Top 5 Books Read in 2011

End of the year is a time for “Top ___” list for the year right? Well here is my list of the top five books I read this year; outside of the Bible. In the Bible I have been camped out in Philippians all year, so much great truth in that short 4 chapter book.

1. “The Power of Prayer in a Believer’s Life” by Charles Spurgeon 

I thought I knew how to pray until I read this book. Greatly challenged me, one of those books I will read again. Highly recommend it.

True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor vocal performance. It is far deeper than that – it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of heaven and earth.” (page 15)

2. “Power Through Prayer” by EM Bounds 

Found this book on my shelf, and decided to read it. Short read, but great read. Challenging and practical, written towards an audience of ministers, but recommend it for anyone.

No man can do a great and enduring work for God who is not a man of prayer, and no man can be a man of prayer who does not give much time to praying.” (page 57)

3. “A Hunger for God: through Prayer and Fasting” by John Piper

Great read/ teaching on purpose of prayer and fasting. On the purpose of the two comes out of a Hunger for God; to draw closer to Him.

The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world.” (page 14)

4. “Erasing Hell: What God Said about Eternity, and the Things We’ve Made Up” by Francis Chan

Title says it all, its a study on what the Bible really says about Hell. Ton of scripture references, if wanting to know what the Bible really teaches about eternity, I recommend this book. Was written in response to Rob Bell’s “Love Wins,” which was one of the most heartbreaking reads I have ever read.

When it comes to hell, we can’t afford to be wrong. This is not one of those doctrines where you can toss in your two cents, shrug your shoulders and move on. Too much is at stake, too many people are at stake. And the Bible has too much to say…. Don’t believe something just because you want to, and don’t embrace an idea just because you’ve always believed it. Believe what is biblical. Test all your assumptions against the precious words God gave us in the Bible.” (page 14-15)

5. “Weight of Glory” by CS Lewis

Short essay, but thought-provoking and challenging. I have a hard time reading Lewis, but was able to read this, and it has challenged me.

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”(page 1)

This is just a short post about 5 books that have challenged me this year. I highly recommend these books and would encourage you to read them. But as a caution I would add that books are great and great authors can challenge us and open up our minds to the things of God, but don’t neglect the Word of God for a book. Don’t neglect the Creator for someone created. These books have helped me to think hard on the things of God, but nothing can challenge us and grow us more than the Word of God can.

Advertisements

Tis the Season

(youth newsletter)

This is the season where we usually get busy, stressed, over whelmed, agitated, short tempered, while trying our best to give  THANKS! Finals coming up in school, spending extra time with family members, having to go to school when you know exactly how many days you have until you get a much needed two week break.

 

Let us not forget what we celebrate this season. What we gather together for. The event that changed the course of history; a baby has been born in Bethlehem and the world has never been the same. Christ has been born, the Word has become flesh and dwelt among us; Immanuel, God with us.  More than just the birth of a baby, this baby brought Hope, hope of a Savior, a rescuer, the One who would redeem His people so that we could enter into fellowship with Him.

 

This season let’s celebrate, celebrate the fact that we have been redeemed, the fact that our Savior has come and is returning again. In the midst of the crazy holiday season, don’t forget that because of His birth we celebrate this season. Hope has entered the world, and because of this we can celebrate, we can rejoice and we can worship.

40 Day Prayer Emphasis (from my Pastors blog)

40 Day Prayer Emphasis

Winfree Baptist Church

October 16 – November 24

Join us on Sunday October 16 at 6:00 pm as we kick off 40 days of prayer.

Begin to pray now. Asking God to rekindle in us a passion for Him, His Word, His Church, and His Mission!

Pray and Expect Great Things!

“I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time – walking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God – it changes me.” ~ CS Lewis

Debris from a Storm

Storms come and go all the time especially living along the Gulf Coast. We get them in all kinds of different ways, some small, with barely enough rain to wet the ground, some massive as in a hurricanes that requires you to pack your loved ones and prized possessions and evacuate inland.  Where once there we sit and wait, wait to see if storm will hit our city, and what effect it may have; only some wind damage or wind damage along with flooding, a lot of uncertainties remain as we sit and wait. With questions running through our mind, worries, concerns, what will this storm bring? Will anything remain? What will be left when I go back home?

