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Robert Wynkoop (Washington State)
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Spiritual Leadership: Moving People on to God's Agenda
Spiritual Leadership: Moving People on to God's Agenda
by Henry T. Blackaby
Edition: Hardcover
20 used & new from CDN$ 1.35

4.0 out of 5 stars Must Reading for Novice Preachers, Sept. 14 2003
I am a big fan of Blackabys Experiencing God and was looking forward to reading his book on Spiritual Leadership. It was not what I expected. It is an excellent book on leadership, but it is more of a primer novice for leaders than a book for experienced leaders who want to sharpen their leadership skills and character.
But as a primer, it is excellent. Blackaby leads the reader though a list of topics to equip pastors to be spiritual leaders. It runs the gauntlet from The Leaders Challenge to The Leader's Pitfalls and just about everything in between. Like Experiencing God, the Blackabys intersperse their personal experiences with Spiritual Leadership as application.
What makes this book unique is Blackabys emphasis on the spiritual part of leadership. They reject the influence of business models of leadership, specially Collins and Porras advice in Built to Last (BEHAGs - Big Hairy Audacious Goals) and urge the reader to recognize the work of God in the world and to join God in his work.
The authors discussion on vision gives the reader an example of how the Blackabys view spiritual leadership. They criticize leaders who try to get people to buy into their vision. Spiritual leaders should not sell vision, they say; rather, they share what God has revealed to them and trust that the Holy Spirit will confirm that same vision in the hearts of their people. So the job of the leader is to bring the people face to face with God so they can hear from God directly and not through the leader. The Blackabys, however, fail to adequately inform the pastor how to do this. The obvious consequence of this kind of vision casting is that pastors with weak leadership skills would observe where God is at work, ineffectively communicate that vision to their congregations, meet internal resistance, and then conclude that this must not be where God is leading them.
For instance, the Blackabys are Baptist. The averaged Baptist pastor stays in his church for only about 2.5 years. There is a reason for this. Although most Baptist churches are board led, they are for all intents and purposes congregational in their polity. Thus, in many churches, even the most inane proposal must be but through a relentless series of committees and votes. This kind of governance does not tolerate strong leadership very well. If the pastor has a vision from God, he must communicate that vision and trust that the Holy Spirit will confirm it in the hearts of a committee system. This assumes that everyone on all those board and committees is listening to God and is seeking God. In reality, the pastor gets something else; he gets an agenda that is set by the least spiritual, most obstinate member of the congregation.
There is an ethereal quality about leadership that many good leaders do not understand. They have it and they assume that the rest of us, if we just do what they do, will have it. But leadership is much more difficult than this. In this regard, John Maxwell, Oswald Sanders and Bill Hull do a much better job equipping pastors to be leaders. It is a good book, but my fear is that weak, timid leaders will use it as an excuse to do nothing.

Surprised By Power Of Spirit
Surprised By Power Of Spirit
by Jack Deere
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.54
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you are an evangelical, read this book, Sept. 13 2003
No one can surpass Jack Deere in his exegesis of biblical text. Written in a highly readable style Surprised by the Power of the Spirit is investigation of how God speaks and heals today. Unlike many charismatic writers, Deere rejects the anecdotal approach to proving the power of God. Although Deere punctuates his book with anecdotal stories, he pursues a relentless investigation of the Scripture and with lawyer like skill, deals with objections with a keen wit. Case in point: When Deere talks about establishment of a healing ministry within the local church, he points out that the most common objection is not theological, but emotional- people worry how they will look if they pray for the sick and those prayers are unanswered. Deere retorts: Worrying about how we look when we pray for the sick is not a very effective way of getting our prayers answered. Then, he follows up with an exposition of Scripture, followed by his personal experience. It is a very effective way of communication.
I would be hard pressed to find fault with this book without resorting to theological nit picking; it is simply that good. If you have serious questions about the efficacious of gifts of healing in the contemporary church, read this book. Deere has a way of dealing with the questions, fears and misunderstandings we may have about the power of the Holy Spirit. His humor and ability to laugh at himself is appealing. If you are a serious Bible student who has not been presented a serious case for discovering how God speaks and heals to day, this is the book for you.

