Last night we saw the movie Elysium. It was a rough movie, but the message is still ringing in my ears.
Recently I was given an advance copy of his brand new book You Are A Writer. After reading it, there are two words I would use to describe this book: inspirational and instructional. And I don’t know about you, but I need both.
Last year I read the book The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris and shared with you about it here. The book wasn’t exactly about personal time management and productivity, but it had so much of that stuff in there that I had to recommend it. It was lacking, however, because it wasn’t about that, but it had a lot of that in it.
In January when Katie and I were battling flight cancellations in North Carolina, I found a book in one of the airport book stores that seemed to fit better. A book that didn’t simply include the good stuff I was looking for, but was all about the good stuff. The book is called The Power of Less by Leo Babauta, and it is really good stuff.
As a Christian I am challenged by Paul’s words in Ephesians: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” I feel especially challenged by those words because of the day in age in which we live. Stop for a second and think about how busy your life would be if you didn’t own a car. Think about how different your marriage might be if you didn’t have electricity. Information is everywhere, and we are on overload: movies, television, video games, smartphones (internet on-the-go), Facebook, Twitter, blogs, emails, work emails after work. “We are drinking from a fire hose of information, with no idea of how to reduce the flow,” Leo says. I most certainly agree. I most certainly relate.
I love to read, but I frequently find myself behind the curve when it comes to being up on which books are popular. I’d seen this book Crazy Love by Francis Chan for a while, but never thought beyond my pleasant attraction to its cover (while at the same time wondering why so many books are being published with plain red covers lately). As time went on, however, and as over a million people started talking about this “wonderful” book, I decided to give it a try to see what all the fuss was about.
Crazy Love was a very quick read, which is always a nice break between some of the other books I go through. It was also a very simple read. There was not a deep theological ocean to swim in, and it didn’t leave you with more questions than you had when you started. It was short and sweet. And it was excellent.
Several months ago I saw a book that immediately peaked my interest. It was called Coffee Shop Conversations: Making The Most Of Spiritual Small Talk. I picked it up immediately.
You see, I struggle with how to talk about spiritual things with non-Christians. It’s not that I don’t know what to say, it’s that I’m not sure how to say it. Back in October I sat next to a girl on an airplane who wreaked of cigarettes and alcohol, and whose conversation became very spiritual when she found out that Katie and I were missionaries. In everything she said, it was apparent that her relationship with God was empty. I struggled with how to move forward because she basically said we believed in the same things, but her life obviously didn’t reflect that.
I want to be someone who knows how to make the most of spiritual small talk, but my experience in ministry has had me around more Christians than non, so it’s something I haven’t really been forced to figure out. This book was a very good step in the right direction.
If you do a lot of traveling that requires managing a lot of dates, airports, hotels, and confirmation codes, then you know that those confirmation emails can get a little overwhelming. Printing out those emails can get ridiculous, but transferring all the information by hand can take a while (and even be inaccurate.) A few years ago Katie and I discovered a great, free service called TripIt.com that takes all the hassle out of organizing your trip information.
For example, our trip to Boise this Saturday. Because we used some airline miles to buy one of our tickets, we ended up getting confirmation emails from United directly and from Expedia.com. Then, the church we’re visiting wanted to rent a car for us during our stay. Instead of printing all this information out, we just forwarded all our emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. TripIt recognized these emails, pulled out the important names and numbers, and arranged them all in a very easy-to-read format that gave us all our trip information at a glance.
Several years ago I saw a book on a friend’s shelf. I had just returned from Ukraine and was being overwhelmed by an attitude of materialism I had all but forgotten about. I recognized the author and the title intrigued me. Soon after I bought the book for myself, started it, then put it aside for a while. Finally, six years later, I have finished Freedom of Simplicity by Richard J. Foster.
Freedom of Simplicity is a book about the responsibility God’s people have to live a life of simplicity in the world. Its message is not unlike Radical, telling us that our culture has this idea backwards and Christians, because we haven’t been watching very carefully, have fallen into the trap of believing that lie. We all say we know material things don’t matter, but we have a hard time living it with our actions.