That’s Not Yours

YouVersion Bible App

I’ve been reading through the book of Deuteronomy the last week or so in my daily Bible reading. Deuteronomy has some great spots and some very tedious spots. Maybe it’s because I’m fresh off of an Israel trip in January but I noticed something uniquely this time through it.

Consider what God tells the Israelites as they are about to enter the land that He had promised to them and delivered them supernaturally into.

“Give the people these orders: ‘You are about to pass through the territory of your relatives the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. They will be afraid of you, but be very careful. Do not provoke them to war, for I will not give you any of their land, not even enough to put your foot on. I have given Esau the hill country of Seir as his own.’” 2:4-5

“Then the Lord said to me, ‘Do not harass the Moabites or provoke them to war, for I will not give you any part of their land. I have given Ar to the descendants of Lot as a possession.’” 2:9

“When you come to the Ammonites, do not harass them or provoke them to war, for I will not give you possession of any land belonging to the Ammonites. I have given it as a possession to the descendants of Lot.” 2:19

(more…)

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Deep and Wide

deep and wide - andy stanley

Recently I finished Andy Stanley’s latest book Deep and Wide. This book is written for pastors and is all about the strategy we use to build the local church. I’ve always liked Andy’s tendency to say things that are a bit aggressive in confronting the status quo, and this book delivers that in bundles. There are parts where I chuckled to myself when Andy would challenge the reader and then pause to reflect on how harsh he was being in the process. In addition, Andy delves deeper into his own story in this book and I found that particularly fascinating.

I highlighted forty-three passages in this book so picking which ones to include here is no easy task. I would categorize my favorite quotes into three sections: leadership principles that can be applied in multiple settings, church specific ideas, and illustrative material and quotes.

(more…)

The Question I Asked Robert Morris

Pastor Robert Morris - The Blessed Life

We hosted Robert Morris, the author of The Blessed Life, at Central this weekend. As a result, I was able to meet him and spend some time with him backstage. First off, the guy is a class act and is a fantastic public speaker. What stood out to me the most when I read his book was all of his stories about generosity. You cannot help but feel inspired. As I’ve reflected on his book, the issue in my mind has been how do you know whether God is actually asking you to bless someone?

Let me put it another way. Isn’t it always a good idea to bless someone? I mean, when would it not be the right thing to give something of yours to another person? More importantly, how do you function if every person you interact with is an opportunity for generosity that you should do something about? Isn’t it selfish to think otherwise?

I realize that it’s hard to figure tone of voice when reading something instead of hearing something, but my guess is you can hear the stress that comes from the questions in the preceding paragraph. I’m exhausted just typing it.

(more…)

Made for More

Made for More

Last weekend was an incredible experience at our church. We launched a new series called Made for More that will take us through the week after Easter. At the end of each service we did a “reverse-offering” and gave out an envelope to each person containing either a $20, $50, or $100 bill. If you are trying to do the math, that’s about $180k between our five campuses! The goal was to spark a flame of generosity among our people. We asked each attender to use their envelope to bless someone around them this week and then share their story with others at www.CentralAZ.com/MadeforMore. Around our church we often talk about the fact that “there is more to life than me” and this has been a terrific way for us to live that out.

(more…)

You Need to Time Travel

futureme.org 6I wrote a couple of emails to myself today… in the future. Let me explain.

I know I’ve written about time travel before and expressed my love for how it can affect a good story in books like this. But I’m talking about a practical way that you can do it yourself.

There is a great website called FutureMe.org that allows you to send an email to yourself at any specified time in the future. This can be a couple of months from now or decades from now. The purpose is to check in with yourself to see how you are following through with goals or ideas that you have currently. What better gut-check could there be than hearing from a younger version of you?

I’ll be honest, it is more of an odd experience than I thought. It feels a bit schizophrenic to talk to yourself this way. Regardless, I pushed through this awkwardness and checked in on myself with a few goals that I’ve set for the future. Hopefully I forget about the emails (they are a few years from now) and that they have the desired effect when the older version of myself finds them in my inbox, or maybe they’ll appear on my retina lens contacts…

(more…)