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith
by Jon Krakauer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 23.20
88 used & new from CDN$ 1.45

5.0 out of 5 stars Dark side of religion or of man?, Sept. 13 2003
It is not an easy read. No, it is not a difficult book technically, but it deals with fanaticism so intense and so perverse that makes one wonder of what darkness humans are capable. As a Christian pastor this book particularly interested me. Mormonism has always intrigued me especially in their recent attempts to portray themselves within the mainstream of Christian thought. As the book clearly demonstrates, they have unique teachings and beliefs that separate them widely from biblical Christianity.
The book itself is wonderful and I highly recommend it. But as a pastor, I would like to take issue with two statements the author makes. In doing so, I hope I am not straining at theological nats, rather, I hope my comments transcend theology to the very nature of man.
The author states that Under the Banner of Heaven is a look at the dark side of religion. He goes on to mention that all faiths, Moslem, Hindu, Buddhist as well as main stream Christianity have a dark side, that if not kept under control is capable of great barbarism and cruelty. Any student of history can attest to this, my objection, however, is that the problem is not a dark side of religion, but the dark side of man. Man, himself, is capable of great cruelty. Yes, man has used religion to justify genocide, but one cannot jump to the conclusion that it is the religion that compels man to violence. Religion is merely the tool that man uses to justify his cruelty.
Since the French revolution, modern man has the tendency to reject religion as superstition (the opiate of the people) and has deified reason and science as the new gods. Modern man believes that the answer to lifes ultimate questions can be found in technology and science. The only problem is, that science and technology has not brought about the utopian society that Western man has hoped for, instead, it has brought barbarism and death on a scale undreamed of in centuries past. In the twentieth century alone, millions upon millions have perished on the altar of the dialectical materialism of Karl Marx and the National Socialism of Hitler and his ilk.
It is not the dark side of religion that drives man to barbarism; it is the dark side of man. Perhaps this phenomenon can be described by the word- idealism. The idealist believes that he has the answer for what troubles man, i.e., religion, communism, National Socialism, environmentalism, etc., and will stop at nothing, even the destruction of property and murder to bring about his utopian paradise. In killing, he thinks he is saving. In destroying, he thinks he is building.
My second observation is that faith and reason are not as diametrically opposed as the author repeated infers. Yes, one cannot reasonably believe the history of the early Americas, as set forth in the book of Mormon- there simply is not one scintilla of evidence to support it as the author demonstrated. No wonder in the front plate of every Book of the Mormon published there is an appeal to the burning in the bosom as evidence that the book if true. The New Testament authors, however, never use such subjective criterion when they attempt to persuade their audiences of the truthfulness of the resurrection of Jesus- they always appeal to the witnesses who saw the risen Christ and who ate and drank with him after he was raised from the dead. Yes, the Christian believer must accept the resurrection of Christ by faith, but it is a faith that is based on reasonable evidence, the testimony of witnesses who ate and drank with the risen Christ.
Sorry for the sermon, I just could not help myself. Now back to the book- read it. It will give you insight to the Mormon Church as well as the dark side of man.

