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A Letter to RLC, All
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A Letter to Real Life Church>>>

Hello. Hello.

What another amazing weekend at Real Life Church! Things are simply awesome and only getting better.
Here are a few things I wanted to share with you this week…

1. Celebrating changed lives never gets old! Jesus Christ is so amazing! Five people made a decision for Christ this Sunday! Thank You Jesus.
So much of that begins before the response time on Sunday. It begins throughout the week when people are praying for the worship experience. It continues when people serve and give their time and resources. We’re all on this amazing journey together and it’s only getting better.  Thank you for partnering with me to connect people with our awesome God.

2. I can’t wait to share with you a brand new series this weekend entitled, “I KNOW YOU ARE BUT WHAT AM I”.  This series is about how God sees us and therefore how we should see ourselves. You’ll be surprised, challenged, and encouraged to reach for more of God. It’s going to be life changing for all of us. Part 1 is entitled “AMBASSADORS”.

series.graphic

3. LIFEGROUPS- Life groups are a vital part of what happens at RLC. If you currently don’t attend an RLC Life Group you should give it a try. Check out the Real Life Church website for details on where you can get connected today.

4.  Please say a prayer for me! Sunday afternoon following church I will be boarding a plan headed for Jacksonville, Fl. This is for the annual ARC ALL ACCESS Conference. It’s an amazing opportunity to glean ideas, be around other pastors, and gather fresh perspective. It’s also a wonderful time for reflection. I’d be honored for you to pray with me for God to speak something special and specific into my life during this trip. Also for safe travel. (I don’t really like flying.)

That’s all for this week. I look forward to seeing you soon either at Wednesday night AWANA, a life group, or church again Sunday. Hope you have a great week.

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All, Church Planting Resources
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Must Read List for Church Planters

One of the first things I learned about being a church planter was just how much I didn’t know about church planting. There are so many things unique to this particular type of endeavor it can seem overwhelming. The great thing though is there are mounting resources for planters.

I once read that early in his leadership journey,  John Maxwell would pay an executive $1oo for one hour of his time.  During that one hour, John would ask as many questions as he could.  Through this he gradually learned what it was to be a leader. This is a great idea. However, it simply wasn’t possible for me. So, I discovered the next best thing… books. There are scores and scores of great books about church planting. Here are a few that we really benefited from during our church planting journey and still do.   (These are NOT in order.)

Viral Churches: Helping Church Planters Become Movement Makers    
Ed Stetzer and Warren Bird 

 

Exponential
Dave & Jon Ferguson

 

The Purpose Driven Church
Rick Warren

This book has pretty much become the gold standard of church planting and church growth books.  The paradigm shift Rick talks about is just where we need to be as pastors and church leaders. His idea is profound yet simple. Church isn’t about keeping the sheep happy anymore. It’s about being a resource center for those far from God. Everyone has a purpose in life and that purpose is not to simply breath air. Life is meant to be lived.

 

Launch
Nelson Searcy

Nelson has a growing library not just for the church planter but for post-launch-life as well. This book is the jumping off point. He talks not only about the theory and theology of church planting but also dives head-long into budgeting ideas, scheduling, etc. Great stuff.

 

Simple Church
Thom Rainer

This book is something for helping you set up the idea of what your church needs to be before it’s even born. He basically talks about established churches being a mile wide and an inch deep. We’re too complicated so in the end there’s a lot of smoke but no fire. Thom encourages us to trim the fat and get back to church as it was in the beginning, simple and effective.

 

Up the Middle Church
Matt Keller

When our team was in the planting process we went through this book then did it again in post-launch-life. It continues to be a yearly read and study. Matt Keller does a great job at combining the principles of vision with the realities of marketing strategies and a life-giving way of life. Definitely worth reading… then reading again.

 

The Circle Maker
Mark Batterson

Not as much a how-to book as it is a faith inspiring book. Mark dares you to believe in the impossible which is pretty much the name of the game when it comes to church planting. It’s also great to read his true life church planting success story.

