Habits and other great book deals (UPDATED)

UPDATE FOR TODAY:

The book Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Francis Chan is now on sale. It is a perfect Valentine gift for yourself and for your loved ones. Sale is on a limited time offer.

Here are some great book deals for the week:

1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. The book title says it all.

2. Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone by Mark Goulston – learn how to get through anyone. The first make-or-break step in persuading anyone to do any thing is getting them to hear you out. Whether the person is a harried colleague, a stressed-out client, or an insecure spouse, things will go from bad to worse if you can’t break through emotional barricades. Drawing on his experience as a psychiatrist, business consultant, and coach, and backed by the latest scientific research, author Mark Goulston shares simple but power ful techniques readers can use to really get through to people–whether they’re coworkers, friends, strangers, or enemies. Getting through is a fine art but a critical one. With the help of this groundbreaking book readers will be able to turn the “impossible” and “unreachable” people in their lives into allies, devoted customers, loyal colleagues, and lifetime friends.

3. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Businessby Charles Duhigg.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Wall Street Journal • Financial Times

4. Date Your Wifeby Jutin Buzzard. I am excited to read this book!!!

An Intensely Practical Guide for Husbands Looking to Strengthen, Save, or Spice up Their Marriage

Most men don’t know how to date their wives. They did it before, but they’ve forgotten how, or they’re trying but it just doesn’t seem to be working. Justin Buzzard helps men re-learn this all-important skill from a position of security in the gospel of grace. As a father of three boys and husband to a very happy wife, Justin offers guys a helping hand, good news, and wise counsel, along with:

    • 100 practical ideas for how to date your wife
    • Action steps at the end of each chapter
    • Personal stories and real-life examples

All types of marriages—good ones, mediocre ones, and bad ones—will experience a jumpstart as a result of hearing, believing, and living the message of Date Your Wife.

5. And a lot of Veggie Tales Book for young readers for only $1.99, click here for Veggie Tales Offer

6. The Sky Is Not Falling: Living Feaerlessly in These Turbulent Times by Charles Colson.

7. The Top Ten Leadership Commandments by Hans Finzel. Hans is a leadership authority who wrote ten mistakes leaders make so I think this book would also help a lot.

8. Pastor Mark Driscoll’s book Death by Love: Letters from the Cross (RE: Lit: Vintage Jesus) is also on sale.

9. The book by JD Greear that my men’s group are going through Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary is life changing

10. Also started reading this book Sex, Dating, and Relationships and looking at the few chapter I read – I think it is worth the read.

Why you need to seriously stop looking at Porn

Mark Driscoll in his book “Porn Again Christians” wrote:

In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Paul says”,

9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a]10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Clearly, God takes the sexual sins of his men so seriously that men who remain enslaved to sexual sin will die in their sins and wake up in the eternal torments of hell. Sure the naked people you like looking are hot….but so is hell.

Book Review: The Real Marriage – The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together

As many of you know, I am a Mark Driscoll fan so when a new book from my favorite author comes out, I am one of the first readers. His latest book Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together hits home again as he practically shares to us how we can have a great marriage.

The chapters that really ministered to me was the chapter on Friend with Benefits. It made me reassess my friendship with my wife. Thammie and I had a very good discussion about our own friendship and have readjusted how we treat each other because of that chapter.

The most controversial chapter was chapter 10 where Mark and Grace Driscoll answered some questions on sex. I think that chapter was a breakthrough for Christian books since nobody wants to talk about it and we always get our information in the world. So to have a pastor share his thoughts about it was cool.

There is also a nice chapter for men. Reading that chapter would benefit men to step up the plate to their God given responsibilities and roles. We cannot abdicate the responsibility we have as men. Also the teaching on Reverse Engineering your Life would benefit so many men out there.

I love the practicality of the book and the honest, straight forward manner Pastor Mark and Grace discussed important and sensitive issues couples face. I highly recommend this book to all married couples.

