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Patrick Lencioni is one of my favorite writers. If you took all his books, and all his years of consulting expertise, and wrapped them up in one book, you’d have “The Advantage.” But there’s one big difference. He typically uses allegory to present principles. Not with this one. “The Advantage” is principle-driven.

My favorite part of this book is the six questions he brings out. I won’t let the cat out of the bag (you’ll need to read it), but these six questions could be a great advanced leadership topic that would take two days or more to work through.

If you’re serious about taking your organization to another level, please take your time and read this book. It’s full of leadership and organizational wisdom, but let me be clear: There’s no way you’ll digest what you need by trying to read this in one week. It’ll take three good reads to digest it! I’ll retread this several times.

From my perspective as a church-planting pastor, “The Advantage” would be a great read for someone in their third to fifth year of planting a church. If I was in year two of my church, I would be hard-pressed to get what Lencioni is saying as a whole. Hear my heart here: I’m not saying you shouldn’t read it! But to fully embrace these principles, you’ll need some organizational maturity.  Enjoy!

The Travelers Gift

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I understand that God did not put in me the ability to always make right decisions.  He did, however put in me the ability to make a decision and then make it right.”

“Serving is a way we can place value on one another.  A wise man is a server.”

“It is never the duty of a leader to struggle for someone else;  a leader must encourage others to struggle and assure them that the struggles are worthwhile.”

“I am a person of action.”

“It is true, an army of sheep led by a lion would defeat an army of lions led by a sheep.”

“…in most cases, God is waiting for me!”

I could go on and on with quotes from my most recent read, Andy Andrews’ The Travelers Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success. This book is a winner. I give it two thumbs and two big toes up! I would recommend this book to anyone who is breathing.

Andy’s writing style is very engaging and humorous. You’ll find yourself inside the story with main character David Ponder from the very first page. David is struggling with life. He’s faced some serious failures and wants to end his life. God, however, has a different plan. See, God values each one of us, and has an incredible plan for every individual. Intricate (yet seemingly insignificant) things play a crucial role in our lives as well as the lives of those around us.

Andy lays out 7 decisions we must make on a daily basis. Each decision comes with a great story from a historical figure. Please grab this book and devour it! This is not some self-help manual; it will challenge and inspire you to achieve the GREATNESS that lies just on the other side of choice… YOUR choice!

“A committed heart does not wait for conditions to be exactly right. Why? Because conditions are never exactly right. Indecision limits the Almighty and His ability to perform miracles in your life. He has put the vision in you-proceed! To wait, to wonder, to doubt, to be indecisive is to disobey God!” Andy Andrews

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I was recently scrolling through Instagram (follow me, my handle is troymaxwell), and I saw a picture of Bobbie Houston. (Bobbie is married to Hillsong Church’s senior pastor, Brian Houston.) She happened to be reading Brian’s book, For This I Was Born. I bought it right then and devoured it in 2 days. It’s an easy read and very inspiring. It reads much like Brian speaks. Matter of fact, if you read it with an Australian accent, it’s like having him right beside you.

This book is great for anyone, but especially for the young believer struggling with finding where he fits, or discovering her destiny in God. I’ve found having books like this in your library is great because you can come back to them when you feel as if you’ve let go of your calling.

And let me just say: If you’re trying to find your calling, don’t let go of God until you’ve discovered where you fit. It may seem hard at first, but as you serve, sacrifice and are faithful, God will open your eyes to where he has called you and what he has called you to do. Be patient and get around people who are confident in their calling and cause.

Anyway, back to the book. Brian uses real life instances of the discoveries he made trying to find his way as a pastor’s kid. Today, Hillsong Church is worldwide. Brian makes it very clear that vision and cause are what make this mega-church tick. For This I Was Born is a great read. Grab it today. Enjoy!

 

 

 

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“Hard to exorcise, indeed, because religion gives the impression of having Christ, while it inoculates you from experiencing the real thing.”

“For the religious spirit is like flu–it is constantly adapting to the environment.” 

“You must understand an important distinction–there is Christianity, and then there is church culture. They are not the same. Often they are far from the same. The personality conveyed through much of Christian culture is not the personality of Jesus but of the people in charge of that particular franchise. Tragically, the world looks at funny hats or big hair, gold thrones and purple curtains, stained glass or fog machines, and assumes this is what Jesus must be like.”

