Posts Tagged ‘book’


A long time ago I came up with the idea for a book called The Elephant Cookbook. Ironically, based on the topic, I never finished it. I came up with a format that was clunky and a cute way of presenting the material that I just couldn’t quite make work. It’s still in my idea file and I pray that it can come together one day, but I had other projects that were ready to go and succeed so I changed my focus to bring them to life.

The idea behind The Elephant Cookbook was based on the idea of working on multiple deadlines, constant pressure and a to do list that seems like it will never get done. The title was conceived from the old joke, “How to you eat an elephant?”

“One bite at a time.”

I’ve been there often. There is so much work to be done and you don’t know how you’ll ever accomplish it all. It all gets very daunting and if you look at it as a huge pile, the discouragement can become crippling. But what would happen if you ate that elephant one bite at a time, i.e. What if you broke the project down into small manageable steps and then set about to check each of those steps off your list one at a time. All of the sudden, each step accomplished feels like a victory and the more you check off the better you feel until all that’s left of that “elephant” are the bones.

Breaking things down into manageable steps is often the best way to reach your dreams and accomplish your goals. Now I just need to work out the bugs in The Elephant Cookbook. Oh and by the way it is okay to put a stuck project aside. Just don’t make a habit of starting without finishing. Sometimes it’s unavoidable. Most of the time, you just need to take another bite and keep chewing.

One last thing, don’t leave God out of this process. He has come through for me when I was in over my head so many times it’s not even funny.


I am doing a study on the book of Acts and using what I am learning for a year of Bible Studies at my church and it has been eye opening. In the process of this study, I am always looking for supplemental materials to help my teaching. It was in this search that I stumbled upon Into the Fray. What a great book. Author Matt Mikalatos is a missionary and it is clear he is passionate about this book.

His approach is unique. He attempts (quite successfully) to bring the stories from Acts to the twenty-first century, as if they were happening right now. This really brings a fresh perspective on the text. It is clear, he is a great story teller. He manages to bring the text to the modern day without sacrificing truth or meaning. He doesn’t just tell the story, through a unique layout technique, he “brackets” the story and then tells the story behind the story, explaining what was happening from the Bible itself. These teachings are theologically sound and very biblical.

I think my favorite chapter is The Storytellers. In this chapter Mikalatos shows Luke telling his story, of how the physician becomes a disciple. It’s a departure from the rest of the book but it sets up a wonderful explanation on how to tell your story, i.e. share your testimony. This chapter is pure gold for all those nervous evangelists who want to share their faith but aren’t quite sure how. This chapter has made me reexamine how I share my own story and the other things I do in my presentations with AMOKArts.

At the end of the book, Mikalatos adds a really nice study guide with questions from each chapter, making Into the Fray a great tool for use in a Bible study on the book of Acts. As a resource, Into the Fray would work well from middle school ministry through adult.

If I had any complaint about this book it’s that it’s too short. I would love to see him recreate this book almost in commentary style telling all the stories rather than just the highlights. This takes away nothing from the excellence of this book. Rather it is a suggestion for another project for Mr. Mikalatos. I really loved this book.


Well in a few months I will be speaking at a writer’s conference on the topic of overcoming writer’s block. As I started working on the handouts, I discovered that I am probably headed for more of a small book than a handout. I began going through this blog to cull themes for the book. In my ideal world I would like it to be 101 ways to overcome creative block. So far I have fifty and while that may be enough, I’d really like to make 101. Ironically, I am a little stuck. Here’s the list: What am I missing? Yes I know some of them may be a little vague, but I know where I am going… Hey there’s another one “Ask Someone/take a poll”!

  1. Start
  2. Don’t Wait for Inspiration
  3. Ideas are Money
  4. Go Looking for Trouble
  5. Jam
  6. Go for a Walk
  7. Get Away From It
  8. The Second Project
  9. Not Too Many Projects
  10. Have a Diversion
  11. Eliminate Distractions
  12. Find/Make Time
  13. Be Prepared
  14. Have Something With You
  15. Your Workspace
  16. Unleash Your Inner Child
  17. Collaborate
  18. Silence the Inner Critic
  19. Ignore the Outer Critic
  20. Brainstorm
  21. Change Your Medium
  22. Do the Hard Stuff First
  23. Fresh Eyes
  24. Change of Venue
  25. Keep it Simple
  26. Deadlines are Your Friend
  27. Break it Down
  28. Minimize Distractions
  29. Believe You Can
  30. Farm It Out (no one is good at everything)
  31. Look Outside Yourself
  32. Rest
  33. Decompress
  34. Avoid Comparison
  35. Redefine Excellence
  36. Start at the End
  37. Ask Lots of Questions
  38. Make It Better
  39. Do What You Know
  40. Who Do You Know?
  41. Remember When It Was Just Fun
  42. Talk to Someone Outside Your Circle
  43. Change Your “Glasses”
  44. What’s Your Motivation?
  45. Re-Organize
  46. Seek Your Higher Power
  47. Ask Someone/take a poll?
  48. What Will Happen If You Don’t Finish?
  49. Finish
  50. Ship It!
  51. Start Again

