Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Breakfast with Adam


When Adam entered 6th grade I decided to begin a new tradition with him. I decided that I would take him out for breakfast once a week before school, and during that time I would take some intentional steps in helping him move from boyhood to manhood. We have been blessed to have good schools for our boys, but we know that there are some subjects that our education system is unable to tackle. That’s where we as parents come in. 

We go to different places each week, but our favorite is Barksdale. Adam likes tradition, and our waiter knows what we want as soon as we walk in. We love that place.

The first year we read a book together on the topic of manhood. Last year we continued the tradition, and our focus was on memorizing Scripture. This year we’re reading another book together, but we’re also talking about money. When Adam turned 11 Mandy and I opened a car fund savings account for him. We told him that when he was ready to buy a car, we would match whatever he wants to spend. Let me tell you…the kid caught on to this. He’s a natural saver, and I’m a bit worried about what he’s going to want to buy in a few years!

This summer he got his first real job helping to teach swim lessons. He did a great job, and I think he really enjoyed it. A few weeks ago I talked to him about the power of compound interest, explaining what $500 could look like 40 years from now. It’s a little over $20k. Here’s the crazy thing. Hold it for another 10 years and it comes close to tripling! He was pretty amazed. So he took his taxable income from his summer job and we opened a Roth IRA for him.  Can we say Proud Dad Moment!

I’ve always known that I wanted to take an active role in the formation of my kids. I believe that there is a unique role that dads play in this task. Like every other man I know though, my biggest obstacle was myself. I didn’t know how to do it. Fearing that this would lead to never doing anything because I didn’t have the perfect plan, I mustered up the courage to do one breakfast. The next week Adam asked if we could do it again. And then he did it again the next week. He’s grown to love the routine, and you better believe that I’m going to maximize this for as long as he wants to do it.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Books Read - August 2018


Last December I set a goal to read 30 books during 2018. I also decided, for the sake of accountability, to post what I'm reading to my blog and facebook. I'm happy to say that after eight months I'm up to 28 books.

Here's what I read in August.

Necessary Endings, by Henry Cloud
You may know that I have stepped down as pastor of Neighborhood Church. This was a very difficult decision, and this was one of the books that helped to give me the courage to make it.

In Search of Deep Faith, by Jim Belcher
I absolutely loved this book. My only regret is that I did not read it before we went to Europe. The book is about the author's family's 9 month trip to Europe. He tells the stories of C.S. Lewis, William Wilberforce, Vincent van Gogh, Corrie ten Boom, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, among others. Highly recommended!

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C.S. Lewis
Speaking of C.S. Lewis, after reading Jim Belcher's account of his life, my family decided to read this book out loud together. We had never read any of the Narnia books, but knew the stories of the first two quite well and thus decided to begin with this one.

And then three novels...
Artemis, by Andy Weir
I didn't think this one was nearly as good as his first novel, The Martian, but it was still entertaining.

Hellbent: An Orphan X Novel, by Gregg Hurwitz
I like listening to books like these while I'm working around the house. Nothing I have to think too hard about, but entertaining nonetheless.

The Broker, by John Grisham
I've read this one a couple of times. Same as above. Plus it's set in Italy.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Books Read - June and July 2018

In December I set a goal to read 30 books in 2018. I'm up to 22 at the end of July. I didn't write a post in June, so here are the books I read in June and July.

First, a couple of memoirs...

Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me: A Memoir...of Sorts, by Ian Cron
I've had this book on my shelf for several years. I wanted to take one paperback on our trip to Europe for times when I couldn't, or didn't want to, read my kindle. This was the book. It's a good read.

All Over the Place, by Geraldine DeRuiter
This is a travel memoir, and a hilarious one at that. I saw it in a bookstore a year or so ago and starting thumbing through it. I thought it would be a good light reading for the trip.


Next up, a couple of novels...

The President is Missing, by Bill Clinton and James Patterson
I thought this was a really good novel. It's about the doomsday that could come with a cyber attack. It's definitely fiction, but it was a reminder that we do live in scary times.

The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown
I had read this book before, but since we were going to a few of the sights mentioned in the book I thought it would be good to read it again.


Finally, a variety of non-fiction...

