Every January, since 2012, I’ve made a list of the books that I read the past year.  The list contains some titles that I listened to audibly through Audible.com and it contains some that I read the old fashioned way.  Some were really good and a couple were duds that I don’t recommend.  Some were Christian books and some were business books.

My favorite books out of these 19 include “Devine Direction”, “Through The Eyes of A Lion,” “Swipe Right”, and “The Last Arrow.”  My favorite non-Christian books this year was “The Captain’s Class”, which is a leadership book and “The Power of Broke.”


Here’s this year’s list:

  1.  Give and Take” by Adam M. Grant:  This book was a very boring business book but it did have some good principles.  Basically, if you serve others and don’t worry about yourself, good things will come back to you.  Some people are givers and some are takers.  Be a giver.  That’s all you need to know about this book.  (That’s actually how I run my real estate business.)
  2. “You Are A Bad ____”, by Jen Sincero:  Author tries in a very crass and unnecessary way (As the title suggests) to encourage you to believe in yourself more.  The was recommended by a business blog that I read but I don’t recommend this one at all.  There are many business books better than this one.
  3. “Through The Eyes of a Lion”, by Levi Lusko:  Luskos first book was very moving Unknownand inspiring.  He tells the pain of his daughter’s passing and how God helped himself and his wife through the pain.  This book is excellent and I will now read just about anything that Levi Lusko releases.
  4. “Divine Direction,” by Craig Groeschel:  This may be Craig’s best book yet.  If you’re looking for God’s leading, read this book.  I’m going to read it again.
  5. “Swipe Right:  The Life and Death of Sex and Romance”by Levi Lusko:  I meant what I said about reading anything Levi Lusko releases.  I loved this book too.  God’s dreams for your life are not meant to kill your joy but enhance it.  This book helps everyone see what God’s view of sex really is.
  6. The Power of Broke:  How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage,” by Diamond John:  The author shares how he became successful and also shares the stories of other entrepreneurs that became successful.  He stresses that if you really hunger for success, you won’t stop until you get it.  Really good book.
  7. “Seven Mile Miracle,” by Steven Furtick:  This wasn’t my favorite Furtick book, which surprises me.  I may go back through this one again.  Maybe my mind wasn’t right for this one at the time.
  8. “This Is Our Time:  Everyday Myths In Light Of The Gospel”,  by Trevin Wax:  The author calls the church to maintain it’s distinctiveness from the world.  We’re called to be different.  Thoughtful book.
  9. “Love is the Killer App” by Tim Sanders:  This is a business book.  Sanders encourages everyone to become a “Love Cat”, which means you devour as much knowledge from books as you can, network like crazy, and share as much knowledge as you can with others.  He encourages those in business to do whatever they can to spread the love to others in business situations.
  10. “If You Can Keep It,” by Eric Mataxas:  Mataxas points out that the founding fathers were very much devoted to the Christian faith and founded our nation on those principles.  We must keep our thinking in line with our nation’s founders or our nation will become a very different place than they intended it to be.
  11. “Walking from East To West”by Ravi Zacharias:  This book is the story of the author, detailing his early life and how he came to be a world famous Christian apologist.  Very interesting to hear of his upbringing in India and his transformation to a life in Christ.
  12. “Parting the Waters:  America in The King Years 1954-63” by Taylor Branch:  This book is very interesting and tells of the struggles of African Americans as Dr. Martin Luther King led the nation for civil rights.  I’m glad I read this one.
  13. “No God But One:  Allah or Jesus”, by Nabeel Qureshi:  I read this one right after hearing of the author’s death from cancer.  He shares more about the differences between Allah and Jesus.  He comes from the point of view of a former Muslim.  I really hated to hear about his passing away.  Nabeels other book, “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus” is one of my all time favorite books.
  14. “The Seven Levels of Communication”, by Michael J. Maher:  This is a Real Estate Business book and I enjoyed it very much.  Written as a story, the book outlines how I already strive to lead my real estate business.  I read this book as part of a small group of Real Estate agents and was encouraged by this book and the experience.
  15. “The Captain Class:  The Hidden Force That Creates the World’s Greatest Teams”by Sam Walker:  The author takes look at some of the greatest teams, led by great captains.  The captains weren’t always the best players on the team but they had that little extra something that helped their teams to greatness.  This book was hard to put down!
  16. 51995182“Play The Man”by Mark Batterson:  Batterson is one of my favorite authors.  In this book, he challenges men to be men and led by God.  If you’re a man, read this one!
  17. “The Last Arrow,” by Erwin McManus:  Erwin takes a passage in scripture and 9781601429537uses it to encourage us to live for the day and squeeze every drop out of life.  Don’t leave any regrets behind.  Give life all you’ve got.  I loved this one.
  18. “Killing Kryptonite”by John Bevere:  I couldn’t get into this one and don’t think I even finished it.  I tried!
  19. “From Darkness to Sight”by Dr. Ming Wang:  I had heard Dr. Wang speak a few times and met him, so I decided to read his book.  Dr. Wang overcame great odds to accomplish all that he has in his life.


