reading: Greater

Image“This book… is for people who sense that God has something more for them but they don’t know what it is. Or they feel stuck and don’t know how to get to where God is calling them to be.” – Steven Furtick

As is pretty typical with books of the “Dream Big” ideology, Furtick uses plenty of pop-culture references and light-hearted, feel-good stories to help make his points. If you’re looking for a back-to-basics study for your small group, or you’re just starting to figure out where God wants you and what He has in store for you, this book is a good place to start. If you’re looking to get out of the shallow end of the pool, you could probably pass on this one.

One of my highest praises for this book, however, is that Furtick doesn’t strictly call people away from their current lives and on to a more successful, faster-paced adventure of a life. While some may see their life as futile, Furtick points out that if God has called us to a place or a position, sometimes it’s the greatest thing that we can be doing at that point. Often, these “non-self help books” call us away from the life that God may have already called us to, instead of evaluating our current situation and realizing the work that God has for us to do in that place.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

reading: Man Alive by Patrick Morley

ImageI’ll be honest, it took me awhile to finish this book. While Patrick Morley has some solid thoughts, insights, and help for men in this current age, it’s very surface-level. I have read several other books recently about how the Church can reach out to men, and what being a Christian man is about. *Man Alive*, while it has a good overall message, just falls towards the bottom of the list in books for this demographic.

However, this book would make a great men’s small group discussion book, especially for men who are newer to the faith, struggling with family issues, or just need some spiritual guidance. There are discussion and reflection questions at the end of each chapter, and the book provides some good reflection material/quizzes throughout.

Evil Unseen

“I’m an educated man in the 21st century. Of course I don’t believe in God.”

These are the words of a well-known sports commentator and analyst in California whose podcast I was listening to awhile back when I heard that statement. It stunned me for a minute, but that’s becoming more of the rule than the exception in society today.

My first year of college, I was in a Humanities class with several other Christian freshmen. We started studying world religions, and when we got to the section on Judeo-Christianity, the professor and the material started attacking God, the Bible, Judaism, and Christianity. Pretty relentlessly, I may add. These attacks and other “higher educational thought and theory” led to a falling-away from the faith for a few of these students that had previously hung onto their faith in the midst of adversity.

In their song, “Evil Unseen,” Becoming the Archetype proclaims,

“Compromise your faith and doom your generation. The cancer of mind-worship will leave your spirit to decay.”

Being back in the field of college education, I realize again how important it is to grow in your faith as you grow in earthly knowledge, and mostly how the two are connected. As Christians, we need to grow and develop our minds, but alongside our faith. For us, the two are not separate entities, and they need to mature together. Grow in education, so you can reasonably discuss issues with the world, but also grow in your faith, so that you can stand firm when “higher theory and thought” try to use intellect to tear you down.

Drive-Thru Society

The media can’t seem to let go of the fact that Peyton Manning threw three interceptions in the first quarter against the Falcons on Monday Night’s game in Atlanta. Because of those three interceptions, Manning’s arm strength has been in question all week, leading to some frustration and bristle from Manning himself against the media, including a snarky comment at our local Denver media. I can’t blame him, though.

And I think it’s really a reflection on our society more than anything.

We live in such a fast-food, high-speed, wireless, drive-thru world that we feel like we need to formulate immediate opinions at the drop of a hat. As fast as you can type 140 characters, that’s as fast as you need an opinion. It’s rare that we sit back and let things sink in and really formulate our opinions with some thought.

Forget the fact that Manning had a great first game back in the NFL after 20 months against Pittsburgh. Forget the fact that it was his first road game in 20 months, and the Georgia Dome is LOUD.
Forget the fact that Manning himself has said he’s not 100% yet.
Forget the fact that his arm speed was checked on radar and he’s only lost 2mph from 2010.
Forget the fact that he’s human.
Forget the fact that he had three quarters of great play after that first quarter in Atlanta.

Manning obviously isn’t good anymore because he threw three interceptions. (Dripping sarcasm added at no cost to you, reader.)

Let’s stop and think about our opinions before we say them.


Today on Seth Godin’s blog, he put a disclaimer on the end of it announcing that his post for tomorrow would be about an hour later than usual. He felt the need to apologize for an hour of inconsistency.

I can’t even keep a consistent “Music Monday” or “Fan Friday” series going for longer than week or two. Admittedly, I’m not the most consistent blogger you’ve ever read.

I suppose these things just take a sense of discipline. That’s what I’ve read from consistent bloggers anyway.

How do you discipline yourself to be consistent?

reading: When Work and Family Collide

 As a new husband, there’s all kinds of things that I don’t know. Just ask my wife.

There’s a lot of things that I do probably wrong, and things that I do backwards, I’m sure. And right now, we have a pretty hectic, crazy schedule that really doesn’t allow us a lot of quality time together. It doesn’t help when we take on one more thing, or when I agree to work another day one week, especially when it’s the day that Alyssa and I get to spend the most time together.

When Work and Family Collide by Andy Stanley was a Godsend book for this time in our life. Stanley talks about how everything in our life – especially work and family – are constantly vying for all of our time. Time is the measurement to both family and co-workers of how much you seem to care. So when family has to give up time because of work, they feel cheated. And vice-versa. The ultimate thesis that Stanley proposes in this book is, “You must choose to cheat at work rather than at home.”

While I wish I would have read this book before marriage, I’m thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to read it before life gets even busier, before demands at work increase, and before I have a career that I genuinely am passionate about. The importance of keeping family in focus, Stanley’s reminder to “do work” and “love family,”and being mindful of priorities are pillars to build a healthy family foundation.

I recommend this book to anyone who is already in a marriage, has kids, or is heading in that direction. It’s a quick read (I read it in 90 minutes) and it’s well worth the time!

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