Ultimate 2016 Summer Reading List

Leaders are Readers HyattAfter New Year and Back to School season, summer is the most popular “reset” time of year. Who wants to be out of shape, behind the curve, or overwhelmed when “beach” is such a viable option? Heck, the words “summer” and “reading” practically go hand in hand, right? Summer is the perfect time to course correct on a few squandered New Year’s resolutions, especially catching up on lost bible reading or sharpening some otherwise dull iron!

I sent emails, texts and phone calls out to leaders all across the country. A good number have yet to get back to me, but the fastest to their phones were Boyd Bailey, John Woodall, and Joel Thomas. For this reason, I’ll let them go first with their top current reads and recommendations.

Wisdom HuntersBoyd Bailey – Founder, Ministry Ventures; President, Georgia National Christian Foundation; Founder & Author, Wisdom Hunters


Get Clean this Christmas – Ron Dunn

It’s Time 
     In 1986, garbage was piling up on the streets of Philadelphia. The sanitation department was on strike. Joseph Paolino and Sons moved opportunistically securing a contract with the city that involved collecting, burning, incinerating and then removing the ash.

How?  The ashes were piled on a freighter called
The Pelicano with a disposal trip planned to a third word country.  One problem.  Joseph and Sons did not properly segregate the trash before feeding the incinerator.

      Everything from orange peels and plastic to aluminum, copper, car batteries and light bulbs were blended together and in the end formed  28 million tons of toxic ash. Haiti, Honduras, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic… port after port turned them away.  The Pelicano became the most unwanted ship in the world and for two years it went from point to port, refueling, but leaving with it’s garbage.

      Can you relate?  For 15 years I was the Pelicano…docking and refueling at church on Sundays and in a men’s group on Fridays, gaining some energy, but still leaving with my toxic garbage.

      In Matthew 11:25 Jesus is getting ready to tell us how to get rid of our garbage…

      He had just talked about the people and cities that would not repent.  Now he thanks God that it is His plan to withhold the answer to those who consider themselves knowledgeable and wise, but reveals truth and reserves relationship for the childlike… a contrast to those who want to act independently of God and those who depend on the Father.

      After this prayer of thanks, Jesus lays One Thing out: Come unto me all you who are weak and heavy laden…those carrying garbage around for years…and I will give you rest.

      So what if Jesus had changed it up just a bit?…  What if he said…and I will sell you rest.  Would this be on your gift giving and gift getting list this Christmas?

      How much would you pay?… Seriously…think about it!

      The great news…it is free!

      If you have been carrying a heavy load of trash, it’s time to lay it down.

As we are nearing December 24th and 25th…Christmas, It’s time
Identify your garbage.  All the trash that you no longer want to haul around.

      Come to Jesus… lay it before Him, acknowledge…repent

      Invest some necessary time around the closing verses of Matthew 11…

      This Christmas I will precede our family gift-giving time by placing one wrapped package upfront and center….

      Inside the package will be four wooden letters… R-E-S-T. …The perfect gift that Jesus is willing to  freely give….

      The heart of Christmas.

      Men…somehow, in some way take the lead this Christmas and in a few memorable moments, with your family, from your personal experience, luxuriate this opportunity and share some dimension of what it means to “Come.”

     One on one with Jesus, it’s time to discover rest.

– Ron Dunn

Men Step Up Goes Co-ed?!

     The short answer is “no”. Men Step Up, Gwinnett is still a place where men can go to think out loud. But, a few years ago, Kelly Talamo sent out an email telling the guys who regularly gathered at the Cabernet Steakhouse on Friday mornings that he sensed the Lord leading him to step into content development and out of running the MSU venue every week. For a while, the Cabernet went dark on Fridays.

     But, a few years ago, Dan Diaddigo had Ron Dunn step up to lead a very similar truth & lie environment where men could be spurred on to the truth of Christ. Today, ONE TH1NG meets every Friday morning from 7AM to 7:55 on Windward Parkway at the Cab’. Below, I wanted to share with our readers Ron Dunn’s note regarding the truth about a lie we’ll be talking about tomorrow morning, bright and early.

So, What’s the Co-ed Thing
     Oh, yeah, I almost forgot – the tag line that got you to read this article in the first place. My bad… For years, women of all ages have been begging to know what it’s like to sit at the same tables and chew on the same issues their husbands or boyfriends or guys in their church get to talk about each week. As of this Fall, Ron has added a unique “re-run” to the mix: ONE TH1NG Co-Ed. On Sunday nights (this is the LAST Sunday for 2012) from 5PM to 6:30, men and women will gather at the Cabernet to look at a lie, learn from the truth, and be truly set free by the Word of God.

     Mark your calendar. Call your sitter. That barking you’re hearing is me hounding you to show up this Sunday (and only this Sunday for the remainder of 2012) at 5. No food, no admission, just show up as you are, hungry for the Truth.

Ron’s notes:

If it feels good…

      It looked good.  It was a delight to the eyes.  It was desirable.
(Genesis 3:6)

      This wasn’t the first time Eve saw the tree.  She passed by it many a day.  It was positioned in the middle of the garden.  On this day, however, Eve was looking at it through a different lens.

      Her emotions were engaged.  She was feeling it.  She wanted it.