It’s always surprising to me who is there when you need them and who isn’t. My dog, Sugar, was one of those “always there” friends. In fact, she was good for a snuggle for each person in our family when we needed it. We lost her today after 16.5 years.

Sugar taught me more about God than most people that I know. Here are a few examples:


During our first year with Sugar, she was WILD! As fast and beautiful as a deer running and jumping, she continually jumped our 6 foot privacy fence. That act was always followed by me, Marla, Rebecca, and little Matthew chasing her all over the neighborhood. Once I caught her after an hour or so of humiliation and chasing, I would take a newspaper to her rear. That didn’t work too well.


(Daniel and Sugar when they were about 3 and then at around age 14)

A friend (Thanks Rick Theobald) then said, “If you knew that you were going to get the newspaper, would you come or just keep running?” He suggested “throwing a party” with her, including plenty of hugs and rubs when I finally caught her. It worked!

Love had more effect on her than hardcore discipline and unkind words. She wanted to please me.  Once I got that figured out, she would follow me anywhere and always came running when I called. People can be like that too if you love and encourage them. Lesson learned.

Watching Her Master

When I walked into a room where Sugar was, I automatically had her undivided attention. She would raise her head and was attentive to only me, watching my every move and waiting for me give her the command to come with me. Usually she wouldn’t even move until I told her to do that. She loved just being with me.

It was like she was always just waiting to hear my will. She wanted to know it and she wanted to follow me. If I was going to walk in the backyard or neighborhood, she came. If I was going to the car, she would jump in on my command. She would sit, roll over, stay, or even get my morning coffee. (Ok. That last one was an exaggeration.) She did it all because she loved me.


I desire more than anything to be that focused on my Master and want His will. I want to go when He says go and follow His commands. I’m not always as focused as Sugar. I can get distracted from my Master sometimes. Sugar was an example to me on how to relate to my Master and Creator.

Tender With The Weak

Sugar loved the kids. She was very high energy but Daniel used to actually lay on her as a toddler. She didn’t care. They were almost like twins. They were only about 6 months apart in age. I used to say that they were identical twins and you couldn’t tell them apart unless they were walking.

IMG_0775.JPGShe was also protective and had an uncanny ability to know who was friends and who really wasn’t supposed to be at our house. She would put herself in between the kids and danger. I saw that several times. She was a protector and a shepherd of kids, in a sense.

Even in her later years without teeth, she was willing to “gum” to death any intruder that she perceived as a threat to the kids.  (Since her teeth were pretty much gone.)

As I lead my family and my church, she was a great example to me. There is an enemy that wants to destroy those that belong to Him. I am the shepherd, appointed by the Shepherd. I pray that I am as attentive in protecting my flock against the wolves as Sugar was.

IMG_0763.JPGLast Days

Sugar’s last days were tough. She had to drag her hind legs to walk. Her food seemed to go right through her and she looked like skin and bones. She couldn’t hear but she would still follow my command to “come.” Because she had grown deaf, I had to begin motioning for her and she would respond, although a lot slower than she used to.  It was like she didn’t want to leave us.  16.5 years is a really long life for a boxer.

On one occasion during the snow this past winter, Sugar went out to use the bathroom. She wandered into the neighbor’s yard and had trouble getting back because the snow was so deep and it was snowing so hard. When I found her, she had actually just laid down in the snow. I think she was giving up at that point. She would have frozen to death if I had not gone to her.

I went through the snow to her and with my encouragement, she decided to keep trying to get home. She got up from the snow and followed me to the warm house. Lesson from Sugar: Sometimes our friends need our encouragement to keep going.

