Spiritual Leadership Book

The pastoral staff is on a journey to read 1 book a month together and then share the 2 most personal takeaways from the book that we read. 

This month’s book is Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders. This book has been around many years but this is my first time reading it. It is chalked full of leadership principles that are Scripturally based. I loved it and will be reading this book again. It had many principles that were thought provoking and challenging. 

Quick Hitters

In this section of the book review, I will point out some sections of the book that I especially liked and will try to use in my own life, character, and/or ministry.

1. “In the same way, appointing leaders with a secular or materialistic outlook prevents the Holy Spirit from making spiritual progress in that place.”

“[S]piritual leadership transcends the power of personality and all other natural gifts. The personality of the spiritual leader influences others because it is penetrated, saturated, and empowered by the Holy Spirit.”

Many leaders confidently lead from their own ideas and direction. The trait that makes spiritual leadership different than leadership is the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit. When our churches and organizations are lead by secular leadership and business principles instead of the Holy Spirit their will be no discipleship and no blessing from the Lord. The Church is to be the influencer for society instead of society being the influencer for the Church. When we are led by the Spirit we will see results in this world and the next. When we are led by our flesh and our own strength we end up sabotaging the very people we are leading. There are costly repercussions for leading without the guidance and presence of the Holy Spirit. 

2. “They were not leaders because of brilliancy of thought, because they were exhaustless in resources, because of their magnificent culture or native endowment, but because, by the power of prayer, they could command the power of God.”

This idea of the power of prayer takes the pressure off the leader. One doesn’t need to have all the skills or knowledge. They need the discipline of prayer and their dedication to communion with God. Oswald talks a lot about people are moved by God through prayer by the leader. Sometimes we forget how important prayer is for leadership and success in life and ministry. 

Spiritual Leadership is very challenging to your soul and as a leader. It is a foundational leadership that should be read by all. We need this type of leadership back in the Church and in the world. 

Read the rest of the book for yourself. There is much more to learn and only a limited amount of time.

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I Like Giving Book Review

There have many transitions happening at my church so I have not had as much time to blog about the different books that I have been reading, but rest assured that I have been reading and learning.

The book that I want to blog about today is I Like Giving by Brad Formsma. The book is filled with inspirational testimonies about the power of giving. I found that it does not have many nuts and bolts because giving isn’t really difficult in skill only difficult in execution. The book is very inspirational and will make anyone more in-tune with giving opportunities and living to give.

This book came at a great time for me personally. I have lived in the Hampton Roads region for 3 years and see homeless and low-income housing every day. The news is covered with homicides and robbings. Honestly, it has made me a little jaded toward giving and blessing others. Living here has given me the mindset that most people abuse the system and take their earnings to by cigarettes and alcohol. I am glad that I read this book and pray that I would be more generous even when I do not know how it will be received.

Quick Hitters

In this section of the book review, I will point out some sections of the book that I especially liked and will try to use in my own life, character, and/or ministry.

1. The statement that stuck with me the most in I Like Giving is the “line between giving and receiving disappears” as you live generously. As you give the benefits and blessings that you receive from it will make it seem like you are the one receiving instead of the one giving. I thought this line was very poetic and true. Nelson Searcy says that when we bless people we ourselves are blessed. We don’t give to receive in return, but we give and the byproduct of giving is receiving joy and purpose. The author also talks about how “giving is for us, it gives us life.” Isn’t it true that when you give out of your heart that it gives you life. It puts joy and energy into your step. It makes you come alive. Many of us walk around doing are jobs, hobbies, and life like a zombie. With no emotion, no heart. Try giving and see what happens to your soul. The line between giving and receiving disappears.

2. As a children’s pastor I always thinking about families, parenting, and kids. The author struck a chord with me when he discussed how giving brings the family together. When parents instill in their kids generosity and the power of giving, kids really get a hold of this idea. One thing I love about kids is that when they grab a hold of something they run wild with the idea. If parents can lead the way and teach their kids to give and to look for opportunities to be generous, kids will run wild with it. Let kids be a part of your generosity. Most things that our kids learn are caught not taught. Kids can make this world a better place if parents disciple their kids to be generous. What are some ways you could teach your kids about giving? Giving will give your family memories that will last forever. Giving as a family will bring your family together. Involve the whole family in living to give.

