Book Review – The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages

In this book, Shaunti Feldhahan talks about the things research has shown to be habits of “highly happy couples”. This book on marriage doesn’t tackle the big things: money, sex, communication, in-laws or children. It focuses more on day to day practices and attitudes that lead to a happy marriage. This book doesn’t make itself out to be a cure-all for marriage but simply shares small things you could do to do to change.

All the data from this book is collected from surveys and many supported by actual testimonial stories. Different surveys were complied to come to the conclusions made in this book. The couples surveyed were put into three groups based on their initial response to the question: “Are you generally happy and enjoying being married?”

The first category was “highly happy couples” who both independently answer “yes!” Next came the “mostly happy couples” who either both answered “mostly of the time” or only one answered “yes!” Last came the “so-so or struggling couples” whose answers varied from “sometimes yes, sometimes no” to “not really” or even “no”. Each finding is supported by the responses of couples in the three categories.

Shaunti encourages the readers to not try and implement all the findings of the book at once. Often we get overwhelmed with not being able to do so many things at once. When we fall short we find up quitting all together. She encourages to take a point and make it a habit and then to add another point to your lists of practices.

I began personally with the first chapter that addresses small actions that have a big impact. This chapter lists the “Fantastic Five” for men and women. Each of these were also supported by statistic data. I had done many of the five for my wife in the past but I made a conscious effort of the last few weeks to put these into practice. I noticed a difference immediately! Would you like to know what they were? Then pickup the book today! Trust me when I say these things are so simple that even a caveman like me can put them into practice.

I would highly suggest this book to any couple who wants to have a better marriage no matter how good or bad it currently is.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for my review.


Dumb Things I’ve Done In KidMin – @#$%&!

Well to continue my series of posts on dumb things I’ve done, here’s another. From the title you’re probably thinking I said a word I wasn’t supposed to? Well I’m not that dumb! My mistake in this case started when we revamped our ministry at my first church many years ago. (In fact most of my mistakes happened there, God love them.)

We had seen another area kid’s church use sound effects and bumper music to spice up transitions and segments. We started doing the same thing and soon I had more junior high boys helping me than I knew what to do with. Kids laughed and enjoyed the beats.

We decided to step it up even more and started downloading instrumental versions of popular music, mostly rap. That was all fine and dandy until some kids started singing the words… cuss words and all. F-bombs are clearly not words of life.

Obviously I put an end to that practice as most church folks don’t want their sweet little innocent kids learning cuss words at church, since that’s what public school is for (please turn on your sarcasm detector). This is why I am also not a fan of parodies of popular music that people try to make worship songs out of. There’s always going to be some kids who sing the original version.

I’m not sure I have some lesson for you or even a point to this post. Sometimes I was an idiot, sometimes I still am. I dare say I will continue to be but hopefully at a less prevalent pace. If I was God, I’d certainly had fired me a long time ago. Grace truly is amazing.


Book Review – I Like Giving

The generous life is the only life worth living.

Brad Formsma’s book “I Like Giving” shares various encouraging and everyday stories of living a generous life. The author shares his own story of generosity and in each chapter brings more real-life stories to support his points. He encourages the readers to find there own way of giving.

The book explores more than just giving financial gifts to charity organizations and goes to the very heart of the matter. He shares even the science of giving and tactics for giving. Motives are also discussed and this is not a “here’s how to be a millionaire by giving money” type of book. I’ve read plenty of those.

The stories inside inspired me to rethink my thoughts on generosity. If you would have asked me before if I considered myself generous I would have said yes and pointed to my tithes and offerings. I do know that’s a big part of being generous, but the book explores other ways in which to live the generous life.

If you are looking to be inspired to change the world one person at a time, “Like Giving” shares lots of practical stories that will help you along in your journey. I found myself getting teary eyed and encouraged as I imagined the people in each of the stories. I hope you have a chance to pick up this book and put the generous life into motion.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.


Book Review – Crash The Chatterbox

Chatterboxing is a full-time occupation, because the chatterbox takes no breaks, and it takes no prisoners. The chatterbox is portable. You can go on vacation, but it takes no time off and never takes sick days. The chatterbox is not squeamish with intimate moments. It will go with you to the bathroom or shower. You can change the scenery, change partners, change your clothes. But the lips of the maniacal chatterbox keep on moving.

