21-27, NRSV)

in order to take things from a strong man, you must first tie him up.

A house can not be for Jesus and against Jesus for it will collapse on itself.

So are we following where Jesus is leading us?

Sometimes following Jesus will lead us to things that the world around may not like and they might call us mad, will we still follow Jesus?

 
 

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Freedom from Sin

What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? 3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For whoever has died is freed from sin. 8But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. 13No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. (Romans 6:1-14, NRSV)

If we have been baptized we have been baptized into Christ’s death and if we have joined him in his death then we will also join him in his resurrection. We are dead to our old self.

Does that mean we no longer sin? No, it doesn’t. but it means we have the power to resist sin because we are no longer held slave to sin. We are not under the law but under grace, that doesn’t mean we can do whatever we want. as verses 1 and 2 remind us, we shouldn’t sin more so that we get more grace. We can not run after that which we are dead to.

You have been set free to live a life of love to others so that they will see how much God loves them. Live in your freedom and share the grace you have been given with all of the world!

 
 

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Inked: Choosing God’s Mark to Transform Your Life by Kim Goad and Janet E. Kusiak

20130904-200016.jpgAll of us are marked in some fashion. Goad and Kusiak use stories to help us understand ow we should be marked.

You see we have a choice. If we are tattooed we have a choice of what we have inked on our bodies, and who will be the one to tattoo us. We also have a choice in life if we will live out the God giving life.

Goad and Kusiak use a wonderful imagery of being tattooed and how this is being handled in society and how this is paralleled by our life in Christ. A wonderful read for all!

 
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Posted by on 2013/09/04 in Books

 

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the dip by Seth Godin

A little book that teaches you when to quit!

What a wonderful concept because we are told over and over again that we should not quit.

I mean really we have all seen the picture of the frog in the birds mouth with it’s hands on the birds neck with the line “Never Quit!” Is that really good advice? Seth Godin tells us it is not in this easy read that imparts knowledge we already knows but backs up the knowledge with stories of those who actually quit and never looked back.

Godin helps us to focus our energy where we can make a difference and know when we have to push through the pain, or know when it is time to step away.

This is a must read for everyone to help them see their fullest potential as a person, be that in business or just to be the best of who they are!

Godin gives us nuggets of wisdom to help us see our true potential, find the thing we are personally, or our business is, best at and bring it to the next level of changing the world.

 
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Posted by on 2013/08/22 in Books, Missional Community

 

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The Gift of Being Yourself by David G. Benner

“Spiritual transformation does not result from fixing our problems. It results from turning to God in the midst of them and meeting God just as we are.” (page 67)

David G. Benner opens up a topic most Christian think is taboo to show us it is the one thing we truly need to embrace to become the person God is calling us to be. In order to live the uniquely created life God has for us, we must first except ourselves as God has excepted us, just as we are. In order for us to this we must look at the darkness inside of us, and see who we are and acknowledge our sins and troubles. In order for us to change something we can not crucify it on the cross as sin if we deny we do it. We must accept who we are and work with God to use it for His glory!

The gospel is not a method book for sin management. It is not a guideline for avoiding sin and a way to deal with our guilt when we fail as we always do. The gospel is a way for us to understand who we truly are, who God created us to be, and move forward in who God created us to be. “Self-acceptance always precedes genuine self-surrender and self-transformation.” (page 58)

David G. Brenner helps us to look at who we truly are and accept that, and then move forward with God in being who He has uniquely created us to be!

 
 

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If the Church Were Christian By Philip Gulley

What if the church took following the example Christ gave us to be in the world was actually the way the church was?

If we would take seriously the way Jesus lived and follow the example He gave us would we be able to contain the people seeking after God in the confines of the buildings in which we worship?

Philip Gulley writes with zeal and integrity using his beliefs to help us see who God is and how we are to live in life. He gives wonderful examples from his own story to help us see how the church might have gone astray from where God has called us to be.

If you are looking for a book that lays out a plan for you to be a good Christian, this is not your book. If you are looking for a book that helps you see the hard things that Christ has given us an example of and calls us to do, then Philip will help you see who Christ was and who we could be.

This book may push your thoughts and beliefs, but is a good read and will help you see who you are and help you possibly understand what you believe about God and how your faith is an integral part of your life.

 
 

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A Good Neighbor: Benedict’s Guide to Community by Robert Benson

‘”Honor everyone, and never do to another what you would not want done to yourself,” we read in the Rule. “Love your neighbor as yourself,” we read in the Gospel.’