IMG_0769.JPGToday I had to help her into the car for our last car ride and our last walk together. We laid in the grass a while, together hung out in a field, and then we walked together to the vet from the field next door to the church.

As always, no leash was needed. She followed me slowly when I gave the motion to “come” as we walked to the vet’s office. (I felt alot like Abraham must have felt as he walked up the mountain to sacrifice Issac to God.  Issac had no idea what was happening but he followed his dad.  Sugar followed me because I asked her to, just like always.)

She went to sleep as I rubbed her. She was a good dog. She was a good friend.  I will miss her.

Someone asked me recently if I thought it was ok to drink alcohol.   While I wish the answer was a simple “yes” or “no”, I don’t think it’s quite that easy.

My personal opinion really isn’t that important, but what is important is what the Bible says about the subject.

Let’s get one thing out of the way quickly.  It is wrong to get drunk.  Ephesians 5:18 says, “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.”  If the purpose for drinking alcohol is to get a buzz, that’s a sin.



I had a doctor tell me once that a little red wine before bed would be good for my cholesterol and would help me sleep better.  The Apostle Paul seemed to agree with that doctor as he wrote 1 Timothy 5:23.  Paul said, Don’t drink only water. You ought to drink a little wine for the sake of your stomach because you are sick so often.” 

For medical reasons, Paul seems to agree that it is ok and even encourages a nightly sip.   Incidentally, Paul is speaking in the context of a letter to Timothy.  Timothy was like a son to Paul, and Paul would have known about Timothy’s nagging stomach issues.


What did Jesus think of alcohol?  Jesus’ first miracle is recorded in John 2.  He was at a wedding and the wine began to run out, which was a major taboo in that culture for a wedding.   Jesus’ mother approached Jesus, asking Him to help the situation.  Jesus, it seems almost reluctantly because His “time had not come” yet, turned water into wine.  Jesus seemed to concur that in that culture, it was permissible to drink wine.

So…  it seems that in that culture, a little brewsky with your pizza was allowable.


Huh?  It seems like Paul and Jesus are in agreement!  The King of Bud is at hand!  So why am I telling you that it STILL may not be ok to drink alcohol??

Let’s look at one more passage of Scripture.

In Biblical days, false idols were everywhere and animals were often sacrificed to those idols.   Once the animal was sacrificed, the caretakers of these idols opened up what amounted to butcher shops where people could buy the meat from the animals that were sacrificed.  It was good meat at a good price.  I’m sure filet mignon tastes good even if it was sacrificed to the false god, Baal.  Bring on the A-1!

But wait!  As those who formerly sacrificed to the false idols found the true God and became Christians, their consciences would not allow them to eat the meat that had been sacrificed to those idols.

Paul basically said in 1 Corinthians 8 that there really wasn’t anything wrong with eating the meat that was sacrificed to those idols because there is only one God.  HOWEVER… and this is a BIG HOWEVER….  If his eating this meat cause someone to stumble or be confused in their faith because of their background, Paul said that he would pass on the “Idol Burgers.”  He felt that it just wasn’t worth taking the chance of harming someone’s faith.

Does Eddie Drink Alcohol Then?

Though I don’t throw stones at someone for drinking a brewsky with their pizza, especially Unknownwith the above verses in mind, you won’t find me with a Coors in my hand.

I’ve lived my life with the goal of reflecting Christ to others around me.  Even though it’s not the right thing to do, some young believers jump to the wrong conclusions when they see someone drinking a beer.  I’ve witnessed it, though I have disagreed, it happens.

Though I do believe that our culture is changing to a more positive tolerance towards alcohol, I still am not willing to take the chance that a Bud Light in my hand would discourage someone in their walk with Christ.

I also don’t want “Eddie drinks and he follows Christ” to be the reason that someone thought it was ok to drink alcohol.  There is always a chance that someone could drink as a result of my influence and they could be led into sin by abusing it.  Sometimes alcohol can be a “slippery slope.”

I’m not saying that drinking alcohol is a sin, but I don’t believe the right question is “How close to sin can I get without sinning?”  I think the right question for believers is “How close to God can I get?”

I would encourage you to weigh all of the Scripture about alcohol, take the cultures into account, and ask God if it is ok for you to drink.  I really can’t or won’t answer that question for you.  I have quite a few friends that I respect that choose the brew.  I encourage everyone to make their own decision but to really seek God, the Scriptures, and pray about it.

