Archives For Books & Media

By Jeff Brawner

If you’ve traveled most anywhere in the United States recently, you’ve likely had contact with a follower of Hinduism, a religion that is becoming a major factor on the American religious landscape.

Witnessing to Hindus can be daunting. A seminary student described his effort to reach out to a Hindu, saying, “They have all of those gods. I just felt … helpless.”

With 330 million gods, a Hindu’s simple response can be, “How can we be wrong, if we accept that everyone is at least partially right?”

Still, increasing numbers of Hindus around the world are trusting Christ. The church in India now encompasses more than 70-million people, the world’s eighth-largest Christian population.

To initiate sharing Christ with a Hindu, consider these four steps:

1. Befriend a Hindu. Invite your new Hindu friend to coffee or tea. Invest time in your new friend.

2. Avoid the urge just to be the person’s friend. Take a leap of faith and talk about spiritual ideas as soon as possible. Mention how God has blessed you, so the person will know that you are a spiritual person.

3. Look for “spiritual clues” –…

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By Jon D. Wilke

LifeWay Christian Resources has launched a new ebookstore at LifeWay.com and a new mobile ebook reader, making it more convenient for customers to take their favorite books with them wherever they go.

The LifeWay Reader app is now available as a free download from the Apple App Store for iPhone and iPad and from Google Play for Android devices. LifeWay’s new app allows users to build a personal library from a growing list of ebooks and resources from the same Christian publishers found in LifeWay Christian Stores and at LifeWay.com. The LifeWay.com ebookstore currently offers more than 8,000 titles.

The LifeWay Reader app comes with a free pre-loaded copy of the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB). Other free content also is available online.

“The Bible features in the LifeWay Reader app make it stand apart in the market,” said Tim Vineyard, president of LifeWay Christian Stores.

All ebooks with Scripture references are automatically linked to the related Bible passage. Users can click on the link to display a pop-up window in the app without having to switch apps or wait for a new browser program to…

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To Trust and Follow JesusMost local churches try to do too many things. They seek to worship God, serve the poor, reach lost people, proclaim justice, support one another and on and on. In this eBook, Founding and Lead Pastor Bob Harrington pursues the assertion that discipleship is the core purpose of the church. True disciples learn how to worship God, serve the poor, reach lost people, proclaim justice, support their members, etc. But if we try to “do all these things” without seeing them through our core focus of discipleship, people will lack direction and clarity.

Every book in the New Testament was written to help people trust and follow Jesus Christ–a.k.a.  discipleship. Every New Testament leader sought to help people become true disciples. And God’s desire is that every human He created would trust and follow Jesus Christ into eternity– the result of discipleship. It is the underlying purpose of the church.

When a church upholds this core purpose, it pushes everything back to Jesus. Jesus called people to be His disciples. He had a specific method for making disciples, and we are best off…

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“When you hear the word disciple, what comes to mind?  Maybe you think of the twelve disciples who tramped along behind Jesus through the Judean wilderness and the dusty streets of Jerusalem?  Maybe you visualize their faces in a stained glass church window or in some old painting with little halos over their heads?

“But here’s the real question:  When you hear the word disciple, do you think of yourself?  Do you consider yourself a disciple of Jesus Christ?  Do you know what it means to be one (p. 7, Start to Follow).”

If you’re looking for a discipleship resource, you need to take a look at Start to Follow by Greg Laurie.  The pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, Laurie is the author of over 30 books and the founder and featured speaker for Harvest Crusades.  One of America’s best known evangelists, it’s hardly a surprise that he’d have a well thought out resource for making disciples.

A short 125 pages, I can see Start to Follow being used to equip and encourage disciple-makers….

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Transformational RelationshipsA supplemental eBook for Missional Moves (Exponential Signature Series, Zondervan) by Rob Wegner & Jack Magruder

Making disciples is a team sport. If a local church wants to disciple a neighborhood, community or city, they can’t do it alone. That kind of community transformation will require the local church to partner with players from every domain of society, including parachurch organizations, NGO’s, business, school corporations, healthcare providers and government. If your church has a vision big enough to believe the Kingdom impacts all these areas, then high levels of partnership skills will be required.

They don’t teach you this stuff in seminary. You only learn this through blood, sweat and tears on the frontlines. Granger Community Church has seen thousands move out on mission, culminating in redemptive movements both locally and globally. From Monroe Circle Community Center, a hub for neighborhood renewal in Granger’s inner city, to a movement of more than 1,000 reproducing churches in India that include more than 120,000 people.

Practical Help for Partnership with Organizations, Businesses and Government. In this eBook, you’ll discover hard-fought lessons like:

  • How to define shared mission with players from every domain of…

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For years I have dreamed of providing a best of class and totally free book summary service to church leaders. Now its time! And it’s called SUMS.  Imagine getting 26 summaries a year absolutely free!

What got me thinking about SUMS?

I love reading, and I appreciate book summaries like most church leaders. But I wished a team would get serious about selection of books for church leaders, design of something great to look at, and application for the ChurchWorld context.

How have we selected books?

There are three kinds of books we are focusing on. 1) Classic leadership texts that are worth revisiting, 2) Books targeted for church leaders, 3) Current business and leadership releases. To the left  is the first one in our series and and example of that the cover looks like.

Who is behind SUMS and actually writing the material?

Bob Adams is the SUMS team leader and the Vision Room curator. One time when I was eating lunch with Bob, years before he was on the Auxano team, he showed me the trunk of his car- it was filled with books.

