Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Book Review: The Art of Work by Jeff Goins

Available in Kindle format and paperback at Amazon.com


Many of us struggle to find our identity in our work. We struggle with the gap between what really interests us – where our passions lie, and how we earn a paycheck. In many instances, we work to pay the bills so that we can pursue our true interest. Others know their current career path is not their passion, but cannot pinpoint where their true passion lies. Are we living to work or working to live? Are we spending our work hours doing something that fulfills us? Are working at a career that is exactly what we were created to do, or have we pushed our dreams aside to face the reality of a 9 to 5?

The author addresses these questions and then takes us to the next step. Our passion is not enough; it must also intersect with the needs of the world around us for us to begin living for a larger purpose. I have read many books about pursuing your passion, but many leave us there. In The Art of Work, Goins provides the reader with practical exercises to allow the reader to figure out where there passion lies and how to start moving in the right direction to make a pivot and begin living for a larger purpose.


I recommend anyone that is simply working to pay the bills and cannot see a greater good produced by their career to carefully read this book and walk through the exercises in the Appendix.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Book Review: How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp by Shawn Smucker

available in Kindle ebook and paperback at Amazon.com


After years of talking about taking a trip across the United States, Shawn and Maile Smucker step out on the adventure of a lifetime. They move the bulk of their family’s possessions into storage, borrowed his uncle’s Bus/RV, load their children and set out. Along the way, while learning about driving a huge bus, emptying the holding tank, lighting the furnace, and troubleshooting electrical systems, they also learn a great deal on what is truly important. Many of the things that had seemed important just weeks before leaving on the trip quickly became less important as they refocused their interests and values.


The book is chock full of humorous anecdotes. It is not only a journey across the country, but it is also spiritual journey, and a journey in parenting. I greatly enjoyed this book. It took me through a range of emotions for laughing to weeping. I recommend it to anyone who has children or has a wandering lust and needs a nudge to take a little risk, step outside their comfort zone and live.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Book Review: The Day the Angels Fell - Shawn Smucker

Available in Kindle ebook and paperback at Amazon.com

When 12-year-old Samuel Chambers mother dies, he struggles with his thoughts and beliefs regarding death. He swears that he will do anything to bring his mother back and soon becomes caught in a struggle between good and evil over the ancient Tree of Life. During his journey and struggle, he begins to probe his thoughts on death – could death be a gift? What waits beyond the experience of death?

This book is well written and causes the reader to pause and reflect on their own thoughts on death and whether it is a finite end or just an intersection in our lives. Do we really believe there is a life after death, and can we embrace the goodness of the journey to the other side?

After reading halfway through the first chapter of this book, I was hooked and could not lay it down. I recommend it to anyone who has struggled with the death of a loved one, and who are trying to come to grips with all that death encompasses. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Book Review: Unchristian by David Kinnaman



Merriam-Webster define Unchristian as:
 \-ˈkris-chən, -ˈkrish-\
adjective
1
:not of the Christian faith
2
a :contrary to the Christian spirit or character
b :uncivilizedbarbarous
(http://i.word.com/idictionary/unchristian)

In Unchristian, Kinnaman investigates the 16-29 year Olds perception of Christians. First he analyzes Barna research and statistics, and then he discusses why it matters. The responses are not flattering. Words like anti-homosexual, judgmental, hypocritical, and too political are among the recurring themes from those interviewed. 

"What are Christians known for? Outsiders think our moralizing, our condemnations, and our attempts to draw boundaries around everything. Even if these standards are accurate and biblical, they seem to be all we have to offer. And our lives are a poor advertisement for the standards. We have set the gameboard to register lifestyle points; then we are surprised to be trapped by our mistakes. The truth is we have invited the hypocrite image." - David Kinnaman.


Unchristian challenges us to live lives that reflect Christ, to humble ourselves, and consider how we live our lives can be a road block to others developing a relationship with the a loving God.


"When outsiders claim that we are unchristian, it is a reflection of this jumbled (and predominately negative) set of perceptions. When they see Christians not acting like Jesus, they quickly conclude that the group deserves an unchristian label. Like a corrupted computer file or a bad photocopy, Christianity, they say, is no longer in pure form, and so they reject it. One quarter of outsiders say therefore most perception of Christianity is that the faith has changed for the worse. It has gotten off-track and is not what Christ intended. Modern-day Christianity no longer seems Christian." - David Kinnaman

UnChristian challenges each of and the church to carefully examine how we are representing Christ in our everyday lives. It is disturbing, challenging, and thought provoking. I highly recommend it for both individual reading as well as group study.

