October 30, 2009

Book Review: Incarnate Leadership

Filed under: Book Reviews — Neil @ 11:00 am

Incarnate Leadership was a book I received through the Catalyst Filter.  I’d never heard of it & likely wouldn’t have ever purchased/read it otherwise (1 of things I like about the Catalyst Filter  is that introduces me to new/different authors).  It’s author, Bill Robinson, is the president of Whitworth University.

Servant Leadership has been a popular term (style of leadership?) for at least the past decade.  I’ve read much on the topic.  However, it often seems that servant leadership is taught as a leadership technique so that the leader can achieve his goals.  It’s an end to a means rather than truly servant leadership.  This book doesn’t hint of alterior motives for servant leadership.

The author takes leadership principles from the life of Jesus & applies them to how Christian leaders are to lead.  It’s powerful, but it’ll also challenge your view of leadership.  Many of his examples are his personal shortcomings & strengths in leading a Christian university. 

This quote in the 1st chapter sums up the book “Perhaps our desire to be good leaders has elbowed its way in front of our desire to be imitators of Christ.”  Robinson states the book’s puropse as “I do not intened to describe how Jesus led; others have done that well.  Rather, I invite you to think with me about some of the tough, paradoxical challenges in leading with a different kind of authorityh than one that comes from your title, your office, your salary, or your degrees.”

A few quotes that stood out to me:

  • I think we have done better job of making Christ the center of our faith than the center of our leadership.
  • With no venture capital, no budget, and no formal orginzation, he changed the world; and two thousand years later he’s still changing it.
  • People love to see leaders on their turf.
  • The most powerful position of leadership is beside those God calls us to lead.
  • I’m not sure there has been a more corrosive leadership practice than secrecy and unnecessary confidentiality.
  • The best leaders want thinkers in their organizations.  Less talent is needed to obey a rule than to make a well-reasoned decision.
  • Values are smarter than rules.
  • What makes us think God gets mad about homosexuality, but he’s a good sport about pride?
  • My most deadly enemy is me.
  • We pick and choose how we want to be like Jesus.  But mostly we want Jesus to be like us.
  • We could accomplish much if we didn’t care about receiving credit.
  • Leadership without sacrifice is not Christian leadership.

You can read more about the author by clicking here.  You can purchase Incarnate Leadership by clicking here.

Friday Five

Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil @ 6:00 am
  1. Blaine Hogan – I just discovered his blog & it’s quickly become 1 of my favorites
  2. Balloon Boy & The State of the World by Marshall
  3. The Joy of Quitting by Seth
  4. The Guy Who Refuses To Scoot at The End Of The Pew by Jon
  5. The Most Slamming Church Building by Carlos

October 29, 2009

Book Review: Forgotten God

Filed under: Book Reviews — Neil @ 6:00 pm

Not sure why, but I’ve gotten out of the habit of posting book reviews of what I’ve been reading.  I want catch up on everything I’ve read in the past 6 months?, but I’ll post reviews of the 3 books (Forgotten God, Incarnate Leadership & Have A Little Faith) I’ve read most recently.

I’m a huge Francis Chan fan.  I’ve heard him speak several times & last summer I even got to spend a couple of hours with him prior to a youth event he was speaking at.  He’s 1st book, Crazy Love, was revolutionary for me.  I say all that to say that before I ever opened Forgotten God I was expecting to really enjoy reading it.

A lparagraph in the Introduction  grabbed my mind’s attention the 1st time I read it & I’m still wrestling w/ the idea.   Chan writes:

But what if you grew up on a desert island with nothing but the Bible to read?  Imagine being rescued after twenty years and then attending a typical evangelical church.  Chances are you’d be shocked (for a whole lot of reasons, but that is another story).  Having read the Scriptures outside the context of contemporary church culture, you would be convinced that the Holy Spirit is as essential to a believer’s existence as air is to staying alive.  You would know that the Spirit led the first Christians to do unexplainable things, to live lives that didn’t make sense to the culture around them, and ultimately to spread the story of God’s grace around the world.”

That’s a dangerous thought to think about.  Forgotten God is full of challenging/thought provoking ideas about how we (typical American Christians) have ignored the Holy Spirit.  It’s a good read, but not necessarily enjoyable because of how convicting I found it in how I’ve ignored the Spirit in my own life.

Chan is able to break through the stereotypes we’ve placed on the Holy Spirit & those we characterize as focusing on the Spirit too much.  He does so be relying on Scripture to describe the Holy Spirit.  That should be the norm, but unfortunately it seems we depend on tradition more than Scripture to shape our beliefs.

At the end of each chapter he provides stories from the lives of individuals who are living a Spirit filled life.  It helped me to see how others are living out a life that is dependent on the Holy Spirit.  It’s also great to see an author/pastor to use people from his own church as examples.

