If you followed my blog posts at all at the beginning of this year, then you know I gave the old “52 books in 52 weeks” a shot. OMG! I had no idea how hard it was going to be. I started off strong, but around book 12 I realized it would be nearly impossible for me and my schedule. Not to mention, I began speed-reading and not getting anything out of the books.

So with all that being said, I made it to 17 books in the first 17 weeks of 2013. I’ll take that! Failure is just an event, and I learned so much in those 17 weeks–it was amazing. I’ve gone back to my regular reading schedule now and am reading about 2 books a month. I get a whole lot more out of reading, and it’s so much more manageable. Thanks for following along.

What are you reading right now?

 

10. May 2013 · 1 comment · Categories: 52 in 52

An acquaintance heard that I’m reading 52 books in 52 weeks and offered a book written by Ray Comfort. I get lots of book ideas, but this one jumped out at me specifically because it was from someone I didn’t know that well. And it just jumped out at me when I read it. The book is called, God Has A Wonderful Plan For Your Life.

At first I wasn’t too impressed, mainly because the author started off bashing the church. I can’t stand when someone bashes the body of Christ. I get tired of people going on about what’s not happening in the church and what should change in the church, because it comes off as “know-it-all-ish.” The truth is, a lot of things should change in the church overall. But my position is, instead of just pointing the finger and identifying what’s going wrong, be a part of the solution.

One other thing that bothered me about the book is some judgment calls on whether people who pray the prayer of salvation are actually saved. (Okay, let me get on my soapbox here!) Romans 10 says that whoever believes in their heart and confesses with their mouth that Jesus was raised from the dead is saved. It is never my decision whether what they have prayed is genuine or true. That is between them and God. It really doesn’t matter what statistics do or don’t say. It is a relationship between them and God.

That said, I think Ray has some good thoughts and solutions around the body of Christ. We just have to be careful that we don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. Let’s build up and not tear down. Overall the book is a good read.

Let’s talk about the whole Duck Dynasty fad. First, I’m not a big fan of reality shows. One, they aren’t real, and two, America seems to love to watch a train wreck! I heard that only 7 or 8 years ago there were two reality shows. Now there are 230. Crazy! But since everyone’s talking about Duck Dynasty, I decided to pick up The Duck Commander Family: How Faith, Family, and Ducks Built a Dynasty, the story of how this whole thing got started.

I think they have a genuine love for God (I’m not judging, just stating my opinion), but it’s obvious that marketing was their number one goal. It’s a great way for these guys to ride the wave and make as much money as they can off their fame before people get tired of the show. The book is good, but it’s not great. It’s good maybe for getting some laughs and getting to know the crew a bit more.

Number 15 on the road to 52 in 52. (Okay, I’m a little behind–but I have a couple of long flights coming up. I’m headed to Australia, and the flight is about 15 hours. I should be able to knock down two books. That’s my goal anyway.)

The book I read recently is another brain book. It’s called Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. What a book! This is another one I’d recommend specifically if you run an organization and are facing change.

Here’s a great quote:

“Change is hard because people wear themselves out. And that’s the second surprise about change: What looks like laziness is often exhaustion.”

In other words, if your organization is trying to make a lot of changes and failing, you may be pushing too hard and the agents of change are simply tired. You may need to strategize your timing of the change. You know you need to make the change; just don’t push so hard that you lose people and momentum in the change.

One of the major things I took from this book is that many people focus so much on a problem that they lose sight of the solution. Even looking back at a problem isn’t necessary to find a solution. Instead, look at right now and imagine how it will look and feel when a solution is in place. Some helpful questions might be: Can you imagine what you would do if you weren’t having marriage problems? What would if feel like? The point is to wrap our thoughts around the feelings and thoughts of being out of a certain situation or problem. I hope that makes sense. (If it doesn’t, get the book!)

Enjoy!

Finishing Sun Tzu’s Art of War was a battle (pun intended). My son thought I would like it. I did… somewhat. It’s more of a manual on how to defeat the enemy. I am not much of a war guy, but I did get some good thoughts out of it.

So would I recommend it? Sure. It’s an interesting read. And it’s free on Amazon.com, so pick it up and win the war!

