Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity

If you're looking for a book to kick-off the new year, Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity, would be a great choice. Primal, hot off the press and just released, hit the book stores yesterday. Mark Batterson is pastor of National Community Church and author of the popular titles In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day: How to Thrive When Opportunity Roars and Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God.

I received a pre-release copy of Primal to review a couple of weeks ago and immediately cracked open the cover. I wasn't disappointed. Primal, while easy to read at a conversational pace, is full of insights that demand one to slow down and ponder the internal implications that these insights evoke within one's soul.
Batterson writes,

The Latin word for "listen" is where we get our word audit. When you audit a class, you take in lots of information, but you don't do anything with it. You don't do the homework, or if you do, you don't turn it in to get it graded. You don't take the tests. And you don't get any credit either. The same is true in our spiritual lives. You don't get credit for auditing Scripture. You've got to put it into practice...

...In the Western world, we make a distinction between knowing and doing. But there was no such distinction in ancient Jewish thought. Knowing was doing and doing was knowing. If you didn't do it, you didn't really know it. Knowledge isn't enough. Truth must be translated with your life. (Primal, 83-84)

It's easy to approach Scripture, sit through Church, engage Christianity, even live life in audit mode. Challenging this conundrum, is at the heart of Batterson's new book. Living as more than an auditor, but a student-disciple, is what it means to return to the primal roots of Christianity. Reading Primal would be a great way to start the year by intentionally posturing yourself to love God with all your heart, mind, sould and strength.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Realities of Human Trafficketing

A friend of mine, Mike H., put this 7 minute video together. It is worth educating yourself on the disturbing reality of this subject. Maybe there is something you can do to help?

To learn more about modern-day slavery, you can download the audio book Not For Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade - And How We Can Fight It for free.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Leaders Should Act Like Artist :: Artist Should Act Like Leaders

Recently, Kem Meyer, author of LESS CLUTTER. LESS NOISE, linked a couple of great posts on the inter-connectivity of the skills demonstrated by leaders and artist, and how they can learn from each other.

How leaders should act like artists (from Harvard Business):

  1. Artists constantly collaborate. The example given was the common occurrence of an exhibition with multiple artists showing together, or the so-called "group show." Even in the context of a solo show, the artist works with the gallery owner, the curator, the framers, the installers, the lighting person, the publicist to bring their vision to life. Every exhibition is a collaboration to the nth degree.

  2. Artists are talented communicators. The whole point of a work of art is to communicate something — a thought, an idea, a feeling, a vision. More explicitly, the artist frequently gives a talk to explain the thought process behind the artwork. Engaging the audience in a meaningful, expansive dialogue is often critical to the exhibition's success.

  3. Artists learn how to learn together. Perhaps the reason why artists collaborate and socialize so well is that they learn in the studio model — ten or more students in the same room for hours on end. Bonded together in a personal space of intimate self-expression, they come into their own through the familial ties of the studio setting. When interviewed recently about the differences in her education at Brown and at RISD, one student who is getting a dual degree from both institutions said, "At RISD there's a lot of learning from your peers. Brown (in the classes I've taken so far anyway) is about listening and note-taking in class."

How artists should act like leaders (from Accidental Creative):

  1. I speak my mind and fight for ideas but refuse to play the “victim” when my idea doesn’t win out.
  2. I do what’s in the best interest of the team and the project, even when it costs me something.
  3. I do the little things that matter even when I could feasibly cut corners.
  4. I stretch myself to see things from new points of view.
  5. I think strategically, even when I don’t have all the information I want.
  6. I don’t point fingers, talk trash or assign blame behind closed doors.
  7. I have something that guides my creating beyond comfort and preference.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Know Thyself

Some people are self-starters, self-motivators, even serve as a pretty good self-coach. Others, may be good at the start, but not quite as savvy at providing the mojo for on-going motivation. We each have our unique make up when it comes to temperament, discipline and motivation.

Spiritual maturity emerges as we grow in our awareness and understanding of what our make-up is and what we need to keep-going.

Spiritual wisdom then is the faculty by which we surround ourselves with the needed resources (material or relational), that foster an environment conducive for ongoing growth.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

grow: reproducing through organic discipleship

"Organic discipleship," writes Winfield Bevins, "is an organic understanding of the spiritual formation that begins and ends with the gospel. Just as the physical body has to have an organic structure to hold it together while allowing it to grow and develop, likewise the body of Christ must have an organic structure that can do the same."

Winfield Bevins, author of grow: reproducing through organic discipleship, is lead pastor of Church of the Outer Banks, an Acts 29 church located on the coast of North Carolina.

