Book Report: PRIMAL

I regularly read Mark Battersons blog and a few months ago, he began to give away free copies of his new book: “Primal”. I ordered a free copy for my Pastor and for myself. I must admit, the free copy sat on the bookshelf until my pastor Chip began talking about how great the book was. I have wanted to read through a book with Pastor Chip for a long time now, so I grabbed the book and jumped right into it.

The foundation of this book focuses on the Great Commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength”. Batterson disects that verse explaining the significance of loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Bastterson begins by explaining that Christians are too good at complaining about what is wrong with cultural without addressing what is wrong with themselves. He says: “We’re not great at the Great Commanment. In too many instances, we’re not even good at it.”

There are four main divisions in this book. I will share them along with my favorite quotes from each section.

The heart of Christianity is primal compassion.

  • ” Suffering helps us become less absorbed. A little suffering can produce a lot of compassion”
  • “What is your God ordained passion? What will kill you if you don’t do it?”
  • “We are blessed to bless”
  • “God doesn’t bless you so that you can drive an expensive car, join the junky car club” 🙂
  • “Your want’s determine your reality. If you focus on your want’s, enough will never be enough.”
  • “If you focus on the needs of others, you’ll discover you have more than enough”
  • “The most important decisions you make are pre-decisions. Pre-decisions are the decisions you make before you have to make the decision.”

The soul of Christianity is primal wonder. (GREAT SECTION)

  • “Have you ever had an epiphany? A Moment when heaven seemed to invade earth? A Moment when eternity seemed to invade time? A moment when the presence of God was so tangible that it almost felt like a cool breeze on a hot day?”
  • “The Holy Spirit compensates for our sensory limits by enabling us to conceive of things we cannot perceive with our five senses.”
  • “The emotions we experience don’t reflect external reality; they reflect internal reality. We don’t see the world as it is, but as we are”
  • “If our souls are full of wonder, then our life will be wonderful”
  • “A relationship with Christdoesn’t always change our circumstances, but it does change the way we see ourselves, see others, and see God”
  • “To love God is to love his voice, or to put it another way, to love God is to love His Word”
  • “All scripture is equally inspired, but not all scripture is equally applicable.”
  • “It’s the daily discipline that will ultimately determine our destiny . And if you maintain the discipline long enough, the discipline will turn into desire.”
  • “We are what we read.”

The mind of Christianity is primal curiosity. (FAVORITE… AMAZING)

  • “A mind stretched by a new idea never returns to its original shape.”
  • “Learning isn’t a luxury; it’s a stewardship issue.”
  • “We stop creating the future and start repeating the past. And that is the day we stop living and start dying”
  • “The God who conveniently fits within the confines of your mind will never fill your soul with wonder”
  • “Einstein himself said: “I have no special gift. I am only passionately curious.””
  • “The church ought to be the most curious place on the planet”
  • “Most academic programs revolve around force-feeding knowledge rather than unleashing curiosity. The result? We learn some things. But we lose what is most important: the love of learning”
  • “Quality of worship is determined by quantity of knowledge”
  • “love is not a mindless thing, you cannot truly love what you do not really know. That is called ignorance.”
  • “Maintaining the status quo is not good stewardship”
  • “One God idea is worth more than a thousand good ideas”
  • Change of pace + Change of place = Change of perspective
  • “If you want to think new thoughts, then read new things, meet new people, and go new places.”
  • “God won’t grow us beyond our ability to disciple people”

The strength of Christianity is primal energy.

  • “At the end of the day, God isn’t going to say, “Well said, good and faithful servant.”
  • “Most of us are not creative, not because we’re not creative. We’re not creative because it’s too hard.”
  • “I’m absolutely convinced that the greatest predictor of success in any endeavor is persistence.”
  • “Life is too short to sit at green lights”
  • “Overanalysis always results in spiritual paralysis.”
  • “Is God’s ultimate plan a weekly pilgrimage to the pew?”
  • C.S. Lewis: “We are half-hearted creatures fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us.”
  • “Nothing is more de-energizing than sin”
  • “Vision acts as a preservative. It keeps us young. It keeps us energized. It keeps us on the offensive.”
  • “None of us can imagine what God is capable of. Which means none of us can imagine what we’re capable of if we give God control of our lives.”
  • “I am absolutely convinced that our biggest problem is our small view of God. Every other problem is a symptom.”
  • “G.K. Chesterton, “How much happier you would be, how much more of you there would be, if the hammer of a higher God could smash your small cosmos.”

