I love to read! I have a personal library of nearly 1,100 books. Most of them I have read. Unfortunately I don’t get to read as much as I would like so I try to read one book per month. I also try to read a novel once a year. So without further ado here is my 2014 book list. With links to Amazon to buy them, but I don’t get any money if you buy them.
- Divergent by Veronica Roth: I read the whole series and it was wonderful! It is an easy read and a great story.
- Autobiography of Peter Cartwright: He is one of the early traveling Methodist Preachers and has quite a story to tell from the time he beat Abraham Lincoln in an election to the time he got in a fist fight with the Baptists. All great stuff!
- Christmas is Not Your Birthday by Mike Slaughter: Too often Christmas gets commercialized and we create a system of gluttony and debt. This book addresses those issues and calls us to celebrate Jesus’ birthday.
- Making Disciples by Ralph Moore: This book is the one I would recommend the most. It gives practical tips and ideas on how to introduce people to Jesus.
- Change the World by Mike Slaughter: This book was part of a book study I led at my church. It was a great study and led to some significant changes at the church.
- Leadership Prayers by Richard Kriegbaum: A book of prayers for leaders in any capacity. The temptation was to read the whole book in one sitting but I didn’t. I read one prayer per day and it was beautiful.
- Unleashing the Word by Adam Hamilton: A good book on preaching. Great for new pastors who are struggling with preaching.
- Sabbath as Resistance by Walter Brueggemann: This book wasn’t as good as I was told it would be but I still enjoyed it. All about giving up the culture of now.
- Becoming a Healthy Church by Stephen Macchia: I do not recommend this book. I found it outdated and focused on the “Church Growth Model.” I have major issues with that model and as a result I did not like this book.
- Shiny Gods by Mike Slaughter: Another decent book by Mike Slaughter. Easy read about giving up idols in our life.
- Dare to Dream by Mike Slaughter: How to have God sized dreams and actually accomplish them. I enjoyed it.
- Momentum for Life by Mike Slaughter: I really enjoyed this book as it talks about practical ways to live out a life of faith for a lifetime.
- Making Sense of the Bible by Adam Hamilton: This is one of my favorite books of the year. Adam Hamilton breaks down the hard topics of the Bible and makes them understandable for people who do not have a Master’s Degree. I would highly recommend this book.
- Leading Beyond the Walls by Adam Hamilton: This book is helpful to pastors trying to turn around a church or plant a new church. I enjoyed it and would recommend it to any pastor.
So, there you have it, all my books from this year. I didn’t plan to read so much Adam Hamilton or Mike Slaughter but that is how it worked out. For 2015 I intend on reading some non-methodist stuff and try and read a few more novels.
1 In the beginning was the Word
and the Word was with God
and the Word was God.
2 The Word was with God in the beginning.
3 Everything came into being through the Word,
and without the Word
nothing came into being.
What came into being
4 through the Word was life,[a]
and the life was the light for all people.
5 The light shines in the darkness,and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light.6 A man named John was sent from God. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning the light, so that through him everyone would believe in the light. 8 He himself wasn’t the light, but his mission was to testify concerning the light9 The true light that shines on all people
was coming into the world.
10 The light was in the world,
and the world came into being through the light,
but the world didn’t recognize the light.
11 The light came to his own people,
and his own people didn’t welcome him.
12 But those who did welcome him,
those who believed in his name,
he authorized to become God’s children,
13 born not from blood
nor from human desire or passion,
but born from God.
14 The Word became flesh
and made his home among us.
We have seen his glory,
glory like that of a father’s only son,
full of grace and truth.
15 John testified about him, crying out, “This is the one of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is greater than me because he existed before me.’”
16 From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace; 17 as the Law was given through Moses, so grace and truth came into being through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. God the only Son, who is at the Father’s side,has made God known.
39 In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country,40 where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43 And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44 For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
Luke 1:26-38Common English Bible (CEB)
26 When Elizabeth was six months pregnant, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a city in Galilee,27 to a virgin who was engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David’s house. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 When the angel came to her, he said, “Rejoice, favored one! The Lord is with you!”29 She was confused by these words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Mary. God is honoring you. 31 Look! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great and he will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. 33 He will rule over Jacob’s house forever, and there will be no end to his kingdom.”
34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How will this happen since I haven’t had sexual relations with a man?”
35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come over you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the one who is to be born will be holy. He will be called God’s Son.36 Look, even in her old age, your relative Elizabeth has conceived a son. This woman who was labeled ‘unable to conceive’ is now six months pregnant. 37 Nothing is impossible for God.”
38 Then Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely[b] on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
- the losers
- those at the end of their rope
- the spiritual zeroes
- the bankrupt, pathetic, and lame
- the out of it
- those without a trace of good
- the morally empty
- the pathetic
Mark 8:22-26 Common English Bible (CEB)
22 Jesus and his disciples came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to Jesus and begged him to touch and heal him. 23 Taking the blind man’s hand, Jesus led him out of the village. After spitting on his eyes and laying his hands on the man, he asked him, “Do you see anything?”
