Les Miserables

Two weeks ago, my family and I attended the Les Miserables stage production at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne. It is one of our favourite productions. We have watched the 25th annviersary edition DVD recorded at the London O2 arena a dozen or so times and it never fails to move us (the finale, which is a 30 minute standing ovation and encore that brought the 1985 cast on-stage, is worth the price of the DVD). The Australian cast did an outstanding job too. The story, based on the book by Victor Hugo, is so redemptive and it captures and... Read more →

Soul Keeping

John Ortberg's latest book is called Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You. John is a well-known pastor, speaker and best-selling author from the USA. In this excellent book, he delves into the inner world of our soul, exposing what the soul needs and showing how it can be restored. John, who has a doctorate in both theology and psychology, is an engaging writer, drawing insights from Scripture, human experience, his own personal life, as well as his unique mentoring relationship with the late Dallas Willard. If you're looking for a challenging and insightful devotional book, then... Read more →

Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence

Daniel Goleman's latest book is Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence. For more than two decades, psychologist and journalist Goleman has been scouting the leading edge of the human sciences for what's new, important and surprising. In this book, he delves into the science of attention in all its varieties, presenting a comprehensive discussion on this mental asset that matters enormously as to how we navigate life. Attention works much like a muscle: use it poorly and it can wither; work it well and it grows. In an era of unstoppable distractions, Goleman argues that now more than ever we... Read more →

2014 Christianity Today Book Awards

Confession time. I love books! Yes, there is a certain joy in buying a new book and just putting it on your shelf ... even if you haven't yet read the last ten books you bought. Fellow addicts would understand. Others don't. So, if you are looking for a book to read, check out Christianity Today magazine's list of their book awards for 2014. There's bound to be something in there to capture your interest and its good to keep in touch with what is shaping the thinking and culture of Christianity today. A few other books I have on... Read more →

The Advantage: Organisational Health - by Patrick Lencioni

Patrick Lencioni's most recent book is The Advantage: Why Organisational Health Trumps Eveyrhting Else. He believes that all the competitive advantages that businesses have been pursuing over the years are gone - strategy, technology, finance, and marketing. No, those disciplines have not disappeared. They are all alive and well in most organisations. But as meaningful competitive advantages, as real differentiators that can set one company apart from another, they are no longer anything close to what they once were. That's because virtually every organisation, of any size, has access to the best thinking and practices around strategy, technology and those... Read more →

Rob Bell's Book: "What We Talk About When We Talk about God."

Rob Bell's latest book is called What We Talk About When we Talk About God. Mark Galli, editor of Christianity Today, has recently reviewed the book and offers these insightful thoughts ... As far as I can tell, any classic, middle-of-the-road Christian can offer a hearty "Amen" to a great deal of Rob Bell's theology. The former pastor of Mars Hill Church believes God exists and can be experienced and yet cannot be contained by rational explanations. He affirms the divinity and humanity of Christ, as well as the Resurrection. He believes the Spirit is active in our lives and... Read more →

A Letter to the Church at Laodecia

Here is a challenging message from Jesus to the church at Laodecia: Revelation 3:15-19. I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! You say, I am rich. I have everything I want. I dont need a thing! And you dont realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified... Read more →

Christmas Resources

Believe it or not, Christmas is only four weeks away! For followers of Christ, and especially for those of us who pastor a church or speak from time to time, Christmas presents another excellent opportunity to communicate the good news of Jesus Christ. But how do we share this timeless message in new and fresh ways that capture people’s attention and interest? J John from the UK has put together a variety of resources specially related to the Christmas season. Check out his web site for further details. Of note, is the recent release of the book Proclaiming Christmas, a... Read more →

C.S. Lewis Deserves His Place in Poet's Corner

By Alistair McGrath for The Telegraph With simplicity and elegance, he captured the imagination of a war-weary generation. Today it will be announced that a memorial to the poet, literary scholar and novelist C S Lewis (1898-1963) is to be placed in Poets’ Corner at Westminster Abbey next November, 50 years after his death. He joins a select group of poets, playwrights and writers to have been buried or commemorated there, including Geoffrey Chaucer and William Shakespeare. I would argue that Lewis certainly merits inclusion among these greats of English literature. Has he secured his place because he was a poet?... Read more →

"Who is this Man?" by John Ortberg

With over 1,500 new books about Jesus being published every year, why read another book about Jesus? John Ortberg's latest book Who is this Man? The Unpredictable Impact of this Inescapable Man is well worth reading as it gives us a fresh and inspiring look at Jesus and his impact on history. New Testament scholar and historian N.T. Wright says this about it: “One of the big lies of our time is that Christianity has been part of the problem rather than the source of the solution. Most people today don’t realise that things we now take for granted, like... Read more →

