Archives For Books & Media

Leonard Sweet has a new book out and it looks like it’s going to be a fun one to read.

Viral: How Social Networking Is Poised To Ignite Revival takes up the subject of the God-given desire to know others — form relationships, and the fact that most of the current social-media generation have found a place of belonging outside the organized church.  So how do we bring them together?

Viral: How Social Networking Is Poised To Ignite Revival by Leonard Sweet

God came to earth to invite us, personally, into a relationship.  And while Christians at times downplay relationships, the social-media generation is completely sold on the idea.


Check out this short video clip where I share how I’m looking forward to sitting down to read the book.

VIRAL: How Social Networking Is Poised To Ignite Revival

by Leonard Sweet // Published by WaterBrook Press

ISBN: 978-0-307-45915-2

240 pages.  Also available as an e-book.


So I have one big question for you right now — Does the TGIF generation (Twitter, Google, iPhone, Facebook) have something to learn from the Gutenburg generation?  Or vice versa?

This is the second in a series of guest posts by Howard Freeman – Founder and Principal of Zoey Creative Development, a charitable giving consultancy in NYC serving both organizations and also individual philanthropists.

He is also the author of the upcoming book on online giving called, ‘Making A Difference 2.0’ (Skyhorse Publishing, May 2012) and can be reached at



Last time we looked at how to find more money.

Christian organizations should avail themselves of select professional tools like prospect research, because fundraising and engaging donors in a vision is a profession and should be approached with professional standards and ethics.

This week we look at raising more money. Our recommendation is not exactly ‘orthodox’ by traditional fundraising standards. But it is biblical.

Most organizations try to employ increasing numbers of tactics to make people give larger gifts and more frequently.  Some of these techniques are certainly useful, such as one- or two-click online giving, multiple methods of giving, fundraising events, classes in budgeting (to reduce debt and free up income for giving), etc.

But the truly radical way to get people to give is to teach them what the Bible has to say about money, who Jesus is, and calling them to live a holistically generous life.

What makes it radical is to do it with no expectation of return.  (Try passing this by your church finance team!)

One group doing this very well and offering programs almost free to Christian organizations is Generous Giving.

Their ‘Journey of Generosity’ (JOG) events now have metrics to show that the transformation of attendees is not just deeper discipleship but—to make those finance teams happy—fuller coffers.  Of those surveyed:

  • 75% say that the JOG “changed their perspective or practice related to generosity.”
  • 43% say they have already made a new gift they would not have made before the JOG.
  • 76% say they plan to make a gift in the next 12 months they would not have made before the JOG.
  • 97% say they have talked about the impact with someone else.
  • 77% say they plan to attend another GG event in the next 12 months.

The key, though, is that it must be done for them, and not for your organizational budget.

While space doesn’t allow here, studies by George Barna and Brian Kluth show that regularly talking about the budget from the pulpit can increase giving marginally, but teaching on generosity can increase giving exponentially.

In the next and final post, we look at something—stewardship—that the best secular and faith-based organizations both do well.

And I use the metaphor of the world’s oldest profession.  (It’s not what you think…)

As we have pushed forward into the information age, ministry has followed suit in many ways. . . ministry work has evolved so that it isn’t strictly about counseling, facilitating discipleship, teaching on a one-to-one or one-to-some basis. Sophistication in communication resources has allowed growth-oriented ministries to find themselves planning, producing & presenting more content, running more outreach programs, serving more people by collaborating in teams and more.

This has changed the daily routine of ministry work a bit for some.

Have you ever had meetings to plan volunteer training, or leadership lunches, or ministry team retreats?

I’m sure you have at some point, if its not already a regular occurrence in your work.

Are you aware that you’ve gotten to the point where you are meeting about meetings?

Today is a Monday, and it’s typically a meeting-heavy day here.  I already know not to schedule any meaningful calls or meetings with new people on Mondays because I’ll be consumed with various standing meetings.   In the end, Monday’s are not really a day where I “get work done.”  Have you ever felt the same thing?

How do you change this? At least for the people you manage and interact with?

Before you figure it out, here’s a great TED talk where Jason Fried discusses “Why work doesn’t happen at work?” to put it into context:

One of my colleagues at work, Rich Birch, has offered up this response:


The author, Al Pittampalli, is trying to dig one layer deeper than usual to figure out how to radically change our work habits around meeting and productivity.

