Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Books on Theology

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Need a Good Book to Read?

Monday, November 28th, 2011

I have the Kindle books listed below that can be loaned once for a period of 14 days, at no cost to you. If you have a Kindle (or a Kindle reading app) and would like to read one of these titles, just leave a comment telling me which title you want* and your email address.

In a couple of days you will get an email from Amazon with instructions. You have only seven days to respond to the email and only 14 days from that response to read the book.

* Just one title per person please so we can spread the love (if a title is still available after 14 days, then feel free to pick another). Titles will be loaned on a first-come-first-served basis and Amazon will only let me loan a title once.

List of Books Available

The Missional Church in Perspective (The Missional Network) - Craig Van Gelder and Dwight J. Zscheile

Journeys to Significance: Charting a Leadership Course from the Life of Paul (Jossey-Bass Leadership Network Series) - Neil Cole

The Strategically Small Church: Intimate, Nimble, Authentic, and Effective - Brandon J. O’Brien

Church Unique: How Missional Leaders Cast Vision, Capture Culture, and Create Movement (Jossey-Bass Leadership Network Series) - Will Mancini

Affirming the Apostles’ Creed - J.I. Packer

Linking Arms, Linking Lives: How Urban-Suburban Partnerships Can Transform Communities - Ronald J. Sider

Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church (Jossey-Bass Leadership Network Series) - Reggie McNeal

Transformational Church - Ed Stetzer and Thom Rainer

Untamed: Reactivating a Missional Form of Discipleship (Shapevine) - Alan Hirsch and Debra Hirsch

Simple Life - Thom Rainer and Art Rainer

Down We Go With Kathy Escobar

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Kathy EscobarMy friend Sonja Andrews recommended strongly that I read Kathy Escobar’s new book, “Down We Go: Living Into the Wild Ways of Jesus” (Civitas Press, June 2011). Since I highly respect Sonja’s judgment and have been reading Kathy’s blog for years, it was an easy call.

The first thing that grabbed me is that Kathy states her focus in writing the book is for “friends who are tired of talking about God in theory and now just want to do something.”

That’s me and a whole lot of my friends who are on this missional journey. The conversation is good and often needed, but I’ve moved on to living out the life. So anything that speaks to that and helps me along that path is welcome.

In the introduction she write this — and here I think she begins to give us a flavor of her book and the message she wants it to embody:

“I began to see that Jesus doesn’t call us to a life of ascent where we move further and further away from the things of this world. Rather, I believe he calls us to a life of descent, of downward mobility, where we move down into the trenches of real life, real pain, real hope in our own lives and in the lives of others.

“This is in deep contrast to the life of upward mobility that the world — and sometimes the church — beckons us toward. A life of comfort, predictability, and self-protection was never the idea. Jesus embodied downward mobility and calls us to the same.

“To me, downward mobility is a matter of the heart, not financial resources. It is losing our lives instead of protecting them. Giving away our hearts instead of insulating them. Intersecting with pain instead of numbing it out. Entering into relationship with people different from us instead of staying comfortably separated. Learning instead of teaching. Practicing instead of theorizing.”

More as I devourer this tome, but here is a short intro video Kathy did:

Down We Go - Kathy Escobar from Quadrid Productions on Vimeo.

Book: Right Here, Right Now

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Alan Hirsch and Lance Ford just had their new book, “Right Here, Right Now: Everyday Mission for Everyday People” (Baker Books, January 2011, 272 pages), released. Paraphrasing the authors, the books intent is to equip Jesus followers to live missionally regardless of their situation, vocation, or location. It touches on issues of discipleship, spirituality, and church at every level of experience.

Here is a 20 minute intro video:

Sounds like a great read. Available in both paperback and Kindle.

The Missional Church Fieldbook

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Len Hjalmarson wrote that he had been thinking “about a resource for existing groups and churches to begin equipping people for mission.” Something that would provide tools for helping believers transition into missional practices. The Missional Church Fieldbook is the end result.

The “fieldbook” is arrange in a rotating daily format spanning seven weeks. The first four days of each week are for individual work. The fifth day will often involve a friend or two, and the last two days are for community process.

