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Books

You do not, not have time to read.

books

I have heard and I am sure you have too, “Leaders are readers…” and with the amount we have all heard and read this one statement, I must believe there is some truth to this. Actually I whole heartily believe this.

You need to develop an appetite for life-long learning. In today’s world with all of our great technology like the internet, e-books, blogs on every imaginable topic under the sun, and all of this just a click away with the device all of us hold in our hands from phones, tablets, and laptops, there is truly no excuse to not read.

If you think you don’t have time to read, think about this:

Reading just an hour a day adds years of experience and research to your life. You actually gain time by reading. Time you would have spent doing something the wrong way.

And that just scratches the surface at the benefits of reading.

Reading expands our minds.
Reading provides access to mentors who may not be with us anymore.
Reading allows you to travel places you may never get to go to otherwise.
Reading ignites our passion as we get to link dreams with others.
Reading frees us to learn about anything our hearts desire.
Reading clarifies our thinking as we connect with someone who has traveled further.
Reading fuels our creativity as we are challenged by someone taking one of our thoughts further.
Reading helps us lead more effectively and efficiently.

If you aren’t in the habit of regular daily reading, I suggest you take out your calendar and make an appointment with yourself and a good book or e-book everyday. Start your day or end your day this way, it doesn’t matter as long as you do it.

First let me say upfront, one book that we all should be reading is the Bible. This blog post is assuming that you are already starting there. So now, let’s add to your reading.

Sir Francis Bacon’s advice on reading says it best:

“Some books are to be tested, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.”

Books.

Some of the books I have spent some time chewing and digesting for a various amount of reasons:

Start here: “11 Books that have caused change in my life”.

Here is the list of books that I have on my iPad Kindle that I still have yet to read.
1. Tech Savvy Parenting
2. Creative Teaching Methods
3. Bit Literacy

Blogs

There are so many good blogs on the internet that you can learn from an expert in just about anything. And best of all, you don’t have to pay for it!

If you don’t read blogs, you are missing out. Get yourself a free Feedly Reader account. Get an app for blog reading on the go (I use feedly here as well). Then, find good blogs about topics that interest you.

Here is a list of the top 100 Kidmin blogs to help you get started. Notice this blog post has been in the list and steadily moving up over the last couple of years.

Now go and start your reading.

Dear Son, A fathers advice on being a man

Dear Son book

Men are much more likely to give up on life than women. One indicator of this is the large gender difference in suicide rates—men are four times more likely than women to drop out of life. At the time of this review being written, case in point is that Robin Williams has just committed suicide.

This large rate of men giving up according to the author, Dear Son: A Fathers Advice On Being A Man, points to a profound lack of effective mentoring of men, especially in the church. Dave Bruskas seeks to fill in this gap with this book. Two decades ago, Dave lost his only infant son to a congenital heart defect. That devastating loss fueled his desire to provide effective mentoring to young men. Dear Son has the guidance and insights Dave would have given his son if he had lived through the milestones of growing up: from first dates to first jobs, from weddings to births, from friendships to funerals.

He encourages his readers to be courageous fathers, husbands, church members, citizens, and brothers. “The hope for our cities, countries, and world lies in the hearts of young men loving and serving women and children instead of using and abusing them.” He also reminds them that they can be “perfectly and totally loved” in a broken world of imperfect fathers.

Dear Son has heartfelt wisdom for life’s journey, especially for guys—and for those who want to strengthen them. This book is a challenge for all of us to make sure we are asking ourselves the hard questions and being held accountable to the mentoring that should be taking place. Lastly, Keep our eyes on Jesus, as He is truly the Father to all of us and will never disappoint or leave any of us. Allow Him to mentor us as well, for there is no better.

*(This review is based upon a copy of this book which was provided free of charge from Tyndale House Publishers. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.)*

All In book review

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Recently I had the privilege of reading the book “All In” by Mark Batterson. No surprise to me that it was truly another great book that was packed with challenges on almost every page.

The book is divided into five sections: Now or Never, All In, All Out, All in All, and All or Nothing. From front to back the book is calling out “followers of Jesus” to really look at whether they are followers at all. The question that kept haunting me through the whole book was: “Is there anything stopping us from fully surrendering our entire lives to the lordship and leadership of God? Are my dreams really His dreams? Are my plans truly His plans? Is my heart fully consecrated to Him?”

Mark Batterson through this book kept an unrelenting challenge to die to self and to cross the line of faith to give all my hopes, dreams, plans, and heart to God. To truly be a disciple is to go “all in”, and Batterson does a great job asking tough questions that continued to haunt me as every choice and decision I made I was playing those questions over in my head.

The bottom line message of All In Student Edition is simple: if Jesus is not Lord of all then Jesus is not Lord at all. It’s all or nothing. It’s now or never. Jesus gave all of Himself for you on Calvary’s cross. He wants all of you in return. In essence, your life is not your own–but it can be more amazing than you ever dared imagine if you decide to go all in.

If you are ready to do some serious personal exploration and going “All In”, then this will be a good book to read.

Here are just a few of the goodies I enjoyed:
” The world has yet to see what God will with and for and through and in and by the man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him.”

