Monthly Archives: May 2012
Today’s giveaway was inspired by a recent review of Sifted: Pursuing Growth Through Trials, Challenges, and Disappointments by Wayne Cordeiro with Francis Chan & Larry Osborne. Cordeiro builds an argument that God will sift leaders as a way of refining them based on Luke 22: 31-32
31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you,Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (NIV)
The book reviewer provided a concise, constructive review that ended with these statements:
If Sifted has a weakness it’s that it needs more interaction with Scripture. More marveling at the gospel. More Jesus. In short, if you’re looking for a book on dealing with depression, suffering, & trials in ministry, Sifted would be helpful as a supplement to a more brawny theological work.
So, I went digging for a “more brawny theological work” and found a copy of David Garland’s new commentary on Luke. It is part of the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series. Here’s a brief excerpt from the “Theology in Application” section on Luke 22. This portion is called The Danger of Being Sifted:
Unlike Job’s situation (see Job 9:33) Peter has an advocate with the Father who intercedes on his behalf. But Peter does not know that he is tottering on a precipice and is about to plunge to the earth. After his nosedive, his estimation of this own prowess to hold fast must come down several pegs and he must learn, as Paul did (2 Cor. 12:9-10) and as all followers must, to rely on the grace and strength of God. Jesus’ own example of prayer on the Mount of Olives that they area dependent on God from hour to hour. When they become aware of that, they will be more likely to pray than to talk big and be less likely to swoon in crisis.
The sifting will not stop after Jesus’ passion. It continues as disciples take up their cross on a daily basis (9:23-24). The persecution will intensify as they hauled before kings, and governors, punished in synagogues and prisons, and led to the gallows (21:12). The supreme irony is that as the sieve isolates the chaff, the sifting also purifies. Through Jesus’ powerful intercession they will not be defeated by their failure. After his death and resurection and the coming of the Holy Spirit, they will be able to resist the devil who prowls around like a roaring lion, and to remain steadfast in their faith in the midst of suffering. They will come to know that the “the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” (1 Pet. 5:10).
To enter today’s giveaway leave a comment below that answers the question in bold. A winner will be chosen randomly on Friday and announced here. We’re giving away one copy of Luke by David E. Garland.
What’s the best book you’ve read on dealing with suffering and trials in ministry?
My wife and I are trying (desperately) to teach both thankfulness and prayer to our two boys. My eldest son has a hard time with both of these (must take after his dad). After our family Bible story each evening we go around and pray and all we ask for now is that they say one thing they are thankful. Luke was thankful for being able to go to the park yesterday, but Jack said he didn’t have anything. After pressing him, he was thankful for “the day”.
Why is it so easy to feel entitled to things and take blessings for granted?
I know, sin. I think it also has to do with the fact that, as Craig Groeschel puts it, “we believe in God, but live as if he doesn’t exist.” Thankfulness is something that comes out of a heart that understands and appreciates the gift given. Prayer is an outpouring of our need and true belief in God. If we expect blessing and feel entitled, we won’t be thankful, and if are not thankful, we will probably not see a need for God, or need for prayer.
I fully point the finger at myself on both of these counts. Having grown up in the church, as well as in a middle-class home, I felt a certain amount of entitlement both spiritually and externally. I was like the elder son in the parable of the prodigal sons – I didn’t want the Father any more than the younger son, I just wanted him for what I was going to inherit and kept “slaving away”.
So what to do about my son’s (any my) lack of thankfulness and desire to pray? In his first session from The Christian Atheist, Craig Groeschel says that to know God better, seek him. If you seek him, he will reveal himself to you. It seems that going through the work of daily counting our blessings and setting aside specific time to pray will help. Another idea came from my pastor while teaching on Ephesians this weekend. Take yourself under the wing of a prayer mentor from the Bible. Look at Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in chapter 1. Paul says, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
Look how Paul prays, and use this prayer as a template of sorts. Pray that you would have a spirit of wisdom and revelation, that God would reveal himself to you. Pray that you would see the hope of who you are in Christ and what he has called us to be.
This is what I told Jack last night. That sin keeps us from being thankful, and when we are not thankful we listen to the snake (Satan). But when we are thankful, we listen to Jesus and defeat the snake.
Last month Slate.com ran a series of ten articles written as a back-and-forth exchange between the notable journalists, William Saletan and Ross Douthat. They wrote and responded to each other in a congenial manner (though they have stark disagreements) and sign each entry with their first names, as friends. The exchange, in part, promotes Ross’s newest book, Bad Religion, but it also provides a stimulating conversation on homosexuality, abortion, and other issues without degenerating into rants.
(If only every book could be discussed in the public square by reputable journalists! *Sigh*….a book marketer’s dream.)
In the eighth entry of the series Ross writes to Will in an article entitled: “How Should Christianity Engage with Gays in a Post-Closet World?” In this article Ross makes reference to Wesley Hill’s book Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality, a book I’ve blogged about a few different times.
This exchange is worth reading. If you read only one entry, read #8. I don’t recommend this series or entry #8 because I’m trying to endorse everything Ross and/or Will say. Rather, this exchange helps me see with greater clarity how a thoughtful non-believer and a thoughtful believer think through some of the critical issues of our time. It’s a horizon-expanding conversation that gets me turning back to Scripture and back to God in prayer. By God’s grace, I’ll go into my next ministry opportunity with more of his wisdom.
Washed and Waiting provides the same opportunity to turn to God and his Word in the light of a tricky cultural conversation – which in my estimation is one of the marks of a good book.
