Archive for the ‘reading’ Category

January 11th I began a new path.  I am now officially a graduate student in the Master of Arts online program at Northwest Nazarene University.  So the last 11 days have been challenging with lots of new things to learn and relearn.  The new stuff consists of learning the technology to participate in an online class.  The re-learning stuff consists of how to study, how to write book reports, and how to answer questions and dialogue online (new stuff).  The following books are the texts for our first class which is program orientation.

The book’s title is “What They Don’t Tell You – A Survivor’s Guide to Biblical Studies”.

The author, Michael Joseph Brown, begins with the introduction of the word prolegomena, which is defined as “that ‘stuff’ that has to be said before you get down to what it is you actually want to say”.  The purpose of the book is to prepare students for biblical studies.  I am thankful that the author/teacher took the time to write for all students and give an introductory course before total immersion and drowning in biblical studies with no life jacket.


The authors of How To Think Theologically, Stone and Duke, make a pronouncement with the very first sentence that all Christians need to hear and understand, including me.  “CHANCES ARE.  YOU ARE A THEOLOGIAN.”  The authors proclaim on page 2, “To be Christian at all is to be a theologian.  There are no exceptions.”  I personally have shied away from these types of claims.  I have said that I am not a theologian or Bible scholar.  I have also said that I do not have all the answers.  I have definitely been challenged in my statements with the reading of this book as well as understanding some conversations and positions of other Christians.

The authors, Tracy and Ingersol, achieved their purpose of describing, “What is a Nazarene?  Understanding Our Place in the Religious Community”.  The book begins with the formation of the Church of the Nazarene including their vulnerabilities and proceeded to describe all the Christian religious communities and their influence and connections to the Nazarenes.

Monday, January 25th, Introduction to Christian Education begins.  I peeked at the syllabus yesterday.  I probably shouldn’t have, but as soon as I finish my last book report (tonight or tomorrow morning), I will begin my new class so I am ready for Monday and a new class.


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Merry Christmas!

A free ebook to downloand by Seth Godin.

70+ big thinkers

70+ big ideas for the new year

Read all about it at Seth Godin\’s blog post.

Read and dowload What Matters Now – Things to think about (and do) this year.

Merry Christmas with a free ebook from Seth Godin!

Happy New Year with lots of new ideas and learning!

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I have read the book, and

I saw Rob Bell at the Murat in Indianapolis sharing Drops Like Stars.

Book Description from Zondervan

This book is an exploration of the complex relationship between suffering and creativity, driven by the belief that there is art in the agony.

We plot. We plan. We assume things are going to go a certain way. And when they don’t, we find ourselves in a new place—a place we haven’t been before, a place we never would have imagined on our own.

It is the difficult and the unexpected, and maybe even the tragic, that opens us up and frees us to see things in new ways.

Many of the most significant moments in our lives come not because it all went right but because it all fell apart.

Suffering does that. It hurts, but it also creates.

This book is an exploration of the complex relationship between suffering and creativity, driven by the belief that there is art in the agony.


This is a great description from the publisher.  It just doesn’t cover the heart and soul of the message.  The theme is pain and suffering, and I laughed until I cried.  It was heart wrenching, thought provoking, encouraging, inspiring, and funny.  It’s an experience you need to, well, experience. So…

Read the book.  Hear Rob Bell on tour.  Purchase the DVD when it comes out (began filming DVD in Indy tonight).  His best tour yet.

Yes, the book is like the tour.  I read the book first, loved the tour, and plan to purchase the DVD.  It’s that good.  It’s that timely.  It’s that meaningful.

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Quote by Os Guinness found in Derailed by Dr. Tim Irwin

“Character…is the essential “stuff” a person is made of, the inner reality and quality in which thoughts, speech, decision, behavior, and relations are rooted.  As such, character determines behavior just as behavior demonstrates character.”

In Derailed, Dr. Irwin shares six case studies of the derailed careers of high profile CEOs.  All these CEOs were highly qualified and competent to take on the assignment that they were hired for.  Unfortunately it wasn’t their competency that was in question, it was their character that led to their derailment.