24 The man looked up and said, “I see people. They look like trees, only they are walking around.”
25 Then Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes again. He looked with his eyes wide open, his sight was restored, and he could see everything clearly. 26 Then Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t go into the village!”
Checkbook is where rubber meets the road. Where what is really in our heart is shown. Your checkbook will tell what you really care about.
- No matter what you say your checkbook gives away what you really believe
- Think back to your 10 most recent transactions.
- Most of it goes to home, cars, food.
- What is next? Yourself? Your family? Healthcare?
- If you only had your checkbook to describe yourself would it be accurate? would it say you love yourself most, your family most or would it say that you love Jesus most? in luke 14 Jesus says if he isn’t first you are not a Christian. even says you must hate everyone else.
As followers of God we are called to make every part of our life look pleasing in the eyes of God, including our checkbook. Part of what that means is we are called to give back to God
Leviticus 27:30 says that first 10% of everything is holy.
Hebrew: Ma’hasar = 10%
Malachi 3:10 says bring the whole 10% into the store house – Local Church
- Above 10% goes elsewhere but first 10% is for the local church.
- store house is where priests kept supplies to help those in need.
- Yes, this is what keeps the lights on, pays my salary, pays mission share.
- It is also what keeps VBS, Choir, Outreach, and Revivals happening and making disciples of all nations.
A lot of times we don’t do this. The reality is it becomes more difficult to give the more we have.
- If I only make 10 dollars a year it is easy to give away 1 because you can’t do much with 1 dollars, we do this even for children’s sermons
- But if I make 10 thousand a year giving away 10% is hard because that 1,000 is something we can do something with.
- If God blesses me and I make 100,000 a year giving away 10k is a lot. There is no way I am giving away that much money.
- Ain’t no way I am giving away 10k I can do something with that.
- We can justify to ourselves why we shouldn’t give away more.
That isn’t how to be rich it is how to be selfish. As followers of God we aren’t called to be selfish. Instead we are going to be intentional about returning to God what belongs to God.
Tithing teaches me to put God first. Deut. 14:23
- The purpose of the tithe is to teach you to always put God first in your lives.
- tithing is 10% of your income into the offering plate of the church. Without designating it. If you are designating your tithe it isn’t a tithe. If you say “I’m going to give my tithe to a specific fund.” You are not tithing. Tithing is left up to the will of God and you give up control over how it is spent.
As a result….
- If the first check you write is to God then your life will begin to reflect God first in your life.
Most of the time we don’t give to God first
- For example we have a pie
- Mortgage – big piece
- Car payment
- Credit Card Debt
- Kids and activities
- Self Care
We forget god and give God our leftovers.That isn’t being rich, that is being selfish
Tithing teaches us to put God first.
- First fruit belongs to God.
- Take whole pie and cut out 10%
- we say thank you for blessing me with this whole pie but this first part isn’t mine so we give it back to God. It is my honor to worship you with 10%
- This teaches me to prioritize my whole life around God. I am worshipping with 10% but my whole life is around God.
Tithing increases my faith in God.
- 90% with the blessing of God goes further than 100% without the blessing from God.
- It takes faith to give to God first.
- If we give what’s left over it doesn’t take faith.
- Test me. See if your 90% goes further than your 100%
- We must be intentionally giving back to God what is already Gods.
- 2 Corinthians 9:7 We must decide in our hearts what we are going to give and not make excuses.
- No giving less because of a bad sermon, bad hymns, or you are angry. What is your heart telling you to give?
- that is robbing god and allowing others to steal what already is god that is saying you are going to let someone else determine your worship to god.
2 Corinthians 9:7
- Give with Joy. God has given you oxygen, food, intelligence, salvation, and so much more. Giving back to God in joy is a natural response when you realize everything you have and are is a gift from God.
This is how God gave to us, with joyful and intentional faith.
- Romans 5:8 While we were yet sinners Jesus died for us. Jesus believed by Faith that we would respond.
- if you say ten percent is old testament you are right. new testament is everything. every penny and your very being on the altar as a living sacrifice. so maybe we will start with a tithe until we learn to give our whole being to god.
- At the cross Jesus died for the whole world believing in faith that his sacrifice would change the world.
- If you can’t decide is it 10% of the net or the gross, you make that decision with joy and knowledge that Jesus gave everything He had so that you can have eternal life.
- God doesn’t care if you put in 10k or 10 cents. What God wants is for you to put him first in your life. To prioritize your life so that everything revolves around God and your money is included in that. So start with 10% and see what God does next.
- Not about equal giving, it is about equal sacrifice.
I once heard a tv preacher say that when we give his ministry a hundred God will repay a thousand. That is an abuse of scripture. We don’t give to get rich. We give because we trust in God and understand that God has called his followers to be faithful in all aspects of our life and that includes our wallet. You may not get a return and a new rolls Royce but you will get a life revolving around god and that Is more important than anything else.