100 Book Challenge Week 4 Progress – 8 & 9 of 100 (Plus 1 Bonus)

The exciting aspects of this wisdom quest unfolded tremendously this week for me. One of my favor authors and non-denominational speakers is Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Church just outside of Atlanta, GA. His writing and speaking have a credibility and consistency that seems to be lacking in many mainstream religious leaders and communicators. He’s well respected not just in religious circles but in the circles of business and leadership too. For these reasons I have begun to build a collection of his works.

My current collection includes:

I will be adding soon

  • Visioneering
  • Communicating for Change
  • Choosing to Cheat
  • Ask It
  • Best Question Ever

8. Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley – By far my favorite book to date by Andy Stanley and 1460489103227the most exhaustive of his works regarding planting a church, designing environments to attract unchurched people, crafting messages for unchurched people and church people alike. Andy’s approach is very methodical and intentional.

Chapter 6 gives great insight into North Point’s concept of Spiritual Formation, which they use to quantify spiritual growth as follows –

They describe it as 5 Faith Catalysts which are 5 things God uses to grow your faith.

  • Practical Teaching
  • Private Discipline
  • Personal Ministry
  • Providential Relationships
  • Pivotal Circumstances

Chapter 7 Describes these in detail and provide excellent leadership advice on how best to position people based on one of these 5 catalysts.

One of the major moments for me stood out in Chapter 13…

“Marry your mission.

Date your model.

Fall in love with your vision.

Stay mildly infatuated with your approach.”

Andy does a wonderful job at mapping the mission to the programming as follows –

MISSION —VISION—MODEL—PROGRAMMING (see page. 286)

This skims the surface of this excellent book which reads like a manual on the North Point Systems Based approach to church leadership.

9. Creating Community by Andy Stanley and Bill Willits – I am investigating the feasibility of small groups for our church. I have surveyed a half dozen pastors and have received opinions in every direction. This book cleared up a great deal. I’m not 100% sold on the idea…yet.

51obh1fz6ql-_sx336_bo1204203200_Much of the first few chapters were spent convincing the reader of the importance of community. The authors state God literally created us for community. In fact, they use Creation when God said, “It is not good that man should be alone,” as evidence God wants us to have companionship. While I agree companionship is wonderful and beneficial, I personally felt that readers who may be single, and may have resigned themselves to that fact, may be out of line their opinion of God’s view on being alone. Many biblical leaders, even Jesus was never married, so this comparison should be drawn very carefully.

I did however like the way they correlated the Starbucks Business model to community. They’re not just in the business of selling coffee, they’re in the business of creating community. And, if you think about it, that’s so true. Their environments are conducive to conversation and connection which go great with coffee.

Now, from a church standpoint, I am a strong proponent of community. I can see the benefits of doing life together. Great examples were given in the book of how small groups impacted the lives of people who would have otherwise fallen between the proverbial cracks.

This book was filled with practical reasons on why, and a little on the how, as it applies to small groups, but left me wanting more in the way of a formal process. It could be done using the book, but would involve a great deal more trial and error, and would require high degree of tolerance on behalf of the people you would be asking to sign up for these groups.

Bonus Book(s): Finished Leviticus and began the Book of Numbers. I was so enamored with the Deep and Wide book I re-read several chapters several times. Once I cracked these books open by Andy Stanley, it reminded me of 7 Practices of Effective Ministry by Andy Stanley and Reggie Joiner, and I dug up a few chapters from there because they were reference by Andy in Deep and Wide. 

 

100 Book Challenge Week 3 Progress – 6 & 7 of 100 (Plus 2 Bonus)

This week was a tricky week for keeping on target with my goal of a minimum of 2 books per week. In fact, I blogged about how I set goals in a separate post entitled, “100 Book Challenge – Setting Yourself up for Setbacks.” This is no easy undertaking. I read on average maybe 20 books a year and to increase it to 100 will require dipping into the reserves of my tenacity and grit!