Rich has arranged an opportunity for us to sit down internally with Al this coming January, and I’m excited to read his book, READ THIS BEFORE YOUR NEXT MEETING — and then interact with him to see how I can activate some of the insights for my own praxis in year ahead.

I definitely want to ramp up productivity in the next year, what about you?


QUESTION: Are you sick of meetings? What do you do *during* your inefficient meetings? Got any tips to make meetings radically useful to everyone that comes? Share your rant or tip below in the comments. I’m looking forward to hearing all of it!

If you’re a Christian techie, two of the big names to take note of might be:

  • Tim Keller
  • Google

Well, what happens when they intersect?

Basically you get Tim Keller speaking at Google HQ in their Authors@Google series.

Dr. Keller has spoken there before, and it’s one of the the more popular videos (approaching 200,000 views) on the web featuring Dr. Keller.

The latest book out of Redeemer City to City‘s Content Labs is The Meaning of Marriage.


So Google’s invited him back to talk about the book and the Christian view of Marriage.   Take a looksie at the hour long talk . . . Continue Reading…

Hurricane Irene stole the stage this weekend as everyone and everything was mobilized on account of the incoming storm of the decade.

New York subways, mass transit, airports, etc have all been shut down. Even Redeemer Presbyterian Church cancelled Sunday services on the East Side and West Side.

Many, many churches cancelled services this weekend. The only services that were left untouched seemed to be the 160+ Internet Churches including Liquid Church Online and That’s where I personally plan to go to worship with others in community this weekend.

But Tim Keller’s congregation wasn’t left high and dry with this storm in town. Irene might be able to shut a lot of things down, but apparently not so for heralds of the text. . .

Redeemer church published their worship bulletin as well as a free mp3 download of Tim Keller’s sermon, LORD OF THE STORM.

If you are stranded, cooped up inside, or just able to take in a great sermon message, CLICK HERE to download the timely sermon message where Tim Keller preaches from the Book of Luke.

Today I got a new book in the mail from Zondervan that had a nice and shiny cover that’s about our desire & drive to always choose to go for the nice and shiny covers on our lives. . .superficial over substantial.

VENEER: Living Deeply in a Surface Society is a book that sets out to call out some of the “real” challenges we have in living out Christian lives in today’s media-rich, materialistic, techno-buzzing, hollywood-worshipping society.

I’m particularly interested to see what Tim Willard and Jason Locy have to say in particular about Technology in this book.

I have had some interesting informal conversations with the authors to date about some topics tangential to this book, and I can tell you there’s some good stuff brewing here. Thoughtful. Insightful. Authentic.

This video intro sets-up the book pretty well. And from what I can understand, the Veneer book will provide you with an interesting critique of the current times — and at the same time put forth a challenge to many that decide to plunge in and remove some veneer.

Can’t wait to share with you my own takeaways after I go through the book myself including how this book pushes me to re-think various aspects of my own daily praxis involving technology, social media relationship building and more.

I was excited at what showed up in my mailbox today.  Psychology Press sent me a copy of The Science of Giving which I’ve been wanted to read ever since I first heard about what Daniel Oppenheimer and Christopher Olivola have assembled in this text.

Why am I interested in this book? Because raising money so important to any ministry, cause-related or non-profit organization.

Learning why people give, how people give, when people give, etc is critical to fundraising success — especially since success in fund raising has no direct connection in the actual efficiency or urgency of need that the organization is focused upon.

Here’s one important difference between this book’s content and what’s out there already on the topic:

Our understanding of charitable giving is based primarily upon the intuitions of fundraisers or correlational data which cannot establish causal relationships. By contrast, the chapters in this book study charity using experimental methods in which the variables of interest are experimentally manipulated. As a result, it becomes possible to identify the causal factors that underlie giving, and to design effective intervention programs that can help increase the likelihood and amount that people contribute to a cause.

In 2007, charities raised over $300 BILLION.  But the two editors think that if attention was paid to the science of the giving process and action, they could do much much much better.  Worthy causes need to pay attention to some of the learnings found in this preliminary text on the matter.

As I go through this book’s 14 studies you’ll be hearing more from me about what jumps out at me and some of what I’m learning about the science behind the decision making process of giving. . .

