February 26, 2024
Books, Learning Attitude

Recalling what you have read

Like many of you, I read a lot of books each year. Last year, I finished 63 and I should be pretty close to that number by the end of 2023. But reading a lot of books is not the same as being “well-read”. According to Collins Dictionary, “a well-read person has read a lot of books and has learned a lot from them.” How much have I learned – and how much of the learning can I recall? I frequently find myself trying to recall a book I have read on the topic we are currently discussing. Maybe someone is asking me for a book I would recommend. Or I am trying to find additional information about a topic that I am teaching. Or maybe I am just trying to support a position that I am arguing for, and I remember an idea from a book that I read… Read the whole post
Book Reviews, Prayer, Spiritual Disciplines

Set times of prayer – a discipline of preparation and love

I have recently finished listening to Tyler Staton’s book on prayer – Praying Like Monks, Living Like Fools: An Invitation to the Wonder and Mystery of Prayer. I listened to Tyler Staton preach on the topic of the Lord’s Prayer at a leadership retreat a few months ago. Both his passion for and his experience in prayer impressed me.1 You can listen to these same sermons on the Bridgetown Church’s website. I did not expect this in such a young pastor. In his book, I was further intrigued by his emphasis on the importance of daily set times of prayer. He pointed out that both Jesus and the early church practiced regular times of prayer each day. Jesus and his prayer life Over the years, I have noticed that the Gospels (and particularly Luke) often note that Jesus gave himself to prayer. At this baptism, before he begins a busy… Read the whole post
Gospel, Disciple-making, Lifelong Learning, Book Reviews, Evangelism, Learning Attitude

Adopting the Mindset of a Scout

Why are some people more open to the truth? As missionaries, we want people to change their minds about God and their relationship to him. We frequently are dismayed at how unwilling people are to change their thinking. They resist beliefs that are at odds with those of their parents and culture. But thankfully, sometimes we encounter people who are amazingly willing to reconsider their beliefs and look seriously at the truth claims of Scripture. We rejoice at what God has done to prepare them for the Gospel. We may find out that there are circumstances and past events in their lives that have made them more open than their neighbours. But how do we describe this openness and how do we cultivate this openness in others and in ourselves? I believe we can find some answers in Julia Galef’s book, The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly… Read the whole post
DMM, Book Reviews, Missiological Issues, Church Planting

Are there shortcuts in missions?

The book, “No Shortcut to Success: a Manifesto for Modern Missions” by Matt Rhodes piqued my interest as soon as I saw the title. Over the past couple of decade, I have often reflected on the question of what success means for missionaries. A number of the posts on this blog present those reflections. How does the author define success? Despite my expectation, Matt Rhodes does not put much effort into defining success for missionaries in his book. While admitting that every missionary dreams of success (p. 53), the author is quick to question the validity of many so-called “success stories” in missions (p.47). He is adamant that success can not be measured by numbers alone. Ultimately, “success” in ministry isn’t a matter of numbers but of ministering in a way that honors the Lord. Rhodes, Matt. No Shortcut to Success (9Marks) (p. 56). Crossway. Kindle Edition. According to Rhodes,… Read the whole post
Cross-Cultural Living, Book Reviews, Cultural learning

Cultural Views on Wealth

When I was growing up, my parents were very clear about what I should talk about with others in order to respect what our culture saw as being polite. There seemed to be a very long list of taboo topics that people weren’t supposed to talk about. I chuckle now as I think back to the line “and never, EVER discuss politics.” My, how things have evolved in my home culture in my lifetime!  Another topic one did not discuss was money. Wealth (or lack thereof), debt, spending habits and amount of one’s income were all generally off limits. We should not discuss these topics with people outside of our immediate family. I observed that this was an accepted cultural attitude—your money was no one else’s business. I remember once asking my parents if one of their friends was RICH. By their response, you would have thought I swore or something. But I guess asking… Read the whole post
Character, Cross-Cultural Living, Book Reviews, Learning Attitude

Global Humility – A book, a challenge, a prayer

Editor’s note: This book review was originally posted on the blog, A Life Overseas. It is reposted with permission from the author, Marilyn Gardner. Marilyn grew up in Pakistan and as an adult has lived in Pakistan, Egypt, the United States, and most recently Northern Iraq. She currently lives in Boston where she works with community health workers from immigrant and refugee communities. You can find her blogging at Communicating Across Boundaries. This review of the book Global Humility was written in 2018, just after she moved to Northern Iraq. “Building bridges means moving beyond my enclave of cultural comfort, moving to a place of cultural humility and willingness to learn.”   Marilyn Gardner, Between Worlds, Essays on Culture and Belonging  Five weeks ago we moved from an apartment in the multicultural city of Cambridge, Massachusetts to an apartment in a city nestled beneath the kewa rash (black mountains) of… Read the whole post
Teaming, Assessment Tools, Book Reviews

What is your genius at work?

I have taken many different personality and strength assessments over the years. Myers-Briggs, Grip-Birkman, MinistryStyles, StrengthsFinder, DiSC, Enneagram, and 5 Voices are a few that stick out. Part of my motivation in taking these assessments was to evaluate their effectiveness. I wanted to see how well they helped team members understand one another better. Would they help us in our training of new cross-cultural workers? But I have to admit a big part of my motivation was just my innate curiosity to understand myself better. Shortcomings of personality assessments Each of these assessments has their strengths. I have learned something from each of them about how I am wired. They have helped me to understand the challenges I face in working with colleagues of different personalities. But none of the ones above helped me understand what specific personalities / strengths are needed on a team. How do the different personalities… Read the whole post
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