If you don’t know why you had off yesterday, or why everyone else had off yesterday, you need to read what MIchael said here.

This weekend I started reading another book written by a guy named Glenn Beck.  He’s a radio talk show host who’s somewhat conservative, yet he isn’t like Rush Limbaugh where the republicans can do no wrong and everyone else is just wrong.  And he’s incredibly funny.  Now he’s on CNN (Probably because Fox was kicking their butts and they thought,”Maybe there is more than one point of view out there.”

Anyways, enough of my sarcastic soapbox material:  In the book I’m reading, called “An Inconvenient Book”, Beck writes about a lot of different topics, politically and morally.  I’m not done reading the book, so I’ll save my judgment for later, but I did find one thing interesting as I was reading.

He starts off the book with the topic of global warming.  I’m not really that interested in the science of the first chapter but he has some interesting things to say.  Much of the stuff though either went over my head (which I didn’t like) or made fun of Al Gore (which I did like).  The next chapter he picked a funny subject to switch over to – Marriage.

I don’t think there was a method to the direction of the book because the third topic was Islam.  But anyways, in his topic of marriage he goes through a cycle which he says almost always leads to divorce, if not an unproductive marriage. That cycle is Marriage – Pornography – Adultery – Divorce. I found it fascinating that he tackled this subject in the midst of politics and other such controversial things.

In this section he also went through his life story.  And it wasn’t pretty.  He talks about what a scumbag he was, and how he straighteed his life out.  He talks about how he hurt his wife and kids and everyone around him and that he was “young , foolish, and weak.”  All in all, though he didn’t go into detail about his past (aside from the countless numbers of jokes about Jack Daniels I could have done without), he was very gracious to those in his family he had hurt the most.

It’s very encouraging that this political radio host tackled this issue of marriage.  It’s even more encouraging that he did so in the way he did it.  If you’re ever in Target, and need to wait for whoever is with you and may be shopping a bit longer than you’d like to stay there, go to the book section and pick up “An Inconvenient Book” and read chapter two. 

I’ll let you know about the other stuff.

Until next time…

I eat with people

January 18, 2008

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I’m reading this book called”Never Eat Alone” which talks about the way to build relationships into win-win situations so that both parties can be better as a result of the relationships.  I’m constantly amazed at the number of Christians who use other people as an end game to get what they want.  To build a church.  To “get them” into their group.  Yet here is a book written for business people sharing the importance of relationships for business sake, and basically building a case for the Biblical model of relationships.

This is the lesson Im learning from this book and from my experience doing what it is I do:  Relationships are the most important thing.  In the context of the church or business, your life group or your focus group, when it comes to success, it should be based on the way people are growing relationally.

For a thousand and one years now (est.), people have used manipulation, smoothtalking, and condemnation in the church to get what they want.  But finally people are waking up to the idea that, more than a belief system and a series of thoughts to prove what I believe, is the idea that if I can’t love my family, I really don’t love God like I think I do.

I’m quite certain I’ve heard that before.  Somewhere.

Have a great weekend.  If you’d like to be added to my blog roll, email me at marty@fellowshipholden.com, and if I like you (just being honest. It doesn’t take a lot, but I should get to know you a bit first), I’ll put you on my blogroll family.  They’re all great people!

 Until next time…

This morning I’ve finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, done about an hour’s worth of work on my computer, and now blogged, all from the comforts of where I’m staying at the moment.  Until this afternoon, Carie and I are staying in a home, watching 3 teens/children for their parents who are away for a few days.  We’ve been here since Sunday.

The moral of the story however, is that I finished the last Harry Potter book this morning.  I cried several times at some very intense parts, amongst them were when Severus Snape shared his memories with Potter, when Harry walked through the building after that scene toward his death and saw his friends grieving over the death of their loved ones, when Harry saw his family once again in the forest, and parts of his final conversation with Dumbledore.  Thank you to the many who encouraged me to read the series. 

One thing I took from it was something I have been thinking about for some time now.  It was the relationship between Dumbledore and Potter.  Current events and announcements not withstanding, I took some very valuable lessons from this relationhip that I hope you will allow me to share with you, and here they are:

*When a mentoring relationship is formed, there usually is one party that is considered really strong, and one that is considered weaker.  This is not a diss by any means,  reasons for this could be age, stage of life, or life’s circumstances.  But the sheer wisdom of “looking up to someone” usually comes from either a child-like faith or a realization that “I don’t know everything.”  In the case of Dumbledore and Potter, it was more of a childlike faith (I use that term loosely).

*Over time, we glean valuable insights and we begin to see the “normality” of those that we look up to.  This comes naturally the better we get to know the mentor.

