Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Aurora Book summary & thought

Now this is going to seem strange coming from me, but I love quilts. My grandmother made one for me I still cherish as a kid. My 9 year old is learning how to quilt from her grandmother. It's a beautiful art. So anything I can do to encourage it to continue is time well spent. Darien

Wrap yourself in a fantastic journey, 
a remarkable commitment, and a spare and splendid story

Master storyteller Jane Kirkpatrick extols the beautiful treasures, unknown to a wider public, rediscovered in the Old Aurora Colony of Oregon’s lush Willamette Valley. The people and legacy of Aurora, a utopian community founded in the mid-1800s, will stir your imagination, hopes, and dreams; and remind you that every life matters—that our lives are the stories other people read first.


Unique and treasured quilt pattern variations

More than 100 photographs, many never-before published, from 1850 to today

Cherished stories from Aurora descendants

Rich images of fine crafts from the Aurora Colony and private collections

An introduction by renowned American artist John Houser


Aurora is about the difference every ordinary life can make—and a beautiful celebration of a time and place in which people expressed their most cherished beliefs through the work of their imagination and hands.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Flickering Light book summary

Summary for A Flickering Light:  

Returning to her Midwest roots, award-winning author Jane Kirkpatrick draws a page from her grandmother’s photo album to capture the interplay between shadow and light, temptation and faith that marks a woman’s pursuit of her dreams.

She took exquisite photographs,

but her heart was the true image exposed.


Fifteen-year-old Jessie Ann Gaebele loves nothing more than capturing a gorgeous Minnesota landscape when the sunlight casts its most mesmerizing shadows. So when F.J. Bauer hires her in 1907 to assist in his studio and darkroom, her dreams for a career in photography appear to find root in reality.

With the infamous hazards of the explosive powder used for lighting and the toxic darkroom chemicals, photography is considered a man’s profession. Yet Jessie shows remarkable talent in both the artistry and business of running a studio. She proves less skillful, however, at managing her growing attraction to the very married Mr. Bauer.

This luminous coming-of-age tale deftly exposes the intricate shadows that play across every dream worth pursuing—and the irresistible light that beckons the dreamer on.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Crazy Love challenged me

I recently read Francis Chan's new book, Crazy Love. I found it incredibly challenging both personally and as a pastor/leader. In a day when people are screaming for authenticity, Chan delivers.

Because I thought the book was so strong, I picked up the DVD series designed for small groups and other gatherings. I'm using it with 2 groups in the next 2 weeks. 

Chan has a knack for taking Bible passages that are familiar (too familiar?), passages we have a tendency to rush over, and bringing them back front and center. It can be painful and convicting. But when that leads to prayerful confession, it can be a freeing experience.

As a pastor of a local church, I need a pastor too. Francis Chan has become one of those who regularly speaks into my life. Give him a chance to speak into yours as well. (www.cornerstonesimi.com or itunes.com for podcasts)

Francis Chan

skip to main | skip to sidebar. Francis Chan ... been saying EVERYTHING that God wants you to say? A true prophet has enemies. Posted by Francis at 8:37 AM ...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Gardening Eden - My review

The subtitle is "How creation care Will change your faith, your life, and our world."

This book was my first into the "Green" arena as a Christ-follower. 

I believe as a follower of God, our Creator, we are to care for this beautiful ball of mud just like He asked us to do--Manage or "nurture" the earth. But I'll admit I've often squirmed when zealous "tree-hugger types" have taken things to such an extreme that trees and spotted owls become more precious than human lives. I still don't get that, I'll admit. So, at times, I have over-reacted with a lack of great concern for how we're caring for (or not) our planet.

It's from  that perspective that I write a positive review on Michael Abbate's book. 

Using the gardening theme, Abbate gives us gardening principles and then, more practically, gives us 50 gardening tips from healthy eating to wise transportation decisions to home conservation. His book is filled with practical tips, statistics, illustrations and websites. It is more of a Green 101 book for the evangelical trying to find his way in the conversation but having trouble getting traction.

