Tag Archives: John Piper

Dreams Do Come True – My 1st Book Goes On Sale Today!

The cursor blinked on the dark screen of that old computer.  My dad gave me his old IBM computer that weighed more than my bedroom furniture, but that was where the dream began.  I began to journal, write about my day, and watch the green print float words across the screen.  I didn’t know how to type.  Goodness, I barely knew how to spell.  But I did know I loved to write.

where-it-all-beganFast-forward to my college years.  I found a black leather-bound book, dove into the book of Psalms, and went to work.  Each night, I would write a devotional for myself with a summary statement at the end.  I don’t know if it was “senioritis”, or I just ran out of time…but I graduated and I never reached the end of Psalms.  That black leather book left incomplete, was thrown in a pile of my old academic records and free movie posters that the local theater would give me and my buddies every Tuesday.

Days become months, months become years, and time continued to tick on by.  I go on to seminary, marry the love of my life, and our family grows to four with our 2nd daughter born.  Then, as I was cleaning my office, I stumbled upon that black book.  I perused the pages realizing what a treasure I had just stuffed in my files.  I committed to finishing the Psalms, and began my quest to become an author.

Little did I know how difficult that next journey would be.  Rejection after rejection from publishing companies, I began to lose hope.  I mean, how could I blame them.  My name wasn’t Francis Chan or John Piper…to publishers, it was Jeff Who.  Although I was hesitant, I researched my options with self-publishing.  It was a little overwhelming, so I phoned an old friend.  Well, at that time, I don’t know if friend was the right word.  On the other end of the phone was my high school English teacher.  I called him Mr. P, mostly because I thought he closely resembled Mr. C on Happy Days.  In High School, I rarely paid attention, talked during class, and often showed little respect.  But, when Mr. P got a call from me about my dream of becoming an author, he didn’t hesitate to take me to lunch, pay for my meal, and answer every question I had.  He paid attention to me, talked me into reviving my dream, and a respectful friendship was born.

After months of editing and brainstorming, we were about a quarter of the way through the book.  Then, tragedy hit.  Mr. P passed away in his sleep.  My mentor, my new friend, my help in this journey went to be with his Savior.

front-coverNow what do I do?  I turned to another mentor, an established youth ministry author, who took an interest in my dream.  He connected me with a publishing company called Overboard Ministries.  And, as they say, the rest is history.  After long nights of editing for over a year, deliberation of titles and book cover designs…the day is finally here.

Dear Lord, I don’t feel like I deserve this dream to come true.  Remembering the days in front of that dark screen in my room, journaling my day that consisted mostly of backyard football and NHL 94 battles on the Sega Genesis with my brother to the late nights in an off campus house hoping these words would bless someone, someday.  To the days where it seemed like this dream was all but lost, which happened on more than one occasion.  My name is finally on the front of that book.  God, I give you this book.  Use it to help teens who are not consistently having a quiet time with the Lord yet.  Use it to bless the frustrated college student who feels alone, disappointed, and abandoned to find comfort, encouragement, and fulfillment in the Bible.  Use it to guide that 7th grader who feels lost in the new world of adolescence, and needs to discover the guiding hand of God’s Word.

You see, in the end, this dream became bigger than me.  The dream becomes a reality when I am able to hand this book to a teenager or young adult and watch them fall in love with God’s Word.  Now, that’s when my dreams truly come true.

Visit:  http://www.bottomlinedevotional.com to learn more about the book and how you can order a copy.

 

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Book Review: Excellence in Preaching

Book Review:  Excellence in Preaching by Simon Vibert

excellence in preachingThe Good:

Bite-Size Candy. Have you noticed how all the favorite candies are going to bite-size now? You can get all your favorite treats in a little bag, all in bite size nuggets. Basically, it allows you to think you are eating less calories, while eating more than you would in a king-size pack. Essentially, that is what happened with this book. I found myself enjoying the “bite-sized” chapters, hoping to just digest one chapter at a time. And I found myself wanting to read more than my original appetite dictated.

