reading this verse in my quiet time years ago:
Bring the books!
When you come, be sure to bring the coat I
left with Carpus at Troas. Also bring my books, and especially
my papers. 2 Tim. 4:13 (NLT)
Do you hear what Paul is saying? "Winter is
coming. It is getting cold at night. I need my coat. Don't forget to
bring my coat." Could it be that Timothy is a little spacey and is
prone to forget such things? "Oh, and whatever else you do, don't
forget my books. If you have to forget something, forget the coat,
but don't forget my books."
I wrote in the margin of my Bible, "Books have
always been important to the people of God."
Indeed. Most of the people I really respect
are people with shelves full of books. They operate on the
philosophy, "Never be without a book." If you ask them what they are
reading, they can tell you without hesitating.
Here are a few of the books I am reading
- Creating Community : 5 Keys to
Building a Small Group Culture by Andy Stanley, Bill Willits
- Reach: A Team Approach To Evangelism
And Assimilation by Scott Wilkins
- The Big Book on Small Groups, by
Bruce Wilkinson tells the story of one of his
seminary professors. As he went to school early in the morning, he
would walk by this professor's house and could see the professor
poring over a stack of books. Late at night, he would walk home from
the library and again see the professor engaged in the books. The
professor had been teaching the same Survey class for years. He
obviously knew his material, so Bruce asked him one day, "Why do you
keep studying so much?"
"I want people to drink from a moving stream."
The great teachers always do. They invite
people to drink from a moving stream. They are constantly reading,
growing, learning. It is what Jesus called us to do. Disciples are
learners. It is one of the 10 Marks of INCREDIBLE Teachers--Never
stop learning and growing.
What are you reading these days?
Fully half of what I learned since I graduated
from seminary I have not learned from books. I learned from tapes,
CDs, and now, MP3s. I think if Paul were writing today, he might
say, "Bring my coat, and don't forget my I-pod."
(I don't actually have an I-Pod, I find a 256
meg MP3 player provides ample content for me.)
I made an appeal some time back encouraging
churches to make their pastor's sermons available on their church
website in MP3 format. It is clearly an idea whose time has come. In
recent years, churches provided tapes on a cost-recovery basis.
Today, we can put them on the Internet and people can burn them to
CDs or listen to them on their MP3. There are many preachers out
there that do this and there are lots of sermons available.
One of the best sources of audio books is
www.audible.com . It is a
secular site and, like any Barnes and Noble, most of their books are
secular, but, they have a good supply of Christian books as well. I
have been a member for years and have enjoyed dozens and dozens of
books. You can purchase individual books, or you can do what I have
done, sign up for an annual subscription and get two books a month
for one flat, monthly fee. If you sign up for a year, they will give
you an MP3 player for free. Here are some samples of some of the
- Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren
- Purpose Driven Church, Rick Warren
- Everybody Seems Normal Till You Get to
Know Them, John Ortberg
- The Case for Faith, Lee Strobel
- Making Small Groups Work, Townsend
and Cloud, authors of Boundaries
- Today Matters, John Maxwell
- Making Room for Life, Randy
Frazee, author of The Connecting Church
- The Bride, Charles Swindoll
In short, most of the books that are available
on CD are also available at
www.audible.com A great habit practiced by many of the people I
respect is to listen to audio books as you drive. I have been doing
so for years and have benefited greatly from doing so. It is another
way to let people drink from a moving stream.
I have just discovered a new way.
I recently purchased a Palm based GPS. (Global
Positioning System) I got it mostly for the GPS, as I was constantly
getting lost on the road. It is really cool. From any location, I
can ask for the closest Chili's, Staples, Barnes and Noble, Lifeway
Store, hotel, or Wildwood Baptist Church and it will give me turn by
turn audible directions--"Turn left in 1.3 miles." I don't have room
for the whole country, but I travel mostly in the south and I was
able to load a rectangle from Miami to Wyoming, Baltimore to Tucson.
In addition to the GPS functions, it is a
fully functioning Palm OS5 device. So, I can keep my calendar,
contacts, and to-do list accessible all the time. Also, I have
purchased a number of E-books that I keep with me on the Palm. (I
bought a gig card from Sam's for $75 that stores a ton of
information.) The selection in E-books is not as good as with
audibles, but there are quite a number of books available. Here are
a few of the titles I am enjoying:
- Experiencing God, by Henry
- Expanding the Teaching Ministry of the
Church, by Lyle Schaller (a bunch of Schaller's books are
- A Year with C.S. Lewis
- If You Want to Walk on Water, You Have
to Get Out of the Boat, John Ortberg
- Courageous Leadership, Bill Hybels
- The One Year Bible, New Living
I was a little nervous about this e-book
thing, because I didn't think I would like reading books on the
little screen. To my surprise, I actually like it better. You can
highlight and book mark, although, you can't copy and paste material
to use in another place. (I assume this is due to copyright issues.)
Come to think of it, you can't copy and paste from a regular book
either. One great thing is you can read at night with no lights.
Missy was up reading last night after I went to bed. Far less
intrusive than having a light on.
The really great thing, however, is it is with
you all the time. We all have small windows of time here and there
where we are waiting on something or someone. Although I often have
a book with me, I always have my Palm with me that has a dozen or so
books ready for me to read.
Perhaps if Paul were writing today, he might
say, "Oh, and don't forget to email over those e-books."
The great people of God have always been
lovers of books, lovers of learning, lovers of truth. Today, in
addition to reading traditional books, we can also read e-books and
listen to audio. What a time to be alive!