10 Books That Shaped Me

 

There are a lot of things that have molded and shaped me over the years. Some good and some not so good. Be that as it may, I was thinking this week about how there are a lot of great books I’ve read over the years that have come to define who I am. The Bible is obviously one of those and in a class all by itself. I put some thought in to what the 10 books that really shaped me were. If you haven’t read some of them, I highly recommend giving each one some attention. Each one molded, changed and shaped me in a different way. So let’s get started.

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What’s Your Cause?

Man…I hate it when that happens. Well, I actually love when this happens and hate it at the same time. Let me explain. You know how you get one of those random “signs” from God. Then you get another and another and another? All connected, all the same theme? Yep. I love that and I hate it too. It’s exciting and scary at the same time. So here has been the theme all week… Causes… It started small but seems to be leading to something. God is laying on my heart in a BIG ol’ way that there are causes … Continue reading What’s Your Cause?

What's Your Cause?

Man…I hate it when that happens. Well, I actually love when this happens and hate it at the same time. Let me explain. You know how you get one of those random “signs” from God. Then you get another and another and another? All connected, all the same theme? Yep. I love that and I hate it too. It’s exciting and scary at the same time. So here has been the theme all week… Causes… It started small but seems to be leading to something. God is laying on my heart in a BIG ol’ way that there are causes … Continue reading What's Your Cause?

Guys With Guitar Cases

Being the world traveler that I am, I began to notice a trend in airports that I visited…”Guys With Guitar Cases In Airports“. No matter the city, no matter the time of day, there is ALWAYS a guy carrying a guitar case in the airport. My hypothesis grew into a vision to create the most epic Coffee Table Book in the history of Coffee Table Books. I mean, who doesn’t want a book full of pictures with “Guys With Guitar Cases In Airports” sitting on their coffee table? Honestly. It will be to Coffee Tables what Purpose Driven Life was … Continue reading Guys With Guitar Cases

OutLive Your Life

For months now I have been telling you about the incredible new book by Max Lucado called “Outlive Your Life“. I gave you a brief preview HERE and a more detailed preview HERE. Well the wait is finally over! On Tuesday, Outlive Your Life is officially available from my friends at Thomas Nelson. If I could challenge you to get one book this year, this is the one. It is based on the book of Acts and is a call to action. You cannot read this book and not pause to consider the tremendous opportunity we all still have to … Continue reading OutLive Your Life

Even Through Tears

About 2 weeks ago, I was one of the crazy 500 people that crashed the servers at Thomas Nelson in anticipation of getting a copy of the book “Plan B” by Pete Wilson. Thankfully I made it through the server crash and received a copy about a week ago. While I can’t do a review until next week (Plan B hits the streets on May 4th), this book has been hitting me hard. Let me say this, go pre-order your copy today….after your finish reading this post of course.

As I read the chapter called “Darkness” (Chapter 8), I couldn’t help but think of so many people and so many scenarios that I know of right now. So many times when we can’t help but think “it’s not supposed to go like that”. So many stories of hurt, pain, struggle and what we think is just not right. From the book:

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Two “Must Have” Books

On Monday nights, my oldest two children have piano lessons. This means that our youngest child and I get to spend some quality time with one another. I usually allow for whatever it is that she would like to do to fill this space of time. We play board games, watch a movie or, like last night, read books. As we settled into the chair with a huge stack of books, I though that the timing was perfect to introduce her to a book that my Mom read to me – “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch. As I read … Continue reading Two “Must Have” Books

Two "Must Have" Books

On Monday nights, my oldest two children have piano lessons. This means that our youngest child and I get to spend some quality time with one another. I usually allow for whatever it is that she would like to do to fill this space of time. We play board games, watch a movie or, like last night, read books. As we settled into the chair with a huge stack of books, I though that the timing was perfect to introduce her to a book that my Mom read to me – “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch. As I read … Continue reading Two "Must Have" Books