Let me first say that I loved this book. While I have listened to and watched Pastor Steven Furtick many times I have not read any of his books. I am familiar with the “overnight” success story of Elevation Church. I couldn’t put this book down. I identified with every chapter as I believe we all have our own “chatterbox” inside. In “Crash the Chatterbox” Steven talks about the “voices” He defines the chatterbox as…

The lies we believe that keep is from accurately and actively hearing God’s voice

Furtick shares humorous personal examples of his own dealings with the “chatterbox” and insightful help in dealing with those lies. The book is divided into 4 sections that correlate with the four “confessions” that deal with the four main areas that the enemy uses chatter to derail us. The author’s hope for readers is that those four become a foundational part of us.

God says I am
God says He will
God says He has.
God says I can.

Steven was very transparent and vulnerable in this book which is one of the attributes I love about him. He deals with insecurities, fears, condemnation, discouragement in contrast to those four confessions. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t dealt with any and all of those four. I heard someone compare this to Joyce Meyer’s Battlefield of the Mind and I don’t think that’s a bad comparison. I do think Steven owned this concept and made it his own.

I loved the digital version of this book as each chapter was followed by a quote box that made for great Instagram sharing. Every single on of these quotes resonated with me and made me guilty of a bit of over-sharing even. This books was definitely in my wheelhouse as a pastor but I know any believer would benefit from it. The end of the book contains discussion questions that would be great for a small group setting. I think I’d even love to participate in one myself as I would go back through the book again

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.


Book Review – The Power of the Half hour

I recently read “The Power of Half Hour” by Tommy Barnett. I received a free digital through the blogging for books website in exchange for this review.

I love what Pastor Tommy Barnett has done in ministry but this is the first book of his I have read. The idea behind the book is that even 30 minutes out of your day can make a difference. The author gives specific examples from his own life and those close to him about various areas of life.

The ideas weren’t new to me but I love great stories, so I enjoyed the book very much. He covered thirty “half- hour principles” in the 30 chapters of the book of course. At the end are actions steps for you to take in each of these principles. There is even a small group study guide for leading a 7 part half hour small group.

The book covers many areas where you can use 30 minutes to make a difference: marriage, children, risk taking, self improvement, changing someone’s life, vision, attitude, forgiveness changing the world and more. I recommend it to anyone who has ever uttered the words “I’m too busy”.


Dumb Things I’ve Said in KidMin – Metal Bits

Continuing on with sharing my Kidmin stories, I remember in 2004 when the church I was serving at had a visitor from southern Texas. Now please don’t think I’m picking on people from Texas, I’m just sharing what really happened.

This man and his family were in town visiting a realtive. He dropped off his 8 year old son with little fanfare and the service went about as planned. The eight year old boy seemed to enjoy the service that our team put together. We had a couple of our college kids back in town over the summer and they joined me in putting on an amazing program that day.

Well right after the service this dad found me and I could tell he was worked up. He started off in his southern Texas drawl.

“Are you in charge here?”

“Yes” I answered.

He introduced himself as a visitor from Texas and then asked “Do you really think it’s OK to have people with metal bits in their faces teaching my son?”

I froze in my tracks. I couldn’t figure out what he could mean. Was this some sort of Texas take on the “speck in the eye”? “I’m not sure I follow you.” I remarked.

He pointed over towards whe two of my young adult helpers were standing and mingling amongst a group of boys in our game room.
“Them, look at them!”

Well these two guys did have facial piercings and probably unseen tattoos. No one has ever complained because our pastor always talked about how Jesus embraced all people despite what they looked like or their background. I told him that we had no rules against volunteers having facial piercings, even though I know some churches do. (We even had a young man who painted his nails and was a goth in style, but loved Jesus. I was glad that kid wasn’t working this week, this poor guy might have died.)

Then he asks me “What am I going to do when my 8 year old son gets home and wants to get one of these piercings?”

Here’s where I might have messed up. I quickly reacted. I felt like he was attacking these young men who I considered friends and not just volunteers. He didn’t know them, I thought, so what right does he have to judge them?

“He’s 8 and you’re the dad, tell him ‘no’” I sarcastically remarked and laughed. I wished I could grab those words and put them back in but I couldn’t. He reacted as you could guess, I certainly didn’t win this guy to our way of thinking with my snide remarks.

I never saw him again and never did find out which family in the church he was related too. I can’t imagine that this would have made them happy either.

What have you said to a parent that you wish you could take back? Do you forbid people with facial piercings or tattoos to serve in kids ministry? Why?

leadership, kidmin, and more

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