Pastor Mark and Grace tackle the tough issues, such as:

  • Why being your spouse’s best friend changes everything and how to achieve it.
  • Pornography and sexual sin inside and outside of marriage.
  • Submission and respect – marriage’s most misunderstood tenets-and what they should really look like.
  • Honoring your spouse emotionally, technologically, and financially.
  • What the Bible says about masturbation and oral sex.
  • The “Can we do that?” questions you’re too embarrassed to ask your pastor.
  • How to deal with intimacy issues and create the joyful and fun sex life God intended you to have.
  • What type of man or woman are you? What type of lover are you? And what type of marriage do you have?
  • Practical Ways a Man can Lead His Family

    As men, we bear a greater burden before God for the well-being of our families and our church. Our wives and children should flourish under our loving leadership.

    By the grace of God, you can be who God has called you to be, do what God has called you to do, and love as God has loved you.

    As men, we will never in this life experience perfection, but by the grace of God we can experience progress every day until we enter perfection in the life to come. So don’t sulk, don’t sin, and don’t settle, but instead strive.

    Here are 11 practical tips for husbands to strive to lead their family well:

    1. As the family leader, model humility, honesty, repentance, service, study, and worship. Your life preaches at least as loudly as your words, so teach and model humble godliness by the grace of God.

    2. Make sure everyone in your family has a good, age-appropriate Bible that they regularly read. Read the Bible yourself and with them so they are encouraged to read on their own.

    3. Make sure you have some basic Bible study tools available for your family in either print or digital form and that everyone learns to use them. If you do not know where to begin, ask your pastor or a godly student of Scripture in your church about things like a good Bible commentary, concordance, dictionary, and atlas.

    4. Buy good Christian books for everyone in your family to read. Include Christian biographies among those books.

    5. Choose good books that you and your wife can be reading together, including books of the Bible, and discuss what you are learning.

    6. If there are Bible-based classes offered in your church, attend with your family.

    7. Redeem your commute by listening to good sermons and classes, many of which you can download for free.

    8. Have dinner together with your family most nights, and use that time to pray together, keep a journal log of prayer requests for other people, and read a portion of the Bible and talk about it together.

    9. Pray for each member of your family every day and let them know you are praying for them.

    10. Place a hand on the head of each of your children every day and pray over them. Then kiss them on the head and make sure they often get a loving hug.

    11. While either snuggling or holding hands, pray with and for your wife every day and remember to include the reasons you are thankful to God for her that day. If these things have not been common in your home, it is very likely that your family has been aching for them and will be thankful for your loving leadership as the head of your home.

    Pastor Mark Driscoll is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington and is one of the world’s most-downloaded and quoted pastors.

    Three Kinds of Marriages

    They say there are three kinds of marriages.

    1. Back to Back Marriages.

    These are couples who have turned their backs on each other. As a result they don’t work together (shoulder to shoulder) or draw each other out in friendship (face to face). In back to back marriages, couples are either strangers or enemies.

    2. Shoulder to Shoulder Marriages

    The marriage is characterized by work. A couple works together on tasks and projects like home management, budgeting, child raising and serving the church. Friendship is limited to shared activities and rarely are there intimate times to talk to each other. Most men have shoulder to shoulder friendship with other men thus it is important for the wife to have shared activities with their husband.

    3. Face to Face Marriages

    In addition to the shoulder to shoulder work, the couple gets a lot of face to face time for conversation, friendship and intimacy. Women’s friendship tend to be face to face and is built around intimate conversations. Thus husband needs to spend TIME with his wife and listen to her and learn how to have intimate conversations.

    Ideas and thoughts taken from Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together

    How to Pursue a Godly Spouse by Mark Driscoll

    Godly_Woman

    Be the right person

    Too many singles have a list of what they are looking for in a spouse. The problems with this are many. First, most singles don’t know what they really need for fifty years of God-glorifying marriage. Second, the list is usually just their resume and a form of idolatry, as if marrying someone just like you is necessarily a good thing. Third, the list usually does not account for the future, like the guy who told me it was very important that his future wife love rock climbing, until I explained to him that if they had as many kids as he was hoping for she would not be rock climbing much since it’s not the ideal activity for a pregnant lady. Fourth, how about a list NOT FOR THE PERSON YOU WANT TO MARRY BUT RATHER A LIST FOR YOU! It seems very selfish to make a list of what someone else needs to be for you if you don’t have a detailed list for yourself and what you need to be for them.

    As a single person in the church, one of the most important prerequisites to dating and marrying is being the right person. This means having your identity firmly rooted in Jesus rather than in your identity as a single person, what the culture says about being single, or what the culture says about marriage.