A few statements that stood out to me:

  • The church becomes irrelevant when it becomes purely a human creation.
  • When we are referring to God, balance is a huge mistake.  I have yet to meet anyone with too much Holy Spirit.
  • The problem is much of what we believe is often based more on comfort or our culture’s tradition than on the Bible.
  • There is much more to God and following  in the Way of Jesus than getting a bunch of talented people together to hold a church service.
  • Regardless of your background, are you willing to set it aside and just respond to biblical truth?
  • What would your church (and the worldwide church) look like if everyone was as committed as you are?
  • You only need the Holy Spirit’s guidance and help if you truly want to follow the Way of Jesus Christ.

You can purchase Forgotten God by clicking here.

October 28, 2009

Small Church vs. Big Church

Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil @ 6:00 am

I’ve served in a variety of different size churches.  A church that averaged about 100 & one that averages about 2500.  Lots of differences beyond the # of people.  Each having its on strengths & weaknesses.

One common statement I’ve heard in smaller churches is something like “I like a smaller church because I know everyone.” I think that people in each size church know the same # of people.  In the small church it’s just a higher percentage of the regular attendees.

Seth Godin says

Dunbar postulated that the typical human being can only have 150 friends. One hundred fifty people in the tribe. After that, we just aren’t cognitively organized to handle and track new people easily. That’s why, without external forces, human tribes tend to split in two after they reach this size. It’s why WL Gore limits the size of their offices to 150 (when they grow, they build a whole new building).

To read Seth’s complete blog entry click here.  Click here for the wikipedia article on Dunbar’s #.

It’s interesting topic to me.  Especially, that I’m in a youth ministry that has a weekly attendance of about 250 teens & 350+ that attend at least once per month.  I’m learning how to do ministry where I may not be able to know every teen, parent & youth worker.

October 27, 2009

If You Are A Jr. High Boy You Must See This

Filed under: jr. high ministry,Pictures,Youth Ministry — Neil @ 7:00 am

No jr high boys read this blog, but they should just for this bit of info.

Visit Indexed.

October 26, 2009

Krave Conference

Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil @ 7:00 am

Our Student Ministry is hosting a youth ministry conference the weekend of February 5-6, 2010.  It’s an event that’s been in the works for several months.  We  have had 10 other youth ministers helping us develop the conference.  You can learn more by checking out the Krave Conference website.

The early bird rate is $40 (goes up to $50 beginning January 9th).

You can follow Krave on facebook & twitter.

Email me if you have questions

October 21, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil @ 6:00 am

A couple of Saturdays ago while I was working in our front yard I noticed a car that was driving as if it didn’t know the location of its destination.  As the older lady (that’s in no way a reference to lady drivers not being good drivers or good w/ directions) approached my home I paused from my yardwork & approached the street.  She rolled down (isn’t it funny that we still use that phrase even though we haven’t rolled down the window in years) her  window to ask for directions.

She was looking for our neighborhood’s clubhouse (by the gift in the front seat I gathered that she had a child’s birthday party to attend).  I gave her the directions (go to the stop sign, turn left).  She paused.  Then replied that she’d tried that already & asked again for directions.

I gave the same simple directions.  She once again said she’d tried that & the clubhouse wasn’t there.  She continued by describing the clubhouse’s appearance & the playground, walking trail, & tennis courts that surround it.  I’m quite familiar w/ our clubhouse.  I have a clear view of it from my back porch.

From where she was parked she could see between my home & my neighbors & see the clubhouse.  I pointed this out to her & once again told her to go to the end of the street & take a left & the street will end at the clubhouse’s doorstep.  She looked.  Saw. And finally agreed w/ me on the clubhouse’s location.

Aren’t we funny.  We ask others for directions/help/advice.  Then tell them why they are wrong or don’t understand.

Isaiah 55:8-9
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

October 20, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil @ 8:32 pm

We arrived home this afternoon to find that our water had been turned off.  Turns out our city’s public works dept. hadn’t been receiving our online banking payment for the past couple of months.  Thanks to their quick after hours response of quickly realizing the mixup & having our water turned back on.

I (you?) never realize how much we need/use something until it’s not available.  In the 2 hours we didn’t have h2o we continually attempted to turn on the water facet.  If I had a nickel for each time we tried to turn on the water on I’d be approximately $0.45 richer.

October 18, 2009

Sad News

Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil @ 7:30 am

This article made me sad.

How can we be followers of Jesus & only give away 2.56% of our $?

October 16, 2009

Hillcrest Homecoming

Filed under: Parkway,Pictures — Neil @ 10:10 pm

Amanda & I spent the night @ Hillcrest’s Homecoming.  1 of my Parkway teens was in the homecoming court & I had the honor of driving her in the parade.  It was fun to get to reunite w/ several families & teens.

It wasn’t much of a football game, but Hillcrest consistently has the best concession stand food.





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