5 Books You Should Read During African-American History Month

Black History Month, also known as African-American History Month in America, is an annual observance in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom for remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African diaspora.

Research has found that the proportion of young people who are daily readers drops has dropped dramatically in recent years. According to some studies, since 1984, the percentage of 13-year-olds who are weekly readers dropped from 70% to 53%. Even worse, the percentage of 17-year-olds who are weekly readers fell from 64% to a startling 40%. It’s jarring news.  Therefore, I’m sharing my list of reading recommendations.  Here are a few titles that had an impact on my life and that every African-American should read.

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The Mis-Education of the Negro – Carter G. Woodson, Ph.D.

The thesis of Dr. Woodson’s book is that African-Americans of his day were being culturally indoctrinated, rather than taught, in American schools.  This conditioning, he claims, causes African-Americans to become dependent and to seek out inferior places in the greater society of which they are a part. He challenges his readers to become autodidacts and to “do for themselves,” regardless of what they were taught: History shows that it does not matter who is in power… those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end.

Paperback

Kindle Edition

Book Review: Empty Promises

Just finished Empty Promises: The Truth About You, Your Desires, and the Lies You’re Believing by Pete Wilson, author of Plan B, as part of the Thomas Nelson Booksneeze program

 Publisher’s Description:

We all long for more of something in our lives. In our endless pursuit to feel worth and acceptance we find ourselves sacrificing everything for the promise to be a little more beautiful, a little richer, a little more powerful and successful, a little more loved.

How do we break free from these empty pursuits and start chasing the only Promise that will ever satisfy? How do we uncover the hidden idols that are driving us and turn our devotion toward the one true God?

Join Pastor and best-selling author Pete Wilson in discovering the joy and freedom that comes with seeking after God with your whole life. Learn how to replace, and not just relinquish, life’s empty promises by turning your focus and worship toward Him. It is the only thing that will set you absolutely free from the endless pursuit of everything else.

Empty Promises Book Cover

My Thoughts:

I became aware of Pete Wilson after reading his first book Plan B.  I was at a crossroads in life and his book help me think through the issues.  I was thrilled when I saw that I had the opportunity to review Pete Wilson’s new book Empty Promises.  His first one, Plan B, is one that I frequently recommend to others and have been told it has changed their lives.  I also love reading Pete’s blog and couldn’t wait to see what his next book held for me.

Empty Promises: The Truth About You, Your Desires, and the Lies You’re Believing addresses head on the issue of idols in our lives.  Wilson notes that “idolatry is when I look to something that does not have God’s power to give me what only God has the power and authority to give.  He then goes on to explain that we, including those in the church, are practicing idolatry on a daily basis not allowing us to achieve our purposes.  Wilson then chronicles the common idols of our day, including the warning signs that we are worshiping at a false idol.  These idols include; power, success, money, beauty and religion.  Wilson notes that humans are inclined to worship and that only by worshiping God can we achieve our true purpose of reflecting Him.  Wilson finishes with practical tips for connecting with God and throwing off false ones.

 Conclusion:

Not every page in this book will apply to you. But this book is definitely worth the read. You will find yourself in some of those chapters and find out how to pray for those you know who can be found in other chapters of the same book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. 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.” 

Book Review: Healing Is A Choice

Life has a way of dealing us the wrong cards. Many of these cards come with painful circumstances which leave scars. Scars are visible reminders of a painful event in our lives. Steve Arterburn’s book, “Healing Is A Choice” shows us how to deal with our painful past.

In 11 chapters, Arterburn explores 10 choices we need to make if we are to experience the healing that comes from Christ. These Choices are as follows (these are also chapter titles):

  1. The Choice to Connect your life
  2. The Choice to Feel your life
  3. The Choice to Investigate Your Life in Search of Truth
  4. The Choice to Heal Your Future
  5. The Choice to Help Your Life
  6. The Choice to Embrace Your Life
  7. The Choice to Forgive
  8. The Choice to Risk Your Life
  9. The Choice to Serve
  10. The Choice to Preserve

I would recommend it for those who must look at their scars daily. “Healing is a Choice” provides a fresh touch from God. This book shouldn’t replace a pastoral counseling, but could be helpfully useful on your journey towards healing.

FULL DISCLOSURE:

I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson via booksneeze.com in exchange for this fair and honest review.

Are You Fearless?

Imagine your life, wholly untouched by angst. What if faith, not fear, was your default reaction to threats? If you could hover a fear magnet over your heart and extract every last shaving of dread, insecurity, or doubt, what would remain? Envision a day, just one day, where you could trust more and fear less.

Can you imagine your life without fear?

Review
This was a very easy, quick read and I enjoyed it. I think it’s a topic that is very relevant in today’s world, there just seems to be an endless amount of things to fear nowadays. I like the message by the author that with faith, anything is possible. With faith, you have an endless amount of support and can live without fear. Pretty powerful stuff! I think we need more reading material like this, more positive messages like this and reminders how strong a tool faith really is. I thought this was an inspirational read and would recommend it to anyone who’s feeling they’ve kind of lost their footing a bit.