The challenges, if I’m being transparent, arise when my routines get disrupted. I’m a pretty regimented guy and when that happens I have to have a contingency plan. With a 2-week margin for catch up out of the 52-week year of hitting 2 books a week minimum, I do not want to have to dip into that reserve if I can avoid it. I’d like to actually use those 2 weeks to get ahead of my goal so I can crush it!

6. The Battle Plan for Prayer by Stephen and Alex Kendrick – Once I recovered from the minor setback of taking one day off, and another one being too busy to crank out so much as a chapter or two, I dialed in and finished up a great book I had started toward the end of last year called “The Battle Plan for Prayer” by Stephen and Alex Kendrick.

battle-plan-for-prayer

From the creators of the famed movie, War Room, and authors of The Love Dare, the Kendrick brothers have written a masterpiece of practical and theoretical wisdom on prayer. Prayer, the most powerful communication tool between us on earth and God in Heaven, is the sadly under utilized. This book  is a must have for any Christian library.

If I could make a suggestion, plan on reading a chapter a day. I plan on using this to teach future studies on prayer and to implement its practices in my personal prayer life as well. We owe the authors a debt of gratitude for penning these words. There’s no way they could have written them without having practiced them, and without the guidance of the Holy Ghost.

As of this post I have not seen War Room, but I will soon. For other resources for using this book as a teaching tool visit the book’s website at LifeWay.com

7. “If – Trading Your If Only Regrets for God’s What If Possibilities” by Mark Batterson – I have come to be a fan of Mark’s work. From the gifted writer of The Circle Maker and all of its resources, Mark again expounds upon one of the most unsuspecting 2-letif-booktered words of the English Language I-F. There is so much possibility packed within this word and Mark takes us on a journey weaving in characters like Winston Churchill, Helen Keller, and of course a host of biblical characters as well.

As a pastor, I appreciate the accounts Mark shares with the reader about the journey of National Community Church (NCC). I take inspiration from his writing because having started a church with little more than he did, I’m only 5 years into my pastorship, while he’s well past that. God has opened great doors in his ministry and he attributes it all to faith in God and a solid prayer life. This inspires me to keep believing and trusting God for greater things in our church.

I might add here too that Mark states in the book he read over 3000 books before he ever attempted to write one. That’s huge. He mentions also, Teddy Roosevelt, one of his all-time favorite presidents, made habit of reading 500 books a year…and I think 100 is a “challenge!”

With 31 chapters, Mark recommends you read this book, one chapter a day as well. In my quest for wisdom, I will admit, I did this in just a couple of days, but can see the value in taking the time to both read, and journal thoughts and impressions of the book as you go through it.

One of the biggest messages of the book “If” by Mark Batterson is, at the end of our lives, it won’t be the things we did that we regret. We will regret the things we did not do, and wished we had.

Bonus Reading: When I started I anticipated getting criticism for reading books other than the Bible. I committed from the onset that I would attempt to maintain my Bible reading in addition to these 100 books. This week I made good on this BONUS Goal by reading Genesis (started last week) and Exodus. And, since Exodus blended right into Leviticus, I continued and have gotten a good start on it.

I am enjoying this journey overall. It is stretching me. I have a difficult time focusing on such diverse reading materials and going through them thoroughly and thoughtfully, but the more I do it, the more I hunger for it.

A good key if you’re going to do a challenge like this is to find someone to do it with you. I have had a couple people link up with me on this journey wanting to know which books I’m going to read next. If you’re so inclined, feel free to let me know by leaving a comment below, and I’ll let you know which books I’m reading next.

Here’s to 93 more!

100 Book Challenge Week 2 Progress – 5 of 100

I’d like to start this post with a caveat; my motives for this quest and even chronicling it on my blog are simply for archival purposes. A goal of this magnitude, at least for me, is daunting, and trying to capture which books I read and when is daunting as well. So I apologize if my posts, or even sharing this journey comes across like grandstanding. This is certainly not my goal.

I get asked a lot in my ministry about which books to read and to turn to for wisdom or advice, honestly, it just makes sense having this blog to point them to, not out of need for clicks, but more out of need for convenience and archival purposes.

So, I hope the spirit and sincerity behind these posts is felt and that in some small way, if you happen to stumble upon this blog and like it, that you’ll be blessed as well.

