Book Notes: Gospel by J.D. Greear

Gospel by J.D. Greear

Gospel, by J.D. Greear was one of the five best books I read in 2012.  Here are some notes and quotes from the book.

  • It’s one thing to understand the gospel but quite another to experience it.
  • Most Christians have the facts straight but don’t truly understand the gospel.
  • The goal of the gospel is to produce a type of people consume with passion for God and love for others. A Christianity that does not have as its primary focus the deepening of passions for God is a false Christianity.
  • When we focus primarily on behavior change, we are ignoring the real issue: a heart that does not want to love God.
  • Spiritual fruit is not made by focusing on the commands of spiritual growth. If you want to see spiritual fruit in your life, don’t focus primarily on the fruits. Focus on Jesus’ acceptance of you, given to you as a gift.
  • No girl wants to be loved out of obligation. Neither does Jesus.
  • If you are not where you should be spiritually, the answer is not simply to get busier for Jesus.
  • Growth in Christ is never going beyond the gospel, but going deeper into the gospel.
  • The gospel has done its work in us when we crave God more than we crave everything else in life.
  • When something becomes so important to you that it drives your behavior and commands your emotions, yoga re worshipping it.
  • True religion is when you serve God to get nothing else but more of God.
  • The Gospel Prayer: In Christ, there eis nothing I can do that would make You love me more, and nothing I have don’t that makes you love me less. Your presence and approval are all I need for everlasting joy. As You have been to me, so I will be to others. As I pray, I’ll measure Your compassion by the cross and Your power by the resurrection.
  • Christ’s obedience is so spectacular there us nothing we could do to add to it; His death so final that nothing could take away from it.
  • Satan’s primary temptation strategy is to try and make us forget what God has said about us and to evaluate our standing before God by some other criteria.
  • We have grown accustomed to the voice of condemnation that we fail to grasp God’s approval.
  • Do-Do sermons give you a list of things to do and make you feel worthless when you don’t do them.
  • Idol detection questions: What one thing do you most hope is in your future? What is the one thing you most worry about losing? If you could change one thing about yourself right now, what would it be? What thing have you sacrificed most for? When do you feel the most significant? What triggers depression in you? Where do you turn for comfort when things are not going well?
  • Insecure, lonely single people become insecure, lonely married people. Problems like loneliness and insecurity are not cured by another human being; they are only cured by God.
  • Focus on the first things, not the second things. If you focus on the second things, you’ll lose the first things.

Book Notes: Smarter, Faster, Cheaper by David Garland

Here are my notes from Smarter Faster, Cheaper by David Garland.

Sometimes David that has the advantage.

Money follows passion. Passion trumps age. Creativity wins.

You can buy traffic but you can’t buy relationship.

Goliath-like brands do not care what you had for dinner last night, what your kids’ names are, or how much you love your favorite sports team.

The perfect storm for marketing includes passion, personality and knowledge.

Become a trusted resource. Whatever knowledge and expertise you have can be used for something much more powerful than making yourself the center of attention.

Nobody cares about your product.

It’s so much easier to promote and market helpful content to your community as opposed to pitching products. Ask them to purchase something AFTER you have educated and inspired them. Use the 85/15 rule: 85% helpful content, 15% sales.

“If people like you, they will buy everything you have.” – Scott Ginsberg, “The Nametag Guy”

The best content is like peanut butter – easily spreadable. People like to share.

Nothing replaces good old-fashioned hard work and getting your hands dirty.

Talk about other people’s stuff more than you talk about your stuff.

You can’t fake caring.

You are not a product pusher…you are a trusted resource.

Grab this book, and other books I recommend in my Amazon store.

Book Notes: The Grace of God by Andy Stanley

Here are my notes from Andy Stanley’s the Grace of God, one of the books on my 2012 Reading List. The first half of this book could be called “Grace in the Old Testament” and would make a great sermon series. In fact, much of the material in the book comes from sermons Andy has preached. Here are some highlights and quotes.

