21 Great Books To Read In 2018

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More books and less binge-watching will transform your life!

The following books are in no particular order and speak to various areas of thought. From fiction to faith, I would encourage you to read widely and discerningly. Most people today read within a small circle of authors that they like and agree with. If you are only reading authors who think like you, there is limited growth happening in your soul. Read authors who come at things differently, think differently and even believe differently. Release your fear, you are stronger and more discerning than you think, and who knows, you just might gain some new insights or see things from a different perspective.

  1. The Go-Giver
  2. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
  3. Misreading Scripture With Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible
  4. Sabbath As Resistance
  5. Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked
  6. The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness: A True Story
  7. Why You Think The Way You Do: The Story of Western Worldviews From Rome to Home
  8. Ruthless Trust: The Ragamuffin’s Path to God
  9. Man’s Search For Meaning
  10. 1984
  11. Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
  12. A Prayer For Owen Meany: A Novel
  13. The Sparrow
  14. How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels
  15. As A Man Thinketh
  16. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
  17. Pilgrims Progress
  18. Eager To Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi
  19. Disunity In Christ
  20. The Crucifixion of the Warrior God: Volumes 1 & 2
  21. Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver

I’d love to hear what books have and are impacting you!

Please leave your recommendations in the comments.

21 Tips For An Amazing 2018

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Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ‘It will be happier.’
~Alfred Lord Tennyson

Every January is a divine gift of newness. No matter what the previous year brought into your life, a new year is a grace gift where you are reminded that it is possible to author a new chapter, paint on a fresh canvas, or sing a new melody.

It has been said,  “You can’t fix a problem with the same thinking that created it.” So, here are 21 practices that will clear the way to engage and create a greater future and present.

  1. Start each day with 10 minutes of meditation and/or prayer.
  2. Refuse to check your electronic devices until you have centered your soul after you wake up.
  3. Before you leave your home, ask God to make you a blessing to someone each day.
  4. Talk less, listen more. Pause and think before you respond to make sure you are truly listening to the other person, perhaps you will choose to respond far less.
  5. Commit to writing down at least one gratitude a day in a journal before you go to sleep. This will help you wake with gratefulness and less stress.
  6. Practice the ancient art of smiling every day, your soul will thank you.
  7. Own your mistakes and say “I’m sorry” quickly when you blow it.
  8. Ask yourself why you respond the way you do to people’s behaviors before you respond. I call this a moment of holy curiosity. Your reactions tell you more about you than you realize.
  9. Exercise a little every day, even if it is a few short walks during your day.
  10. Determine to get 8 hours of sleep each night, “game-changer alert!”
  11. Consider a Whole-30 type diet, eliminating sugary food and drinks.
  12. Drink water-water-water, half your body weight in ounces. Water is life.
  13. Grow in your generosity. Donate to charities and humanitarian groups that work to eliminate poverty. I’d recommend http://www.planetchanger.org  🙂
  14. Read a book every month. I like Sacred Space 🙂 I will be posting my list of recommended reads soon!
  15. Write down your top 3 goals. Post them where you can see them. Do one thing each day that connects to those goals.
  16. Choose kindness over rightness
  17. Choose grace over judgmentalism (pull that log out of your eye!)
  18. Choose to assume positive intent towards others when things get dicey.
  19. Limit your screen time. Break your smartphone addiction. You don’t need it in the bedroom. Turn it off, and check it in and leave it alone! You’ll be okay I promise. In fact, you’ll be better.
  20. Learn to say “NO” Life is full of many good things that keep you from the best things. Does the opportunity align with your top 3 goals? If it doesn’t just say no,
  21. Love. Pray daily that you motivation which fuels your actions would flow from love and compassion.

Grace and Peace to you in 2018

Monty

 

What If Nothing Was Impossible?

Somewhere along the line we settled for test scores and conforming to the “expected.”

In Eric Liu & Scott Noppe-Brandon’s book Imagination Firstunlocking the power of possibility, he notes:

Today’s culture of testing and data collection in education was born of a good intention: to close the persistent achievement gaps of race and poverty. But over time, ends and means have sometimes gotten muddled. Too many public schools focus on the measurable to the exclusion of the possible. As a result, too many students end up better prepared for taking tests than for being skillful learners in the world beyond school. ~Eric Liu & Scott Noppe-Brandon

I believe they have landed on something here…But it’s not only in education, it’s everywhere.

It’s time to empower the “What if?” questions along with the “What?” questions.

Generating Good

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Generosity is a brilliant word and a powerful concept. Kahlil Gibran states , “Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need.” That is worthy of pondering for a bit.

From this word we understand other things better, like, generate, generator, generative.

Generosity generates something…
It creates something…
From nothing, generosity breathes life and regenerates something beautiful.

However, generosity is not simply about money and wealth. It is a lifestyle that is always humming with creative goodness that brings light to dark places, food to starving spaces and beauty to desolate places.

Steve Goodier sums up the scope well:

“Money is not the only commodity that is fun to give. We can give time, we can give our expertise, we can give our love or simply give a smile. What does that cost? The point is, none of us can ever run out of something worthwhile to give.”

Generosity also has the power to free us from a myopic life of self-everthing. Self-service, selfishness, self-reliance, self-worship. The worship of self has run across the borders of narcissism in our culture, and generosity has the ability to heal us of this most pernicious disease. The Buddha noted:

“Conquer the angry one by not getting angry; conquer the wicked by goodness; conquer the stingy by generosity, and the liar by speaking the truth.”

The following video is a commercial from Thailand…it reveals the power that a little generosity has to make the lives of others better, and when you do that you cannot escape the personal benefit generosity re-infuses into your own life.

That video causes an unsolicited smile to form on my lips…

Being generous feels good and the scientific stats reveal that generous people are healthier, happy and live longer lives that are worth living.

The Bible has scads of passages about generosity, here are a few to help you pray and invite a spirit of generosity into your life:

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
Proverbs 11:25

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  2 Corinthians 9:7

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  Luke 6:38 

Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice. Psalm 112:5

For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.  2 Corinthians 8:12

Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.  Luke 6:30

May you realize just how rich you really are and find yourself coming alive as you become a generous soul that gives especially when there is no chance of repayment.