Showing posts from August 28, 2016

"Smile & Succeed for Teens" by Kirt Manecke. A Review

Smile & Succeed for Teens: A Crash Course in Face-to-Face Communication
Kirt Manecke
Solid Press, LLC
PO Box 145
Milford, MI 48381
ISBN: 978-0985076214; $9.95; June 2014
5 of 5 Stars
Bright and Brief
When I was twelve years old I had a crash course in people skills. My father’s deep desire was to be financially independent and he was always looking for a way to build his financial fortunes. One year he invested heavily in a product that was only sold through direct sales, door-to-door and word-of-mouth. He prevailed on me to canvass the neighborhoods around our house as a summer job. I lasted one month and learned a ton about people, as well as the importance of eye-contact, being upbeat, knowledgeable about my product, smiling, and asking for the sale. I did fine that month, but could have used a hand-up to save me some grief. Kirt Manecke has fashioned a wonderful little resource just for young adults in his 144 page paperback “Smile & Succeed for Teens: Must-Kn…

"Spiritual Leadership" by J. Oswald Sanders. A Short Review

Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence For Every Believer by J. Oswald Sanders
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sanders addresses the subject of leadership for congregations and on the mission field. His chapters are saturated with examples and anecdotes, as well as biblical examinations, exhortations and exegesis. The author draws from a wide variety of sources from John Wesley to Charles Finney to A.W. Tozer to Charles Hodge. His focus is sometimes on any leadership position within a church or Christian organization. At other times, he is zeroing in on Pastors of a congregation.

The chapters are normally short (4 pages), though others are more extended (8 pages). But the reading is not heavy, as much as it is devotional and geared to reflection. This book might be a good resource for a leadership retreat. As a matter of fact, our elders and deacons are reading it in preparation for a retreat in late 2016. It is a worthwhile read.

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"The Book of Common Worship: Daily Prayer" a Review.

Book of Common Worship Daily Prayer by Westminster John Knox Press
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Pros: (1) sets out an order of prayer for morning, midday, evening and compline; (2) Formats for chanting canticles and most psalms; (3) almost all of the prayers at the end of all of the Psalm portions are high quality; (4) a different set of thanksgiving and intercessory directions for each day of the week morning and evening.

Cons: (1) Doesn't have all of the Psalms; (2) litanies and prayers for various occasions runs from poor, cheesy and bland to decent, reverent and thoughtful; (3) no place for confessions of sin or confessions of faith in either morning or evening prayer; (4) because the Psalms are gender neutral the messianic texture is wiped out.

Overall, not the best resource engaging in the daily office.

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"Good to Great and the Social Sectors" by Jim Collins. A Brief Review

Good to Great and the Social Sectors: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great by James C. Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A short addendum to Collins' bigger book, "Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't". This 36 page monograph takes much from the larger book and applies those principles to the not-for-profit sector. In doing so the author makes some important observations, especially how business and the non-profit environments are distinctly different. "We need to reject the na├»ve imposition of the "language of business" on the social sectors, and instead jointly embrace a language of greatness" (2). For example, it means that in "the social sectors, money is only an input, and not a measure of greatness" (5). Collins delivers other rightly nuanced assessments that are germane to non-profit organizations that cover superior performance, the Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG), the hedge-hog principle, etc. One of …

"Father" - 28 August 2016

Father, who by your almighty and everywhere present power, upholds – as it were by your hand – heaven, earth, and all creatures, and so governs them that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, food and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, come not by chance but by your fatherly hand: In grateful solace and solicitous gratitude, may we be patient when things go against us, thankful when things go well, and for the future have good confidence in you, our faithful God and Father, that nothing in creation will separate us from your love; for we are convinced that all creatures are so completely in your hand that without your will they can neither move nor be moved (Heidelberg Catechism 27-28).
Lord of all power and might, author and giver of all good things; graft into our hearts a rich, deep love for you and your honor; increase in us true religion (that true religion that bridles tongues, visits and cares for orphans and widows, and keeps itself unspott…