Showing posts from December, 2019

City On a Hill Reading Project

This next year promises to be one of the nastiest of my lifetime in culture, politics, and Christianity. I don't know how those will not be tangled up and turn so incredibly difficult. But I also know that Christians and the Church are called a city on a hill with the charge to shine brightly in the darkness. So a pastor friend and I are reading a series of books throughout the year to help us think through what it means to be faithful in this moment. Our primary reading will be selections from Augustine's City of God. We'll sprinkle in several other books throughout the year to shed light and make us think about being Christians at this time. Here is our plan Augustine's City of God Michael Haykin's reading guide James K.A. Smith's How (Not) to Be Secular 160 pages James K. A. Smith's Awaiting the King 256 pages Jonathan Pennington's Sermon On the Mount 352 pages N.T. Wright's After You Believe 320 pages At 10 pages per day 5 days per

2 Suggestions for the New Year

I have my own resolutions for the new year. Our family builds ours around 4 themes: want to learn, eat, read, and do. That's not for this post. I want to recommend two goals for your new year. Learn to take better photos. All of us take photos all the time. And we post them on social media channels every day. But most people do not take good ones. You have a good enough camera in your pocket; learn to use it better. It will help you personally and professionally.  Here is an article to get you started. Here is another one. *One tip for social media: make sure that you or other people are in your photos. People gravitate toward photos with people in them. so include yourself or someone else in your photos. **Make it a challenge and post every day for the month of January. It will force you to work at it. Pick a theme like a picture of your coffee every day or a picture of something you are working on every day. Get better at doing video. My brother and I just built a table fo

The Best Books From My 2019 Reading

I love to read book lists and recommendations. So I wanted to pass along my favorite reading from this year. I copied the entries from my reading list. One thing I've learned after reading and tracking my reading for the last 20 years is that time is too short to read bad books. I read 43 books this year and gave most of them 4 or 5 stars. I put books down that I'm not enjoying or don't have a purpose for reading. My advice is be selective and read really good stuff--part of defining really good stuff is "is it interesting?" *These were my favorites--5 stars. 759. Simply Jesus, N.T. Wright. 1/17/19 * * * * * (I fell in love with Jesus all over again. This is an almost literary book in the way he sets up the situation and weaves different strands that come together in the end. The hard thing about this--and other Wright books--is that he refers to Jesus in human terms which feels almost denying his divinity; and Wright focuses so much on cultural backgrounds

"What does success in ministry look like?"

*Someone asked me recently about what I consider success and how I feel if our church isn't meeting that mark of success. This was my answer. The book I was going to recommend is At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon. It's about an Episcopal priest in a fictional town in North Carolina. (The series is so good for the first 7 or 8 books. She still publishes, but I think it is just because they pay her a lot for the books. They aren't very good anymore.)  I love it because it as much about the work God is doing in him as is about the work that he does for God. And God uses him one person at a time. Even the biggest things God does through him come from his own brokenness being repaired and from him paying attention to the person that is in front of him. I thought of this because you had questions about how ministry affects me, how I think about results or lack of results, etc. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seemed to be a question about what success in ministry looks like.