My 2017 One Hundred Book Challenge – UPDATE

Reading-booksI’ve been asked by many of my friends about my progress toward 100 Books for 2017 and I’ve finally compiled a list compliments of an awesome site I’ve been using to track my challenge called Goodreads. Feel free to friend me on there for an up-to-date list of my current and past reads.

I’m not sure how this will format to my website, but the important thing is I’m ahead of schedule (57 to date) by only a couple of books thanks in part to some shorter ones I’m sure. As you’ll be able to see some of my favorite subjects are prayer, leadership, communication, ministry, and self-help.goodreads

I started out thinking I could write reviews of each of these books but between all of the reading, sermon prep, a full-time job, and the many hats I wear as a leader, it’s just not practical at this time. Suffice it to say however, I’ve gained a ton of wisdom and implemented, not all of this, but a great deal into my life and have found this journey so far very challenging, but extremely rewarding as well.

Thanks for all the support and encouragement, and for the recommendations. – Rodger

Title Author Date
Leaders Made Here: Building a Leadership Culture Miller, Mark * 12-Jul-17
The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It McGonigal, Kelly * 12-Jul-17
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants Gladwell, Malcolm 2-Jul-17
The Barbarian Way: Unleash the Untamed Faith Within McManus, Erwin Raphael 1-Jul-17
Moving Mountains: How You, God, and Prayer Can Change Things for Good Eldredge, John 27-Jun-17
Leaders Eat Last Sinek, Simon * 23-Jun-17
Ego Is the Enemy Holiday, Ryan * 21-Jun-17
Rising Above a Toxic Workplace: Taking Care of Yourself in an Unhealthy Environment Chapman, Gary 19-Jun-17
How Good is Good Enough? Stanley, Andy 16-Jun-17
Good or God?: Why Good Without God Isn’t Enough Bevere, John 13-Jun-17
Take the Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success Vaden, Rory 29-May-17
Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward Cloud, Henry * 19-May-17
Becoming a Contagious Christian Hybels, Bill 11-May-17
The Principle of Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be Stanley, Andy 2-May-17
Play the Man: Becoming the Man God Created You to Be Batterson, Mark 27-Apr-17
The Little Things: Why You Really Should Sweat the Small Stuff Andrews, Andy * 26-Apr-17
A Tale of Three Kings Edwards, Gene * 24-Apr-17
The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living As If He Doesn’t Exist Groeschel, Craig 21-Apr-17
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference Gladwell, Malcolm 20-Apr-17
Crash the Chatterbox: Hearing God’s Voice Above All Others Furtick, Steven 13-Apr-17
The School of Greatness: A Real-World Guide to Living Bigger, Loving Deeper, and Leaving a Legacy Howes, Lewis 11-Apr-17
The Lost Art of Spiritual Disciplines Whitley, Nathan 10-Apr-17
Prayer Bean, Verbal 3-Apr-17
The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play Fiore, Neil A. 2-Apr-17
Procrastinate on Purpose: 5 Permissions to Multiply Your Time Vaden, Rory 2-Apr-17
StrengthsFinder 2.0 Rath, Tom * 30-Mar-17
Divine Direction: 7 Decisions That Will Change Your Life Groeschel, Craig 28-Mar-17
Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul Eldredge, John 21-Mar-17
The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible Batterson, Mark 21-Mar-17
Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World Groeschel, Craig 16-Mar-17
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action Sinek, Simon * 15-Mar-17
Surprise the World: The Five Habits of Highly Missional People Frost, Michael 7-Mar-17
Seven-Mile Miracle: Journey Into the Presence of God Through the Last Words of Jesus Furtick, Steven 7-Mar-17
It’s My Pleasure: The Impact of Extraordinary Talent and a Compelling Culture Turner, Dee Ann 6-Mar-17
Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God Batterson, Mark 3-Mar-17
Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God Keller, Timothy J. 25-Feb-17
Chase the Lion: If Your Dream Doesn’t Scare You, It’s Too Small Batterson, Mark 25-Feb-17
Seven Practices of Effective Ministry Stanley, Andy 19-Feb-17
In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day: How to Survive and Thrive When Opportunity Roars Batterson, Mark 17-Feb-17
Essential Church?: Reclaiming a Generation of Dropouts Rainer, Thom S. 13-Feb-17
Shaken: Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life’s Storms Tebow, Tim 7-Feb-17
With Christ in the School of Prayer Murray, Andrew 6-Feb-17
The Bait Of Satan: Living Free from the Deadly Trap of Offense Bevere, John 6-Feb-17
Visioneering: God’s Blueprint for Developing and Maintaining Personal Vision Stanley, Andy 6-Feb-17
QBQ! The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life Miller, John G. 6-Feb-17
The Battle Plan for Prayer: Attacking Life’s Struggles Through Prayer Kendrick, Stephen 6-Feb-17
Influencer : The Power to Change Anything Patterson, Kerry 6-Feb-17
H3 Leadership: Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always Hustle. Lomenick, Brad 6-Feb-17
Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance Dungy, Tony 6-Feb-17
Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge Batterson, Mark 6-Feb-17
Creating Community: Five Keys to Building a Small Group Culture Stanley, Andy 6-Feb-17
Worth Dying For: A Navy Seal’s Call to a Nation Denver, Rorke * 6-Feb-17
Deep and Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend Stanley, Andy 6-Feb-17
If: Trading Your If Only Regrets for God’s What If Possibilities Batterson, Mark 20-Jan-17
The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever Stanier, Michael Bungay * 13-Jan-17
Praying Hyde Carre, E.G. 2-Jan-17

Blessed or Blissed?