This quote from page 84 of A Good Neighbor is a summery of what it is to live in community. To be a neighbor, to be present to those to whom we have been given, and to those who have been given to us. We need to remember the simplicity of this, and Robert Benson helps us to see the simplicity in all of it’s glorious complexities.

Benson looks at the many communities he lives in and then works through the frame work of Benedict’s Rule for living together in community. Even though we are not monastic we can still learn from the Rule and live in the Spirit in the communities we have been placed.

Benson helps us work through our longing for community, a need for us to be humble in every aspect and moment of our lives, showing us the need for mercy and how it is better to give mercy than receive it. Benson also helps us see how we seek the community that we fit into, rather then welcoming those who have been given to us. He then wraps up his discussion by reminding us we truly show God’s love through our humble acts of caring for the other, and that is why we are here, for the other.

This book is a wonderful short read that reminds us that living in community and being a good neighbor is easy in concept, but hard in execution. However if we focus on the simple and allow ourselves to be humble, merciful, and focused on the other, it will be easier than we thought it would.

 

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God in the Alley by Greg Paul

“However, these stories of my friends reveal a peculiar paradox: I am more likely to find Jesus revealed to me and through me in weakness than in strength, sinfulness than in purity, or doubt than in perfect faithfulness.”

Greg Paul takes you on a ride through the streets of Toronto to meet and see Jesus. He goes to places those of us who are “christian” think Christ would never go, but Paul takes us there and introduces us to Jesus in the characters and people of every day life in Toronto. He shows us that Christ is present and active in the lives of people most church people have written off as fodder for hell.

This book is a must read to help us all understand that God truly does work in strange and mysterious ways!

 

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Book Review: Leadership by Example by Dr. Sanjiv Chopra

Leadership is something we think a few people do. There are leaders in the country, leaders in business, leaders in church, you name the place and there are leaders there. And we look to these people to show us the way to do things. Sometimes these people are leaders in only one aspect of their lives, and followers else where. That is the point Dr. Chopra makes clear, we all have the potential to be leaders. We may not be leaders in every aspect of our lives, but we all have the potential and the moments to be leaders.

This book is written from a series of talks Dr. Chopra gave on the topic of leadership. He uses the “LEADERSHIP” mnemonic to explain his view on leadership is as follows: L – listen well. E – empathy. A – attitude. D – dreams and decisiveness. E – effectiveness. R – resilience. S – a sense of purpose. H – humility and humor. I – integrity and imagination. P – principles, and willingness to pack other people’s parachutes.

In this book Dr. Chopra explains how we have to move people and understand where they are at in order to lead them to places and to do things. He gives warm moving examples of leadership from normal everyday people who did not see themselves as leaders, but led many people and did wonderful things for society.

I highly recommend this book for everyone to read to unlock the leadership potential in all of us. This book will move you with examples that will not surprise you, but with examples that will show you, you can lead by example!

 
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Posted by on 2012/11/04 in Books

 

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Sustainable Youth Ministry – Mark Devries

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Is your youth ministry going down the drain and you need to know the steps to fix that?
Are you not able to maintain a strong ministry to the younger generation and you want the specific steps to make this happen?
Are the adults in your congregation looking for a quick fix to how to make youth ministry work?

If you answered yes to the above questions then this is not the book for you.

If you are wondering how to build a thriving ministry to young people that will take time and failures to build and are ready to go into the trenches and work on youth ministry, then Sustainable Youth Ministry Is the book for you.

Mark lays out a wonderful plan for shaping all ministry. Helping the youth worker and pastors understand that we are only interims, that someone will follow us, and the things we do to pave the way for those that follow us. Mark gives us an understanding of ministry that is well thought out and organized that would fit many different aspects of ministry.

Beware thought, this is not a book that lays out the steps and tells you the 1 2 3 process of making your ministry work. Mark lays out steps to follow, but they are high level processes that if put in place will he secure a foundation upon which a successful ministry can be built. There is no cookie cutter to making it work but if you can follow the process and work within the responsibility it brings, the out come could be marvelous.

Mark has laid out an ideal understanding of what a youth ministry, or in my opinion any ministry, team should look and function like. These steps could help all ministries and congregation set a clear foundation for ministry for many years.

I highly recommend this book to all leaders in the church, from youth workers, to pastors, to volunteers in ministry. If we can all communicate and work together the foundation will be that much stronger and ministry will work that much easier.

 
 

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