When 2012 ended, I made a commitment to myself that I would read 30 books in 2013.  By “reading,” I meant traditional book format, electronic format, or audible.

I thought I would post my list of 30 books for anyone that’s interested.  They are listed in the order that I read them this year.  With only a couple of exceptions, I recommend all of the books below.  My Top SIX for the year are highlighted in red.  Here goes!

1.  Walking With God, John Eldridge

Great read and encouragement in learning how to walk, be led, and depend upon God with every step.

2.     “Changing Lives Through Coaching” and “The Inspirational Leader” 
by Michael Burt
I listed these as one because there are so many repeat quotes and the same ideas in each book, it felt like I was reading the same book.
3.  Leadership, by Rudy Guiliani
Rudy tells his story of leading through the September 11 and more.  I especially like his section about communication and how he can to communicate better through owning the material and letting it flow through his passion.
4.  The Circle Maker,  Mark Batterson  
Batterson tells the story of how he walked circles around the block, praying and claiming the properties that would eventually be owned by National Community Church.  Great book that will build your prayer life.
5.  Attitude 101, John Maxwell
Encouragement to be all you can be. Typical Maxwell.
6.  Heavens Lessons, by Steve Sjogren
Great book describing Steve’s experience when he died briefly on the operating table, his recovery as he was revived, and what God has taught him through the experience.
7.  Lead Like Jesus, by Ken Blanchard
Book on leadership, “Jesus style”.  I read this one with a group of pastors from LifeChurch’s network.  Enjoyed discussing the chapters with them.
8.  The Pursuit of Holiness, by Jerry Bridges
Holiness is often overlooked for busyness but Bridges points out the need to be holy if we’re to experience God.  I read this one back in the college years, so this was a re-read of this classic.  Every Christian should read this one!
9.  Leadership Gold, John Maxwell
Maxwell waited until he was 60 to write this one.  He mentioned that you should write your own epitaph before you die.  Determine what you want it to say & write ire w/your life.
10.  Killing Kennedy, John O’Reilly  
Great view into Camelot and the life of the Kennedy’s.  Also gives background on Lee Harvey Oswald.  Interesting book.
11.  Plastic Doughnuts
Great short book on Christian stewardship for church leaders.
12.  American Sniper,  Chris Kyle
Chris Kyle was the most deadly American sniper in history.  He was a Navy Seal and saved countless American lives.  His story was interesting.
13.  Multiply, Frances Chan
Frances Chan is always a great read.  In “Multiply,” Frances challenges us to make disciples.  If you are a follower of Jesus, He has commanded you to make disciples.  It’s not really optional if you’re following Jesus.
14.  The Hunger Fix, Pamela Peeke
Not that great. lol  Don’t really recommend this one.
15.  7 Men & The Secret of Their Greatness, Eric Metaxas
Metaxas covered Eric Liddell, Charles Colson, Pope John Paul II, William Wilberforce, Dietrick Bonhoffer, George Washington, and Jackie Robinson.  Really enjoyed this one.  It was a great overview of the lives of these 7 truly great men.  It inspired me to look deeper into the lives of a couple of these men.  We need more men like these 7 that are willing to live their convictions for Christ.
16.  Discipleshift, Jim Putman & Bobby Harrington
Encouraging book with good ideas & stories on making disciples


17.  Killing Jesus, Bill O’Reilly
I’ve read Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Kennedy” and “Killing Lincoln” and enjoyed them both.  Since I’d read and enjoyed those two and I am a pastor, it felt natural to read his “historical” account of the life of Jesus.  I was very surprised, but this was a very spiritual book for me.  I didn’t really expect this from Bill O’Reilly.  I highly recommend this book and it is my number one read for 2013.


18.  To Live Is Christ, Matt Chandler
Matt Chandler wrote this book as a study in Philippians.  Since Philippians is already one of my favorite books of the Bible, I was ready to pour into this book.  It was very encouraging to me and I also shared much of it in my Men’s Small Group.
19.  Gods at War, Kyle Idleman 
Idleman helps us see how behind every sin that plagues us is a god that we have put before God.  His challenge is to let God have first place in our lives.
20.  Uncommon, Tony Dungy
Dungy mixes stories of coaching, football, and life in this challenge to live a live that is different.


