"Worship is man's full reason for existence. Worship is why we are born and why we are born again." A.W. Tozer

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Grace Transforming by Phil Ryken

Grace Transforming by Phil Ryken began as a series of messages from chapel at Wheaton College where he is the president. Throughout this book Ryken looks at eight different aspects of God's life-changing grace; 1) Grace's Humbling Necessity, 2) Grace's Costly Provision, 3) Grace's Justifying Righteousness, 4) Grace's Sanctifying Power, 5) Grace's Clarifying Perspective, 6) Grace's Perpetual Abundance, 7) Grace's Precious Testimony, and 8) Grace's Endless Kindness. This isn't a long book, it's easy to read, but at the same time it's challenging. It is also a refreshing book to read as you reflect on how the grace of God has already changed you. As I continue to read books on the grace of God I am continually blown away at how much God loves us to freely offer us something we truly don't deserve. The subject of grace and my identity has been a subject heavily on my mind this year and throughout this book Ryken clearly links the two together. He writes this at the very beginning of the book; "Instead of being defined by who we are and what we do, we are defined by who Jesus is and what he has done for us in his death and resurrection." I don't think there is any way to ever exhaust the subject of God's grace, but through books like Ryken's we are challenged to never forget it. "Grace is not something we leave behind once we decide to follow Jesus. Grace is our present need as well as our past experience." "We never outgrow our need for God's life-changing grace―the gospel of the cross and the empty tomb." "Grace is not just the way into the Christian life; it is also the way on in the Christian life. So as we seek to live in a way that is pleasing to God, we never stop needing his mercy."

Special thanks to Crossway for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Grace by Max Lucado

"God answers the mess of life with one word: grace." In Max Lucado's latest book Grace: More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine, Max tackles this truly amazing subject. As you read through the pages of this book, Lucado challenges our understanding of grace. Instead of just asking if we believe in grace, we're challenged to ask deeper questions: Have you been changed by grace? Shaped by grace? Strengthened by grace? Emboldened by grace? Softened by grace? Snatched by the nape of your neck and shaken to your senses by grace? Grace encompasses the Christian life. We can't do anything to earn it and we certainly don't deserve it, yet we have a gracious, loving God who freely offers it to us. Grace is so much more than saying a prayer and accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior. It is also something that sustains us each day we live. Lucado puts it this way, "Saving grace saves us from our sins. Sustaining grace meets us at our point of need and equips us with courage, wisdom, and strength." Because of his grace, we can come to Him as His children and He will always love us. Because of His grace you no longer have to fear things in this life. We can rest in Him and know that He will look out for us. We come to God because of his grace and because of how amazing and life-transforming it is, the next step is to share that grace with others. Lucado shares with us the of love of God for His children and the free gift of grace He offers for everyone. I don't claim to understand everything when it comes to grace and even after reading this book I still don't. At the beginning of one of the chapters Lucado quotes Anne Lamott who says, "I do not at all understand the mystery of grace--only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us." That is true for me and anyone else that has accepted His grace and can be for you too if you would accept His grace.
"God's grace has a drenching about it. A wildness about it. A white-water, riptide, turn-you-upside-downness about it. Grace comes after you. It rewrites you. From insecure to God secure. From regret-riddled to better-because-of-it. From afraid-to-die to ready-to-fly." Max Lucado
Special thanks to Thomas Nelson and BookSneeze for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mistakes Leaders Make by Dave Kraft

Dave Kraft is back with his second book Mistakes Leaders Make. I had the privilege of reading his first book, Leaders Who Last, back in 2010. One of the endorsements on the front of the books says, "Should be required reading for every ministry leader." That is certainly true regarding this book. I wish I had this book a few years ago, but I'm very glad that I have it now. It's a book that I'm sure will be read through many more times. As I was reading through this book and thinking back through my time in ministry, I could see parts of myself and things I did in every section. Pastor Mark Driscoll writes this in the forward of the book, "As a leader, knowing what not to do is often just as important as knowing what to do." Myself and I'm sure many others have made the mistakes that Kraft talks about in this book, but we can take the wisdom and insight from others and make better choices in the future and avoid mistakes. Kraft tackles ten mistakes in this book;
1) Allowing Ministry to Replace Jesus
2) Allowing Comparing to Replace Contentment
3) Allowing Pride to Replace Humility
4) Allowing Pleasing People to Replace Pleasing God
5) Allowing Busyness to Replace Visioning
6) Allowing Financial Frugality to Replace Fearless Faith
7) Allowing Artificial Harmony to Replace Difficult Conflict
8) Allowing Perennially Hurting People to Replace Potential Hungry Leaders
9) Allowing Information to Replace Transformation
10) Allowing Control to Replace Trust
Kraft shares that he had formulated many other mistakes in preparing to write this book. I hope he writes a part 2 as I know there's much more that I could learn. I'm very thankful for this book as I know it will help me and I hope many others going forward.

