I have wanted to read this book for a while. I first heard about it through his blog, which is one of the best in the church world. His posts are short and sweet. It is the same way with his book.
It is an inspiring, adventurous and sometimes revolutionary book. If you want some fresh insights into leadership, either in the sacred or secular world (if those exist), this is a must read for you.
The only thing I have to say about this book is that you must read it slowly. I believe that I tried to digest too much all at once. There is going to be a day soon that I will have to read through it again. After all, Tony doesn’t really have chapters. Instead he has simple ideas that are worked through a page or so which are sometimes rehashings of his blog posts, so it is a quick read. I am thinking about even putting one copy in my bathroom for readings on the john (do people still do that?)
Here are some of my favorite quotes throughout the book:
quoting Sir Francis Bacon: “If we are to achieve results never before accomplished, we must expect to employ methods never before attempted” (57).
“So what does it take to encourage an environment that fuels innovation? How do we develop a culture where positive change is both expected and embraced? It begins by shifting what we value” (58).
“As Christians, we can become so focused on our own faith journey that we forget God’s command to go tell others the good news” (61).
“We should be just as committed as local businesses are in making sure our guests feel valued” (64).
quoting Kathy Sierra: “People aren’t necessary afraid of change. They’re afraid of being changed. And the only way to help overcome that out-of-my-control feeling is to be proactive, to innovate and initiate change…’the best way to predict the future is to invent it’ – Alan Kay” (107).
“People who feel more alone in their passion are often those who don’t have anyone to share it with” (108).
“The reality is that there certainly is a consumer mind-set in our culture, and unless we acknowledge that and deal with it, our message – the gospel message – won’t be heard” (127).
“We can continue ignoring MTV and their audience. We can complain about their programming that influences young lives. We can explain all the reasons why their music doesn’t fit in our services. We can argue why their issues and questions are not appropriate for our messages. That same MTV audience, however, seems to be ignoring the church” (132).
quoting Nelson Searcy: “Meetings are the best time-saving devise ever invented. Meetings are the playground of highly effective ministry teams. The problem is not with ‘meetings’ but with how many meetings are run” (135).
“If the message doesn’t relate to their world, they probably won’t hear it, no matter how ‘deep’ it is” (137).
“Technology is a wonderful tool, but ultimately it’s not about the tool. It’s about what we accomplish with the tool. At the judgment seat, Jesus won’t say, ‘Hey, Phil, you did a great job with those emails.’ He’ll ask if I accomplished my purpose and calling” (151).
“If your church closed its doors tomorrow, would anyone really miss you and why?” (155).
“I don’t think it’s a stretch to say people listened to Jesus teach because he first listened to the people’s needs” (157).
“Creativity rarely sneaks up on us” (174).
“Sometimes God doesn’t fully reveal his will until you take the first step” (206).
“Maybe we’re too focused on arguing about what we’re against instead of being what the church was intended to be in people’s lives” (207).
“People will begin to form perceptions of what they’re going to experience before they ever step foot on your campus” (214).
“Shouldn’t my life and my worship make sense to both God and others?” (222).
“When Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth, he cautioned them to consider the reaction of unbelievers when the church gathers” – speaking of worship music (224).
“We’re afraid to engage the culture. We prefer to yell at it. And ironically, the louder we yell, the less the world listens” (226).
“We must address their needs and their questions before we can impose our agenda” (227).
“When you have a chance, it might be a good idea to make sure your audience can respond to your message” (228).
With most of the books I read, it is easy to tell right away whether I like the book or not. This book was not one of those.
I had to read this book for seminary and because of that, I am happy to say that I really enjoyed it. It was very good reading but it might be because of the requirement that was lurking behind it. I guess you could say that I have mixed reviews about it.
However, despite some things being really wonderful, there were moments that I felt bored and also frustrated because Alcorn simply became redundant at many points.
This was the first book that I have ever read on the subject of heaven so I am really ignorant when it comes to books on this wonderful subject.
He did make me yearn for heaven, simply because of the unknowns that I wish to experience. But I still have so many more questions (heaven reminds me of Lost – you get one answer for every 1,000 questions that are added).
Here are some good quotes:
“To long for Christ is to long for Heaven, for that is where we will be with him” (20).
“Our minds are so much set on Earth that we are unaccustomed to heavenly thinking. So we must work at it” (21).
“The reality of Hell should break our hearts and take us to our knees and to the doors of those without Christ” (24).