About the Author
In almost 25 years of writing, Max Lucado’s books have been sold 65 million times. He is the only author to have won three Christian Book of the Year awards. In 2005, Reader’s Digest magazine dubbed him “America’s Best Preacher” and in 2004, Christianity Today magazine called him “America’s Pastor.”  His works have appeared on every major national bestseller list including Publishers Weekly, USA Today, The New York Times, Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, and Christian Booksellers Association. He has been featured in countless media outlets and national broadcasts.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for a copy of Fearless and a chance to review this book. Please note that I was not compensated for this review.

Business Books That Transformed My Life This Past Decade – Part 2

As I mentioned in my previous post, I absolutely love reading books!  Consequently, I’ve read a lot of books in the last 10 years.  There are many books that I consider to have greatly been a part of literally transforming my life.  There were many great books that didn’t make my list that are classics and didn’t meet the criteria that I considered.

Additionally, since I have so many recommendations, I’ve decided to break them down into the following categories: Church Growth, Theology, Christian Living, Leadership, Self-Improvement, Business, Sociology, and African-American Studies.  I will devote blog space to cover each category in subsequent posts.

Here we go:

Books That Transformed My Life This Last Decade – Part 1

I love reading books, and like many of you, I read a lot of books in the last 10 years.  Half of the decade I spent in graduate school (finishing up my Doctor of Ministry degree) so there were a lot of books to be read and I just really enjoy reading anyways.  I read about 500 books this last decade and there were a lot of great ones….some good ones….and some not so good ones. But there were definitely some books that stood out and really changed my life.

There are many books that I consider to have greatly been a part of spiritually transforming my life.  When I chose my books there were some basic criteria that I considered:

  1. I didn’t list the bible, because I’m hoping you assume that that is the book that has spiritually transformed me the most.
  2. They were memorable (some books are just forgettable, and these were not)
  3. They didn’t have to be written this decade
  4. They are ones that I recommend to everyone
  5. They are leading works in their field
  6. They are ones that I have read multiple times, or are back on the reading rotation to read again
  7. They needed to have fundamentally shifted some area of my thinking–paradigm shifting influence
  8. They transformed me spiritually (my theology, my ministry, my prayer life, my leadership, my preaching, my counseling, my pastoring, my understanding of humanity, my relationship with God, etc.)

Additionally, since I have so many recommendations, I’ve decided to break them down into the following categories: Church Growth, Theology, Christian Living, Leadership, Self-Improvement, Business, Sociology, and African-American Studies.  I will devote blog space to cover each category in subsequent posts.

Here we go:

Tomorrow Is Closer Than You Think

Microsoft recently released a jaw-dropping video based on some of the their current research projects.  All I can say is OH MY GOODNESS!  These technologies will dramatically change your world and mine.  The video is less than two minutes long and will give you a clear vision for what awaits us within the next ten years!

CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO

As Jonathan Crossfield explains, “These ideas are not science fiction but are just around the corner.  It shows how far things will change in just a few short years and the ramifications for consumer behaviour are massive.”  As an urban pastor who’s technically saavy, I openly ponder if pastors/church leaders will be able to lead this technically saavy generation.

How will the church (and it’s leaders) will need to change in order to be successful?  I would love to hear what you or your church is currently doing to prepare for tomorrow.

This post was inspired by Michael Hyatt © 2009, Michael S. Hyatt.
All rights reserved. Originally published at www.michaelhyatt.com.

Leadership Formula: Change = Pain + Loss x Frustration

Change_2

Currently, I’m reading a new book entitled The Missional Leader by Alan Roxburgh, and boy is it GREAT!  I’m willing to suggest this may be one of the best books I’ve read (so far) regarding leadership and change. 

Thinking about initiating a wide-scale change/transition initiative
in your church or organization?  Here are a couple of questions worth
asking before you dive in…

  1. Are we STRUCTURED for change?

    Is your church or organization structured in a way that will allow the
    RIGHT PEOPLE to lead and make decisions?  If not – do not proceed past GO….do NOT collect $200!

    First things first!!

    If you’re not structured for change, it doesn’t matter how passionate or
    committed you might be to it – there will always be a chance that the
    wrong people could step in to infiltrate, hijack, or sabotage the transition.

  2. Am I COMMITTED to change?

Perhaps the question should be….  "Am I committed to change – NO MATTER WHAT THE COST?

Am I willing to lose people?  Lose money?  Lose popularity?  Lose friendships?  Maybe even lose buildings?

Listen to me……..TRUE CHANGE is COSTLY!  There will be a cost!  And it will be painful.  It will be felt. 

There will be scars and bruises. 

Are you up for it?

Consider that question!  Because if you’re NOT fully, 100%
committed, you better think twice before diving in – for YOUR sake AND
for the sake of those who will believe in your vision and stand by
you.