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Books

Big Red Bible Review

ICB artwork

The Big Red Bible from Thomas Nelson is formatted for children, ages 6-12. The BIG RED BIBLE is an International Children’s Bible translation. One that children can read and understand. I enjoyed the vivid 3-D pictures throughout the Bible. These pictures helped in visualizing Bible stories and gave the reference where they could be found.

There is a Bible dictionary at the end which is useful anytime if looking for meanings of specific words. I also liked the other helps at the end of the Bible including ‘Memory Verses for Life’. I can see this as a valuable tool in reading to children in devotional settings and more. Here’s a Bible that the even the younger age kids will understand right along with everyone else.

The text is larger, which makes it a little easier for even some of the earliest readers to read. This also makes it a ton more fun for kids who can now follow along in their own Bible as people read out loud in theirs. Kids begin to build comfort in reading along in their own Bibles, they will want to keep taking them to church.

This Bible was a good one for our group. The main thing we would have wanted is more of the graphics that are in the Bible already.

Feel free to check out these links to continue to aid you in falling in love with this Bible.

ICB YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2YEOvzN1_4
ICB Link: http://www.tommynelson.com/kids-can-read-the-bible/

Don’t hold back your better process for reading

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Let’s focus on improving the reading that we do. My goal each year is to read around 100 books. But the bigger goal is not the number, but, to learn and keep the great nuggets from those books.

Rudi Guliani wrote in his in his book, “Leadership”, that “great leaders lead by ideas”. I have experienced how great ideas from books have helped me develop my leadership over the years. Books are an accumulation of years of life lessons gleaned from the author. Those years are conveniently bound in each book for the use of developing others who will have a systematic process to harvest the nuggets.

That is what I want to lay out today for you, my process for book nugget harvesting. This is not the only way, it is only, my way.

To read and digest a book I now use the following process:

Book Selection

When selecting a book it’s important to remember the impact that a book can have on your life. It’s necessary to choose the books you read wisely. The books you read must be worth the investment of your time and energy. Some of the criteria I use when selecting a book to invest my time and energy in are:

• First, based upon what do I need to learn or develop, given where I am in my personal journey.

• I select books from authors that have already affected my life and I connect with. Authors like, John Maxwell, Andy Stanley, Reggie Joiner, Carey Nieuwhof, Posner and Kouzes, etc.

• Books that will help me grow in areas critical to my role.

• Using Goodreads and Amazon for recommendations from friends.

• Key subject areas I’m interested in. Some would be, leadership, communication, task management, technology, and strategy. I do not read books just because they are popular or make the bestseller lists. My time is valuable and so reading a book is an investment of my time from which I expect a return!

Prepared Environment

The best productive reading environment for me happens when:

• I remove all distractions!! Humans cannot multitask. Multitasking is worse than a lie.

• Have a regular place to read. I enjoy what Steve from Blues Clues does, he has a “Thinking Chair” that he uses.

Keep in mind your primary purpose for reading, to grow and learn. This requires focus and concentration.

Be an active reader

Being an active reader you need to engage with the book. Better to read a book in many short sessions, and not in a single sitting. Other ways to be an active reader:

• Use a highlighter, or a pen to underline.

• Using a pen or pencil to make notes in the margin.

• Use Evernote to take notes and pictures of marked up pages.

Actively reading keeps you focused and helps find important concepts for use later on. If I find myself not making several notes or highlighting, it usually means, at least for me, that the book is not worth completing and I put it aside.

There is part one of my process. I’ll post the rest of my process later, but, I’m very interested in hearing if you have a process, what is it?

Do you see how important it is to set yourself up wisely for the best reading experience? Don’t hold back creating a process for better reading for yourself.

The 4 hour work week book review

4 hour work week

I cringed at the title of this book, The 4 hour work week, but still went ahead and leafed through it. I actually found myself seeing how some pieces of this book could be applied to my life, and so I decided to go ahead and read it.

Step 1: D is for Definition

In this section Ferriss tells us to do an important task: define what you want. And I agree that most of us live through life not knowing what we want; just following the crowd like a herd of sheep. This section was the motivational, make you feel good section. This wasn’t the how, it was the why.

Step 2: E is for Elimination
Okay, so he basically says to eliminate all the junk in your life. For example: watch less TV, don’t check your e-mail so often, don’t look at your phone a bazillion times a day, don’t surf the web for hours a day, etc. It focuses on some very straightforward techniques for eliminating most of the regular mundane activities that fill our professional lives. Here are seven examples that I liked:
I. Make your to-do list for tomorrow before you finish today.
II. Stop all multitasking immediately.
III. Force yourself to end your day at 4 PM or end your week on Thursday.
IV. Go on a one-week media fast.
V. Check email only twice a day
VI. Never, ever have a meeting without a clear agenda.
VII. Don’t be afraid to hang up a “do not disturb” sign.