You can download a free copy of the book on his website.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Monologue of Philippians

Paul's letter to those in Philippi, was originally read from start to finish in one sitting. Often, in our retelling of Scripture we do so by extracting isolated verses from the context they were written in. As helpful as this can be, something of the essence and power of the Scripture is missed when we don't capture it in the larger context. For me personally, something powerful has transpired, as I've read through the whole book of Philippians again-and-again. Each time something new catches my attention. Another piece falls into place, bringing greater clarity to the whole.

To wrap up our series on Philippians, we did so by imagining what was in Paul's heart as he wrote to this group of followers. If Paul could have read it himself, what would it have sounded and looked like?

The following is a dramatized monologue of the Book of Philippians, that seeks to imaginatively enter into the heart of Paul and the impulse of the Spirit of God.

Monologue of Philippians_Week Fourteen from Jerrell Jobe on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What Matters Now :: Free ebook

More than seventy extraordinary authors and thinkers contributed to this ebook organized by Seth Godin.

It's designed to make you sit up and think, to change your new year's resolutions, to foster some difficult conversations with your team.

Best of all :: It's Free. Download a Copy...

Or, to find out more about contributing authors go here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

moving withward

We were created for community. Authentic relationships with others provide a unique environment for us to experience spiritual growth. Throughout the book of Philippians, intentional relationships is an under girding theme. It is worth our time to explore how God uses intentional relationships to form us into the image of Christ.

Philippians_Moving Withward_Week Thirteen from Jerrell Jobe on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Shine Like the Stars

14-Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15-so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16-as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17-But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service. 18-So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
~Philippians 2:14-18
How we communicate and interact with one another has powerful implications for ourselves, as well as others. In Philippians chapter two, Paul links how we communicate with ourselves and others directly to our endeavors to engage the world around us with the message of Christ. Paul actually had faith that this small band of followers in Philippi could influence the world around them as they were to "shine like the stars."

Paul could have said, "try to do most things" without grumbling and arguing, but he didn't. He said, "do everything..." Interestingly, the word Paul chose for "grumbling," It's a whispering, to yourself muttering in disgust or annoyance. It's what we do under our breath as we walk away from a spouse, co-worker, sales clerk, etc when we are dissatisfied with the outcome of a conversation or something that was said. It's toxic to our souls and infective to those around us.

Often, the muttering, serves as a type of bait. We mutter something under our breath, not so much to be understood, but to be heard. Hoping that someone will say, "What was that...?" Only to give means and permission for us to vent.

Paul connects this outflow to our level of "purity" and "blamelessness," not to mention our influence on the world around us.

Christmas is a season of shopping bliss, unfortunately the bliss wears off before we can even find a parking spot. Everything beyond that can easily become a chore, a duty and a hassle. To which, Paul simply says...

...Do everything without grumbling and arguing...

Here's a further teaching on this idea from our series Philippians: Discovering God in the Midst of Life.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Faith and the New Atheism

Next week, we wrap up the fall teaching series at Palm Valley's New Community, Philippians: Discovering God in the Midst of Life. As such, I’ve been spending quite a bit of time over the past several weeks sketching out the next teaching series, not to mention engaged in my share of research, gathering materials and resources. I’m looking forward to this series...

In the series, which will begin Wednesday, January 20, 2010, we’re going to wrestle through several tough questions that have been elevated to surface with the recent surge among the New Atheist. In each of the teachings, we will explore both sides of the spectrum. We'll look at things from the perspective of an Atheist or skeptic, as well as that of a thinking follower of Christ.

Over the four weeks we’ll look at:

Faith and Doubt

There is a healthy tension between faith and doubt. Doubts aren't inherently evil, in fact, there’s much that we can learn by exploring our own doubts and those of others. We will explore what some of the fundamental claims of the New Atheist and how can we intellectually respond to their questions, criticisms and dispositions.

Faith and Science

Are Faith and Science at odds with one another? Does that which can be deduced through science discredit what Scripture says?

Faith and Evil

If God exists, why has so much evil be perpetrated in His name? After all, isn't the Church is responsible for so much injustice.

Faith and Suffering

How could a Good God allow so much suffering?

The following are a few of the things that I’m reading, watching and listening to in preparation. Some of these are from the perspective of a Christian Apologetics and others are from significant voices within the New Atheist movement.

What's So Great about Christianity by Dinesh D'Souza

The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller

Faith and Doubt by John Ortberg

Apologetics for a New Generation: A Biblical and Culturally Relevant Approach to Talking About God by Sean McDowell

Knowing Christ Today: Why We Can Trust Spiritual Knowledge by Dallas Willard is a great visual resource. There are a number of videos by Atheist such as Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion), Sam Harris (The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason), Christopher Hitchens (God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything), as well as presentations and interviews by authors like Dinesh D’Souza (mentioned above). also has a video page within iTunes University.


