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

Too Frozen to be Chosen

What a scripture: Psalm 65:4, Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.

If you feel that strong compulsion and are drawn in by God’s Spirit to intercede and pray, this scripture says you’re blessed. God chooses and causes us to approach Him. This is a great truth.

“Many are called” Jesus said, “but few are chosen.” If you’re chosen, do not hesitate to answer His call. I believe many have been called, but so few have qualified themselves to be chosen because they have not answered that call. They’re too frozen to be chosen!

The Fear Factor

What keeps us frozen? More often than not, fear keeps us frozen from being chosen. Like a proverbial “deer in the headlights” we’re paralyzed by fear. But what kind of fear? For some it’s rejection. They fear that when they launch out, they’ll get rejected by their peers, by the popular crowd, or even the world. Jesus said, “if you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of you.”

The Great Unknown

Another fear is the unknown. We have no idea sometimes what to expect. When we’re given a vision, or receive a call on our lives, that may be all we know. God doesn’t very often provide us with in depth details of our calling. More often than not, this is a walk by faith and not by sight. If you’re waiting until you have all the answers, you’ll remain frozen by that fear and never become the difference maker God called you to become.

Going All IN

There are many forms of fear, and this post by no means will cover them all, but the last one I want to expose is the fear of commitment. We think this only exists when it comes to personal relationships, but we fear this spiritually as well. A calling on our lives takes sacrifice. It will require a death to self, and a call to become more like Christ and less like the world; a call to go ALL IN!

John the Baptist described it this way; He (Christ) must increase, and I must decrease. Powerful words from a man who knew all to well what it meant to step aside and let Jesus have his ministry. Literally, some of John’s disciples left him and followed after Christ. OUCH!  John knew this wasn’t about his kingdom, but about the Kingdom of God. In fact, his favorite sermon was called, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand!”

In Closing

Of course there are a variety of other factors that may have you frozen; a comfortable life, a cozy career, a love for worldly pleasures, you’re too busy with your own agenda, or the opposite, you’re just too lazy.

Listen, we have work to do and time is short! If God has in fact called you, take that next step and avail yourself to become chosen. And, when you’ve been chosen to approach His Throne! GO BOLDLY! – RDM

Air vs. Prayer

hands-of-prayer-christian-stock-imageDo we consider breathing air an obligation, or a necessity?

Do we view eating food, or drinking water as obligations, or necessities?

All essential to life; air, food, water, yet none of them can be considered obligations, or duties.

Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone.”

Job said, “I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.”

Can our relationship with Christ be viewed as an obligation or necessity?

You may say, “I need air, food, and water to survive.”

I say you’re absolutely correct…to survive. But, to thrive, to enjoy life, and live life more abundantly, you need a relationship that is not one of obligation, but necessity with Christ.

There is a spiritual state we must strive to attain, one in which we esteem the “Spiritual necessities” with an equal or greater degree of priority in our lives.

More than our necessary food. More than the bread we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe, we cannot survive, let alone thrive as God ordained by neglecting the more essential thing, the one thing that cannot be taken away, a relationship; not a duty, not an obligation, but a joy, a privilege, an honor to bask in the glow of His Divine Presence; to enjoy the warmth of His tender embrace, to esteem our relationship with our Creator above all else…necessary.

21-Day Fast (Day 17) When God Gets Quiet

Scripture: Psalms 139:7-10

7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

If you’ve lived for God very long, you’ve likely had a point in your walk where you just couldn’t feel God’s presence. Try as might, whatever it was that you equated with God’s presence just wasn’t there. Doubt is quick to creep in and discourage you from praying, or waiting any longer on God presence. The Reality is…the Lord never leaves us.

David

By the time David penned this Psalm, he more than likely had gone through a great deal of turmoil in his career as king of Israel. His personal failures and challenges to his authority brought with them some dark and dreary days for David. If ever there was a man prone to highs and lows in his life, David was the man. So, who better to remind us that regardless of whether we feel it or not, God’s divinely inspired word through David, tells us…God IS THERE!

Paul

More than qualified to weigh in on this issue, the Apostle Paul defines for us the boundaries of God’s love in Romans. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39). Essentially, there are no boundaries. So if you’re “feeling” like God no longer loves or cares about you, get your nose in the Book and remind yourself of this glorious promise!

In Closing

We don’t base our walk with God on emotions or feelings. This is a walk of faith. We are all prone to emotional peaks and valleys. But, you can be certain, God’s presence in our lives, nor His love for His people, will ever change.

How Do I Feel?

Hungry! Yes, hunger has returned with a vengeance, but I’m still committed to this fast. I have to say, even though I have been on this fast, I have had days where it was still hard to feel God’s presence in my life. But, if I based it on feelings though, I would have given up a long time ago. I know God’s there, and I know He hears my every prayer!