Thursday, March 31, 2011

Review - The Chase

There's a classic title from NavPress (1978) called The Pursuit of Holiness. There was subsequently an edition aimed at the next generation called "The Chase: Pursuing Holiness in Your Everyday Life" by Jerry Bridges. The Chase is compact, easy to read, yet both deep and practical. It's about being a disciple that follows hard after Christ. Each chapter is brief, and these cover topics like 'Holiness isn't an Option', 'Obedience, not Victory', 'Help in the Daily Battle', 'Holiness in an Unholy World', and 'The Joy of Holiness.'

While The Chase is aimed at teens, it's highly suitable for older adults as well. The material is well written and engaging. I'll have to go back sometime and read The Pursuit of Holiness. It felt at times like the quest for brevity worked against the fact that this is not something easy to describe (much less do). The relationship between the work of the Holy Spirit and our wills, His strength and ours, is complex. I like the description on the back cover: "You won't read this and 'voila'-you're holy. But you'll read it and be challenged to start the process. Holiness is about following Christ - chasing after Him - and letting Him transform every segment of your life." Amen to that.

You can read a sample chapter, or buy The Chase at the NavPress site, at Amazon, or other retailers.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from
NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review 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: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising".

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Review - The Velveteen Bible

The Velveteen Bible has one of the cutest covers I think I've seen - an adorable cuddly bunny with a velvet furry feel. And it comes in a special box ('keepsake treasure box') that matches the cover and is also cute and furry. Published by "Tommy Nelson" (the children's division of Thomas Nelson Publishers), it's described as an 'extra special gift for baptisms, christenings, baby dedications, birthdays or any gift-giving occasion in your little one's life." That's a pretty apt description. Unfortunately I don't see it as one that would get as much actual use as other Bibles.

The cover and high cuteness factor really suggested something very visual that young children will want to look at. But there are only about 11 illustrations throughout the book that covers almost 1100 pages!? The print is tiny (somewhat necessary given the compact size of the book), and it uses the New King James Version (NKJV). That's a solid translation, but not the most kid-friendly. Most children old enough to actually read this comfortably would prefer a Bible storybook or a younger translation.

So I'll agree with the marketing copy - not a bad choice as a gift - but for frequent reading I can't give a big recommendation for the otherwise cute Velveteen Bible.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers for this review as part of their Book Sneeze Blogger Review 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: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising".

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Take Me to The Cloud (The Amazon Cloud)

Amazon recently introduced a new service called the Amazon Cloud Drive. It provides 5 GB of free storage, secure access from any computer connected to the web. It can be used to store documents, music, photos, videos. There's even a Cloud Player you can you to stream/play your music (and an Android app as well). Did I mention it's free?! All you need is an amazon account. If you need more space, it's $20/year for 20 GB. (There's also a promotion right now - buy a MP3 album and get 20 GB free storage for one year.)

The interface is not the best, and it's awkward to manipulate a large number of files right now, but for a smaller number of large files it's great.

Check out the Amazon Cloud Drive

Note: If you don't already use Dropbox, definitely check that out. It's got automatic folder sync, encrypts the files on the server, and has great app support. It's just 2 GB but it's my favorite online storage solution. I'll use Cloud Drive for music bought on Amazon and for occasional very large files.

Review - Made to Crave

In "Made to Crave" Lysa TerKeurst does an outstanding job with a difficult subject. Given the subtitle of the book - 'Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food' I expected an approach or style that would be all about inspiration and light on reality. (Even more so on seeing that the author is President of Proverbs 31 Ministries!) Instead, Lysa hides nothing in discussing her very real struggles with food, the wrong places she looked for satisfaction, and some extremely practical and down to earth advice. This isn't the story of a woman who prayed a simple prayer and had her desire for food melt away. Almost kicking and screaming, that struggle was a very real challenge for her. Fortunately her understanding of a better way is just as real - a life that puts our natural (and good) desires for food, acceptance, and contentment, in perspective with our deepest desire - a satisfying relationship and identity with the One who made us and loves us.

This is definitely not just a dieting book. It really doesn't go into great detail about nutrition or offer a specific diet you must follow. Most readers struggling in this area already know 'the facts' on eating better, yet find themselves frequently unable to change their habits. The book is not hard to read. It is organized into a number of fairly short chapters, covering a wide range of important subjects including understanding what is really going on with us, replacing our cravings, growing closer to God, making peace with your body, the challenge of exercise, overindulgence, what to do when we fall off the wagon, why most diets don't work, making good choices, and living the life of an overcomer.

