My Top 5 Books of 2019

2019 is almost over, which means it’s time for the annual round up of the best books I read during the past twelve months:

  1. The Sinfulness of Sin by Ralph Venning
    How dangerous is sin? In his book, Venning delves into Scripture to show the reader how destructive sin is to the individual, to the culture, and to nature. Venning’s vivid imagery displays how vile sin is and points to Christ as the only possible remedy and escape, through faith and repentance. This book is especially poignant for American Christians today who live in a society in which sin isn’t taken seriously–in fact some sins are even celebrated. The Sinfulness of Sin will remind you that sin is the enemy of every human and motivate you to more diligently fight against it in pursuit of the holiness that Christ has called us to.

    Be as willing to die to sin as Christ was to die for sin, and as willing to live to Him as He was to die for you. Be as willing to be His, to serve Him, as that He should be yours to save you. Take Him on His own terms, give up yourself wholly to Him.” -Ralph Venning

  2. Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein
    Is it better to specialize early, specialize late, or not specialize at all? That is the question that Epstein seeks to answer in Range. Epstein begins the book by debunking the “cult of the head start”–the idea that it is better focus on one skill or a narrow set of skills as early as possible in order to master it. While this does work in some arenas that are based primarily on repetition, pattern recognition, and muscle memory (golf, chess, etc), it doesn’t translate to problem-solving or strategic-thinking fields. Epstein spends the rest of the book sharing research demonstrating the ways in which a more generalized approach to learning translates better to the “knowledge economy” in which we find ourselves today. Exposure to a variety of situations as well as cultivating curiosity in diverse interests tends to translate to better learning, and more importantly, better application of the learning.

    “Breadth of training predicts breadth of transfer. That is, the more contexts in which something is learned, the more the learner creates abstract models, and the less they rely on any particular example.” -David Epstein

  3. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson
    I picked up Peterson’s book in an effort to better understand his worldview after I kept hearing his name pop up and after watching some of his videos on YouTube. In 12 Rules for Life, he outlines 12 principles for finding meaning in the midst of chaos. Many of his 12 rules are common sense ideas grounded in Judeo-Christian teaching, but have fallen out of fashion with the recent shift towards relativism and secularism. As society has been uprooted from it’s foundation, it has left many searching for purpose, which according to Peterson, is at the core of many of the societal struggles present today. Peterson doesn’t claim to make any profound observations in his book, but is simply collecting and reiterating ancient wisdom that correlates with human flourishing. What’s intriguing about Peterson to me as a Christian is that he gets so much right and is so close to the biblical understanding of sin and the need for redemption; however, he comes up short of seeing Jesus for who He is, the Bible for what it is, and, as a result, the true antidote for chaos that is found by grace through faith in Christ alone. Regardless, 12 Rules is a fast read full of wisdom for facing challenges and living a purposeful life.

    “You need to place one foot in what you have mastered and understood and the other in what you are currently exploring and mastering. Then you have positioned yourself where the terror of existence is under control and you are secure, but where you are also alert and engaged.” -Jordan Peterson

  4. Mission Drift: The Unspoken Crisis Facing Leaders, Charities, and Churches by Peter Greer and Chris Horst
    Has your organization started to stray from its founding mission? Over time, many do–either in the pursuit of money or due to a poor succession plan, an eroding culture, or any number of other compromises. One of the often overlooked responsibilities of leadership is to steward the organization’s culture and ensure focus on the mission in the face of growth, time, and pressure. Because of this, Mission Drift is a meaningful read for anyone in leadership.The principles in this book are a gut-check for leaders who must stay vigilant of Mission Drift and set the expectations for those they lead. While the book is geared towards nonprofits, ministries, and churches, the underlying lessons apply to for-profit organizations as well (which would make a great follow up to this book).

