Book Review: Reconstructing the Gospel

Why I picked up this book:

Since I write book reviews, I often have the pleasure of receiving surprises like this one from various publishers in the mail. The title and book cover were both intriguing and I have come to trust the publisher, InterVarsity Press to discuss important topics with thoughtfulness and biblical integrity. In times like these, I really wanted to hear what the author, a white man, had to say on the topic.

Reconstructing the Gospel

Who Should Read Reconstructing The Gospel:

 

Anyone who considers themselves an evangelical should read this book. It is particularly important for those who worship in multi-ethnic churches or those who are seeking reconciliation and justice in our country.

What’s in Store for You:

This is a redemptive story about how the author, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, had to come to terms with the inconsistencies of the gospel message that was preached to him and was passed down from his parents. That gospel message was laced with white supremacy (a loaded phrase I know) but he shares honestly and thoughtfully about how that happens intentionally and subconsciously when you look at America’s history of injustice against people of color, and black people in particular.

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Mentoring 106: Mentor for Life

We are closing our mentoring series with the same title of the book, “Mentor for Life.”

You can catch up on Parts 1 through 5 of the series here: Mentoring 101: Freedom, Mentoring 102: Mentor for Joy, Mentoring 103: Love, Mentoring 104: Peace, and Mentoring 105: Hope.

When my publisher and I came up with the book title, “Mentor for Life,” we were contemplating what mentoring for God’s kingdom purposes actually does. I have seen in my own life, and in the lives of those that I have the privilege of influencing that mentoring can indeed change a life.

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This is What all Leaders Need

The New Year is for reflection, fresh starts, and making adjustments. Have you considered, “What will help you stay focused this year?”


There is strength in a song that compels us to respond with clapped hands, lifted voices, stomped feet, and waving arms. There is power in a song that can pull on our emotions—make us shed a tear or reflect on an old memory. Sometimes a good tune makes us jump up and dance. It reminds us that we have soul, that we know a little something about rhythm and perhaps blues. Meaningful lyrics evoke a response by reminding us that we are human, connected through this shared experience we call life.

But too often the songs we love most—those things that bring us life—are drowned out by screaming kids, packed schedules, and burdensome responsibilities. When our lives are so consumed with meeting expectations, trying to measure up, and fulfilling the needs of others, we lose sight of ourselves. We forget who we are, what we need and want, and where we’re going. This sense of loss can become a dangerous reality in the life of leaders. To avoid this danger, we must intentionally practice personal leadership, or what I sometimes refer to as self-care or self-leadership.

The Art of Self-Care

well-being-quote

Caring for one’s well-being is necessary for those who intend to lead for an extended period, and it requires heightened self-awareness. There are personality tests and leadership diagnostics to help determine your personal needs, strengths, and weaknesses. Sustaining healthy relationships and building an affirming community can help ease some of the emotional strain life may bring. Intentionally developing a natural rhythm that brings purpose and significance to your life, however, are perhaps even more important than relationships and self-awareness.

When I was in the Navy, I worked out daily because it was required of me. I didn’t always like the discipline, but I loved the results. Working out increased my daily energy, gave me a good “attack” to start the day, and increased my capacity to enjoy the food that I loved. But after so many years of rigorous training, I needed a break. Five days of workouts every week dwindled to three, then two, and two eventually became none. I had exchanged a rhythm of fitness for a rhythm of desk work. I noticed that the more weekly responsibilities I had, the less I worked out—my physical fitness was the first thing I sacrificed for ministry. Within months, I had gained a few pounds, lacked energy, slept fitfully, and suffered from body aches. In order to gain back the rhythm I once had, my life needed a complete overhaul.

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