Christian Book Review – The Longview – Roger Parrott, PhD

The LongView - Roger Parrott, Phd Book Review

In today’s world, where everything is about short-term goals, instant gratification, and immediate results, our church leaders, pastors, and CEOs often retire before their prime, because they simply cannot cope with the constant pressure of having to perform and to show quarterly results. Many times, incredible leaders are burdened by an increase in attainable goals to meet a short-term deadline. In the process, they exhaust themselves, their staff, and wreak havoc on their families. It is time to rethink this “leadership myth” that emphasizes immediate results over longevity.

Leadership books come and go, each one bringing with it a vast array of lessons learned and circumstances avoided. The Longview, by Roger Parrot, PhD, was a refreshing read, differing slightly from the cookie cutter church leadership lesson guides. Parrott who became one of America’s youngest college presidents, currently presides over Bellhaven College, a leading evangelical college in the arts, and provides advice and leadership models for a variety of international ministries.

An easy and comfortable read, Parrot takes the reader through various accounts, lessons, and tips to implement strong, focus-based leadership models that accentuate the importance of a long-term vision. He shows the reader how to restructure their view, their goals, and their vision to align with an eternal perspective that has a higher value and lifespan. He guides the reader through numerous lessons on accountability, staffing, transparency, and, most important of all, credibility. How these matters align is of utmost importance in building a ministry that will last a lifetime.

If you are caught in the rat race of church growth, then do yourself a favor and get a copy of The Longview. It will give you incredible insight to lead with assurance and strength, and to stand on good decisions. Even if in the short-run, those decisions have no impact.

 

Christian Book Review: What’s Your Secret? Aaron Stern

Aaron Stern is a former pastor at theMILL, the college ministry of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and founder of the LEAD Network, a nationwide resource that trains you adult pastors. Aaron Stern penned a new book entitled What Is Your Secret? Freedom Through Confession. This resource is a valuable tool, not only for pastors and youth pastors, but for every person who lives with a depreciated Kingdom-value of God’s worth and their role in it. A quick read, Stern’s book focuses on the various models within which secrets are birthed, retained, and the eventual havoc it creates. Along with his findings, he has produced a few outlines on how to best eliminate a life of secrecy, and to find freedom in confession, transparency, and a guilt-free walk in Christ.

Stern talks about various aspects of confession — when to confess, what to confess, how to confess, as well as fundamental truths regarding with whom to share your confession. As a young adult pastor, Stern retains incredible insight into the lives of our youth, dealing with numerous heart-wrenching stories of brokenness, abuse, and lies. In all, these fractured hearts are cared for, set free, and ultimately understand the value of living a grace-filled live.

You may remember that New Life Church was shaken with the sexual immorality of one of its previous leaders, Ted Haggard. Though it’s easy to throw the baby out with the bathwater, this heart-wrenching lesson gave Stern much insight in the dangers of living with a secret. He and others experienced firsthand the lifelong damage a life of falsity brings.

 

 

Best Leadership Book of 2011: Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey

I devour leadership books, and have made every effort possible to learn, observe, and master countless leadership lessons laid out in numerous leadership books. If you want to be the best, you should hang with the best. Since I am not close friends with any big-shot motivational speaker or celebrity preacher, the closest I can get to studying an area of expertise they possess is to read the books they have written. Many times, leadership books are just full of it, giving advice left and right, but lacking real world experience. Don’t tell me about it; show me the situation and how you dealt with it. That is why I can highly recommend and confidently promote EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey as Crossleadership’s official 2011 leadership book choice.

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Book Review of Barefoot Church, by Brandon Hatmaker

Book Review of Barefoot Church, by Brandon Hatmaker

When I received my digital review copy of Barefoot Church, the first thing I noticed was the title. And the first thing I thought was, “Oh. Another book trying too hard to be edgy and cool. Like The Gospel According to Tony Soprano or something like that.” Instead, I was pleasantly surprised by the content of this powerful book. Within minutes, I was in tears over the powerful truth that I encountered.

Barefoot Church:  Serving the Least in a Consumer Culture is a book about how churches do (or don’t do) mission, evangelism, discipleship, social justice, and outreach. Please don’t expect another book debating the pros and cons of social justice. Instead, expect to be taken on a journey that explores what the Bible says about the church’s mission, and how that should look in your city, in your own assembly, and in your local context.