Here is a modified table of contents to give you a feel for the format and themes:

  • Introduction
  • Week 1 - The Missional God
    Day 1 - Explore
    Day 2 - Reflect
    Day 3 – Remix
    Day 4 – Engage
    Day 5 – Gather
    Day 6 – Align
    Day 7 – Commune
  • Week 2 - The Good News Reign of God
  • Week 3 - The Integrated Life
  • Week 4 - Cultivating Missional Community
  • Week 5 - A Way of Living
  • Week 6 - Apostolic Environment
  • Week 7 - Systems, Culture, Places
  • Higher Up, Further In
  • Notes and Appendices

A free sample PDF chapter and the introduction can be downloaded here.

You can order a copy from Lulu.com by clicking here.

Gabe Lyons and “The Next Christians”

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Good interview here with Gabe Lyons, author of the new book “The Next Christians”:

Couple of sample questions from the interview:

Even though you see “Christian America” as over, you argue we shouldn’t lament this development, but rather, see the opportunity for the Christian movement within it. How so?

I am incredibly encouraged by what I see transpiring around us. First, we have to remember that the Christian faith always thrives under these conditions. Post-Christendom is not unlike pre-Christendom. But tangibly, I am seeing a whole generation of believers who are recovering the gospel and living transformed lives. “The next Christians” are living out their faith in the workplace and the public square in new ways. They are provoked to engage the world and creating new organizations and projects to restore the world’s fallen state. These Christians are revitalizing old churches and planting new ones. If these next Christians are the future of the faith–and I believe they are–we just might be witnessing the beginning of the faith’s next great expansion.

How can pastors better encourage, affirm and shepherd these next Christians you describe?

For starters, they must be aware that this generation isn’t running from Jesus, they are running towards deeper meaning and connection between their faith and all of life. This should be one of the most exciting developments for a pastor to hear. However, it does mean a pastor’s priorities might have to change in how they interact with this generation. Instead of trying to pull them “into” the church–they need to discover how to work alongside them to empower them “outside” the church in how faith intersects with their passions and work. This next generation needs their pastor to live in the tension with them, to help them institute practices in their life that will keep them grounded and anchored to Christ in a world that is screaming for their time and attention in everything but a rooted faith.

I like Lyons’ ideas and will be adding his book to my ever increasing reading stack.

Choosing an eBook Reader

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

There is more to purchasing an eBook readers than price and technology. If the genre you are most interested in isn’t available (or has slim pickings) on your chosen platform, then your eBook reader has greatly diminished value.

Below are some titles from my Missional Reading List that will give you an idea of who has the best selection of eBooks of interest to many readers of this blog.

The point is, be sure you consider the selection of available material as well as price and technology.

The Forgotten Ways

Amazon Kindle: Yes
Apple iBook: No
Barnes & Noble Nook: No
Border Kobo: No
Sony Reader: No

Untamed: Reactivating a Missional Form of Discipleship

Amazon Kindle: Yes
Apple iBook: No
Barnes & Noble Nook: Yes
Border Kobo: No
Sony Reader: No

The Shaping of Things to Come

Amazon Kindle: Yes
Apple iBook: No
Barnes & Noble Nook: No
Border Kobo: No
Sony Reader: No

Introducing the Missional Church

Amazon Kindle: Yes
Apple iBook: No
Barnes & Noble Nook: Yes
Border Kobo: No
Sony Reader: No

Missional Renaissance

Amazon Kindle: Yes
Apple iBook: Yes
Barnes & Noble Nook: Yes
Border Kobo: No
Sony Reader: Yes

The Gospel in a Pluralist Society

Amazon Kindle: Yes
Apple iBook: No
Barnes & Noble Nook: No
Border Kobo: No
Sony Reader: No

Breaking the Missional Code

Amazon Kindle: Yes
Apple iBook: No
Barnes & Noble Nook: Yes
Border Kobo: No
Sony Reader: Yes

Organic Church

Amazon Kindle: Yes
Apple iBook: Yes
Barnes & Noble Nook: Yes
Border Kobo: No
Sony Reader: Yes

They Like Jesus but Not the Church

Amazon Kindle: Yes
Apple iBook: Yes
Barnes & Noble Nook: Yes
Border Kobo: Yes
Sony Reader: Yes

Transformational Church

Amazon Kindle: Yes
Apple iBook: No
Barnes & Noble Nook: Yes
Border Kobo: No
Sony Reader: Yes

Reimagining Church

Amazon Kindle: Yes
Apple iBook: No
Barnes & Noble Nook: Yes
Border Kobo: No
Sony Reader: No

Book Review: Introducing the Missional Church

Friday, February 19th, 2010

I’ve been blogging on things missional for almost five years. Yet it’s often hard to get a firm grip on the paradigm and many questions still surround it. Questions like: What does a missional church look like? What exactly is the missional church model? How does it function? Can our old existing church become one?