    Singles in the church generally need to fight the propensity for idolatry in one of two forms: independence or dependence.

    Independence

    Some single people value their independence above all else. The idea of committing to someone is something that scares them to death. Rather than commit, they prefer to stay single, not because they feel called to honor God in singleness, but because they worship their independence above all else. Sometimes, the underlying root of this fear was witnessing their parents’ own marriage fail.

    Dependence

    Other singles are like needy puppies that can’t be alone. They worship other people’s relationships and long to have someone they can be with—again, not to glorify God, but instead to feel secure and to find their identity in a relationship. They worship dependence above all else.

    Rather than finding your identity in either independence or dependence, you need to find your identity in Jesus, serving him and his church well, and trusting him to provide the right spouse at the right time.

    First and foremost, we must place our identity in Jesus and we must desire what he desires for us. If you’re single and worship your independence, you need to ask for forgiveness and ask Jesus if he has a spouse for you to pursue. If so, do so obediently.

    Likewise, if you’re single and dread being alone, you need to find your identity in Jesus and be content with the season of life he has you in. Use your singleness to glorify God by serving him and his church and trust that he’ll bring the right person at the right time.

    Marry the right person 

    Some people have a list so long and so specific for a potential spouse that they’ll never find anyone who measures up. Be reasonable in your expectations and understand that oftentimes God brings someone much different into your life as a spouse, both for your holiness and your happiness.

    Too many people have unrealistic expectations of who they want to marry, which often results in not seeing someone God has put right in front of you. Rather than looking for the perfect person, open your eyes to see whom the perfect God may have in your life right now. Holding people up to unrealistic expectations will only result in frustration on your part and the part of those who wish to pursue you, and may cause you to miss out on a great potential mate.

    The greatest love story in the Bible after Jesus and the church is Ruth and Boaz. Their story is perfect for singles in our day. They were older. He was a successful and godly businessman and community leader. He could have married any number of women. But he picked Ruth. Her family descended from incest, she was a foreigner from another country, and she was not a virgin but a widow, as well as a new believer, homeless (gleaning for food, which is our equivalent to the food bank or dumpster diving), and came with a mother-in-law who had changed her name to “Bitter.” I’m guessing this was not the list Boaz had made for his future wife. But she was amazing and from her womb came the line of Jesus Christ according to Matthew 1.

    That being said, you must have standards still. First and foremost, a potential spouse must love Jesus, love his church, and be theologically sound.

    Since identity is rooted in Jesus, dating someone who isn’t a Christian builds a relationship apart from the source of identity and leads to much trouble and heartache down the road.

    First, a non-Christian can’t even begin to understand who you are since they don’t know Jesus. Second, since Scripture is the highest authority in a Christian marriage, a relationship with someone who doesn’t trust the Bible leaves you in a position to have two value systems that often contradict each other as the basis for a relationship. Third, when tough times come, and they will, you will have no means of dealing with sin that comes between the two of you.

    But dating someone who is a Christian is just the baseline. In order to consider spending your life with someone in covenant marriage, you need to also share the same theological values.

    While we can have friends with whom we disagree on primary theological issues, it’s not wise to date someone with whom you disagree on fundamental issues such as the inerrancy of Scripture, the divinity of Jesus, gender relationships in marriage, children, the Trinity, and more. This will only set you up for great conflict when you are married and especially when you have children.

    In the right way

    Ladies, the Bible teaches that the man should lovingly lead as the head of the home. Because of this, any romantic relationship should start with the man taking the initiative to kindly and respectfully ask for the opportunity to date you.

    Men, the Bible teaches us in 1 Timothy 5:1–2 to treat Christian women as sisters. This means that you respectfully get to know a woman you’re interested in without pressure and without sexual contact. Also, since you’re called to lead your family once you are married, you need to muster up some courage and ask out a woman you’re interested in. Too many Christian men are timid and need to have the courage to face rejection in pursuit of a wife. Finally, if a woman is not interested, you should respect that answer and trust that God will bring the right woman into your life.

    Also, when dating someone, remember that the goal of Christian dating is not to have a boyfriend or girlfriend but to find a spouse. Have that in mind as you get to know one another, and if you’re not ready to commit to a relationship with the end goal of marriage, it’s better not to date but simply to remain friends.