Special thanks to Crossway for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Unleash! by Perry Noble

This is a must-read for those that don't know Jesus and those that do. Perry Noble is a true pastor and cares about the heart and lives of everyone. We can live a full, unleashed life through Jesus and Perry points us there through the gospel. If you've ever heard Perry speak, this book is written like he speaks. It makes for an easy read, but don't take that to mean that it doesn't have content. This book is full of truth and Perry throws in some of his humor as well. Get this book and read it ASAP!

Special thanks to NewSpring Church and the Unleash! Book Launch Team for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Surfing for God by Michael John Cusick

The message that counselor and ministry leader Michael John Cusick shares in Surfing for God: Discovering the Divine Desire Beneath Sexual Struggle is one that every man needs to hear. With 70% of Christian men reported to have viewed porn in the last year, chances are there is someone you know that is affected by this. Cusick quotes G.K. Chesterton on the back cover, "Every man who knocks on the door of a brothel is looking for God." That quote and the subtitle of the book lead to the next question that is asked, "What if a lust for porn is really a search for true passion?" Throughout the pages of this book Cusick opens up and shares his own story and experience with sexual struggles. He brings a message that exposes why this is such a struggle for so many. He goes through what many men believe porn will "promise" them and the lies men believe because of it. Cusick counters all of this with biblical truth and an explanation of what our brain goes through as exposure to porn and other sexual sins continue. Where this book excels is that Cusick doesn't just leave readers with stories and explanations. This book is saturated with the Gospel. He shares that there is a way to freedom from sexual sin. A relationship with Jesus is that way. Cusick helps men understand their triggers and the cycle they get caught up in. Jesus and His grace gives us assurance that we are not identified by our sin; our identity is found in Christ. Overcoming and becoming free from sexual sin is replacing our wants and desires for personal pleasures of the world for a desire to live giving glory to God. Our heart is always desiring something; we just need to know that what it desires is God. Through Christ men can be free from the chains of sexual sin.

Special thanks to Thomas Nelson and BookSneeze for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on

Thursday, September 27, 2012

No Ordinary Marriage by Tim Savage

Books that I've requested to read and review are becoming harder to review right now. Not because I didn't like the book or think it doesn't have anything to offer, but because I'm taking my time going through it, trying to consume as much as I can and because this book has a lot to offer. Also, right now these books are more for my own personal growth. It's not that I don't want to share the message of the book with others, it's just that I'm trying so much to process its message for me, that I don't know how to put it into words for others. Even though so much of the content I'm still working through and putting into practice, I can honestly recommend that everyone read this book, No Ordinary Marriage: Together for God's Glory by Tim Savage. Whether you're married and things are great, married and things aren't so great, engaged, or single, there is something in here for everyone. Marriage is the subject of this book, the glory of God is the result. Jesus, the cross, our identity found in him personally and together as a couple is how we get there. I'll leave you with this message from the author from the pages of this book and will ask you to prayerfully consider getting and reading this book.
"Marriage is not ultimately something we do but something we are. It is not primarily the performance of a list of duties or roles. It cannot be reduced to a series of steps or procedures. That is why this book did not begin with the how-tos of marriage. Instead, marriage is something we are to the glory of One who is more resplendent than the sun. We are created in his image. We are made in his likeness. In marriage, we are an illustration of what the Lord is himself, a radiant beacon of self-giving love. We glorify God by being what we are in Christ, people who present a replica of the sacrificial service adorning the crucified Lord. With eyes fixed on Christ, we can model his love and draw on his strength and push on to the marital summit with thanksgiving in our hearts and rejoicing on our lips, all to the glory of God. The trail features Jesus Christ at every turn. It runs through Christ, is negotiated in Christ, and is capped with Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ is the key to God-glorifying marriage."
Special thanks to Crossway for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Books Read: January - June 2012

Part 6 of the posts regarding books that I have read lately. Part 1: books read in 2009, Part 2: books read in January - June of 2010, Part 3: books read in July - December of 2010, Part 4: books read in January - June of 2011, and Part 5: books read in July - December of 2011.

Real Marriage by Mark & Grace Driscoll *
Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchividjian
Disciple by Bill Clem
Gospel Wakefulness by Jared C. Wilson
The Final Call by Kerry Fraser
The Gospel As Center by D.A. Carson & Timothy Keller *
Date Your Wife by Justin Buzzard *
The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy & Kathy Keller
The Five Love Languages: Men's Edition by Gary Chapman
Kingdom Man by Tony Evans *
Gospel-Centered Discipleship by Jonathan Dodson *
1000 Days by Jonathan Falwell *
Every Man, God's Man by Stephen Arterburn
The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler *
Empty Promises by Pete Wilson *
What's Your Secret? by Aaron Stern
Secondhand Jesus by Glenn Packiam
Surfing for God by Michael John Cusick *

What are you reading? Leave me a comment with your recommendations!

