Archives For Books & Media

NonesWorked my way through The Rise of the Nones this week.  New from James Emery White, the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church, this is a must read in my opinion.  White is an insightful observer of culture and culture shifts and the implications of this particular shift ought to be a front burner conversation for all of us.  This is why I included The Rise of the Nones on my 2014 Summer Reading List.

The title refers to the dramatic increase in the percentage of Americans indicating “none” when asked about their religion (A 2012 Pew Forum study titled “Nones on the Rise” indicates that one in five Americans (19.3%) claim no religious identity at all (up from 15% in 2008 and 8% in 1990)).  As White points out, “the ‘nones’ are now the fastest growing religious group in America.”

The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated  is divided into two parts.  The first part “will give you the cultural analysis needed to understand the who, what and why of the rise of the nones.”  Part two “is an overview of the new mentality and approach that is needed to…

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My son is 7 weeks old. For the last 2 months we’ve had to keep him inside and away from other people. After his 2 week hospital stay because he was 6 weeks premature, we’ve had to be careful about sanitizing our hands and being sure people don’t breathe too close to him when they come over.

The reason for my wife and I turning into semi germophobes?

Germs pass from person to person. It’s not that it’s the air that is outside or even the air he breathes inside that could be harmful to him, it’s the germs that people carry with them when they’re around him that cause concern.

Passion, for pastors, leaders, and anyone else excited about something does the same thing… at least it should. Good and healthy passion does 3 key things. These things are important to healthy organizations and people…

Passion Propels

When we’re passionate about something, it moves us forward. In fact, the very idea of passion means that we can’t contain it. If we’re passionate about a cause, we do something to help with the cause. If…

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One CryOneCry: A Call to Spiritual Awakening is a challenge, a plea for readers to shake off their spiritual apathy and wake up to the hope of God moving with extraordinary power in our day. Pulling an abundance of stories from ordinary people who have experienced the power of life-changing revival in their own lives, this book provides a contemporary roadmap for spiritual awakening and real revival.

Revival can begin within the heart of any who choose to cry out to God in realization of their desperate situation. OneCry: A Call to Spiritual Awakening is a challenge for readers to awaken from their spiritual sleep and complacency to see that there is hope. God is moving in incredible ways among His people. Join us on this journey to look at stories from ordinary people whom God has radically changed.

We were always taught to put others before ourselves, but in the case of revival, we don’t need to be praying for spiritual awakening to happen to others. It begins with us.

Have you examined your own heart? Is God calling you to step into the circle of personal authenticity before Him and…

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Solomon SeductionKing Solomon is known for many things, but let’s not kid ourselves; it’s the women that blow our minds.  The man had a mindboggling 700 wives and 300 concubines. I’m pretty sure that no one who reads this article is ever going to have a thousand wives and mistresses, but many will be tangled up in an illicit romantic relationship, or at least heading in that direction. Consider these 5 illusions and take them as a dire warning. They are at the heart of every church leader’s descent into sexual sin.

Illusion #1: That which seems harmless is actually dangerous.

What seems harmless?

Married people do it all the time, sometimes with body language, sometimes with seemingly casual, yet not-so-innocent touches, sometimes with suggestive comments, and sometimes with just a look.

Challenge a flirtatious person and you’ll likely be laughed out of the room  And yet, every illicit sexual affair in the history of the world started with flirting. I can’t think of anything a person can do that has more danger wrapped up in it than flirting with someone who is “off limits.”

Illusion #2: That which seems perfect is deeply flawed.

What seems…

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Out of Commission by Paul ChappellYou’d be hard pressed to meet a dedicated Christian who doesn’t say the greatest work on Earth is evangelization. But, while all of us give lip service to evangelizing and discipling, the effect of our labor seems woefully behind. Somewhere there is a disconnect between the priorities we claim and the actions we practice. Something is broken—or maybe just out of commission.

This book is an invitation to “look under the hood”—to examine why we don’t witness for Christ as we should, why our local churches are neglecting soulwinning and discipleship, and how we can get back to making Christ’s last command our first priority.

Written for every Christian who desires to obey the Great Commission of Christ, this comprehensive volume is motivational and practical, diagnostic and corrective. Whether you are new to evangelism or an experienced soulwinner, Out of Commission will challenge and equip you to share your faith and more effectively reach your community for Christ.

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Have we forgotten that the gospel mandate is actually to “make disciples of the nations”? Missiologist and author Alan Hirsch believes that we have. In this new eBook, Hirsch highlights the missional priority of discipleship and helps leaders reframe their understanding and practice of evangelism in the context of disciple making. By reframing mission and evangelism around discipleship, not only do we grow more obedient, but also make space for long-term, authentic, loving relationships with the people in our lives. Hirsch points out that if every follower of Jesus simply did this with just two or three people in their lifetime and asked those people to do the same—disciples making disciples making disciples—in just a few generations we would accomplish what we have sought to accomplish through most of our reductionist evangelistic efforts. “Disciple making lies at the very core of the church’s ‘sentness’ and mission,” he writes. “It has never been an optional extra.”

Key highlights:

In this eBook, Alan Hirsch helps us discover/rediscover:

  • Why reimagining evangelism through the lens of discipleship is crucial to the local church and accomplishing the Great Commission.
  • The theological significance…

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I was their church consultant in 2003. The church’s peak attendance was 750 in 1975. By the time I got there the attendance had fallen to an average of 83. The large sanctuary seemed to swallow the relatively small crowd on Sunday morning.