21.  David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell
Gladwell says that he was moved to a closer relationship with Christ as a result of writing this book.  Usually a business writer, Gladwell definitely helped me see David and Goliath in a different light.  In the process, he encourages us not to think that Goliath always has the advantage in life.  “David” can still win the battle today!
22.  233 Key Insights, Kerry Bural
Great short “E-Book” that offers short insights and sayings that make alot of sense for business, ministry, and life.  They are all written in pithy, twitter style length.
23.  “Mansfields Book of Mighty Men,” Stephen Mansfield
This book was a challenge to become the man God calls us to be.
24.  Prayer :  Your Own Letter to God, Andre Dugger
Andre is a friend of mine and this book is an instruction manual to prayer and ways to talk to God.  It was great reading the book since I have a relationship with the author.  Andre is a true prayer warrior and he lives what he wrote.  If you’re a new believer and you want to learn how to pray, read this book by Andre.
25.  “Do Something: Make Your Life Count,” Miles McPherson
The Pastor of “The Rock” church in San Diego shares stories of real people that are doing things for God.  Challenges us to “DO SOMETHING!”
26.  The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell
I was encouraged to read this book since I enjoyed “David and Goliath” so much.  I found this book very good too.  Gladwell says that in most things there is a “tipping point” that leads to a certain outcome, which can be good or bad.  Of course in business and ministry, we want to find that “tipping point” that well lead us to reach others more effectively.  I recommend this one too.
27.  It’s Not About The Coffee, Howard Behar
One of the early movers and shakers at Starbucks tells us a few things about how the coffee shop became so successful.
28.  Limitless Life, Derwin Gray

LimitlessDerwin is a great writer and author.  In this book, he challenges us to live a “limitless life.”  Derwin says that many have “labels” that have been assigned to them, such as “addict,” “afraid,” “damaged goods,” or even “religious.”  Our labels can be a lie.  When we begin to see ourselves as God says that we are, we can live a limitless life.  He encourages us not to listen to the lie that the labels have said about us.  Good read!

29.  Totally Forgiving God, RT Kendall
I was excited to get into this one, as Kendall’s book “Total Forgiveness” is one of my all time favorite reads.  This book was not as strong as “Total Forgiveness”, but still worth the read.
30.  Faith and Doubt, John Ortberg
In typical Ortberg style, the author talks objectively about having faith and doubt.  Doubt is sometimes looked down upon in Christian circles, but Ortberg addresses it as a normal part of faith.  It’s a good explanation of what goes on in many hearts that they won’t speak out loud.  Ortberg says that Doubt isn’t the opposite of faith.  He says that the very nature of Faith requires a bit of uncertainty.
My Favorites from 2013:
Killing Jesus, Bill O’Reilly

Larry Sherman

May 13, 2013

Larry Sherman passed away suddenly last week.  He was a mentor, encourager, cheerleader, and friend.  When I felt God’s call to plant a church in Mt. Juliet, Larry was introduced to me as someone who could help.  “Someone who could help” was an understatement.

Larry Lee ShermanBesides helping us gain funding, Larry believed in me.  He actually said that I was an answer to his prayer about starting a church here in Middle Tennessee.  Talking to him always made me better than I was before the conversation.

I could always be honest with Larry.  He would come into town 5-6 times a year and we would have lunch and talk.  We would also talk on the phone between visits.  I remember one visit a couple of years ago.  Larry asked me as we sat for dinner, “So how are you today?”  I told him, “I ready to quit, Larry.  I didn’t feel that way yesterday and I don’t think I’ll feel that way tomorrow, but today I’m ready to quit!”

It didn’t matter if things were going great or if things weren’t going so well, Larry was the same person.  That person was always encouraging.

I was with Larry in Orlando a few weeks ago and Larry mentioned retiring.  I told him he couldn’t because we needed him.  (I told him then that he was not replaceable.)  Larry explained that he was anxious to move to Dallas and begin spending time with his kids and grandkids.  I hate that he wasn’t able to do that.  I know that he loved his family dearly and they loved him too.

Larry called a few weeks ago and asked me if I was free on May 6 for dinner.  He told me to bring some of my leaders.  Eight of us got together at Cheddars and had a great night laughing together.  We talked about the church through the laughter and As Larry ate his fish tacos, he suggested that we go around and tell one thing that no one else knew about each other.

