My November Reading

How to Lead by Jo Owen. Some might say that leadership books are ‘ten-a-penny’ and they are probably right. That makes finding and reading the right ones all the more challenging. So let me help you…this is worth a read.

Who am I to comment but I found the format of the book a great way to present the challenge of leadership – looking at what Owen considers a clear leadership framework. NOt to give the game away but analysing each of these aspects from the position of a leader within an organisation was refreshing and insightful. Much to think about, I underlined a lot. I am hopeful that having read the book I can put what I am learning into practice. To not do so would be foolish. This is a recommended read.

The Third Man Factorr by John Geiger. When I picked this book up from the library, read the summary on the back, I was intrigued. The whole idea of a ‘third man’ being with you, a guardian angel perhaps, mixed with the Shackleton story, it got my attention.

In one aspect the book did not disappoint – it was packed with stories, and I enjoy great stories but after a while, I just got bored. Maybe if I was a climber, explorer, someone who put themselves in places of extreme conditions and loneliness it would have connected with me more. I think the main disappointment was a lack of definitive opinion from the author, unless I just missed it.

It’s not often I say this but I would not recommend this book

Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick. To read a Pastor’s story is to share in their journey. The honesty, vulnerability, the trust they must put in God is challenging and encouraging.

‘If we have the audacity to ask, God has the ability to perform’. That is some opening statement. It captures the heart of the writer and makes you want to believe for the same. I need to pray more Sun Stand Still prayers.

‘Extraordinary moves of God begin with ordinary acts of obedience’. It’s encouraging to think that I don’t need to be extraordinary. I just need to be me. I need to have the courage to ask God for the impossible – much like Joshua did.

‘A Sun Stand Still prayer should be so big that you could never achieve it on your own, but it shouldn’t be bigger than your ability to believe that God can achieve it’. For every Pastor, church leader and Christian, this book should be on the pile to read.

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. I haven’t read all of Gladwells books but enough to know what to expect. Excellent research which leads to some incredible stories that demonstrate the points being made.

The 10,000 hours of practice for the elite was eye-opening. How those at the top don’t work just harder or even much harder that everyone else. The truth is they work much, much harder. It’s not that you don’t know this but when you read the stories behind…it becomes SO obvious.

Hard work. The one thing we try and avoid but it does seem that if you want to succeed then it cannot be avoided. ‘If you work hard enough and assert yourself and use your mind and imagination, you can shape the world to your desires’. Great read and would recommend.

Get your copies here

Jesus Is Building His Church

I am excited about what God is doing in His Church. As I spoke on Sunday in Darlington, these are exciting times for Xcel Church across the region, the North East of England.

3 locations now meet at 11am in Aycliffe, Darlington and Durham. Last weekend at our baptism service we packed in 350 people into the Aycliffe venue on the evening. This weekend just gone saw great numbers again and at Darlington we headed into Central Hall once more.

Add to this, the building of a £5 million Conference Centre and these are truly momentous times to be a part of Xcel Church.

We are building for the future.
We are building a legacy for future generations.

One thought always stays with me when I think about the vision that I have, especially for Xcel Darlington where I am Pastor. When I talk about ‘Being One of the Thousand’ I have to remember that regardless how great my ideas might be this truth never changes…

Jesus is building His Church.

The privilege is that He uses us to make it happen. What a privilege. What a responsibility. What an honour. It is a role that we cannot take lightly and need to work really hard at.

Reading Pastor Steven Furtick’s website and the story about the month of August. What a month. 900 people becoming Christians over 3 weeks. Over 1000 people baptised. Now that’s Church like it’s meant to be. Read his full article here…

This does not happen by chance though. The team at Elevation Church prayed and fasted, believed God for it and He honoured their stand of faith.