At times I wanted to put the book down but about that time a good story would remind me why this is so relevant. 

Also, he comes from the perspective that global warming is real and relevant, though he acknowledges that how much is man-made is still hotly debated. Nevertheless, he rightly asserts that we have a stewardship issue as God's people weather there is a global warming problem or not. 

I recommend this to those who are trying to get up to speed on creation care and what are we as Christ-followers supposed to do about that. Clearly we have some serious catching up to do!

Gardening Eden:
Before the snake, the apple, and the Ten Commandments, God created a garden, placed humans in it, and told them to take care of it.

“Spiritual environmentalism” did not start out as an oxymoron—it was an invitation. Yet today, many believe God’s original job description for humankind has been replaced by other worthier pursuits. So when did this simple instruction become so controversial? How does one sort through all the mixed messages? Is making the world a healthier place for the next generation really a responsibility—or even possible?

Gardening Eden is a new understanding of how the spiritual dimensions of life can find expression and renewal through caring for our incredible planet. Empowering, simple, and never polemical, Michael Abbaté outlines the Bible’s clear spiritual benefits of caring for creation, exploring new motivations and inspired ideas, and revealing the power of our basic connection to all people and living things through the growing interest in spiritual environmentalism.

Green living is no longer a fad—simple lifestyle solutions are now available to everyone. Gardening Eden shows readers how this shift transforms not only our world, but their very souls as they’re drawn into deeper harmony with the Creator. This book invites them to discover the powerful spiritual satisfaction of heeding the call to save our world. 

Author Bio:

A nationally recognized expert in “green” development strategies, Mike Abbaté is a founder of GreenWorks, an award-winning landscape architecture design firm. He frequently speaks to students and leaders about practical ways to minimize the impact of building and landscape design on natural resources. Abbaté’s work has been featured in national magazines such as Metropolis andLandscape Architecture and in many local newspapers and trade publications. He and his wife, Vicki, have two adult daughters and live near Portland, Oregon.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hate Meetings? Make'm Better! Here's how...

Getting serious about your meeting problem

Do you have one? Some folks are going to eight hours of meeting a day. At Ford, they used to have meetings to prepare for meetings, just to be sure everyone had their story straight.

If you're serious about solving your meeting problem, getting things done and saving time, try this for one week. If it doesn't work, I'll be happy to give you a full refund.

  1. Understand that all problems are not the same. So why are your meetings? Does every issue deserve an hour? Why is there a default length?
  2. Schedule meetings in increments of five minutes. Require that the meeting organizer have a truly great reason to need more than four increments of realtime face time.
  3. Require preparation. Give people things to read or do before the meeting, and if they don't, kick them out.
  4. Remove all the chairs from the conference room. I'm serious.
  5. If someone is more than two minutes later than the last person to the meeting, they have to pay a fine of $10 to the coffee fund.
  6. Bring an egg timer to the meeting. When it goes off, you're done. Not your fault, it's the timer's.
  7. The organizer of the meeting is required to send a short email summary, with action items, to every attendee within ten minutes of the end of the meeting.
  8. Create a public space (either a big piece of poster board or a simple online page) that allows attendees to rate meetings and their organizers on a scale of 1 to 5 in terms of usefulness. Just a simple box where everyone can write a number. Watch what happens.
  9. If you're not adding value to a meeting, leave. You can always read the summary later.

This is all marketing. It's a show, one that lets your team know you're treating meetings differently now.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Why "Good Friday" is Good

With Easter nearly upon us, it's easy to get focused on the resurrection of Christ (okay, maybe not easy if you're not a Christian or even if you are and your life is too chaotic. But when we do think about it, this seems to be where we start). 

I'm learning in my walk that my appreciation for that all-important event, the resurrection (our Christian faith is bunk without it being literally true), increases with my attention to "Good Friday."

