Books I Read in 2016

This year was a change for me I started graduate school a little over a year ago, and the books I want to read are now waiting for me because of books I have to read are taking precedence. I have learned a couple of things about reading this year.

1.Reading books above what you typically read or are comfortable reading push you to read more efficiently and read more widely. There are books I would never have read this year if it were not for that.

How to get Video to Multi-site Locations Fast, Cheap and Easy.

How Roku and Dropbox change everything.

In 2014 it was estimated that there are over 8,000 multi-site churches in America. In the past 2 years, I am certain that number has grown. The reality is Multi-site churches are not going away anytime soon.  There are many challenges to doing Family ministry in a multi-campus setting, from staffing to leadership development to volunteer management. One of the greatest challenges I’ve found is in logistics. How do you make things work at campuses in different locations, of different sizes with different needs.

One of those challenges we have always struggled with is how do we show videos at various locations? Most curriculums now offer video teaching or video elements to their curriculum. Distribution to the various locations is difficult. We’ve done most everything from burning DVD to sending custom made jump drives. Those all took lots of time and had lots of room for error. This lead us to our current system.

What Bible Should I Buy My Kid?

A Parents Guide to Bibles By Age

One of the questions I get asked often is “What Bible should I buy my kids?” It’s a great question because when I was a kid, there was the KJV and The Picture Bible that was pretty much it. Now there are more Bible versions and types of Bibles than there are flavors at Baskin Robins. The problem is finding Bibles for your kids that aren’t too far below them or to advance for them.
One of the jobs we have as parents is helping our kids learn the discipline of reading their Bibles. We live in a culture that is growing more skeptical and even hostile towards the Bible and it’s claims. We need to be more intentional about giving our kids a Biblical worldview but even more than that we must do our best to help them find the world of God true and beautiful.
Here are the Bibles I recommend by age.

Ages 1-3

71rribsfhclFlap Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones – Think Jesus Story Book Bible for 2 year-olds. “The perfect introduction to timeless stories from the old and new testaments the Lift-the-Flap Bible combines breathtaking illustrations with delightful text. With flaps to open on every page (and surprises to find underneath), children join in the thrill of discovery as they take part in each of the stories from the Old and New Testaments. Through the pages of this stunning Bible, the greatest story ever told is traced and the wonderful news that God loves us is brought home to the heart of every child.”

Ages 4-8

a1inqhxnzulJesus Story Book Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones – This book still moves me even after I have read the cover off four copies and am now on my fifth. If your kids are 4-8 years old this Bible is a must. “The Jesus Storybook Bible tells the Story beneath all the stories in the Bible. At the center of the Story is a baby, the child upon whom everything will depend. Every story whispers his name. From Noah to Moses to the great King David—every story points to him. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle—the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together. From the Old Testament through the New Testament, as the Story unfolds, children will pick up the clues and piece together the puzzle. A Bible like no other, The Jesus Storybook Bible invites children to join in the greatest of all adventures, to discover for themselves that Jesus is at the center of God’s great story of salvation—and at the center of their Story too.”

Ages 7-11

61avttvl86lThe Action Bible by David C Cook – My kids love this Bible it is great because it tells most of the stories of the bible in a very visually appealing way. It is a great segway Bible for kids bridging them from Story Based Bibles into Text Based Bibles. “Here’s the most complete picture Bible ever! And it features a captivating, up-to-date artwork style—making it the perfect Bible for today’s visually focused culture. The Action Bible presents 215 fast-paced narratives in chronological order, making it easier to follow the Bible’s historical flow—and reinforcing the build-up to its thrilling climax. The stories in The Action Bible communicate clearly and forcefully to contemporary readers. This compelling blend of clear writing plus dramatic images offers an appeal that crosses all age boundaries. Brazilian artist Sergio Cariello has created attention-holding illustrations marked by rich coloring, dramatic shading and lighting, bold and energetic designs, and emotionally charged figures. Let this epic rendition draw you into all the excitement of the world’s most awesome story.”

10+ Girl

51uqa5jifll-_sx322_bo1204203200_NirV Devotional Bible by Zondervan – I like this Bible for older girls because of the readability of the translation and the fact that it has a year worth of devotions built in. “Complete with a year’s worth of devotions, the Kids’ Devotional Bible, NIrV will help children develop a habit they’ll want to keep. Engaging weekday devotions, fun weekend activities, interesting illustrations, and a dictionary make this a Bible they’ll want to read and apply to their lives. It includes the complete New International Reader’s Version (NIrV)—the stepping stone to the NIV—making it easier for young readers to read and understand.”

10+ Boy

51fl2rqpgil-_sx331_bo1204203200_The Action Study Bible (ESV) – While the ESV is my favorite translation because of the way it is translated it can be difficult for kids to read. This Bible is still  a great bridge from The Action Bible into a full-text Study Bible.
See God in action in this illustrated study Bible for kids and teens!
What do you get when you combine the trusted English Standard Version with illustrations from Marvel comic artist Sergio Cariello? An amazing study Bible that brings God’s Word to life for kids and teens”

10+ boy or girl

91hbfqr43wlESV Grow Bible by Crossway – Again ESV isn’t my first pick for a kids bible. What I like about this Bible is that even though the translation may be tough the helps sections are really good. “The ESV Grow! Bible is designed specifically to reach children ages 8–12 for the time between when they use a children’s Bible and a more advanced Bible. Coupling the full ESV text with many helpful features, this is a Bible that young students can call their own.The ESV Grow! Bible comes with all-new features to help children learn and understand God’s Word. Nearly every other page features a “W Question”, boxes answering the who, what, where, when, or why of a text—basic questions a child might have while reading. Introductions to each Bible book, charts, and maps help young readers understand the themes, characters, and context of Scripture. 45 “Cross Connections” explain how certain Bible passages point to Christ and 90 “4U” sections explain and apply texts to the child’s life. In addition, articles about Jesus and the teachings of the Christian faith help children understand important theological concepts.”