Week 2 of my 100 Book Wisdom Quest Challenge brings 2 interesting titles to the mix and both related to coaching.

1. “Uncommon – Finding Your Path to Significance” by Tony Dungy with Nathan Whitaker – With the distinction of only 1 of 3 players to win a Super Bowl both as a player and a coach, Tony Dungy (with Nathan Whitaker) delivers a book jammed pack with wisdom from a player’s perspective and a coach based on his Christian values. You can tell he truly put his heart and soul into this book being at times very transparent about some of the challenges of maintaining his Christian faith through some serious hardships, not the least of which was the suicide by his 18-year-old son Jamie.

Tony’s integrity and sportsmanship shine through this book and reads like one huge book packed with advice for teenagers to adult men, from professionals to those just striving to be good, upstanding Christians. I have a great appreciation for men like Tony who can survive the world of professional sports with his integrity still intact. This book was extremely encouraging and insightful and would be an excellent read for fathers AND sons to read to emphasize how vital it is we live an “uncommon” life of honor and integrity in a world where it appears they’re in short supply.

2. The Coaching Habit – Say Less, Ask More Questions & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Stanier – From the “Box of Crayons” Coaching and Consultant Firm’s founder comes this timely, concise, yet simple way to effectively coach in a variety of settings; from bosses and CEO’s to sports, to even your children, this book is both theoretical and practical. Michael’s clever style and wit brings culminates into the most valuable coaching question in the world; the AWE question…”And, what else?”

From this very memorable acrostic AWE, Michael expands his all-important question to include variations on the question to avoid sounding too mechanical and repetitious, and follows this up with a total of 7 important questions keying into such questions such as, “What’s the biggest challenge you see?” Or, driving it even closer to home, “What’s the biggest challenge FOR YOU here?”

Easily one of my favorite books so far, I will personally be drawing from this wisdom for many years to come. The major theme throughout is helping people discover solutions to their own situations while also guiding them to do so without dismissing your leadership.

Related Links:

In addition to these 3 titles, I am in the middle of doing daily devotions spread out over several books:

  1. “With Christ in the School of Prayer” by Andrew Murray
  2. “God’s Wisdom for Today – Scriptural Devotions”
  3. “Jesus Always – Embracing Joy in His Presence” by Sarah Young

100 Book Challenge Week 1 Progress – 3 of 100

As with virtually every endeavor that we start at the new year we dive in like “gang-busters” I have done just that with my 2017 100 Book Challenge. As of this post I have completed 3 books.

#1 – “Praying Hyde” by Captain E.G. Carre – This book left me desiring a deeper prayer life than ever before. John Hyde enveloped a lifestyle of prayer that left him in what seemed to be a constant conversation with the Lord. A missionary to India, he desired above all else souls, “lest he die.” At one point in his ministry he prayed to win a soul a day which God indeed honored. A year later John asked for double that. And yet another year later, 4 souls a day; and each time God honored his request. He prayed so strongly and so intensely, he developed a rare condition that literally caused his heart to relocate from the left side of his chest to just right of center. He embodied a life of a true intercessor. This book will highly motivate you to pray deeper and believe God for more answered prayer than ever before.

#2 – “Influencer – The New Science of Leading Change” by Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, David Maxfiled, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler – We too often underestimate the power of influence. Not only that, we miss opportunities to influence on many levels. Some assume influence is only about acting a certain way to elicit a certain response, but it’s so much more than that. Those seeking to influence change in their organizations, businesses, teams, churches, or even families will greatly benefit from this insightful and research-rich book. It is teeming with valuable and relevant data from a variety of well respected researchers. It can be used as a manual for both personal growth or even organizational and team growth. It’s more than theoretical, this is a practical guide for influencing the change you desire in your area of leadership. The authors have a successful training and consultant business called Vital Smarts. Their website and YouTube Channel offer a wealth of information for free.