One of the creative lies a lot of people believe is that they’re just not disciplined enough to do what they need to do. I don’t believe this is correct. Oh I have no doubt they may struggle to get things done, but I doubt it’s because they lack discipline. They have discipline. I bet they meet deadlines at work. I bet they pay their bills on time. I bet the things that are genuinely important to them get done on time. It’s not really a matter of discipline, but rather one of priority. If you’re one of these people, I’m not trying to beat you up here. I thoroughly understand how life happens and how sometimes our creative projects get forced to the back burner. If that’s you, this is not a beating. My purpose in writing this is to eliminate false creative beliefs and lack of discipline is often if not usually one of those.

So let’s start there. If you’re not blessed to make your living from your creativity, there will be times when the necessities of life squeeze out your time to create. This is probably not a lack of discipline. You’re doing what must be done and your creation can’t be priority one right now. It’s okay. Just try to find some time and work it in as often as you can. Break the project down into small, but meaningful steps and chip away at it until its done. Yes this may make for a long drawn out creative process, but claim the small victories in each step being completed and enjoy the journey. That in itself is discipline. I feel the need to do a little aside here. Remember, you need to rest, your creativity and your health will suffer if you don’t. Also remember family time matters. Don’t push the people you love to the back burner to reach your goals. After all, it’s supposed to be them, at least in part, that you’re doing this for.

But let’s suppose that’s not the case, you have the time, you just don’t feel like doing it. I have a couple of questions you need to answer:

1. Why don’t you want to accomplish this goal?
At the end of the day we do what we want to do. So if you’re not finishing it, maybe it’s not your dream or your goal. If this is the case, it may be time to reassess your priorities and passions and lay it aside in favor of something you’ll want to actually finish. Now if you’re saying, “…but I do want to finish my project I do want to accomplish this goal.” then we’ll need to look at the remaining questions.
2. Have you lost passion for it?
Maybe this project really fired your imagination in the beginning, but as time has worn on, you just aren’t into it anymore. Maybe conditions have changed. Maybe you got so far and realized it will never work. Whatever the reason, maybe it’s time to can the project and move on. I can’t answer this for you, but I will say this. If this is a pattern for you, finish that project before moving on.
3. Is it more difficult than you thought?
In our society, people seem to be drawn to things that are easy and things that become difficult are often easy to ditch. Let me try to discourage you from ditching. If it was easy everyone would create what you’re creating. The ones who stick with it and finish are the ones who generally succeed. The rest kick themselves when someone else succeeds at what they gave up. Don’t give up. Enlist help, collaborate, find a few people who believe in your dream and get them to help you.
4. Are you stuck?
Sometimes even the best creatives get stuck. They take the project as far as they can and there comes a point where they can’t move it any further. They’re stuck. If you get to this point, there are ways around it. As mentioned earlier, if this is a creative block, start another project. This is different from giving up in that, this project is what you work on when you get stuck on your primary project. The reason for this is really simple. We often get stuck because we’ve been on something too long. So long that we can’t see our way around the problems anymore. Jumping to a second project when this happens will allow you to think on something else for a while which will generally serve to unblock your mind.
I have a lot more to say on this… tune in tomorrow.


I’ve been working on developing my book called The Daily Creative. Here are a couple more pages.


Share your link in the comments.


I’ve been working on developing my book called The Daily Creative. Here are a couple of pages.


I’d sure love to see what you do with it.
Share your link in the comments.


I started reading this book for one of those free classes Dallas Theological Seminary offers online on the topic of Scriptural inerrancy. It is a rare book when it comes to theology books because it is quite understandable. The writers are clearly brilliant theologians who are not trying to show us how smart they are (and they are), but rather trying to help the reader to understand. I loved this book. It basically deals with two topics, Scriptural inerrancy and the Trinity.

These are two of the most complex things for Christians to understand and yet Holsteen and company do a great job of breaking it down. I love how they assembled this book. Each of the two sections are broken down into nine sections: an introduction, a high altitude survey, passages to master, the topic in retrospect, facts to never forget, dangers to avoid, principles to put into practice and voices from the past and present (snippets from great thinkers on the topic from across the centuries and the four periods of church history). Finally, each section contains a few pages of recommended books on the topic in question. This is one of the most readable and comprehensible books on theology I have read. I am looking forward to picking up the other two books in this series.

On last thing, don’t skip over the glossary of terms. This is a wealth of information on all the various movements and schools of thought in the history of the church. This is a great book and a must read for anyone wanting to take their faith knowledge to a deeper level.