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Category: Miscellaneous

Books to Read in 2011

As part of my personal annual planning exercise for 2011, I identified a list of books that I plan to read. In constructing my list, I attempted to identify books across a breadth of different genres or categories. I did this not because I desire to maintain my status as a Renaissance man but mostly so that I can break out of my rut of reading the same types of books on the same types of topics and subjects. By expanding my reading horizons and reading books by authors and about subjects that I otherwise would pass by, I hope to accomplish the following:

  • Maintain an awareness of the culture that surrounds me
  • Become more theologically sound
  • Be enriched (and dare I say entertained) by storytelling
  • Be informed and inspired

My approach for gathering my reading list was to simply select a subset from the list of books that I’ve maintained over the past couple of years. Every time I run across a review, recommendation, or mention of a book, I simply add it to my Amazon wishlist. That way, I don’t forget about the book and, when I am in need of something to read I can pull up my wishlist and either purchase directly from Amazon or check my local library to see if it’s something that they have available.

I currently have the following books queued up on my bedside table:

Although I expect that the probability is high that the following list will change as the year progresses, I humbly submit to you the list of books that I plan to read in 2011. Read more

How to reduce the stress of gift giving

Christmas gift with a bow on top

Photo Credit: sparkieblues

As I’ve perused my Facebook news feed over the past week, I’ve noticed a common theme. There are many people that are very stressed out about Christmas and in particular, Christmas gifts. While there are many different reasons for this, the common themes seem to be:

  • Finances – it’s no secret that the U.S. economy is still struggling and there are many people feeling the tangible effects of this struggle on a daily basis. They are concerned about not having the money to live up to the expectations of past Christmases or are questioning whether they are even able to purchase gifts at all. They worry about people feeling let down or disappointed.
  • Time – although the promised themselves last year that they would never let this happen to them again, these people started their Christmas shopping too late are feeling the crunch of time. The pressure of completing their shopping before Christmas Eve is heavily weighing on them and making it very difficult to experience joy during this time of year.
  • Expectations – this one is compounded by the other two. Due to the constraints of money and time, many parents are worried they will not meet the expectations of their children. They are feeling compelled to “keep up with the Jones'”. And the consumerist marketing machine has been bombarding their children with messages about everything that they “need” and it’s being loudly and persistently communicated through both the television as well as their friends at school.

While I don’t think anyone is immune to these pressures, there are certainly ways to be proactive in addressing them. While certainly not the answer, the following is how I have attempted to address these particular stressors in my own life. Read more

The Giving Project – Helping a Shop Keeper in Rwanda

Albertine Niyongobwa - World Vision MicroYou may remember the challenge I issued last month. You know, the one where I invited you to make yourself available to give my money away? I was looking to give six different people $50 each so that they in turn could find creative ways to bless others. Well, to be honest, I was kind of disappointed in the response. I didn’t have too many people that wanted to give my money away. Only three people made themselves available to bless others (only a 4% response rate based on the number of unique visitors to the original post). Regardless, I’m excited to share how one of the participants has decided to use their $50.

Kile has invested his $50 in a micro-finance loan for Albertine Niyongobwa, a shopkeeper in Rwanda. Albertine is 23-years-old, married, and has one child. She and her small family live in Nyarutovu, a region of Ruhengeli situated in the northern province of Rwanda. Albertine has been struggling to stock her store with merchandise. She needed a loan to purchase more foodstuffs such as rice, beans, peas, and flour. With these additional products, Albertine hopes to expand her business and earn a greater profit so that she can build a better future for her family and her business.

The total loan amount that Albertine needs is $450. If you would like to multiply Kile’s initial gift of $50 and help invest in Albertine’s future so that she can better provide for her family, you can give through the group that Kile created on the World Vision Micro Website.

If you would like to learn more about World Vision Micro and how the program works, please be sure to visit the World Vision Micro Website.

Dug Down Deep

Joshua Harris recently released the book titled, Dug Down Deep which is focused on sharing how we can rediscover the relevance and power of Christian truth. I have not yet read the book so I’m unable to offer an endorsement or review of the material at this point however, I did come across a little promotional video for the book that I thought was pretty good. I liked it not so much for it’s promotion of the book but rather for the case it makes for studying God.

Check it out. I hope you enjoy! And, if you do enjoy, be sure and stop by the blog for this book and leave a positive comment for this video. This video was created by Tristan Carnahan in response to a contest that Joshua Harris initiated on his blog. The contest was focused on meeting a couple of needs–one was to create a promotional video for his book and two, to provide budding Christian film makers with an opportunity to share and be recognized for their talent.

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more about “Promo Video for Dug Down Deep by Josh…“, posted with vodpod


Hope for Haiti

I realize it’s been about a week since I’ve posted but it’s not because I haven’t done my daily reading. It’s just a product of the fact that I haven’t been successful at carving out time to sit at the computer and journal as I would like. And now that I have actually secured about five minutes to sit here at my desk, I think I would rather use this time to promote a worthwhile cause as opposed to sharing my thoughts on scripture.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have been confronted with the gruesome reality of the devastation in Haiti caused by the earthquakes over the past week. If you are looking for an opportunity to practice your faith and to put it in action, here is a list of 11 charities that are actively doing work in Haiti. Please consider generously giving to one of these charities.

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