    At the right time

    Often, there are many things you need to work on before you’re ready to marry. Sometimes there are habitual sins, such as porn addiction, that need to be addressed. Other times, you need to work on establishing yourself to be in a position to provide for a family or grow stronger in your spiritual life.

    Accept that singleness for a season affords you freedom and benefits you won’t have when married. Use it wisely to finish your education, travel for missions, serve the church, establish your career, and create a solid financial base free of debt. Until you are ready to marry, focus on those issues, and then pursue a relationship. Live your single years to God’s glory. Don’t waste them.

    In the right community

    First and foremost, be part of a Jesus-loving, Bible-teaching church. Serve that church, humbly learn from those who have more life experience than you and who have developed a life-long relationship with Jesus, and grow as a Christian under solid, qualified elders and leaders.

    Second, if you have decent families honor them. Allow them to speak into your relationship and know the person you are considering. This is doubly important for young women who have Christian parents who love them. Any man who wants to be with you should want to get to know your church friends and your family, live openly before them, and gain their approval. Any guy who takes a woman away from godly family and community is dangerous and up to no good.

    For the right reasons

    The Bible commands that both a husband and a wife love each other (Eph. 5:25; Titus 2:3–4). There is nothing sadder than a marriage that is devoid of love or not growing in love. If a man and woman don’t love one another and are not devoted to building love over a lifetime, they shouldn’t marry.

    Also, it’s not enough to date someone whom you think is only attractive on the outside, and it’s also not enough to date someone whom you think is only attractive on the inside. Rather, you should be attracted to the entire person inside and out.

    Marriage is lifelong journey with many ups and downs, and many seasons of life. Grace and I met in high school, married in college, and then graduated and started Mars Hill Church together a few years later. She quit her job to stay home and raise the kids, and we’ve been together over twenty years.

    Today, life is busy with the church growing, lots of travel, and many projects on top of building a godly home and family. Grace and I love each other more than ever and genuinely enjoy each other’s company as both best friends and lovers. We work together, not against one another, and support each other through every season. One day, our five kids will be grown, and Grace and I will still be together as older and hopefully wiser friends and lovers. The point is that life changes and seasons come and go. You should marry someone fit for every season of life and seek to be the right person for them in every season of life.

     

    Dating and Mating

    by Mark Driscoll

    23547_327595421911_8668811911_3511372_1745393_nMost likely, you view your experiences regarding dating as normative. Because you were born in this day and age, dating seems not only normal but also the only way in which to meet someone you could potentially marry.

    We must be careful, however, not to take our current experiences and make them the norm. It’s important to view the times in which we live through the lens of both history and Scripture.

    The reality is that dating, as we know it today, is a relatively new idea. In fact, prior to the 1900s, “dating” was a slang term that referred to prostitution. A man who was going to pay a woman for sex told his buddies that he was “going on a date.” Interestingly, while dating isn’t overtly a euphemism for prostitution any longer, for many men, the process is similar. In our culture, a man takes a woman on a date, spends lots of money, and by the world’s standards expects the woman to “put out.”

    The cultural history of dating is interesting. In the early 1900s “calling” was the primary means of marrying. A young man would call on a young woman by going to the parlor in her parents’ home. Her parents carefully oversaw these meetings, and expectations for everything from dress and food to length of time of the call was regulated and spelled out. This protected women from the kind of sexual assault that is common today by involving the parents on every level of the courtship process. It also limited the opportunity for a woman and a man to be alone and sin sexually.

    By the 1930s, however, the social landscape changed dramatically with the rise of the automobile. Cars gave young people freedoms and mobility they never had previously, resulting in increased opportunities for men and women to go out alone and increased temptations for drunkenness and sexual sin.

    Socially, the rise of the car resulted in women being interested in men who were rich enough to afford a nice car and take them on nice dates, and men in turn pursued women who were the prettiest and most sexual.

    By the 1940s, dating took on aspects of prostitution—as I said earlier, men treated women to nice dates, and in return they expected sexual favors. Naturally, those women who obliged were taken on more dates, and those women who didn’t weren’t asked out again.