#3 – “H3 Leadership – Be Humble, Stay Hungry, Always Hustle” by Brad Lomenick – If there’s one book you read this year on leadership this book is a must. Brad Lomenick is an encyclopedia of leadership knowledge and experience. Written from a very experiential perspective, and very transparent, Brad uses his highs and lows of leadership as the CEO of Catalyst. Driven by a near breakdown to take a sabbatical, Brad reveals truths from a variety of subject matter experts. Get your highlighter and notebook ready, this book will overwhelm you with leadership ideas that will “catalyze” you as a leader, and a balanced one at that. Personally, as a pastor, mentor, and leader of missions in Europe, I will be utilizing the tools shared in this book with my teams.

Brad even posted 15 New Books he recommends – You will likely see some of these titles on my 100 List.

H3 Leadership Book Website

In addition to these 3 titles, I am in the middle of doing daily devotions spread out over several books:

  1. “With Christ in the School of Prayer” by Andrew Murray
  2. “God’s Wisdom for Today – Scriptural Devotions”
  3. “Jesus Always – Embracing Joy in His Presence” by Sarah Young

The 100 Book Challenge for 2017

I am on a quest for wisdom in 2017 and have elected to set a goal of reading 100 books by the end of this year. Originally I set a goal of 52 books, for 1 per week, but I believe in stretching myself. This quest will take me down roads I have never traveled. I am not going to be random in my selection of books and have enlisted the aid of my friends on Facebook for recommendations, but will welcome recommendations from readers of this blog…if there are any.

True goals should stretch us just enough without snapping and breaking us!

My topics of choice will be as follows:

  • Inspiration
  • Revelation
  • Motivation
  • Leadership
  • Business
  • Communication
  • Biographies
  • Personal Growth
  • Relationship Growth
  • Ministry Growth
  • Church Growth
  • Maybe even some inspirational fiction

As a Christian pastor (Link to my church Turning Point Ministries of Rochester), and leader, I will say for the well-intentioned and concerned, I will be reading these books in addition to my personal morning devotions and Bible reading.

The formats I am using will be traditional paperback and hardbound, my trusty Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader, and Audible Subscription.

I am going keep a running list on this blog of the titles I have read mostly as a way for me to catalog and track my progress and if my time permits, I will record my thoughts about each title with short reviews.

For supporters that wish to leave words of encouragement, or even recommendations, feel free to post below! Thanks and God bless!

Link to my Twitter: @rdmangold

Link to my Instagram: @rmangold

Book Review on “When We Are Free” by Timothy G. Nash

when-we-are-free1Last weekend I had the privilege of attending a 3-day class centered on the book “When We Are Free,” by Timothy G. Nash, Dale C Matcheck, Evgeniy I. Gentchev, Alexander Watts. My professor was Kent Snyder, who in addition to teaching at Northwood is a financial advisor in Troy, MI. I am attending Northwood University in pursuit of my BBA and this May I will be graduating with my associates. After 10 papers, we had to write an overview of this book. Since I took the time to write it, I thought I would share it with my visitors. This is not exactly the most fascinating of reads, but if you are interested in freedom, capitalism, free enterprise, and the role of government in it all, reading this book will indeed open your eyes to the twisted ways in which our government has misrepresented the Constitution of the United States. With government bailouts, welfare, and stimulus packages, our government is not getting smaller, it’s increasing in magnitude. I thought I had a grasp of what freedom was and how it related to how we conduct business, after reading When We Are Free I realized I had a lot to learn…and still do!

Review of When We Are Free by Rodger Mangold

We hear them all the time; terms like free enterprise, capitalism, limited government, socialism, etc. But, when asked to define these terms and relate them to today’s current affairs I admit I would have been hard-pressed. That is of course is prior to having read the book, When We Are Free.

At first glance I thought When We Are Free to be just a collection of essays that would prompt discussion about issues related to the market, but after having read the entire book I find it to be more of a creed by which those that enjoy freedom could further enhance and appreciate what “true” freedom, as it relates to the market could mean. Every-day things we take for granted; full shelves at the local Wal-Mart, interstate and global commerce, supply and demand, currency value, market fluctuations and trends, if left uninhibited by government have proven to be more effective than government policy, legislation, or regulation. When government seeks to overstep its Constitutional boundaries, as it so often is willing to do, the market is adversely affected as has been demonstrated throughout history.