Special thanks to BookSneeze/Thomas Nelson, Blogging for Books/WaterBrook Multnomah, Tyndale, and Crossway for providing some of these books to read and review (marked by a *).

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Empty Promises by Pete Wilson

After reading Pete Wilson's first book, Plan B (review here), two years ago, I was excited to hear about his brand new book, Empty Promises: The Truth About You, Your Desires, and the Lies You're Believing. On the back cover Pete writes this, "We all long for more of something in our lives. In our endless pursuit to feel worth and acceptance we find ourselves sacrificing everything for the promise to be a little more beautiful, a little richer, a little more powerful and successful, a little more loved." Pete brings up a topic that is very real and relevant right now and that is dealing with idolatry. The truth is, it's been an issue for a very long time as the Israelites struggled with it when Moses was up on the mountain with God getting the 10 commandments. For the purpose of this book, Pete defines idolatry like this: "Idolatry is when I look to something that does not have God's power to give me what only God has the power and authority to give." We all have a longing and a yearning for something that God put into our DNA when he created us. We are a people that are created to worship. As Pete writes, "The question isn't 'Do we worship?' The question is 'Who (or what) do we worship?'" Pete presents and talks through various different idols we get caught up in. He is truly a pastor in that he wants to shepherd those that pick up this book. He is open and candid in his own struggles. I really appreciate that as it helps me to connect to what I'm reading. It causes me to open up and look into my own life. Towards the beginning of each chapter, Pete will have questions for us to ask ourselves to begin to explore whether these issues are a problem or not. I can say that I struggle more than I would have admitted prior to reading this book. I've read other books along the same lines as this one, but I feel that Pete does a great job helping us to not only understand these idols, but how to fight them and get out from underneath them. The last three chapters of this book are critical to our understanding of how to beat our idols. The biggest thing is that we've replaced God with other things and those other things will never satisfy in the way that only God can. We need to stay connected to the Truth. I finish with a quote from Pete Wilson,
"Simply identifying our idols and wanting to replace them probably won't lead to any kind of personal transformation. What we really need is a way to experience God daily so we can continually break through the self-deception and realize just how lifeless and empty our idols are."
We are who or what we worship, and worshiping anyone or anything other than God will leave us empty. We must be on guard regarding these empty promises that will never be carried out, are worthless, and meaningless. As it's written on the back of the cover, we must discover the joy and freedom that comes with seeking after God with your whole life. Learn how to replace, and not just relinquish, life's empty promises by turning your focus and worship toward Him. It is the only thing that will set you absolutely free from the endless pursuit of everything else.

Special thanks to Thomas Nelson and BookSneeze for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on

Monday, May 28, 2012

Date Your Wife by Justin Buzzard

Date Your Wife by Justin Buzzard, I believe, is going to be one of those books that revolutionize men and their marriages and I'm praying that would be the case for mine. Justin writes this in the beginning of the book, "Marriages can be jumpstarted; the sacred union between a husband and a wife can receive new life and power. Everything can be made new. It's harder and easier than you think. Men, it starts with you. You and I and the men we know want something more. What you really want is a marriage that feels like a mission, a marriage that's moving forward toward something exciting, mysterious, and grand―kind of like the way dating felt." Justin asks for us to think back to our first date; "What was your first date with your wife like? Where were you? What did you do? What did you talk about? What did you learn? What were you feeling? What was she wearing? How did your date happen in the first place?" He then goes on to say, "What's your story? My assumption is that all of our first date stories have one thing in common: we acted like men. We pursued our wives-to-be. We made the move. We initiated. We took a risk. We took the lead." For some reason, we as men and husbands have seemed to forget about all that as soon as we say "I do." We viewed getting married as the mission and once we said "I do." it was as if we had arrived and didn't need to worry about all the stuff we did while we were dating. However, as quoted earlier we want a marriage that feels like a mission. I soon as we get married, the mission hasn't ended, it's really just begun. Justin reminds us that we as husbands need to date our wives.