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Measuring the OrchardMeasuring The Orchard examines the emptiness of a ministry focused almost entirely on growing a single church, describes the natural life cycle all churches go through, and offers a better scorecard for defining success in ministry. Geoff Surratt lays out a “begin with the end in mind” view of church health and growth that leads to maximum Kingdom impact and ministry fulfillment.

Download from Exponential

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New Purpose Driven Life

The most basic question everyone faces in life is Why am I here? What is my purpose? Self-help books suggest that people should look within, at their own desires and dreams, but Rick Warren says the starting place must be with God and his eternal purposes for each life. Real meaning and significance comes from understanding and fulfilling God’s purposes for putting us on earth.

The Purpose-Driven Life takes the groundbreaking message of the award-winning Purpose-Driven Church and goes deeper, applying it to the lifestyle of individual Christians. This book helps readers understand God’s incredible plan for their lives. Warren enables them to see the big picture of what life is all about and begin to live the life God created them to live.

The Purpose-Driven Life is a manifesto for Christian living in the 21st century…a lifestyle based on eternal purposes, not cultural values. Using biblical stories and letting the Bible speak for itself, Warren clearly explains God’s five purposes for each of us:

  • We were planned for God’s pleasure
    • so your first purpose is to offer real worship.
  • We were formed for God’s family

Emotionally Healthy SpiritualityNews flash!  Did you know that a person can be theologically educated, but emotionally immature?

Dr. Pete Scazzero in his book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality on page 178-179, he shares some powerful insights about 4 Types of people that we as pastors and leaders are called to help mature into emotional adults.

EMOTIONAL INFANTS

  • Look for others to take care of them
  • Have great difficulty entering into the world of others
  • Are driven by need of instant gratification.
  • Use others as objects to meet their needs.

EMOTIONAL CHILDREN

  • Are content and happy as long as they receive what they want
  • Unravel quickly from stress, disappointment, and trials
  • Interpret disagreement as personal offenses.
  • Having difficulty calmly discussing their needs and wants in a mature, loving way

EMOTIONAL ADOLESCENTS

  • Tend to be defensive, critical and judgemental
  • Are threatened and alarmed by criticism
  • Keep score of what they give so they can ask for something later in return
  • Deal with conflict poorly, often blaming, appeasing, pouting, or ignore issue completely

EMOTIONAL ADULTS

  • Are able to ask for what they need, want, or prefer–clearly, directly, and honestly
  • Recognize, mange, and take responsibility for their own thoughts and feelings
  • Respect others without having to change them
  • Give people room to make mistakes and not be perfect
  • Accurately assess their own…

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By James A. Smith Sr.

Your view of politics — or, more specifically, the role of Christians and Christianity in politics — is probably wrong (at least at times).

Don’t be offended; my views over the years also have been wrong — and I must continually resist being seduced by some wrong thinking about this matter.

Some readers got no further than the headline of this editorial, deciding the subject matter is of little to no interest, illustrating at least one wrong view of politics. Others aren’t reading these words because they firmly believe Christians’ involvement in politics is not only unnecessary, but also actually harmful to a godly life — yet another incorrect way for Christians to assess politics.

Those faulty views and others could play a significant role this election year. With the general election just under three weeks away, this is no time for Christians to hold and propagate misunderstandings about politics and government.

A sure guide to understanding this matter is theologian Wayne Grudem and his book, “Politics According to the Bible” (Zondervan, 2010). Before explaining the biblical demands of Christian citizenship, Grudem outlines “Five Wrong Views…

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I am a pastor.

I work in a church.

I am also a mess.

I went with a buddy to Gold’s Gym one time. One time. Everyone there looked like Ahhh-nold. Even the women had muscles and a gap in their front teeth. Each one bronzed, glistening, cut, and lifting more than I could wrap my mind around. (I understood there would be no math at the gym.) I went over to the pink weights, looked in the mirror, and was startled to realize someone had replaced my biceps with those of a third-grade girl. I didn’t belong. This gym was for the Big Dogs. I wasn’t even a dog, really. More like toy poodle, which science reveals is predominantly rodent. I never went back, opting instead for an intense workout program that consists of wrestling (on the floor with my kids) and surfing (the internet).

I wonder how many times this experience happens in a church setting. A spiritually interested person decides to go to church. When they get there, they are overwhelmed with the fact that no matter who they look at, they…

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By Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola

Jesus: A Theography (Thomas Nelson, 424 pages, hardcover) is the new release by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola (authors of Jesus Manifesto). This new book uniquely tells the story of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation, connecting all the dots together, showing that the Bible is one beautiful narrative of Christ.  The following is an excerpt from chapter 11, “Jesus: Preacher and Teacher.” Click here to read a sample chapter along with details, resources, and discounts.


JesusWe tend to forget that crucifixion was the ultimate form of torture. The science of exquisite torture has never been equaled, much less exceeded, than in crucifixion. The crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth was no exception. Crucifixion was more than an ugliness blotted out by Easter, more than a speed bump on the road to resurrection.

Part of the cruelty of crucifixion was the emotional as well as physical torture. 

There is no odor so bad as that which arises from goodness tainted.

—Henry David Thoreau

Yes, Jesus’ physical agonies were beyond imagining. But the emotional agonies were even worse—the humiliation of being stripped naked, with all bodily parts and functions exposed for the humiliating gaze of the public; the…

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