THE RIGHT CHOICE: CHOOSING A COLLEGE AND WHY IT MATTERSRead More
Did this post years ago…felt like it was worth reprising…but I should update it..maybe soon!
9/9/2007 8:20:37 PM
A long time ago, I did a blog post where I listed two lists of favorite ministry and leadership books…I thought that list might be helpful to reprise here for your potential use with your leadership teams:
I wanted to list my "Top 20" books by 12/31/05..didn't happen. So..I pushed it to 6/30/06...I'm going to meet that deadline with this post (sort of). HOWEVER, I just couldn't narrow it down to the Top 20...so I'm going to "cheat" a little....I have to split it up into a few separate lists over the next few posts...I'm excluding the Bible, but obviously God's Word is the critical foundation book for everything I do and am.
Here are my TOP MINISTRY WORLDVIEW BOOKS...not affirming all the content in them, but their "frame bending" use in developing your ministry worldview. What would you add to the list??
1. Reforming Fundamentalism by George Marsden
2. Christ and Culture by Rheinold Niehbuhr
3. Future Edge by Joel Barker
4. How Should We Then Live by Francis Schaeffer
5. Prayer (all of his books!) by E.M. Bounds
6. Knowing God by J.I. Packer
7. Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby
8. Taking Our Cities for God by John Dawson
9. With Christ in the School of Disciple Making by Carl Wilson
10. The Master Plan of Discipleship by Robert Coleman
11. The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis
12. Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
13. Three Kings by Gene Edwards
14. Victory over the Darkness by Neil Anderson
15.The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard
16. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
17.Wild at Heart by John Eldredge
18. Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen
19. Kingdoms in Conflict by Charles Colson
20. Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
21. Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger by Rich Sider
22. Know Why You Believe & How to Give Away Your Faith by Paul Little
23. The Reformed Pastor by Richard Baxter
24. Case for Christ & Case for Faith by Lee Stroebel
25. Evidence and More Evidence by Josh McDowell
26. Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders
Here's List #2 in my own personal "Great Books" collection lists...these are books that have shaped me from a Leadership & Financial perspective...not including the Bible which is obviously the most influential and formative leadership and financial peace book ever written...so...what would you add to this list??
1. Walking with the Giants by Warren Wiersbe
2. Biblical Preaching by Haddon Robinson
3. The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes & Posner
4. The Situational Leader by Hersey & Blanchard
5. 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell
6. Developing the Leader Within You & Around You by John Maxwell
7. Failing Forward and 360 Degree Leader by John Maxwell
8. Purpose Driven Church & Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
9. Next Generation Leader by Andy Stanley
10. Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels
11. The Unity Factor by Larry Osborne
12. The Power of Vision by George Barna
13. The Very Large Church by Lyle Schaller
14. Unleashing the Church by Frank Tillapaugh
15.The Law of Rewards & The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn
16. Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey
17.Rich Dad, Poor Dad and Cash Flow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki
18. Business by the Book by Larry Burkett
19. Master Your Money & The Debt Squeeze by Ron Blue
20. Sound Mind Investing by Austin Pryor
His presence brings joy
“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the
pleasures of living with you forever.” (Psalm 16:11, NLT)
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11)
God is not a God of killjoy. He is the one that wants us to have real and lasting joy.
2. His presence brings peace
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
3. His presence brings affirmation
I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you.(Isaiah 41:9)
God’s acceptance of us brings us the only “stamp of approval” we ever need.
4. His presence brings guidance
“The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you”. (Psalm 32:8, NLT)
5. His presence brings strength
“The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.”(Exodus 15:2)
Each one of these promises has a way of challenging our existing thoughts about God. So, if you are even close to being open to experiencing God, given these five promises, what can you expect? Does God really want to be known? Can we be in His presence?
Virtually no pundits or prognosticators believed in a Donald Trump victory. And yet today, in mid-November of 2016, President-Elect Donald Trump not only won the election, shocked the political class and destabilized the mainstream media, he has also moved to calm tensions and recently met with President Obama to generally positive reviews. Disequilibrium is now the norm for the electorate and the political elite. Left and right continue to polarize and demonize the other “side”. Disequilibrium, even if temporary, is the shared lot of all.
Are we entering into a new era in American life or are going to see further polarization and demonization in accelerated fashion? In the 1970’s, Francis Schafer asked the question, “How Should We Then Live?”, in response to the challenges of that era. Now, some 4 decades later, many followers of Jesus Christ are grappling with how to respond to a world in transition and people in pain or uncertainty.
I am convinced that followers of Christ are faced with the single greatest opportunity of my lifetime. American society is filled with yet another election where the outcome is disappointing or frightening to almost 50% of the voting electorate, and exhilarating or encouraging to the remaining voters. However, regardless of where you are on the spectrum, this election season and election result has brought about disequilibrium for everyone. Street and campus demonstrations are matched with workplace, home, and church discussions that are challenging. Followers of Jesus are grappling with how to respond with certainty in uncertain times.
So far in this article, I have not referenced Scripture. But the time is right for me to ask, “How do we thrive in disequilibrium?” The answer is both clear and simple:
“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). Jesus tells us to center our lives on the Reign of the King, to live in alignment with Him and His purposes. When we live in alignment with the King, our lives are safe, secure, and full of hope. Instead of singing, “don’t worry, be happy”, we sing, “Worthy is the Lamb, the Lamb who was slain”. We honor Jesus and place Him at the center of our lives and all heaven breaks loose! Centering on lives on Jesus affects not only how we live our lives, but how we engage in relationships and encounter the cultural waves of our present reality.