“Consecration is going all in and all out for the All in All.”

“Whatever you don’t turn into praise turns into pride.”

“What got you to where you are might be holding you back from where God wants you to go next.”

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Crash the Chatterbox book review

Crash the Chatterbox book cover

The book is divided into four sections: God Says I Am, God Says He Will, God Says He Has, and God Says I Can.

Each and everyday we need to decide what dialogue we are going to listen to, and respond to. What dialogue we choose to invest ourselves in will shape how we experience life and our relationship with God. I was challenged immediately from the beginning of the book when Furtick asked a few reflection questions concerning the voices we listen to and the impact it has not only on ourselves, but the very plans God has for us. There is no way this review could go any further than to also mention at the start of the book the lessons that are provided as we look at exactly why happened in the Garden of Eden and how we really have not progressed any further than fallen prey to the same chatter that Adam and Eve fell victim to.

Beginning of chapter two, where Futick discussed the Voice was another great segment for myself as well, because I enjoy the Voice. On the Voice, the judges decide talent sight unseen. It is a good feeling, when a judge chooses you because you are apart of the competition. You have a chance to win. It is another thing when all four judges choose you. On the other hand, the scene changes when no one chooses you. No one likes your voice. Maybe you simply are not ready for a higher level of competition such as the Voice or Idol. The contestants want the judges to turn around in the chairs to choose them. It’s not Idol where the bad singers sing for our amusement, on purpose, during the auditions. The beauty of the passage was even though people will reject us for one reason or another, God will never reject us when we seek his name.

Throughout this book Futick does an incredible job of laying out and helping you see in-depth what the chatter is, and how to overcome it. At the end of the book he event tries to prepare you for what it will be like when you can crash the chatter box. In his own words, “What an you expect when you start resisting the chatter, pushing past insecurity and fear and condemnation, moving in the direction of the voice of the Lord? Louder chatter, increased resistance, and greater discouragement”.

Going to the next level according to Futick isn’t about “graduating from difficult circumstance and dark emotions. It’s resolving to live with the mind-set that declares, My joy is not determined by what happens to me but by what Christ is doing in me and already through me.”

After reading this book you will be better equipped with the tools to Crash the Chatterbox around you. This is one book I recommend, and have bought several cope of to give away to team members on my teams.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their blogging for books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

AHA Book Review

Read the post because at the end of this I have a FREE Aha book for the winner of a drawing on March 31, 2014. Post or email me an encouraging story when you were able to experience the love of God like the prodigal son was able to do through his father. On 3/31/14 I will throw all names together and have one of my kids church kids draw it. Make sure you have your email included. I will email you on 3/31/14 and get your address if you are the winner.

AHA_book

In Kyle Idlemans book, AHA (Awakening, Honesty, Action) Kyle takes us through the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. Describing the experience of being in the distant country, (this Distant Country can be defined as any area of our lives that we have walked away from God) and then coming to his senses.

What drives many travelers to the Distant country is that they are running from a god that doesn’t exist. Kyle goes on to discuss that for one reason or another, their perception of God doesn’t match up with reality. They are rejecting a god they created and not the true God who created them.

The prodigal son and his perception of what it would be like without his dad but only with his money was not correct. The son still chose to leave and do it his way. Sooner or later living in the distant country the alarm will begin to sound saying stop, turn around, change, get up and to of here. Too often we do like the prodigal did, we ignore it. The prodigal son in Luke 15 didn’t hear the alarm until the pig pen.

– Didn’t hear while he made his request to his father asking for his share of the inheritance.
– Didn’t hear as his wallet became thinner and thinner while in the Distant country.
– Didn’t hear it while a famine swept through the land.
– Didn’t hear it while he took the job of a pig sitter.

He continued to hit snooze. God will allow us to experience a sampling of what we can expect if we don’t wake up.

Grab this book and read the painful but extremely encouraging and hopeful adventure as Kyle lays it out in everyday language and examples with scripture to prove it.

In closing, I enjoy the most where Kyle points out: “We expect God to be an angry father who demands justice, but through Jesus, He gives us love and grace when we don’t deserve it. Ultimately, the story in Luke 15 isn’t about two sons who disobey. It is about a Father who loves His children unconditionally.”

How would your life be different if you woke up when God sounds the first alarm?

AHA review coming soon.

Aha book cover

I have received this book from David C. Cook, AHA by Kyle Idleman, that I am so excited to read and do a blog post over.

Here is just a snippet that I read from Kyle and was only a few pages into the book. Enjoy.

“I’ve discovered that what drives travelers to the distant country is that they are running away from a god that doesn’t exist. For one reason or another, their perception of God doesn’t match up with reality. They are rejecting a god they created rather than the true God who created them.”

This is feeling like it is going to be a good book. Stay tuned.

How to Be Rich by Andy Stanley book review

How to be rich book cover

“How to be Rich lays out clear principles for carrying that load, making sure your wealth remains a blessing not just for you, but for your family and your community for generations to come.” – Dave Ramsey

If that endorsement is not enough to make you want to read this book right away, I’m not sure what it will take. I truly enjoyed this book from the first page all the way to the last page. Reading this book has provided many challenges to myself and my wife as we had several points that we could identify with.

