Category Archives: Books

Three Articles by Dallas Willard

The writings of Dallas Willard have greatly influenced me in the area of Spiritual Formation. I believe you’ll enjoy these three articles focusing on transformation:

Your turn… After reading these, share one thing you learned and plan to start applying to your life.

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Three Books by Rob Bell

Rob Bell is one of my favorite communicators. Here are 3 of his books that have shaped me in profound ways including his most recent release, What Is the Bible?…

VelvetElvis     howtobehere_cover_square1     witb-cover

Your turn… What books have shaped you recently?

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Three Books by Brené Brown

I’m a “Recovering Perfectionist”. I’ve struggled with perfectionism and the fear that “I’m not enough” and the fear of “I don’t measure up” for most of my life.  I’m a 1 on the Enneagram (The Perfectionist) and I also grade high as a 3 (The Performer). That’s a volatile combination and makes me a difficult person to live with (and I’m just talking about me living with me — you have no idea of the ongoing conversations I have running in my head most of the time, ha!).

So, when I discovered the works of Brené Brown via her TED Talks a few years ago it was like a breath of fresh air that my soul needed to continue to recover daily from the toll of being a perfectionist who is also a high achiever.

Here is how she defines perfectionism:

“Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame. It’s a shield. It’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.”

If you’re not familiar with Brené here is how she describes herself:

“The official line: I’m a research professor at the University of Houston where I hold the Huffington Endowed Chair. I’ve spent the past sixteen years studying courage, vulnerability, empathy, and shame. I’m the author of four books: The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, and Braving the Wilderness.

The bottom line: I believe that vulnerability – the willingness to be “all in” even when you know it can mean failing and hurting – is brave. I do NOT believe that cussing and praying are mutually exclusive. And, I absolutely believe that the passing lane is for passing only.”

Check out these 3 must-read books by Brené Brown:

the-gifts-of-imperfection  daring-greatly  rising-strong

Your turn… How have these resources impacted your life?

PS: Her most recent book, Braving the Wilderness, released last week (I started it last night and read half of it in one sitting; so good and relevant… Get your copy today!)

2 7 2013-SSS - Brene Brown

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Three Must Read Books

I usually have 2-3 books going at one time. The 3 I’m currently going through are must read books you should dive in to ASAP:

MereChristianity   How To Lead When Not In Charge   TheDayTheRevolutionBegan

Erich’s notes: recently I’ve been drawn to go back and read more of C. S. Lewis. So, I listened to Mere Christianity and read it again. I forgot how amazing that book is and how extremely relevant it still is (do yourself a favor and check it out). I’m currently reading How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge by Clay Scroggins (it’s loaded with some great insights on leadership). I’ve mentioned The Day the Revolution Began by Wright once before as one of the most significant books I’ve ever read. I recently started the 15 hour audio version via Audible (make sure you check it out soon).

Your turn… What have you been reading lately?

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Three Resources That Focus on Work

Since today is Labor Day, I thought I would mention 3 resources that focus on work:

“In a work world that is increasingly competitive and insecure, people often have nagging questions: Why am I doing this work? Why is it so hard? And is there anything I can do about it? …With deep insight and often surprising advice, Keller shows readers that biblical wisdom is immensely relevant to our questions about our work. In fact, the Christian view of work—that we work to serve others, not ourselves—can provide the foundation of a thriving professional and balanced personal life. Keller shows how excellence, integrity, discipline, creativity, and passion in the workplace can help others and even be considered acts of worship—not just of self-interest.”

Erich’s note: make sure you check out the Center for Faith and Work (a ministry extension of Redeemer Presbyterian Church). See this page for an overview of their vision.

“Have you ever felt caught between the tension of a day job and a dream job? That gap between what you have to do and what you’d love to do? …From figuring out what your dream is to quitting in a way that exponentially increases your chance of success, Quitter is full of inspiring stories and actionable advice. This book is based on 12 years of cubicle living and my true story of cultivating a dream job that changed my life and the world in the process. It’s time to close the gap between your day job and your dream job. It’s time to be a Quitter.”