    “In its simplest form, Mission True organizations know why they exist and protect their core at all costs. They remain faithful to what they believe God has entrusted them to do. They define what is immutable: their values and purposes, their DNA, their heart and soul.” -Peter Greer and Chris Horst

  5. Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps that Explain Everything About the World by Tim Marshall
    How does geography impact the political and economic decisions of a nation or people group? Often in more ways than we may think. In Prisoners of Geography, Marshall looks at 10 maps of the world and explains how geography has played a key role in the lives of the people who live there. Some of the examples demonstrate why conflict is so common in certain areas while others explain how geography has helped some kingdoms and countries thrive. This was an interesting read and a good introduction to geopolitics for the layperson.

Honorable Mentions:

For an overview of all the books I’ve read this year, click here.

Reading is an invaluable discipline that will help to make you a more well-rounded person in addition to deepening your knowledge. For those that enjoy reading, I recommend setting up a Goodreads profile (it’s also a great way to keep track of what’s in your library). If you’d like to keep up with what I’m reading now and what I’ve read in the past, check out my Goodreads profile. Happy reading!

Have you read any of these books or do have a book that would recommend reading in 2020? Share your recommendations in the Comments below.

BONUS: My Top 5 Books of 2018 || My Top 5 Books of 2017 || My Top 5 Books of 2016 || My Top 5 Books of 2015 || My Top 5 Books of 2014 || My Top 5 Books of 2013

My Top 5 Books of 2018

books2018

2018 is almost over, which means it’s time for the annual round up of the best books I read during the past twelve months:

  1. The Ten Commandments by Thomas Watson
    Think you know the 10 Commandments? Thomas Watson’s commentary on the 10 Commandments (part of his Body of Practical Divinity trilogy) will take you much deeper into each of the commandments. Following Jesus’ example in the gospels, Watson applies each command not just to outward action but to an internal reality–the state of a person’s heart (see Matthew 5, Mark 10, and Luke 18). Watson skillfully expounds on the breadth and depth of the 10 Commandments’ role in the Christian’s life, giving both a framework for holiness and instruction for obedience. While emphasizing the importance of the Law, he does not do so at the expense of the mercy and grace found through faith in Christ. Watson’s The Ten Commandments is a needed reminder for those who have grown up hearing, but not meditating on, the Commandments their whole life. Thou shalt read this book.

    “Love is an industrious affection; it sets the head studying for God, the hands working, feet running in the ways of his commandments.” -Thomas Watson

  2. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE by Phil Knight
    In Shoe Dog, Phil Knight tells the story of NIKE’s conception through it’s IPO.  This book isn’t your typical autobiography as it focuses more on the people surrounding Knight and his philosophy of business than it does on the author himself. The story of NIKE is one of determination in the face of challenging circumstances and the isolation of many people doubting the viability of the venture. It is a testament to just how far innovation, passion, and commitment (or some would say stubbornness) can go in bringing an idea to life. Knight not only gives insight into his management philosophy, but is also transparent about the toll it took on his personal life–in particular his relationship with his sons. Shoe Dog is a fast-paced and enjoyable read, even for those who don’t typically enjoy biographies. The book definitely lives up to the hype that has surrounded it since it came out. Go pick up a copy and read it–Just do it.

    “Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” -Phil Knight

  3. Conscience: What It Is, How to Train It, and Loving Those Who Differ by Andrew David Naselli and J.D. Crowley
    When was the last time you spent time you heard a sermon or lesson on the conscience? If you answered “when I watched Pinocchio”, then you should pick up Conscience by Naselli and Crowley. In this book, the authors purpose is to explain what the conscience is and persuade you that it is something you should be paying more attention to, especially if you are a Christian. Nasellli and Crowley emphasize that, while the conscience is not on par with Scripture or the conviction of the Holy Spirit, it is still a God-given gift to every human being. The conscience isn’t static, but can be trained–either actively or passively–to hopefully be more aligned with God’s will, but can also be seared towards certain actions through repeated violation of the conscience’s “warning system.” In addition, since each person’s conscience is unique, the authors encourage readers to not intentionally lead someone to violate their conscience (no matter how ridiculous we may think their view is), but to rather patiently help them align their views with those found in Scripture so that they might experience the fullness of the gifts that God has given us to enjoy. Conscience draws upon multiple biblical passages in addition to the authors’ experiences in a variety of US and international contexts to make a strong case for paying more attention to the state of your conscience while providing practical tips for how that works itself in your daily life and relationships with others.

