Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Thrive - a book review

I was extremely excited to see that Mark Hall had written another book. I really enjoyed . I also really enjoy all of his band's music. So, I excitedly ordered .

The book was written in a devotional style. They were short chapters with a thought to ponder at the end. The book is divided into two sections represented by the oak tree on the cover. Our spiritual life needs to look like an oak tree with the branches going as wide as the roots grow deep. In part 1, Digging Deep, Hall demonstrates how to truly engage with the Word and a community of faith, worshiping and pursuing God wholeheartedly as our hearts and minds are transformed. In part 2, Reaching Out, we see the fruits of our engagement with the Word and the community, the grateful giving back of service and love.

Mark Hall is an entertaining writer and storyteller. It was very easy to relate to all of the stories included in each chapter.

He covers God's plan for us in comparison to our plans for ourselves. He covers some ideas of what our relationship with God should look like. He shows how Satan works in our lives to steer us away from God. He discusses how being a good neighbor and friend is the best way to share the Good News with those that are in our lives or enter our lives. He reminds us how we need to be in the Scripture as Jesus was so that we will be armed to fight against Satan.

"God will use us right where we are to thrive."

I would suggest this to everyone I know. I would encourage young men to read this book. Mark Hall shared many of his "growing up" stories and stories from his jobs as a youth minister. These may encourage our young men to go out and do similar things in their lives.

I hope you enjoy this book as much as I have.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, February 27, 2014

How To Be Rich - a review

I have just finished the most amazing "financial" book. It is not really about finances but it is. It is truly an amazing book describing how the Bible teaches us to be rich.

 Andy Stanley is an amazing teacher. He speaks in a way that everyone can understand. He speaks straight and gives examples that help you understand the ideas easier. He's also funny. I laughed plenty during the study. Which reinforces my theory that you learn more when you enjoy it.

BookLook gave me the opportunity to review this study and I was excited to take the opportunity. I had the chance to read Andy Stanley's Visioneering and loved it entirely. I was glad to see that he did not disappoint on this one.

The study comes with a short book of 7 chapters: Celebration Is In Order, Learning Curve, Consumption Assumption, Planning Ahead, Greater Gain, Ownership Myth, and It Can Happen Again. Also a DVD of 4 sessions: Congratulations, Side Effects, Dollar Cost Living, and Diversify. Each session runs with a 15-20 minute video, about 7 questions, a memory verse, and some notes for moving forward. Then you read two chapters for the week.

1 Timothy 6:17-18 "command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share."

Just think of what kind of world we would be living in if we all lived by these words.

Andy Stanley goes over the fact that we are all rich. If you make $48,000 a year, you are in the top 1% of all income earners in the world. He also covered how the feeling of rich is all in perspective.  True richness comes from having margin. Margin is having more than what you need to survive. Now this doesn't give you a goal or an answer to how much is enough.

Andy Stanley warns about your hope moving from God to money because you see it as yours to keep. He also warns that if you do not set a percentage of giving and stick with it, when you get more, it will be harder to give more. He also discusses how the accumulation of stuff is like feeding an appetite.

He shared some amazing stories to help make his point on the verses. One of my favorites was the idea of how rich we are in America. We as Americans will take a completely good car to a dealership, leave it there, along with some of your money, and drive away with the same car just with upgrades.

Those who have extra, have extra responsibility. That includes your time and gifts as well as your money. Don't let it all be wasted on you.

I recommend that everyone read this and try to incorporate the ideas in your own life.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Updates on brain washing

It was an amazing moment. It was finally warm enough to walk to school to bring the girls home...in case you didn't know, we live in the frozen tundra of Wisconsin. Weeks of 20 below weather has been our regular. We have also had massive amounts of snow. I feel just like a kid again with snowbanks higher than my kids. It is absolutely wonderful and I hear that there's more snow coming. 4 below this morning wasn't too happy but it's February and I live in Wisconsin.

Anyway...it got to be 8 above and the wind was pretty much nil, so I decided to walk and enjoy the sunshine. As I was waiting for the bell to ring and reading my book when the other parents started to arrive. All the negative small talk amongst them made me ill, confused, and glad that I no longer think like that. They were all complaining about the more cold coming and the more snow coming. I was amazed because they seem to have forgotten that they live in Wisconsin. They seem to have forgotten that it is February. I don't know why you would complain about something you cannot change. Well...you can change it by moving yourself to a different part of the country that does not experience such weather. Complaining about anything does not solve the problem it just spread negativity.

Which made me so very glad about my brain washing. I get excited about every snowflake in every snowfall. I get excited about the sunshine and the warmth. I bundle up and stay where it's warm when it gets cold. I enjoy the season that I am in. Why complain when I cannot change the weather. The only thing I can change is me and I choose to change me for the better, to lift myself up and thereby lifting up those around me. Change is inevitable, you might as well embrace it and use it for your improvement.

After that day at school, I have noticed it a lot more often. The natural tendency to think negatively in the people around me. It makes me sad. why would you want to look at the downside of everything rather than find that silver lining in all around you.

I encourage you to start noticing what you say and what you listen to from those around you.