This was a great read that was very challenging and a great reminder of how Great our God is and how small we are. This book motivates one to learn, so that we can love God better.The balance of science and theology in this book is terrific. There was a part in the book where Batterson explains that when he has fallen away from the Lord, he “goes back to the place” where God worked greatly in his life. I have been motivated by that in great ways. I am striving to go back to the place where maybe God was a little bit more special to me than he is right now.

Primal: Great Read!

Men’s Reading Group

Alright guys! The time has come to get together and grow! I read a book about a year ago that was incredible for my spiritual growth. I enjoyed it so much that I just recently picked it up again to remind myself of some important disciplines that I need to grow in, and it hit me! This is the book that we need to read together!

Let me explain: I really want to find a group of guys that are willing to read one chapter of a book each week… (that equals about 2.5 pages per day). It might seem like a lot to someone who never reads, but trust me, it is definitely attainable and definitely worth it. You have to start somewhere, so why not now. My goal is to read the book and meet somewhere each week to talk about what jumped out at us. The book is “Good to Great in God’s Eyes” by Chip Ingram.

Here is the book! You can click on it to order it, or you can give $8.00 to me and I will order one for you.

Please let me know through email or a phone call if you are interested so I know how long we need to wait before we meet. I want to give every guy time to get the book in and have time to read the introduction before we meet together for the first time!

Thanks guys! I am excited to see how we can grow and influence each other in the Lord by reading and studying together!

 

What about Isaac?

I am reading through the Bible in 90 days with a few other people in my life and I have already been blown away by some of the things that I have seen and discovered for the first time, and I am now on Day 2. 🙂 The plan that I am using can be found HERE. As I was reading yesterday and this morning, I came across a new thought that I would like to share.

Last night I spoke to the teenagers about the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22. I thought about in a new dimension that I have never thought about before. It is easy to see that God was testing Abraham, after all the Chapter begins by introducing Abraham, and clearly places the main focus on Abraham.

I think that often times our churches tend to do the same thing that we do as we read Genesis 22. We focus on the older people, and the young person who is just as important tends to get overlooked. Have you read this story behind the eyes of Isaac?

God wanted to do great things in the life of Abraham and all of his descendants, and he used Isaac in that test just as much as he used Abraham. Yes, clearly the instructions were given to Abraham, but due to Isaacs respect, obedience, and willingness to surrender, God blessed their family line in greater ways than they could have ever imagined.

I believe that God wants to do something great in our Church, I believe that God wants to do something great in our local schools, in our cities and on and on the list goes, but what if He plans to use our teenagers to do it, like He did with Abraham and Isaac.

We look at the faith of Abraham in this chapter, which is absolutely amazing, but what about the faith of Isaac: the “lad”. Isaac needed more faith than even Abraham, after all, he WAS the sacrifice. (And he was simply trusting in the words of man, not the voice of God directly)

Isaac, a lad (vs.22), was a huge part in the blessings of his family, and the world as we know it. I assure you, had Isaac not responded with obedience, respect, and surrender, the story could have been very different.

How does God want to use our teenagers to accomplish great things? Last night I explained to the teenagers that God wants to do great things in our church and He may very well use them to do it. I explained to them that I want to invest my life into those teenagers that want to grow, that want to make a difference, that want to be used by God, even if it is just a few. The great thing is that there were three teenagers that came up to me after the service and said: Pastor Lee, I want to be one of those teenagers! How exciting!

So I end with this: Pray with me and for me, that I will be the mentor and the leader that these teenagers need to accomplish great things! Pray for these three names: Phillip, Michael, and Jon… Pray that more teenagers will tell God, I want to be used by you to do great things! Pray that these teenagers will be serious about their decisions!

Sorry that my thoughts were so “scatter-brained”, but I just had to share in some way what God has showed me and what he is beginning to do in the hearts and lives of our teenagers!!

I am not sure who you are reading this, but if you know a teenager, or if you are a teenager, you need to get this book: Read it and then come talk to me about it 🙂

Wanted: Guys that want to Grow

Something that I have envied over the past year are the tweets and the status updates that mention a group of men going to their “fraternity group” or their “book and a bagel club” to meet, socialize, hold each other accountable, sharpen each other, and grow together.

As I have mentioned this idea to some, I have heard, “I do not have time to fit something else in my schedule”. I understand. But I think that the sacrifice that might be required to make time for a group like this would be well invested.