Step 3: A is for automation
This is where I began to disconnect with Tim’s method of creating a “4-hour workweek”. He spends a good deal of time talking about having a VA (Virtual Assistant). In my profession of pastoral ministry, this would be a hard sell, so I didn’t spend much time on this.

Step 4: L is for Liberation
Here Tim combines all the parts to show you how to move more of your life to remote type living. I actually believe this is valuable as I have been able to carry out a lot of this myself already.

Here are some last closing key insights I took away:
• “Don’t ever arrive at the office or in front of your computer without a clear list of priorities. You’ll just read unassociated e-mail and scramble your brain for the day.” (This alone has saved me about 35 hours since I finished the book 2 weeks ago.)
• “Being busy is a form of laziness and lazy thinking”
• How to end a meeting on time

My last thought with this book was it does a great job of teaching a person how to self-promote, but it comes at a high cost of teamwork. I hope that one day Tim Ferriss can take a break from perfecting his self to experience the pleasure of cultivating community. And those who pursue all the things in this book will be able to learn the value of as well.

Remote office not required book review

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When this book Remote arrived in the mail I was excited to start to read it as I already had respect and enjoyed 37 signals as a company. Now after reading the book allow me to say this book did not add to my respect for a great company.

Let me say that I am one who already enjoys working remotely for my main job of being a Children/Family Life Pastor, where a ton of my volunteers live all over the city and hold several different work schedules so having the ability of working on the go comes in very handy. Also, I get the privilege of working for a completely online business called Kidology.org as a Ministry Coach, and as one of their Kidmin Pros. Seeing that such a large amount of my time is remote, getting the opportunity to read a book titled Remote I was excited. Then soon let down.

Remote is a book that had a ton of potential but unfortunately according to this reader feel short. Through the book I kept feeling like they would start a topic that I wanted them to go deeper on but we never seemed to go there. I know they wanted to make a book that anyone could pick up but that didn’t mean we had to stay at the extreme surface level that the book stayed at.

Basically, if you are looking for a book to show your boss who is very office bound in their thinking and working remotely is a foreign concept, this may be the book for you. If you are wanting anything more, then I would not think this book would be your best choice.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Blogging For Books review 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.”

Raising Kingdom Kids book review

raising kingdom kids

I have had the great privilege of ready a wonderful and challenging book titled: Raising Kingdom Kids by Tony Evans. In this book it is clear that Evans understands that parenting is not easy, although it is rewarding over time, and it does come with its challenges.

No two children are the same even if they are in the same family, therefore, parents must be able to love, nurture, and train each child in the way of the Lord while at the same time helping them grow individually into mature, faithful adults. Often on the journey of parenting, fathers and mothers need encourage and perhaps, some advice on how to raise their children according to the Bible. It is this kind of practical help that Dr. Tony Evans gives in Raising Kingdom Kids.

Tony continues to discuss the biblical roles and responsibilities of parents and how they should not only raise their children to adulthood, but guide them along the way to successfully fulfill God’s plan and call for them.

Outside of this being just an incredible read packed with wonderful challenges, thoughts, and encouragement, one more item I want to make mention of before closing this review off is a not so often view the author takes. Unlike most Christian parenting books, this one is not aimed solely at a two-parent household. In several places, Evans makes a point of including single moms, dads, or even a blended family. I felt this was great due to the rapidly changing family structures. Again it was just another way Tony connects with his readers and allows you to feel he knows where you are, where you can be, and provides the suggested help to get there.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher Tyndale 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

Finishing Well, Finishing Strong

Finish well finish strong cover

Finishing Well, Finishing Strong was one of the books that I am privilege to read lately over being very purposeful on how we finish in this game we call life.

I am a 46-year-old man at the time that I am writing this and the thoughts of what kind of legacy am I going to leave when I go to be with Jesus are thoughts I have more of now than when I was 25. I started very strong and determined as a young man to be successful and as I got older I wanted to also be significant. Now I know I can do both and that is where this book along with others have helped encourage me to do just that.

I appreciated the attempt that Grassi made to end every chapter with a personal activity and mentor activity. The suggested activities are both helpful and can prove to be practical. I think this book would be a good read for a men’s small group or can be used by a mentor as he spends time and disciples some younger proteges.

The author, Jim Grassi made me think about what I do, and what I want to do to finish strong and well myself. This book was a short and easy read, and held my attention for the most part. The information was presented in a consistent and engaging way, making steps to the personal application easier. Grassi conveys Biblical truth in discussing certain people within the Bible.

Just because you start well and start strong, does not mean that you will finish well and finish strong. You must have a plan.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers 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.”

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.

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?

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