3. The last item that I want to discuss is that giving isn’t as easy as you may think, but keep trying. Especially in America there are many people that don’t want help. Americans are known for being arrogant and independent. As you begin to give there will be instances where you are declined. The individual doesn’t want your help or assistance. Don’t be discouraged. There will be many mothers, widows, dads, kids that will appreciate your giving. Your giving will come at just the right time, but only if you continue to give. Don’t let the few contaminate the whole. One way to get around this conundrum is to give anonymously. The whole point of giving is not to get noticed and take credit in the first place. Put money in their mailbox. Get help from the waiter or cashier. This way the person will have no choice but to accept your gift. Giving isn’t as easy as you may think, but keep trying.

I Like Giving

A simple book that will jump start living generously and changing the world.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Those are my quick hitters that I learned from this book:

The line between giving and receiving disappears.

Involve the whole family in living to give.

Giving isn’t easy as you may think, but keep trying.

~Read the rest of the book for yourself. There is much more to learn and only a limited amount of time.~

Crash the Chatterbox Book Review

Crash the Chatterbox is Steven Furtick’s new book that is all about the conversations that we have in our minds and the voices we hear in our heads. Most of us would not be very thrilled if our thoughts were “on blast” and out there for everyone to hear. The reason is that most of our thoughts are not very good and contradict what we say in public. Many people find nothing wrong with thinking bad thoughts about yourself and about others, but our thoughts can be detrimental to our success in life. In Crash the Chatterbox, Furtick gives four different truths that God says about us that will help us crash the chatterbox. The author defines the chatterbox as “my way of representing the lies we believe that keep us from accurately and actively hearing God’s voice.” Instead of hearing God’s voice we hear ours or Satan’s.

The four beliefs that we need to remember that come from the voice of God are:

1. God says I am

2. God says He will

3. God says He has

4. God says I can

That is a little synopsis of the book, but let’s look at my quick hitters and boil down this book into three main ideas that I took away from this book.

Quick Hitters

In this section of the book review, I will point out some sections of the book that I especially liked and will try to use in my own life, character, and/or ministry.

1. There are two basic things that define our worldview. These two view dictate how we view everything else and fuels the chatterbox or puts out the chatterbox. They are how we view ourselves and how we view God. When we view ourselves as how God, our Creator, made us and view us it changes everything. One of the main ways we can crash the chatterbox is by having a Godly view of ourselves. God says I am…beautifully and wonderfully made, more than conquerors, a new creation, etc. When we truly believe in the truths that God has said about us in His Word it will go a long way to crashing the chatterbox and the lies that we hear in our minds. I believe that one of the ways the chatterbox speaks to our identity is through comparisons. When we compare ourselves to anyone we are destined to fail and allow the chatterbox to speak into our lives. Find your identity in Christ alone.

2. Furtick talks about how the chatterbox gets loud when are expectations are not met. When we expect someone to do something and they don’t follow through, the chatterbox feeds us lie after lie. It says things like, “They should have known better” “How many times do I have to remind them” “Why won’t they listen to me” “Do they not respect me” These are all types of lies that the chatterbox might through your way when your expectations aren’t met. The author’s solution to failed expectations is to let God “fill the gap”. Our expectations aren’t met because there is something missing. A gap between what we expected and what happened. Growing up my dad would always get bent out of shape when his expectations weren’t fulfilled. It ruined his entire day and ultimately mine. I pray that when our expectations aren’t met we would let God fill our gaps instead of the chatterbox running rampant in our minds. Fill your expectations with God’s mercy and grace.

3. The last section of the book was my favorite. It talked about how gratitude is the antidote for the chatterbox. The way to crash the chatterbox is to be grateful. When we are grateful it leaves no room for the chatterbox to feed us lies. Many times when things don’t go our way it is because we are selfish. Selfishness is what breaks true community with people and with God. When we think we are better than everyone else and we deserve more we are being selfish. When we are selfish that is when the chatterbox is loud and clear. When we sit back and realize all that we have and all that God has done for us it crashes the chatterbox. Steven Furtick says, “Gratitude is the perspective that looks back and considers God faithful.” Be grateful.