Better Preacher Infomercial. You can almost hear in the background as you read, “Will make you a better preacher, or your money back!” You know what, this book could deliver on this promise. It truly holds golden principles that, if you put them into practice, will allow you to be a better preacher.

Come Along for the Ride. Each chapter summarizes sermons from some of the best preachers of God’s Word on the planet (Mr. Vibert, you forget Matt Chandler on this list…think about that for your sequel). The chapters take the strengths of each preacher and teach you how to implement those strengths into your preaching. Also, the author does a good job of keeping balance for the reader, understanding it is not intending to produce clones of these preachers, by following every aspect of their personality and preaching mannerisms.

The Bad:

Can’t Have Just One. It’s like Lay’s potato chips (can you tell I’m trying to eat right this week), you can’t eat just one. Same with the sermon summaries. Many times, the author chooses just one sermon to give illustrations of the preacher’s strengths. In my opinion, the chapters that mentioned other sermons brought more credibility to the instruction.

Pace Yourself. File this in the “not the author’s fault” category. But it would be wise to pace yourself. With the amount of “tips” this book provides, it would be wise to take them in bite-size chunks (again with the food!)

The Grade: B+

Every preacher should at least read the conclusion of the book. In fact, I’ll be sharing with my senior pastor the “12 Things Preachers Do Well” this week. Stay tuned, next week I will give you those 12 tips. You won’t want to miss those.

As I mentioned before, it was a fun ride. To be able to learn from some of the best preachers, and to have someone spell out what makes them good, makes it worth a read. I’ve got a long way to go in my preaching, but this was worth it for the training. I’m blessed to have a mentor to help me in my sermon prep and delivery, if you do not have someone like this, allow this book to mentor you and develop your preaching.

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Book Review: “Don’t Waste Your Life”

Book Review:  “Don’t Waste Your Life” by John Piper

The Good:Boy Eating Huge Sandwich

This is like a really good sandwich.  Hear me out.  There is so much in that sandwich to chew on and enjoy, you can easily take a bite and miss out on enjoying all the meat, or all the sauce, or all the veggies.

Here are some examples of some very powerful thoughts and questions that come out of this book:

  • Loving and giving God glory is what is BEST for mankind
  • Everything good in life can be traced back to the cross and the grace of God
  • Do I love Jesus enough that I would be willing to die for His name?
  • This life should be spent getting to know God better, because the next life, if you are a believer, will be spent forever with God.
  • Be careful what you call “home”, and allow the earthly mindset to creep in that this is all there is play out in your daily activities, thoughts, actions, and purchases.
  • “You don’t waste your life by where you work, but HOW & WHY”
  • No matter how good or how bad the situation, Jesus and God can still be glorified.

And the list goes on…But each bite is so enjoyable.  There is so much to digest in this book, especially since it is speaking about YOUR LIFE.  Can you get a more important subject than that outside of Scripture and God?  Maybe you want to waste your life, I don’t!  Pick up this book, and make sure that does not happen.  The book does a fantastic job of causing you to evaluate your life, and bring you a checklist of attitudes, actions, thoughts, and future goals to implement in your life to make sure you do not waste it.

The Bad:

Make me crack a smile every once in a while.  I realize the subject of this book is very serious, but maybe it is just my personality, but I need some humor or more life experiences to make the book feel more personable and alive.

There were also times when the point was not beat to death, but maybe beat up pretty good where some aspirin and some bandages were needed.  Some of the chapters could have been more succinct.

The Grade:  B

I have to be honest, there were times when I really had to labor through some chapters…where points seemed to be over-written, and could have been more succinct.  Also, it was a bit over the top and dry at times.  That being said, what a concept!  You only have one life to live people, don’t waste it.  And this book does a marvelous job of emphasizing where and where not to take your life, so that it doesn’t end up a wasted life.

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