Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Super Center SAVIOR

Review of Jeff Noble's book - Super Center Savior

"I will mail you a book, if you write a blog post review about it"

This was the tweet from author Jeff Noble.  So obviously I hopped on this opportunity for several reasons.
1)  I have been wanting to read his book.
2)  I have a blog where I have the opportunity to write a book review if I wish.
3)  Last but not least, the obvious - a free book?  Come on now!

So after several messages back and forth, Jeff was a man of his word.  Received a copy of his book in the mail.  Being in the middle of several books at the time I waited a month to pick it up, so being a man of my word.

My review of the book...

The book has an all around metaphor of comparing Wal-mart to the life of a Christian and the church itself.  At first my mindset was a little prejudgmental on this comparison and how it could actually relate.  But Jeff does a great job in the beginning and throughout explaining the concept.  As he describes it late in the book as a "loose" analogy.

"Now I realize that some of you are "green" behind the ears and suggesting that the Wal-Mart corporation should be held up as an analogy like this makes your internal Prius stall out.  This book is not here to address the inequities of corporate growth or environmental concerns.  If that's the only way you can view life, and it's your passion , you probably will want to either tear this book up then recycle it, or go read this book out in a pasture with a kitten"

Jeff states in the beginning that he wants the reader and a usual church attender "to move from the idea of simply being present in church on Sunday to discover the radical joy of reflecting His presence while living between Sundays"  after reading this book I believe that is what can truly happen as Jeff truly relates to "real life" situations of a believer.

When thinking and looking back over a book I just read I like to think about two things.
1)  Where did I feel like the author was really talking to me?
2)  What questions can I be asking myself to improve my life after reading this book?

To hit on #1
He talks about church actually "sucking the life out of us".  I believe Morgann (my wife) and I can relate to this so much, as members of a church sometimes it can be draining and we begin to just be going through the motions and not even thinking about relationships, we just begin to participate and go to activities "just because" we are members of the church and that is what it is "suppose to look like" when you are a member.  "investing in religious activity rather than authentic relationships"

"The troubling reality is that the more involved in church we become, the more we want Wal-Church.  We want our church to offer us everything.  To meet all our needs.  To cater to our ministry and personal preference.  BUT IT'S NOT ABOUT US.  IT'S ABOUT HIM."

To hit on #2
One of the best things about this book is that Jeff will challenge you.  (Challenges you in that it is a long, really difficult book to get through?...NO, not at all.)  Challenge in the fact that I might see a topic that leads to a great question to continue to ask myself everyday!

-  "What would it look like if Christians lived their lives in a way that made them as accessible, convenient and beneficial as Wal-Mart?"
-  "Are we prepared to be obedient?" (Titus 3:1)
-  Do you have time to love your neighbor or are you too caught up in "church activities"?
-  Are you being intentional to notice your surroundings?
-  Why would people who aren't Christians come to our stuff if we never go to theirs?
-  When you hear the words of God, is this actually leading to ADJUSTMENTS in our lives, decisions, attitudes and relationships?
-  Are people a priority in your life over "things" and "experiences"?

Jeff does a great job of adding in scripture throughout the book, and it great to see where Jesus and his words speak through Jeff.

I would absolutely recommend this book to all Christians.  I think the concept will really hit home with everyone and if you liked what I mentioned above then you will thoroughly enjoy this book.  It is a very quick read (small, 100 pages) and you can get it done in a weekend!

Hats off to Jeff for the great read and being an awesome guy to just send this my way down here in South Carolina! Hope I did the book justice in my post but at the same time didn't want to write too much so people wouldn't go read it themselves!


Friday, April 25, 2014

Top 5 Smells (EVER)

Something I have always thought about and love to ponder, in order...

1)  New Shoe
No doubt my number one smell!  I might go out on a limb and say that this may be a little associated with the fact that when I am getting to enjoy the amazingness of new shoe smell I have just purchased or received a brand new pair of shoes.  But with that aside, nothing beats this smell, hands down.

2)  Mulch
Once again, could possibly be associated with other factors, being Mulch = Spring has arrived and nice weather is here!  The first time I ever remember coming to the realization that I loved the smell of mulch was the first I ever went to pick up mulch with my dad in a truck.  I am standing there looking at all different kinds and I thought to myself, I could stand here all day and smell this.  (Freshly Mowed grass - not in the top five because to associated with mulch but still feel like it should be mentioned in this category)

3)  Christmas Cookie Yankee Candle
Just something about it, by far my favorite candle smell.  My mother-in-law buys me one every year for Christmas and it is one tradition that I love!  It is the smell of cookie, sugar, home cooked baking, and Christmas all mixed into one, it really doesn't get much better than that.  (Would also like to mention in this category that I do enjoy smelling most candles in a Yankee Candle store or a Cracker Barrel, but this one is by far the best around!)

4)  College Football (Particularly Lane Stadium)
If you love college football then you know what I mean by this.  If you do not, you may be thinking, how can a sport have a smell.  Well just so you know, it does, it is that smell of tailgating, fresh cut grass, grills cooking, sweat, turkey legs, and competition all rolled into one.  I really just can't describe it any other way.  But I love that smell.  When walking into a college football stadium, I love just being able to stop at the top of a tunnel before going into your seat, looking around, taking a deep breath, and saying "now that smells like college football".