I just wanted to let you know out there in blog land that I am playing catch up because of Easter weekend and spring break. I spent some good time with my family which slowed down my reading. I will catch up this week on the 52 in 52. I am currently reading 2 books and will finish them by weeks end (Duck Commander and one by Ray Comfort – I can’t remember the title off the top of my head). Check in Friday or Saturday for a review.

It’s shocking sometimes how much we tend toward a certain trail of thought.  We want to be something so bad we end up disqualifying ourselves by our intensity.  I love this book.  It’s a read that’s simple yet inspiring.  It’s really short but riveting.  I do hope you will pick it up and take a read through it.

If we want to accomplish anything of value in the current world, we must go through the school of brokenness.  This school is for the development of the character needed to withstand the trials of the dream itself.  Tale of Three Kings looks at 3 different kings, David, Absalom and Saul.  Each one have their own issues and we can learn extremely important lessons from them.  Pick this book up and read it at least once a year.  It will take you a couple of hours to read and a lifetime to apply.  Enjoy!

28. March 2013 · 1 comment · Categories: 52 in 52

This week I decided to read Joel Osteen’s book, I Declare.  Joel catches a lot of flack for being so positive and always seeming so happy.  Many religious people criticize Joel because they don’t think he preaches a strong enough message on repentance.  Well, I know Joel and his wife Victoria personally.  Don’t hate if you don’t know!  Those who do the criticizing don’t know Joel and his ministry very well.  Lakewood Church and all the Osteens do from Houston is incredible.  People are being saved and lives are changed around the world because of their influence.  I love what they do and support them fully.

This book is one of the best Joel has written.  Don’t get me wrong. The others are good but this one is very inspiring and relevant to people’s lives right now.

We have what’s called the Declaration of Independence in the United States of America. It separated us from the rule of Great Britain and allowed us to become the nation we are today.  One specific line near the beginning says this: “that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”  That “Creator” is God of course.  Our country was built on the values set in the Bible.

We also have a spiritual Declaration of Independence, which Jesus paid the ultimate price for.  The scriptures tell us who we are and how we are to live in that independence.  Not independence from God, but from the enemy.  It’s really our dependence on God that distinguishes us as independent from the world and its system.

I said all that to say that Joel’s book, I Declare, is a personal journey in speaking independence over our lives.  I do hope you’ll read it and speak its 31 declarations over your own life!

Okay, reading 52 books in 52 weeks is not easy! Can I just say that?  Reading through my 11th book in 11 weeks, Altar Ego by Craig Groeschel, wasn’t easy either.  But on the other hand, it was very rewarding.

I love how Pastor Craig writes.  He’s so engaging and his story telling is fantastic.  I love how he brings real life stories into the mix.  Craig is a genius at taking something very basic and transforming it into a life lesson.  His practicality is fantastic.

I would get this book for anyone who is facing inner challenges.  My favorite chapter is on labels.  So many of us struggle with labeling ourselves and then living under the scrutiny of that label.

This is a fantastic book for someone who is beginning the journey as a believer.  It’s very easy to read and it’s full of the Bible.  I hope you’ll pick up Altar Ego and have a great read!

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We recently had a great guest at Freedom House.  His name is Dr. Robi Sonderegger (pronounced Robbie).  Dr. Robi is a clinical psychologist.  Not one of those, look at the ink blot and call out what you see, types. And no I didn’t spend the weekend on the couch being psychoanalyzed.  Dr. Robi loves Jesus Christ with all his heart and also has a passion for the Church of God.

One of the things I like to ask people who I believe have tremendous international influence, is what they are reading and where they get their inspiration from.  Dr. Robi suggested that I pick up a book called, The Brain That Changes Itself.  Well, I did and read it the best I could.  It was a little “techy” but not too bad.

The gist of the book is that our brains are not fixed into a certain way of thinking.  We can, in fact, change patterns that have been learned over years and even decades.  The term repeatedly explained in the book is “plasticity”. It’s the idea that the brain is like a muscle and can be worked out.  Now I am an avid work out person.  I train at least 3 or 4 times a week and sometimes more.  I know how our muscles, with the right training, can grow and be changed for the good.  This well written book digs into this possibility.  From autism to dementia, scientists are digging deeper and deeper in the complex field that deals with our brains.