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.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Top 10 Lists - Books

It's going to be tough to choose 10, but here we go (in no particular order)...

First, a couple of books on money...

The Big Short, by Michael Lewis
I've continued to be intrigued by the financial crisis, especially as it pertains to real estate lending.  A great documentary on this topic is Inside Job, and I also recommend the movie Too Big to Fail, based on the book by Andrew Ross Sorkin.

Money - Master the Game, by Tony Robbins
As long as you can deal with a little hype ("what I'm about to share with you in the next chapter is going to change your life!!!"), this book is really good.  I still haven't finished the entire book (it's almost 700 pages long), but I've put into practice several things...and it has changed my entire life!!!

Next up is fiction.  I read, or listen to, pretty much everything that John Grisham, David Baldacci and Michael Connelly put out, but I thought I would add two books from new-to-me authors.

The Martian, by Andy Weir
I purchased both the kindle and audible books for this, and during our California/Oregon Adventure I went back and forth between reading and listening.  The movie is great, but the book is even better.

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline
I can't remember where I first heard about this book, but I'm glad I read it.  The two themes of the book, the 80's and video games, are not themes that I'm really into, but I couldn't put the book down.  Armada is his second book, and it's great as well.

Gay Marriage is a pretty divisive topic in our culture today, and our church has continued to wrestle with how to be love and walk with our gay friends.  I've read a lot on these topics this year, but these two books were the most helpful.

Redeeming Sex, by Debra Hirsch
Quite possibly the best book I read this year.  I'm excited that Debra is going to be in Memphis at the end of February!

People to Be Loved, by Preston Sprinkle
I just finished this book.  I appreciate his posture in writing.  He's very humble and doesn't back away from the challenging questions that the church must wrestle with.

Here are two books I heard about while listening to podcasts...

We Learn Nothing, by Tim Kreider
I heard about this book from Tim Ferriss' podcast.  It's a book of essays, and it's hilarious.

Everything that Remains, by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus
These guys, aka the Minimalists, were interviewed by Rob Bell on his podcast.  This is their story.  I also recommend this more practical book of essays.

These two books were most helpful for sermon prep...

A Fellowship of Differents, by Scot McKnight
I just finished up a five month series called Church=Family.  This was one of my primary influences.

The Story of God, the Story of Us, by Sean Gladding
I'm getting ready to start a series on the grand narrative that is the Bible.  This will be the book that I recommend to our folks at NC.

Bonus:  These last two have probably influenced me more than any others.

The Power of Vulnerability, by Brene Brown
So this is not a book but a workshop, but if you've never ready anything by Brene Brown, this is a great place to start.  It covers material from her first three books.  Her writing continues to shape me in pretty profound ways.

The Ragamuffin Gospel, by Brennan Manning
A year ago I felt that I needed to start 2015 off by re-reading this book, and I'm so glad that I did.  I wanted to go back to the message of grace, and I feel that I've been coming back to it throughout the year.  This is one of those books that I feel like I need to read every few years.

2015 Top 10 Lists - Moments

2015 was a great year.  These are some of my top moments.  As I reflect I'm truly grateful to God for all that He's done!

10.  Bella - 2015 marks our family's first full year with a dog since we had Jack.  We love her.  She's such a smart and loyal dog, and the boys take turns sleeping with her each night.

9.  House - We built a 250 sq ft screened porch this summer, and it is fantastic.  It became my primary office for much of the fall, and I'm looking forward to the many memories we'll have in that space through the years to come.

8.  Travel - This summer we spent two weeks in California and Oregon.  We started with a week in Oakland & Yosemite, then drove north for a week, in the process making stops in Mendocino, Etna, Ashland, & finally Portland.  It was definitely an adventure.  And this fall we all went to Washington D.C.  Micah was still a little young to truly appreciate it, but it was perfect for Adam.

7.  Music - For a long time making music was a part of my job.  Now that it's not, I am finding myself having so much fun.  I'm in my fourth year with the Memphis Men's Chorale, I love playing at NC under Kirk Smith's leadership, and I just played in the band at our fourth annual Wassailing for Water Party.  We also love having a piano in the house.

6.  Work - I've been a real estate agent for over five years now, and as much as I love it, this year I got to try my hand at renovating two houses in my neighborhood.  My partner Rob and I brought new life into century-old houses, gave meaningful work to our crew, and have added two awesome families into the Annesdale-Snowden neighborhood.  Hoping to do more of this in 2016.

5.  Neighborhood Church - NC turns 8 years old in a few weeks, and I am so grateful to be a part of this family.  We continue to wrestle through the challenges of how to be a faithful witness in our culture today, but I continue to be grateful by what God is doing.

4.  Turning 40 - There are definitely some negatives that go with this (such as how sore I was the other night after playing basketball for an hour with 5th and 6th graders), but overall I've loved the start to this new decade.  I feel more "comfortable in my own skin" than I ever have.

3.  Micah - Not a day goes by that this little guy doesn't make me laugh.  I love his personality and creativity, and I can't wait to see how it continues to develop!  While at Kanakuk this summer Micah decided that he wanted to give control of his life to Jesus!

2.  Adam - Earlier this fall Adam and I started a weekly tradition of having breakfast together.  Adam normally picks the place (his favorite is Bob's Barksdale), and we read a chapter from this book.  I want to create rites of passages for the boys, and this is how I'm starting.  This has been a really cool transition year for our relationship.  I think Adam and I are going to be good friends.

1.  Mandy - We celebrated 16 years of marriage this summer, our 20th Christmas together, and we're about to celebrate 10 years in Memphis.  There's no one I'd rather share these milestones with!

Honorable Mention - Star Wars

BONUS - Mandy has put together a video with highlights from our year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 Top Ten Lists - Music

Another good year for music!

First up...two of my favorite bands released new albums this year.  They never fail to impress!

Mumford and Sons


Next up is one of my favorite artists of all time.  Mandy and I got to see him live this year at the Orpheum.  I haven't been as much of a fan of his last few albums, but this one is great.  Sorry there's no video.

Harry Connick, Jr.

Did you see the movie Chef?  It's a great movie for so many reasons.  The soundtrack is one of the main ones!  Once again no video.


Bonnie Raitt's I Can't Make You Love Me is an incredible song.  Bon Iver's cover (with S. Carey) is even better.

Bon Iver

I discovered this next band on NPR's Tiny Desk Concert series.  I'd really like to see them live sometime.

The Family Crest

S. Carey started out as Bon Iver's drummer.  Now he has his own gig.

S. Carey

I'm not sure how I heard about this next guy, but I've played his music as much as anyone else this year.

Olafur Arnalds

My favorite song we sang at Neighborhood Church this year was United Pursuit's Simple Gospel.

United Pursuit

The last two songs (and yes, I know this makes it a Top 11 List, but who's counting!) feature the human voice and the human voice alone.  First, a choral piece by Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo.


Finally, a cover of Cover of Mumford and Son's After the Storm

The Swingles