In fear of not ruining the book for anyone I will try to just give you some nuggets that I found myself saying after reading them…”Wow that is good!”

– The richer you get the more your priorities begin to separate from real needs…Our appetites for progress don’t turn off.
– Greed is the assumption that everything that is placed in our hands is for our consumption.
– In Andy sharing on giving he says, “…the percentage is more important than the amount.”

I really could go on and on. This book for me proved to be one of those books that will amount to some great times of personal reflection, great discussions with my spouse and timely teaching with my kids.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publish through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Clout – Discover and unleash your God given influence

Clout book

Clout – Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence by Jenni Catron

Jenni Catron’s is the Executive Director at Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tennessee where she leads the staff and ministries of 5 churches that have grown exponentially under her leadership. Her writing shows her desire to help each of us to grow exponentially as well! This book lent itself to kind of discipline me but at the same time help me feel deeply encouraged.

“You have Clout. Have you discovered it yet? We all long for significance, even as we fear we will never be good enough. We listen for God, but hear only voices of doubt and practicality. Listen again. There is a call that only you can answer.”

Jenni’s book breaks down misconceptions about power and influence and the traps that are set to keep us from using that God-given influence to help us tap into our strengths and overcome our fears to understand and unleash our own Clout.

There are some common traps which short-circuit our clout. Jenni discusses seven clout killers and teaches us through scripture how to avoid these traps:

– Confronting Fear
– Putting a stop to comparison
– Understanding the Impact of Jealousy
– Squeezing Out Scarcity
– Identifying Insecurity
– Purging Pride
– Relinquishing Control

She doesn’t stop there. She goes on to share how we can cultivate our clout, making the most impact in our area of influence:

– Discovering Your Identity
– Developing Your Confidence
– Defining Your Mission
– Determining Your Passion

Below I will leave you with some of the highlighted material that I enjoyed.

– We often confront our greatest fear at the crossroads of influence. We face our greatest fear at the threshold of our greatest opportunity to make an impact.

– Every time we make a fear-based decision we lose a bit more influence.

– Fear magnifies our weaknesses and it hides our potential.

– Jealousy keeps us on a perpetual quest for the attention, affection, and affirmation of others.

– Jealousy makes other people even people we like and respect our enemies.

– our constant longing robs us of finding peace with who we are and being content with the work we’ve been given. Envy is one of the greatest distractions to our influence. It takes our focus off our opportunities for influence and temps us to fixate on everyone else’s.

I am taking part in Booksneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

All Pro Dad book review

All Pro Dads.cover

All Pro Dad” by Mark Merrill focuses on seven key influencers that each man can take to influence and win the hearts of his family. These include:

1. Know your makeup (who am I)
2. Know your mind-set (purpose)
3. Know your motive (why?)
4. Know your method ( How can I do better)
5. Know you’re a model (What am I promoting)
6. Know your message (what do I need to share)
7. Know your master (who has control)

These 7 points will help any man become more effective and more focused on what it means to lead and guide his family. “All Pro Dad” is not about perfection; it is about leaving a generational impact.

One big thing that settled well with me from this book was that Mark does not make it seem like the solution of being an awesome dad is simple, also he doesn’t make it out to be rocket science. He points out that being an “All Pro Dad” does take work and investment.

Mark’s book is not a discipline book, it’s not a “follow this script” book either, but it is a coaching type of book. It reminds readers that we likely spend a lot of time on things we would not call priorities, while not taking the time to plan how we will be effective parents. It calls us out on being specific and choosing our actions, not just letting things happen in our family, and then it helps us form a plan and focus on what is important.

My favorite part of the book comes at the end of each chapter, the huddle up section. These are questions that a dad reading this book should ask his child(ren). A lot of these questions call for humility and vulnerability, which sometimes can be challenging for parents when interacting with their kids. Sometimes we feel like we have to have all the answers and discussing these questions would make it clear that we don’t

If you want to be considered a Hero by your kids now or in the future, you must be intentional in preparing for fatherhood. All Pro Dad is a great book to aid you along in this wonderful journey we call fatherhood.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publish through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Action Bible review

Action Bible_3D

I was given a great opportunity to review the new Action Bible, Action Bible New Testament, Action Bible Devotional, and Action Bible Handbook from David C. Cook. With these incredible resources comes the illustrations from Sergio Cariello’s who has worked for DC and Marvel Comics as well.

I am blogging about this a little later than I thought I would be due to a very hectic Easter season, but also because I got more involved in reviewing these wonderful resources than I thought I would have.

Wanting to make sure I could get input into the thoughts and opinions of the age groups that would be buying these resources I took them church with me a few times and just laid them around. It was like throwing fish food into a tank of very hungry fish. In no time at all the art began to do its magic and draw kids into opening the book. Once the book became opened the wonderfully illustrated photos and stories handled the rest. Kids were hooked!

My one wish for an improvement if I was asked would be: Find a way to illustrate and share the stories so more kids could use them in their children’s services while their children’s pastors were preaching.

Enjoy their brief trailer:

Now what are you waiting for….Go get these resources.

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