A Book Lover's Delight

Everyone has a weakness. Mine is books. There is a certain joy in buying a book and putting it on your shelf ... even if you haven't read hte last 10 books you bought. Fellow addicts will identify with me right away. If you don't love books ... well, you just don't understand. Fellow book-lovers, I have a host of articles for you on the topics of 'Books.' Just click here to get started ... and I promise you'll have an enjoyable time. And when you're done reading, it won't have cost you a penny ... unless you choose to... Read more →

2011 Leadership Book Awards

They say that "leaders are readers" and "readers are leaders." Without doubt, each of us can only give out what we have inside. We fill our inner world through prayer and reflection on God's Word, through meditation and grappling with our own thoughts, but we are especially aided by engaging with others. Books are a terrific way to stimulate your thinking and help you engage with a wide variety of relevant issues. Leadership Journal is an excellent Christian magazine for leaders in every sphere of society. They recently released their list of book awards for 2011. If you're looking for... Read more →

Tom Wright for Everyone

Tom Wright (also known as N.T. Wright) has achieved global recognition as a biblical theologian through his academic and popular publications. He is a leading New testament scholar and former Bishop of Durham in the Church of England. His most academic work is his Christian Origins and the Questions of God series, of which three editions have been released so far. These include The New Testament and the People of God, Jesus and the Victory of God and The Resurrection and the Son of God. Tom also has also written a commentary series on the entire New Testament called For... Read more →

Which book would you want if you were shipwrecked on an island?

If you were stranded on a remote desert island somewhere and could only have ONE book with you, what would it be? G. K. Chesterton, the famous British writer, was once invited to a meeting of the leading intellectuals in England. They were asked if they were shipwrecked on an island, what would be the one book they would want to have with them. Everyone expected Chesterton, a prominent Christian, to say “the Bible.” When it came his turn to speak, however, Chesterton said that if he were shipwrecked on a desert island, he’d like to have “Thomas’s Guide to... Read more →

Jesus said "Come ..."

As we read through the story of Jesus as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew we see that: Jesus shares his Messianic message about the kingdom of God (Mt.5-7), he engages in a ministry of miracles and signs (Mt.8-9), and he commissions his disciples to participate in his mission (Mt.10). The crowds still follow but a tinge of dissatisfaction emerges as questions are being raised about Jesus’ identity and mission (Mt.11). Soon outright opposition and hostility will emerge, especially from the religious leaders (Mt.12). Jesus shows how privileged a generation these people are and with it comes great responsibility. They... Read more →

Scrivener: Great Software for Writers, Speakers and Composers

For anyone who writes or speaks, the task of preparation is part science and part art ... with lots of prayer and perspiration mixed in. Some people think more intuitively. I know one speaker who prepares all of their messages in their head - never writing anything down. Others write out their ideas, sometimes word for word - on paper or by typing into a word processor. I have always used a note pad to scribble down ideas for messages, often creating a bit of a pathway or 'story board' to outline my flow of thoughts and the direction of... Read more →

Mastering Management

Leading and managing a church, a ministry, a business, or a non-profit organisation is quite a complex task. There is the cause or the mission that needs pursuing. There are the staff and volunteers who need encouraging and inspiring, much like a community. Then there is the corporate or business aspects that need conducting with excellence. John Pearson has been active in management for over 25 years, serving with the Christian Management Association, the Willow Creek Association, and the Christian Camp and Conference Association. He is now president of a management consulting firm, serving both non-profit and for-profit organisations through... Read more →

Ancient Future Church

How did the early church grow from as few as 25,000 people at the end of the first century (100 AD) to as many as 20 million people two hundred years later (310 AD)? Now that's a question worth thinking deeply about. While considering this question we must note that Christianity was an illegal religion during this period (at best they were tolerated, at worst they were persecuted), they didn't have church buildings, they didn't have all of the Scriptures as we know them (the canon was still being formed), they had no professional leadership, they didn't have youth groups,... Read more →

The Culturally Savvy Christian

Dick Staub has written a thought-provoking book - The Culturally Savvy Christian: a Manifesto for Deepening Faith and Enriching Popular Culture in an Age of Christianity-Lite. In his opinion, culturally savvy Christians are savvy about faith and about culture. The author does a good job of exposing the superficiality of much of pop culture but also challenges what he calls 'Christianity Lite' or 'Pop Christianity,' which he defines as "a brand of faith that tastes great but is less filling, and wherever it prevails, it a source of impoverishment of faith and culture." From a church history perspective, the author... Read more →