      Satan engaged Eve in a well crafted conversation, then slyly slipped a pair of shades on her eyes and said look again though my lenses.

      Now, lets be clear.  Despite what Flip Wilson might say, the devil cannot make us do anything.  When we came to Christ, Satan lost power.  He was defeated.  Christ overcame him by the greater power of His sacrificed blood.

      Satan can’t force sin, but he does suggest it so vividly that men chose it on their own volition. 

      Satan created an image of God and of the tree that paved a path for Eve to take the forbidden fruit.  

      With his skills to deceive, He perpetually tries the same with you and me.

      Eve wasn’t seeking sin; sin was seeking her.  On this day it looked desirable and permissible.

      Satan would have us believe that he is where fun and freedom reside, so party here and party on.

      Truth is no one has more fun or feels better than God.

      What a bummer…all these people thinking they went to the fun party only to find out they missed the best feel-good a person can experience.

      Lie #6 is: If it feels good, do it!

      If it feels good… I mean really good… and lasts forever…. then you are giving glory to the God who created you, drawing near to Him.

      Join us at the tables as we unpack this uncommon truth and refreshing freedom.

      This Friday morning at 7 or this year’s final Sunday night COED at 5, we hope to see you at Cabernet.

– Ron

I Wish I Were Somewhere Else… Monday Morning Momentum

     Among the many conversations I’ve had with the men God has me walking with, a good double digit percentage of them have been about work – successes, failures, disappointments, prospects, tough cases, difficult people, etc. It always gets interesting when a guy, particularly one who is frustrated with his current work situation, brings up the idea of “going into full time ministry”.

     Occasionally, one of these guys is truly responding to a calling the Lord has placed on their heart. Over time and with much prayer, even fasting, the calling is authenticated. For the most part though, we [the guy and I] have discovered he’s simply in the midst of an “I wish” moment, wishing he were somewhere else, doing something else, with someone else, especially with less strife, contention, and aggravation, and often at a higher rate of pay.


     We recently moved out of a neighborhood where one of our neighbors was a couple who’ve spent over 25 years as missionaries to the Dominican Republic. I regularly meet with a couple of guys who’ve been in full time ministry for over a decade each. All of these people are amazing, authentically called, God equipped workers for the Kingdom. And, contrary to what some would believe, they’re not always happy about how things are going “at work”.

     Two other guys – Kurt, probably in the best shape of any guy I know. So much so, that he’s a professional personal trainer (who does amazing things for his clients with only a small amount of weight and very few workouts per week). I run into him at some event maybe once every two years, but I see his Facebook page much more often than that. There, I notice two things – he’s not wishing he was doing anything else, and he’s clearly on a mission to stir up peoples’ thoughts and get them thinking about the gospel. Recently, he commented: “I think people tend to harbor naive views as to what is more a thing of God than another.” Great point.

     Ron runs a large company – over 200 retail locations nationwide. I have no idea how he gets done all that he does in a given week with all the employees, warehouses, and fires he has to put out. But, he somehow finds time to write incredibly insightful content for a ministry for men called ONE TH1NG, study scripture, and present a cogent 15 minute “set up” that leaves the dozens of guys who attend thinking deeply about the thoughts of God and how those should govern their lives.

     Neither of these guys are “in full time ministry”. Yet, they show no evidence of playing “I wish” with their careers. What gives? Why the contentment?

     Cristine had an opportunity to pick up a part time job last year for a few hours a week. One of her co-workers has been deeply wounded by “church people” in her past because she identifies as a lesbian. After six months of prayerful, Spirit-led conversation, Cristine received the comment that she had “restored her faith in Christians”.

     This isn’t to brag about how godly Cristine is, how selfless Ron is, or how bad you need to inbox me if you’re serious about getting in shape with Kurt… Alright, only the former two are true. Inbox me and I’ll connect you with Kurt. The point is pretty obvious – it’s not about how difficult people are at work, how off the pay is, how challenging the workload, etc. It’s about the fact that God:

From one man… made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. (Acts 17:26-27)”

     We have all been given a time, a place… a platform to proclaim the gospel, to spur others on to love and good deeds, to urge others to consider their ways and the God who made them. To assume that we should be somewhere else is a “vertical matter” – we must all weigh seriously the leadings of the Lord who would have us move from one career to another. However, this prayer must always begin with great thanksgiving that God has indeed placed us where we are with whom He placed us for a reason. To ignore this is to call God a fool and assume He knew not what He was doing when he placed us there.

Be Encouraged
     If scripture is true, and I believe that it is, then God has placed some in “full time ministry” and others in “full time ministry” (not a typo). Enjoying the Lord most is often found in enjoying even the rough landscape upon which He has drawn our career path. There is someone in your office, your client list, your platform that needs the love, the wisdom, the comfort, the counsel, the truth and grace of Christ. Reaching them does not guarantee “graduation” to a “better” job, rather it guarantees a “well done, good and faithful servant” from the God who searches hearts and minds and will reward all for what they do in the body, whether good or bad.

    Let us find ourselves rejoicing in adversity, thanking God for His toughest assignments, and receiving eternal rewards once we have ultimately “overcome” (see Rev. 2 & 3), rather than clicking our ruby slippers together wishing we were anywhere else.