Quarter Life…


I would recommend Jeremy Stephens’ Quarter Life: Crisis Management From History’s Greatest 30-Something.  I was provided a copy of the book in a special pre-release directly from the publisher for review purposes. You can order a paperback copy for under $5 on Amazon
My favorite chapter dealt with autonomy.  The author suggested…
  • Jesus’ opinions were never His parents’ opinions.  In respect to Jesus staying behind at the temple, it is interesting to note that here that this is not a case of disobedience on the part of Jesus.  Disobedience to one’s parents is not, and should not be seen as, the beginnings of autonomy.  Jesus was simply doing what His Father in heaven wanted Him to do (55). 
  • Jesus’ pressure was never peer pressure.  Whether pressure from culture, pressure from finances, pressures from relationships, or the pressures of facing mortality, not one single human will live their day without facing stressors of some sort (57). 
  • Jesus’ convictions came from His confidence in God.  We are given glimpses of an objective moral law, which operates independently of whatever anyone believes about it.  
  • Jesus autonomy came from His dependence on God. In questioning our parents, we know that they are imperfect.  In questioning their beliefs, we are open to the possibility that not only are we wrong but that they are wrong, because our parents will fail us at times, no matter how hard they try (60).  
My favorite quote is captured on Instagram.  

This book, full of practical wisdom, is an incredible resource for a small group of young adults.  The topics include (but are not limited to) mortality, marriage, and money.  That being said, I have a very difficult time empathizing with the younger generations (including my own).  So many emerging adults are living at home longer, switching jobs more often, going to school for more years, etc.  I hear complaints of not knowing what to do, where to be able to do it, or if they should even do it for any serious length of time.  Every generation as it’s fair share of challenges.  Think about the students who had to walk through the Great Depression or the Vietnam Draft?  Though I wish Jeremy Stephens would have validated this “crisis” a bit less, I do appreciate his willingness to meet his audience where they are at and love them enough to share harder teachings.

Book Description:  20-somethings in “quarter-life crisis” can find purpose in the struggle, through history’s greatest 30-something – Jesus. His guidance on autonomy, career, relationships, finances, and your own mortality provide hope and direction to keep the emergency from becoming a disaster.
Author Biography: Jeremy Stephens was born outside of Atlanta, Georgia in 1982 and has been living there ever since. He currently works as a counselor with homeless families in Atlanta. He has a wife and daughter that keep him busier and happier than anything else. When he isn’t working on his next book, he enjoys binge-watching bad television and running. If you see him on the street without a coffee or a burrito in his hand, feel free to give him a coffee or a burrito.

Quarter Life…

Marriage Matters…

I recently completed Winston T. Smith’s Marriage Matters: Extraordinary Change Through Ordinary Moments.

So how do ordinary moments become extraordinary?  The author suggests, “In marriage, the biggest obstacle to change is our attitude toward it… The path to change in your marriage is built on this truth:  God is involved in every moment of your marriage” (6-7).

  1. Marriages change when we recognize God’s agenda for so-called ordinary moments.  A lack of love should prompt us to not just look more closely at our marriage but at our relationship with God (8).
  2. Marriages change when we’re willing to love in practical, Christlike ways, especially in the difficult moments.  You need faith that Jesus will help you every step of the way, but you also need to take concrete action (9).
  3. Marriages change when we’re willing to love consistently, over time, not because our spouses change but because we’re in a growing relationship with God.  At some point in marriage, you have to realize that you can’t make your spouse change.  If your happiness hinges on your ability to control your spouse, you doom yourself to the frustration and hopelessness of trying to do the impossible (11).

Though I enjoyed this very practical guide to relationships, there are far better marriage resources out there (i.e. Meaning of Marriage and Love & Respect).  Check the book out and let me know what you think.

