simple

Simple things are always better.

Cram a great amount of truth into a small package and you will usually be my friend for life.

I have had many life-altering conversations.  They all showed me different things.

But they all had one thing in common:

Simple truth that smacked me upside the head.

That is the mold I am trying to conform my writing to.

Some might say that I am trying to copy Seth Godin and Rob Bell but honestly, I am simply trying to communicate better.  I tend to talk.  A lot.  If you know, you know this.  But I don’t want that with my writing.  It’s not that I am trying to get away from being me.  It’s really that I want to get to the point quicker.

Currently, writing things out is helping me communicate it better.

So I have a new motto:
Talk less.
Say more.

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destination now

I don’t know about you, but I love to see big things happen.  I work toward seeing them.

But at the same time, I forget that ministry is in the everyday and not in the someday. This is probably the most important thing that I am currently learning.

My niche has always been to look to tomorrow.  How can I get there?  What am I doing now that is pushing toward there?

But those questions miss the point.  You have heard this many times before – the journey is the point, not the destination.  Yet we lose sight of that.  We lose sight of the current promised land that God has allowed us to be in.  We can be in His presence at any moment yet we continually seek after the Canaan in our dreams.  We have the land flowing with milk and honey yet we want that land flowing with milk and honey.

I read a quote from Michael Horton this past week that hit me – “The modern tendency is to downplay the ordinary ministry of the church in favor of the extraordinary movements of the moment.”

I believe in its truth.
Live each day as if its your destination.

upcoming things

Over the coming weeks, I am going to be changing my blog.  I am going to be changing to a new domain name and upload some things that I am currently working on.

I will have a place for music as well as some other things but I would like to simply ask for your prayer in this time because I have a lot on my plate at the moment and it is in the stages of greatly increasing in the coming months so please be praying for me and my ministry.

Thanks.  I’ll keep you updated also.

j

links of the week (5.7.10 edition)

I can’t believe that we are already in the month of May.  Time is traveling by so fast.

Here are the links that inspired me this week:

  1. Chase the Prodigals.  One of my favorite blogs is the People of the Second Chance and in this post they are sharing that some who once had dreams are now not living them out.  They are not even trying to do so.  Let us seek them out and encourage them to keep dreaming and keep living as if their dreams are their reality.
  2. Finding the Creative Break.  There are so many times when I can’t seem to get that needed idea that will spark a revolution of thought.  Maybe its because I am trying to do too much.  In this post by Stephen Brewster, he talks about how we need to find that creative break because with it, we can get breakthrough.  Without it, we might simply never reach that fresh idea.
  3. Finding a church facility is among one of the hardest tasks for any church to make.  This post on the Resurgence blog titled 23 factors in finding a church facility shows that “selecting a facility is not simply making a decision about where to gather for corporate worship, [but that] it says something about your perception of God and your congregation.”
  4. 5 reasons you may not be seeing spiritual growth is a great post.  Definitely check it out.
  5. I just heard about this website called Fancy Hands that becomes a digital personal assistant.  Through the website which can link to your Google account, you can set it up to accomplish tasks that you don’t really have time for such as researching a product that you wish to have or finding inspiring quotes to share with your team.  It is quite interesting.

advice

There are many times in my life where I need advice.  Right now, I am at one of those stages and honestly, most of the advice I am getting is great stuff.

The advice that I am getting is actually quite accurate, but honestly, I am struggling to see the timeliness of it all.  The hard thing is that I am getting advice from people whom I respect and have known for a long time which tends to complicate things.

In this situation, I am drawing great comfort from a quote by Ravi Zacharias, who is one of my favorite authors, where he said that “Advice is always good but is only effective at the right time.”

I am truly finding the truth of that in this moment of my life.

To be frank, I am trying to relay these thoughts to you without giving the specifics of my situation, but I’m not sure if I can do that accurately.  So I just simply want to say that with every single piece of advice you receive, make sure that you know when exactly you are supposed to act on that decision even if you know you are supposed to make it.

And just because you need to make a decision does not mean that you need to make that decision right now.  If you can let it simmer for a few days or more, do so.  Because “advice is always good but is only effective at the right time.”

April, 2010 books

April, 2010 was a great month for me.  School is coming to a close and my marriage is deepening in some great ways.  God is also stretching me in my thoughts and vision for the church and what my job is to be as a minister of the gospel and how that involves music which is my main gifting.

Here are the books that I read and some of my thoughts on them in April, 2010 (I am also very happy to say that I am well ahead of the game in order to meet my goal of reading 100 books by the end of the year):

38.  The Lions of Lucerne – Brad Thor – Jack Bauer cannot hold a candle to Scot Harvath. He is Secret Service agent who used to be a Navy Seal. This book reads like Dan Brown but with a tad bit of Jack Bauer and James Bond mixed in.  I really loved this book and cannot wait to read more in the series.  4 out of 5.