He breaks the book up into four parts; the good, the bad, the new, and the perfect. Marriage is good. God created for two people to share. Justin shares that the first time a man looked at a woman, Adam and Eve, marriage happened. Adam and Eve didn't invent marriage, God did. Then there's some bad news for husbands out there; we are the problem with our marriage. We have failed at the job gave us through Adam, to cultivate and guard our wife. We begin to have a religious mindset in our marriage, that it's all about our performance and that will be good enough. And we failed to keep on pursuing our wife. We did so well at it while we were dating, but we believe that the mission ended when we got married. That's the bad news. However there is good news. Justin says that "If you want to change a marriage, change the man." Where marriages go wrong is with the husband; that's the bad news. However, where marriages go right is also with the husband; that's the good news. The difference is instead of trying to do everything in our own power, we draw our power from God. We are given a responsibility, but we have to have the right power source to carry it out. Justin uses this quote from another guy, "Responsibility: My response to His ability." It's a lot to do with identity. We as men are always trying to find ways to measure our success, but becoming new is because of our response to the gospel. We now can rest in the fact the true measure of a man is from God says about him. It boils down to an idolatry problem, but we can now beat that by focusing on the second Adam, Jesus Christ. Through the power of the gospel and the grace of Jesus Christ we can have a new future. The last chapter brings everything full circle and links us back to the job God gave Adam in the garden and that is to cultivate our wife, to help her flourish in her relationship with Christ. Justin calls us to look at the end, "until death do us part," when she will become truly perfect, her future glory-self. Justin writes this about the structure of the book,
"This book has followed a four-fold structure: the good, the bad, the new, and the perfect. This is the four-fold storyline of the Bible and of our marriages. Things start out good. Relationships are in tact, secure, and exciting. Then things go bad. We sin, we screw up, we hurt, and we get hurt. We cry out for help. Then God hears, and God shows up. Grace happens. Jesus comes to us, forgives us, and makes things new. And, eventually, everything becomes perfect."
Another part of this book I really appreciate is that Justin's wife, Taylor, writes a small section at the end of the book specifically for wives. This is a book that I think every husband and engaged man needs to read.

Special thanks to Crossway for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler

The gospel is central to what we believe as Christians and recently there have been a lot of books published related to this topic of the gospel or gospel-centered __________. You wouldn't think that these books would be necessary, but I believe they are because at least for me after reading The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler, I realize that I still have a long way to go to really understanding what the gospel is and how to communicate it. Before I get to far into this, if you're like me, I had to look up the word explicit as I wanted to get an accurate definition of that word; 1) fully and clearly expressed or demonstrated; leaving nothing merely implied, 2) clearly developed or formulated, 3) described or shown in realistic detail. It's amazing to me how adding one specifically selected adjective can completely enhance the understanding of the word it's describing. Chandler writes this about the book,
"Even if you go to church, it doesn't mean that you are being exposed (or exposing others) to the gospel explicitly. Sure, most people talk about Jesus, and about being good and avoiding bad, but the gospel message simply isn't there―at least not in its specificity and its fullness."
That was, and is, me. I grew up in the church all my life, but I know I had this idea that I had to do all these things to earn God's love. It's so easy to get caught up in the dos and don'ts, that we so easily forget that the cross says, "Done!" As Chandler expresses in this book, the gospel is more than the message of Christ dying for our sins and being raised from the dead so that we can be saved and set free from sin and death, but that it's also God's message of the restoration of all things from creation till He comes back again. Chandler uses two metaphors for this throughout the book, 1) the gospel on the ground, which focuses on the power of grace in our personal lives, and 2) the gospel in the air, which is a "tour de force story of creation, fall, reconciliation, consummation―a grand display display of God's glory in his overarching purposes of subjecting all things to the supremacy of Christ." Chandler stresses that we need a balance of both of these views to completely understand the gospel. He finishes the book by giving us warnings and things to watch out for should we focus on one or the other of these positions too much, dealing with moralism (the idea that we are able to earn favor with God and justify ourselves before God by virtue of our behavior), and the message of the cross. This is one of those books that will not stay of the shelf, but one that will be read again and again as I continue to learn and grow in the gospel. I would encourage everyone to read this book. I end with this that Chandler wrote,
"Here is a call to true Christianity, to know the gospel explicitly, and to unite the church on the amazing grounds of the good news of Jesus!"

Special thanks to Crossway for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on