American Kingpin, by Nick Bilton
This is the story of Ross Ulbricht, the guy who created the Silk Road, which was an ebay-like site where you could buy drugs, guns, and a slew of other illegal items.

Sex, Jesus, and the Conversations the Church Forgot, by Mo IsomI read this book through the lens of a pastor but also as a parent. It is as honest an account of the power and destruction of sexual sin as I have read, but it's also the story of grace and hope. 

The Burden is Light, by Jon Tyson
Jon Tyson is one of the voices that I continue to listen to. This book juxtaposes the normal way of life with the way of Jesus. The topics are practical ones that impact us all.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Books Read - May 2018


I'm a little late on this post. April was busy as I was trying to wrap things up before my sabbatical started, so I actually started a couple of these then.


The 12 Week Year, by Brian Moran & Michael Lennington - One of the problems with annual goals is that you don't start feeling the pressure until the last couple of months. Because the deadline is 12 months away, there's no sense of urgency. This book encourages the reader to view a 12 week period as a year. Each 12 week period stands on its own. It has its own set of goals, strategies and rewards. Sound enticing? Get the book. It's great!

The Accidental Anglican, by Todd Hunter - I first read this a few years ago, but I picked it back up because I've missed liturgy in my life. This is a great story by a guy who I've admired from a distance for a long time.

Everything Belongs, by Richard Rohr - This is my #1 read of the year so far. At the beginning of May I went on an Ignatian Silent Retreat at this place. It was such a good weekend. This book was in the library, and I picked it up my first night. Unlike a lot of other Rohr books, this one is short. I read it pretty quickly, and then when I got home I purchased the kindle version so that I could take notes. This is a book I'm going to come back to.

The Escape Artist, by Brad Meltzer - A little fiction for the month. It was just ok.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Books Read - March 2018

For 2018 I set a goal to read thirty books. In order to keep that goal I decided to track them on my blog.

This month I read three books.

First up...God's Wisdom for Navigating Life, a devotional by Tim & Kathy Keller. We're in a series on Wisdom at Neighborhood Church, and this has been one of my go to books for prep.

Next...The Day the Revolution Began, by NT Wright. "Wow" is all I can say about this book. It's the best theology book I've read in the last year. Highly recommended for those who want to better understand what happened at the Cross.

Finally, one novel...Gray Mountain, by John Grisham.


Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Books Read - February 2018

In an effort to increase accountability for my goal of reading 30 books in 2018, I'll be posting the books I've read each month.

Here are the four books I read in February...

First up is The Sacred Enneagram by Chris Heuertz. It's the second book I've read on the Enneagram. I thought this one was fantastic.

Next is The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. I read this several years ago but thought it would be a good one to come back to. I had no idea how much this book has impacted so many people, including me.

Next up is So You've Been Publicly Shamed, by Jon Ronson. I checked this out a the library simply to read one story for the purpose of sermon prep, but I couldn't put it down. One note: I skipped a couple of chapters that were more "mature" than what I was looking for.

Finally, one novel. I'm a sucker for David Baldacci. His latest from the Will Robie series, The End Game, was good. Not great but good.


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Books Read - January 2018

It’s the end of Month 1 of 2018. I feel like I did a good job setting goals for the year, but I also feel like the key to seeing those goals realized is to divide those annual goals into quarterly and monthly ones. The reason is accountability. December 2018 feels a  long way away, which means there’s less urgency to attack in January.

One goal I had was to read 30 books in 2018. I’ve had development goals before, but I’ve never really kept up with them. This year will be different, and one of the ways it’s going to be different is that I’m going to share the books I’ve read on my blog.

So for January, I read (or listened to) four books.  Two were fiction (The Poet and Two Kinds of Truth, both by Michael Connelly. I mostly listen to fiction while I’m doing chores.  It works for me, and Mandy doesn’t complain!  The other two books I read were:

1.  Your Best Year Ever, by Michael Hyatt - This book is all about the right kind of goal setting, which made it a great start of the year book.

2.  Rest, by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang - The subtitle is “Why You Get More Done When You Work Less.”  Is there a better subtitle than that!  This book was incredible. I know it’s just January, but I feel like it could be a top 3 book by the time the year is over. Highly recommended.