Here are some reasons that I think a mens group is important and necessary:

1. Men Do Not Have Friends
– I mean we have golf buddies, work colleagues, and church acquaintances but we are not very good at establishing enjoyable lasting transparent friendships with other men. I recently started reading a book called: “Men Without Friends” and it has explained how hard it is for most men to build friendships. I remember growing up and hearing my Dad tell me how he had no friends, and I thought that was unusual, but the fact is that it is not. Far too many men have not sought out and invested into friendships and therefore they are not being sharpened, encouraged, and held accountable like they should be! “Iron sharpeneth Iron, so a MAN sharpeneth the countenance of HIS FRIENDS!!!

2. Men Do Not Have Accountability
– Now I know, that is a scary word, but it is so important. I have heard over and over through college and through different podcasts and other methods of learning how important and necessary accountability is. The problem is: What kind of guy wants to walk up to another man, and admit that he is not superman, admit that he makes mistakes, admit that he struggles with something, and then ask that other man to help him with it? None! That is not natural! If a guy walks up to me and pours all his baggage out and ask me to hold him accountable, I have to admit, it is a little uncomfortable, and I am a pastor!!! If a group of guys meet together on a regular basis there is an automatic and much more comfortable form of accountability. The word of God says that a 3 chord string is not quickly broken, how about a ten chord string?

3. Men Do Not Grow

As I was growing up, I would go over to my grandmother’s house and measure my growth on the back of one of their doors. It was so exciting to see where I was and see how far I have come! At about 17 years old,  I stopped growing. If I went back to that door today, I would be the same height that I was many years ago. I stopped growing. Every man does the same thing physically, but worse, many men stop growing spiritually. We get apathetic, complacent, and just plain busy. If we do not make our own personal growth a priority then we will fail to grow. Every guy has a natural desire, or passion for success, an obsession to be the best that we can be. But if we stop growing that passion fades and we become less that what God intended for us to be. We must grow spiritually, mentally, and relationally.

There are many other reasons why this is something very important to me, but these are three fundamental reasons. My desire is to start some kind of mens group in January. We will study things like being a godly husband, father and leader. We will generally read a chapter a week and then meet somewhere to talk about what we read. Don’t worry! I know many of you DO NOT READ, but it will be simple, no more than a page or two per day. I am so excited about growing with you guys!!

Ladies, if you are reading this, get your husband on board… Now don’t freak him out by telling him up that you are signing him up for a mens accountability group. I don’t know if I would go to that either!! 🙂 Just tell him to read this! Thanks!

Great Time in Orlando

Today Pastor Chip and I drove to Orlando for the November BBF Meeting at Orlando Baptist Church. It was a great meeting, in fact it was probably the best meeting that I remember going to in quite some time. It was a great encouragement and also a great source of great mission ideas. Here is a summary of some of the information that walked away with. The second speaker was Kirk Nowery, and the information that he shared was fantastic. A few specific quotes that he mentioned are this:

“There has been no great cause ever accomplished by one single person”

“If you want to know what a leader is thinking: Ask him!”

“It has never been about you or I, it has always been about Jesus”

“You will only be as good as the team around you”

“Sacrifice: When you give up something you love for something else that you love more”

“Billy Graham said: The three keys to my success: Prayer, Prayer Prayer”

Kirk Nowery was a great communicator and a true blessing: I am looking forward to checking out a few of his books:

making the most of your life

revolutionary generosity  

After lunch, the youth pastors went into the OBC Solution Youth Room where we were encouraged by OBC youth pastor, Wesley Beacham. He shared a testimony about how God has worked in his life throughout the last few years. Wes shared personal lessons that he had learned about Ministry Success, Ministry Killers, and Ministry Fences. Wes shared how we can kill our ministry when we do not put our family first, and he also told us about a great book he finished reading called: “Running on Empty” by Fil Anderson. I am excited about reading it and learning first hand some of the things that he spoke so passionately about today.

I thoroughly enjoyed the meeting today including the speakers, my family (who were visiting Orlando, from Jacksonville) the youth pastor session, and all of the creative aspects of the meeting throughout the day, but more than all that, as usual, I really enjoyed the 5 hours of fellowship, brainstorming, vision casting, and dreaming with my pastor on the way to Orlando and on the way home.

We talked about several important and exciting things, including future staff members, future building projects, upcoming building campaigns, books, preaching styles, upcoming events and lots more. I really enjoy the monthly BBF meetings, but more than anything, I love the travel time with my pastor.