The next morning, I received an email from Larry telling me he enjoyed the evening and bragging on my leaders.  A few hours later, he got on a plane and went to his REAL home.  He went to see Jesus.  Larry passed away on the plane headed to Detroit.

There are countless church planters around the country that feel the same as I do about Larry.  He will be irreplaceable in his work, friendship, and leadership.  I will miss him dearly.  His legacy is HUGE.

What I don’t understand is why I was chosen…. Blessed…. by God to share his last evening with him.  Out of all the church planters across the country, his wife Debbie, his kids and grandkids, I received that blessing.  I don’t understand and I don’t deserve that honor.

I am humbled and thankful for the gift of spending the last evening with Larry and I will treasure the time for the rest of my life.  I miss my friend.

The Super Bowl is Sunday.  One of the big stories that you’ve been hearing about is Ray Lewis, the pro bowl linebacker.  He’s one of the greats of the game and this is his last year.  It’s a great story that the Super Bowl will be his last game as a pro.  It’s been great career.

Now picture this:  It’s Super Bowl Sunday.  All the hype is in the past.  The stadium is electric with energy.  The teams are lining up for kickoff and the television camera pans through the crowd and you suddenly see something unexpected.  Ray Lewis, in full gear except for his helmet, is sitting in the stands.  You see him yelling “Go Ravens” with a beer in one hand and popcorn in the other.  That would be stupid!

Ray Lewis is part of the team.  He’s supposed to be on the field.  He has a job to do.  Why would he be in the stands watching?

Some people I know are like that.  They claim to be part of the church but they have never really gotten involved.  They never serve.  They never give.  They just come and sit for an hour if there is nothing better to do that day.

“The irony is that while God doesn’t need us but still wants us, we desperately need God but don’t really want Him most of the time. He treasures us and anticipates our departure from this earth to be with Him-and we wonder, indifferently, how much we have to do for Him to get by.”  -Frances Chan

Think about that for a moment.  Let it sink in.

If that’s you, I just want to say that the Church NEEDS YOU.   YOU need God and you also need the church.  It all goes together.  1 Corinthians 12 talks about how we’re all given “gifts” by God to use for His purposes.  If you aren’t there for your purpose, the Church isn’t all that it’s supposed to be.  Just like the Ravens would miss Ray Lewis, the Church misses you if you’re sitting in the stands watching.

Besides the Church missing you, you can’t grow into all that God has for you if you aren’t on the “field”, playing with the team.  You need God and walking with Him means serving Him and being part of a local church.  He said that in the Bible.  I didn’t make it up.  If you want a life that will count towards something that will last forever, get on the field.  It’s time for the game NOW.

Write Your Own Story

January 15, 2013

Everyone likes a story.  Whenever I get together with old friends, it seems like the same stories always come up.  We laugh every time we tell them.  That’s the way a lot of stories are.

Other stories aren’t told because we aren’t proud of them, yet they are part of our history.  We didn’t intend for these stories to go the way they did.  It just seemed to turn out that way.  Maybe they were caused by mistakes and poor decisions and habits on our part.  We “own” them.

The truth is, we can impact the stories that we can tell in the future by the decisions that we make today.

In essence, we write much of our own stories.

Andy Stanley said, “Direction, not intention, determines our destination.”

If we keep doing the same things that we’ve always done, most likely, we’ll get the same results that we’ve been getting.

The way we live our lives is perfectly designed to get the results that we’ve been getting.   

If you don’t like something about where you’re headed, CHANGE IT TODAY!

Think about your habits today….  “Play it forward” and try to imagine what your life will be like if you keep making the same decisions that you’ve been making. 

  • Keep nagging your husband = Unhappy marriage continues & maybe divorce.
  • Overeating and gaining too much weight = Possible heart attack down the road
  • Overspending constantly = Possible bankruptcy and loss of house
  • Read Bible Everyday = Ready for whatever comes
  • Treat your wife with respect without fail = Happier home
  • Treat church like it’s not important = Teaching your kids to do the same

I don’t’ know what your “habits” are but I know that we write much of our own stories.  The best way to do that is to allow the “Author of Life” to help and guide us.

If we live our lives and make decisions according to His Word, without compromising, our story will be fuller and more meaningful.  He won’t force us.  It’s up to us.

What story are you writing today?


