Category : Book Reviews

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Book Review: Killing Jesus by Bill O’Reilly

So I’m sitting with some pastors the other day and one guy says, “Have you ever read the book Killing Jesus“. Everyone begins to smile and nod except me. I was the only one who hadn’t read it. This guy looks at me like he’s about to tell me the cure to cancer. He says, “That book is amazing. I listened to the audiobook and actually thought I might have pull over while driving. It made the story of Jesus so real.”

After hearing that, I found myself visiting audible.com and listening to it myself on the way home that very day.

OMG!

This book is exactly as advertised. Bill O’Reilly and Mark Dugard do an amazing job of combining scripture and historical accounts to bring the story of Jesus to life like never before. More than one time I actually gasped out loud… that doesn’t happen to me.

Here are the following reasons I would suggest reading this book:

> Great way to tie in historical events during the time of Jesus to the narratives of the Gospels.

> This book will bring you face to face with the horrors of crucifixion much like the Movie The Passion of the Christ did for so many in the 1990s.

> It will give the other ‘characters’ in the Bible a lot more detail than you ever knew before.

Disclaimer- This book isn’t written to convert people. It’s written for historical entertainment. That being said you will have to take a few things O’Reilly says with a ‘grain of salt’ and do your own research before making conclusions.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book to any student of the Bible hoping to gain fresh perspective on the life and times surrounding Jesus.

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Book Review: Unashamed by Lecrae

By far, Lecrae has shattered the box of Christian music forever. His book has challenged expectations again. Who would have thought a christian rapper would ever write a book or that it would be any good? But it was so good. Lecrae’s book, Unashamed, is an honest and sincere look at the author’s life. We travel with him through his massive highs, equally massive lows, and everything in between. What we find is an ordinary man with an extra-ordinary calling on his life and his pursuit of stretching himself to become everything God has created him to be.

Here are a few of my takeaways>>>

>> One aspect that really spoke to me was Lacrae’s honestly about the struggles all Christians face when it comes to ‘earning our faith’. He talked about how we struggle to understand God’s love for us because we struggle to see ourselves the way he does. Lacrae eventually realized God loves Him before he ever makes those right decisions. He’s operated FROM the acceptance of God not FOR the acceptance of God.

>> He talks a lot in the second half of he book about having a Christian World View. I thought I knew what that was but apparently not. His ideas brought fresh insight to an old conversation about who we as believers should be on the world stage. He challenged me to view myself in the same way.

>> Finding his own unique voice in the music industry. Whether you are a music, public speaker, business owner, or a single guy looking for a date; everyone is looking for something to make them stand out. It’s amazing to realize that many of us spend most of our lives trying to ‘fit in’ when we should really be looking to stand out as our own unique self. That’s probably my number one takeaway. The question of “Who am I?” “What makes me unique?” “What is my unique voice in this world?”

I have a personal ranking system with all books I read ranging from 1 (never admit I read this) to 10 (I need to read this again, blog about it, tell the world). This book definitely made it to a 10. It’s filled with great stories, great questions,  and great encouragement. This is the kind of book that I’ll probably end up buying a few extra copies so they can be given away to guests.

You should definitely give it a try.

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Leadership Thoughts of The Week

I’ve always heard it said that,

“leaders are readers and readers are leaders.”

That statement has a lot of truth to it. However, I’ve learned something very ‘common sense’ lately. It doesn’t matter how much we read if it’s not applied. Mind blowing, right? Well for me, it is. I have a goal over the past few years of reading 50 books a year. While that’s a great goal, if the lessons hidden within each book isn’t applied, the time has been wasted. And, let’s be honest. Most books, no matter how great, can usually be summed up into a handful of bit-sized principles. (some less)

Therefore, I now keep a open app on my iphone and when something hits me, I type it in. Then over the following week, when there’s a free moment, I pull those thoughts out and pour over them. Sometimes they inspire a whole new line of thinking never before imagined. Sometimes they are great reminders of what I’ve already learned. Either way, it’s been helpful.

Therefore, as an act of accountability, I’m going to begin listing some of leadership thoughts that spoke to me over the past week  here. Hope they’re helpful:

A winning behavior will not thrive in a culture that does not support it.

