Posts Tagged ‘book’


I got this book as a free review copy from the publishing company. I guess that technically makes it a paid review, but truth be known, I am just grateful to have read this excellent book. I am prepared to say that every person in ministry should read this book. John W. Gray III is an associate pastor of Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church as well as the senior pastor of Relentless Church in South Carolina. His success is notable, but he starts this book talking about how while he was rising to the top and speaking all over the world, his marriage was falling apart. With his priorities out of whack, the man the world knew was very different from the man his family knew.

The subtitle of this book says it all. Finding yourself by facing yourself. By paralleling his own story, with the story of Jacob from Genesis, Gray succeeds at writing a book that is both inspiring and immensely convicting. This book was challenging on every page and had me checking myself. You see, you don’t have to be preaching at one of the largest churches in the world to find yourself getting out of alignment with the will of God and while I don’t think I have strayed too far, I do feel that God gave me this book for such a time as this. If you are in any form of leadership, you really should read this book.

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Explanation: the act or process of making something clear or easy to understand.
—Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary

Here’s my explanation. I woke up one morning thinking about a presentation I did a few years ago that dealt with imagination, inspiration and creation. It was about God’s creative process and involving God in our creative process. It was sort of a twisted alliteration. Rather than all the words beginning with the same letter, they all end with the same five letters A-T-I-O-N. All of the sudden a flood of words came into my mind, all ending with those same letters. In one way or another, all these words could easily be associated with God, faith and the creative process. Before long I was writing them all down and contemplating whether they could form the basis for a new book. What if I could find 52 of these “ation” words and use them as sort of a creative devotional to help creative people of faith to consider more deeply their creative calling. There would be one word a week, complete with a definition, a meditation, related texts for further study and creative project ideas to take the concept further. It is my hope that this project will bring people to clearly see the connection between their creativity, their Creator and their calling.

Even as I begin this project, interesting thing are happening. Every time I type the suffix “ation”, auto-correct keeps changing that to “action” and that is probably not coincidental, because the suffix is defined as “an action or process.” Each of these words calls upon us to act in some way. Now of course some will touch you more than others and some will bring greater motivation than others, but I believe all of them have something to offer. So let’s start off looking at “explanation.”

True I used this word to introduce this project, but explanation is a huge part of our calling as Christian creatives. Consider 1 Corinthians 14:9 So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. 10 Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. 11 If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and the speaker is a foreigner to me. 12 So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.

Now one could argue this is about speaking in tongues, and for the record it is, but I believe there are other applications at play here. Consider the new believer in your church. Do you think they understand everything that is being said? As someone who became a believer at 22, I can tell you, they don’t and we Christians tend to forget that and because of that, we tend to “talk over people’s heads.” We may not be “speaking in the tongues of angels” but we might as well be, because we are not being understood. Our message is too important for that. We need to be understood, and as such we need people who have a gift of explanation…


I’ve been working through the outreach chapter of my new book, The Imaginative Church, when I decided to explore the difficulties we run into when thinking about numbers when related to people. I think this might be helpful for my readers today.

Yes, it is about numbers (at least to some degree)

One of the things I hear far too often is it’s not about numbers and of course it’s true. These are precious children of God to whom we’re reaching out. We’d never want to treat them like numbers. They’re special creations with needs and desires and amazing possibilities, not to mention the fact that God has a unique plan and purpose for their lives. People are not numbers and we need to cherish them as the masterpieces they are. No sir, no ma’am, people are not numbers. But numbers are people. Every person you are used to lead to Christ counts. Every person added to the Kingdom, adds something to Kingdom. Every person that comes into your church brings with them gifts and talents and abilities that can be used to make your imaginative church closer to being the church God imagines. Of course I know and believe what John 6:44 says, that no one come to Christ who isn’t drawn by the Spirit, but obedience to Jesus command to go and make disciples has the wonderful byproduct of expanding the reach of your church for Kingdom purposes.

It is for this reason that churches must be faithful in every aspect of disciple making. In the vast majority of cases, disciple making starts with the “therefore go” part, i.e. evangelism. Outreach is a crucial part of the church’s calling. Now I know some will want to cite “wherever two or more are gathered.” That verse is about church leadership and leadership authority, not an excuse to be lax in our duty to be Christ’s witnesses.

I know some will also want to take me to task with the statements about “quality over quantity.” While I will agree that quality is hugely important, I must ask a question. Who appointed us judge over that? Secondly when did quality and quantity become mutually exclusive. They’re not. We are called to both. For a while in the evangelical movement it almost seemed to be a race. We’d get people all fired up, get them to say the sinners prayer and then move onto the next person without a lot of thought to the follow up. It is for this reason that a reminder is in order. Jesus commanded us to make disciples, not converts. Now to be clear, conversion is part of the equation, it’s just not the end of the equation. That’s why Jesus told us to both go AND make disciples. When he made us fishers of men, he did not expect that the people could come into the boat, cleaned, prepped and “Cry-O-Vac sealed for freshness.” No, we are out there to catch them, right where they are, the cleaning comes as Jesus comes in and makes them new creations and as they are discipled by the church, as they grow into disciple making disciples themselves.


I got this book as a review copy from the publisher because I thought it looked interesting. When I first started reading it, I thought I made a mistake, because I thought it was for women. I read a little further and thought it was for me, but slowly I came to the point of realizing it just might be for me.

This book is about men who disconnect relationally from others, especially from their spouses. The reason for my early confusion is because Turner sort of jumps back and forth between writing to the disconnected man and then writing to the women who love them. To be perfectly honest, I thought I was doing well in most of the areas this book explores but after reading them, I can see that a. I have come a long way, and b. I have a long way to go. This may be one of the most helpful books I have ever read. I truly believe every man should probably read this book, because Turner delves deep into the blindspots many of us carry.

This is not some over your head, psychological self-help book. This is a book written by someone whose been there. It is full of the author’s personal examples and battle scars. The book manages to walk the line between extremely challenging and extremely rewarding. I can’t say I enjoyed this book. That would be like saying I enjoyed surgery. What I will say instead is this is an important book that I am glad I read. Men, read this book. Women, if you find yourself having a hard time with your relationship, don’t separate, read this book.