Currently Reading

My good friend (and soon to be 1/2 marathon running partner) David Schroeder from Thomas Nelson was kind enough to send me a copy of “The Search For God and Guinness”. I was wrapping up a few other books so was not able to start on it until just a few days ago. I’m only a few chapters in but already find this book to be fascinating. I’ll give you a full review sometime in the future, but if you’re wondering why I’m reading a book about beer (and believe me I’ve gotten questions), check out this quick video. This … Continue reading Currently Reading

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years – A Review

About 2 years ago, I got an email from a Pastor in the blogosphere with one simple question on it. It said “What’s your story”. That was it. Three simple words. I had no idea how to respond to that email. There were literally about a thousand directions I could got with the answer. I have since emailed, talked on the phone and even had the pleasure of meeting that Pastor in person once. Even though we don’t know each other well, I count him as a friend. One of the first things I said to him when we met … Continue reading A Million Miles in a Thousand Years – A Review

Fearless Book Review

This post is not about me. This review is not about me. The subject and the story leading into my review, however, are about me. More specifically, the subject is something that I would venture to guess many of us deal with on a daily basis. So let me begin by being real transparent about that elephant in the middle of the room called fear. It is real. So real that Max Lucado, one of my favorite authors has blessed us all by writing a book to remind each and every single person that reads it who is in control … Continue reading Fearless Book Review

Simply The Best!

One thing that has always amazed me is how books seem to hit at just the right time. I actually recevied “Wide Awake” by Erwin McManus for Christmas along with 2 other books. I started the other two before I even opened “Wide Awake”. Then one day I sat down in a comfortable chair, put my feet up, opened “Wide Awake” and fell asleep True story. Ask “the boy”. He was sitting right there when it happened. So for 7 months this book has sat on the shelf and collected dust. I decided to take it with me on vacation … Continue reading Simply The Best!

More McManus

This book (“Wide Awake“) is becomming one big book of life changing quotes. Love this book! “Take time to invest in the people who are in your life. Slow down if you have to, and bring them with you. It is better to adjust your pace than to walk alone. A life well lived isn’t about who walks the fastest but about who has the most people walking with them. You can’t make time for everyone, but you can make time for someone. So invest well.” -Erwin McManus from the book ” Wide Awake“ Continue reading More McManus

"Wide Awake" Quotes

I have been reading the book “Wide Awake” by Erwin McManus recently. This is a great book. I have folded the corner of at least every other page (a signal that I liked something on that page) and underlined a majority of it. As an added bonus, I found out this week that Erwin graduated from none other than The University of North Carolina!  I will be sharing many of his quotes but here are just a few so far: The unknown with God is better than the known without him I think a lot of us are not on … Continue reading "Wide Awake" Quotes

“Wide Awake” Quotes

I have been reading the book “Wide Awake” by Erwin McManus recently. This is a great book. I have folded the corner of at least every other page (a signal that I liked something on that page) and underlined a majority of it. As an added bonus, I found out this week that Erwin graduated from none other than The University of North Carolina!  I will be sharing many of his quotes but here are just a few so far: The unknown with God is better than the known without him I think a lot of us are not on … Continue reading “Wide Awake” Quotes

Review – Cast of Characters

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was given the honor of reviewing a copy of the new Max Lucado book “Cast of Characters” by my new friends at Thomas Nelson Publishing. I also mentioned that I had the blessing of meeting Max and his wife Denalyn about a year ago. To this day it was one of the best memories of my life. It was great to see that the man behind the books is just as real as his writing. I count it such a blessing that this book came at just the right time for me. … Continue reading Review – Cast of Characters

Reading Wish List

It’s that time again. I am compiling my reading wish list and am pretty excited about what is available now. Thanks to my good friend Stef, I have already crossed The Winners Manual off the list. Not only did I get to cross it off the list, it came autographed by one Mr. Jim Tressel! Stef went the extra mile on that gift! Thank you brother. Here are just a few of the books I hope to read over the next few months. You can find my entire list (HERE) How about you? Any recommendations from something you have read … Continue reading Reading Wish List