    “Because God is the Lord of your conscience, he expects you as a mature believer to gradually adjust your conscience to match God’s will as Scripture reveals it. To train and educate your conscience is not to sin against it but to put it under the lordship of Christ.” -Naselli and Crowley

  4. Grace: God’s Unmerited Favor by C.H. Spurgeon
    What makes salvation possible? In this short book, C.H. Spurgeon highlights the primacy of God’s grace in making salvation possible and in continuing to sustain His people until the end. Grace is a series of easy-to-understand expositions of key passages in which the author shows that God’s grace is the cornerstone of Christianity. The book will create an even greater appreciation and thankfulness for the lengths that God has gone to in order to redeem people from the snares of their sinfulness. Spurgeon concludes the book with twelve mercies for those whom God has made a covenant with:

    1. Saving knowledge
    2. God’s law written in men’s hearts
    3. Free pardon
    4. Reconciliation
    5. True godliness
    6. Continuance in grace
    7. Cleansing
    8. Renewed nature
    9. Holy conduct
    10. Happy self-loathing
    11. Communion w/ God
    12. Necessary chastisement

      “God observes us, all lost and ruined, and in his infinite mercy comes with absolute promises of grace to those whom he has given to his Son Jesus.” -C.H. Spurgeon

  5. Sales Enablement: A Master Framework to Build, Coach, and Lead Your Most Productive Sales Team by Byron Matthews and Tamara Schenk
    “Sales enablement” is a relatively new term in the business world. It is a discipline that stands at the intersection of sales, marketing, operations, strategy, and communications. As with most new disciplines, there is a level of ambiguity as to what it actually is, which is where Matthews and Schenk’s book comes in. Their book is designed to not only define the term, but outline what it should look like within a company. Sales Enablement uses both objective and subjective data that Miller Heiman Group has collected from organizations of various sizes and compiles it into an actionable framework for businesspeople. The book puts a lot of emphasis on beginning the implementation of a sales enablement discipline with a charter and a plan, recognizing that businesses of various sizes will have different capacities for different sized teams with varying access to resources. While some of the examples tend to favor larger organizations, this is still a very practical read for people in small and medium sized businesses as well, especially if you are doing high-value B2B sales.

    “Sales force enablement is a strategic, cross-functional discipline, designed to increase sales results and productivity by providing integrated content, training and coaching services for salespeople and sales managers along the entire customer’s journey, powered by technology.” -Matthews and Schenk

 

Honorable Mentions:

For an overview of all the books I’ve read this year, click here.

Reading is an invaluable discipline that will help to make you a more well-rounded person in addition to deepening your knowledge. For those that enjoy reading, I recommend setting up a Goodreads profile (it’s also a great way to keep track of what’s in your library). If you’d like to keep up with what I’m reading now and what I’ve read in the past, check out my Goodreads profile. Happy reading!

Have you read any of these books or do have a book that would recommend reading in 2019? Share your recommendations in the Comments below.

-Lawson
Learn It. Love It. Live It.

