Churchill’s Trial

No statesman shaped the twentieth century more than Winston Churchill –Larry P. Arnn, Churchill’s Trial

Winston Churchill’s dedication to constitutionalism defines statesmanship at its best.  The book by Larry P. Arnn, Churchill’s Trial: Winston Churchill and the Salvation of Free Government, delves into the political life and impact of Churchill.

The book is divided into three parts:

  • Part 1: War
  • Part 2: Empire
  • Part 3: Peace

These three sections center around the three challenges to liberty that Churchill faced – Nazism, Soviet communism, and the slide toward socialism.  Reading through the book, I found it timely for our own nation, America, today.

The book is well researched with lots of footnotes for reference. The book does not read like a fantasmical adventure novel, or show like a docudrama.  What is provided is a historical record of how Winston Churchill saved free government. What is presented here is a biographical picture of Winston Churchill that is not commonly seen, it is the picture of a post-war Winston Churchill.

For the history or government reading buff, this book is highly recommended, and should be an essential part of your collection for the time period.  If, however, you are looking for a light, entertaining account of the life of Winston Churchill, this is not it.

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Architectural Evangelism

Want to know more about creating a sacred space?  Check out these podcast interviews with Tim Cool and Mel McGowan.

Tim Cool

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Counting the Real Cost of Church Buildings [unSeminary Podcast]

Current Trends in Church Facilities w/Jim Tomberlin  [unSeminary Podcast]

 

 

Mel McGowanmelmcgowan

Sacred Space  [Worship Mythbusters Podcast]

A Deeper Magic  [Ears of Steel Podcast]

 

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Sacred Spaces

I have long been a proponent of the house church idea.  Main reason being, that I feel this is consistent with the New Testament model of “church”.  It was the New Testament Christians, worshipping in this way that led to souls coming to Christ, and many wonders and signs being performed.

51UAoL+c39L._SY498_BO1,204,203,200_The costs associated with church buildings was one of the main reasons that I gave up tithing.  The two top expenditures of organized religion are salaries, and facilities.  I have felt that money given (“tithe”) should go directly to serving the people that need it, not to bricks and mortar.

Though I still support these positions, I have had a change of heart (or mind) in some respects. This change can be attributed to the following factors.

 

Personal experience. I have had the privilege of being part of, or leading, small groups, bible studies, and home fellowships. In these I have experienced great relationships, and spiritual growth.  However, these small group/home church gatherings never seem to last (or stand the test of time).  Over time, people get busy, or drift apart.

Within 21st century, Christian, American culture it seems people are less committed to small group/house church meetings and environments. The idea of church taking place outside of a dedicated ‘church building’ is too foreign to our society.

People, today, are guarded and skeptical about going to a strangers house.  This actually could provide a hindrance to the spread and sharing of the gospel.  When people are being introduced to something for the first time, or meeting someone, they generally prefer that it happens in a public place or on a “level playing field”.  The idea of going to a strangers home, where that person will most likely be the only one that does not know everybody, to discuss spiritual matters, can be daunting and intimidating.  There is a legitimate need for a common and public gathering place.

Alternate viewpoints. When people form an opinion of an issue, they tend to only read, listen to, and dialogue with only those that hold the same opinion.  I like to get alternate viewpoints on opinions and ideas that I hold.  In the last few weeks I picked up and read two books on church buildings.

The first of these is called, Design InterventionI first met this author, Mel McGowan, through his Outreach magazine articles on church design.  Mel, a former Disney Imagineer, is founder and chief creative officer of Visioneering Studios, an Envision.Design.Build. studio.41ZUdl6vJpL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_

The second book that I read is, Why Church Buildings Matter, by Tim Cool. Tim is founder of Cool Solutions Group. His company has assisted over 400 churches with facility planning, development, and life cycle management.

Both authors state that  buildings are a tool only.  Not every church must have a building. The church building should be part of the story of the community in which it is built. A properly thought out, and built facility, can be an evangelism tool in itself, referred to as architectural evangelism.

When these authors refer to a church building and the importance of these structures they are not referring to big box buildings, or steepled structures that create a real estate “black hole” in the community.  These “black hole” structures are those church buildings that sit empty for most of the time (except for a few hours on Saturdays or Sundays), and are not contributing anything to the community (tax base, services, or otherwise).