Quotables

Sorry friends, really busy week this week. In the meantime, I thought I would post some more quick quotes from “Cast of Characters” by Max Lucado. I’ll have a full review before the end of the week (the short version is that it’s awesome!). “Changing Direction in life is not tragic. Losing passion in life is.” “Behind every avalanche is a snowflake Behind every rock slide is a pebble An atomic explosion begins with one atom And a revival can begin with one sermon.” “Getting even is only natural. Which, incidentally, is precisely the problem. Revenge is natural, not spiritual. … Continue reading Quotables

Which Are You?

A long travel day helped me get through rougly 87 pages of “Cast of Characters” by Max Lucado yesterday. I have to save my complete review for when it is all done. I will tell you that this book could not have come at a better time. If it is any indication of how good it is, I am folding corners like crazy with great quotes and insight. One I had to share today was from John 12: 1-9. I am sure that many have heard the comparisons to Martha being a “worker” and Mary being a “Worshiper”. Max also … Continue reading Which Are You?

Way To Live

I brought “Velvet Elvis” with me on this trip to re-read. It’s been about a year or so since I read it, so I thought I would run through it again. It only took a few pages to remind me why it is one of my favorite books. Check this out: “I’m convinced being generous is a better way to live. I’m convinced forgiving people and not carrying around bitterness is a better way to live. I’m convinced having compassion is a better way to live. I’m convinced pursuing peace in every situation is a better way to live. I’m … Continue reading Way To Live

Summer Reading List

An interesting thing happened last week as I was cleaning out the archives of this blog. I realized that there is a direct connection between personal growth and the times when I was reading consistently. I chalked up my lack of personal growth reading recently to a shortage in new book releases. Boy was I wrong! A visit to Lifeway produced a list which will soon be filled at CBD. Although summer is speeding by, here is the quick list of books I hope to power through in the next few months. 1. “Vintage Jesus” by Mark Driscoll 2. “Winners … Continue reading Summer Reading List

I Ordered Mine!

I can’t believe it has been two years since roughly 30 other men and I went through the book “Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge. Something special happened over the course of the 8 weeks within this group. Although we have all continued on our own journeys, I think what happened in “Wild at Heart” has stayed in “Wild at Heart”. It was something I will never forget. One of the men that joined us for the 8 weeks is a man named Ken Neff. While I did not know Ken before WAH started, I had the honor of getting … Continue reading I Ordered Mine!

You Can Do It!

For those fans of the book “Quiet Strength” by Tony Dungy, here is something new to consider. Tony has put together a story book for children called “You Can Do It”. You can find all of the details and ordering information (HERE). Quiet Strength continues to sit atop the “Arms Wide Open Best Book I ever read list”. For those that have not read it yet, it is now available in paperback. Praise the Lord for Tony Dungy! Somewhere, someone read that title and shouted out a Rob Schneider “Water Boy” reference. I just know it…. Continue reading You Can Do It!

Good Reads

I decided to start re-reading “Chasing Daylight” again last night. This is one of those books that should be required reading once a year. The message seems to always be very timely. Below are a few underlines from the first time I read this book. “There are things God does for you and things God waits for you to do. The journey begins when you choose. Stop wasting daylight. Choose a life of meaningful adventure. When you do, you will live in the epicenter of God’s activity” “Like Rahab, we are always just one choice from a different life. At … Continue reading Good Reads

Folded Corners

My good friend Denny taught me a trick a few years ago of folding the corner on the pages I wanted to remember. I let my fingers do the walking through those page folds tonight and below are the quotes that I found. Interesting that they mean as much to me now (maybe more) as they did when I read Chasing Daylight by Erwin McManus a year ago. “We all want miracles and then spend our lives avoiding the context in which miracles happen” (pg 71) “Most of life’s challenges are a test of first-dimension faith – trusting God with … Continue reading Folded Corners