The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it. Proverbs 10:22

It is a gross misconception when we equate God’s blessings with God’s sanctioning. Even Jesus decried this delusion when he said, “For he (God) maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45).

False teachers presume to preach a gospel of prosperity and mislead millions into believing if you’re blessed you must be pleasing to God and conversely, if you’re not blessed, you must not have enough faith. This is a miscarriage of the Gospel that Jesus taught…Blessed are the poor, the mournful, the meek, the merciful, and the persecuted! (Matthew 5)

This list reads like a “who’s who” of mistreated, brokenhearted, and the socially outcast of our day. What the world views as weakness, God sees as a trust in His Strength that is made perfect in weakness. What the world sees as poverty, God sees as being an heir to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Paul warned Timothy, “all that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Again, quite contrary to what’s being preached by counterfeit Christians. Jesus even warned we’d be hated by men for His name’s sake. So much for that popularity contest!

Don’t be sold a bill of goods that touts if things are rosy in your life you’re on easy street with the Lord. The very things Satan used to tempt Christ were the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. Had Christ taken those invitations to mean there was a “cushy” alternative to Calvary, He never would have been crucified, resurrected, and given us salvation and eternal life.

God does indeed bless His people in so many ways, but if we’re so infatuated with the blessings rather than the “Source” from whom all blessings flow, we’re in extreme peril of being “blissed” rather than “blessed!”

Ant on a Mission

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Proverbs 6:6

As springtime blossoms, we see evidence of new life at every turn; flowering buds on trees, Robins nesting, Sparrows singing, and the return of summertime’s pesky insects. Proverbs points us to one such insect that has been around since the dawn of time and has over 12,000 different species – the assiduous ant! Known for her industry, the ant is ever searching for food and water sources. No time for luxury or frivolous pursuits, she’s always on a mission!

Solomon was contrasting the sluggard with the industrious ant, but as Christians, what’s our take-home message? Have we become like Aesop’s lazy grasshopper, basking in the temporary pleasures of this world, flitting from one blade of grass to another seeking enjoyment and pleasure? Or, are we like the laser-sharp-focused ant who never forgets she’s on “Mission from God?” We’ve been commanded to go into all the world preaching the Gospel of Christ’s Death, Burial and Resurrection. An ant builds a colony, numbering in some cases in the millions. Let’s make God’s Mission our mission. Let’s work the harvest while it is day, and colonize for the Kingdom of Heaven.

II Timothy 3 warns us all, “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.” (NASB)

“I Have Not Yet Begun to Fight!” Part 2 of 2

Click here for Part 1 of 2

Refresher…At the outbreak of the American Revolution in 1775, John Paul Jones went to Philadelphia and entered the Continental Navy. In December he was commissioned a lieutenant on the first American flagship, Alfred. Jones was quickly promoted to captain in 1776 and given command of the sloop Providence. While on his first cruise aboard the Providence, he destroyed British fisheries in Nova Scotia and captured sixteen prize British ships.

In command of Ranger in 1777 and 1778, he operated in British home waters and made audacious raids on England’s shore. In recognition of his exploits, he was placed in command of five French and American vessels. Aboard his flagship, the Bonhomme Richard, Jones led his small squadron in the capture of seven merchantmen off of the Scottish coast. On September 23, 1779, Jones fought one of the bloodiest engagements in naval history. Jones struggled with the 44-gun Royal Navy frigate Serapis, and although his own vessel was burning and sinking, Jones would not accept the British demand for surrender, replying, “I have not yet begun to fight.” More than three hours later, Serapis surrendered and Jones took command. (Adapted from the article Lauren Pitre see “Traditions…of the Naval Service” website.)


Judges 16:20-24 And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.

21 But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house. {put out: Heb. bored out}

22 ¶ Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven. {after…: or, as when he was shaven}

23 Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.

24 And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us. {which…: Heb. and who multiplied our slain}

  • Of all the men who would have surely been able to say they had fought their hardest and won many battles
  • Of all the men who could have lived out his days satisfied that he had avenged the Philistines
  • Of all the men who could have been contented that he had dealt a deadly blow to his enemy
  • This man who had slain 1000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey
  • This man who literally picked up the city gates of the Philistines and carried them away
  • This man who tied 300 foxes together and set them on fire and turned them loose into the corn fields and olive yards of the Philistines

Samson could have said all of those things. But with each turn of the grinder’s wheel, something supernatural was taking place. God was restoring his strength…

  • Not so he could just be a better grinder
  • Not so he could continue to be a good slave

But, so he could finish the job God called him to do.

