Yearly Reading Lists Posts

Die With Zero

I can usually tell in the opening chapter whether I’m going to love a book. Sometimes I get an ominous foreshadowing of the discipline required to make it all the way through. Regardless, most books unpack good ideas which are worth your time as a reader (it took the author much more time to create it for you). And occasionally you stumble into really good books with ideas you’ve not heard before or ideas that make you reconsider opinions you’ve held for years.

Bill Perkins’ book called Die With Zero was one of those books for me. It immediately grabbed me with its premise to “rescue you from over-saving and under-living.” Perkins goes after the notion that is ingrained in us as kids to save for the future. While saving itself is valuable, most of us take it to absurd extremes as we get older. It doesn’t feel this way because everyone around us is trying to do the same thing. But as the book argues (very persuasively in my opinion), we actually lose out on much in our life as a result. So do our friends and family.

The point isn’t to consume more either. It’s to realize that money is a tool for the people and things that matter to us and we should spend it on them rather than mindlessly accruing more and more of it until we die and leave behind some massive bank account.


What Does Loyalty Look Like?

This is a bit of a longer post than normal. I have a story to tell and I’m going to end this post with a question rather than making a point.

I’ve been a huge fan of Buffalo Wild Wings for as long as I can remember. I mean, I love wings, and their Parmesan Garlic sauce is incredible. We’ve even trained up the next generation to love it as well. Our kids have been begging us to take them to get wings for weeks now so we finally relented and decided to take them.

Our visit did not go as expected.

When we walked in I first noticed a sign by the check-in desk. They were looking for servers and you could start working this week. Just talk with the manager.

It made me flashback to when I was in college. I had spent the summer before as a food server at Texas Roadhouse. When I moved to California for school I assumed I’d be able to get a job at a restaurant out there. I remember applying to restaurant after restaurant only to be told they didn’t need more servers. I ended up working at Office Depot after realizing that working at a restaurant wasn’t going to happen for me.

The ‘Great Resignation’ has changed things.


727 SE Locust St, Dundee, OR from Ruum Media on Vimeo.

The Cloud Wine Cottage

Last summer Michelle and I bought a home in Oregon to use as a short-term rental. After a leaseback with the owners, a few months to set it up, and a few more months working through licensing with the city, we’ve now officially begun to rent it.

The Cloud Wine Cottage is officially a thing.

It has four bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms. We’ve always been surprised how many rental homes have queen-sized beds. Not this one. We’ve got a California king in the main bedroom, king beds in bedrooms two and three, and two bunk beds in the fourth room. This allows us to comfortably stay there with our family of seven (which is not an easy thing to find) as well as host ten people at a time.

It’s in the heart of Oregon wine country, one of my absolute favorite places ever. Not only does this area showcase the beauty of the PNW, but it also wows you with more than 600+ wineries within a short driving distance. Not to mention that a handful of wineries are in WALKING distance from our home.


Does Fear Belong in Christianity?

Despite the Gospel often referred to as ‘good news,’ many people associate other feelings with Christianity. One of the most common reactions is fear. It’s understandable, as we tend to present the ‘good news’ with an ultimatum. If you choose NOT to follow this good news there’s a steep price to pay. Namely, you’ll burn forever.

Now it’s not usually said in those terms, it’s usually couched in language that shows our concern to save others from burning forever. But that simply communicates the same fear in a friendlier way. We’ll be sad if they burn.

Is this what Jesus had in mind?


People Inspire People

My first book of 2022 was The Storyteller by Dave Grohl. Dave is the frontman of the band Foo Fighters and was the drummer for Nirvana. I’ve been a Dave fan since his song “Everlong” enamored me as a junior higher.

The book is a fun look at the life of a rockstar. What’s most surprising is Dave’s humility every time he meets one of his musical heroes. He recounts story after story of these encounters throughout the book and the joy he has in each one is contagious. Throughout these stories he repeated a phrase that has stuck with me.

“People inspire people.”

As an artist, he attributes much of his inspiration and creativity to the people he’s interacted with in his life. I appreciate the simplicity of this idea and it seems this is an insight we would do well to keep at the forefront of our lives.

We’re all trying to keep our heads above water amidst a collective weariness in our world. Michelle and I have noticed that we seem to be getting Covid emails from our kids’ schools every day for every grade. None of us are quite sure what ‘normal’ looks like anymore. We are likely spending less time with others these last few years than ever before. Now more than ever it matters that invest ourselves into the people around us.


The Problem with a Good God and a Broken Humanity

I’ve noticed a certain tendency in our language of God and people. We often talk about how broken we are and in need of saving. Some theological circles dive even deeper into this idea and use phrases that explain how we are ‘totally depraved.’ Basically, our conversations dwell on how God is good but we are not.

While I’m not suggesting we don’t need God, I do want to suggest there’s something a bit off in how we talk about this.

Stop for a moment and think this through with me. According to Christianity, who made people? The answer is God made us. Okay, that seems easy enough. But how did God make us? The answer is that God made us in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27, 5:1). This creates an issue for our current conversation.

If humans are bad, what does this say about the Creator? Especially one who created us in the Creator’s own image? If even half or a third of humanity was bad, we’d still have to acknowledge that God isn’t very good at making people. But what kind of problem do we have if one hundred percent of people are broken (obviously excluding Jesus as unique)?