They liken the church building to the Biblical equivalent of the town well.  The well was the central meeting place for the towns people. The well was a vital part of the culture. Jesus met, and changed the life of, the woman at the well. Life, and interactions, happened everyday at the well.  Church buildings should be designed in this way.  Church buildings should be structures that people are drawn to, they should be facilities that are open to the public all week, and from these, services should be provided, and community needs met.  The church building should be a vital part of the community in which it is placed.

These books provide the ideals, but they also provide practical guidance on the process of church building and development.  They both include great examples of churches that are being wells in their communities.  Churches built within the context of the surrounding culture, providing services to the community, and leading people to Jesus, is a cause worthy of our investment.

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Incident Command for Church Leaders

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Growing up in church and organized religion, I have been subjected to more than one poorly organized camp, retreat, or mission trip.  These events are always well intention-ed and purposeful.  The organizers undergo multiple hours, days, and weeks of planning.  However, it always seems that the event never quite goes as smoothly as it should. This is especially true if you are part of the leadership or organizing team.

One of the things that every firefighter must learn is NIMS ICS. This is the National Incident Management System, Incident Command System. This is a system of organization and management that can be applied to any emergency scene and ensure clear organization and completion of tasks.  Though this system can be applied to the small incidents, is is vitally important on large scale incidents that stretch over multiple geographic locations and jurisdictional boundaries, or are prolonged events.

Here is what the basic ICS structure looks like:

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Each of these boxes represent a functional position and team.  Depending on the size of the incident and man power available, each of these can be the responsibility of one person (leading a team) or one person can take responsibility for multiple positions (and teams).  The ideal situation, however, is one person dedicated to one responsibility, leading one team, dedicated to one function.  Lets look at each of these functions

  • Command – The incident commander is the single individual that is responsible for the entire incident.  He is the highest authority for decision making during the incident or event.  The command staff is made up of a Safety Officer, Public Information Officer, and Liason Officer.
    • Safety officer – this person is responsible for the safety of all personnel that are working the incident or event.
    • Public information officer (PIO) – this person is responsible for dealing with the media, and releasing necessary information regarding the incident to the public
    • Liason officer – this person is responsible for connecting groups, departments, and public officials.  The liason officer can communicate needs and concerns between the incident commander and these other parties.  The liaison officer serves as a single point of contact for the outside agencies and individuals.
  • Operations – the Operations Chief is responsible for the resources and personnel that are  working the incident.  It is his job to ensure that the tactics and strategies are implemented.
  • Planning – the planning section is responsible for developing the plans, tactics, and strategies that will be used to accomplish the incident objectives. Prior to the incident, some plans and standard operating procedures will immediately be implemented.  As the incident unfolds the plans will need to be created that reflect how the changing scene and issues will need to be addressed.
  • Logistics – logistics is responsible for all the equipment and resources needed and used on the incident. It is the responsibility of logistics to make sure that any tools and equipment that is needed are procured, taken where they need to be, distributed, and accounted for at the end of the incident.  This can be items ranging from food and meals, to shovels and rakes, to shelter and vehicles.
  • Finance – Finance controls the budget and tracks expenditures for the incident or event. The know how much has been spent on the incident.  When there is a need for money the incident command will request the funds through the finance section, it is their responsibility to find the funds (or to say, “there is no more money”).

The ICS structure, though created for emergency scenes, can be applied to many different industries, events, and activities. This can even be applied in the administration of your churches next camp, retreat, mission trip, or local event.  Lets look at the position responsibilities within a ministry setting. We will utilize the acronym C-FLOP for help in remembering the basic ICS structure.

  • C – Command – this will be the individual that is in charge of the event (camp, retreat, mission trip, etc.). This needs to be an individual that will be physically present at the event, and will take full responsibility for the pre-planning and any issues that arrive during the event.  This person must have decision making authority.  This could be the senior pastor, youth leader, missions team leader, or another designated individual.  The other command staff positions – safety, public information, liaison – should be filled if possible, if not the ‘incident commander’ will have to take on those responsibilities, as well.
  • F – Finance – an individual, usually the treasurer or their designee, must be in charge of budgeting, expenses, and record keeping of the finances of the event.  The person serving in the role needs to be available throughout the duration of the event.  As issues arrise and funds are needed, the ‘incident commander’ should contact the finance officer and request the needed funds.  It is the responsibility of the finance person to locate the funds and provide real budget numbers on what can be accomplished, or what cannot be done.
  • L – Logistics – the responsibilities of the logistics personnel should include all trip planning, event set-up, meal arrangements, transportation, and other accommodations.  Additionally, any tools or equipment that will be needed at the site or during the event are the responsibility of the logistics team.  If the need arises for specific items during the event, the commander will request that item through logistics and they will obtain it, deliver it, track it, collect it, and return it.
  • O – Operations – these are the individuals that are leading the people that will carry out the mission or work the event.
  • P – Planning – the planning section is the personnel who have planned out the event (prior to).  Planning must also be done a daily basis, each day planning for the next.