BONUS:  My Top 5 Books of 2017 || My Top 5 Books of 2016 || My Top 5 Books of 2015 || My Top 5 Books of 2014 || My Top 5 Books of 2013

My Top 5 Books of 2017

books2017.jpg

 

With 2017 coming to a close, it’s time for the annual round up of my favorite books from the past year:

  1. 51wut-kk3rlThe Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance–Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters by Sinclair Ferguson
    In the 1700s a debate, known as the Marrow Controversy, arose in Scotland. The controversy centered on how salvation comes about and the respective roles of law and grace. Ferguson goes beyond the controversy itself and expands the themes into modern times where we still struggle with legalism, antinomianism, and assurance of salvation. While few are outright legalists or antinomians, like those confronted in the Marrow Controversy we tend to drift into shades of these two extremes. As Ferguson so helpfully points out, the remedy for either extreme is not the other extreme, but the grace found in our union with Christ. This is a must-read for any believer, not only because of the personal edification you will receive, but also for the implications it has on the way we minister to each other in our pursuit of holiness on the way to our heavenly home.

    “Antinomianism and legalism are not so much antithetical to each other as they are both antithetical to grace. This is why Scripture never prescribes one as the antidote for the other. Rather grace, God’s grace in Christ in our union with Christ, is the antidote to both.”

  2. 51nvavpgjklHere I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland Bainton
    With 2017 being the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, I set out to learn more about the Reformers before heading to Europe with my brother. Bainton’s biography of Martin Luther gives an in-depth and honest look into the life of the man who started it all.  Here I Stand details the events leading up to the Reformation and the ramifications that the Reformation had (and continues to have) on all areas of life: economic, political, familial, social, and spiritual.

    “A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it.” -Martin Luther

  3. 51jf2bcjadfl-_sy346_The Gospel Call and True Conversion by Paul Washer
    What does it truly mean to hear the gospel and become a Christian? This is a massively important question and Washer’s book gives a succinct answer to it. In addition, it is a welcome antidote for the challenge of nominal Christianity (people who claim to be converted, but are not). Washer also emphasizes the implications of conversion for the entire church, not just the individual.

    “We must learn to console and assure the weakest saint who is broken over his many sins, but we must also learn to warn the false convert whose life is a barren and fruitless tree and whose settled manner of living is a contradiction to the gospel.”

  4. 41whpvpy2bmlEvangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus by Mack Stiles
    Evangelism is an often talked about, and dreaded, spiritual discipline. Stiles’ premise in Evangelism is that many evangelism efforts fail because they are viewed as programs or taken on individually instead of cooperatively. This short and beneficial book challenges us to reframe evangelism as a community effort. A culture of evangelism more closely mirrors Paul’s description in 1 Corinthians 3:6-9. Evangelism isn’t a book with a new step-by-step program or a clever alliterated outline–it’s an encouragement to join hands with other Christians to share the gospel with others.

    “Defining evangelism in a biblical way helps us align our evangelistic practice with the Scriptures. Here’s a definition that has served me well for many years: Evangelism is teaching the gospel with the aim to persuade.”“There is much room for humility when it comes to evangelism. We need to acknowledge that God is sovereign and can do as he wills to bring people to himself. There is no formula that dictates how God must work in evangelism. And though we may disagree with the evangelistic practices of individuals, ministries, or churches, we must also recognize that when people develop good-hearted commitments to evangelism, God can produce true fruit. I, for one, will take people practicing evangelism as best they can over those who forgo evangelism until they have the perfect practice.”

  5. 51enlmlxbzlEscaping the Price-Driven Sale: How World Class Sellers Create Extraordinary Profit by Tom Snyder and Kevin Kearns
    Are you tired of annoying salespeople? Escaping the Price-Driven Sale encourages a consultative and strategic approach to marketing and sales that constantly adds value for the client or prospect. The salesperson can do this through discovering unrecognized problems, identifying unanticipated solutions, exploring unseen opportunities, and brokering strengths. This is a helpful read for anyone involved in high-value sales that will set you apart from the competition.

Honorable Mentions:

For an overview of all the books I’ve read this year, click here.

Reading is an invaluable discipline that will help to make you a more well-rounded person in addition to deepening your knowledge. If you’d like to keep up with what I’m reading now and what I’ve read in the past, check out my Goodreads profile. Happy reading!