When has the government gone too far, one might ask? How should the government be involved in the market, in our businesses, in our economy? Should the government be involved at all? Our forefathers had the exceptional ability and foresight into the common pitfalls of government and to address those pitfalls through our country’s Constitution. This document is not simply a commentary on how things should be, but rather a contract that every democratically elected public servant vows to uphold. One of the stories that told of a member of congress who misrepresented the Constitution, and was confronted, can be found in Chapter 34, Not Yours to Give by Edward S. Ellis.

Col. Davey Crockett was campaigning along the countryside and was challenged by one of his constituents as having overstepped his Constitutional obligation. In awarding taxpayers’ money to aid those that had lost their homes in a fire, Davey Crockett had violated an article of the American Constitution. Despite the best of intentions, as may well be the case in our modern day, by giving away what is “not theirs to give,” Congress is in direct violation of the Constitution. Congress is not at liberty to provide charitable contributions regardless of circumstance. America has been blessed with thousands of non-profit organizations, philanthropists, and other charitable foundations that can and will come to the aid of those in need. By usurping congressional authority in this area, congress has effectively violated the trust of the American people, and indirectly has stated they know what is better for us than we even know for ourselves.

Some would argue, “Where is your compassion? How could you in all fairness turn people away knowing full-well they were in need of your assistance?” When vowing to uphold the Constitution of the United States, taking liberties as to its interpretation has not been granted to a member of Congress. By overstepping the Constitutional boundaries, they have violated what they have vowed to uphold, and by so doing they trample underfoot the very document that enabled them freedom to run for office and be elected in the first place. A little ironic is it not – holding true to one aspect of the Constitution, but ignoring the other? In an act of true humility and meekness, Col. Davey Crockett publically admitted he had misrepresented the Constitution and would from that moment do all within his power to correct his error, and never again make that mistake. That is true integrity and willingness to set aside one’s pride and ego in true deference to the Constitution, and the American people who elected him. So, a true understanding of the Constitution of the United States, and an adherence to what it says about our government are essential to fully embrace and appreciate the freedoms it guarantees.

When We Are Free is centered on capitalism. As it is described in this book, capitalism is a theory of economics that is not without its criticisms. Some assert that capitalism is rooted in greed, self-interest, and waste. In the chapter entitled, Nine Lies About Capitalism by Madison Pirie, I found the best evidence to support capitalism than anywhere else in the book. Lie, by lie, Pirie combats each with truth, truly dispelling commonly held myths about capitalism. Those that take a seemingly pious view of capitalism and claim it is immoral, according to the author, fail to see how capitalism actually encourages us to put the needs of others above our own. Granted, we are expecting compensation when that need is met, but if we are not sensitive enough to meet that need, or if the incentive were not there (due to capitalism), neither we nor our neighbor benefit. Capitalism is truly the fairest way for both parties to be equally benefitted. Time would escape each myth to be dispelled, but suffice it to say, capitalism versus any other type of economic environment does the best job of creating a fair and balanced playing field for those that wish to invest the time, energy, and capital to improve their lives, and the lives of others.

Overall, When We are Free is an excellent perspective on our government and its role (or lack thereof) in our economy as it pertains to a free enterprise market system. Milton Friedman describes the role of government as follows: to preserve law and order, protect the nation against foreign entities, to establish laws and a framework of rules by which to conduct business, to enforce contracts that have been entered into voluntarily, to provide judiciary to settle disputes, to provide a monetary system, and lastly a “paternalistic role” that would aid people in desperate need of assistance. Sadly, as Friedman points out, the government has expanded its activities in areas not intended by our forefathers, and it is in these areas they are performing so poorly that they are doing more harm than good.

It is my opinion that rather than stimulate our economy, they stifle it. Rather than helping the people who need it, they enable the wrong people causing them to become dependent. Rather than shrinking and limiting their size, they are expanding. And, rather than doing a service to our great Nation, they do a disservice if they fail to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

I am certainly going to recommend When We Are Free to those that have a genuine interest in either capitalism or government. This will undoubtedly shed new insight into the roles of each.