The book describes itself as "the missing link between a woman's desire to be healthy and the spiritual empowerment necessary to make that happen." It does this well, but I must add that this book will be of interest and benefit to men as well, and to those who struggle with any kind of craving that competes with our desire to walk with God and become more like His Son. I would definitely recommend this book to Christians who find that their struggle with food and health are negatively impacting their life and walk.

"Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food" is available from Amazon and other retailers.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from as part of their Amazon Vine™ review 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: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising".

Monday, March 28, 2011

Review - The Treasure Principle

As I've been reading several books on stewardship, finances, generosity, I kept seeing one book mentioned more than any other as the must-read book in this area. That book is "The Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving" by Randy Alcorn.

The back story of the author is quite powerful. After years of writing and teaching that "God owns everything" Randy Alcorn was sued by an abortion clinic (over a peaceful nonviolent protest). There was a multi-million dollar settlement that would garnish all wages beyond minimum wage. He had to resign as pastor and gave away all book royalties to missions and ministries. He and his family have been living out the message of The Treasure Principle - that "God really does own everything, takes care of us, and graciously puts assets into our hands that we might have the joy and privilege of investing in what will last for eternity."

This is a compact book that is easy to read. (Those wanting more depth can follow up with Alcorn's "Money, Possessions, and Eternity.") There are six chapters, and Randy skillfully describes the difference between investing for earthly gain versus investing for eternity, joyful giving, eternal rewards, roadblocks to giving, and getting started. Another welcome addition in the end is a 31 day prayer guide.

Alcorn states the Treasure Principle in a nutshell: "You can't take it with you - but you can send it on ahead." Then he shares six Treasure Principle Keys...

1. God owns everything. I'm His money manager.
2. My heart always goes where I put God's money.
3. Heaven, not earth, is my home.
4. I should live not for the dot but for the line. (life in heaven versus life on earth)
5. Giving is the only antidote to materialism.
6. God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving.

I enjoyed reading The Treasure Principle. It's highly biblical, relevant and educational, incorporating story and inspiration along the way. What's best is that the author is very passionate about this subject and is living out what he teaches. He even does a great job discussing tithing. "Tithing isn't the ceiling of giving; it's the floor. It's not the finish line of giving; it's just the starting blocks. Tithes can be the training wheels to launch us into the mind-set, skills, and habits of grace giving." There's a good reason this book is cited by so many others. Church leaders would do well to share a copy of this book with every member of their finance team, if not the whole congregation.

At the publisher's website you can view a video describing The Treasure Principle or read or download a sample chapter. It's on sale at Amazon and other retailers.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review as part of their Blogging For Books 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: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising".

Sunday, March 27, 2011

What are you reading?

It's been said that 5-10 years from now that we will be exactly the same person we are today, except for the books we read and the people we meet. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but there's a lot of truth in there. Though I share a lot about books on this blog, I'm learning even more by serving and interacting with people. It's just easier to summarize a book than a person or what you learn from others :)

Reading anything interesting these days? Comment here and let me know!

I've just gotten a few orders from Amazon as I've been taking advantage of their sale of used books. Here is the latest batch in my pile of books to read...

Love Wins (Rob Bell)
Made to Crave (Lysa TerKeurst)
The Treasure Principle (Randy Alcorn)
The Chase (Jerry Bridges)
Revolution in Leadership (Reggie McNeal)
Called (Kary Oberbrunner)
Who Said Women Can't Teach? (Charles Trombrey)
Halftime (Bob Buford)
Why Gender Matters (Leonard Sax)
Simple Small Groups (Bill Search)
Peaceful Living in a Stressful World (Ronald Hutchcraft)
Mike the Most of Your Life (Kirk Nowery)
Revolutionary Generosity (Kirk Nowery)
Call Me If You Need Anything (Cathy Peterson)
How Full is Your Bucket (Rath and Clifton)

What else should I add to my list?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Review - One Thousand Gifts

"One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Life Fully Right Where You Are" is a new book by Ann Voskamp, published by Zondervan in January 2011. Ann is a gifted and inspiring writer who hungers to live and share a live filled with grace - even amidst the pain, drama, and duties of life. One Thousand Gifts is a guide to living a life of joy. Ann discovered the tremendous benefit of living a life strongly characterized by thanksgiving. One Thousands gifts tells in part the story of putting together her list of 1000 blessings after confronting some very painful episodes of life. It's a challenging and inspirational book that may haunt, grip, or bless you. I feel somewhat bad that in the end I didn't enjoy the book that much.