Have you read any of these books or do have a book that would recommend reading in 2018? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.

-Lawson
Learn It. Love It. Live It.

BONUS:  My Top 5 Books of 2016 || My Top 5 Books of 2015 || My Top 5 Books of 2014 || My Top 5 Books of 2013

My Top 5 Books of 2016

 

books2016

It’s hard to believe that 2016 is coming to a close. The Lord has been faithful to provide once again this year, including an array of interesting books to read. Here’s a round up of my favorite books from this year:

  1. Thoughts for Young Men by J.C. Ryle
    A poignant book for Christian men and women of all ages, but especially for young men. Writing with his trademark timelessness, Ryle’s advice–or rather exhortation–is just as relevant today as it was when it was written. Ryle warns young men of common pitfalls and trends (like pride, an “invincibility” mindset, and a lack of seriousness) and challenges them to pursue holiness now by joining a church, praying, reading God’s Word, and being mindful of life’s brevity. He encourages young men to look beyond themselves and to be whole-hearted disciples now rather than to “put it off” until later in life so that they can be wild and immature now. This is a quick read that will leave a lasting impact.

    “Your soul is the one thing worth living for. It is the part of you which ought always be considered first. No place, no employment is good for you, which injures your soul. No friend, no companion deserves your confidence, who makes light of your soul’s concerns.”

  2. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unforeseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull
    In this book Ed Catmull, one of the co-founders of Pixar, does a great job of weaving management principles into the Pixar story without overemphasizing either one. Catmull takes the reader inside Pixar and it’s well-known Braintrust to show how the culture they’ve built allows them to perform at such a high level (and how he and John Lasseter translated that to Disney Animation after their acquisition of Pixar). Many of the principles in the book can be applied to non-creative companies as well. If you’re a fan of the Pixar movies and learning more about corporate culture, then this is the book for you.

    “Getting the right people and the right chemistry is more important than getting the right idea.”

  3. The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected by Nik Ripken
    Nik Ripken begins the books by sharing how his experiences in East Africa raised several questions in his mind about the goodness of God, the effectiveness of the gospel, and the prevalence of evil. These questions, as well as some personal tragedies, led the author on a new mission: to learn how persecuted Christians in different contexts have not only survived, but thrived. The stories shared in “The Insanity of God” are incredibly convicting: Christians who not only expect persecution to happen but have joy in the midst of it; Christians who pass on the faith from generation to generation, even without a Bible; Christians who share their faith despite the risk to their own health and well-being. It is a challenge to those in America who experience relative freedom and view persecution very differently.

    “Serving God is not a matter of location, but a matter of obedience.”

  4. Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age by Sherry Turkle
    Reclaiming Conversation gives the reader an insight into the effects an “always connected” culture is having on our ability to relate to ourselves, others, and the world around us. If you have spent any time in an office, coffee shop, restaurant, or other public place recently, you have likely noticed the symptoms yourself: coworkers staring at their phones during important meetings, couples texting others instead of spending time together, teens Snapchatting each other from across the room, or people walking into poles while looking down at their phone. Turkle delves into a variety of challenges that stem from our difficulty putting phones down to converse and experience the moment with others. She also looks at how technology is affecting our family, friendships, romance, education, and work. I’ve touched on this in some past blog posts. Is this a call to abandon technology? No, but hopefully this book will challenge you (like it did me) to take control of your technology instead of letting it take control of you.

    “Relationships deepen not because we necessarily say anything in particular but because we are invested enough to show up for another conversation. In family conversations, children learn that what can matter most is not the information shared but the relationships sustained.”