Scripture tells us in Ephesians 5 that our speech should be “seasoned with grace”. I often say that you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink. BUT, you can give him salt to make him thirsty! If we want to thrive in a world full of disequilibrium, we need to know that we are carrying around the presence, person, and purposes of Jesus in our every day lives in such a way that people become thirsty to know the One who brings life and hope. American religious life, despite the growth of mega-churches in the past 40 years, has seen a relatively consistent decline in church attendance and the rise of “NONES” in our society, those disclaiming any formal religious affiliation. For many in church leadership, this has led to confusion about how to reach and impact the community and culture in which we are called to live and serve.
Many of us in the Body of Christ have lost our way in the world. We no longer know how to share the love of Jesus in tangible ways. When we read in Matthew 5:12-16 that we are the “salt” and “light” of the world, it means little to us in tangible direction of how we lead our lives. My friend, Dr. Ed Silvoso, says we should PRAY-CONNECT-BLESS-SHARE. What Ed means is that before we ever share Christ with our neighbors or community, we should have prayed with them, connected with them, blessed them in some way, and then we can share with them on the basis of our loving relationship with them. I believe that Jesus centered witness is all the more critical in our time of disequilibrium; the Good News must be demonstrated in the presence, power, and purposes of Jesus.
We know that we should pray for those in leadership above us (1 Timothy 2:1ff), even if we do not share their political persuasion. For many American Christians, the idea of praying and interceding for a Democrat or Republican political leader is very difficult. I want us to imagine the Apostle Paul in the day he wrote it; he was actually urging prayer for Roman officials who were likely conspiring at the very moment of writing to bring about persecution and loss of liberty to those early followers of Jesus. Imagine praying for the Caesar who was going to order the conditions that would bring pain to your life!
I believe we are in a time of great cultural shifting here in America. But during this recent election, I felt certain that the Lord was speaking to me specifically about fear and cynicism. I felt like the Holy Spirit was impressing on me not to spend one day in fear—because I know that perfect love casts out fear (and perfect love is named Jesus!). I also felt like the Holy Spirit was telling me not to spend one day in cynicism, because I know the source of Hope (and his name is Jesus!). Today is the best day of our lives to know the Living and Risen King! Today is the best day in our lives to share the life and love of Jesus with whomever He places in your path. Let’s agree together that we are going to shift every atmosphere in which He places us. We can shift atmospheres to His glory by living with grace and kindness and demonstrating love and life in all we do.
Disequilibrium could be the worst condition you have ever faced. Or disequilibrium could be the greatest opportunity a follower of Jesus has ever experienced. I think our cultural disequilibrium is a set-up. It sets up the people of God to live and testify to His certainty and grace regardless of the context of our lives. God is good-better than we think. The time is now to help our unstable world see the deep and rich reservoir of love and grace and truth found only in Jesus. Let’s do this for His glory!
Former Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes is reported to have said “I wouldn’t give a fig for simplicity this side of complexity but I’d give my right arm for simplicity on the other side of complexity”. That thought has been rolling around in my mind as I think about transformational leadership for our troubled times.
Tension threatens to overwhelm us with the shocking murders in Charleston and San Bernardino, fast moving changes in US sexual mores, rioting in various US cities amid racial tensions, and perpetual and instantaneous reporting of all of it by the media We long for simplicity in the midst of the complexity of our world.
As a leader, I feel the tension of insuring my leadership is appropriately complex (robust enough to withstand the reality of our times) and appropriately modeling simplicity (so that it can be catalytic and transferable). Here are some thoughts regarding the challenge that I think may be helpful to you as you consider those same tensions:
Simplicity becomes simplistic when we fail to recognize complexity. This can be dangerous (and shallow). Our world calls for a robust and meaningful faith. The rise of the“nones”in recent religious affiliation surveys surveys as reported by the Pew Research Center (http://www.pewforum.org/2012/10/09/nones-on-the-rise/) and the increasing plurality of the American landscape call for a recognition of the underlying principles of freedom of religion we hold sacred in the American founding documents. Religious freedom in a pluralistic present given a Judaeo Christian dominant past is a complex exercise and we do well to acknowledge that fact. People of faith in the United States (still over 90% of the population!) carry a special burden of advocating for religious freedom for others, even those who do not share their specific faith perspective.
Real faith moves towards simplicity when it is lived out in a loving and redemptive fashion, even in the face of undeniable evil. While some continue to deny the presence of evil in our world, most of us see tragic evidences of it every day. This world, this beautiful and evil world of ours, needs faith that is understandable, transferable, and experienced in our everyday reality. As a Christian, I am called to testify to my faith in ways that are understandable and compelling to the culture around me. The recent tragic events in Charleston and San Bernardino saw yet another redemptive and loving act as Charleston family members offered forgiveness to the gunman even as they were in the midst of their pain. In 2006, the Amish community in Nickel Mines, PA demonstrated complex and simple faith when they forgave and loved the family members of the murderer who killed 10 of their young girls.
Our times call for faith that is personally, organizationally, and culturally transformative That faith will be both complex and simple; it will call forth love into action. Movements occur when complexity is translated into simplicity. Helping others to understand, grasp, apply, and reproduce complex and simple faith is a powerful calling. This is catalytic. I need to make sure I am daily translating my faith into simplicity in love and action. The people of Emmanuel AME in Charleston and the Amish in PA have given us good models that are both complex and simple.