Ann's style and perspective on life is unique. The book is as much poetry as it is story, mystical as much as educational. Ann portrays several difficult events and turns in her life with powerful authenticity. Her answer for all this... eucharisteo. No, I'm not trying to get academic on you; Ann describes this word early on and uses it constantly throughout the rest of the book. It's from Luke 22:19 "And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them..." (NIV). Thanksgiving = eucharisteo in the original greek, related to charis (grace) and chara (joy). Ann learned how to forsake her discontent and ungrateful life for a lifestyle of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving in all things, an all times. The remainder of the book chronicles and explains this simple yet profound concept.

One Thousand Gifts has captivated many readers, becoming a NYT bestseller and top ten at Amazon. If you are feeling a lack of joy and recognize a lack of thankfulness in your own life, if you lean towards poetry and the mystical, chances are very good you will be touched by this book. On the other hand, if poetry leaves you scratching your head, or if you prefer reading something more expository, you may (like me) find it a struggle to make it through the book, skimming through the latter chapters after a few powerful opening chapters. With no disrespect for the skill of the author, I found the book rather hard to follow. (My bad; this engineering brain can be a curse.) For example, here is how Chapter Four begins...
"April sun pools into a dishwasher sink, liquid daylight on hands. The water is hot. I wash dishes. On my arms, just below the hiked sleeves, suds leave delicate water marks. Suds glisten. And over the soaking pots, the soap bubbles stack. This fragile tension arched in spheres of slick elastic sheets. Light impinges on slippery film." This moment leads to gift #362 which she records. A few pages later she relates this as 'my answer to time. Time is a relentless river. It rages on, a respecter of no one."
One Thousand Gifts is available from Amazon and other book retailers. There is an excerpt available online that you might want to check out. Zondervan has also made available a free 19-pg reader's guide.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan Publishers as a review copy. 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: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising".

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Living a Focused Life

This week I started my last class at Rockbridge Seminary, "Practicing the Focused Life." It's the capstone course which encourages students to reflect on where they've been and think about where they're going. The key concept of the course is that of a 'Focused Life.' Dr. Robert Clinton in "Strategic Concepts that Clarify a Focused Life" defines this as follows...

A focused life is
• a life dedicated to exclusively carrying out God's effective purposes through it,
• by identifying the focal issues, that is, the life purpose, effective methodology, major role, or ultimate contribution which allows
• an increasing prioritization of life's activities around the focal issues, and
• results in a satisfying life of being and doing.

Would you describe your life or ministry as focused? That would certainly be a stretch for me. But I sure like Clinton's description of what a focused life is all about. By God's grace, things have been coming more into focus, and my prayer is that over the next few months that God adds more clarity to how I can best serve Him according to the way He has designed me.

Are you developing, practicing, or longing for the focused life? Add a comment to let me know!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Parents - What are you modeling?

As parents we know how closely our kids are watching us, and seeing if what we say matches what we do. As a follower of Christ that can sometimes be scary. But how can we make that a good thing?

This morning, waiting for the school bus, my youngest son wandered in and asked what I was doing. Seeing the iPad in my hands, I have a feeling he wanted to know what game I was playing (and if he could have a turn). The simple answer would have been "Reading." What I said instead was "I'm reading the Bible. It's talking about how people see God in nature and events. I'm also praying. Is there anything you would like to pray about?"  At this point I expected "No" or "That I have fun at school today." Instead, he asked if we could pray for those people hurt by the earthquake. Whoa. And so we did. And we prayed for mom who wasn't feeling well. And I added a prayer that he have a great day at school :)

Through this I saw two mistakes it's easy for us to make as parents. The first is misunderstanding the call for humility and not calling attention to praying (or fasting) and thinking that we should not be clear to our own children about what we are doing. My children don't see me studying the Bible or spending significant time in prayer after their bedtime or before they get up. There's a huge spiritual component to my life that is invisible to them. If I don't consciously model it or share it with them, how will they learn time with God is the source of my hope and strength?

The second problem is to underestimate our children (especially when they are younger). This leads us to oversimplifying a story or an answer to their question, or failing to talk to them about important things going on in the world around us. We had discussed the earthquake and tsunami in Japan at dinner earlier this week. His takeaway was more than 'weather is powerful'. It was also "The people of Japan are hurting. They need our prayers. They need our help. What can I do?"