Teen+

718v3duw3mlZondervan Study Bible Personal Size – This Bible is perfect for the Teen to College age crowd. The editor of this Study Bible is a solid Theologian and the NIV is very readable yet still accurate. “The NIV Zondervan Study Bible, featuring Dr. D. A. Carson as general editor, is built on the truth of Scripture and centered on the gospel message. An ambitious and comprehensive undertaking, Dr. Carson, with committee members Dr. T. Desmond Alexander, Dr. Richard S. Hess, Dr. Douglas J. Moo, and Dr. Andrew David Naselli, along with a team of over 60 contributors from a wide range of evangelical denominations and perspectives, crafted all-new study notes and other study tools to present a biblical theology of God’s special revelation in the Scriptures. To further aid the readers’ understanding of the Bible, also included are full-color maps, charts, photos and diagrams. In addition, a single-column setting of the Bible text provides maximum readability.”
If you have a Bible that you would like to recommend place the link to it in the comments section.

The Dark Side of Parenting

Kids are a joy. Kids are the best thing ever. Kids are also a lot. I remember seeing as a single person families come to church with well dressed little kids and smiles on their faces thinking wow what a beautiful family. I had no idea! Now four kids later I have a bit more of an idea.

I came across these photos and literally laughed out loud. Danielle Guenther has great skill as a photographer but also must have a few kids judging from some of the pictures she takes. These are fantastic. If you have not crawled along the floor using your iPhone as a flashlight you probably don’t have kids. I most identify with the parents sneaking out and the dad trying to reach his phone while holding his baby. Which one is your family?

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If You Can Keep It: Q & A With Eric Metaxas

reprinted with permission

I have been huge Metaxas fan since his voice work as the narrator of VeggieTales rendition of Ester. I joke. I frist became aware of his writing from his book on Bonhoeffer and have since read most of his books. In his writing, his candor, wit and wisdom always shine through. Eric’s newest book If You Can Keep It is no different. I will be posting a review on my blog of Eric’s book in the coming days. I really enjoyed it. It releases officially this Tuesday, June 14th. Here is the Amazon link to pre-order until then and to purchase after the 14th.

How did the idea for the book first come about?

Honestly, I’ll never forget it. I was listening to the author Os Guinness
give a speech about the Founders unique idea of “ordered liberty” and
he described it in terms of what he called the “Golden Triangle of41MVx69VbUL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
Freedom.” It all made perfect sense, but I was shocked and
embarrassed to realize that somehow I’d managed never to have heard any of this before and that neither had most people I knew. So after I stopped perspiring, I tried to figure out how a reasonably well-educated American could miss these ideas that are utterly foundational and central to what America is and who we Americans are as a people? What could have happened? Then I read his book A Free People’s Suicide and was staggered further still, because I realized that if this country — which was expressly founded on these ideas — had ceased to understand them and pass them on to the next generation, it would eventually cease to be America in any real sense, and I realized that that’s precisely what had been happening in the last four or so decades. To say that I had a sense of urgency about it is an understatement. I talked about it whenever I went and pushed Os’s book on everyone I
knew, and as my thinking on it all expanded I realized I needed to get my own thoughts into a book — and to promote that book as widely and forcefully as any book I would ever write. Because I saw that once America devolved to being “America”, the whole world would suffer. Despite our ills and shortcomings, we have been a beacon of liberty to the whole world — my parents, for example, as I discuss in the book, who came from places of misery to this place that represented hope and a future — and if that beacon should go out in our generation, what Lincoln called the “last best hope of earth” would have vanished. It would be as though we had effectively committed suicide because we had forgotten to eat. So to cut to the chase, this book is about saving America, and in doing that, saving the world. That’s all. No pressure, right?

Throughout the book you refer to the popular quote “America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” What does that mean to you and how has America strayed from that?

This has manifested itself differently between liberals and conservatives. For example, conservatives have sometimes felt that America’s greatness was indeed that kind of chest-beating pride that people have misunderstood as “American exceptionalism,” and have forgotten that we have an important role to play in reaching out to the rest of the world, in welcoming others to our shores and in sharing our blessings — whether ideas regarding freedom or material blessings — with others. They’ve sometimes acted as though greed were indeed good, as though laissez-faire capitalism didn’t require a moral component to work as it should. And they’ve sometimes acted as though self-government didn’t require virtue — and a people and ethos that that prized virtue and hailed it as a social good. On the other hand, liberals have mostly in recent decades misunderstood the role that faith has played in our history and will continue to play if we allow it to do so. People of faith have been at the forefront of the Abolitionist movement and the Civil Rights movement. These were not secular movements. Our history in doing good could not and did not happen without people of serious faith playing a vital role, so to allow a new secularism to push people of faith out of the cultural conversation is to deny our history and to prevent our future together in any meaningful sense.

In If You Can Keep It, you write that self-government cannot exist without virtuous leaders. What do you think has been the biggest cause of the erosion of virtue in our modern-day political leaders?