The Only Thing That’s Good In Me

Let me begin by thanking Kerri for her recommendation of the new Michael English book “The Prodigal Comes Home” a few weeks ago. I started reading it on Friday and couldn’t put it down until I finished it last night. I am still thinking about it today. It’s not a fairy tale story. I won’t give away details, but I recommend this book to anyone. To those that struggle with addiction, self-doubt, Religion vs. Jesus, failure, doubt and self control…this book is a must read. It’s a story of Gods endless pursuit of our heart and His matchless grace. Michael … Continue reading The Only Thing That’s Good In Me

The Only Thing That's Good In Me

Let me begin by thanking Kerri for her recommendation of the new Michael English book “The Prodigal Comes Home” a few weeks ago. I started reading it on Friday and couldn’t put it down until I finished it last night. I am still thinking about it today. It’s not a fairy tale story. I won’t give away details, but I recommend this book to anyone. To those that struggle with addiction, self-doubt, Religion vs. Jesus, failure, doubt and self control…this book is a must read. It’s a story of Gods endless pursuit of our heart and His matchless grace. Michael … Continue reading The Only Thing That's Good In Me

I Got Tagged – One Book

I got tagged by Mudpuppy 01. One book that changed your life “Wild at Heart” – I found out some things that I had put under heavy lock and key that needed to be dealt with. It’s taught me much about being a husband, father, man of God and friend. 02. One book that you’ve read more than once “Everybody’s Normal Until You Get To Know Them” -One of my favorite books of all time. If I had to choose one book that defined how I believe God wired me, this would be it. John Ortberg outlines our deep desire … Continue reading I Got Tagged – One Book

“Black Friday”

If you’re like me, you are probably just about to go crazy after all of the “Black Friday” ads on TV today. The parade this morning was out of control. It was like a 3 hour commercial with a little parade mixed in occasionally. If you’re headed out in the morning or just making your own list and checking it twice, below are my recommendations for Christmas gifts this year. I’ve personally tested each one. They are lead free and will make great gifts. I highly recommend them all. Happy hunting! 1. “Iris to Iris” by Building 429. Might be … Continue reading “Black Friday”

"Black Friday"

If you’re like me, you are probably just about to go crazy after all of the “Black Friday” ads on TV today. The parade this morning was out of control. It was like a 3 hour commercial with a little parade mixed in occasionally. If you’re headed out in the morning or just making your own list and checking it twice, below are my recommendations for Christmas gifts this year. I’ve personally tested each one. They are lead free and will make great gifts. I highly recommend them all. Happy hunting! 1. “Iris to Iris” by Building 429. Might be … Continue reading "Black Friday"

More Quiet Strength

I’m still on the road and now about 3/4 of the way through “Quiet Strength”. Below are a few more quotes that really stood out to me as I read them tonight: “How would your business do if you spent the amount of time on it that you spend on your wife and family?” “What will people remember us for? Are other people’s lives better because we lived? Did we make a difference? Did we use to the fullest the gifts and abilities God gave us? Did we give our best effort, and did we do it for the right … Continue reading More Quiet Strength

Quiet Strength

A very long layover AND a flight delay last night in Atlanta was a blessing. Yes, I said a blessing. It gave me the opportunity to read over half of the book “Quiet Strength” by Tony Dungy. Our company headquarters are in Indianapolis and I appear to be on a career collision course to end up there one day. I am “this close” to ditching my Raiders gear in favor of the Colts. This is a great book and Tony Dungy is an incredible man of character. One of the many things that struck me was something he said about … Continue reading Quiet Strength