This brings us to the point of Samson’s story we can all connect with

Judges 16:25-30 And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport: and they set him between the pillars. {them: Heb. before them}

26 And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them.

27 Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport.

28 And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.

29 And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. {on which…: or, he leaned on them}

30 And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life. {me: Heb. my soul}

As if to say…”I have not yet begun to fight!” Samson asked to be led to the 2 central pillars of the house. He prayed to God…” O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.”

Indeed, God granted Samson the strength one last time to avenge himself of the Philistines.

Even without his eyes, Samson had one more good fight left in him and dealt the Philistines a blow that was greater than all the other battles he had fought in his entire life.

In Closing

On the third day after Christ’s crucifixion, the greatest comeback of all time happened! Jesus arose from the dead.

Some would have surely said that the battle at Calvary was without a doubt the most brutal of all battles that Jesus, or anyone for that matter, must have faced. But on the third day something that has never happened before or since took place; Jesus arose from the dead…victorious over death, hell and the grave.

But you know what, as tough as Calvary was. As daunting as defeating death, hell and the grave were. Jesus is saying today to the church…I have not yet begun to fight!

Our greatest challenges are not behind us, but ahead of us. We need the Army of God to be stronger and more determined than ever to stand up and face the enemy down and say and mean these words, “I have not yet begun to fight!”

“I Have Not Yet Begun to Fight!” Part 1 of 2

JPJI Have Not Yet Begun to Fight!


Mic 7:7 ¶ Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me. 8 Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me.


2Cor. 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

John Paul Jones

Considered by many as the “Father of the American Navy” Captain John Paul Jones fought his most notable battle on the night of September 23, 1779. he engaged H.M.S. ‘Serapis’ and the ‘Countess of Scarborough’ off the coast of England.

The ‘Serapis’ had superior fire power and Jones had to maneuver skillfully to bring his ship alongside and lash her to the ‘Serapis’. During the dreadful 3 1/2 hour fight on a millpond sea, the ‘Alliance’, part of Jones’ squadron, fired at the ‘Bonhomme Richard,’ holing her so badly that she later sank. Over half of the crews of the two ships, including Jones himself, were either killed or wounded and many men were horribly burned. After the Bonhomme Richard began taking on water and fires broke out on board, the British commander asked Jones if he had struck his flag. Jones replied, “I have not yet begun to fight!” In the end, it was the British commander who surrendered. Jones had to transfer his crew to the ‘Serapis’ and together with her sister ship the ‘Pallas’ which had captured the ‘Scarborough’ he sailed to the Texel in Holland with over 500 prisoners.

Standing just 5 foot 5 inches tall, Jones is remembered for his indomitable will, his unwillingness to consider surrender when the slightest hope of victory still burned. Throughout his naval career Jones promoted professional standards and training. Sailors of the United States Navy can do no better than to emulate the spirit behind John Paul Jones’s stirring declaration: “I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm’s way.”

The Bean Field

2Sa 23:8-12 ¶ These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.

 9 And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away:

 10 He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.

 11 And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines.

 12 But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory.

After all of the Israelites had fled into the hillside, Shammah, literally stood his ground.

I can envision a man that would have at that very point raised high his sword and said the words, “I have not yet begun to fight…BRING IT!”

Defiance of the Enemy

Some of us, when the first defiance or opposition arises, we feel we are out of the Will of God. But we are in a Battle!

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Eph. 6:12)

Opposition is going to happen, Offenses are going to happen, but as Jesus said, Woe unto them from whom offenses come! (Matt. 18:7)

In other words…Look out, we have not yet begun to fight!

Determination Not Enough

What I’m saying today goes beyond mere determination and self-will, I’m talking about involving the Divine Power of God in your situation. As powerful a victory as Shammah would have had, the scripture stated, “And the Lord wrought a great victory!”

If you feel like you’re on the losing side, maybe you are! We need to make sure we have God’s blessing and sanctioning in our battles.

Simply go to God and say, God, I need your intervention in my situation. I can’t face this battle alone.

When God’s divine hand shows up, you will without a doubt feel the emboldened power of the Holy Ghost come upon you and you will be able to say with confidence…I have not yet begun to fight.

Our Best Battles are NOT Behind Us

We need to lose the mindset that we have done all we can do.

In your heart of hearts can you honestly say you’ve done all you can do?

Can you say, like Paul, I have fought a good fight, I have kept the faith, I have finished my course?

If you’re still breathing, if you’re still struggling…then YOU HAVE NOT YET BEGUN TO FIGHT!

Generations to Come

Your best days and best battles are not behind you. You have an enemy that is not content to destroy just you but he wants to destroy generations of Apostolics to come!

We need moms and dads, grandpas and grandmas to once again pick up their spears, their bows and arrows, pick up their sword and shield and let the battle cry go forth…I HAVE NOT YET BEGUN TO FIGHT!

Future generations are relying on us to stay on the field until the very last enemy falls.

See tomorrow’s posting for the rest of this message…