These are some of the questions Scott Boren and Alan Roxburgh endeavor to answer in their book Introducing the Missional Church: What It Is, Why It Matters, How to Become One (Baker Books, November 2009, available in paper or Kindle).

I particularly liked the chapter titled “Not All Who Wander Are Lost” where the authors caution us to beware of formulas and models that can be copied and emulated. Instead they say “…we need to see ourselves being called out of the comfort and security of attractional church life onto a journey like Abram leaving Ur of the Chaldees; we are moving into a strange land without maps to guide us on our way to a land God will show us. We are like those early Christians after the church at Antioch was birthed by the Spirit. We know something has shifted, but no one has the formula; it’s confusing and filled with friction as we try to figure out the next steps.”

They dispute three perspectives in this chapter:

1. They challenge the elevation of any model, formula, or blueprint as the way to do church.

2. They challenge the argument that the Bible reveals a secret missional blueprint that will provide us with a magic pill for entering missional life.

3. They challenge the idea that there is some point in the history of the church that provides us with just the right pattern for creating missional churches.

The common thread through the book is that we are on a journey, we are wanders who need to “develop skills of reading the winds of the Spirit, testing the waters of the culture, and running with the currents of God’s call.”

“There isn’t one specific form, predictable pattern, or predetermined model. On these new waters we become pioneers who are creating new maps shaped in, with, and for the contexts and communities into which we have been called. Here we will learn to experiment and test ideas. Some will work; others will fail. Through trial and error we will imagine new ways of being Jesus’ people.”

There is also a great deal of practical assistance in the book for those existing churches who want to make this journey. Forty percent of the book is devoted to a missional change process that includes five phases: awareness, understanding, evaluation, experimentation, and commitment.

This table from the book will give you a feel for the process.

Introducing the Missional Church is highly recommended for those who want to begin or extend their “journey of entering into the missional river of mystery, memory, and mission.”

Further Reading

Brad Boydston or Scot McKnight.

Disclosure: I purchased this book with my own funds.

ReJesus Podcast

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

ReJesusIn this 56 minute Praxis Podcast, Alan Hirsch reviews the basis for the book he coauthored with Michael Frost — ReJesus. The big question they ask is, “Do we [the church] fairly represent what Jesus represents?”

They talk about other subjects also. Good listen.

Click here for the podcast.

Reggie McNeal on Attractional and Missional

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Reggie McNeal looks the attractional model and how it differs from the missional paradigm.

I’ve have been tweeting other quotes via twitter.

The attractional model of church creates a ‘member culture,’ in which people join a particular church and support that organization with their attendance, their money, their prayers, and their talent. The flow is toward the church, which is always at the center of the action, where the big game is being played.

The missional church is made up of missionaries, who are playing the big game every day. They live their lives with the idea that they are on a mission trip. On mission trips, people focus on the work of God around them, alert to the Spirit’s prompting, usually serving people in very tangible ways, often in way that involve some sacrifice or even discomfort. Life on mission is more intentional and more integrated. While the concerns of life (family, work, leisure) are pursued, they are part of a larger story being played out for the missionary.

The member culture views society as a series of silos: politics, business, education, arts, media, technology, health care, social sector, and so forth. All of them are separate. The church culture has developed its own silo — a parallel culture in many respects — complete with schools, businesses, educational institutions, health care facilities, sports clubs, travel associations, and social agencies. Positioned as one silo among others, the church works to recruit people and resources from the other domains, vying for attention and money…. Its activities serve effectively to take a lamp and put it under a bushel.

The missional church views the church’s position in society very differently. It understands that God has his people — his missionaries — deployed across all domains of culture. After all, since the mission is redemptive and the world is God’s target, doesn’t it make sense that he would take this approach? Otherwise, how would salt be distributed or light puncture the darkness?

Quotes from Reggie McNeal’s “Missional Renaissance” (Jossey-Bass, February 2009), page 54 & 55.