 

Sun Stand Still
Steven Furtick

Pastor Steven has become a rather polarizing character in the modern church world.  I love him and what God is doing through His life.  When God first spoke to me about planting a church, I was like a fish out of water. I had no idea what to do, where to start, or what to say. I didn’t even know how to articulate what God was doing on the inside of me. People would ask what was going on and I would say, “I don’t know. It’s just different.”
Reading Sun Stand Still changed all that. It gave me a vocabulary for the revolution happening inside my heart. It taught me how to have faith for impossible dreams. I learned this phrase, “If your prayers aren’t intimidating to you chances are their insulting to God.”  Using the lessons from Pastor Steven, my wife and I began to believe for big things and God has not disappointed.

 

Other honorable mentions are:
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership- John Maxwell
Good to Great- Jim Collins
Courageous Leadership- Billy Hybels
The Seven Characteristics of Highly Effective People- Steven Covey
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team- Patrick Lencioni

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Good Friday

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Book Review: Good to Great

good-to-great-book-reviewBook 17 of 5o in my quest to read 50 books in 52 weeks. (2013)

Good to Great (by: Jim Collins)

Link to this book

This book is a huge eye opener. So many times we wonder why we hit this glass ceiling. So many leadership books talk about not hitting the ceiling. About pressing boundaries and never accepting the status quo. There’s only one problem. Most of them do not tell you how to overcome being really good.

Jim Collins says, “Good is the enemy of great. Too many companies and organizations aren’t great because they are really good.” This has been the story of so many things I’ve been a part of. We were never truly great simply because we were really good…. and satisfied.

This book is for everyone who is not satisfied with being good. It might hurt but it’s worth the stretch.

Personal Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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All, Books, Leadership
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Book Review: Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

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Book 18 of 5o in my quest to read 50 books in 52 weeks. (2013)

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (by: Stephen Covey)

Link to this book

This is just one of those books. You read it and immediately begin re-reading it. So much good, applicable information. I love Stephen’s honesty as well as his process in teaching hisreaders to become the best they can be.

I love how it’s also not a quick fix. It’s a lifestyle of habits which have to be learned. The best things in life may be free but they’re not always easy.

Every leader should read this at least seven times.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

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Will it be Worth it?

One day, when you “go the way of the DoDo” what story will you leave behind? Will it matter that you had so much money, invested so wisely, or worked so much? Or, will it matter that you loved so deeply, you shined so brightly, and impacted so many? This statement (the last part not the ‘dodo’ part) is something I felt God speak into my life a long time ago. The idea is no matter what you choose to do with your life you only have a short time to do it. The truth is all of us want to be successful in our respective fields of study.

We all want the house on the hill, nice cars, trophy spouses, genius kids, and retire when we’re 50. However, you’re life will not be measured in dollars and cents. It won’t be measured in how many hours you worked or the gold rolex you get for 25 years of service. Think about the great people of the past. We don’t remember how much money they made or even how much education they had. We remember what they did. We remember how they changed the lives of others.

We remember Abraham Lincoln for setting the slaves free.
We remember Martin Luther King for giving his life to make everyone equal.
We remember George Washington for giving the best years of his life to fight for our legacy of freedom.

Do you know how much any of these guys were worth numerically? Can any of us put a price how much they were worth historically? So instead of living your life to make a momentary difference, why not live your life to make a lasting difference?

“You can have anything you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” -Zig Ziglar

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50 books in 52 weeks.

1356116829-1356116829_goodreads_miscI’ve been posting a lot of articles over the past few days in the Book Reviews section of my blog.
The reason is simple. I made a goal for myself and honestly it was a secret. I wanted to really increase the amount of books I was FINISHING this year.
I probably started over a hundred books last year and only finished ten. This year was all about doing it differently.
Therefore, I’ve come up with a goal for myself… 50 in 52.

This year I want to read 50 books in 52 weeks. Is it possible? I have no idea. It’s still better than ‘just trying to do better’. I’m like most of you and work better with a goal in mind. So, here I goal. Why don’ you try it with me?

I’ve got it broken up into categories like this…

10- FUN (fiction)

10-Leadership

10-Business

20-Non-Fiction (Biographies, Documentaries, other)

That is a sort of general guideline I’m working with. I don’t want to read nothing but leadership books but yet it’s not just going to be a bunch of science-fiction either.

It’s proven that reading anything makes your brain process information faster and more efficiently making you smarter. That’s why the top two ways of increasing your intelligence is to read and do puzzles. I’m not good at puzzles so…

Here we go.

I may work out a grading scale so you’ll know how much I have or have not liked them. We’ll see. This effort isn’t really to develop my critical skills but to merely DO what I’m always TRYING at.