Theres always one thing that remains after a storm…

You ever walked outside not long after a bad storm and looked at all the debris left behind? Various sticks, limbs, and leaves; as there are still some still attached to the trees they belong to. Last weekend I went out to cut my back yard and there was limbs from my palm trees everywhere; we got hit by a tropical depression the previous weekend. As I was gathering them, and looking up into the trees and noticing there were still some attached, were alive and green. Where as the ones I was gathering were dead, and had been for a while, yet the palm tree was still holding on till the storm came and broke it free.

Look back on the storms you have gone through, over the years, did they not cause you to let go of those things in our life that are dead and hold onto the One who is alive? No matter what it was that we were holding on to because we thought we needed it, we thought it satisfied, and we had to have it, when all the while it was dead, and not allowing us to hold on to Him. The storms in our lives move us to run to the One who is able to comfort us, sustain us, and grow us. Sometimes it’s not easy to sit and wait and wonder what will the results of the storm be, what will be left? Will I survive? Will I be ok? Why is this happening? What can I do? Cant I go back?

It’s in these times when I find my self running to Christ, the creator and sustainer. The One who came to redeem me, and as much as I wish following Christ meant a life of ease, and smooth sailing; He never promised that, but said that in Him there is hope (John 16:33) because He has overcome this world. In the Gospels we see an instance where Jesus climbs into a boat and tells His Disciples He wanted to go across to the other side, so they set sail. Most of His Disciples were fishermen by trade, they had made a living on these waters, grown up on these waters, most likely had encountered numerous storms, and survived them. Basically saying that these guys knew how to control a boat in a storm, but in this instance the storm was so intense that they feared for their lives, and moved past trying on their own and ran to Jesus. And this whole time He had been asleep. But the storm caused them to run to the One alive in their life for help, and He simply gets up and tells the storm to “Shut Up!” and it ceased (Matthew 8). No matter what storms we face or go through, whether small or massive, He has already overcame them. In that we find peace, in that we find rest, in that we find hope, and His Name is declared out in our life. Then those around us begin to notice our hope and question us about it, and we are able to speak the Gospel into their lives and give a defense for our hope (1 Peter 3:15), and He is glorified. We get the Hope, He gets the Glory!

Could it be that the storms in our life are used as a means of drawing us to Him! I know many of us have talked about how intense and purposeful worship was after Hurricane Ike, how we HAD to be with our local church body for fellowship and to worship, how our quiet times were awesome, and how we grew, matured, and fell more in love with Him. I’ve read stories of Followers of Christ overseas that were in prison and had been set free, and mentioned that at times they wish they were back in prison, because their relationship with Christ was so intense in prison that wish they could go back to experience that closeness again.

Are we willing to endure a storm, if it means a greater closeness with Christ? Willing to let go of things that keep us from pursing Him with all that we have?

Storms in our lives, shake free from us things that are dead and weighing us down, and allow us to hold onto what is Alive.

As I gathered the debris in my yard, I threw it out, I didn’t try to climb the tree and put them back in it. Sometimes we have to allow God to set us free, so we can do what we were created for and that’s to pursue Him.

Blog World

I have decided to join the blogosphere. After my pastor reactivated his, and began blogging again, I can see the usefulness of it. Also appears to be helpful, for those thoughts I need to put down, before they leave me.

I may not blog daily or even weekly, but will from time to time post a blog or two.

Blogs will most likely cover:

  • Thoughts from daily Bible Reading
  • Thoughts from my quiet time
  • Thoughts from a conference or church
  • Thoughts from the chewing on a quote
  • Lyrics of Songs that grab me
  • Sports local high school, college, professional
  • And basically anything else that comes across my mind and is longer than 140 characters