So go ahead, let them see you reading the Word, praying, sneaking a kiss with mom. It would have been 'more productive' to wait five minutes until he was on the bus to dive into Romans. I'm glad I chose to jump in while his little eyes were looking.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Review - Radical Together

I received an advanced reading copy of a new book to be released next month (April 19th) -- "Radical Together: Unleashing the People of God for the Purpose of God" by David Platt, published by WaterBrook Multnomah.

Radical Together is in some ways a sequel to Platt's best-selling book, "Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream." Radical was an extremely challenging book, asking Christians to turn their backs on lukewarm consumeristic faith and embrace a more radical form of discipleship as Jesus expected from His followers (see my earlier review). Radical Together looks at this challenge to live as Jesus calls us to from a different perspective -- it's about an understanding of the church that embraces true disciples, how churches can help Christ followers live a more radical life. That doesn't mean it's just for pastors; Platt's audience is any Christian who desires to make a Kingdom impact. Whereas Radical looks at radical followers of Christ, Radical Together looks at radical communities of faith.

The Introduction lists the six main ideas around which the book is organized:

1. One of the worst enemies of Christians can be good things in the church.
2. The gospel that saves us from work saves us to work.
3. The Word does the work.
4. Building the right church depends on using all the wrong people.
5. We are living—and longing—for the end of the world.
6. We are selfless followers of a self-centered God.

Overall I enjoyed reading Radical Together (actually, more than the original Radical). It strongly challenges the church and asks a number of thought provoking questions ("What if the Bible is intended not only to dictate our theology but also to determine our methodology?") Chapter 4, The Genius of Wrong, was particularly interesting. It takes the premise that building the right church depends on using all the wrong people. Rather than use an attractional 'invite your friends' approach to evangelism, Brook Hills trains their people to share the gospel. "The reality is that the church will never make disciples according to God's full design until every person in the church sees this command as central for each of us, because his full design is that we all make disciples." No believer is to be on the sidelines of the Kingdom.

A discussion guide will be found in the end of the book (though not present in my pre-release copy). That's a great addition, as I can think of no better way to take in 'Radical Together' than by discussing it within a small group. A quote from the conclusion sums up the purpose of the book nicely: "How can we in the church best unleash the people of God in the Spirit of God with the Word of God for the glory of God in the world?"

You can find an excerpt and introduction at the WaterBrook Multnomah website, or you can download chapter one as a PDF. Radical Together will be released on April 19, 2011, on sale at Amazon, Christian Book Distributers and other retailers.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review as part of their Blogging For Books 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: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising".

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Giving the Answer vs Giving a Chance to Learn

When someone comes to you with a question, or looking for advice, how do you respond? It's all to easy to simply give "the answer", telling them what you would do. But such a response may be missing a much bigger opportunity.

One improvement is to explain the 'why' behind the answer, sharing not only what you would do but why. This will help them evaluate the advice, and provides some insight as to what issues are important regarding the topic at hand.

But there's another approach that may be even better. Instead of telling them the answer (your answer), why not help them think through the question enough to come up with their own answer? Instead of giving them a fish, you're teaching them how to fish. How do we do this? Not by giving answers, but asking questions. 'What do you think?' 'Why?' 'What pitfalls could that run into?' 'Do you have the resources to do that?' 'What are the key issues at stake here?' 'What does Scripture have to say about this situation?' These coaching questions can be very powerful, and are great to use when developing the person you're talking to is more important (or as important) as the task or situation at hand. This not only improves the chance for a good solution, but helps people to think for themselves and understand underlying issues, and instills confidence.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Review - The Stewardship of Life

I wasn't sure what to expect when I got Kirk Nowery's book "The Stewardship of Life: Making the Most of All That You Have and All That You Are." I was looking to read something about stewardship that went beyond the money perspective, and saw a used copy of this book going for peanuts on Amazon. I'm very glad I did. The Stewardship of Life looks at a number of vital aspects of our life; it really expanded my view of what biblical stewardship entails.

