I love listing my top 10 books every six months for two reasons. First, it gives me an opportunity to reflect more deeply on how God might be speaking to me through what I have been reading. And secondly, I believe good books can serve as midwives to new ideas, fresh perspectives, and even the voice of God to us. So here are my top 10 books from the last six months that you may want to consider adding to your reading list this summer: 1. The New Lifetime Reading Plan: The Classic Guide to World Literature, Revised and Expanded – Clifton Fadiman and John S. Major This book, now in its fourth edition, sits on a table in our living room. I love picking it up and reading sections on different authors and their books. From Aleksander Solzhenitsyn, to George Orwell, to Dostoyevsky, to William Blake, to Pascal, to Augustine, to Plato, to. Read more.
Our role as leaders of Jesus’ sheep involves giving people direction, even in the arena of politics. The question, in these tumultuous times, is how? The issues are vast and complex (e.g. gay marriage, refugees and immigration, abortion, national security, economic policy, gender, capital punishment, welfare reform). The divide between people both inside and outside the church is wide and deep. Let me recommend the application of two biblical truths to help ground the shepherding of your people. These texts have also served me when I have been tempted to speak and act in inappropriate ways. Love and pray for your enemies. But I tell you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you that you may be children of your Father in heaven (Matt. 5:44). Jesus commands us to love our doctrinal, political, national, religious, and personal enemies. Our God is the greatest enemy-lover of all time (Romans 5:10). And the. Read more.
The McDonald’s leadership model was talked about so much in the evangelical leadership culture in which I was nurtured that I was stunned watching the movie The Founder. The movie tells the story of Ray Kroc and the history of McDonald’s – a company now worth over $100 billion with 36,899 stores in 120 countries. McDonald’s, I was told repeatedly, offered a model to grow our churches – simple, scalable, clearly branded, and entrepreneurial. Sadly, we never talked about the shadow side of McDonald’s history. The Founder does. As I watched the movie, I was reminded of the ancient proverb quoted by Os Guiness many years ago: if you are going to dine with the devil, you better have a long spoon. The Founder stars Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc who meets Mac and Dick McDonald as they are running a successful burger operation in 1950s Southern California. He sees the franchise potential and. Read more.
One of the most challenging tasks of leadership, and life, is perspective. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: The years teach much which the days never know. I spend much of my time with pastors and leaders from around the world. The surface questions vary, but the underlying ones are similar: “Where is God in all these difficulties? Why is leading so painful and slow? How do I make it long-term?” In this podcast I attempt to give a long view of leadership around God’s process of making us “great” leaders. (“Greatness” refers to remaining faithful to become the person God has called you to become, and do what He has called you to do.) Highlights include: Illusions we must unlearn; The most significant book that helped me stay the course in my most difficult years; Great counsel given to me that has stood the test of time; Practical tips for young leaders in. Read more.
This blog is an update from last year called Summer Spirituality. I re-wrote it because I believe this theme needs to be revisited each year by each of us, starting with me. The Bible teaches there is a time and a season for “everything under heaven” (Eccl. 3:1). God has built this into the very fabric of nature’s seasons as we observe the cycle of death and newness every winter and summer. Our churches experience seasons. And so do we. These seasons are limits given to us by God. They are gifts from His hand meant to keep us grounded and humble. I have violated God’s seasons in my leadership more times than I want to remember. But treating our vacations, and summers, as mini-Sabbaticals can be powerful if we build this into our lives. The way we do this can be summarized in three words. Receive. Summers are a time to do less. Read more.
Geri and I just returned, this past Tuesday, from an eventful, seven-day trip with our ministry partners (Ministerio Espiritualidad Emocionalmente Saudavel or MEES for short) in Brazil. I always journal after a trip around the question: “God, how did You come to me, and what did You say?” The following are the top four things I heard: 1. Gift. Every culture and country in the world reflects aspects of the beauty of God (see Revelation 21:24). Brazilians offer a joy, a warmth, an optimism, and a passion for life that is a wonder to behold. I heard God’s invitation afresh to marvel and worship Him for such creativity to place such amazing gifts in so many cultures around the world. 2. Global Church Shift. We experienced first-hand, once again, the shift of the church from Europe and North America to the global South (Africa, Latin America, Asia). The church in Brazil continues to grow. Read more.