*As we begin to grow in wisdom and more experience, combined with this newfound realization that our mentor is actually human, we being to question much of the advice and thoughts that they’ve planted into our minds.

*As in the case of Potter, and partly because of the personality the author gave him, he began not only to question, but also to grow bitter.  Of course, this happened to a teenager, which I can assume (and hae been through), is also natural.  This occurs simultaneously with his growth and maturity.

*If you are an adult, many times we simply question, then make a decision whether to stop this mentorship process or continue it.

*Ultimately along the way, we have this powerful choice, in many areas of our life, among them spiritually, emotionally, and financially, to lsten to sound advice and mentorship, or walk away from it because in some way, we know everything.

*One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned, mainly in my own life, but also in the Potter series, is that despite the humanity of those I place myself under (which also is my choice, specifically if I’m an adult), the point is not whether they are right or wrong.  Dumbledore was guessing much of the time, as he later admitted.  The point however, is that they’ve gone through certain scenarios of life that allow them to make the wisest decision (or guess) in other people’s lives.  Their advice is not always perfect, and their thoughts are not always correct, but there is a certain advantage to me laying aside what I might think is the best thing, for what someone I respect believes to be the right thing, regardless of who is right and who is wrong.

David, the shephard boy and future king in the Bible learned this lesson, when one of his “mentors” turned on him and began to attempt to do him harm physically.  Rather than overthrowing his leader, which he could have done, David chose rather to hide away and wait to see what God would do.

My hope for you and I would be for you to find someone who you look up to (not worship), and learn from them and their experience, and even when their advice is tough to take – take it.  Or at least don’t oppose it.

You have no idea at that point how much you will grow. 

Until next time…

This morning I was getting ready for work and looking out the french doors which lead to trees in my back yard, when all of a sudden, hundreds of blackbirds flew down the trees onto the ground.  I instantly thought I was being attacked, and had thoughts of Alfred Hitchcock movies.  Nonetheless, I’m all right and live to share this tale with you, along with sharing with you the 17 books I have read since August 1st, complete with a bit of commentary about each.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Rowling)- I finally started reading these things.  The first one seemed a bit childish, but it came out all right and I really enjoyed it.

Made to Stick (Heath/Heath) – A great book on how ideas stick in people’s minds.

The Tipping Point (Gladwell) – Gladwell uses some great illustrations about how epidemics, both good and bad, become epidemics, and how popular fads and manias become popular.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling) – Book 2 picks up the story a bit and this was the one that I read in one day.

The Deity formerly known as God (Stevens) – A remake of the classic by J.Phillips about misconceptions we have of the God of the Bible.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling) – The first one that I couldn’t put down.  The 2nd one I couldn’t put down because I had nothing better to do that day.  It did take me longer than a day though.

The Leadership Pipeline (Charan/Drotter/Noel) – The book that caused me to take three looks back at how I approached ministry, although it has very little to do with ministry.

Sex God (Bell) – Our small group went through this incredible look at how spirituality and sexuality and relationship exists.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling) – The longest book so far, and I’d seen the movie two weeks before I read it, and it was still amazing.  Say what you will about her subject matter, but this woman can write.

Execution (Charan) – A thoughtful dissertation on going beyond strategy in organization into the art of executing.

God’s Blogs -(Donahue) – You have to read this hilarious and wonderfully gifted writer point out what God would be writing about should he have one of these things.

Transormation (Roberts) – Some great insights on starting churches in your world.

The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team (Lencioni) – Teamwork:  The acting together of people to make a group successful and effective.  Read this book!

The 3 Signs of a Miserable Job (Lencioni) – Not quite as good as his previous book about teamwork, but its still a great read with good reasons why so many people, possibly including you, hate their jobs.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling) – By this time I am so hooked to these books, and the writing just keeps getting better.  I was hooked on the “Left Behind” books too, but I realized without a doubt that the writing in those books were getting worse as time went on.  The longest of all the books.

Simple Church (Granger) – An excellent resource on why keeping church simple really beats adding all sorts of programs.  Fellowship Church, we will be keeping our ministry simple, and this book explains why.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (Rowling) – I just finished this one early this week while I didn’t feel well.  I was mesmerized and just love the characters, the plot,and the incredible detail she puts in her books.  Book 7, you are the last one to conquer,and I will conquer you!

So this is what I’ve read so far this year.  Currently I’m reading or getting ready to read “Soul Cravings” by McManus, “Playing for Pizza” by Grisham, and “Total Money Makeover” by Ramsey.

Please feel free to suggest any books you have ready that you think I should read.  I’d love to hear them. 

Until next time…