Fresh Start by Doug Fields

A while back I picked up Doug Fields’ book Fresh Start. I am not sure why, but I had a hard time reading it all the way through.  I guess, I really just got lazy when it came to reading.  So, the book sat on my nightstand for a while.  A few weeks ago, I made the commitment to start reading again.  I thought Fresh Start would be the best way to start this new commitment.  I was not disappointed.

Fields attacked many pertinent topics that I think stop Christians dead in their walks with Christ and personal lives.  Some of these topics include: I found myself highlighting and taking notes all throughout the book.

* Dealing with pride
* Defining success
* Living with guilt
* Struggling with conflicts
* Finding true friendships
* Overcoming discouragement
* Facing rejection
* Attacking anger

Fields had a great and simplistic way of reminding us that the only thing getting in one's way of getting "unstuck" is US!  


I would recommend this book to any believer that may have lost sight of relying solely on God to help them move forward in life.

Thomas Nelson provided me with a complimentary book to review and these opinions are solely mine.


The Noticer by Andy Andrews

_200_350_Book.50.coverI finished reading Andy Andrews latest novel, The Noticer, just prior to leaving for a mission trip this summer.  The story is set in a small town called Orange Beach, Alabama. (Not that Alabama is known for its beach communities.)  Like any town, there are a number of different issues happening within the communities: poverty, marital problems, shady business, etc…  What most towns do not have is a “Jones”.  Jones is the main character in the book who has an uncanny way of showing up at just the right to provide, what he considers, “perspective” to the situation.

I wouldn’t say that the book was bad, but I also wouldn’t say it was great.  For me it was just okay.  I wasn’t thrown for any surprises and as a mature Christian, I could say that I could almost foresee when Jones was going to show up, what he was going to say, and that everything was going to be okay.

If you are looking for a quick read that makes you feel good or wanting to kill some time, then this book will do just that for you.  I wasn’t inspired and can honestly say I wouldn’t read it again.  On a positive note, I will say that if you know someone who is tends to look at the glass half empty, this book may challenge them to look at the same glass half full.

End of the Year Thoughts…

First off let me just say to all 5 people who read my blog, perhaps that’s even bit of a stretch in numbers :), that I am sorry for not keeping up with this thing.  I am a youth pastor at a church and as you know this is a busy time of the year.  Which leads me to the thoughts I have been wrestling with for the last few weeks of this Advent/Christmas season.  I just finished a book by Shane Claiborne called The Irresistible Revolution: The Life of an Ordinary Radical.  I would highly reccomend it to everyone.  I was so challenged by this book, I don’t know where to begin.  First off, there is the radical scandal of grace.  I have heard this term before and have heard it preached on a number of times, but for some reason I never connected this concept with my enemies, go figure. 😉  And I definitely didn’t hold this position after 9/11.  My idea was to make Iraq and Afghanistan into a parking lot of some sort perhaps with a waterpark (It is is very hot over there I am told).  I held this position up until just recently.  Now please don’t misunderstand me, I believe that there are times war is necessary, however I never actually thought about the innocent men, women, & children that would be buried under my waterpark.  I never thought twice about the hypocrisy of standing against the murder of innocent children still in the womb here in the United States, while advocating to bomb two entire countries which would lead to the deaths of many children!  Like I said, these is just one of the things that have been bouncing around in my head…and hey, it’s a scary place. 🙂

unChristian

With the reading I have to do for seminary, I barely have the time to read books that I chose. However for the past month, I have been reading this one book off and on called unChristian by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons. I picked it up a conference I attended last month called Catalyst. The premise of this book is based on a study conducted by the Barna Group, an evangelical research company. They focused this study on 16-29yr olds which they refer to as the Mosaic and Buster generations. They also focused on what they labeled as “outsiders”, anyone outside of the Christian faith. What they found was astounishing…most Mosaics and Busters view Christians as anything but Christ-like. I won’t bore you with all the statistics given in this book, but I would like to highlight a few. The following statistics are based on interviews with Outsiders between 16-29yrs old on how they view Christians: 91% believe Christians are antihomosexual; 87% believe Christians are judgmental; and 85% believe Christians are hypocritical. These are just a few the staggering statistics listed by this book. These are definitely not the adjectives I believe would be given to the Son of God. In fact he was given a title quite the opposite: “He is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and ‘sinners.'” (Matt. 11:19). I think the difference between Jesus and most Christians today, besides the fact the Jesus is God, is that he showed a genuine love for everyone he came in contact with. Whereas, I believe most Christians, whether they want to admit or not, form a “nice Christian bubble” and only come out into the world only out of necessity. This book really challenged me on how I spend my time and what circles I hang out in. Yes, I do work for a church, but do I only minister to those who walk through the door? Or do I go out and meet them where they are? As cheesy as it sounds, I don’t think Jesus would do what I have been doing. He would go out and meet people where they were. I can only hope that my ministry changes in such a way that I would be given the honor of holding the title “glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and ‘sinners.'”