Note: you can find more of Jon’s resources here.

WorkLife was birthed 10 years ago out of the vision to provide ALL individuals and organizations with the opportunity, ability and tools to find Life in work. Today, WorkLife effectively serves all types of workers in all types of occupations. Its reach lets it serve throughout the world with curriculum, tools, and a highly effective online workweek companion called Maestro WorkLife Subscription. Maestro has the unique ability to pinpoint the specific spiritual work challenges a person encounters and direct content and encouragement to help that individual address that pain. This is the first “needs-based” coaching system used in workplace ministry.”

Note: this post is from my archives (it first appeared on Labor Day in 2013).

Your turn… What are some resources that focus on work that you’d recommend to others?

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Three Books that Provide An Overview of the Life & Teachings of Dallas Willard

By now you know that the writings and teachings of Dallas Willard have had a profound impact on my spiritual formation and my understanding of the kingdom of God. You really should read everything he’s ever written. If you’re new to Willard you might want to start with these three and then work back to others such as The Divine Conspiracy (which is the most significant book I’ve ever read outside of the Bible):

EternalLiving        LivingInChrist        DivConCont

  • Overview of Eternal Living (Edited by Gary W. Moon)
    Dallas Willard spent his life making eternal living concrete for his friends. After his unexpected passing in 2013, the kaleidoscope of memories and the diversity of the lives he had touched could not be confined to one or even two memorial services, but three. It is this wide breadth of impact that inspired friends, family, colleagues, students, and leaders of the church to gather their reflections on this celebrated yet humble theologian and philosopher.
  • Overview of Living In Christ’s Presence (with John Ortberg)
    Dallas teamed up with John Ortberg in February 2013 for the Dallas Willard Center’s inaugural conference in Santa Barbara, California. John and Dallas have been ministry partners for decades, which was quite evident as they taught together and shared insights into living more fully in the presence of Christ daily. The primary passion for the conference was to provide an overview of Dallas’s writings and ministry. His most impassioned ideas. The conference was built around the theme “Knowing Christ Today” and as a way to present the golden thread that runs through all of his primary writing: that it is possible to know the Trinity intimately and to step into their glorious kingdom.
  • Overview of The Divine Conspiracy Continued (with Gary Black, Jr.)
    Co-authored by Dallas Willard and Gary Black Jr., this book is the sequel to The Divine Conspiracy and continues Dallas’s series on the Kingdom of God by looking at God’s plan to intervene in human history through His disciples who live out His calling in their life through their professions. To fulfill the Christian calling is not to remove oneself from the outside world and take shelter from its shortcomings, but to step into the world to lead and serve as agents of change. Dallas and Gary provide wise guidance on how to enter into our culture’s leadership positions and transform the world from the inside out. The material in the manuscript began in a course Dallas designed at USC called The Professions and the Public Interest in American Life. Dallas and Gary worked together with the concepts from the course and applied them to many different contemporary contexts for Christian leaders and professionals throughout our society. The manuscript was largely assembled prior to Dallas’s passing in 2013.

Your turn… What impact has Willard’s writing and teachings had on you?

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Three Books Designed to Help You Better Understand and Apply God’s Word

If you’re looking for some resources to help you better understand and apply God’s Word you should check out the God’s Word for You series. Here are 3 you might want to look at first:

JudgesForYou   RomansForYou   TitusForYou

Your turn… What are some resources you find helpful in this area?