Thursday, May 3, 2012

1000 Days by Jonathan Falwell

1000 Days: The Ministry of Christ by Jonathan Falwell gives us a concise look at Jesus' three years, roughly 1000 days, of public ministry. He brings the accounts and stories of the four Gospels into one book. Falwell's pastoral nature comes out in his writing as it's not just information, but he also adds application. This book comes across like it could be, and maybe it has been, a 15-week sermon series. As the book progresses through each chapter we encounter a different aspect of Christ's ministry. It's not a difficult book to read and it's not one that has some sort of new astounding idea. These are not bad things though. I think so often we get caught up in the new, out-of-the-box, creative ideas to share a message that we forget about the basic, stripped-down message. If you've been a Christian or in church for a while, most likely you've heard sermons on these same topics, but it's nice to have a collection of these messages all from the same person. I also love the heart of Falwell as he shares personal stories that illustrate points so well. I also appreciate how Falwell incorporates word studies throughout the book. He brings things back to the original Greek and gives us definitions. I was really captivated in the chapter about Christ's messages from the cross. So many time I've heard Christ's words, "It is finished." and know what the message is behind it, but seeing what the word finished means gives new meaning and depth to this message. Falwell writes that the word finished, tetelestai, means "a past completed action that has continual and enduring results." "It is finished" is a message that spans the test of time and still has the same power now that it did then. This book is one that shows us how Christ lived and then challenges us to live like He did. Early in the book we see how Jesus called His disciples, and I think it leaves us with the perfect question to ask ourselves, "Their [the 12 disciples'] response to Jesus' call was to forsake everything and follow Him. What will be your response?" What will your response be? What will my response be? As we gain more insight and understanding of how Christ lived during his three years of public ministry, will we follow Him and live like He did.

This book also contains a lot of study tools. At the end of each chapter there are questions to be used for personal reflection or small group discussion. Falwell also includes a Bible study guide at the end of the book.

Special thanks to Thomas Nelson and BookSneeze for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on

Monday, April 30, 2012

Gospel-Centered Discipleship by Jonathan Dodson

I'm so thankful for Crossway and the Re:Lit label and the books they continue to publish. They continue to publish books that are so focused on the gospel and how to live the Christian life. Gospel-Centered Discipleship by Jonathan Dodson was a fantastic book to read. I was very interested in reading this book, but it also caught me off guard in a good way. The topic of discipleship truly is gospel centered. It's so Gospel centered that if you truly understand and live out the Gospel, discipleship will follow. It really begins and ends with the Gospel. Dodson writes this in the introduction to the book, "Gospel-centered discipleship is not about how we perform but who we are―imperfect people, clinging to a perfect Christ, being perfected by the Spirit." I think we to often get in the mindset that the gospel is only meant to save people, but as Dodson points out in his book that yes, it is meant for salvation, but it is also meant for sanctification. The gospel is meant for disciples as well as sinners. I think about Jesus' twelve disciples and he didn't just call them, but he also built into them; he taught them, he shared the message with them, and he gave them the tools to go out, share, and teach others. Through our faith in Christ because of the gospel message and with the power of the Holy Spirit we have all the tools we need to build into others. It's remembering the power of the gospel. Dodson also writes this in his book, "Disciples are gospel people who introduce and reintroduce themselves and others to the person and power of Jesus over and over again. A disciple of Jesus never stops learning the gospel, relating in the gospel and communicating the gospel." I love the idea that he gives through the aspect of Fight Clubs. A fight club is a small group of men or women who get together to fight the desires of the flesh and believe the gospel of grace. They are incredibly relational and by keeping the gospel as the central message can be huge in the development of disciples of Jesus. I would highly recommend that every follower of Christ read this book. Not only will it enhance your understanding of the gospel, but also how to use the gospel to build into others. It's definitely a good book to read by yourself, but I also think it would be very beneficial to read with others and begin the process of discipleship right away.

Special thanks to Crossway for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Kingdom Man by Tony Evans

This book, Kingdom Man: Every Man's Destiny, Every Woman's Dream by Tony Evans, couldn't have come at a more appropriate time in my life. Tony Evans writes this, "A cursory glance around our homes, churches, communities, and globe reveals that men--not all, but many--have missed the goal to live as a Kingdom Man." I have come to realize how much I've fallen short of what it means to be a Kingdom man. Evans defines a Kingdom man as "a man who positions himself and operates according to the comprehensive rule of God over every area of his life." For so long I have tried operate under my own power and it has severely affected a lot of my life. God created man and as a man, I am responsible. By God's grace and Tony Evans' faithfulness to call men to be Kingdom men, He is doing a work in me. I have heard God's call in my life to become a Kingdom man through the words written by Tony Evans. This book has the power to change mens lives as long as they will read it with an open mind and heart and a willingness to let God show areas where the reader can change and grow. It certainly has for me. There is so much pressure coming from the world and in how they define a man, but as Evans writes, "When you choose to seek God and His ways, you no longer have to be held hostage to the definitions of this world." I would highly encourage every man to read this book and be vulnerable enough to open your heart and let God come in and show you where you have fallen short. I also believe it would be helpful for women to read this book as well, especially those that are married, so that they can help encourage their husbands to become the man, Kingdom man, that God has for them.
"A kingdom man models himself after the greatest Kingdom Man of all."
Special thanks to Tyndale for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Gospel as Center by D.A. Carson & Timothy Keller