    Things really changed in the 1960s with the onset of the sexual revolution. This resulted in the greatest change in the social dynamics of singleness in the Western world, with orgies, casual sex, homosexuality, lesbianism, and bisexuality becoming increasingly socially acceptable. Additionally, that decade saw the first widely available pornography magazine, Playboy, resulting in a shift in the way our society viewed the body and sex.

    The 1970s cemented the concept of dating and casual sex as normative by removing any physical consequences through the legalization of abortion in 1973 and making no-fault divorce legal in 1974. Add to that the birth control pill and other contraceptive measures, and most of the cultural and practical reasons to restrict sexual activity outside of marriage were obliterated.

    The end result of all this is that today we live in a society that is overly sexualized, sees nothing wrong with experimenting, and views regular, unmarried sex as not only normal but also healthy. Those who are younger were born into a world that resulted from a massive sexual and gender experiment. Today, even young teens are involved in “sexting,” junior high girls are expected to send naked photos of themselves to their boyfriends, and the number one consumer of online pornography is twelve- to sixteen-year-old boys, which means they will expect girls not old enough to drive to punish their bodies and do the kind of extreme things that porn stars do.

    Culture and Dating

    Sex outside of marriage is now the norm, a huge change from just a century ago. Today, over 5 million couples cohabitate. This is up from 1 million in 1978. And this number doesn’t take into account the number of couples who don’t live together but who still stay over at each other’s places enough to be classified as cohabitators.

    Here are some shocking statistics taken from my book, Religion Saves:

    • An estimated quarter of unmarried women between the ages of 25 and 39 currently live with a partner.
    • Half of unmarried women in the same age group have lived with a partner at some time.
    • Over half of all first marriages are now preceded by cohabitation.
    • The most likely people to cohabit are those aged 20 to 24.

    This is problematic first because it is sin and against God’s design for sex, which is to be enjoyed in the context of marriage, but also for a number of practical reasons.

    • Studies almost always find that cohabitation is associated with a higher divorce risk, with estimates ranging from 33 percent to 151 percent increased risk of divorce.
    • Annual rates of depression among cohabitators are more than three times higher than married couples,
    • Women in cohabitating relationships are twice as likely as married women to suffer physical abuse.
    • Two studies found that women in cohabitating relationships are about nine times more likely to be killed by their partner than married women.
    • Couples who cohabitate before marriage report less marital happiness and more conflict when married.

    This is in contrast to couples who marry as virgins:

    • Men who marry as virgins are 37 percent less likely to divorce.
    • Women who marry as virgins are 24 percent less likely to divorce,
    • Those who wait to have sex until marriage and remain faithful in marriage report higher levels of life satisfaction compared to adults who engage in premarital or adulterous sex.
    • Those who wait to have sex and are faithful to their spouse also report notably higher happiness scores.

    The bottom line of all this is that Satan is still a liar. Though our culture wants to make cohabitation and casual sex seem normative and healthy, the statistics tell the truth—it’s destructive. God’s plan of chastity before marriage and fidelity in marriage is still the best plan.

     

    The Man and His Money

    I am currently finishing up on my reading on the book, ” Money: God or Gift? by Jamie Munson. It is a really great book that I recommend for everyone serious about having a theological and practical grasp on money. While reading the book, I got the idea that I’ll start blogging about the MAN and HIS MONEY. Let’s face it, one of the main problem a man faces is MONEY or the lack of it.

    The best place to start when it comes to money is to understand why a lot of men fear MONEY (whether the abundance of it that destroys the man or the lack of it that makes a man feel he is less of a man.)

    ” Fear and worry reveals us, they reveal the things that we love and value.” – Dr. Ed Welch

    When the man fears money it shows that he is a slave to it. We think the more I have, the more in control I can be but the Bible says otherwise.

    Proverbs 1:7 ” The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

    I think that should what men should fear. The Scripture also declares that we must free ourselves from the love of money.

    Heb. 13:5 ¶ Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
    Heb. 13:6 So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

    Once the man holds on to money for his power, identity and security, he ends up being more insecure because money never promise that it will never leave us nor forsake us and if you look through history money has a habit of leaving the people who live for money.

    By the way this Saturday my good friend financial coach Chinkee Tan and Randell Tiongson with Cito Beltran and Miriam Quiambao are going to share their insights on wealth. Limited seats only and few seats left. I’ll post the details below and just inquire if you are interested to start the year right.