This post was inspired by Craig Groeschel and LifeChurch.tv’s “My Story” series.  If you’re near Mt. Juliet, come hang with us at MJLifeChurch.  If not, check out LifeChurch.tv online.

Top Blog Posts in 2012

January 6, 2013

I appreciate you guys reading my posts.  I’ve posted 101 posts the past 3 or so years.  I’m always humbled when someone leaves a comment and says that it was helpful or encouraging.
One thing that makes me proud is that of my four top posts of the year, one wasn’t even written by me.  “Learning to Walk in Step with God” was written by my daughter, Rebecca.  (I’m proud of her, btw!)
Anyway, here are my top 4 Blog Posts of 2012:

A friend mentioned that she wished she had a list of the best spiritual books.  There are so many good books to choose from but I thought I’d post the ones that have helped me the most thought the years.

Here goes:

“Experiencing God”, By Henry Blackaby  The Blackaby’s have written several books and they are all good.  “Experiencing God” is best if you can go through it with a group.  Believe it or not, when I teach it, I always use the Youth version.  My men’s group of 11 guys are loving it right now.

“Total Forgiveness”, by RT Kendall

GREAT BOOK that helps you walk through forgiving and understanding what forgiveness is AND what forgiveness is not.

“Crazy Love,” by Frances Chan   This book challenged me.  If you’ve grown complacent in your walk with Christ, this book will shake you up!

“Christian Atheist,” by Craig Groeschel  Craig says that a “Christian Atheist” says they believe in God but they live like He doesn’t exist.

“When God Doesn’t Make Sense,” by James Dobson  Sometimes we wonder why bad things happen to “good” people.  Dr. Dobson helped me walk through my doubts and wonderings about this several years ago.

“Not A Fan:  Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus”, by Kyle Idleman  This book challenges the “rich” in the world, and that includes you and me.

“Weird, Because Normal Isn’t Working,” by Craig Groeschel   Craig says that we should be weird in the way we look at our finances, relationships, money, careers, family, and every part of our lives.  Everyone else looks at them “normally” like the rest of the world and they’re a mess!  Be weird!

“The Pursuit of Holiness,” by Jerry Bridges  This is an oldie but a goodie.  I read it in college and it really taught me how God calls us to live a holy life.

“More Than  A Carpenter,” by Josh McDowell  This book explores the impact of Christ on the world.  Another one that I read in college that helped me stay the course!

This isn’t an exhaustive list.  These are just the ones that come to mind.  These aren’t just “good” books that I have read.  These books impacted my life as a Christ follower.

What books would you put on this list?

C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world”

When things are going well, He often speaks in a whisper and we have to listen closely.  How do you know if it is God speaking to your conscience or if it is bad pizza from the night before?  I won’t tell you that it is always easy, but I’ll give a few guidelines that I believe will help you distinguish between the two.

Before you begin seeking God’s will, make sure your heart is in a position to do WHATEVER God says.  It’s important to decide that before asking God for His will.

Next, ask yourself if one of the options or possibilities are in disagreement with the Bible’s teachings.  (This assumes that you have to be reading the Bible and learning so you can know it’s teachings.)

For example, if you see three options and one of them calls on a little white lie, go ahead and mark that one off.  It is NOT God’s will even if it is the easy option or most attractive to you.

If you still have two options and you aren’t feeling God’s leading strongly towards one of them, remember that God also speaks through the “Church.”  (The “Church” is the people, not a building.)

Don’t ask everyone you know for their opinion.  Go to a few trustworthy, wise, godly people that care about you and explain the situation.  God can sometimes make things a bit clearer by talking to other people that love Him and you.

You can also look at the circumstances.  Once again, you have to interpret the circumstances through the Bible.  It’s not always a “given” that you take the most attractive option that presents itself.

If the options are:

  1. Take a high paying job.
  2. Keep the job that you have.

God may want you to stay at your present job to reach someone.  That’s where listening to God is more important than a knee jerk decision to the most attractive option that seems to present itself.

If you have sincerely prayed, “God, I’ll do WHATEVER You ask me to do” and you have really sought His will through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the Church, and you don’t feel like He is saying “wait,” then make the best decision that you can.

I really believe if you “delight yourself in the Lord, that He will give you the desires of your heart.”  After going through all of these steps with a sincere heart, make a choice and don’t look back.