  • Grace is what we crave most but what we are hesitant to extend.
  • When we are the receiving end, grace is refreshing. When it is required of us, it is often disturbing.
  • You can no more deserve grace than you can plan your own surprise party.
  • Creation is all about grace. When you look at the Garden of Eden, you’ll see that his expressions of grace were innumerable and his requirements were minimal.
  • Sin brings shame and blame.
  • In the life of Abraham, God showed that a righteous standing with God comes through faith.
  • Grace is not reserved for good people.
  • In the life of Joseph, we see that the law of sowing and reaping was thwarted by grace.
  • With the Ten Commandments, we see that God initiated a relationship with his people before he even told them what the rules were. God’s law does not establish a relationship it confirms an existing one.
  • The purpose of the law is not to make us good but to keep us free.
  • Grace is slow to judge and quick to deliver. When people around me mess up, I default to the opposite.
  • In the life of Rahab, we see God punishes sin, AND extends grace to the sinner.
  • In the life of David, we learn discipline is often an expression of grace. If grace had a limit, David’s actions would have exposed them.
  • You can run from God, but you can’t outrun him.
  • In the life of Jonah, we see that the purpose of God’s discipline is not to pay people back but to bring people back.
  • Receiving grace is often easier than dispensing it.
  • The New Testament reveals people who were nothing like Jesus liked Jesus and Jesus liked people who were nothing like him.
  • Jesus did not strike a balance between grace and truth. He dispensed full measures of both.
  • Jesus was not uncomfortable surrounded by those who needed grace.
  • Nichodemus showed us grace is not a reward for good people but it’s God’s gift to forgiven people.
  • It’s always easier to talk about theology than our pain.
  • We can talk about fairness, but the grace of God isn’t fair. Philip Yancey talks about “the scandalous mathematics of grace.” Interestingly, we don’t complain about fairness when we something works in OUR advantage. Jesus was extravagantly unfair.
  • The church is most appealing when the message of grace is most apparent. The church is most effective when the message of grace is most evident.
  • If the local church is God’s vehicle for dispensing the message of grace, then the local church is clearly not for church people. It’s for everybody.
  • The church should not make it difficult for people who are turning to God (See Acts 15:23-29)
  • As much as you may want to qualify this with statements like “what about the person who…,” grace can’t be qualified.
  • First and foremost, God celebrates restored relationships.

Book Notes: One Click – Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.com

One Click – Jeff Bezos as the Rise of Amazon.com
Book #1 Read in 2012 (see my entire reading list here)

  • Jeff Bezos incorporated Amazon.com and then signed up for a course sponsored by the American Booksellers Association to learn how to start a bookstore.  // Sometimes, you have to decide what you’re going to do and then learn how to do it.
  • He started working at “the intersection of banking and finance.” People in the status quo didn’t think the two fields could be blended. // bringing two things together is what Steve Jobs did as well.  I don’t want to be a status quo person.
  • On searching for a wife: “I wanted a woman who could get me out of a third world prison.”  ”Life is too short to hang out with people who aren’t resourceful.
  • There are  currently 1.7 billion people online, but that’s just 1/4 of the world’s population.  // the world is much bigger than any of us probably realize
  • Most successful entrepreneurs start a company because they are passionate about the business they want to enter.  Bezos saw the growth of the Internet and figured someone was going to make money off it. // This worked, but I would not advise it.
  • “The internet is like alcohol in some sense.  I accentuates what you would do anyway.” – Esther Dyson
  • Amazon’s original name was Cadabra, Inc.  Later changed to Amazon so it would appear on the top of lists.  ”One of the things that people don’t think bout but is really important is that online, you get to places by being able to spell their name.”
  • With an introductory course in book selling, some experience buying a few items online, one computer, two engineers, his wife, and a garage, Bezos was ready to start building an online bookstore.
  • He promoted Amazon as the “biggest bookstore on earth” though some would argue that it was the smallest bookstore on earth, since they had no inventory.
  • The website wasn’t fully finished when the company launched.  Customers could order negative quantity of books, and they would credit their card with the price. // It’s never going to be perfect, but you gotta get it out there.
  • Early business meetings were held at a nearby coffee shop – inside a Barnes and Noble.
  • They allow negative product reviews on their site.  ”We will sell more if we help people make purchasing decisions.”  These unusual moves taught people that Amazon was a different kind of store.
  • “When you are woking very hard and very long hours, you want to be around people who are interesting and fun to be with.”
  • Goliath is always in range of a good slingshot. // love this quote
  • “If you disappoint people, you lose brand reputation, and that’s worth a lot more to us right now than money.”
  • “get big fast” gave way to “turn a profit.”  Amazon wasn’t profitable for many, many years.  They made a lot of money, but they lost even more.
  • “It’s harder to be kind than clever,” Bezos’s dad would say.  Very few employees from the early days are still at the company because of Bezo’s reputation for being difficult and demanding.