For a while now Chris and I have been discussing the idea of sharing some info about the publishing process. Today’s is post is the first to follow up on that idea. We plan to post once per week on the publishing process. Likely, the posts will appear on Fridays. We hope you enjoy these, and if you don’t, well…we’ll stop. But on to today’s topic….
What’s an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC)?
In yesterday’s post we gave away advanced reader copies of Spiritual Influence by Mel Lawrenz. These copies have a glued binding like normal softcover books. They’re made with a cream paper and they have a lighter weight paper for their cover than a typical book. They have a Z logo on the front that says “Advance Reading Copy, Not For Sale.” On the back cover they have information about the marketing campaign for the book and the publicist’s contact info. The interior content of the book is nearly final, with perhaps a few more edits pending.
All of this isn’t to say that these ARC’s aren’t good looking, quality copies of the book. In fact, they are just the opposite – which is why we print them.
ARC’s look like real books. They are just as heavy as a real book. They are in the same trim size the final book will appear in, and their covers have just as much vibrancy and color as the final covers will have. ARC’s also have fully designed pages inside. The font, sub-headings, chapter openers, diagrams, images, and other design elements have already been designed by the time ARC’s are made. The overall experience upon reading an ARC vs. a final printed copy is very similar.
So why do we print them?
ARC’s are printed primarily to secure media and publicity opportunities for the author before the book is actually available. Most media outlets – radio, TV, magazines, news websites – work pretty far in advance. Media channels need to know what books are coming out far ahead of the release dates if they plan to showcase the book in their channel at all. So, in the case of Spiritual Influence, which releases in July, we printed the ARC’s a while back so we could begin sending them to magazines and other media channels. Then, when the final book comes out in July and starts really hitting the market in August and September the media channels will be ahead of the game and able to feature the book and interview Mel.
Make sense? Those who have worked in publicity at all could probably go on about this process with much greater detail, but this is at least a snapshot of the why we print ARC’s.
Do you have questions about the publishing process? Let’s us know what it is below and we’ll cover it in one of our Friday posts.
Today we’d like to try something different at Engaging Church: a survey! I can hear you groaning, but take heart, t’s only nine questions long. It’s all in an effort to give you – our loyal readers – more of what you want. In exchange for taking this survey we will send you an advanced copy of “Spiritual Influence: The Hidden Power Behind Leadership” by Mel Lawrenz. This book is not yet available online or in stores and it packs some profound insights on how all of us – regardless of our roles in our respective organizations and relationships – can have powerful, Godly influence on others in our life.
But enough chatting.
You can fill out the survey here, or in the form below. The survey and giveaway is over. Sorry! Please check back for more giveaways every Thursday.
Thank you for reading this blog and providing your feedback! – Andrew and Chris
[googleapps domain="docs" dir="spreadsheet/embeddedform" query="formkey=dDNKZVUxdkhvVXlpam14MnFmbTk5QWc6MQ" width="760" height="1169" /]
Do you have kids? I have two boys, 4 1/2 and 3 years old. Jack is my oldest and is a very compliant, sensitive, thoughtful little boy. Luke is…not. Luke reminds me of my younger sister growing up – very funny, very sweet at times, but if things ever so slightly go awry or not the way they want, watch out. My wife and I jokingly call him “Lukifer” at these times. I find myself at a loss with him multiple times a week (and I’m not the primary care-giver!).
As a dad, I think I am involved, and take my role as the leader in the house seriously. I have also discovered that I am not nearly as patient and unselfish as I thought I was. I have read many books and watched many parenting studies. Quite often, these gives tips on training your children and communication and discipline. That is all well and good, and have found many of the resources helpful. One parenting study, though, that I have been going back to is Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas. This study looks at how children shape our souls to become more like Jesus.
Sacred Parenting looks at how parenting changes the parent, not the child. Thomas calls parenting a school of spiritual formation, and our children are our teachers.
I think this is such a great study, that I want to give it away today. Here’s what you need to do to get the DVD and Participant’s Guide free:
- Watch the full session on YouTube here: http://zndr.vn/KajKtK
- Answer Gary’s question at the end of the video about a particular challenge that you are facing (or faced) with your children and leave it in the comments on YouTube.
- Paste the same comment below here (so we can connect with you about sending the resources to you).
- Available today only.
Also be sure also to visit the Small Group Bible Study playlist on YouTube. Watch full-length small group Bible study sessions free from authors and pastors like Timothy Keller, Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel, and Mark Batterson.
Leadership Network recently posted some new video interviews with Brian and Amy Bloye, the authors of It’s Personal: Surviving and Thriving on the Journey of Church Planting. I’ve posted some of Brian’s advice before, and also an excerpt from the book, but if you’re still unfamiliar with what It’s Personal is all about these videos will give you a clear idea.
More videos from this interview with Brian and Amy can be found on the “It’s Personal” video playlist.
How long has your ministry been established? Is it only five years old, or less?
Best! – AR
During the week of June 25-29 we’ll be hosting another blog tour. This one is for Laurie Beshore’s new book, Love Without Walls: Learning to be a Church in the World, for the World. This book is the newest book in our Leadership Network Innovation Series and it tells the story of how Mariner’s Church began and grew a unique outreach ministry to their community in Orange County, CA. As with all of the books in this series it is also packed with transferable ideas for other churches to use.
To sign up for the blog tour
please fill out this form. (This sign up is closed! Sorry!) We’ll send a free copy of the book to the first 50 people to sign up in exchange for a review posted on your blog and on a book site (Amazon, BN.com, CBD.com, Goodreads, or others) during the blog tour week (June 25-29). During the blog tour week we’ll be tweeting the links, putting them on Facebook, and digging deeply into the content of Love Wihtout Walls.
I hope you can join us! I love reading the reviews and the authors do too.