Connecting Church: Beyond Small Groups To Authentic Community
Connecting Church: Beyond Small Groups To Authentic Community
by Randy Frazee
Edition: Paperback
28 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars This is one intriguing book, Sept. 11 2003
This is one intriguing book and a must read for every pastor who senses that something is missing in the pastoral rat race. Randy Frazee makes a pervasive case for re-inventing the church through the establishment of building authentic community. Over the years, various authors (such as Rutzs The Open Church) have attempted to rediscover the vital community of the New Testament Church, but for the most part, their attempts seem to be utopian and impractical. Frazee, with some reservations, seems to have hit the proverbial nail right on the head.
Throughout the book we are confronted with Bob and Karen Johnson, a fictional couple representing the suburbanite lost in the rat race of life. As we meet the couple, Frazee explains what the church must do to establish authentic community. Doing so is easier said than done. Much of what the church claims to be community is nothing more than masked American individualism.
Frazee points out that true community requires five things: an authority structure, thus, there must be a leader who knows where the church is going and how to get there. Second, the church needs true accountability. Much of what the church passes off as accountability today is nothing but disclosure that does not allow others to speak into one's life. Third, the establishment of traditions. Fourth, the establishment of standards without imposing legalism, and finally a common mission.
As I read this book, I could not help but see how the new breed of postmodern churches uses these five points to build community. Clearly, most traditional and contemporary churches will have to make some radical changes in how they do business if they are going to build the kind of community that Frazee advocates.
There were some unanswered questions. Clearly, Randy's church Pantego Bible Church with its seventy-six acre site has resources that most churches can only dream about. If I remember correctly, Randy had the help of Larry Crabb, George Gallup and Dallas Willard in formatting their changes. Most pastors can only dream of having that kind of help in restructuring a church. But I would like to know, how is it going? How successful have they been? Exactly how do they measure success?
Despite these questions, I plan on implementing that kind of community. But as a pastor of a small rural church, we live in a different world. My urban friends are always shocked as we walk down Main Street when they visit, it seems like we know everybody. We can't walk two blocks without running into two or three people we know. Yet, the forces that destroy community are at work in small town America. I am planning on getting a head start on maintaining and building community by trying to implement the Connecting Church.

Trusting God
Trusting God
by Jerry Bridges
Edition: Paperback
36 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Truely a great book, Sept. 9 2003
This review is from: Trusting God (Paperback)
This is the most comprehensive and best of the three Bridges books I have read. The authors purpose is two-fold. First, he wants the reader to glorify God by acknowledging God's sovereignty and goodness in the midst of tragedy. Second, he wants to encourage God's people by showing that God is in control of our lives. Bridges purpose is limited. It is not a theological exploration into the origin of pain and suffering, but a book to help the reader deal with pain and suffering on a level of faith, of trusting in God that things do not just happen.
Although evangelical Christians often give lip service to the sovereignty of God, many are for all practical purposes are Christian deists. They see God as being too distant our unable to intervene in times of trouble. I appreciate that Bridges does not duck the tough issues. He refuses to wrap up all the theological loose ends when discussing the sovereignty of God. Like Tozer, he recognizes that there are some issues to which there are no neat and tidy answers. Unlike many other authors who write on this subject, he does not slavishly follow C.S. Lewis The Problem of Pain. It is refreshing to read a fresh perspective on the subject rather than merely hearing Lewis arguments parroted again.
Although I was very impressed with the book, there were a few areas that caught my attention. Bridges does not deal comprehensively with the idea of spiritual warfare. I would have also liked to see a fuller discussion on the passive will of God. In fact, it is not mentioned in the first one hundred pages or so. It would have been good to have a fuller discussion of the alternative views of God's sovereignty, but then, that would have doubled or tripled the lengthy of the book.
This is truly a great book. I could hardly put it down, one of the best I have read on the providence and sovereignty of God. I would also recommend Jack Contrell's volume, What the Bible Says About God the Ruler, College Press, 1884. Although not a Calvinist, Contrell writes one of the most persuasive arguments for the sovereignty of God I have read. He also explores alternative views of sovereignty (pagan, existential, deists, etc.) and their weaknesses.

Too Busy Not to Pray: 10th Anniversary Edition
Too Busy Not to Pray: 10th Anniversary Edition
by Bill Hybels
Edition: Paperback
53 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It will change your prayer life, Sept. 9 2003
It is Hybells thesis that prayer is unnatural for man whose life has been shaped by the rules of self-reliance. Yet, despite this dependence on self, most people pray. Prayer, Hybells states, is the most intimate form of communication we have with God and is essential to receiving His prevailing power in our lives.
I like that his book is biblically based. Hybells develops his arguments from the actual text of Scripture, stating that a prayer warrior is someone who is convinced that God is omnipotent and is able to intervene in the lives of his people. This book is far more pragmatic, than theological. Hybells gentle humor is a refreshing change and a wonderful tool to capture the readers attention.
Like most of Hybells earlier books, it was predictable-every chapter follows the same format. One gets the impression we are reading a sermon series; but despite this one failing, it is one of the most practical book on how to develop one's prayer life I have read.