The Stewardship of Vision
The Stewardship of Influence
The Stewardship of Commitment
The Stewardship of Time
The Stewardship of Opportunity
The Stewardship of Resources
The Stewardship of You

Nowery does an outstanding job of sharing insights and biblical principles on the many aspects of stewardship. Every opportunity that comes our way, every person in our sphere of influence, every hour we have, all our resources, our very lives - these are all gifts from God and we have the choice to make the most of all these, or to squander them. Much more than just abstract princples, Nowery shares several amazing stories and examples. What I didn't know was that Kirk Nowery is a colleague and friend of John Maxwell. He has also served as president of INJOY Stewardship Services, a company which has partnered with thousands of churches to raise more than two billion dollars for ministry projects. (But wait, there's more! He was also the chaplain of the Miami Dolphins, COO of Samaritan's Purse, and co-author of 33 Laws of Stewardship :)

I can highly recommend Stewardship of Life, not only for some great information, but because it's an inspirational book encouraging us to make the most of what we've been entrusted with as followers of Christ. It's not a new book (2004, Spire Resources), but one well worth checking out.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Secret of Contentment

My youngest son got a great big helium balloon yesterday. He was thrilled with it - an unexpected gift celebrating our Children's Ministry reaching their $5,000 goal to begin drilling a well to serve a community in Honduras. But his enthusiasm was short-lived.

He told his mom, "You know, I have to tell you I'm feeling a little bit jealous." 'Why is that?' "Well, I like my balloon, but my sister got a whole batch of like five balloons. So I don't feel so good about my one balloon."

I called him over and shared I've felt that way before, and I was proud of him for verbalizing his feelings so well. But then I reminded him that his balloon was awesome regardless of what his sister had, and that the children in the village who would be getting a well have never seen a balloon. Not one, much less a big helium one. They drink water that isn't as clean as what we have in our toilet. The point - if we compare what we have to what other people have, we're setting ourselves up for disappointment. We need to be thankful for what we do have, regardless of what we wish we had.

Great timing, as this was exactly the message in our sermon and Children's ministry yesterday. The apostle Paul shares "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." (Philippians 4:11-12, NIV)  Paul's secret for contentment? A spirit of thankfulness, an attitude of rejoicing, in all that we have and are in Christ.

It's easy to think it childish when one of your kids wants five balloons instead of one. But parents, don't we fail to find contentment when we are disgruntled about our house, our old car, our job or co-workers, or spouse? If you're feeling that way, admit it to God, and reflect on the many things you are thankful for.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Review - Share the Well

Share the Well is a gem of a book - a wonderful collection of stories, inspiration of a movement of God's people, and some stunning and unique photos that speak as richly as the words in the book. It has the look of a coffee table book (and a good one at that), but it's much more. The story of Share the Well is not one story, but many intertwined. It is the story of a passionate and loving family who, simply put, want to change the world. It's the story of a people who are receiving and sharing the Living Water of Jesus with a people who need to know God loves them. It's the story of pastors and missionaries who are laying it all out there. Most of all it's the story of a movement, not just of churches planted, but a growing network of people committed to living out the Great Commission - in the great country of India and around the globe.

Share the Well is a new book, written by Rob and Michelle Wegner of Granger Community Church. The Wegner's story sprang out of reading the Gospels and the book of Acts and yearning deeply, "I want to give my life to a movement like that." In Share the Well, we see that they have :) The approach in this movement is not simply to plant churches, but to train leaders, to instill purpose, to develop pastors and leaders to be capable trainers themselves, and to go beyond all this and train people about community development. 'All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants.' This quote (by John Gardner) sheds some light on their approach both on meeting physical needs and on seeing exponential church growth occur through leadership development. All those involved are in for the long haul, and they're making a difference. 

As one who spent a year in India myself, I can echo the comments of other reviewers that this book will stir your emotions and bring back memories of a wonderful people. Whether your interest in the book is out of a love for India, and appreciation for stunning photography, or a love of simple yet rich stories that bring honor to God, you're going to love Share the Well.

(While I've not met Rob and Michelle personally, I feel like friends as I've prayed for their family and ministry for a while now, and we share a love of India and sharing the good news there. Rob is the Pastor of Life Mission at GCC and blogs at Entermission; his wife Michelle has a great blog Living on Purpose - check 'em out.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Dig Deeper $5K theWellProject Goal Reached

Just two weeks ago I described how our 10-Day H2O challenge in support of raising funds for a well in Honduras was a big success. We're doing TheWellProject in partnership with Living Water International. Today we got the totals of donations that people made...

... we've already reached our goal of raising the $5,000 needed to dig a new well !!! 