  5. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    In what is considered by some to be the greatest book of all time, Dostoyevsky explores the depths of faith, evil, morality, and religion using the narrative story of three brothers and their repulsive father. Each of the three brothers personifies a particular worldview: Alyosha=morality/faith, Ivan=humanism/doubt, and Dmitri=sensuality. By using these characters, Dostoyevsky shows us what these three worldviews look like as they are lived out in the real world. Like many of us, they struggle with contradictions between their beliefs and actions and face constant challenges to their core beliefs. Through the brothers, the reader is able to wrestle with the same issues. The story is engaging, even if it bounces around quite a bit, but offers plenty of unexpected twists and meaningful insight. It’s definitely a long read, but well worth it (especially if you can listen to it as an audiobook).

    “Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”

Honorable Mentions:

For an overview of all the books I’ve read this year, click here.

I’d encourage you to take the time to read at least one of these books in 2017. Reading is an invaluable discipline that will help to make you a more well-rounded person in addition to deepening your knowledge.

If you’d like to keep up with what I’m reading now and what I’ve read in the past, check out my Goodreads profile. Happy reading!

Have you read any of these books or do have a book that would recommend reading in 2017? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.

-Lawson
Learn It. Love It. Live It.

BONUS:  My Top 5 Books of 2015 || My Top 5 Books of 2014 || My Top 5 Books of 2013

Jesus>Religion [Book Review]

Christianity in America has an image problem.

Unfortunately, when many people hear the word “Christian,” they often envision one of three types of person: 1) an angry legalist who holds signs, burns Qur’ans, and gives you a list of things you can and can’t do to be a “good Christian” [ie the Westboro cult] 2) a person who claims to be a Christian (or wears a cross around their neck) for the benefits, but who’s life is no different than any ordinary person who doesn’t follow Jesus [ie celebrities/artists/athletes] 3) an individual who’s theology is so watered-down that it sounds more like the phrases at the bottom of motivational posters than anything Jesus would say [ie Joel Osteen]. In our culture, it is these so-called “Christians” that get the loudest voice in the media because they are easy to refute/mock (for example, Joel Osteen makes the rounds on the talk and news shows, but you rarely see a true Christian intellectual like Al Mohler). As a result, those that are truly following Jesus must overcome these false perceptions as they seek to fulfill their mission: to make disciples of all nations through the power of the gospel.

Enter Jefferson Bethke. You may remember him from this: The above poem went viral and became a major topic of discussion on social media sites as well as in the blogosphere (including one of my blog posts). When a video goes viral it’s usually for one of three reasons: 1) it’s dumb, ridiculous, and makes us laugh 2) it inspires awe in the viewer 3) it strikes a chord with many in a society. Jefferson’s video falls into that third category. It brought out something that many Americans felt was important and wanted to discuss: Some have been hurt by false moralistic or legalistic religion. Others think the church is broken and beyond repair. Still others genuinely want to pursue Jesus Christ with everything they have.

I’ll admit: I had mixed feelings about the video when it came out. As Kevin DeYoung put it, “There is so much helpful in this poem mixed with so much unhelpful.” However, it is evident that Jefferson has matured a lot since posting the initial video (thanks to the discipleship of Christian leaders and his humility). In order to flesh out his views on Jesus, Christianity, and religion, Jefferson has written the book Jesus>Religion (which launches today). The book uses the contrast between Jesus and religion to accomplish the dual goal of addressing false perceptions of Christianity while presenting a true picture of what followers of Jesus look like.  Read more of this post

The Post-Church Christian [Book Review]

I am one of the 80 million millennials born between 1982 and 2000. We are known to be tech-savvy agents of change who treasure flexibility, relationships, authenticity, and individual expression. Because of these and other unique qualities of my generation, we experience friction with other generations from time to time. Often, the friction is healthy and leads to mutual understanding, growth, and stronger bonds between generations. However, the friction sometimes results in hurt, misunderstanding, and separation.

As the College Ministry Director at a church in a Southern town that is also home to a Christian college, I deal with the results of the friction between baby boomers, millennials, and the church on a frequent basis. I have met many of my fellow millennials who have been “hurt/burned/disillusioned” by the church, so much so that they have given up on it completely. Some of the stories are heartbreaking and valid, but many have withdrawn as the result of generational differences of opinion on what the church should be and do. To them, the church doesn’t feel like home anymore. They still love Jesus, but have become dissatisfied with the church. So the question arises: “Do you need to be a part of the church to follow Jesus?”  Read more of this post

“Who Do You Say That I Am?”

