What Are You Reading At The Moment?

Went to Borders the other day. Love going there. Never really get to fully appreciate it when the girls are with me but I did get the opportunity to browse and checked out a few books that look interesting even alllowing for the pile I still have left over from last year!

Leaders are readers. You want to gain some knowledge then you need to be reading and I don’t mean just general fiction. You need to read stuff that will challenge you, inspire you, stretch you, teach you something. Start small. Don’t be intimidated by how much others read – have your own plan, set your own goal and go for it!

This is the last 10 books I have read – what do you think?
Vintage Jesus
Chazown
Turning Points
Starving Jesus
Wake Up Dead Man
Sticky Church
Moving in the Spirit
Meatball Sundae
Holy Discontent
IT

After any good recommendations. Come July I will be switching my emphasis from reading my Bible in BIG CHUNKS to reading from an ever increasing pile of books.

Let me know – WHAT ARE YOU READING? WHY WOULD I ENJOY IT?

Don’t Lose IT!!

In his book IT, Craig Groeschel talks about how people can lose IT. He states that it’s normally through getting comfortable in your relationship with God that the problems start – he says the big culprits are laziness, complacency and distraction. These are the challenges of living in the world. The answer is being strong in your daily disciplines, keeping the main thing the main thing.

Here are some things that I am discovering as I continue on my journey as a Pastor…

I don’t want to lose IT. Thinking about this always reminds me of the scripture where Paul writes that all things are lawful but not all things are helpful. In my opinion this is a good check for me.

The disciplines for keeping IT are not easy. Every day I have an opportunity to get distracted from the purpose that I believe God has for my life by spending too much time on other stuff – they are not wrong but they are not always helpful for my destiny.

God keeps giving me a friendly reminder that what ever I do as a Pastor it probably will never happen unless I keep praying, keep reading and keep believing God for it. I’m a great believer that you need to be passionate about it enough to get on your knees for it. I can talk a good game but what about what I do in private!!

I choose to follow IT. Every day when the alarm goes off I know that I don’t have a choice. The new day ahead, I have already determined that the most important thing I must do is to get up and pray. It is part of my non-negotiables now. Staying in bed is not wrong – in fact it seems to be the most beautiful thing in the world some mornings but I know praying is worth the sacrifice.

Lifestyle habits shape what IT looks like to others.
If I am to be a model of what a Christian is then my habits are important. The shape of my life shapes their view of God. My lifestyle habits then are reflective of how I want God to be seen. John Maxwell says that ‘Leaders give up to go up’. Some are not willing to rise to that challenge and maintain that they can have rights and responsibility. I don’t think it works like that.

I am learning to warn others if I think they are losing IT
People do drift from their true north, the ultimate cause of living for Jesus by convincing themselves that their lifestyle is acceptable when they probably know its not really. Why do good Christians get wrapped up in their own world and compromise so easily? Big letters coming up: ITS NOT ABOUT US!

For example (an I know this might raise a few comments) getting drunk is NOT okay…and some of you are. Feel like Paul writing to the Church at Ephesus saying ‘Don’t get drunk with wine (or other stuff); but be filled with the Holy Spirit’. Don’t allow yourselves to take second best.

[Am I being too hard? What are your views on this? Have you lost IT? Have you got IT back?]

Book Review: IT by Craig Groeschel

I would recommend this book to any Pastors and leaders, whether you think you have IT or not. It is a very easy read, written by someone who is on the same journey.

I always approach books I am reading with an attitude of wanting to learn, be reminded, to be poked in some way about how I am leading. This book did not disappoint. Some of the thoughts will doubtless come through in future posts…

Craig talks about an effective vision. It struck an accord with me…an effective vision is memorable, portable and motivational. It should capture attention, stir hearts and be irresistibly moving. It should cause agitation, ambition, ignition, even competition. Certainly something to aim for when talking vision for Xcel Church Darlington.

When you increase your focus, you decrease your options. That’s the power of great vision.

All of Chapter 9 hit me round the head. It’s smack bang in the middle of where I am at the moment. ‘You want others to have IT’ It’s not about you.

As the leader ‘you must have IT’…the rare combination of passion, integrity, focus, faith, expectation, drive, hunger and God’s anointing…

As a leader what we need is: raw passion for God and for people.

Your relationship with God is only as good as you want it to be – that is so simple it’s incredible. Easy to forget. The walk with God is a daily determination to not lose IT. This is a challenge for me, probably lessons for everyone in that statement.

Big reminder…when you become comfortable in your relationship with God you will lose IT. By comfortable Craig says he means complacent, lazy and distracted. Going to post about these in the future – it’s the biggest let down for most Christians who lose their drive for God.

Having read the book I am reminded that my relationship with God is so important. I must work to keep IT. God, stretch me, ruin me, heal me.

Get your copy here.