Sweet and Viola, Jesus Manifesto

I got a free preview copy of Len Sweet and Frank Viola’s Jesus Manifesto in the mail the other day.  I read it all over the weekend and really appreciated it.  They are trying to offer a Christianity that is focused on Christ – rather than anything else like politics, religious preferences, fads, causes or cirriculums.

They do a great job at presenting their case, although they sometimes take some cheap shots at popular Christian books/fads – even though they were right; it just seemed like they were taking shots that were far to easy.  I totally was encouraged by this book and recommend it as a great look at the faith and a call to return to Christlikeness.

Here’s some material that stuck out to me:

p.6, there is a comparison of Christ to the creation of the world in Genesis 1.  It’s really remarkable.

p.19, “So what is your chief occupation in life and ministry?  Here’s a hint: Whatever you are occupied with comes out of your mouth.  It’s what you talk about most of the time.”

p.56, “behold the beauty of My Son and fall in love with Him.  This is the mission to which you have been called.”

p.65 contains a paragraph on entire sanctification.  It’s interesting for our way of thinking theologically.


20QL.8 Communicate the Core Values

How do you encourage others in your organization to communicate the “core values”?

People of The Grove communicate the core values (Jesus, City, Transformation) first and foremost by living them out.  When we live out the core values, and give ourselves fully to the mandate of The Grove, it surely causes people to ask questions, which gives us opportunities to share the values.  So, I encourage people to communicate the core values, by encouraging them to live them out.

Lake, reUnderstanding Prayer

Kyle Lake was the pastor of University Baptist, whose claim to fame is being the home of David Crowder Band.  Tragically, he died a few years ago during a baptism at their church.  It’s one of those stories you hear and just cannot process in any of your existing categories.

This book is a deconstruction of prayer and the methods of prayer commonly found in the western church.  Unfortunately, I find that once it’s deconstructed, it’s merely replaced with an eastern culture of prayer.  This is really attractive in emerging circles.  Heck, I love eastern prayer methods; they’ve been very meaningful for me. I do wish, however, that we’d be able to see the emerging of a new way of prayer, one that is influenced by the deconstruction of former ways, that is culturally helpful for the emerging generation.

This book is probably best for a young adult audience, who is just entering that age and spiritual level where they begin to question cultural assumptions.  For me, it wasn’t life altering, but I could see it being just so for someone who is just entering the postmodernity and Christianity conversation.

June Reading

In order to keep track – and partly just for myself to keep track – I thought it might be cool to list out what I am reading at the beginning of each month.  I have a lot of books on the go at any time, so this list looks long, but some of these books are going to go on for the rest of the year.  I’ll bold the ones that are supposed to get finished in June.

  1. The ESV Bible – want to get all the way through in 2010
  2. my friend Michael Blasen’s doctoral thesis
  3. Blackaby’s Experiencing God – reading this with 3 other guys
  4. Rob Bell’s Velvet Elvis – reading with The Grove pastoral team
  5. Anne Lamott’s Grace Eventually – reading with some friends for discussion
  6. Yann Martel’s Life of Pi
  7. Hugh Ambrose, The Pacific
  8. John Maxwell’s Leadership Gold
  9. Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola’s Jesus Manifesto
  10. Billy Graham, Storm Warning
  11. Ajith Fernando, NIV Application Commentary on Acts
  12. David Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary
  13. Ben Witherington, The Acts of the Apostles: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary
  14. John Stott, The Spirit, The Church and the World: The Message of Acts
  15. Chris Seay, The Dust Off Their Feet
  16. N.T. Wright, Acts for Everyone
  17. Lloyd Ogilvie, The Preacher’s Commentary (Acts)
  18. F.F. Bruce, The Book of Acts

20QL.7 Communicating Core Values

How do you or others leaders in your organization communicate the “core values”?

At the Grove we currently are working with two kinds of core values.  To launch we had our Big 10 Motivators, which are available on The Grove Homepage.  They gave us a little direction as we began.  We also used them to let people know what The Grove will be like, before we were doing anything open and official.  Since The Grove began, we’ve really found 3 core values in our Missional Mandate: live for Jesus, love our city and see lives transformed.

I communicate these from the pulpit at least once a month, I probably touch on them at least every other week.  For us, this is what we are about: Jesus, Albany, Holiness!  It’s hard to find much about us that doesn’t fit into these core values.

Other staff communicate on Sundays and, sometimes I’ve even seen them communicate them unconsciously in normal conversation.  Our values are working their way into our DNA, so this is an area we’ll continue to be watching and seeing how we move forward with Jesus.

Blanchard, Leading at a Higher Level

Ken Blanchard is a Christian who is also an expert in organizational leadership.  This book was assigned to me for my tele-coaching network with Nelson Searcy, and it was so very helpful.  The biggest point, I think, is that to have a high performing organization (The Grove Church), we’ve got to have empowered, high performance people with pastors who really believe in servant leadership.

I’m not going to share take-aways with this book because I am so behind on reading, but I would totally encourage leaders to get it and grow with it.  It has helped me a ton and I am sure it will help you too.