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:
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.
In 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
When 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.