-Your ToDon’t list is just as important as your ToDo list.

-Think steps not programs.

-If your habits don’t reflect your dreams and goals, you can either change your habits or change your dreams and goals.

-Do whatever you can to reinforce someone’s confidence by helping him to achieve small victories. So much of leadership comes down to knowing the people you are leading and providing them with what they need to succeed. It is also about making them confident to take risks and make changes.

-When things aren’t going right, the most important thing you can do is slow down, go deep, and figure out why.

-Leadership is more about trust you have earned than the authority you have been granted.

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TOP 10 Books I Enjoyed Reading in 2014

I am a self-admitted veracious reader. John Maxwell always says:

Readers are Leaders and Leaders are Readers.

After first hearing that quote a few years ago, I made it a goal to read about 40 books a year. I don’t always hit that goal but it’s always good to have one.

The books I read are not limited to non-fiction, self help books. Some of my favorite genres would have to be leadership books, mystery fiction, and historical biographies of great leaders.  My reading taste is really all over the place as you will be able to tell below.

Here we go. My TOP TEN favorite books this year in NO PARTICULAR ODER:

 

41BOOK ONE: 41: A Portrait of My Father

BY: George W. Bush

LINK: http://goo.gl/n9phLp

Info: I’ve always been a George Bush fan. He’s probably the best foreign policy president we’ve had in a long time. One of the things I admired about him the most is how he led by cultivating great relationships with people before asking them to follow. The world went too long without his memoire. While this isn’t that it is a great book about his life from the view of his son and former president George W. Bush. I especially loved all the little humorous comments and anecdotes Bush Jr put in the book about his mother’s famous bluntness and sense of humor. Barbara Bush deserves a book all by herself but for now, this will do.


allegiantBOOK TWO: Allegiant (Divergent Series)

BY: Veronica Roth

LINK: http://goo.gl/7DvXGc

Info: I had to finish the series. Don’t judge me. This book was probably my favorite of the trilogy mainly because it was finally over. Any series like this will be compared to the Hunger Games books and still a flash back to the Harry Potter series. People are always looking for the next big thing to get on board with. To me, this series wasn’t ‘all that’ even though the idea behind it was great. In the end, Allegiant served it’s purpose of keeping me distracted during those long training runs while I prepared for my first marathon. Hated the ending though… all I’ll say..


unbrokenBOOK THREE: Unbroken

BY: Laura Hillenbrand

LINK: http://goo.gl/YfE5TE

Info: This book needs it’s on blog post. Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. First, I’m a sucker for good biographies. Second, I love a good story. Third, I love my faith and enjoy hearing about others who embrace faith in their lives. This book had all that and more. The author did a masterful job painting an early picture of a troubled Kid-Louie. Then, after everything he went through, the story ends with him investing back into troubled kids… awesome full circle. That’s just the beginning. There’s so many layers to this story.  What’s not in the book is that Louie tried for years to get his story out to the world. It wasn’t till the end of his life that everyone began to take notice. So, the only sad thing is he wasn’t able to receive the accolades he deserved.  Can’t wait for the movie to come out.


killing.lincolnBOOK FOUR: Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever

BY: Bill O’Reilly

LINK: http://goo.gl/I1yw3q

Info: It’s a shame that many people will not read this book because Bill O’Reilly wrote it. Abraham Lincoln is my favorite president so when I heard Bill had combined well documented facts and new discoveries into one book written with the feel of a reporter telling the story as if it just happened… I’m in. I enjoyed the way he crafted the telling of all the events leading up to the assassination of Lincoln. There were several facts about Mary Todd Lincoln, Lincoln’s cabinet, his generals, etc. that really gave extra color to the story.


unleashBOOK FIVE: Unleash: Breaking Free From Normalcy

BY: Perry Noble

LINK: http://goo.gl/zLMii7

Info: Love him or hate him you have to admit… Perry Noble is real! He’s a breath of fresh air in a world that always tries to be so politically correct. His common sense approach to faith and life is probably what I love about him the most. When you hear him talk it’s not hard to understand how he pastors a church that’s probably going to become the largest church in America at some point. His passion for the things that matter is amazing. This book is probably going to become an annual read for me. Loved his challenge to take the leap into what’s possible.