Crossway and The Gospel Coalition have published a fantastic resource in The Gospel as Center: Renewing Our Faith and Reforming Our Ministry Practices edited by D.A. Carson and Timothy Keller. Via the TGC's website, "The Gospel Coalition is an evangelical movement dedicated to the gospel of Christ and a Scripture-based reformation of ministry practices." This book is a one volume compilation of their booklets that unpack their confessional statement. What I appreciate about this book is how much detail they put into the aspects of their confessional statement. I've seen a lot of statements and while they're necessary and I realize that all of them can't be the length of a book, it's nice to have a resource where these aspects are explained. The greatest aspect is that each part is gospel-centered. As Christians and local church bodies I think it's important that we seek to make everything we do gospel-centered. I'm thankful for an organization that seeks to make the gospel the center of their ministry and for providing material that focuses on Jesus in areas of ministry.

Special thanks to Crossway for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday Setlist - 03.11.12

Week #190 of Sunday Setlists. Here is the setlist for Sunday, March 11th.

- Nothing but the Blood
- Come Thou Fount
- Jesus, Lord of Heaven by Phil Wickham
- Great and Mighty by The Cadets
- The Solid Rock
- I Love Your Presence by Bethel Music
- You Are My King (Amazing Love) by Billy Foote
- In Christ Alone by Stuart Townend & Keith Getty

This morning we went with a friend down to Berkeley to attend Sanctuary Berkeley. They're a new church plant there. Our friend knows the pastor and my wife also has a friend that has started going there, so we decided to go check it out. Unfortunately, my wife's friend had another commitment today and couldn't make it, so we'll probably be back again at another time. The church is still small, but we were able to spend some time with some of the people there before and after church and at lunch. They are a group that is passionate about Jesus and seeing the Gospel advanced in Berkeley.

To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out at

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sunday Setlist - 03.04.12

Week #189 of Sunday Setlists. Here is the setlist for Sunday, March 4th.

- Awakening by Chris Tomlin
- Your Love Oh Lord by Third Day
- Speak, O Lord by Keith & Kristyn Getty
- In Christ Alone by Stuart Townend & Keith Getty
- O Praise Him by David Crowder

This morning we attended SOMA Church Community here in Santa Rosa. Their pastor spoke at Bethel a few years ago and it turns out we know a couple that attends there. It's a small church but they have a great vision and a love for God. The last couple years on Easter Sunday they don't have regular services. Instead they do an Easter Brunch in downtown Santa Rosa for the homeless and then do a smaller service there in downtown. They are currently in the middle of a message series based on the book Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate by Jerry Bridges. Pastor Paul brought a great message on Lack of Self-Control and Selfishness. I'm sure this is a church that we will be back to again.

To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out at

Monday, February 27, 2012

Paul Baloche | The Same Love

Worship Pastor and songwriter Paul Baloche is back with a brand new album, The Same Love. Should you not recognize his name, most likely you have sung his songs in corporate worship. He is known for songs such as "Open the Eyes of My Heart," "Above All," "Hosanna," and "Your Name." As a worship leader I have greatly appreciated Paul's songs and have used many during worship services. I constantly return to A Greater Song and Glorious in times of personal worship. Through a collaborative effort with other great worship leaders and songwriters including Ben Fielding, Kari Jobe, Lincoln Brewster, Jason Ingram, Kathryn Scott, All Sons & Daughters, Brothers McClurg, and Ed Kerr, Paul Baloche has given us a great new collection of songs. Now to be honest, this album did not grab me right away like his other ones have. Having followed Paul's music for a while now, I thought I knew what I would be hearing the first time I hit play. It has taken a few listens to the album to get to where I've been with his previous albums on the first listen. This change in feel/sound is refreshing though. Music is always changing and this new album follows that, but Paul has not deterred from his solid lyrics. These new songs continue to draw you into worship and focus our hearts on the One who is worthy of our worship.

Shout For Joy: A wonderful call to worship for any service, though I could see it having tremendous impact at an Easter service or Christmas Eve/Christmas service. "Lift up your grateful heart to the Morning Star, He's alive and here with us. Shout for joy, for the Son of God, is the saving one, He's the saving one. Shout for joy, see what love has done, He has come for us, He's the saving one."

We Are Saved: This is a fantastic anthem that the church can lift up in praise, giving thanks back to God for the salvation that He's given us. "We stand amazed at the work of the cross, we are saved, we are saved. Our sin has been forgiven, You've broken every chain, we are saved, we are saved."

Several tracks on this album will also prove helpful for those looking to add a blend of traditional hymns and contemporary choruses to their repertoire. Paul has taken aspects of greats hymns and re-written them with wonderful new verses and choruses in "All Because of the Cross" (Nothing But the Blood), "My Hope" (The Solid Rock), and "Christ the Lord" (Christ the Lord is Risen Today).