-Peace

Monday, December 01, 2014

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Congratulations, Debra Southern, you have won the Shaken Awake book Giveaway! Send me your contact information so I can get your prize in the mail ☺

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Santa: For the People

image source: https://farm3.staticflickr.com/

While out and about this weekend, we walked out of a restaurant in St. Pete and a billboard caught my eye. It read "Santa Claus: For the People".   I found this an odd message to spend a couple thousand dollars to communicate to the masses. I started asking questions. Did I miss Santa getting a bad rap? Are there individuals in our society who have begun questioning Santa's motives? Does Santa have his boot on the throat of the elves forcing them to endure the hardships of suppression, repression, and depressions? Who felt it so important to improve the fat man's reputation they were willing to part with thousands of dollars?

So I did what any red blooded first world citizen would do, I googled it. The super array of knowledgebases spun to life and quickly imparted wisdom into my quandary. The slogan "For the People" is the tagline for Morgan and Morgan, a law firm with offices in the Tampa/St. Pete area and Atlanta. Apparently, the bearded "Santa" on the billboard is John Morgan who thought it a great ad campaign for Christmas. Suffice it to say, I just think it odd.

But the odd billboard got me thinking. With all of the condescending attitudes and judgemental responses displayed by many calling themselves Christians, perhaps we should concern ourselves with the damage we have done to God's reputation. Why do the forgiven seem to think we are better than those who have yet to accept the gift of forgiveness? We are quick to judge and condemn. While we may not stand on the corner screaming, "You are going to hell!", we are quick to withhold grace, love, and forgiveness to those we deem unworthy. And by doing so while calling ourselves Christians, we have done a disservice to God himself. Maybe it is time for the church to begin embracing the lost, the outcast, the ones Jesus himself sought out - tax collectors, prostitutes, blind, lame, the least of these. Maybe we need to start paying for billboards that say "God: For the People"

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Everyone Loves to Hear a Good Story



Since the release of Shaken Awake, I have come across several writer friends that have encountered some block to writing. In the old days I remember hearing people say they had "hit the wall" or had "writer's block". As I listen to them, I hear them talking about trying to decide what their voice is and trying to decide if their writing is any good or not. The answer to both of these issues is simple - WRITE. You develop a writing voice by writing regularly and often. Your writing becomes better by writing - regularly and often. Everyone loves to hear a good story, and we all have hundreds trapped in our skulls.

I am over at Andlilit.com discussing this and more. Drop by and check it out. Read More Here!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Shaken Awake Book Giveaway

To celebrate my birthday, I am going to giveaway a free paperback copy of my new book Shaken Awake. What do you have to do to enter the giveaway? Simple! In the comment section below, tell me you would like to win a copy and that you would be willing to post an honest review on Amazon.com. How easy is that? I will select a winner on November 30th. Ready? Set? GO!

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Veteran Arrested For Feeding Homeless

Maybe I am biased, but I am appalled at this story. Any government that thinks for a second that this is justice or that this is the best way to resolve homelessness is seriously misguided.

  90 year old Arnold Abbott has been serving hundreds of free meals to the homeless every week in Fort Lauderdale,  Florida for the past 24 years. He was arrested for it Tuesday. “I love the city. I live here, it’s a beautiful place and I’d like to keep it beautiful, but you cannot sweep the homeless under a rug… There is no rug large enough for that.” - via Countercurrentnews.com




http://countercurrentnews.com/2014/11/man-arrested-for-feeding-homeless-gets-arrested-again-one-day-after-first-arrest/

To contact Mayor Seiler, please call (954) 828-5003 or send an e-mail to jack.seiler@fortlauderdale.gov


Friday, November 07, 2014

Six Questions

Had a few questions about Shaken Awake and sat down to answer them at Katdish.net



Q: What inspired you to write Shaken Awake?
A: I wrote “Shaken Awake” to shine a light on homelessness and hunger in the United States and as a challenge to individuals and churches to become aware of the magnitude of these issues and their impact on families. I firmly believe that these are the people that Jesus talked about... Read the rest at Katdish.net