MY BOOKS - WHAT I’VE WRITTEN - WHY AND WHAT I READ
I’ve spoken several places, at both Christian and non-Christian events and have had so many people recently ask the question why I wrote the books I did, and what I read, that I decided to answer it in a blog.
TRANSFORMATION – is about how to make disciples that engage their city and world. It’s a book for pastors, church leaders, and everyday disciples that defines a global process many global churches use. Several global churches have the same model but none learned it from the other – we each were using it without realizing it. It tells some of our story at NorthWood – and is literally how we make disciples and deploy people around the world today. For those of you that are non-Christian – it will help you understand how we think and try to help followers see the world. People who helped me learn all this – E. Stanley Jones, Tolstoy, Willard, Foster, and others. The Gospels Matt 5-7, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians – with a lil’ bit of Romans.
GLOCALIZATION – My favorite book. Mostly read by college students and business and government leaders. It’s a primer book for Christians on what the world is like, and how we engage the domains of society to see transformation. I’ve studied the Old Testament about how Israel was put together – Matt. 25 and developed a concept of following Jesus where your job is your number one ministry. As you engage society at the level of economics, health, education, agriculture, communication, governance, social & civil society, etc., you serve others. We deal with a new model of global engagement for the 21st century – instead of an 18th century model of sending and funding a few to go – the whole church goes through serving others through their job. It deals with going through the front door, becoming Gandhi’s best friend, Serving not to convert but because we are converted, etc., Fareed Zakaria, Thomas Friedman, Jonathan Sachs, Kuyper, Loren Cunningham, Kevin Kelly, Joel Kotkin, Ron Heifitz – Genesis & Deuteronomy, Proverbs, Esther, Jonah, Ruth, Matthew, Acts.
THE MULTIPLYING CHURCH – How churches mother multiple congregations in their city and nation. This book deals with the values, strategies and some of the training. I’m a big proponent of local churches multiplying vs. institutions. People I read Ed Stetzer, David Garrison, Alan Hirsch, Neil Cole, Dave Ferguson, David Bosch, Acts.
REALTIME CONNECTIONS – This tells the stories of NorthWood church members and others I’ve been involved with on how they use their jobs to honor God, serve others, and share their faith. Diplomats, plumbers, housewives, school teachers, businessmen, etc. It deals with issues that you face like separation of church and state – why that matters, religious freedom globally and how different people see it. It redefines the Great Commission in the 21st Century. It shows how we need to go and connect more than just show up and do our own thing globally. My good friend Eboo Patel did the forward and my good friend Rick Warren also – to have one of the top leading Muslim leaders who advises the President and one of the top leading National and Global pastors do an endorsement is wild. I wrote it for everyday followers of Jesus.
I read lots of books for peoples perspective – a book takes a while to write, publish, etc., and time passes too fast – so I also read journals to stay more current. For Islam my favorite scholar is John Esposito, Tariq Ramadan, (don’t get any John) Bernard Lewis, Vali Nasr. I love the Chief Rabbi of London – Jonathan Sachs – anything he writes. If you’re reformed – you will go crazy over him; start with Dignity of Difference and then real quick right after reading that go to the Home We Build Together. Whatever Fareed Zakaria writes, I read – I think he’s our sharpest mind in the U.S. Watch him on CNN his program is GPS, also he writes for Newsweek. For religious freedom issues, Chris Sieple, John Gresham, Steven Waldman’s book Founding Faith. I read US News World Report, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Atlantic Monthly; I could go on and on.
I have three books in the pipeline – except for one – they are all global and will be going to a more global audience on global faith issues, and a book with a diplomat in Vietnam.
FINALLY – THE MOST IMPORTANT READING I DO AND THE MOST IMPORTANT BOOK I’VE WRITTEN – Every year, starting in January, I read through the Bible – I spend an hour and I read 2 to 4 chapters out of the OT, a chapter in Psalms or Proverbs, and a chapter in the New Testament. I write out a prayer every day after praying and reading over the Scriptures – I write it in the margin of my Bible. It’s powerful. In addition, I start each day by journaling issues I’m facing good and bad – and asking God to speak to me – as he reveals things to me, I write them down. I then reread my journal at the end of the year and see that year as a whole and focus on what God has taught me and what he has done – I’ve done that for years – those books – are my most valuable.
It isn’t enough to read – a man/woman must think and reflect and integrate what they are reading into their life. If they don’t do that, they can be smart but not impactful. If you try to be impactful, but you don’t read, think, learn from others – you’re short-sighted and may have a good career – even grow something – but you’ll never deal with the depths of meaning, purpose, and focus.
Though not asked, yet incredibly related, are the people who speak into my life. Their are Christians – and for some of you this will be hard – their are also non-Christians and I love them all deeply. They have been patient with my questions and loved me despite my immaturity, ignorance, etc. Most of these I know, a few I don’t, but have read their books, etc. (You don’t have to ask people for them to impact your life) You can Google most of them.
Spiritual Counselors: My parents, my big sister, Gene Hollingsworth, Roy Fish, Dallas Willard, Richard Foster, Jim Hylton, and new to the list Terry Virgo, Leighton Ford, E Stanley Jones.
Movement Thinkers: Francis Collins, Kevin Kelly, Alan Hirsch, Jim Collins, Bob Buford, Ed Allen.
Global Thinkers: Oliver McTernan, Prince Turqi-Al Faisal, Fareed Zakaria, John Esposito, Shamil Idriss, Suhail Khan, Richard Haas, Martin Indyk, John Ging,
There are others – I gotta get to work!!!!
Bob is the founder, senior leader, and chief spokesman for Glocal.net . His primary focus is to connect leaders and estabish relationships to explore transformation. Follow Bob on Twitter at @bobrobertsjr.