As Zig Ziglar use to say, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”

 

If you have any books you would like to recommend, let me know.

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Book Review: Entreleadership

EntreLeadership_WEBBook 8 of 5o in my quest to read 50 books in 52 weeks. (2013)

Entreleadership (By Dave Ramsey)
Link to this book

Every business leader should make this part of their library. It’s helped me in more ways than I can write about here.
My personal favorite section is where Dave explains the difference between dreams, vision, and goals. I’ve never heard it put more plainly.

A dream is something you wish could happen but have no idea how it could be.

A vision is something you want to happen and you have a good idea how it can be.

Goals are things you have actionable, attainable plans to achieve and are charting your progress regularly.

Dave says that all three steps on this road to success are necessary but it’s important to not stay in any of these phases too little or too long.

Homerun.

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Book Review: The Lord of the Rings

lord-of-the-rings-trilogy-movie-poster-2003-1020187968Book 9, 10, 11  of 5o in my quest to read 50 books in 52 weeks. (2013)

The Lord of the Rings (by: J.R.R. Tolkien)
Link to this series

Just like I said when talking about the Hobbit, it blows my mind that entire college courses have been taught about these works.  At the beginning of the story Tolkien says he wrote this trilogy to provide more info about the ring which Bilbo had AND to try his hand at a long story. I believe we can all agree he did very well presenting both.

I wouldn’t call myself a fanatical fan. That title is usually reserved for people who’ve read the Silmarillion. That’s a compilation of stories Tolkien was writing when he died.

However, these books are most likely going to be a annual read for me. I usually do so during the holidays or summer when the idea is to break away from the normal flow.

 

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Book Review: The Hobbit

The-Hobbit-1024x1024Book 15 of 5o in my quest to read 50 books in 52 weeks. (2013)

The Hobbit (by: J.R.R. Tolkien)
Link to this book

Bilbo Baggins. Gandalf. Hobbits. Gollum. It’s hard to imagine modern culture without these names. I wonder what Tolkien would’ve thought if he only knew how amazingly loved these books still are.
It blows my mind that entire college courses have been done studying these books.
I’m not going to go into any kind of explanation here. Just to say that the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings are probably going to be annual reads for me for a very long time. It’s a great way to escape our world for a little while and travel through Middle Earth.

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Book Reviews: The Hunger Games

hunger-games1Book 12, 13, 14 of 5o in my quest to read 50 books in 52 weeks. (2013)

The Hunger Games (by: Suzanne Collins)

Link to this book

This book series will always have a special place for me because we used the first movie (The Hunger Games) for part four of our series “Church at the Movies”.  The author said she first thought of the idea while flipping channels one night between soliders fighting in Iraq and reality TV. She said it seemed odd that two people about the same age were living completely different lives yet both competing for a prize. One was competing for their lives and the freedom of a nation while others were competing for their 15 seconds of fame.

While this trilogy is completely made up, it does present some great life lessons.
We’re taught to never doubt our abilities. We are also encouraged to see that given the right circumstances, greatness is waiting to be revealed in all of us. Katnis (the leading figure) never asked for everything which happened. However, she rose to the occasion.

This book makes me think of the great quote, “Some are born with greatness. Others have greatness thrust upon them.”

One person can truly change a generation if they are willing to pay the price.

This was a fun read and quite a few twists and turns. Definitely recommend it for your next vacation or down time.

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Book Review: Ir-Reverend

Irreverend-book-coverBook 5 of 5o in my quest to read 50 books in 52 weeks. (2013)

Ir-Reverend (By: Greg Surratt)

Link to this book

First of all, I love this guy. Before Greg Surratt was my leader as the president of the ARC he already had my respect as a great pastor and man of God.

Then I read his book. What can I say? It’s everything a great book should be. It’s encouraging, uplifting, funny, challenging, and then some.

I’m a sucker for good stories and this book is packed full of them. My favorite one would have to be when he took his staff to a movie theater to watch a ‘family movie’. Let’s just say there was a mix up in what they were suppose to be viewing! Classic greatness.

Greg also does a great job diving into the deeper issues of his faith with a transparent honestly which will leave you looking deeper inside yourself as well.

This book gets 9 out of 10 stars.

Well worth the read.

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