A Tale Of Three Kings
A Tale Of Three Kings
by Gene Edwards
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.82
35 used & new from CDN$ 1.23

5.0 out of 5 stars I found this book intriguing., Sept. 9 2003
This review is from: A Tale Of Three Kings (Paperback)
This book is must reading for every church leader. It is a study of the use and misuse of authority. In it, Edwards examines the lives of King Saul who demanded allegiance and held onto power at all cost; the life of King David who would not pursue power or hold onto it by force even when faced with rebellion; and David?s son, Absalom, the man who would become king by leading a rebellion.
The book was written especially to address the problem of submission and authority in the modern church. An underlying theme of this magnificent tale is that one cannot know for certain who are anointed by God and who are not; whom God has blessed and whom He as not. True leaders often make mistakes and pretenders to the crown can often look Godly; therefore, we should be very careful about passing judgment on our leaders.
These three simple stories convey more meaning and impact than a scholarly tome on authority. Edwards follows the example set by Jesus by telling simple stories to convey deep theological truths. His insight that leadership, even Godly leadership, is inherently flawed because God works through flawed people is excellent. Also worthy of note is the insight not to rush to judgment when condemning authority. The message needs to be heard in our impatient culture. Edwards notes that men who thought they were doing the will of God murdered both Jesus and Stephen.
There are two significant weaknesses in this book.. First, the story is incomplete. It ends with David retreating from Jerusalem with Absalom holding power. Edwards fails to tell us that the story really ends with David doing battle with the rebels and Absaloms subsequent death. David did fight for his throne. Second, we live in an age where everyone believes they have the inherent right to question authority. Edwards does not address the need to teach on authority and submission as contrasted with demanding it. Boomers and Xers often have no idea of submission. Even many who were born before World War II do not understand the biblical concept of authority; like Korah who rebelled against Moses, they hold to a democratic model of authority. If we do not each our people the biblical concepts of authority and submission, how will they learn?
This book is a sobering reminder that all church polity is ultimately congregational. Leaders cannot demand the allegiance of their people. If my people choose not to follow my leadership by withdrawing their attendance, offerings and service, I will fail as a leader. I was especially helped by Edwards observation that all kings have their critics. Leaders are flawed vessels of God?s anointing. Rebels may promise the world, but they can only deliver it with the cooperation of the people. If the people grow tired, wither the rebels dream may fail, or a dictatorship must be established.
Again, this book is must reading for all church leaders. As a political science major, B.S. University of Oregon, 1973, I found this book intriguing.

Pursuit Of Holiness
Pursuit Of Holiness
by Jerry Bridges
Edition: Paperback
75 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Uninspiring, Sept. 9 2003
This review is from: Pursuit Of Holiness (Paperback)
In this brief book Jerry Bridges urges Christian to purse holy lives. He laments that for many evangelicals personal holiness is seen as an impossible achievement. Bridges tries to walk the line between obedience to God on one hand, and legalism on the other. He does this by distinguishing between his private struggles with sin (lust, ice cream, television, etc.) and the absolutes dictated by Scripture.
Unfortunately, this book is like almost every Navigator book I have read. It is written for a Sunday School audience and often sounds like a commercial for other Navigator material I read this book just after finishing Richard Fosters Celebration of Discipline and I could not help but compare the two books. Foster was a breath of fresh air, inspiring me to purse the Godly life; whereas Bridges proved to be uninspiring. What is lacking is the joy of the Christian life. It is not until the last chapter that the author develops the concept of Christian joy, even then, it sounds as if the only joy we are going to find the joy in the midst of suffering. Foster, on the other hand sees the joy of the Christian life at every turn.
Bridges has an inadequate view of the Holy Spirit, almost equating the leading of the Holy Spirit with Bible study. True, the Word is the sword of the Spirit, but I enjoyed Fosters charismatic emphasis on the heading of the Holy Spirit. Does Bridges have any fun in his life? Would he listen to Rock n Roll music? Reading his book reminded me of Christians weddings- Boring! Boring! Boring! Everyone is afraid to have a good time lest someone be offended. I did not like this book. Other than the fact there are some good sermons in this book it did not provide any real insight that helped by ministry.