The reality was that most of the members did not want me there. They were not about to pay a consultant to tell them what was wrong with their church. Only when a benevolent member offered to foot my entire bill did the congregation grudgingly agree to retain me.

I worked with the church for three weeks. The problems were obvious; the solutions were difficult.

On my last day, the benefactor walked me to my rental car. “What do you think, Thom?” he asked. He could see the uncertainty in my expression, so he clarified. “How long can our church survive?” I paused for a moment, and then offered the bad news. “I believe the church will close its doors in five years.”

I was wrong. The church closed just a few weeks ago. Like many dying churches, it…

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UniqueI love creativity and think we should all be more creative. Some people think they simply aren’t creative, but the truth is, we’re all born with wonderful imaginations. Just put a group of toddlers in a room and you’ll see they’re all wildly creative. So everyone is born creative.  But something happens around elementary school that starts pushing that creativity to the back of the room.  But the more important question for today is, considering the millions of writers, artists, inventors, and filmmakers that have gone before us, can we actually be creative or original in the sense of being true innovators?  How often can we actually be the first to come up with an idea?  Creativity is a wonderful thing, but can we really be original? How many times can we actually do something that hasn’t been done before?

Mark Twain said that Adam was the only person in history who when he said something, he knew it had never been said before.  So true originality isn’t the real issue.  The real issue is to think less about creativity and more about being yourselfWriting great stories, preaching powerful sermons,…

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Yawning at TigersIn our increasingly shallow, self-centered world, quaint notions such as timeless truth and reverence for a holy, awe-inspiring God seem irretrievably lost. They’re not.

Many of us have fashioned a domesticated deity—a casual, malleable source of love and good feelings as we define them—and yet our spiritual lives are sedate, dry, devoid of passion or purpose.

Even so, today’s postmodern epidemic of rampant restlessness—and our failed, often destructive attempts to ease it—may be evidence of an ancient ache, a deep hunger for transcendence in all of us.

Drew Nathan Dyck makes a compelling case that the more we all seek is available by knowing and worshiping the dangerous God of Scripture—a God who is paradoxically untamable and accessible, impossibly mysterious and intimately knowable, above and beyond our physical world yet powerfully present within it. He is a God who beckons us to see him with fresh eyes and let him lead us to a faith that is wild, adventurous, and rooted in a deep understanding of his eternal character.

Yawning at Tigers charts a course away from the “safe” harbor of sanitized, predictable Christianity, into deeper…

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Are you a leader in a Christian organization? Is your church, ministry, or business lacking innovation? Perhaps you’re experienced in trying new things and moving in new ways, but you haven’t ever tried anything strange. Truly innovative leaders are often considered strange. Don’t settle for everyday leadership; immerse yourself in Strange Leadership!

Greg gives 40 different ways the Bible teaches us to be strange leaders. Greg pulls from Scripture to illuminate these concepts and, from the words and writings of other leaders, to drive them home. Strange Leadership is practically an encyclopedia on the subject of innovation.

Here’s what some key leaders are saying about the book:

Innovation is imperative in today’s leadership culture. Strange Leadership reminds us all that innovation is about doing a whole new thing, that ultimately flows from God, the Chief Innovator. Thanks Greg for pointing us back to our true source for innovation and inspiration.
– Brad Lomenick, President and Key Visionary of Catalyst and Author of The Catalyst Leader

Strange Leadership provides leadership help to teach you how innovation can come about in your life and organization by keeping God at the center and will equip you with practical thoughts to lead…

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Mission Creep Larry OsborneEvangelism and discipleship aren’t rocket science. When Jesus sent out a ragtag team from Galilee with the expectation that they would evangelize and disciple the world, they pulled it off as a natural and spontaneous outworking of their faith.

Yet 2,000 years later, this same natural and spontaneous process has been turned into a complex and highly programmed skill left to the professionals. In this free resource, pastor and author Larry Osborne exposes what’s gone wrong and the five subtle shifts that sabotage our best efforts to reach the lost and bring them to full maturity.

Key highlights:

  • What happens when we count and report the wrong things.
  • Why too much knowledge can be a bad thing.
  • God’s game plan for fighting the culture wars.
  • Why assimilation and membership are meaningless.
  • What Protestants failed to learn from Roman Catholics.

Download from Exponential

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Narrow Minded EvangelismThe Golden Rule is one of the best-known and most quoted scriptures in the Bible. But, what if we have it all wrong? What if The Golden Rule was never meant to be a simple and safe mantra—recited to children to get them to see the importance of sharing their toys with one another? What if we’ve looked at that verse too narrowly and missed Christ’s point altogether? What if The Golden Rule is really a profoundly dangerous mission statement—to be embraced by Christ followers and lead people away from the broad way that leads to death and back onto the narrow way that leads to life? In this FREE resource, and using The Golden Rule as a mission statement, pastor and author Arron Chambers shares the keys you and your church can use to help more lost people find the narrow way that leads to life.

Key highlights:

    • Thorough exploration of Matt. 7:12-14 and historical origins of The Golden Rule
    • Contextual biblical analysis of when Jesus spoke these words, who He spoke them to and why He spoke them
    • Why these verses speak into the ethics of how we treat each…

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