crashthechatterboxBOOK SIX: Crash the Chatterbox: Hearing God’s Voice Above All Others

BY: Steven Furtick

LINK: http://goo.gl/VIc9dG

Info: I’ll admit… I’ll always have a soft spot for Steven Furtick. I’ll probably read everything he ever writes. It goes back to his first book “Sun Stand Still”. At the time, I was thinking about doing the craziest thing ever with my life and was scared to death. (planting a church) “Sun Stand Still” taught me about the audacity of ‘all in faith’ and ‘going for it’ in life. Furtick’s book became my playbook for and new vocabulary for audacious faith and I still use the quote “If you’re dreams don’t scare you, they insult God.” (paraphrase) As much as I loved “Sun Stand Still”, “Crash the Chatterbox” might come close to surpassing it for me. I’ve never read an author who was so honest about his personal struggles and mental battles. Instead of making me think less of Steven it actually made me think “me too”. Loved it so much. Probably the most thought-provoking book on this list.


outliersBOOK SEVEN: Outliers: The Story of Success

BY: Malcolm Gladwell

LINK: http://goo.gl/wZhK2O

Info: This book made so much sense on so many levels. It both challenged me and helped me take a relaxing breath at the same time. No matter what you pursue with your life there are always those people who stand out as uncommonly successful. They are Outliers. People with uncommon opportunities and experiences at just the right time to make a big difference in their field of expertise. On one side it helped me say, “So it’s okay if I’m not as successful as they are. They are social oddities.” However, the question also arose, “Am I an Outlier in some way?” Loved the stories in this book.

Favorite takeaway has to be that in order to become a world class expert at something you have to apply 10,000 hours of your time working on your craft.


next.gen.leaderBOOK EIGHT: Next Generation Leader

BY: Andy Stanely

LINK: http://goo.gl/asJ7pj

Info: This will never be known as his best work but it’s one of my favorites. The main reason is because you get this sense of sitting across a table at a coffeeshop hearing Andy say these leadership ideas. He writes it as though he is pouring out practical experiences from years of leadership. Almost like he’s giving you his inside scoop on leadership life. I loved hearing him write out of personal experience and give his personal steps and guidelines. It’s a quick read and a lot of doable applications.


four.obsessionsBOOK NINE: The Four Obsessions of an Executive: A Leadership Fable

BY: Patrick M. Lencioni

LINK: http://goo.gl/pLxzni

Info: Patrick Lencioni has changed leadership writing forever. I love his approach of writing a story and drawing out leadership principles. That’s exactly what so many leadership books have been missing. There are many, many great leadership books with great theories but Patrick has helped flesh them out. By the time I finished this book, I felt as though I had been challenged and grown with the young executive. It made me want to be the kind of leader and coach the senior executive is. Great stuff.


21.laws.of.leadershipBOOK TEN: 21 Irrefultable Laws of Leadership

BY: John Maxwell

LINK: http://goo.gl/Bv9N5B

Info: I question anyone who claims to be a leader is not well read in the John Maxwell universe. If you don’t have at least 3 Maxwell books, you’re not really interested in leading. This book is now my favorite. This book and it’s companion book “21 Indispensable Laws of Leadership” make for a great foundation in anyone’s leadership life.

The most eye-opening leadership book to me is the LAW OF THE LID. If people stop growing it’s only because they’ve put a lid on their life.

 

Okay, so I took the time to give you some of my favorite books of 2014.

What do you think? Is there a book I should read next year that you enjoyed?

Tell me what you think. Also, don’t forget to share this blog on Facebook and Twitter so we can get more people’s opinions and get our 2015 reading list together.

 

 

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Book Review: Five Love Languages

5-love-languagesOf all the tag lines for books, the one for this book is probably the best. It says “The Secret to Love That Lasts”. That’s really it. We all want to love and be loved. The big trick is HOW?!

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman will help you understand how to love others in a way that means the most to them.

This book is always my ‘go to book’ when I speak with struggling couples who want to grow in their marriage. Communication is one of the number one issues that all struggle with, especially in the area of showing and receiving love.

This book will take a lot of the guess work out of figuring out LOVE.

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