Reasonable Faith with Dr. William Craig Lane

Christian Apologetics with Ravi Zacharias

The New Atheism

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

When Perceptions and Reality Collide

In the book unchristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity... and Why It Matters, authors David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons expoase a number of perceptions held by people about church.

A few of those perceptions are,

These perceptions, as noted, more often than not, have nothing to do with Jesus or His message. It's not the mystery of the cross, nor the cost of discipleship that become snares.

Here are a few of the questions I believe each of us must wrestle with.
Does our church actually provide an environment congruent with what we hope people will experience?

Are the aforementioned perceptions of those not a part of the church confirmed during their "worship" experience or are they presented with a new reality of "church" and the people of God?

My hope is that not only will people discover the life-transforming power found only in the message of Christ, but that they will also experience the essence of community.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Statistics are not Boring, Neither Should We...

We've all sat through our share of boring lectures, classes, even sermons.

Frequently I'm amazed at how subjects that are multi-layered and awe inspiring like the Story of Scripture, the wonder of creation or the dynamics of human history can be flattened down to a mere linear-monotone-humdrum captivity, resulting in what feels like a fatal death by bullet-point.

Let's face it, communicating to a group of people, regardless of the size can be a challenging undertaking. Further, there are certain subjects that seem to not leave much room for creative interpretation or innovative and engaging communication.

Statistics could be one of those subjects.

After all, how much can one do with numbers and graphs to captivate an audience? Hans Rosling is one of those aforementioned persons who deals with copious amounts of data. He is a
professor of International Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

Rosling is however, an example of someone who can take a subject as seemingly mundane and sleep inducing as statistics and communicate it in a way that is humorous, informative, entertaining, no to mention inspiring.

Recently, Hans gave a talk at
TEDIndia in which he vividly demonstrates that statistics are not boring. He brilliantly presents more than numbers, data and statistical predictions. He conveys the story that is actually behind the statistics and the names behind the numbers.

His video is one worth watching. (link)

Hans' video causes me to imaginatively wonder what other subjects have we marginalized to boring, irrelevant, or simply unappealing? Subjects and topics, that if only communicated in the form of a story could come to live with penetrating power?

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Free Audio Book :: The Brothers Karamazov

This month Christian Audio's free download is,

Fyodor Dostoevsky's crowning life work, The Brothers Karamazov, stands among the greatest novels in world literature. His exploration of faith, doubt, morality, and the place of suffering in life are equaled in no other work of literature, save the Bible.

The book explores the possible role of four brothers in the unresolved murder of their father, Fyodor Karamazov. At the same, it carefully explores the personalities and inclinations of the brothers themselves. Their psyches together represent the full spectrum of human nature, and continuum of faith and doubt. Ultimately this novel seeks to understand the real meaning of existence and includes much beneficial philosophical and spiritual discussion that moves the reader towards faith.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Symphonic Listening

Have you ever been to a symphony? No one applauds until the vibrations of the instruments cease or the resounding echos have finished reaching the back row of the balcony and returned again to stage. It isn't until these resounding echos have given themselves fully to the whole room that the audience beings to applaud.

Perhaps, listening, true listening, is very similar.

Communication consists of more than the moving of the lips. Yet, the cessation of such movement is typically taken as our cue to respond. As it is with the musical sounds of an orchestra, communication isn't complete when the lips stop moving, rather when the vibrations of those words and where they originated from have had time to reach the back of who we are and once again returned…

It isn't until those words have had time to give themselves fully to us, or until we've had ample time to receive, perceive and understand more fully what's behind those words. After all, the masterpiece being played by the orchestra is much greater than the notes on the page. It isn't until all these notes come together that music emerges. So it is with human communication, it's more than the words, much more indeed.

Unfortunately, under the trance of time efficiency, we often are prone to spend more time thinking of a response or rebuttal while the other party is talking, than actually engaging the words coming forth from them. As such, we only hear the "notes" and miss the "song" all together. As William Isaacs said, “People don’t listen. They reload.”

Yet, when we refrain from merely “reloading,” there’s a knowing and wisdom that emerges out of the silence. This wisdom then speaks into the present. "Silence," Henri Nouwen wrote, “teaches me to speak.”

I’ve noticed that one of the most “full” and deeply resounding moments are those moments just after one has shared from the core of who they are…

In such moments, it seems, the last thing that is needed is for me to speak…

"But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak."
(James 1:19)

True leadership and spiritual maturity is marked by one's ability to restrain their judgments and inner-responses long enough to simply and purely listen and engage on a level deeper than the audible decibels... with the heart and spirit.