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Three Books I Shared in My First Post

Four years ago today I began this blog to share resources I believe are helpful. Today I simply want to repost the first post I shared to kick off this blog. It includes 3 books I think you’ll enjoy and find to be very helpful (as well as a link to a book I once wrote):

 Start  WideAwake  Prototype

Ok, this is my first post (after reading Start by Jon Acuff I decided to punch fear in the face and start this blog). For those of you who know me well you know that one of my top 5 strengths according to StrengthFinders  is LEARNER (the other 4 are Achiever, Discipline, Belief, & Responsibility). If you’ve never taken this assessment give it a try (I’ll share more about it on another day)…  I love to learn but I also love to share what I’m learning (or in this case at least share 3 resources that can help us all grow and learn). So, that is what I intend to do with this blog: share 3 resources on 1 topic 2-3 times a week (update: 2-3 times a month now). From time to time I might share a few things I’ve personally gleaned from them but for the most part I simply want to get the resources in front of you and let you discover some things along the way.

These 3 books are must reads for the person who desires to grow into the person God created you to be (the descriptions are from the author or publisher). Check them out and let me know what you think:

Growing up, we dreamed. And our dreams always painted the portrait of the adult us living an awesome life… as an astronaut, a pro wrestler, a movie star, a bee keeper, or insert your dream here. We don’t set out for average. But that’s exactly where we end up after listening to our fears day after day, year after year. Our dreams take a back seat and eventually are left stranded by the side of the road.

That’s why I’ve written Start. Your dream is calling, and it’s closer than you might think. It’s time to go after your purpose. Every awesome life goes through five stages. Learn what they are. Do them. Start.

Note from Erich: as I mentioned above, this book challenged me to punch fear in the face and start this blog.

The alarm sounds. Your feet hit the floor and carry you into another day. But what does that day hold for you? Will you be punching your card at work, catching up on TV at home, and crashing into bed before you rinse and repeat the next day? Or will you dare to dig deep and discover the incredible potential lying dormant within us all?

In Wide Awake, renowned speaker and church visionary Erwin Raphael McManus challenges us to put an end to all the sleepwalking and settling, for each of us was created by God for a reason. He has called you to live as Jesus did—a heroic life, void of monotony, teeming with danger, adventure, and the unknown. Living wide awake is about realizing that the world desperately needs you to live up to your potential.

There is a future that needs to be created, and it is waiting for us all to wake up and get out of bed. The alarm has sounded, and it is time to shake off the slumber.

It’s time to live, to create, to imagine, to dream . . . Wide Awake.

Note from Erich: when I read this book a few years ago it gave me the courage to self-publish a book I had been carrying around for sometime. So, one Thanksgiving weekend while sitting at my dad’s kitchen table I took a risk and published this book via Lulu (you can download it for free if you want to check it out, if so, let me know what you think): Where Is the Hope?

Remembering God’s love every single moment, left Jesus free to be human in a way nobody else had been before. Is it possible that in this one thing, Jesus could be showing us everything about being human in the way God intended?

In Prototype, Jonathan Martin creates a vivid understanding of what it means to be beloved by God. To completely trust, as Jesus did, that God loves you. To live life without fear, confident in your identity and purpose. To handle life’s wounds as Jesus did, and to wake every day with a deep awareness of God’s presence.

Note: edited on November 21, 2016.

Your turn… Share 3 books that have impacted you and encouraged you to truly live the life God called you to live.

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Three Books You Should Read by @PeteEnns

If you are not familiar with Pete Enns, you should stop what you’re doing and check his work out. He has a great Podcast called The Bible for Normal People. Here are the first 3 books I think you should read:

bible-tells-me-so   sin-of-certainty   InspirationAndIncarnation

Erich’s Note: these books will probably challenge some of the commonly accepted conclusions you have about the Bible and faith but I believe you’ll walk away with a deeper connection with God and a better understanding of His word (even if you don’t agree with all of his conclusions).

Your turn… If you’ve engaged with Pete’s work let us know how it has impacted you.

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Three Books I Hope to Read This Summer

As you know I love to read and summer makes for a great time to read. Here are 3 books I hope to read soon:

CaminoIsland   HillbillyElegy   ExtremeOwnership

Your turn: What do you plan to read this summer?

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