Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Dropping like Stars" by Rob Bell book review

I pretty much read everything Rob Bell writes, so when I stumbled on his new book "Dropping like Stars" in Barnes and Noble, I did a double-take. For one I didn't know it was coming out and two it's an over-sized book, not your normal book shelf-type or size. So I grabbed it up found a comfy chair in the corner and thought I'd check it out. We'll about 30-45 minutes later it was finished. Not sure if I owe Mr. Bell or Barnes and Noble or Zondervan some money or not?

Here are a few things I took away from the book and a few things that stick out
  • Whenever I read Bell I can hear him say certain lines, maybe from NOOMA videos, maybe listening to him on podcasts. Does any one else hear an author speak? (That last sentence really makes me look crazy,but I'm leaving it in.)
  • The book is about the topic of suffering, so right away Bell captures you, cause you have been there.
  • Opening illlustration of a hospital hallway...some hallways in a hospital are filled with joy, while others arer filled with tears and pain.
  • Suffering unities us. We hear a story of suffering similar to ours and we thinkon say,"I've been there."
  • Suffering eleminates the unesscessary and shows us what matters.
  • God wastes nothing.
I took home this that we need to look at suffering differently. Rain looks like dropping stars to a little boy, and Bell says he never saw it that way....much like suffering when we realize it unities, elemintes the unesscessary, and shows us what matters.

Overall it was a good stuff, a nooma video put into words and art, but too pricey at $34.95. B+, not for content, but for the price of the book.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Are you Hungry?

I was talking to a good friend of mine just yesterday who was dealing with a person saying the excuse "I'm not being fed at church." Mark Batterson is pastor in DC that I follow had this to say about the subject and I think he nailed it.

"Permission to speak frankly?

One of the common complaints people make when leaving a church is this: I’m not being fed. As a preacher, my goal is to nourish our congregation via a well-rounded diet of sermons. And I try to preach every sermon like it’s my last, but let me push back. My kids learned to feed themselves when they were toddlers. If you’re not being fed, that’s your fault. I’m afraid we’ve unintentionally fostered a subtle form of spiritual codependency in our churches. It is so easy to let others take responsibility for what should be our responsibility. So we let our pastors study the Bible for us. Here’s a news flash: the Bible was unchained from the pulpit nearly five hundred years ago during an era of history called the Middle Ages.

If you are relying on a preacher to be fed, I fear for you. Listening to a sermon is second-hand knowledge. It is learning based on someone else’s words or experiences. A sermon is no replacement for first-hand knowledge. You’ve got to see it and hear it and experience it for yourself. It’s not enough to hear the truth. You have to own it. Or more accurately, it has to own you. Honestly, I’d rather have people hear one word from the Lord than a thousand of my sermons. And that happens when you open your Bible and start reading.

Mark Batterson is the pastor of National Community Church in Washington DC. He also the author of Wild Goose Chase, and In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. Check-out his blog at"

Friends, you can't just eat on Sunday mornings, and maybe a meal on Wed. nights spiritually speaking. The question is....Are you hungry?