Christmas is Coming…

Christmas is coming, this blog is getting fat. Please put a nickel in this bloggers hat. That was terrible, but hey, I figured it was worth a try. I heard about this site called BLURB.COM that will take your entire blog and publish it in a book form. I thought this was a very cool idea, then I caught the pricing. So, if you’re in the giving mood and have lots of money to spend, Christmas is just around the corner. Wouldn’t a hard cover copy of “Arms Wide Open” look nice on your coffee table (sarcasm included)? Donations graciously … Continue reading Christmas is Coming…

Because of Love

40 Days of Hope – Day 4 This morning’s devo from Max Lucado’s “3:16” was all about love. Since I have much to learn and this devotional reminded me of that, I’ll just quote Max himself. These are words to ponder today – “…that’s what love does. It puts the beloved before itself. Love goes the distance…” Do I put “the beloved” before myself? Do I go the distance when it comes to love? Do I quit when it gets rough or do I commit to doing what needs to be done for the sake of love? God himself left … Continue reading Because of Love

Caught in the Middle

40 Days of Hope – Day 3 For todays devo, Max Lucado takes a look at Joseph and his decision with Mary. Of the 3 days, this one has challenged me the most. Maybe it’s because I am a father and a husband. Maybe it’s because I am convicted by the fact that Joseph did what I don’t know if I could or would have. He did what was right in the face of tremendous danger, ridicule and a fall from the public eye. He was a man of tremendous honor and respect in the community. He was caught in … Continue reading Caught in the Middle

What You're Holding

On day 2 of “40 Days of Hope” from Max Lucado’s “3:16” Max speaks directly of Mary as she held Jesus after his birth (“Mary Cradles God”). The image in this post came directly to my mind. This was taken after the birth of our first child. I remember it like it was yesterday. Looking at this small gift that had the entire world ahead of him. I wondered what he would be like. I hoped I could teach him to avoid my mistakes and give him the wisdom to know better. I never knew he would be what he … Continue reading What You're Holding

What You’re Holding

On day 2 of “40 Days of Hope” from Max Lucado’s “3:16” Max speaks directly of Mary as she held Jesus after his birth (“Mary Cradles God”). The image in this post came directly to my mind. This was taken after the birth of our first child. I remember it like it was yesterday. Looking at this small gift that had the entire world ahead of him. I wondered what he would be like. I hoped I could teach him to avoid my mistakes and give him the wisdom to know better. I never knew he would be what he … Continue reading What You’re Holding

Where He Went…

This is the first reflection of the “40 Days of Hope” from the Max Lucado book “3:16” that a few of my friends and I are doing together. For day one, Max pointed to the night that Christ came to the earth (“An EXTRA-Ordinary Night”). His quote to end the devotional was rich and classic Lucado – “So he went to the shepherds. Men who don’t know enough to tell God that angels don’t sing to sheep and that messiahs aren’t found wrapped in rags and sleeping in a feed trough.” I was struck by that line. It reminded me … Continue reading Where He Went…

40 Days of Hope

A few of the guys from AC180 and I are going to try something starting October 1st. I figured I would extend the offer to this blog as well. The new Max Lucado book “3:16” is both a book about John 3:16 and a 40 day devotional book. The first 150 pages are Max breaking down the words of that verse. The second part is dedicated to 40 days of short devotionals which he calls “40 Days with the Son“. Beginning Monday, October 1st, several of us are going to go through the 40 days together (wherever you may live). … Continue reading 40 Days of Hope

Book Reviews

I had an opportunity the past week or so to read two of the books that I have really been looking forward to. The first was “When the Game is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box” by John Ortberg. I’m a pretty big fan of Ortberg and this one didn’t disappoint at all. There are times when it is good to just go back to the basics, take a pause and evaluate some things. This book will do that. You will find yourself taking some stock in what matters most. If you are a fan of John Ortberg’s … Continue reading Book Reviews

Beyond Words…

Have you ever had that question where you are asked “if you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be”? My list isn’t really all that inspiring or extensive. There is one name that would be at the top though. Max Lucado. If I could choose one author that has inspired, challenged and changed me, he would be the one. It’s not that I am a crazed fan or anything, I just would like to shake his hand. Today…I got that chance. Someone must have tipped Max off about the fact that if you want to score points … Continue reading Beyond Words…