The Remarkable Purple Cow

While on vacation last week, I picked up a book called “Purple Cow” by Seth Godin, recommended by Steven Furtick. It was a great book on marketing a remarkable product. Here are some of the greatest thoughts that I wrote down:

“If a products future is unlikely to be remarkable,… it is time to realize that the game has changed. Instead of investing in a dying product, invest profits into building something new” (Pg.27)

“Services that are worth talking about get talked about” (Pg. 33)

“When you launch a clunker, the criticisms of the failure will be real, but it won’t be about you- it’ll be about the idea” (Pg. 48)

“If a company is failing… the problem is this: They are probably running a company, not marketing a product” (Pg. 97)

“Challenge your people to start with a blank sheet of paper and figure out what they’d do if they could do just about anything. If they weren’t afraid of failing, what’s the most audacious thing they’d try?” (Pg. 105)

I really enjoyed reading this book, It was astounding to me how many of these marketing statements could be applied directly to ministry. Think about each statement in regards to the Christian life and the Church.

1. If the “old traditions” are ineffective to reach souls for Christ, then we need to leave the traditions and look for new ways to reach people. This does not mean water down doctrine or lower your standards, it means use the creativity that God has blessed us with to share the gospel. Andy Stanley says: “If you want to reach people that have never been reached then you have to do what has never been done”

2. I love this one: Put the word “church” before the second quote I listed: Church services that are worth talking about, get talked about. Jesus was not boring, a “church” service about Jesus and for Jesus should not be boring either.

3. Every idea that I come up with will not be a success, but learn from it, accept the criticism and move on. If you sit in our staff meetings then you would know I come up with some crazy ideas, some stupid ideas, alot of bad ideas, and occasionally a good idea. Dont give up when the bad ones get shot down 🙂

4. What would we do if we knew that we could not fail? Let’s do it!

Conclusion: the premise of this book is this: the first time you see a field of brown cows it catches your attention, but then as you see more and more, it gets boring. But what if you saw a purple cow! Now that would be remarkable! (for a while) The book goes on to explain that commercials do not work like they used to, for a product to do great now, it must be spread by WORD OF MOUTH.

That is was Jesus has been telling us to do from the beginning!

My application from the book: We have the most remarkable product ever! Jesus Christ! If we are truly living our Christian life with the abundance that God wants us to, then sharing our remarkable product will not be able to be stopped. Our product is already remarkable, we just need to live it and share it.

Guys are Jerks 2

 Yesterday I began to lay out some thoughts about the quality of men in todays world. I explained my concerns and concluded by saying that I would check out scripture and a few blogs on the issue and post the best of everything that I could find.

Before I share what I found, I will first share my own thoughts…

I can talk about this issue of “guys being jerks” because I am one. If you dont believe it, ask my wife, and my son 🙂 (although he will only say hello and bye bye) But seriously, I know that guys are jerks, because far more often than I would like, I find myself being one. Let me explain something: guys do not wake up in the morning and think to ouselves, How can I be a jerk today. On the contrary, generally guys think, How can I be great today, how can I make everyone around me LOVE ME today, How can I not be a jerk today. The problem is not our intentions, but our methods. Guys become jerks when our desire to be great collides with our pride and our insecurities.

Let me explain: We dont plan on being a jerk, but when we fall short of the greatness we desire then our insecurities are activated and we immediately send the defense out on the field, pride quickly follows and we know from scripture that contention only comes by pride.

What can be done about it:

Guys:

We must live in the spirit and not our flesh.

We must remind ourselves that sometimes we will fall short of the greatness we desire, and when we do, we need to accept it and learn from it. We must not let our insecurities lead us to pride, frustration and “Jerk-ness”.

Remember: People do not expect perfection from us, and when we do fail, we need the humility of Christ more than ever, NOT PRIDE.

Ladies:

When you see the “guy” in your life fail or succeed, make sure that you show love and ADMIRATION for him regardless. Many times, the reason for his frustration is because of  he wanted your admiration and respect more than anything and he thinks that because he fell short of his plan to impress you, there is no way that you could admire him, therefore his pride blows him up with a false sense of greatness, and let the problems begin…

Guys, lets not be jerks, there are enough of them out there already who aren’t even trying not to be. Live in the Spirit and you will not be controlled by your flesh!

Good Reading on the subject:

You have GOT to check out this blog: PERRY NOBLE

Another good one: MARK WILSON