Wednesday, December 16, 2009

About to go Offline for a Month

Every year (approx 23rd of Dec - 23rd of Jan) I shut down my DELL Studio XPS 16 and go offline for a month. No Win 7, no Microsoft Word or Excel. No e-mail, facebook, blogging or blog reading. No Trademe, no Google, and no Wiki. It's a wonderful time of the year. You can actually live without all that stuff. Not long to go now!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Website of the Week...

I haven't been on the website for ages. It's a fun site.

The latest issue talks about clever nursury workers being able to pick the kids that only come to church for Christmas and steps parents can take to get past the nursury workers.

This issue from 2004 talks about Christians planning on being offended at a soon to be released Eminem album. Still one of my favourites.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Must Read Book Combos

I love to read. It’s just the way that I’m wired. I know plenty of people don’t enjoy reading; all I can say is oh well...

I’m semi committed to trying to read 52 books a year. I haven’t got there yet (mainly because studies keep me away from novels most of the time). I managed 46 in 2007, 36 in 2008, and am on target for another 36 or so this year.

Here are some book combos you might enjoy over the summer. I’ve tried to group some of the best books I’ve read this year together in groups of three. The intention being that the books while different from each other are complimentary in regards to broader themes and input.

I would 100% recommend every book on this list to all pastors and leaders. None of them are duds.

Why don’t you try a combo this summer?

Leadership & Management

How to Get Things Done – David Allen
(Fantastic book about managing your things to do list and responsibilities in life)
Communicating for a Change – Andy Stanley
(Excellent read about how to communicate more effectively, especially in regards to public speaking / preaching)
Death by Meeting – Patrick Lencioni
(Are you in too many meetings, running to many meetings, find most meetings pointless? This book will help you refine your meetings and increase productivity and effectiveness)

Biblical Grand-Narrative

The Lost World of Genesis One – John Walton
(A must read for all pastors, this book looks at Genesis chapter 1 as temple inauguration, massive implications in regards to creation, evolution, and how we deal with the creation account of Genesis)
The Drama of Scripture – C.G Bartholomew and M.W Goheen
(Excellent read and explanation of the big story of the bible. This is the big story in which every other story fits, every sermon is back dropped by, and ministry shaped)
Surprised by Hope – N.T Wright
(Wright as usual is outstanding. Surprised by Hope looks at life after life after death. A MUST read in regards to heaven, recreation and eternal life)


Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger – Ronald J Sider
(Deals with the realities of poverty for so much of the world; what will the Christian response be?)
A Life Stripped Bare – Leo Hickman
(A light hearted look at one man’s attempts to live an environmentally ethical life a big city)
Freedom of Simplicity - Richard Foster
(Outstanding challenge from Foster in regards to simplicity in our lifestyle choices and attitudes. One of my best reads this year)

Spiritual Disciplines

Fasting – Scot McKnight
(Inspired me to fast with renewed vigour, understanding and passion. Excellent explanation of what fasting is, is not, and why anyone would fast)
Off Road Disciplines – Earl Creps
(This is a great book about some alternative disciplines that are helpful in growth in life such as reverse mentoring. Senior Pastors, you want to read this)
Freedom of Simplicity – Richard Foster
(Outstanding challenge from Foster in regards to simplicity in our lifestyle choices and attitudes. One of my best reads this year)

Church Culture

The Church in Emerging Culture – Leonard Sweet
(Four different perspectives on the church in today’s culture, great lessons to be learnt from different perspectives)
Everything Must Change – Brian McLaren
(Essential read, some timely challenges to the message and mission of the church in the 21st Century)
The Essence of the Church – Craig van Gelder
(Brilliant book about what the church is. Discusses nature, then ministry, then organisational life of the church. Too often as leaders we discuss church around the wrong way)
Deep Church – Jim Belcher
(Offers a third way between emerging church and traditional church. If you’re in or lead Pentecostal church (like me) then reality is you are already a mix off all of the above. Worth a read for sure)


Random Designer – Richard Colling
(Discuss the compatibility of evolution and creation)
Saved from Sacrifice – S. Mark Heim
(Challenges traditional views of atonement theory, excellent read for all pastors)
Theology for the Community of God – Stanley Grenz
(Outstanding, outstanding, outstanding, everyone should at least read one book on systematic theology in their life, this is it!)

What books would you recommend I read?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Climate Change

Some people are skeptical in regards to human induced climate change.
(John Finkelde just posted about being a 'climate change agnostic.' He's a legend pastor from Australia with a cool blog you can find here).
The reality is we have to trust the experts.
While it may be tempting to say 'unfortunately’ we have to trust the experts, the truth is that fortunately we get to trust the experts. Average Joe just doesn’t have to time or ability to be an expert on every major issue in life. We have to, with humility and discernment, learn to trust experts. We do this in regards to our health with doctors, our cars with mechanics, and our computers with I.T gurus, to name but a few areas of life. We have to do this in regards to climate change as well. As Governor Schwarzenegger said in reference to human induced climate change, ‘if 98% of doctors said my son was sick and 2% said he was fine, I’d listen to the 98% every time. It’s common sense.’ The reality is 98% of scientists agree that human induced climate change is a reality. I’m no expert but I am happy to trust the majority of experts.

Why perhaps is conservative Christianity so ‘anti/skeptical’ of human induced climate change?

1. Mistrust of science due to scientific promotion of theory of evolution. Literal fundamental readings of Genesis 1 fail to allow for the compatibility of creation and evolution. The reality is though evolution and creation are not mutually exclusive. Best book to read would be The Lost World of Genesis One by John Walton.

2. Poor theology in regards to creation care, the gospel message, and the desire of God to save the entire cosmos. We were created to dwell in harmonious relationship with creation; sin has massively damaged this relationship though. Salvation is not just for the individual though and is available for all that call on the name of the Lord; salvation will also rescue creation from the bondage of sin. As Christ followers we are to bring salvation to our neighbours and creation. Best book to read would be The Green Revolution by Ben Lowe or even Theology for the Community of God by Stanley Grenz.

3. Potential reality of required life style changes should human induced climate change be true. As Christ followers created in the image of God as1) icons of Him on earth, 2) as stewards to take care of creation, and as 3) beings created for community and right relationship with God, ourselves, each other, and creation. If human induced climate change is a reality, faithfulness to Jesus and the gospel would require us to change the way we live.

Climate change and environmental issues are a massive opportunity for the church to engage in culture. We do have a message concerning those issues. It’s the message of the gospel!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Website of the Week...

Hire Things is a great concept to reduce consumerism, promote sustainability, develop community, and even make a dollar or too. Not much I can hire in Tauranga at the moment. Great concept though, especially as more people get on board. Check it out.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Here is an online Advent Calendar by IVP you might find meaningful leading into Christmas.

For those of you who don't know what Advent is click here.

Merry Christmas.