Book Review: The Simplest Way to Change the World

thesimplestwayThis summer the small groups at our church have been going through a book called, “The Simplest Way To Change The World,” by Dustin Willis and Brandon Clements.  The tagline of the book is “Biblical Hospitality As A Way Of Life.”  The main point as you can get from the tagline is that we need to make hospitality a way of life so that we can reach our neighbors and those in our spheres of influence for Christ.

The amazing thing about this book is the fact that as I read it, there were no mind blowing new concepts that I had never heard of before.  It’s all simple practical advice from a Biblical perspective on the need to reach others for Christ through hospitality.  Yet, with the simplicity of the advice and easy to read writing style, I found God really convicting me about how I do hospitality with those around me.

While my home is not anything extravagant, I often do view it as my refuge and place of just getting away from the world.  After a long day, sitting by myself in the recliner watching TV sounds so good to me.  However, my home is a gift and a tool that God has given me to invite my neighbors and the students we work with into, to build relationships, and share the Gospel.  It’s a tool to use for building up and encouraging fellow Christ-followers.

One of my favorite chapters had to do with how we can do hospitality within the rhythms of our lives.  There are certain things we are already doing on weekly, monthly, and even annually that we can invite others to be a part of.  All we have to do is invite!

If you are looking for a book that will help you reach those in your neighborhoods and circles of influence, I definitely recommend you check out “The Simplest Way To Change The World.”  It really is simple Godly advice that can help you make a huge impact for Christ.

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Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

comedians-logo_0Last week,  I told you I was just going to start blogging about what was on my mind and thoughts about different things going on and today is one of those random days for doing so.  Last fall, my family was finally blessed to be able to get quality high speed internet at our house.  This has changed our lives dramatically, allowing us to get more ministry work done, have educational tools easily available for our children, and even changed how we take in entertainment at our house.

On that last point about entertainment, our family has moved away from watching tv regularly and is by far doing more streaming than network programming.  My wife’s joy has been the discovery of all the BBC and other forms of British, Spanish, and Australian programs she can enjoy.  While my wife has been lost in Britain I have found that I have really enjoyed more streaming of podcasts to listen to, and also more interview format shows.  One such show that I have found is “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”

I used to love watching Seinfeld and began collecting the box sets of the show almost as soon as they came out.  So when I heard Jerry Seinfeld had a show that I could watch online for free I had to check it out.  In each episode of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” Jerry picks out a classic car that he drives to pick up another famous comedian and then they go out for coffee and talk about everything from comedy to the persons history and views on life.  While this might sound boring, I have really enjoyed how it lets you sort of get an insight in to what makes some of our favorite comedians tick.  To understand how they know if something is going to be funny or not, or what advice they can offer to other people has really interested me.  Even the honesty of how sometimes people and certain things get under their skin and annoy them is interesting too.  I guess for the most part one of the things that I have enjoyed about the show is that the conversations seem real and genuine and make you wish you were there drinking coffee with them and listening to the whole conversation, even the parts that were edited out.

If you are a Seinfeld fan or a fan of comedy in general I highly recommend you check out this show which is available for free on Crackle.  There are occasionally some curse words, but most are bleeped out and its not just cussing for cussing sake.  Overall between the classic cars and comedians I think you will really enjoy these short episodes of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”

Book Recommendation – Unbroken

unbroken-cover-1Over the past week , I have been reading an excellent book that I wanted to recommend to any body out there who loves reading, loves history, and love hearing testimonies of the power of God working in someone’s life.  The book I am talking about is Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.  Ms. Hillenbrand is the author of Seasbiscuit and I had read a review of this book and thought I would give it a try.

Unbroken, is the remarkable life story of Louis Zamperini the son of Italian immigrants who went on to run for the United States in the 1936 Olympics and then served as an Army Air Corp. Officer in World War II.  Louie’s story is amazing as you hear all that he had to do over come in World War II from a plain crash, being, lost at sea, and surviving many terrible Japanese POW Camps.  Then the book brings Louie back home where he battles PTSD and alcoholism before a his wife brought him to a Billy Graham tent revival and he gave his life to the Lord.

The book is truly amazing and inspiring and I would highly recommend you pick up copy and read it ASAP.  More than anything the under lying story is that of forgiveness and how that truly sets someone free.  So please read it!

book recommendation for church members and those considering joining a church…

rainer-book-1-241x300Last night at our church we began a new round of small groups and the one that I chose to attend is one that our pastor is leading on what true church membership is like.  The group is based on a study of the book, “I am a Church Member” by Thom Rainer.  The book itself is a small book that is a very easy read, evidenced by the fact that I got it last night and am almost done reading it at the writing of this blog post.  The book is a great reminder to those of us who have been involved in church life for so long about what true participation and growing as a church member looks like.  It also is a great introduction into what a church member should be to new Christians who are considering joining a church.   Some of the basic things discussed in the book are bing a functioning church member, not letting church be about our own preferences and desires, praying for our leaders, leading our families to be healthy members, and viewing church membership as a gift and not a right.  Through just reading I have already been challenged to grow in my role as a believer and church member.  I highly recommend reading this book and also doing a study on it in your church.  I am really excited to see how God is going to use it in my church and am looking forward to the next several weeks of discussion!