“In The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis writes of Hell, ‘There is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than this, if it lay in my power. But it has the full support of Scripture and, specially, of our Lord’s own words; it has always been held by Christendom; and it has the support of reason’ ” (26).
“The best of life on Earth is a glimpse of Heaven; the worst of life is a glimpse of Hell” (28).
“Consider the wonder of it: God determined that he would rather go to Hell on our behalf than live in Heaven without us” (28).
“We should stop thinking of Heaven and Earth as opposites and instead view them as overlapping circles that share certain commonalities” (54).
“What lies behind our notion that God is going to destroy the earth and be done with it? I believe it’s a weak theology of God” (89).
quoting Paul Marshall, “What we need is not to be rescued from the world, not to cease being human, not to stop caring for the world, not to stop shaping human culture. What we need is the power to do these things according to the will of God. We, as well as the rest of creation, need to be redeemed” (159).
“What we love about this life are the things that resonate with the life we were made for. The things we love are not merely the best this life has to offer – they are previews of the greater life to come” (161).
“Christ is not simply preparing a place for us; he is preparing us for that place” (215).
“The more we serve Christ now, the greater our capacity will be to serve him in Heaven” (226).
The time has come (Hillsong United) – We had a great little drum loop going on at the beginning of this song. It was a nice little change because I tend to get tired of playing songs the same way.
– The congregation busted at the seams with their voices in the second service. It was quite a thrilling experience to be a part of.
Run (Hillsong) – “You are God, You are freedom/You’re alive now within us/You who saw us here before/You conquered the grave and delivered on the promise” – I love these lyrics
– Newer song to our church but it is one that they love, especially the youth/college age group
I’m coming your way (Desperation Band) – I had the privilege of leading this one and we nailed it as a team. The bass and drums seemed to be too loud in the mix but I received great feedback from everyone.
– We just did the chorus (“I’m coming your way”) and the bridge (“with all of my breath…”)
– There was a great spirit in the room during this song. It fit perfectly with Allen’s message of the prodigal son coming home.
Let God Arise (Chris Tomlin) – This was the first time that we played the song during the services.
– Everyone seemed to pick up on it really easy (not sure if this was because they have heard it before or because it is a simple song to learn.
– I truly wish I had Tomlin’s writing chops. I mean, some of his stuff is too simplistic, but I generally worship God because of the words that he pens.
Promises (Desperation Band) – I love this song.
– We were supposed to play this during the service but we had to move it to the exit song due to time constraints.
– We played it straight.
This was done in connection with this week’s Sunday Set Lists over at Fred McKinnon’s blog. Click here to find out the rules so you can join in too.
Vickie and I watched this movie last night through Netflix.
I truly enjoyed it. After all, I have had many people recommend it to me and I saw about all the Oscars that it won.
It is a feel-good-movie about the kid who comes from nothing at all to pursue his dreams.
The best thing about this movie, in my opinion, was the fact that it put more emphasis on the journey than it did on the outcome. I am realizing that the most important thing about the journey is not necessarily where you end up but where you are going.
One of our favorite parts of the movie (don’t worry – no spoilers) is the way the host keeps saying “millionaire.” It truly is outstanding. It reminds me of Regis.
Oh my, it is amazing to see how far someone will go to accomplish your dreams.
I love to read blogs. Some times I can go a week without reading one worth sharing. This week there was a plethora of blogs that hit me to my core. Some are funny. Some are really serious. Some are down right ridiculous. Either way you have it, I have included all the good ones for you.
We should never underestimate process. The experience of the doing really is everything. The ending should be the end of that experience, not the experience itself.”
– J.J. Abrams, quoted from this article on Wired.com
I love events that spark unity among the believers of God.
A few months back I was invited to lead worship for an college worship night put on by the UNCG Crusade. And it was last night. Even though I felt God moved in marvelous ways through voices and songs, the best part was seeing some good friends doing what they love to do. It is always nice to do what you love to do with people you love. Don’t you agree?
But through the midst of all that, I was just thinking that it has been a while since I have led for a college ministry and it is quite an experience to move back to. Even though I know that God has called me to something different, I relish the opportunities to lead worship for that age group because they are at the stage of either 1) just beginning to follow God, or 2) learning and discovering their specific callings that God has placed upon their life.
The college-age (18-28) people are seeking experiences that delve deeper than their studies. It is so easy to learn some things growing up but I believe it is at the 18-28 range where people first begin to implement the knowledge that they are learning. And this truly excites me. It is my desire to be around people who are doing what they believe rather than simply believing what they believe.
(James 1:22 – Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says).