That's just amazing! I'm so proud of all those involved, and for the vision and leadership of our Family Ministries Director and teachers in making this happen. Not only that, we're months ahead of schedule. The Dig Deeper project is a year-long effort by our Children's Ministry, and we will definitely be doing more - so those still looking to make a donation and make a difference should still do so :)

How can I describe how excited I am about the generous efforts of our people at Calvary and the fact that a community in Honduras will be receiving the gift of clean water? At the risk of having my man card revoking, I'm about as happy as this little camper below...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Review - Reverse Mentoring

"Reverse Mentoring: How Young Leaders Can Transform the Church and We Should Let Them" by Earl Creps is an eye-opening book that really challenges older leaders (especially ministry leaders) to exercise the humility needed to learn from those who are younger. They are especially good mentors in areas of technology and today's culture. He carefully explains how such reverse mentoring is beneficial to all involved - both the older and younger leader, and to the organization or ministry. Creps style is very straightforward and candid, mixing stories, his experience, and powerful insights on today's culture.

The book has four sections. Part One is "Facing Reality". Identity (I am not cool), Culture (I don't get it), and Ministry (I am not relevant). As a middle-aged leader I knew I wasn't cool, didn't want to admit I didn't get it, and was shocked and dismayed to find out I was seen as irrelevant by younger generations! What a change from older days, where the younger automatically looked up to their elders for their wisdom and experience. After this intro I was very eager to find out what I could do. Part Two is "Cultivating Spirituality". Vision (Seeing beyond ourselves), Wisdom (Knowing beyond our information), Relationship (Befriending beyond our peers). These include some powerful discussions of how we can gain respect and influence in the lives of others... by letting them have a voice in yours. Part Three is "Experiencing Practicality". Evangelism (Learning from Outsiders), Communication (Learning from listeners), Leadership (Learning from followers). The key here is having a humble spirit that is able to learn from anyone and everyone, how to listen better and ask good questions. Part Four is "Developing Reciprocity". Proteges (Developing R-Mentoring relationships), Processes (Embedding R-Mentoring in organizations), Interview (Joel and Rachel mentor Earl and Janet). In this last section he talks about how R-Mentoring is becoming more common in businesses and how to promote a culture that fosters this.

Creps is passionate about reverse mentoring because he believes that younger leaders have the potential to transform the church, and it's important that older leaders not only let them, but encourage them. The vital need in all this is the development of authentic relationships. Unlike days past where leaders would never show weakness, it's so important to be ourselves, sharing both struggles and successes. Friendship, not position, is the core dynamic. Humility is the core attitude. Good questions trump teaching. Either person can initiate the relationship, often simply by asking the other to hang-out together. Reverse Mentoring is a culture, not a system or a program. One interesting suggestion was the use of triads for mentoring relationships. This benefits from having additional interaction between proteges, and further reducing the sense of mentor-mentoree.

Any older (or semi-older) leader who is wondering why they don't seem to have much influence with the younger generation should definitely read Reverse Mentoring.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Some Great Resources to Kick Off March

It's hard to believe it's March already! It's as if February were a short month?! There are a couple of excellent resources I want to point out in celebration of the arrival of March...

Free Audiobook

"The Holiness of God" by RC Sproul is the free audiobook-of-the-month for March at

Some comments on this book...
“It may be a bit early to call R.C. Sproul’s The Holiness of God one of the classical theological works of our time. But if it does not have that status yet, it is well on the way to achieving it.”
-James Montgomery Boice, senior minister, Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia

What is the holiness of God? Are you intrigued by it, or are you terrified? R.C. Sproul clearly identifies this attribute of God and all the associations one may make with it. This absolutely will inform and radically cause a re-thinking of one’s view of God.

Free Online Conference on Facing the Crossroads of Change

Tomorrow! March 2nd, will be a powerful (yet free) online conference featuring a number of speakers who have faced their share of turning points and prevailed. It's called "Turning Points" and you can register free for the event. This is a 4-hr event sponsored by Leadership Network, from 11am-3pm EST.
"Turning Points. We're betting you've had one. You know, those moments when you're at a crossroads, hit in the face with an unexpected change and there's a point of decision. We've all faced them. In fact, we've gathered 32 of the most brilliant women leaders across the country to talk about theirs. The moments they faced catastrophic change in their personal life, big crossroads in their careers and organizations and times when they faced their fears head on."
I've heard several of these speakers, and have been very impressed. If you get a chance, check it out!