Marriage Matters…

Ministry in the Digital Age…


I would recommend David T. Bourgeois’ Ministry in the Digital Age: Strategies and Best Practices for a Post-Website World.  I was provided a complimentary copy of the book in a special pre-release directly from the publisher for review purposes.  You can purchase the paper book edition directly from Amazon for under fourteen dollars. 
My favorite chapter quote can be found in Instagram.
The author does an exhaustive job of assisting the church in formulating a digital strategy (in asking the right questions)…
  • Define the purpose and objectives for the use of the digital tools by your ministry
  • Describe the target group(s) for your digital ministry 
  • Research your target group(s) use of digital technologies 
  • Determine the resources available 
  • Create a list of possible solutions 
  • Select the tools you will use 
  • Plan for the implementation and operation of your digital ministry 
  • Forecast results 
  • Assign roles and responsibilities 
  • Write it up 
  • Carry out the plan 
  • Evaluate results 
  • Do it again! 
Check this very practical resource out and let me know what you think. 
Official Author Biography: David T. Bourgeois (Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University), is director of innovation and associate professor of information systems at Crowell School of Business at Biola University. He has worked in information systems at Fortune 500 companies in such roles as systems analyst, programmer, project leader, trainer and consultant. Bourgeois has been researching and consulting on the use of digital technologies by churches, ministries and other faith-based institutions for the past several years. He has a passion to help these organizations use digital tools to more effectively love God and love others.
Official Book Description: “Christianity is fundamentally a communication event. It is God revealing God’s self to the world. And God uses a large variety of media to accomplish that revelation.” —Shane Hipps, author of Flickering Pixels
Viral videos and retweeted posts fill the air around us. In the midst of constant news feeds and mobile alerts, ministries have unprecedented opportunities to connect with people yearning for community with others and God.
But how? In this post-website world, it’s no longer enough to have a static website and hope that people find it. If you want to get your online content in front of your audience, you need to have a digital presence in the streams where they’re already active.
David Bourgeois offers a practical step-by-step guide for discerning and implementing a digital strategy for your ministry. He provides an overview of how Christians can use technology and communication media wisely, with concrete ideas for churches and nonprofit organizations. Discover how you can make the most of every opportunity to extend your ministry’s electronic reach and impact.
Ministry in the Digital Age…

Wired for Intimacy…

I would recommend William M. Struthers’ Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain.  I was provided a complimentary copy of the book in a special pre-release directly from the publisher for review purposes.  You can purchase the paper book edition directly from Amazon for under thirteen dollars. 
My favorite chapter quote can be found in Instagram
Now, more than ever, healthy marriages are needed in the church.  Husbands and wives have the honor and privilege of displaying Christ’s love for the church (and vice versa) to a world wandering and wondering.  Men (and women) must examine their hearts for any ounce of sexual immorality.  Pornography has never been more accessible.  Pornography has never been more celebrated.  Pornography is becoming more of an issue for both genders.  How can we shed good news on the subject?  
Official Author Biography: William Struthers (Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago), is associate professor of psychology at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois where he teaches courses on behavioral neuroscience, men and addictions and the biological bases of behavior. His theoretical research is in the area of neuroethics, the biological bases of spirituality and personhood, and the nature of integration in psychology. He is also interested in the Anglican tradition and in science/faith dialogue issues.
Official Book Description: Pornography is powerful. Our contemporary culture as been pornified, and it shapes our assumptions about identity, sexuality, the value of women and the nature of relationships. Countless Christian men struggle with the addictive power of porn. But common spiritual approaches of more prayer and accountability groups are often of limited help.
In this book neuroscientist and researcher William Struthers explains how pornography affects the male brain and what we can do about it. Because we are embodied beings, viewing pornography changes how the brain works, how we form memories and make attachments. By better understanding the biological realities of our sexual development, we can cultivate healthier sexual perspectives and interpersonal relationships. Struthers exposes false assumptions and casts a vision for a redeemed masculinity, showing how our sexual longings can actually propel us toward sanctification and holiness in our bodies.
With insights for both married and single men alike, this book offers hope for freedom from pornography.
Wired for Intimacy…