5)  New Can of Tennis Balls
Thinking about this actually makes me want to play tennis.  When you pop the top on a can of tennis balls, I get more excited than if I had just popped the can of a pringles tin.  I actually don't even know but smelling this smell could possibly be bad for you, because sometimes as soon as i pop the can I immediately hold it up to smell and it almost feels like sometimes it is so good that their could be some kind of chemicals involved.  (New Camp T-Shirt - Fresh out of the box, a new camp t-shirt definitely needs to be mentioned here, you just can't beat the smell of new Beefy-T two sizes to big draped over you unwashed, classic good smell)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Books Read in March 2014

Books Read in March 2014...

Digital Photography FAQ

Actually had been reading this one for several months but just so happened to finish it in the month of March so this where it falls!  One of the most random photography books I have read to date.  One page you read about how take night pictures with a high ISO setting and then on the very next page it will tell you what kind of lens to buy.  Very random but actually helpful.  Not a buy kind of book but a great get at the library to skim through to learn more about photography.

By Charles Stanley

I had actually never read a book by Charles Stanley and really have no idea why I decided to make this one the first of the many he has written.  But it was GREAT!  Would really just recommend it to everyone.  At first I was thinking, why am I reading this I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on my emotions and knowing how to deal with them.  But the more I read I realized it is about so much more than that...what you ask? Pick It up and check it out!

The Power of Habit

By Charles Duhigg

One of my top three Psychology based reads I have read.  (the others being anything by Malcolm Gladwell, and Quiet By Susan Cain)  This book really hits how we can actually succeed in certain areas of our life when we know what are usual patterns are and how to change them in a positive direction.  Some of my favorite topics in his book are; starting with habits in the brain and he tells a story about a man with severe dementia but goes on walks every day and can make it back home but doesn't how, and how companies and retailers manipulate our habits to make us buy more, example; putting fruits and vegetables at the front of the grocery store knowing if you pick those things up first you are more likely to buy more "junk" food later in your shopping because you have bought the "healthy" stuff first.

Coaching Confidential

By Gary Myers

I probably wouldn't recommend this book but it is a quick read if you enjoy hearing some insights into NFL coaching.  How certain coaches decided to step down or what they do when they get fired.  If you are interested in the stories of the coaching careers of Bill Parcells, Jimmy Jones, Sean Payton, or Joe Gibbs then this would be a great read for you.  If you aren't I would not consider it.  But a fun quick read if you have extra time on your hands and you love reading about the football coaching profession.

Going Deep

By Cris Carter

Being a Vikings fan I sorta felt like this book was a must read.  Well, I really wouldn't even suggest this book if you are vikings fan.  Chris really just talks this whole book about how the wide reciever in the NFL is the best position there is and all WR's don't get enough credit.  The confidence/cockyness that Chris Carter has always had/portrays definitely shines in this book.  So if you love Chris Carter then I would read this but if you really have no interest in reading his opinion on every wide receiver that has ever been good in the NFL then I suggest that you do not every consider picking this book up.

Proof Of Heaven

By Eben Alexander

Saw this as a top seller on the shelf at Target so I figured I would get my hands on it first chance I got at the library.  About a neurosurgeon who goes through a dramatic near death experience.  I have read books in the past that talk about people seeing heaven in near death experiences but it was great to read from the aspect of a neurosurgeon who gives great detail to what is actually happening in the brain during his and others experience.  A short book, so really not a bad read for a weekend.

Sports from Hell

By Rick Reilly

Honestly the only reason I read this book is so that I could have some laughs.  I started to get in a little reading rut that everything I picked up was so serious that I really wanted to sit and laugh.  Rick Reilly tells the stories of 10 sports that he goes and tries around the world that are actual sports.  He has rules that he explains that the beginning of how he picked these.  Honestly thought the first one was hilarious (world sauna championships) but then after that it just sorta went down hill.  But not a bad read as Rick Reilly is a good writer.

Friday, April 4, 2014

2014 Monthly Challenge - March Complete

Monthly Challenge for the year update...

January - Floss Every Day (check...flossed once since then)
February - Pray on Knees Every Day (check...need to continue this more)

March - 200 Push Ups Every Day!

I would say out of all the monthly challenges so far.. this was the most "fun".  (Well obviously since I started out the year with flossing)

The fun part was just the challenge itself in how I would divide it up each day.
Sometimes doing them at home.  While cooking, during timeouts of basketball games, losing to Morgann in UNO.  Whatever it may be.
Sometimes doing them at work.  (20 between each meeting, etc)

All in all, this is a challenge I look forward to doing again!  Nothing but beneficial and would love for anyone else to do it as well!!!  I do feel like my form improved as well.

On to April - 4 days in already...

This month is JUST SAY NO month.
Where I just say NO to things...

No Social Media - Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube (I don't think writing this blog counts?)
No looking at my cell phone after 7 pm at night.
No getting on the iPad/Internet at home.  (Which will be difficult since we don't have cable in the first place)
No sweets/candy.

So here we go!!!  I think it will be done and I will report what I like and dislike about it when May hits... I can already tell 4 days in I really enjoy the no phone after 7 but the no Twitter so far is a struggle.  So maybe a wake up call in my life.  But the last time I went no Facebook for a month I never got back on and that was 7 years ago.