37.  Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire – Jim Cymbala – This book offered some great insight into how one church grew from 20 to a few thousand just through prayer.  I loved the type of prayer life as a church that Jim Cymbala pointed to as the reason for the growth of the Brooklyn Tabernacle.  One quote stands out above everything else in this book – “I despaired at the thought that my life might slip by without seeing God move mightly on our behalf.”  Wow.  Great book for church leaders as well as for those who need a burst in the enthusiasm for God and his people.  4 out of 5.

36.  The Advancement – L. Russ Bush – To start off, let me say I had to read this book. I don’t think that I would have read it otherwise. But I enjoyed it. The book is all about understanding the modern viewpoint of life and how that affects our faith. I found this book a little dated but I respect the idea that Dr. Bush (who was a professor at Southeastern where I go)was trying to put forth.  If you are interested in science and how it relates to Christianity, this might be a good book for you. (Might be because there are probably more readable ones out there). If you are not interested in sciene, don’t bother with this one. It was hard to find too.  2 out of 5.

35.  A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future – Michael J. Fox – I have always been a big fan of Michael J. Fox (Family Ties, Back to the Future, Spin City even Teen Wolf) so this book was a must for me because he is an entertaining writer.  This is a book for graduates.  I am not graduating but I wanted some funny encouragement and this book provided it.  He talks about getting his education by living his life because he dropped out of high school.  He even compares certain things in his life to certain core subjects such as physics, geography which was quite funny.  Great read.  4 out of 5.

34.  Church in the Making – Ben Arment – This is probably my favorite book of the year so far.  Not simply because of the great and free writing style but because of the change in direction that he takes.  Arment tries to take churches out of their spiritual environment simply to show that there are social aspects going on that should also be considered.  Great insights and I definitely will read this book again this year.  5 out of 5.
33.  Hard Work – Roy Williams & Tim Crothers – I have always loved Carolina Basketball.  This book chronicles one of the best coaches in college basketball history and he just happens to be the coach for my Tarheels.  Roy’s story is a fantastic look at breaking through your past and going for your dreams.  I was very encouraged by the fact that he said that he would always succeed because no one would ever outwork him.  4 out of 5.
32.  The Christian Atheist – Craig Groeschel – Groeschel has some great books but this one didn’t do as much for me.  It helped spark my heart to look for the ways that I don’t fully believe in God or at least in how I live.  It would be great for someone who hasn’t read other Christian books but it doesn’t have anything fresh or that exciting to say.  3 out of 5.

31.  Dearly Devoted Dexter – Jeff Lindsay – This second book in the series is better than the first.  This one focuses on moving Dexter out of the police realm and into a more humanly realm which makes for some quite funny interactions.  Great book.  Now I can’t wait to watch the show.  4 out of 5.

30.  The Red Rubber Ball at Work – Kevin Carroll – This book has always been on my reading lost simply because of the dynamic nature that Kevin Carroll is.  I heard him speak at Catalyst a few years back and he seriously inspired everyone in the audience to pursue their dreams further than they ever have before.  This is a very quick read but entertaining.  I did feel as if he used too much of other people’s ideas in this book but I guess that is the dynamic when you are sharing stories in their entirety.  3 out of 5.
29.  The Gospel According to Lost – Chris Seay – As I hope to inform you, LOST is my favorite TV show.  Not just for its dynamic mythologies but because of the great characters that make up the show.  This book takes those characters and puts a spiritual spin on each of them.  I found it intriguing but wonder how accurate it will be since the book was written before this final season started.  Someone needs to write a book like this when the series is finished.  3 out of 5.
28.  The Right to Write – Julia Cameron – This book will challenge anyone who wants to be a writer.  It is fun read and Julia Cameron gives challenges at the end of each chapter which will help you write better and more fully.  The basic principle of the book is that everyone should be a writer and that everyone should write everyday.  I am not sure with how I perceive that but I am positive that her book inspired me to write about myself and then to venture out and write stories about others.  Definitely worth buying just so you can spend a few months on it.  That is my plan for the near future.  4 out of 5.

27.  Rework – Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson – I only picked up this book because a lot of the blogs I read kept mentioning it.  I enjoyed it very much but I felt as if it was too hyped.  I read it in about an hour and a half which is pretty quick for a business book.  This one takes the reader to places the no other business book will.  It destroys certain concepts that people deem to be essentials and turns them into options.  It is a great read.  I believe that I will have to read it again in the near future to take some good notes because there are a lot of great quotes from it.  3 out of 5.
26.  Columbine – Dave Cullen – I remember the day the Columbine shootings happened.  I remember standing outside playing handball when a teacher told us to come inside and watch the news.  I remember it because it could have been me.  It could have been my school.  This book is a wonderful read.  It reads like a John Grisham novel.  It is heavily researched and very intuitive.  I was fascinated by this book.  But I was also completely scared for what could have happened.  Dave Cullen tries to get in the minds of the killers and I believe that he does a good job.  If you have kids or are going to have kids, read this book.  This should be a must for all people interested in education.  Great book for all to read.  4 out of 5.