Missional Spirituality (Review)

Missional is a buzzword in the North American Church.  It’s a buzzword with a lot of ambiguity.  What does it mean to be missional?  What is a missional church?  What is a missional follower of Jesus?  These are all questions that church leaders are asking.  And there are many resources that are trying to provide some clarity to these questions.

Missional Spirituality (Paperback, Kindle) by Roger Helland and Leonard Hjalmarson is one of these many books.  Unlike many of the other texts that I’ve been reading on the subject.  Missional Spirituality builds its foundation on Jesus response to the question, “What is the greatest commandment?”  Jesus’ reply to this question is, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.  The second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself.”

From this response Helland and Hjalmarson begin to investigate what it means to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.  They focus on practices that help believers grow in their love for the Lord in all four of these arenas.  This is important as it helps people build faith and knowledge about God and move them into living the mission of God.  The authors then go into examining what it means to love your neighbor as yourself.

Missional Spirituality is by no means a ground breaking revolutionary text on what the church should be doing to be more “missional”.  However, it is a helpful text for church leaders and non-church leaders to begin to figure out what it means to live in God’s mission of grace and saving the world.

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The Shaping of Things to Come -Review

I’ve been meaning to read Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost’s The Shaping of Things To Come, for quite a while now.  I actually purchased it from a book store in La Conner, where the owner had taken to heart the missional incarnational approach to ministry, that this book talks about.

Frost and Hirsch are proposing that the way that we have done church for the past 1500 years, is not going to work in our current post-Christendom era.  They then go to give examples of new ways that people are trying to reach their communities.  Including a church planter who started a shoe store in hopes of one day starting a church with the people who are buying shoes from the store.  Or coffee shops that provide a place for forum’s where people can build community and discuss ideas.  (That’s what the nextchapter.com was doing in La Conner).

Frost and Hirsch also talked about the different types of leaders that will be necessary to keep the church moving forward in this new era.  The Christendom model of church was attractional and assumed that people should come to us for all things religious.  But the New Testament model of Church was Go Out with the Gospel.  The types of leaders that thrived in Christendom were the pastor/teachers.  Frost and Hirsch advocate that we start to build churches around the Apostle/Prophet/Evangelist/Pastor/Teacher model.

It would be unwise to say that the church doesn’t need to change.  And Frost and Hirsch provide a lot of great ideas for how the church could change.  I would recommend this for anyone contemplating a church plant.  It might give you some great ideas on what your church could be instead of doing the same old thing.

I think this was a very helpful book, and I started reading it before I knew that it would be one of my texts for school.  So Yippee, I got this one done and out of the way.

Bucket List Review

Last night kathy and I rented the bucket list. The premise of the movie is inspiring. Two people facing death decide to do an entire list of amazing things together. Before they kick the bucket. Having read In a Pit with a Lion, bucket list is right in line with that book.

The movie itself wasn’t as good as the story could have been. Wasn’t too impressed with jack Nicholson who has really been the same character for the past decade. Morgan freeman was great though.

Those are my thoughts.

the Reason for God – Review

Tim Keller is a brilliant evangelical mind. With the heart of a pastor he writes a powerful, yet simple apologetic for the Christian faith. The book is divided into two parts. The first part looks at several of the protests against the Christian faith (and faith in general). Keller does a masterful work at look at these arguements, and how their logic falls apart on itself. Keller isn’t trying to make people feel stupid in their atheism, but he also wants to show that it’s not the intellectual end all for smart people.

In the second section, Keller examines the various clues that point to God. Having read some Lewis and Wright I felt like Keller was rehashing stuff that I’ve already read. But I had to remember that this book wasn’t written for me. It was written for people who do not believe in the Gospel of Christ.

Even though I am no the target of this book I was still moved by the power and majesty of God. I was moved by his love and powerfully reminded that the Gospel is bigger than anything that I can ever really comprehend. But Keller does a wonderful job of breaking it down, and taking these big and powerful concepts like the Trinity and showing how it all makes sense.

As a pastor I would recommend other pastors read this work. But also if you want to be able to talk with your friends who are atheists, then this would be a great resource that doesn’t make you want to fight with people, rather to love them, listen to them and dialogue with them. Pass it on to your friends who are far from God.

Jesus for President – Review

Jesus For President is first of all a very beautifully designed book.  The layout and design help the book move along.  The pictures are very powerful.  The feel of the book is unique.  I couldn’t put it down because I kept wanting to see what the next page would hold visually.

But I also really enjoyed reading the book.  The basic premise is that as Christians we have allegiance to Jesus first and not America (or the empire).  So the authors basically go about setting Jesus up against the systems of empire in his time and our time as well.  I have a feeling that super patriotic people will not like this book.  But it turns out the super patriotic people didn’t really like Jesus in the first place.

I found myself underlining a lot of great nuggets of wisdom and making quite a few notes in my moleskine.  One of the most interesting sections in the book was when the Authors set the Coronation of a Caesar up against the Crucifixion.  The Parallels are stunning and they bring a lot more power to the crucifixion narrative.

Shaine Claiborne is probably associated pretty strongly with the emergent church and many people might not want to read this book because of that, but he really does share some compelling arguements and stories about consuming less of the empire’s systems, resisting violence, and trying to be like Jesus.

the Book is a quick read and it’s divided up into 4 Main sections with a lot of little sections throughout.  I read it at copper island in about half a day (there wasn’t anything else to do).

Ready for Anything – Review

David Allen is a productivity guru.  I first came across the GTD methodology from the bob.blog and then was further exposed to the ninjary by Merlin Mann at 43foldersReady for Anything is divided up into 52 short chapters and it can be viewed as the why behind all of the GTD methodology.  It is full of reminders as to why we need to get things out of our heads, why we need to review our stuff weekly, and the freedom to be creative that we establish when our brain is able to focus on one thing at a time.

If you have already read Getting Things Done this is a great addition, to understanding the processes and methods of GTD.  Be careful though as David Allen has created a cult-like following among many in the blog-o-verse.  But it’s a great resource and you should check it out.

The God Who Smokes – Review

The God Who Smokes is a refreshing look at theology through Timothy Stoner’s personal experiences.  All of theology should apply to life and when you read The God Who Smokes I believe you will see all the various ways that God is talking to and revealing himself to you.

TGWS is a middle road between the fundamentalist and the emergent streams of theology.  If you like Rob Bell but are a little concerned with some of the things he has written or said, Stoner helps you see why and what a more biblical view may be.  If you love Driscoll and Piper but are overwhelmed by their headiness and need for rock solid reason and arguements, then Stoner provides a meaningful way that you can still believe in absolute truth, and still feel comfortable with questions.  Written in the tone of compassion this book was a very refreshing and at times humorous book.

This book really could be several shorter books.  And sometimes it doesn’t quite feel like a cohesive work.  But it’s definitely worth the read.  Particularly Stoner’s theology of the artist.  It reminded me of why I do what I do, I believe that preaching is an art form and God is pleased when I declare his love and grace, or when I teach people about how to live in that love and grace.

Also interesting are Stoner’s perspectives on growing up as a missionary kid oversees, and they way he lived out love before his friend David.  I really recommend this book.