“…[I]f our spirituality doesn’t ‘FIT’ into normal life, it is religious.”

These are a few significant quotes from “Beautiful Outlaw” by John Eldredge. These quotes give a good overall picture of the book: He’s attacking the spirit of religion in our Christianity. Now let me say that it’s not just a full-on attack, but it’s also a revealing of the nature of Jesus. This book is about revealing who Jesus is, specifically in His humanity.

“…Jesus is humanity in its truest form.”

This book was recommended to me by a friend in Seattle. I’ve read other books by Eldredge and didn’t even know this one was out there. Honestly, it was a bit of a slow start. I had a hard time digging my heals in and getting into the book. But around Chapter 3 or 4, Edlredge grabbed me with some thought-provoking statements. He challenges the way we see Jesus, and he challenges us in our relationship with God. And beginning in Chapter 15, Eldredge starts giving us some solutions to the problems.

I love books that buck against the status quo. I love books that will say things not just for attention, but for sake of jerking you out of your mediocrity. I don’t like attacks on the church without solutions. Anybody can identify problems, but the point is to bring solutions. I commend Eldredge, because this book did all these things. He talks about the church and our role in society. It’s a good wake up call, and it has definitely given me some perspective on who MY Jesus is. I’d like to read this book again.

If you have been a Christ follower for any length of time, grab this book. You can check it out here on Amazon – urlm.in/qhfb

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Phil Vischer started Big Idea because of a God-given dream to change the world through media. He quickly realized that God had another Big Idea for his life. The failure of this dream was destined to ultimately bring him closer to the one who gave him the dream in the first place: God!

Honestly, I think the book should be retitled, “Me, Myself and God.” It probably wouldn’t have sold as much because of everyone’s familiarity with Bob the Tomato (Phil did his voice). This book was about one man’s journey and his wrestling match with success and failure. I would encourage anyone who is on the path of discovering their own personal dream, their own personal vision, to read this book. We all wrestle with what true success looks like. In Phil’s eyes and heart, he found out that no amount of money can replace the success of knowing God’s plan for your life.

The writing style was fantastic and easy to read. I love it when people write lessons into a story line. This was of course a true story about famous VeggieTales videos and movies. I read it very quickly and enjoyed every moment of it. My son, Colby, picked it up right after I finished it!

Start your year off right by making these declarations:

  • I declare God’s blessing on you and your family
  • I declare God’s protection over your household – No weapon formed against you shall prosper
  • I declare increase, increase financially, increase in the power of God, increase in ministry, increase in wisdom, increase in understanding – May the Spirit of God give us eyes to see and ears to hear what the His Spirit is speaking
  • I declare God’s power in His bride the church – Expansion on the left and on the right,
  • I declare increased INFLUENCE of the church of Jesus
  • I declare that this year is the year of the PRODIGAL coming home! May sons and daughters who have run from your presence recognize that the world has nothing to offer them and it is ONLY JESUS who can truly satisfy!
  • I declare grace and mercy over our city and that YOU God would use FREEDOM House church along with other LIFE giving churches to raise the spiritual water level across our communities
  • I declare protection over our schools, universities and other campuses
  • I declare addictions are broken
  • I declare sin is washed away
  • I declare strongholds are removed
  • I declare healing over the sick
  • I declare freedom over the bound
  • I declare LIBERTY of those who imprisoned
  • I declare chains are shattered
  • I declare LIMITS are LIFTED and God’s power is active and alive in everyone of our hearts!
  • I Declare God’s presence in our midst
  • AND I declare that JESUS is the one and true LIVING God who was, is and always will be the LORD, MASTER, SAVIOR and FRIEND. In Jesus Name…amen!

That’s right you read it correctly, I have challenged myself to read 52 books in 52 weeks (for the non-math people, thats a book a week).  I started this week and will be updating my blog regularly to review each book, share some thoughts around each book and also give you some key quotes in the book.

I do hope you will join with me and follow along or maybe you will be challenged to read more.

Book 1 is almost finished and I will have my first post the beginning next week.  If you have any books you think I should read, let me know.  I have a list but I don’t have 52 yet.  It can be fiction or non-fiction.  This is going to be fun.