Axiom by Bill Hybels

Bill Hybels Axiom

I just fished reading Axiom by Bill Hybels with a handful of the leadership team at Central. In it, Bill compiles thirty plus years of ministry and leadership insights into short little phrases. Each chapter captures an idea and gives some perspective on why Bill lives by it. Depending on your context, many of these will directly apply to you and others won’t. Taken collectively it is a very practical look at leadership in the trenches.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:


Bible Reading Plan for 2014

Professor Horner's Bible Reading Plan

January is quickly approaching and that means a new year to try new things or begin anew on things that you trailed off with in 2013. I would encourage you now to consider reading through the Bible in 2014. Sadly, few people ever read it cover to cover due to its size but it is completely manageable. The trick is to intentionally pick a reading plan and make it a natural part of your routine each day. When read daily it will balance your perspective and ground you in God’s Truth no matter what each day brings. Even greater is the perspective you get from reading year after year and seeing things you’ve never noticed before.

Those of you who have followed my blog for years now know that I pick a new reading plan and a new Bible translation each year. This is to stretch me and keep me from setting into a rut. This is the same concept as muscle confusion for those of you workout-nerds among us. One of the reasons this is recommended for physical workouts is that “The body should never be allowed to accommodate to an exercise to the point where the exercise is ineffective and results are no longer seen.” The same is true of your mind, heart, and soul when it comes to experiencing God’s Word. Sadly, many people either don’t read through the Bible or read it and don’t ever get much out of it. I’ve found that changing reading plans and changing translations each year are great ways to enhance your time spent reading.

Click here to see which reading plans and translations I’ve used in past years.


Relocating Theology

paul and the faithfulness of god - NT wrightIn any case, it is time to relocate ‘theology’. Not to marginalize it, as though the study of everything else (especially sociology) is real’ and theology is to be dismissed as irrelevant theory; as we shall see, that would be a disastrous mistake in relation to Paul in particular. In fact, one of the extraordinary achievements of Paul was to turn ‘theology’ into a different kind of thing from what it had been before in the world either of the Jews or of the pagans. One of the central arguments of the present book is that this was the direct result and corollary of what had happened to Paul’s worldview. Paul effectively invented ‘Christian theology’ to meet a previously unknown need, to do a job which had not, until then, been necessary. If the reason for studying worldviews is the recognition that life is complex, multi-layered, and driven by often hidden energies, the method for such study must be appropriate to that quest.

N.T. Wright, Paul and the Faithfulness of God

Blood Brothers

blood brothers - Elias ChacourWhen I went to Israel in January of this year, I blogged about a lot and read a lot of books on it. Apart from one book I read called The Lemon Tree, focusing on the Palestinian aspect of Israel’s history, the rest of them focused on Israel and the land. I didn’t particularly like The Lemon Tree as a book, so I didn’t dwell all that much on what was in it. Recently, I was recommended to read a book called Blood Brothers that is essentially the same type of perspective as The Lemon Tree, but it is a ten times better book. It is an absolutely gripping story of Elias Chacour and offers a Palestinian perspective. More than just a retelling of facts, it provides a profoundly helpful conclusion as to what we are to make of things today. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone as it will open your eyes to the Israeli/Palestinian tensions but also to tensions of humanity in general.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book (notice the theme of dignity):

It is extraordinary how a voice from our childhood, even one word spoken at a crucial moment, can bury itself inside only to reveal its simple wisdom in a crisis our adult minds cannot begin to fathom.

peace can never be achieved by violence; violence begets more violence. For the first time, I saw clearly the face of my true enemy and the enemy of all who are friends of God and of peace. It was not the Zionists, but the demon of militarism.


Addressing Mental Health with Medicine AND the Bible

I’m excited to formally begin work on a project that my friend Brad and I have been talking about for awhile. Brad Zehring is a doctor early in his career with a passion for mental illness, body image, and eating disorders. As most of you know, I’m a pastor at a local church in Arizona. From very different vantage points, Brad and I have both seen the need for a bigger discussion in helping people work through various aspects of the effects of mental illness. Often times, people err on the side of ONLY seeking medical help or ONLY seeking spiritual help. The assumption is that you have to choose as they probably contradict one another. This usually isn’t the case but most people aren’t well-versed enough in both areas to know how to apply them together. Brad and I believe that a combination of both is the healthiest response.

These ideas will eventually make their way into a book that we will write together. In the meantime, we are going to co-blog on issues and each speak into it from our perspectives. I’m excited for this discussion as it will offer you two views that while different, will build on top of each other and present a cohesive way of addressing very real problems that we often have no idea how to handle. Even if you are not personally affected by this you likely know someone who is.

We want to start this by opening up a dialogue to see what immediate questions come to your mind with this topic. Consider this a formal invitation to leave a question in the comments on this post and then Brad and I will select different questions to answer together. Brad is also asking the readers on his blog to do the same thing. We have no delusions of solving these huge problems or arguing something that no one has ever thought of before. Rather, we want to make space for a much needed (and much neglected) conversation by allowing for the depth of perspective needed.


November with C.S. Lewis

Year with C.S. LewisThis post is part of my series through A Year with C.S. Lewis.

Here are my favorite quotes from the assorted C.S. Lewis books that are covered in the month of November in the book. Only one month left and then I’ve read (and blogged) through the entire year’s worth of daily reading in the book. A few of this month’s quotes focused around humility and also heaven/hell. Consider the following:

Never, in peace or war, commit your virtue or your happiness to the future. Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment “as to the Lord.” It is only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received.

The waking world is judged more real because it can thus contain the dreaming world; the dreaming world is judged less real because it cannot contain the waking one. For the same reason I am certain that in passing from the scientific points of view to the theological, I have passed from dream to waking. Christian theology can fit in science, art, morality, and the sub-Christian religions. The scientific point of view cannot fit in any of these things, not even science itself. I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.