Check out the music video to "The Same Love" below. You can pick up the single here, and get charts for the song here.

Special thanks to Integrity Music for providing this complimentary pre-release album to listen to and review. Look for this new album in Christian retail stores on March 13th and then through all digital service providers on April 3rd. You can also enjoy this new album in a great new digital experience.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sunday Setlist - 02.19.12

Week #187 of Sunday Setlists. Here is the setlist for Sunday, February 19th.

- Alive Again by Matt Maher
- I Will Follow by Chris Tomlin
- All My Fountains by Chris Tomlin
- Hosanna by Paul Baloche
- Healing Is In Your Hands by Christy Nockels
- Voice Of Truth by Casting Crowns

In light of my comments in last Sunday Setlist post, my wife and I decided to return to Spring Hills this past Sunday.

To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out at

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Setlist - 02.12.12

Week #186 of Sunday Setlists. Here is the setlist for Sunday, February 12th.

- We Cry Out by Jeremy Camp
- Forever Reign by Hillsong
- All Because of Jesus by Steve Fee
- Everlasting God by Brenton Brown
- How He Loves by John Mark McMillan
- Word of God Speak by MercyMe

This week my wife and I attended Spring Hills Community Church. The music was great. I've gotten to know the worship pastor over the years since I've been here and he does a great job with their team. We're definitely planning on going back at some point. The service was good, but when it came to the message there wasn't a lot of time spent in the Word, so we want to check it out again and make sure it's not a regular occurrence. Ironically, they just started the "40 Days in the Word" campaign. It was an introduction to the series, so we're hoping that the lack of scripture used in the message was just because of that.

To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out at

Friday, February 10, 2012

Real Marriage by Mark & Grace Driscoll

Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship & Life Together by Mark & Grace Driscoll has been a highly anticipated book and one that I was very much looking forward to reading. I was grabbed from the first time I read a description of the book and was happy to see that a pastor and his wife were going to tackle a book on marriage together. I appreciate how the Driscoll's start off this book by openly sharing about their marriage. It sets the tone of how open and real the rest of the book will be. Now I realize there has been a lot of backlash against Driscoll and this book for his supposed "crudeness" and the highly controversial "Can We _____?" chapter. However what I see and read is a pastor who is not afraid to tackle these tough issues. I believe the church needs more pastors like this. So often in the church we talk about how unfortunate it is that culture, movies, celebrities, etc. are influencing the way young people view sex, but at the same time we don't ever bring it up inside the four walls of our local churches. Here is a pastor and his wife who aren't afraid to take a biblical stand on marriage and sex. This is a definitely a book I will need to spend more time in, but I can say that is has caused me to stop and think about my own marriage. And I believe that is the point that Mark and Grace want to happen as people read this book; to stop and think and have conversations as a couple about their marriage. I recently came across an article interview that Mark did and he says this,
"Our goal in the book was not so that bloggers could talk with one another about issues of their sex lives. Our goal was that husbands and wives could have those conversations. That’s really the motive. So bloggers and tweeters and Facebookers, they’re free to discuss it, but really, it’s for married couples."
I challenge you to get past your preconceived ideas and opinions of the Driscolls and this book, and read through it with an open mind. Let it cause you to think, to have conversations.

Currently, Mark's church, Mars Hill, is doing a sermon series based off the book; Real Marriage: A Sermon Series About Jesus, the Gospel, and Marriage. You can check those out here.

Special thanks to Thomas Nelson and BookSneeze for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Setlist - 01.29.12

Week #184 of Sunday Setlists. Here is the setlist for Sunday, January 29th.

- Anchor Me by Alwyn Wall
- How Great Thou Art
- Come Ye Sinners by Fernando Ortega
- Sing to Jesus by Fernando Ortega
- Living Water by Five O'Clock People
- Stronger by Hillsong

This morning my wife and I attended Refuge Christian Fellowship in downtown Santa Rosa. It was a great morning of worship. It was a refreshing change and we were blessed to have been there today. The pastor brought a fantastic message out of Genesis 15 on Justification by Faith. He contrasted that with how much we get stuck going through life in a justification by works mindset. Was a great reminder on how much we need to focus on the gospel even as Christians. The gospel isn't just for when we're non-Christians, but for Christians as well. I'm currently reading Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchividjian and came across this quote;
"The gospel remains the power of God for salvation until we're glorified."
What an important Word to remember. We were also able to go to lunch afterwards with some friends that go there and chat about church and life. It's definitely a different and strange time in our life, but we're continuing to trust that God will lead us to a church to get involved in.