Laws of the Lighthouse

The following comes from the Max Lucado book “In the Eye of the Storm”. It’s an older book by Max (1991), but one I had not read yet. I needed something lite to read on my one hour flight to Charlotte yesterday. When I went to the book shelf, this one jumped out at me. I have not finished it yet, but what I have read so far was perfect timing. I had to share these bullet points in what he calls “Laws of the Lighthouse”. According to Max, these are “God-given, time-tested truths that define the way you should … Continue reading Laws of the Lighthouse

The Latest From Rob Bell

The best part of my recent trip to St. Louis is that I finally had the opportunity to finish reading “Sex God” by Rob Bell. The biggest challenge is writing a review of a book covering such a taboo subject. Here’s the deal, Rob Bell is great. If you were a fan of “Velvet Elvis”, NOOMA or Mars Hill Bible Church, you will love this book. He really is brilliant, clever, informative and relevant. I can’t think of a better, more respectful author to cover this subject as well and in depth as he does. Although I’m not looking forward … Continue reading The Latest From Rob Bell

I Want my CBD

Based on many of your reviews, posts and comments, I placed a new order with CBD today. I’m like a kid at Christmas when I place these things. With all of the flights and time in the hotel, I am once again back on track with the yearly reading plan. Below is what I ordered. Your feedback and recommendations are always welcomed – 1. Screwtape Letters – by C.S. Lewis 2. Mere Christianity – by C.S. Lewis 3. Sex God – by Rob Bell 4. Soul Cravings – By Erwin McManus 5. To Own a Dragon – By Donald Miller … Continue reading I Want my CBD

Somethings Just Don’t Mix..

So much for the excitement of my flight to San Antonio. Here’s a riddle for you. What do you get when you combine an already anxious mind, the book “Where is God When it Hurts”, a doctor in the seat behind you doing his dictation in a tape recorder of some horrible cases and a 3 hour flight? Well, let’s just say if it was a 4 hour flight, you’d probably be reading about me on the news. Since I am in Texas, I will say it like this…”Ya’ll, I was about to lose my mind”! Luckily, we landed, Doctor … Continue reading Somethings Just Don’t Mix..

Somethings Just Don't Mix..

So much for the excitement of my flight to San Antonio. Here’s a riddle for you. What do you get when you combine an already anxious mind, the book “Where is God When it Hurts”, a doctor in the seat behind you doing his dictation in a tape recorder of some horrible cases and a 3 hour flight? Well, let’s just say if it was a 4 hour flight, you’d probably be reading about me on the news. Since I am in Texas, I will say it like this…”Ya’ll, I was about to lose my mind”! Luckily, we landed, Doctor … Continue reading Somethings Just Don't Mix..

Influence

If you ever wondered how to make a man get misty eyed on a flight from Baltimore to Columbus, give him a copy of “Chasing Daylight” by Erwin McManus and see what happens. More specifically, take him directly to Chapter 4 and have him read the story on page 117-121 about “Ron the Gas Station attendant” and “Dave the UPS Driver”. Folks, I thought I was gonna need a tissue. What an incredibly heartbreaking, but powerful story about the impact we have on other peoples lives. The stories to long to repeat here, but the quotes from McManus bear repeating: … Continue reading Influence

Would You Go Back?

Over the weekend, I got pulled into watching the movie “Big” with Tom Hanks. I say “pulled” because it’s one of those movies that just draws you into watching it, even if you have seen it 100 times. Make that 101. You probably remember this one. Tom Hanks is a little boy who makes a wish to be big, wakes up big, gets a job, falls in love, and makes a wish to return to the way he was. He offers to have his new found love make the same wish and go back to her childhood with him. Susan … Continue reading Would You Go Back?