Monday, February 21, 2011

Reading Update Week #2

This past week's reading held two tremendous books. Here's a quick review.

The first book was Intentional Parenting by Tad Thompson, Lead Pastor at Harvard Avenue Baptist Church in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. While the book doesn't contain any new, earth-shattering parenting revelations, it does provide something invaluable -- a simple, practical guide for how to do intentional discipleship in the home. This is a book that all Christian parents can use to improve (begin?) the discipleship of their children. As discipleship in the home is such a foundational issue and at the same time one in which most families struggle, I hope and pray that God uses this book to challenge and equip many parents in the days ahead.

The second book was When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor...and Yourself by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett. The authors both serve at the Chalmers Center for Economic Development at Covenant College. This book is so powerful that I don't think a quick review will do it justice. Perhaps I can do that at another time. For now, let me say that the book was incredibly challenging both personally and professionally. It has caused me to seriously reconsider my views on poverty, short-term mission trips, and ministering to those in the community where I live. These issues deserve serious consideration and prayer, and Fikkert & Corbett are excellent guides. To get your mind thinking, and perhaps to generate interest in the book, here are three important quotes:

Defining poverty is not simply an academic exercise, for the way we define poverty -- either implicitly or explicitly -- plays a major role in determining the solutions we use in our attempts to alleviate that poverty. -- p. 54

Poverty is rooted in broken relationships, so the solution to poverty is rooted in the power of Jesus' death and resurrection to put all things into right relationship again. -- p. 77

Poverty alleviation is the ministry of reconciliation: moving people closer to glorifying God by living in right relationship with God, with self, with others, and with the rest of creation. -- p. 78

And I think in this you can find the most important point of the book: until we realize that all people (most significantly us) are poor, our efforts towards poverty alleviation will be misguided. We must come to realize that we all need to move towards glorifying God in all of our relationships -- with God, ourselves, others, and the created world. A lot to think about, isn't it?

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About Me

I am a husband to Eva, father of 4, pastor, and most of all passionate follower of Jesus Christ. The focus of my life is to make the most of every opportunity God gives me to bring glory to Him. Outside of the time spent in my role as a pastor, I spend most of my time with my family -- a good deal of that coaching various sports teams that my children are involved with. Every fall and winter you will find me rushing to the woods of Indiana and West Virginia in search of a monster whitetail buck.