The Source

Megiddo 1

The actual dig in Israel that the book is based on. It was much more fascinating to read the story after I’d seen the real thing. (click to zoom)

I had read a handful of books pertaining to the Holy Land in preparation for my Israel trip in January. Most of them I started and finished in short order. One book was different. The Source, a novel by James Michener, came highly recommended so I went for it. I had glanced to see that it was over 900 pages but I didn’t think much about it.

Let’s just say my Kindle showed 55% read for a long, long time.

That was the point of the novel where I had to step away and read some other books. Like I’ve written about earlier, I’m a big believer in reading momentum and this book was messing me up hardcore. By the time I was at 55%, I had come and gone to Israel and had other books that I needed to read.

Nonetheless, I committed last week to focusing on my return to The Source and to making sure I put the effort to read the whole thing. I’m very glad I did. While the history, the complex social dynamics, and Michener’s elaborate word selection (words like “augury” and “uxorious”) don’t make for an easy read, it is definitely a valuable experience to dramatically improve your understanding of the Holy Land and of Judaism. This book helped me to put a lot of things in perspective.

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The Circle Maker

The Circle Maker - Mark Batterson

After hearing a lot of talk about the latest book from Mark Batterson we decided to go through The Circle Maker together with our life group from Central. I had the chance to meet Mark when he spoke at a conference at Central a few years back and I’m excited that he’ll be returning for our prayer conference again next year. As becomes readily apparent in this book, Mark’s journey with God and his ministry career can be unpacked through moments of prayer. He certainly practices what he preaches.

Prayer isn’t an area where I feel as disciplined as I want to be so there was much to chew on for me and much to encourage me. If this has also been an area of struggle for you than I’d highly recommend this book.

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April 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 April in the book.

Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.

It is simply no good trying to keep any thrill: that is the very worst thing you can do. Let the thrill go—let it die away—go on through that period of death into the quieter interest and happiness that follow—and you will find you are living in a world of new thrills all the time. But if you decide to make thrills your regular diet and try to prolong them artificially, they will all get weaker and weaker, and fewer and fewer, and you will be a bored, disillusioned old man for the rest of your life.

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What I Learned from a Weekend with Jon Acuff

We had the privilege of having bestselling author Jon Acuff at Central this weekend. I’ve been a fan of Jon’s for awhile now and I was interested to meet him myself. He had a section in his latest book (just released a week ago) about how most people are jerks so all we have to do is not be a jerk and we automatically stand out. I was excited to meet him and see for myself whether he backed it up.

The real test emerged when I drove Jon around in my 1995 Buick Century (appropriately my Dave Ramsey car). Jon’s only question was whether it had air conditioning. Those Nashville guys can barely handle our two digit weather…

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Sermon Tasting

I bet each of us has at least one or two areas where we consider ourselves a connoisseur. You usually hear that word used to describe someone who can fully appreciate a good glass of wine, or some type of art, or maybe just food in general, but I think it could apply to many areas of life.

Anything that you enjoy—usually more than other people—could be in this category. One of them for me is a good sermon. As a preacher, I love hearing from other preachers and learning from other styles. I usually have two reactions when I’m listening to a phenomenal sermon:

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Start by Jon Acuff

Disclaimer: I was given an early copy of this book that releases today. This is my most objective review possible and I am in no way obligated to give it a positive review.

I’ve been a fan of Jon Acuff for awhile now. I’ve read his books Stuff Christians Like and Quitter before so I was excited when I got to dive into his newest book, Start. This is a kind of follow-up to the book Quitter as it shows you what to do to follow your dreams. He walks through the different stages that people go through in a career and shows how it isn’t dependent upon your age anymore. You can move between the stages when you choose to.

My only complaint about the book is the number of times he says the word “awesome.” It becomes a bit excessive and even distracting after awhile. If that’s the worst thing going for it than I’d say the book should be just fine overall.

What I love most about the book is how Jon inspires you to get off your butt and do something about those dreams you have lingering inside you. I’m convinced that we all have them but only a few of us ever do anything serious about them.

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