I reviewed The Almighty Bible last week – they’ve given 3 copies of it to MTDB to giveaway! Sweetness. The first 100 commenters are eligible – I’ve picked out 3 numbers at random between 1-100, so enter by leaving a comment and if you win they’ll ship it to your door!

JG

This isn’t a normal book review for me but from time to time I divert from typical reading to check out something fresh. I was given a few copies of The Almighty Bible (physical copies, though the book has also been released as an app on the iPad and iPhone) to read over and see what I thought. To be honest, it was quite a bit better than I expected – especially since I’ve never really connected with the Anime Bible or the the Bible in graphic novel format.

The Almighty Bible pulls no punches and is honest with the Scripture it depicts and it delivers the first two books of the Bible with vivid art. The recommended age is 8-14 years old, and my 9-year old son will be getting this copy of the Bible tomorrow and I’m eager to see what he thinks. I enjoyed reading the Bible in this format, and as an adult/parent appreciated the attention to the accuracy of the translation as well as the presentation. If you’re looking for a different way to get younger students into the Bible, this might be something to check out, especially as a Christmas gift this holiday.

JG



I couldn’t be more excited to launch a new non-program for discipleship in our ministry we’re calling Grow on the Go (actually we’re revising and bringing this back from HSM past). We’re taking some simple small plastic bins from Target and dropping in some great biblical resources to help our small group leaders challenge students to take a spiritual step. To get a fuller understanding of how small groups are connected to spiritual growth and discipleship, maybe check out 5 Parts to a Typical Small Group Night or 6 Ways to Help Small Group Students Take a Spiritual Step.

So when a Life Group leader recognizes an opportunity to challenge a student to grow on their own, they have some tools right there (or in the trunk of their car) at their disposal. So what’s inside the bins? Glad you asked! We put 1 or 2 of the following resources in the mobile version of our Grow Booth:

I’m convinced that including a little bit of training on these tools at the beginning of the year and putting them in leader’s hands will make a big difference!

JG

In the process of finishing two books on the topic of Jesus. Here are a few thoughts:

The first, Jesus Manifesto:Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola, is a challenging read simply exalting Jesus above everything else. They contend that a complete emphasis on Jesus would completely change the world – if we can introduce people to the real, life-changing Jesus, everything else will follow. Lifestyle will follow. Church growth will happen. Discipleship will happen. Simply teach Jesus. Not sure how much of it I’m ready to go after, but preaching and teaching Jesus has to be what the church is all about. Definitely lives up to its subtitle elevating Jesus to the highest place. Pretty academic read, you’ll want to break it into chunks and not speed read for sure.

The second book I’m tackling is Humanitarian Jesus: Social Justice and the Cross by Ryan Dobson and Christian Buckley, and it is a much more accessible read. It attempts to tackle the social Gospel and evangelism question, giving a brief history of the concept and conflict of the ideas of sharing Jesus. The first half of the book is written by the authors, the second is interviews with people in key churches and organizations that are attempting to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Good stuff, drives me to my current thinking – the Social Gospel must be both social (helping people) and Gospel (spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ)! There are many books on this subject, this one probably isn’t the most academic or comprehensive, but by far the most current.

JG



99 Thoughts for Small Group Leaders

My new book with Doug Fields comes out this month – it just went up for pre-order! – just in time to get it into the hands of your small group leaders. Want to take a look inside – check out the first few pages for free in the widget above. Hope you’ll think about picking up a few copies for your small group volunteers this fall!

JG

Thoughts on Temptation

Silly video we used to illustrate temptation this weekend for week 2 of the back to school LAUNCH series.

JG



Book Review: Soup

 —  August 12, 2010 — Leave a comment

Just finished up reading Soup, another business fable from Jon Gordon. This time he goes after the ingredients of what make a healthy team and focuses on creating a winning team culture that rallies your people to the cause and around an optimistic leader. Honestly the first few chapters really drew me in – not because I’ll ever run a company called Soup, Inc but because he outlines what I’ve felt but been unable to articulate about the importance of team culture. Couple of standout quotes:

  • You create a culture of greatness by expecting great things to happen – even during challenging times.
  • Leadership is foremost a transfer of belief.
  • People follow the leader first and the vision second.
  • It is through relationships that you can shape people to be their best.
  • We are transformed by our spiritual relationship with God and our relationship with family, mentors, and coaches and we transformothers through our relationship with them.
  • Lukewarm isn’t an option. No one likes cold soup.

Good stuff – loved it! Super simple, easy read.

JG

Just finished up reading Green Like God: Unlocking the Divine Plan for Our Planet, a new book by Jonathan Merritt. The book is an attempt to reclaim environmentalism from the left, and make Creation care an issue that everyone should care about, regardless of political sides. According to Jonathan, caring for God’s creation is largely a spiritual issue and an act of worship to the Creator. He’s careful to distinguish between worshipping the creation and the Creator, and is quick to admit the shortcomings of his own journey. I like it that just a few years ago he held many of the traditional (read: irresponsible) views that many Christians still share.

To be honest, green is a “something” to me – I still have a loooooong ways to do – but loved the series we did called Save the Planet a couple years ago and The Refinery at Saddleback was Lake Forest’s first LEED-certified building. All in all, I really dug the first 2/3rds of the book – before it begins to read like any other environmental book you can’t seem to avoid these days. To me, what sets this book apart is the Biblical perspective on creation and our responsibility to care for it, which was refreshing and encouraging to read.

JG