Those are my Quick Hitters:

Find your identity in Christ alone.

Fill your expectations with God’s mercy and grace.

Be grateful.

There is one last point that I want to mention that brought the whole book together. The conclusion. Many times people never read the conclusion, but it has some powerful stuff in it to bring the book to a close. Furtick concludes by talking about the life of Elisha, the prophet. Before Elisha died, King Jehoash, asks him for help to defeat the Arameans. Elisha tells him to hit the ground with his arrows and God will give him victory over the Arameans that many times. The kind only struck it three times and Elisha was furious with him. He should have struck it five or six times, because back in the day wars would last more than three battles. The point Steven Furtick was making is that the chatterbox and the lies that we hear are going to invade our mind every day. We have to as Furtick says, “Pound the Ground” We have to keep going to battle each and every day. We have to believe in who God is and who He believes we are. Unfortunately, “every victory you win means another battle you will have to fight.” The fight continues…

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Read the rest of the book for yourself. There is much more to learn and only a limited amount of time.

 

Gospel-Powered Parenting Book Review

This month I set out to read my first parenting book, Gospel-Powered Parenting, by William Farley. At the beginning of this book I was asking myself why am I reading a parenting book. I don’t have any kids. After I read this book for a little while I realized that this book is giving me knowledge to help parents that I minister to each and every week. It also gave me information about the importance of being a great dad, which I want to be one day.

Since this was my first book on parenting I did not know what to really expect. I was expecting a book that was full of practical tips from how to rock a baby, to how to talk about puberty, and how to release your child for college and marriage. This book had very little to do with practical tips and way more to do with how we view our role as parents in light of the Gospel (hence the name). So let’s get to it!

Quick Hitters

In this section of the book review, I will point out some sections of the book that I especially liked and will try to use in my own life, character, and/or ministry.

1.  The first few chapters of Gospel-Powered Parenting talks to the parent’s own spiritual theology and growth. I remember one of A.W. Tozer’s most famous quotes that says, What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us” It will even shape the way we view our kids and how we parent them. Farley talks about how we fear God and how view His grace and holiness. If we believe that God’s wrath really will punish us if we do not raise our children right, then we will not neglect our children. Our view of the Gospel, as parents, will shape our worldview. Our worldview is what will dictate how we treat, discipline, and talk to our kids. Our view of God matters as parents.

2.  Farley finally gives us the first piece of practical parenting in chapter 6. That piece of parenting was our marriage relationship. Our kids are vacuums sucking in everything that see. If our kids see their parents fighting, then they will conclude that fighting is okay. If our kids see us showing affection and loving, then they will conclude that loving and showing affection is okay. They learn how to interact with others through their parent’s marriage. This doesn’t mean that we cannot be wrong, because we all get bent out of shape at some point. That is an opportunity to show our kids how to be humble and forgive and to reconcile with others. Put your marriage first.

3.  The final quick hitter is more personal and to men out there that are, or will be fathers. There were a few chapters dedicated to the idea that the way kids’ view their father has a tremendous effect on the kids’ outcome. Kids will have a higher likelihood of being homosexuals if they are neglected by the dads. Kids will have a higher attendance in church if their dads attend church. Kids will look more so for their dad’s direction for guidance than their mother. This really showed me the importance of being a great dad. It is a daunting task, but something that I look forward to in the coming years. Dads are more than just bread-winners.

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Those are my quick hitters that I learned from this book:

Our view of God matters as parents.

Put your marriage first.

Dads are more than just bread-winners.

This book is great to get your Gospel worldview of parenting in a good place and see what the Gospel pictures for parenting. If you are looking for a more practical book about how to change a diaper, how to find a good school, or any other how to…this is a different kind of parenting book. This is a great book for family or kids pastors as it gives a great place to start talks with parents about how to be a Gospel-Powered Parent.

Read the rest of the book for yourself. There is much more to learn and only a limited amount of time.