Now Good Friday isn't good because you get it off from work. (although, that is good) It's not good because Jesus was cruelly tortured and crucified an innocent man. (The God-man to be more precise) It's good because of the resurrection. No cross, no resurrection. No resurrection, no Savior. No Savior, no forgiveness of sins; no redemption. No eternal and abundant life. 

It's "Bad Friday" if it isn't followed by the resurrection.

So that's why it's good. If you want to experience the good and the bad, go to a local church that is putting on a passion play/Easter pageant/Easter drama. Or, if you can't find one, rent the Passion of the Christ movie. Mel Gibson's blockbuster does a tremendous job of showing us some of what Jesus actually went through that Friday. It's not perfectly accurate (no movie will ever be) but it is well-done. Keep your Kleenex close by and forget the popcorn. It's a sobering movie. But then on Good Friday, that's a "good" thing.

For those in the SC Low Country:

 In preparation for Easter, we're (Grace Christian Fellowship family and friends) going to watch The Passion of the Christ 6:30-8:30 PM on Good Friday, April 10th at the Dorchester County Sr. Center in Summerville. There will be age-appropriate movies for the younger children to watch as well.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Wow. 96% aren't connected to a church!

Amazing quote/statistic I just learned that motivates me to make some strategic changes to our outreach plan:

1.    Who is “Multi housing?”  A community of people living in the same locality, in similar structures, under the same management or authority.  This encompasses more than apartments… from nursing homes, condos, military housing, marinas, duplexes, triplexes, senior apartments, urban high-rises,  etc.

2.    57% of Americans live in multi housing communities.

3.    96% of the people living in these communities have NO CONNECTION to a church!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

I've read this book 2X: Treasure Principle - summary

I've read this book twice. I've preached through 2 series using it considerably. Our family has applied it to how we handle money. Wow, you've got to read this little book!

Bestselling author Randy Alcorn introduced readers to a revolution in material freedom and radical generosity with the release of the original The Treasure Principlein 2001. Now the revision to the compact, perennial bestseller includes a provocative new concluding chapter depicting God asking a believer questions about his stewardship over material resources. Readers are moved from the realms of thoughtful Bible exposition into the highly personal arena of everyday life. Because when Jesus told His followers to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,” He intended that they discover an astounding secret: how joyful giving brings God maximum glory and His children maximum pleasure. Discover a joy more precious than gold!  Priceless treasure is within your reach. And with it, liberating joy.  In Randy Alcorn ’s The Treasure Principle, you’ll unearth a radical teaching of Jesus—a secret wrapped up in giving. Once you discover this secret, life will never look the same. And you won’t want it to!  Pull Out Section:  Do it. Ask God what’s on your mind….  Open my eyes, Father. What am I holding on to that’s robbing me of present joy and future reward?  Discover the all-new prayer guide inside! 

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Experiencing the Spirit - summary

Serve God as never before

The summary below should whet your appetite as you consider another offering from Henry Blackaby, popular author of Experiencing God (which I'm currently reading now). Enjoy the summary. I'll blog about it when I'm done with it.

The first Christians “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6) shaking the gates of hell even in the face of severe persecution. The result: People all around “were filled with wonder and amazement” (Acts 3:10).What can give Christians today the same impact?

God’s Holy Spirit is ready to answer that for us in an awesome way, as Henry Blackaby and his son Mel Blackaby make clear in Experiencing the Spirit. You’ll see how the proof of the Spirit’s presence is our awareness of God’s personal assignments for us, plus our supernatural enablement to carry out those assignments. You’ll find essential clarification on the difference between natural talents and spiritual gifts. You’ll explore the dynamics of being filled with the Spirit through intimate relationship with Him, committed obedience, and radical departure from sin. 

Instead of considering what you can do for God with your abilities and talents, you’ll be encouraged here to seek what God wants to do through you supernaturally by His Spirit, empowering you beyond your personal competence and capacities. Release the Holy Spirit’s work at the very core of your experience of the Christian life.

Look for my blogging of the great book The Treasure Principle coming up later this week.