Saturday, March 10, 2007


A friend had tickets to the Lakers-Magic game a while back and invited me. My first time in Staples Center was a good one and the Lakers won a close game as Kobe took over in the fourth quarter.
I finally finished writing up some thoughts on the audio books I have listened to in the last few months. Most of these are unabridged.

Experiencing Prayer with Jesus by Henry & Norman Blackaby
This was good in that it was a picture of a faithful man and the blessings that came as a result, told by himself and one of his sons. He sees his commitment to pray as a key to the life of faith he experienced and the fact that all of his grown kids love the Lord. He gives some interesting examples of his prayer life like the time he left a big ministry in California to move his family to frontier Canada where they would be poor and living in difficult circumstances. He prayed God would protect his children from knowing they were poor but never told his children about the prayer. Later his son shared how he was talking to classmates in college about their growing up years and realized for the first time just how poor they were. Honestly, I am not big on books in which the author seemed to do everything right and never discusses his mistakes. When someone says that whenever people were against them even to the point of wanting to destroy their ministry, they just pray for that person and love them, I have to wonder how honest they are being. It may be true, but I am not there yet, and would love to hear about how they got to that place (the process is not given in the book, just the end result). However, I was encouraged in my prayer life through reading it.

Just Walk Across the Room by Bill Hybels
I really like Hybels' books. He is down to earth and honest and gives the reader hope that what he is talking about is doable in Christ. The basic idea of the book came from a time when he was at a party, and he saw someone leave their comfort zone and walk across the room to talk to a stranger. The idea is that we need to do the same thing in reaching out to people. He gives a good picture of the process that comes in seeing someone come to Christ; it is not a one time thing. Sometimes He felt God leading him to be bold and at other times he barely mentioned anything about God and in both situations he felt comfortable. I long for this. He talks of taking small steps to love people into the kingdom. He does Matthew parties which comes from Matthew having a party with all his tax collector buddies after he started following Jesus. Hybels invites non-believers and believers to parties at his house and lets God work. He prays that the believers will "just walk across the room" and reach out to the nonbelievers. He gives many other examples as well of how people did creative things to build relationships with the people in their lives- neighbors, coworkers, etc... Overall I really enjoyed this book, was encouraged, inspired, and would recommend it.

Joy at Work by Dennis Bakke
Dennis Bakke started and ran an energy giant (I forget the name) and did it in a radical way. One of their foundational tenets was that people should have fun at work. They did many radical innovations in the work place including minimum titles, creative pay scales (e.g. a salesman could be making more than his manager) in which people were rewarded for being good at their job by pay increases rather than promotions, almost flat organizational chart, and so on. At times it is a bit detailed on items like contracts and such that I was not interested in, but overall an excellent book that should be considered for anyone managing people. Another book I hear is good on this idea is The Starfish and the Spider by ?. I plan to start reading it soon.

For Men Only by Jeff & Shaunti Feldhahn
Having read and watched the video series for Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerich, this was an excellent follow-up. The authors did extensive research through surveys and interviews to find out what women need/want from their men. This book goes well with the book mentioned above as well as the chapter on women in Wild at Heart by John Eldridge.

The Peacemaker by Ken Sande
Doing what we do peacemaking (dealing with conflict) is probably number one on the list. I have been through the fire in this area and made lots of mistakes. I have seen some successes and experienced some major failures in working through conflict and making peace with people as well as with acting as intermediary or coach. Ken Sande has had lots of experience in western settings and is gifted as well as being able to articulate the issues well. He deals with the philosophy, the relevant Bible texts, and the practical steps. I think this book is a must read for all humans, but just reading it will probably not help much. This is a good one to do in a small group in which you see each other enough to get on each other's nerves and, therefore, will be able to put the lessons into practice.

The Martyr's Song by Ted Dekker
Very powerful story. I was weeping. The martyr's song is the song that martyrs in the story hear Jesus singing to them as they are being tortured. It is set in the mid 1970's when a woman goes up to a teenager who sees herself as ugly and claims she can make her beautiful. The girl is angry and offended but goes to see the woman anyway. The woman begins to read her a story set it a village in Serbia during WWII. All the men are off fighting and this day the priest and the mothers and children are celebrating a birthday or one of the little girls. Five soldiers come upon the village and you will have to read the book for the rest. You will not be disappointed. Signigicant story about how special we are to God.

Too Busy not to Pray by Bill Hybels
Again Hybes wrote a winner. He is blunt yet encouraging. He gets into the Bible verses yet is very practical and is able to share his journey and what worked and did not work for him. He does not try to fit the reader into a box or give over simplified steps, but is full of grace. My hope in reading books on prayer was to grow in my prayer life and this book was helpful.

Walking from East to West by Ravi Zacharias
This is Zacharias' memoirs. He is an amazing man and is able to convey the story of God's moving in his life in a very engaging way. He came to the Lord after a failed suicide attempt and "accidentally" became one of the great evangelists of our time being one of the first international evangelists to use apologetics in their EV feeling called to reach the "happy pagan" as he puts it. I was struck by his ability to enjoy different seasons of life. He had times when he was in school and able to spend lots of time with his wife and children and other times when he was too busy to do anything but work. He took advantage of those slower times, which is something that has really spoken to me as our lives are very seasonal with crazy busy times interspersed with slower times. I did not know it was his biography when I picked it up, but was glad I listend to it in the end.

The Next Door Savior by Max Lucado
This is quintessential Lucado. I am reading/listening to anything I can find on Jesus and Lucado has a unique way of bringing the text to life with his illustrations and stories. If you like Lucado, then you will like this and vice versa.

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