The Science of Giving: Experimental Approaches to the Study of Charity

  • Hardcover: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Psychology Press; 1 edition (October 21, 2010)
  • ISBN-10: 1848728859
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848728851
  • Top 100 book in Amazon’s Philanthropy & Charity category

Everyone pretty much knows how stinky-winky the NIV Bible can be because of copyright issues.  Yuck.

It’s not like the King James version, whose text we can use freely anywhere, whenever we want. Nope, the using the NIV means you’re up against all the commercial interests of the entity behind that very popular translation.

So can you imagine my excitement to hear that for a limited time only – during a specific 400 hours to be exact – I’ll be able to download the entire NIV legitimately to my iPhone this coming weekend.

Yup, YouVersion has done it again to provide great value, accessibility and practicality by striking the deal.

Here’s the details to get the New International Version of the Holy Bible to go with you wherever, whenever you want on your iPhone. . .

. . .a special 400-hour promotion made possible through a partnership with Biblica and Zondervan. Exclusively through the Bible App™ you’ll be able to download the New International Version (NIV) using an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Android device…absolutely free. Downloading the NIV means you’ll be able to read it anytime, anywhere—even when you can’t connect to your service provider or the Internet, and after the 400 hour promotion is over. This special offer only lasts for a limited time, starting THIS SATURDAY, February 12, at 8:00 PM Eastern and ending at 12:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, March 1, marking the first availability of the NIV update in print.

All you have to do is go into the YouVersion HOLY BIBLE APP and follow these three steps:
step 1 for downloading the bible to your iphone

QUESTION: What Bible have you been relying upon on your iPhone, Droid or smartphone?  And will you be downloading this free NIV Bible during this next week?

Ravi Zacharias can be found on the bookshelves and airwaves across the country.  There’s good reason —  Zacharias is an associate professor at Oxford University.  His audiences have included the White House, the Pentagon, the British Parliament, writers of the peace accord in South Africa, the president’s cabinet and parliament in Peru, the Lenin Military Academy and the Center for Geopolitical Strategy in Moscow.  Zacharias has authored /edited twenty books, including Walking from East to West:(Zondervan, 2006), The Grand Weaver (Zondervan, 2007), Can Man Live without God (Word, 1994), was also awarded the Gold Medallion for best book in the category of doctrine and theology.  So his reputation certainly precedes him when picking up this book.

This time, he has pulled together an apologetics book for the masses.  The first third of the book taps six influential peers like Allister McGrath and John Lennox to address some of the questions that are relevant in today’s culture.  Topics of atheism, Islam, Eastern Religions and Natural Sciences are addressed.

In the second portion of the book, Zacharias assembled four chapters that deal with different facets of the apologetics discipline itself — such as cultural and philosophical challenges to the Christian faith.

The last section deals with spiritually grounding the discipline of apologetics for the lay person.  Here the reader is reminded: “We need to recognize the fact that there is one aspect of apologestics that involves presentation of truth, taking into account philosophy, history, science, arts and so on.  But there is another aspect of apologetics — the expression of love within the Christian community — that is the final proof that we are the disciples of the Lord Jesus (John 13:34-35; 15:9)”  pg. 249

Many people will pick up this book because they are familiar with the clarity of Zacharias’ preaching.  However, it must be noted that he authors only two chapters in the entire book.  The upside is that the reader is introduced to a variety of Zacharias’ peers that are equally skillful with the word.

In general, the tone of writing is a much more conversational one than some other apologetics resources.  In a way, this book can be used to firm up one’s faith and confidence vs. preparing to win opponents over through arguments or artful dialogue.

This book would be of value to most Christian readers, largely because most laity don’t usually encounter thoughtful discussion on the topics covered in the book.  It will help readers become better informed on general themes and responses that the Christian faith has for each circumstance.  However, it is questionable whether this particular resource would actually lend itself to preparing someone “defend” the faith they are living as the cover points to.

Here’s a video clip to give you a sense of the force behind Zacharias’ engagement with these subjects:

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as a review copy. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Dr. Timothy Keller, founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC has something to say about Justice and the Church.

Curious, that type of justice being prescribed is a “generous” one.  In a nut shell, it is in the character of God and we are called to live it out, just as Micah 6:8 tells us plainly.

While his first NY Times Best Seller, The Reason for God, was aimed at non-believers generally, this book directs the challenge toward a readership within the church community.

Non-US Version of the fover for Generous Justice by Tim Keller

Here’s the first chapter to whet your appetite on Dr. Keller’s latest teaching on the subject: Continue Reading…