This is the basic model.  As the event grows in size this basic model can be expanded. Where these responsibilities may be conducted by one individual for a short-term or small scale event, each of these sections will require a full team of people for a large event or multi-day camp or mission trip.

Applying incident command to your next camp, retreat, mission trip, or event, will go a long way in assuring a successful organized event, that completes its stated objectives and goals.

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Grill it, Braise it, Broil it

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be difficult when it comes to meal planning. American Heart Association Grill It, Braise It, Broil It: And 9 Other Easy Techniques for Making Healthy Meals, published by the American Heart Association, is here to change all that.

The recipes within this book are both, delicious and easy to make.  Cooking instructions and ingredients are clear and easy to read.  Each recipe has a complete, per serving nutritional breakdown.  The book divides the recipes by cooking method.  These methods include:

  • Slow-cookingimgl1554
  • Microwaving
  • Blending
  • Grilling
  • Stir-frying
  • Braising
  • Stewing
  • Poaching
  • Broiling
  • Roasting
  • Baking

Part of cooking books that I love is their design.  I love cook books that are full of food pictures.  This paper-back book is a very simple design.  Out of the nearly 300 pages, and 175 recipes there are only 8 photos. These are bunched together toward the front section of the book.  The rest of the pages are filled with recipe text simply printed in black and white. If you are looking for a cook book  to keep on your coffee table or kitchen counter as a design element or for “food inspiration” this is not it.

If you are looking for healthy recipes that taste great, then this is the book you want to get. American Heart Association Grill It, Braise It, Broil It,provides many different cooking options that covers all food groups and cultures, and utilizes a broad range of ingredients.

Here’s to you and always having a healthy meal plan!

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Navy SEAL Art of War

As a leader I am always trying to read the latest on leadership.  One of my favorite books, that I try to read at least once a year, is Sun Tzu’s, Art of War. Rob Roy’s, The Navy SEAL Art of War: Leadership Lessons from the World’s Most Elite Fighting Forcebrings these together.  In this book the reader we get timeless leadership principles, presented in an Art of War fashion.

Art of WarRob Roy is a retired Navy SEAL who now runs an intensive leadership course based on his military training. His book shares the principles that he has learned from a career as a SEAL and teaches the principles of his SOT-G leadership course.

At only 200 pages this book is an easy read.  Roy’s leadership principles are broken down into 57 short chapters.  These principles include such ideas as Commander Intent, the OODA loop, the importance of trust, caring about those you lead, seven characteristics of extraordinary teams, elements of the warrior mindset, executing a plan, and much more.

This book follows in the same vein as It’s Your Ship (Abrashoff), and Take Command(Wood).  If you enjoy these books, that connect military principles to leadership and development, then The Navy SEAL Art of War is a book that you will want to add to your collection!

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A Complete Toolkit for Leadership

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Many are familiar with the works of leadership expert, John Maxwell.  Everyone of his books, seminars, and other materials, provide high value in regards to personal growth and leadership development.  In, The Complete 101 Collection: What Every Leader Needs to KnowMaxwell provides a “crash course” in leadership fundamentals.

This collection includes the most essential material from: The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player, The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork, The 21 Indisputable Qualities of a Leader, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, The 360 Degree Leader, Becoming a Person of Influence, Developing the Leaders Around You, Developing the Leader Within You, Failing Forward, Your Road Map for Success, The Winning Attitude, Winning With People, Talent Is Never Enough, and Leadership Gold.

Compiled in this singular volume are these popular titles from Maxwell’s 101 leadership series:

Attitude 101

Self-Improvement 101

Leadership 101

Relationships 101

Success 101

Teamwork 101

Equipping 101

Mentoring 101

It is doubtful that there exists any other reading source that includes such a vast array of leadership knowledge and personal development value altogether in one book.  This is a must have for an leaders library. A valuable resource to be referenced over and over again. For the new or aspiring leader, The Complete 101 Collectionis essential reading, and a good starting point for leadership development.

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