Derailed is a great book for examining your leadership style and what character qualities that you possess and qualities that perhaps you need to refine.  I love the great balance that Irwin brings.  He talks about the catastrophic failures of leadership and at the same time reminds us that these were highly competent individuals.  He doesn’t leave you with just an analysis of their failures but also includes how to keep from being derailed as well as how to stay on the rails long-term.  He also shares some insight on the employees who work for derailed leaders.   Leaders are called to exhibit character that includes authenticity, self-management, humility, and courage. All leaders can use assistance in growing these qualities in their life, and Irwin gives explanations as well as questions to guide you.  Derailment is a process that just doesn’t happen on its own.  There are warning signals if you watch for them and heed them.  This book has personally helped me evaluate my abilities in these areas as well as review the leaders that I have worked for.  This book is for those who are willing to examine their own character.  Be prepared to be challenged and encouraged to live life with character.

For more information on Derailed, click here.

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Today I am on day 68 of my journey of reading the Bible in 90 days.  Finally, I will begin reading in the New Testament.  Because I know the rest of the story, I have anxiously awaited the time when I leave the Old Testament and its messages of sin, evil, doom, judgement, God’s great patience, God’s pursuit of His beloved people, and Israel’s rejection of God.  I can’t imagine what it must have been like to long for the promised Messiah.  The kings were evil.  The priests were evil.  False prophets filled the country prophesying that everything was fine.  God’s prophets shared messages of judgement that were very unpopular with the Israelites.  Israel has rejected God who rescued them time and time again.  They have  chosen to worship idols made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, and wood.  Over and over God has called to His people who He loves deeply.  Then for 400 years God speaks to no one…

When reading the Bible like this, you get a glimpse of the longing of Israel for their promised Messiah, because you long for the rest of the story…


expectation, anticipation, preparation, and longing

for God who seems distant

to send the promised Messiah

The people walking in darkness

have seen a great light;

on those living in the land of the shadow of death

a light has dawned…

For to us a child is born,

to us a son is given,

and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called

Wonderful Counselor,

Mighty God,

Everlasting Father,

Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:2, 6

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One of the best things that I liked about this book was the use of the Word of God, lots and lots of scripture.  Some quotes from Fearless, by Max Lucado and Scripture from God.

Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?  Matthew 8:26 (Jesus speaking to disciples)

Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Matthew 10:28

Take courage.  I am here!  Matthew 14:27

“Storms prompt us to take unprecedented journeys.”  Max Lucado

“Could that lesson read something like this:  ‘Storms are not an option, but fear is’?”  Max Lucado

“Questions can make hermits out of us, driving us into hiding.  Yet the cave has no answers.  Christ distributes courage through community; he dissipates doubts through fellowship.  He never deposits all knowledge in one person but distributes pieces of the jigsaw puzzle to many.  When you interlock your understanding with mine, and we share our discoveries…When we mix, mingle, confess, and pray, Christ speaks.” Max Lucado

“Real courage embraces the twin realities of current difficulty and ultimate triumph.  Yes, life stinks.  But it won’t forever.  As one of my friends likes to say, ‘Everything will work out in the end.  It it’s not working out, it’s not the end.'” Max Lucado

The conclusion is amazing.  Get the book and enjoy!


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Reading the Bible in 90 days

  • a journey
  • on Day 22
  • read the night before and next morning – 2 sittings
  • about 15 chapters per day
  • Day 19 didn’t get it done – big mistake
  • Given 2 grace days in the 90 day journey
  • Day 20 made up for Day 19 and did Day 20 – one sitting
  • Difference between discipline and obligation (duty, tradition) is your attitude.  I’m enjoying the process.
  • God does not create extraordinary people to fulfill His work.
  • God calls everyone to be involved in His purposes.
  • God does not “use” people.  Hate that phrase.  Bad connotation today.
  • God does not want our duty, obligation, tradition, or worship performances.
  • God wants us to know Him and to love Him.
  • From Genesis to I Samuel, God’s called ones (Israel, Moses, Aaron, judges, kings…) really know how to mess up big time.  Not so different today.
  • God calls everyone to Him.  Some accept, and some reject.
  • We never lose our ability to mess things up.
  • God forgives a person who returns to Him.
  • God is at work in the world today just as He was in the Old Testament.
  • Sometimes we “see” God’s presence as well as they did.
  • Sometimes we “forget” God’s presence as well as they did.
  • The reading continues…

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