I set a goal for myself this year to read 52 books I ended up reading 42, even though I didn’t reach my goal I read more books than I typically did because I had an agressive goal. Here were the 10 best books I read all year.
This was by far the best book I have ever read on marriage. Practical, insightful and challenging. This book is a must read for every married couple as well as every sigle adult. Kellers chapter on singleness was the best chapter I have ever read on singleness. So powerful and so challenging.
Loved this book. Was so inspired by the faith, trust and passion for the Gospel. The scariest thing for me was reading this book and seeing the startling similarities between the US and Germany. It was so encouraging and challenging reading Bonhoeffer’s life. I pray that I have the same clarity of thought and conviction of faith he had.
One of the biggest challenges most churches face is ministry silos. It’s awful but most churches are made up of ministries that are far more loyal to each other than the overall vision. If a church staff is going to accomplish what God has called them to accomplish takes hearts that beat together and eyes that see the same thing.
Death by meeting was a fantastic read. In ministry much of your life is spent in meetings learning how to hold a good, productive meeting is essential no matter who you lead.
Loved the reason for God. I am not a big apologetics fan. However I Really liked how Keller clearly articulated the main objections people have to the gospel. There is much of it I plan on re-reading.
This was the first of many Bonhoeffer books I plan on reading. What a fantastic gem this is on community. There are many books out there that talk about small group and community. They have lots of value but if you work with small groups or in forming the community aspect of your church do yourself a favor and read this brilliant dissection of true Christian community.
Gospel Powered Parenting is easily one of two best books on parenting I have ever read. Loved how he explains parenting in light of the gospel. He explains that the grace of God can only be truly understood in light of the wrath of God. I think I underlined something on each page of this book. Such a good book.
The War of Art was fantastic. It has a bit of language in it, but if you are a creative you need to read this book. Pressfield does a masterful job of explaining the primary reason we don’t write, create and innovate. He explains how to push through it and create what you have always wanted to create. It was very challenging There isn’t a day I don’t face resistance and there isn’t a day I don’t think about what Pressfield said to do to overcome that resistance.
This is one of my top 10 books of all time. I try and reread this book every year. If you are a young leader its a great reminder of how to respond to the authority God has put in your life. If you are an older leader is a great reminder how to lead in a way that insures you do not create an environment that is conducive to rebellion in the hearts of the young leaders you lead. Really such a great book. Short, quick, powerful read.
There are few things in life that dial the whole family in like an IRS audit. I have never been through one personally but I was through one as a child. I still remember the auditors name appropriately enough was Mrs. Castro. My parents were being audited but the whole family felt the impact. My parents were on edge we had to be extra quiet. We had to stay out of the kitchen but peer through the windows of the kitchen as Mrs. Castro disassembled seven years of our families lives. For a few days in the summer of 1990 our family’s life stood still. This IRS audit affected all of us.
Christmas time more than any other time of year does something magical. It does what family ministry leaders dream of all year long. It does the very thing that IRS audit did for my home growing up. It gets every member of the house on the same page. It consumes every member of the house. Three year old kids know it’s Christmas fathers who are work-a-holics are talking to their kids about santa and his elves, cutting down trees and putting up lights.
Here is where I think the church needs to be more proactive at Christmas. I think families are looking for things to create memories with their kids. I think parents this time of year more than any other time of year are looking to pass on traditions they grew up with as well as instill new traditions for their kids. As a way of helping parents who might be reading this or ministry leaders, I thought I would share some things our family does to help reinforce the powerful message of the incarnation of Christ.
Advent calendar – we allow our kids to open a door a day – They love this and it helps build that anticipation towards Christmas. I find it helps them focus on the coming of Christ.
Traveling wise men – This is a new tradition for us. We borrowed the idea from Sally Lloyd-Jones. We let each child take turns moving the wisemen and their camel around our house. They move them to a different location each day until christmas. With each child who moves them I talk for a few minutes about what Christmas is all about. I try to help them connect their anticipation to bring the wisemen to the manger on Christmas with the anticipation so many had for the Messiah. A month feels very long for the kids but they love moving the wisemen all over the house.
Cutting a tree – We still cut down a tree this tradition is just really fun. We listen to christmas music and often get hot chocolate.
Decorating cookies – I did this as a child it was much more fun as a child than it is as an adult. I am not sure we will do this again this year it was a bit stressful but the kids seemed to really like it.
Reading the Christmas story from the Jesus Storybook Bible – We read the Christmas stories from the Jesus Storybook Bible the few days leading up to christmas as a way to remind ourselves that Christmas is not about gift getting but in the gift that was given to us from God in Christ.
Practicing Thankfulness – On Christmas eve (yes that’s right Christmas eve) before we open our gifts we do a couple of things I love.
1. I read the story of Christs birth from luke out of the ESV
2. We each take turns saying one thing we are grateful to Jesus for.
3. Lastly we start with one family member and everyone says 1 thing they love about that person we do this till every family member has been praised then we pray thank Jesus and open presents.
Christmas can be leveraged for so many reasons and so many things. I always want to do what I can to leverage Christmas to reinforce to our kids the two things that are most valuable to our family, Jesus and each other. I would love to hear what traditions you have for Christmas. There are very few times you will the attention of whole families at a time, unless you are an IRS auditor, so lets use the this season to reinforce the things that are most valuable to us.
The Mayan’s know when the world is going to end. 12.21.12 this date is not to be confused. With the last date for you to register for CPC 2013 and be registered to win some amazing prizes that date is tomorrow 12.12.12. Not only will you be registered for one of the premier children‘s ministry conferences but you will also be registered to win some serious prizes. So stop what you are doing head down to the admin office of your church and use whatever means necessary to get the church credit card and charge your registration. When the administrator balks or starts talking about budgets, gently remend him the world is ending on the 21st of December so he won’t see the credit card statement anyway.