Palm Sunday 2007

Today Christians around the world celebrate Palm Sunday, kicking off what is known as Holy Week. The week begins with the commemoration of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem on a donkey with crowds waving palm branches, laying down their coats, and shouting “Hosanna!” (Matt 21:9). Other days during Holy Week have significant meanings: Maundy Thursday celebrates the Last Supper, Good Friday reflects on the trial and death of Jesus on the cross at Calvary, and Easter Sunday celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

One of the sobering things about Holy Week is the attitude of the crowds toward Jesus. As you read from Matthew 21 to Matthew 28, the crowds of people go from enthusiastically chanting “Hosanna!” to angrily yelling “Crucify Him!”  What caused this sudden change?

A Grand Entrance

Imagine the scene recounted in Matthew 21:1-11. The city of Jerusalem is a bustle of energy as Jews from all over the Mediterranean area are in town for the upcoming Passover celebration. The sound of animals can be heard all over the city as traders bring their livestock to sell in order to be sacrificed as an offering to the Lord. Vendors are crowd the streets selling their goods to all the visitors to the city. Priests and religious leaders are hustling around getting the Temple ready for the big day. Read more of this post

The Transforming Gospel

This blog post was adapted from a sermon that I gave at the Harvard Avenue Student Ministry youth group on Wednesday, September 15, 2010.

To see tweets related to this sermon when I spoke at the Gathering, a student-led worship service at John Brown University, on February 13,2011, click here.

After reading Romans 12:1-8, it is evident that an encounter with the saving grace of Jesus Christ is a transformational experience. The first 11 chapters of Romans go into in-depth and intimate theological detail of what the Gospel is. So before moving on, let me summarize what the Gospel is:
a. Righteous Creator- God
b. Rebellious Sinner- Humanity
c. Resulting Punishment- Judgment
d. Redeeming Savior- Jesus Christ
e. Repentant Faith- Response
*Adapted from What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert

Read more of this post

(re)Orientation

This past week I had the opportunity to be an O-Group leader during new student Orientation at John Brown University. I had not been a part of Orientation since my freshman year (I am now a senior). After being a part of it again, I highly recommend it to any returning students, but especially seniors. Why is that? Orientation was a reminder of why I am at JBU and what it means to be a part of the JBU community.

Read more of this post

Sometimes 140 Characters Isn’t Enough

How to optimize your blog post

140 characters? Only 140 characters? As someone who has been using Twitter for about a year, sometimes 140 characters just isn’t enough.

It has always helped me to write things down as I think about them (Obviously, this can’t be done adequately with the 140 characters provided by Twitter and is a little awkward to do on Facebook ). There is just something about seeing the written or typed words that allows me to make sense of my thoughts. While 140 characters allows for short personal expressions, rarely do they capture the depth of what went into their formation. My purpose in writing this blog is to expand on the things that I post on my Twitter account or think about on a daily basis. I entitled the blog “A Little Bit of Everything” because I will be writing posts about topics such as theology, business (including social media), outdoors, sports, and life in general. Most personal blogs focus on one or two topics. That’s fine, but I feel like this doesn’t reflect the complexity of each individual. Each person is a combination of many likes, interests, and passions. This blog will cover some areas of life that I enjoy keeping up with, so I hope that what I share connects with you on some level and makes you think more about the topic. Maybe some of the posts will even lead to some good discussions. Either way, I hope you enjoy this blog as I expand beyond 140 characters into a more expansive format of expression.

So, buckle up, settle in, and let’s go on this ride together.

-Lawson
Learn It. Love it. Live It.

[image credit: SEOPlanter on Flickr]

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