To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out at

Friday, January 27, 2012

Torn by Jud Wilhite

In Torn: Trusting God When Life Leaves You in Pieces, Jud Wilhite has written a book that is relevant to everyone. Christians and non-Christians should take the time to read this book. Jud is a pastor and his heart and passion of sharing Christ and strength in Him comes out in the writing of this book. Instead of focusing on our struggles, pain, and situations, Jud puts are focus on the God who can take care of all our struggles, pain, and situations. At the same time when putting our focus on God, he doesn't downplay or try and tell us that struggles won't come, but instead that they will and when they do we have someone who can take care of us. Jud writes this in one of the chapters, "When our world falls apart and the pain of life settles in, yes, we are looking for explanations and meaning and rationale, but even more so we want assurance. Yes, we want answers. But these cries of pain, whether to God explicitly or just into the universe, are evidence of an implicit trust that something or someone greater-someone with answers!-is out there." The reasons for all the "Why?" questions don't have to be from major circumstances in life. I would venture to say that most of have "Why?" questions. I found myself being spoken too throughout the pages of this book. For me it was in the second part of the book, where Jud talks about true community and sharing your struggles. I found myself after reading that chapter how I needed to find someone to speak the Gospel into my life. Jud quotes Dietrich Bonhoeffer from his book Life Together, and I couldn't get it out of my head.
"The Christian needs another Christian who speak God's Word to him. He needs him again and again when he becomes uncertain and discouraged, for by himself he cannot help himself without belying the truth. He needs his brother man as a bearer and proclaimer of the divine word of salvation. He needs his brother solely because of Jesus Christ. The Christ in his own heart is weaker than the Christ in the word of his brother; his own heart is uncertain, his brother's is sure."
Life is sure to get rocky for us all, but what Jud shares is that we don't have to go through life alone. We need to share our struggles and allow others to walk with us, but ultimately we have a sovereign God who isn't surprised by what we're going through and is there to comfort us as we walk through the tough times in our lives.

Special thanks to WaterBrook Multnomah and Blogging for Books for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on

If you found this review helpful, would you go to the review on Blogging for Books and rate it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Setlist - 01.22.12

Week #183 of Sunday Setlists. Here is the setlist for Sunday, January 22nd.

- Indescribable by Chris Tomlin
- Grace Like Rain by Todd Agnew
- Like Incense/Sometimes By Step by Hillsong
- Lead Me to the Cross by Hillsong
- In Christ Alone by Keith & Kristyn Getty

After a three-week hiatus from being gone and having family in town over the weekends, my wife and I started a new season in our life of finding a new home church for the time until God leads us to our next ministry position. This morning we went to The Cove. One of my wife's friends is the worship leader there. It definitely is a weird feeling being out searching for a church. Hard to believe that at the age of 27 and after 4.5 years of marriage this is the first time that my wife and I find ourselves in this position. Other than finding a church during college, both her and I grew up at one church and then went straight to Bethel after getting married. I'd ask that you continue to pray for us as we go through this transition and new season in life.

To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out at

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sunday Setlist - 01.01.12

Week #180 of Sunday Setlists.

This is a very different Sunday Setlists post for me. For the first time since I started taking part in this blog post series on September 6, 2009, I have nothing to report on. Last Sunday was my last day at my previous church. You can read all about that here. My wife had the last week off from work and since I had some time off we decided to take a small road trip/vacation at the end of the year and didn't get back home until Sunday afternoon. In the coming weeks I will keep posting, but it will be as a worshipper/attender instead of the worship leader. Pray for my wife and I as we seek out a new church home and as we figure out job options for myself. Praying that everyone has a fantastic 2012!

To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out at

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Books Read: July - December 2011

Part 5 of the posts regarding books that I have read lately. Part 1: books read in 2009, Part 2: books read in January - June of 2010, Part 3: books read in July - December of 2010, and Part 4: books read in January - June of 2011.

Let God Change Your Life by Greg Laurie *
The God I Never Knew by Robert Morris *
Mirror Ball by Matt Redman *
The Worship Answer Book by Rick Muchow
Rumors of God by Darren Whitehead & Jon Tyson *
Erasing Hell by Francis Chan *
Torn by Jud Wilhite *
The Christian Atheist by Craig Groeschel
He Who Honors Me by Mike Kim & Derek Joseph Levendusky

Was hoping to have read more books during this time, but it didn't seem like I had as much time for reading. The last couple months have been good though. I'm currently going through Disciple by Bill Clem with a friend and fellow pastor in town. It is a great book that has been causing me to do a lot of thinking and reevaluation in my life spiritually. Thankful for his friendship and looking forward to going through the remainder of it with him.

What are you reading? Leave me a comment with your recommendations!

Special thanks to BookSneeze/Thomas Nelson, Blogging for Books/WaterBrook Multnomah, and The B & B Media Group/David C. Cook for providing some of these books to read and review (marked by a *).