Hammocks, Books and Coffee

“What are your hobbies?” is common question that I’ve been asked over the years and one that I’ve never really been able to answer.  Sports? Not a chance. Woodworking? Not if it should look good.  Handyman? My wife does a better job than me.

In the last few years I’ve come to realize that my hobby is reading.  I love to read while sitting in my Kammock (a camping hammock) and drinking coffee (yep, that would be HOPE Coffee).  As I’ve read book after book after book seeking to learn how to become a better husband, father, leader, businessman, I’ve often found myself recommending these books to others who are on this same journey.

I owe many of these book recommendations to my friend and mentor, Keegan Williamson, who invested his life in the younger, arrogant, me to pray together weekly and talk through what God was teaching us in these books.  It took many years of the saturation of meeting with Keegan and letting God speak to me through these books that I finally realized how close to burning out and crashing I had been.  Keegan’s ministry of Seek First (English) and Buscad Primero (Spanish) has helped hundreds of leaders look at life and ministry holistically and to hold oneself accountable.

So here is Brian’s Book List with a few comments included.  Perhaps this will be encouraging to you on your journey…

Books (in no particular order)
  • Dreaming Big – Helpful in reviewing how God has designed you and what direction he may have for you in the future.
  • Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership – Excellent material to check your heart and keep you spiritually on track as God allows you to lead others.
  • 40/40 Vision -This is a great study in Ecclesiastes and a very helpful preparation book on how to avoid a “mid-life crisis” – or at least to be prepared for the warning signs.
  • Mission Drift – This is a great book for all board members of a church / mission agency / kingdom business to read in order to keep from drifting from the gospel focus.
  • Entrepreneurial StrengthsFinder – Are you an entrepreneur?  Find out with this book the likelihood of your abilities to launch and sustain a new business.  The beginning chapters hold a great economics lesson before it dives into the well laid out material to help you identify your skill / passion and gifting for business.
  • Never Fly Solo: Lead with Courage, Build trusting Partnerships, and Reach New Heights in Business – This is a helpful book for those that think they can “make it on their own” without delegating or without any help.  This book helps one understand their need to place a team around them that they mutually trust and respect.
  • Sacred Waiting – Waiting on God in a World that Waits for Nothing – This is an excellent study on how God uses those periods of waiting in your life to accomplish His will.
  • Wilderness Wanderings: Learning to Live the Zigzag Life – This short book helps to explain how God uses the wilderness times in our lives to help us grow.
  • Strengths Based Leadership – If you are curious about your leadership style, this book will help you identify where you should focus your energy.
  • Leadership as an Identity – If you are leading others, this book is helpful in understanding your heart and purpose as you lead.
  • Toxic Charity – This is an easy read on a difficult subject: How to help the poor.  It dives into practical ways to help people in poverty that actually help them without harming them.
  • It Starts at Home: A Practical Guide to Nurturing Lifelong Faith An excellent book to help families teach their kids the importance of faith in God.  Don’t rely on the church to instill faith in your kids; it is the responsibility of the parents.

Mission Trip Resources

  • PovertyCure – I highly recommend the DVD series PovertyCure as it relates to cultures, poverty along with physical and spiritual needs.
  • Helping without Hurting – for short term mission trips – This video series can be seen free if your church has a membership to www.rightnowmedia.org . Or you can also find it at Chalmers Institute.
I’ve included two resources below that are not from a Christian perspective.  However, they hold some key information for doing a “social enterprise” type of business in the ministry context.