Kneeling Christian The
Kneeling Christian The
by Unknown Christian
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.89
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3.0 out of 5 stars A classic, but a dated classic, Sept. 9 2003
This review is from: Kneeling Christian The (Paperback)
This is an old classic whose premise is that the reason Christian fail to succeed spiritual is their failure to pray. It is the authors belief that most Christians have lost the wonder of their faith, that deep down inside they really do not believe we worship an omnipotent God who is capable of given us exceedingly abundantly above all we think and ask. The bottom line is this: do we believe God's Word is true?
The author has unwavering faith in the claims of Scripture. He believes that the scriptural pronouncements concerning prayer are to be taken literally. Our failure to do so is the root of the churches inefficiency and powerlessness in the world. In this, the author has hit the proverbial nail right on the head. The author is to be commended for stating that not only are we to pray, but that our prayers are to have meat on them. Do we really believe in an omnipotent God? Our prayer life betrays us.
Unfortunately, this book is written in a style that is difficult to read, peppered with undocumented illustrations, making it difficult for this reader to complete the book. It was very discouraging to read of these prayer warriors of almost mythical proportions with the authors underlying assumption that we too should be like them. Who were they? What is the documentation? Living in a far more cynical age, these questions need to be answered. Although the author specifically states that prayer is hard work, he seems to assume that if our faith was a great as these nameless missionaries we too would experience mountain moving prayer.
I could not help but contrast this attitude with the humanity portrayed in Bill Hybells books on prayer. With Hybells you see a flawed man discovering the power of prayer, with the Unknown Christian we are confronted with dozens of supersaints whom we must try to emulate.
There are better books out there. It may be a classic, but it is a dated classic.

Paradigms
Paradigms
by Joel A Barker
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.43
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5.0 out of 5 stars Explains complicated subject with clarity, Sept. 9 2003
This review is from: Paradigms (Paperback)
Barker has the rare gift of explaining a complicated subject with clarity. He states that when the rules change, ie., paradigm change, the whole world changes. Perhaps the most interesting statement the author makes is that we must accept new paradigms as an act of faith. If one waits until all the evidence is presented it will result in being left behind as the competition gets a head start.
One particular insight was very useful for church leaders. Barker points out that many businessmen (and church leaders too) tend to take culture paradigms and turn them into sacred icons that must be protected at all cost. I was very pleased that the author did not fall into the post modern spirit which declares that truth is relative; rather, he forcibly declares that there is an objective knowable universe. One page 172 he states the most logical anti-public gambling argument I have heard.
Barker sees a rosy future, perhaps he is right. What he fails to address, however, is that new paradigms are two-edged swords, bringing post prosperity and doom. His belief in the innate goodness of human nature is misplaced. His presumption that nation health care swill be an effective way of controlling cost is absurd. Reading between the lines I got a hint of New Age thought. It almost seems that he believes in he potential omniscience of man.
Some insights that were of help were: It is often the outsiders to come up with new paradigms. It is not accident that many growing churches are bypassing traditional seminaries as a source of personnel. It also explains the fierce resistance to change within any organization. Those who have been there the longest have the most invested and also the most to lose if change occurs. The new outsiders have very little invested and much to gain. I also learned that the future is coming faster than we realize. If we wait to see what is coming, we will be left behind. Growing churches must be on the cutting edge of what God is doing.

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