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Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker. Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears. Christian Book Recommendation.

Mark Batterson’s new book, The Circle Maker follows in the footsteps of such titles as The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson. While Wilkinson sketches his work around a fictional story of the personification of dreams, reality, fears, and letting go, Batterson decides to reflect his version on his own history and experience. Though I plead objectivity to any reader picking up a book dealing with goals, dreams and miracles, I cannot help but recommend this book, purely for its encouragement to never give up.

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Organic Outreach for Churches

Book review of Organic Outreach for Churches: Infusing Evangelistic Passion into your Congregation, by Kevin G. Harney

Think with me for a second. Is the following statement true of your church? “Churches invest an inordinate percentage of their time and finances in people who are already followers of Jesus.” True, isn’t it? Is it true of your church? Most churches pour the vast majority of their resources and time into taking care of the sheep.

So what?

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Should You Practice Generous Justice? A Review of Tim Keller’s Generous Justice.

If you’re wary of social justice, I understand. Social justice has been promoted by people who play fast and loose with the gospel and sound doctrine. What would you think if I told you that the Bible has a theology of social justice? And that Christians are commanded to practice it? And if you don’t “care about the poor, it reveals that…[you have] not really encountered the saving mercy of God.

Wow. That sounds harsh.

Okay, and what if it’s true? I’m not saying it is, I’m just saying what if? I welcome you to a reading experience that will confront your comforts, interrogate your instincts, and define your doctrine. The book is called Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just. It is part confrontation, part commentary, part political, part biblical theology, and completely inundated with sound theology and straight-up doctrine. Here is a review of Tim Keller’s, Generous Justice.

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Can Someone Please Tell Me What the Gospel Is? Like for Real? – A Review of The King Jesus Gospel, by Scot McKnight

A few weeks ago, my doorbell rang, interrupting the quietude of my workday. Since my home office is located near the front door, I got up from my chair and opened the door. Standing on my doorstep were two women, both smiling happily, both well-dressed, both carrying Bibles, and bothy ready to talk with whomever would listen.

I listened. It became apparent that these two ladies, kind and sincere though they were, did not believe “the gospel” as I understood it. So, I waited until an appropriate moment in the conversation, and asked them point-blank:  “What is the gospel? How would you explain it to me?”

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Jesus Was Not A Christian. Why You Need to Read King of The Jews, by D. Thomas Lancaster

D. Thomas Lancaster’s new book, The King of the Jews:  Resurrecting the Jewish Jesus, is a phenomenal resource that will greatly deepen your knowledge of the Word. If you have a desire to know Jesus like you have never known Him before—understanding His background, history, customs and culture—then reading this book will be a rich blessing to you and your family.

My wife and I served in a humanitarian ministry in Jerusalem, Israel for over three years. During that time, my Bible transitioned from a book of history and theology to a book of life. My head knowledge became knowledge of the heart, and for the first time in my life, I understood the Scriptures. Why? Because I walked where Jesus walked. I stood where He preached. I better understood His customs, background, viewpoints, and I could see accurate evidence of the matters of His day. Seminary could not do that for me, and neither could my English translation of the Bible. It was the day when I finally had the training to interpret Hebrew and Greek scripture and unlock the fullness of the story behind the text that the true Savior came to life.

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Are You A Racist? Why You Should Read Bloodlines: Race, Cross and The Christian, by John Piper

Racism is not over and done with in America. Although Brown vs. Board of Education is long past, although Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation is in all the history books, and although the 18th amendment was ratified in 1870, this nation still has pockets of fierce, staunch, and hateful racism.

And, as Christians should know, racism is a sin.

Because racism is alive and well in this country (not to mention the world as a whole), it is vital that Christians recognize racism, understand its roots and causes, and respond with a gospel-centered approach.

John Piper, a self-confessed former racist, recently released a book called Bloodlines:  Race, Cross, and the Christian  (Crossway, 2011). This is a book review of Bloodlines:  Race, Cross, and the Christian by John Piper. It was the gospel that rescued Piper from racism. The book serves to chronicle Piper’s journey from racism to redemption, and to explain how the gospel defeats racism.

Although there are many features of the book that make it a must-read, I will highlight just two points here:

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