Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hope When Everything Seems Hopeless

Recently we have been examining books for leaders that aren’t necessarily leadership books in the traditional sense. In the leadership vernacular a subject of increasing interest in the past few years is that of HOPE. I have multiple books on this very subject from secular sources that are quite insightful.

In lieu of hope, especially from a biblical vantage point, I want to recommend a new release by my good friend Dr. Tom Dooley: Hope When Everything Seems Hopeless. This is a book that those who are in the midst of a hopeless season need to read. It is also a book that leaders need to read so that they can become a conduit of hope within their God-given sphere.

Go to his website at to learn more about Dr. Dooley and his ministry. This book is published by Destiny Image. If you would like to purchase copies of Hope When Everything Seems Hopeless directly from Tom, please mail checks payable to Path Clearer Inc. for $19.00 each (this includes shipping) or for volume discounts on 5+ copies for $15.00 each (including shipping). Designate if you want any copies signed.

Path Clearer Inc.
PO Box 661466
Birmingham, AL 35266-1466

I serve on the board of directors for Tom’s ministry so it is one that I highly endorse. I also heartily recommend his first release, Praying Faith. Back in 2004 I was trying to find a new book to get for a mentor at that time. A previous disciple of mine was working for Destiny Image Publishers who mentioned over the phone a book that was creating quite a stir within the office. It was Tom’s first release, Praying Faith. Within a few days I purchased the book intending to swiftly send it via mail as a birthday gift to a dear friend and mentor.

The book never made the journey.

Once I sat down and started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. Tom is a great writer, integrating sound biblical principles with excellent real life examples and scenarios. He is liberal in using stories from his own life that are insightful into both the content of the book, but also into the author. Those are the kind of books I enjoy the most. And he doesn't shy away from butchering sacred cows that impede true spiritual growth in Christ. I can attest to this from my own experience with him as I've watched him minister and through my interactions with him.

If you want to purchase copies of Praying Faith, they are still available for $18.00 each (including shipping) or for volume discounts on 5+ copies for $14.00 each (including shipping). This is a great book I would definitely recommend this as a gift to anyone, but especially to a book lover who has “read everything out there” because it has a different angle that is refreshing.

And I must add that Tom is a man of great gifting, but more importantly, of exceedingly great character. He’s a person I trust. And he’s a dealer of hope!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Recommended Books by Campus America

I had some great responses regarding non-leadership books for leaders. I will post the responses over the course of the next week. Stay tuned!

Our first posting is from Wendy Andrews, the national leader for Campus America/24-7 Prayer. She was kind enough to forward me their recommended reading list for students engaged in the prayer movement on the college campuses. I think there are definitely books that would be helpful for a Christian leader regardless of the context in which they operate.

Browse through the list below. Are there any books that surprise you? Are there any books that you would challenge or question regarding their usefulness or content? Have you read any of these recommended books by Campus America that significantly impacted your own life? Are there any that you're going to put on your "must read" list?

I would love to hear your response.

For the Cause,

Brian Francis Hume

PRAYER and FAITH:Introductory: God on Mute – Pete Greig
Is That Really You God? – Loren Cunningham
Prayer – Philip Yancey
Red Moon Rising – Pete Greig
Windows of the Soul – Ken Gire

Deeper: E.M. Bounds on Prayer – E.M. Bounds
Rees Howells: Intercessor – Norman Grubb
With Christ in the School of Prayer – Andrew Murray

Introductory: Irresistible Revolution – Shane Claiborne
Simply Christian – Tom Wright
The Vision and the Vow – Pete Greig
Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith – Rob Bell
What’s So Amazing About Grace – Phillip Yancey

Deeper: Celebration of Discipline – Richard Foster
The Cost of Discipleship – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The Divine Conspiracy – Dallas Willard
Repenting of Religion – Greg Boyd

Introductory: The Celtic Way of Evangelism – George Hunter III
Cultivating a Life for God – Neil Cole
Let the Nations Be Glad – John Piper
Master Plan of Evangelism – Robert Coleman
A New Kind of Christian – Brian McLaren

Deeper: Compassion – Henri Nouwen, Donald P. McNeill and Douglas A. Morrison
Exclusion & Embrace – Miroslav Volf
Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger – Ron Sider
The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind – Mark Noll

BIBLICAL STUDIES, CHURCH HISTORY and BIOGRAPHIES:Introductory: The Challenge of Jesus – N.T. Wright
Colossians Remixed – Brian J. Walsh & Sylvia C. Keesmaat
Mountain Rain: The Life of James O. Fraser – Eileen Crossman
One Divine Moment: The Asbury Revival – Robert Coleman (Editor)
Passion for God's Story – Philip Greenslade
A Passion for Souls: The Life of D.L. Moody – Lyle Dorsett

Deeper: Firefall: How God Has Shaped History Through Revivals – McDow & Reid
The Gospel of the Kingdom – George Eldon Ladd
The Radical Wesley – Howard Snyder
Streams of Living Water – Richard Foster

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Non-leadership Books for Leaders

Currently I am putting together an extensive reading list for the leadership training seminar that I am developing for DTRI. This is the contract work that I’ve been working on part-time during the past 20 months. I’ve already compiled a thorough list of books that fall under the leadership category. However, I want to solicit feedback from the readers of my blog for additional books in the following two categories: (1) biographies/autobiographies and (2) non-leadership books that all leaders should read.

Personally I love reading biographies and autobiographies—I derived much inspiration and insights from these sources. Recently I’ve been reading a book by historian Stephen Ambrose called Eisenhower: Soldier and President. This is an excellent book for anyone aspiring to increase their leadership capacity.

Are there any that you highly recommend?

Also I want to explore books outside the traditional leadership genre. This is probably an area that I am weak in with the exception of books in the Christian thought arena. Due to the nature of my work, I will probably not select any books that fall in the Christian category. Possibly you’ve read some fiction books that would be of tremendous value to a leader—please share any that you recommend. Or there could be a book that explores some historical dilemma that is worth noting for its value to the present day challenges that all leaders confront.

Be creative and think of some resources that you would recommend. What are the MUST read books that you would assign to those desiring to become a better leader?

I welcome all feedback.


Brian Francis Hume

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Honest Questions About the Lakeland Revival by J. Lee Grady

The following article by J. Lee Grady, editor of Chrisma magazine, posits several key points that I felt are worth reading and strongly weighing. It would be great to hear back from the readers of this blog regarding their own perspective on the issues that Grady addresses.

FIRE IN MY BONES by J. Lee Grady
May 14, 2008

Honest Questions About the Lakeland Revival: I support any holy outbreak of revival fervor. But let’s be careful to guard ourselves from pride and error.

God is stirring deep spiritual passion in the hearts of the thousands of people who have traveled to Florida during the last month to experience the Lakeland Healing Revival. Since these meetings began in a 700-seat church on April 2, the crowd has moved four times to bigger venues, the fervor has intensified and the news has spread worldwide—thanks to God TV and online broadcasting.

Within a few weeks, the bandwagon effect was in full swing. It’s safe to say that no outbreak of Pentecostalism in history has gained so much international exposure so quickly as these meetings have.

I’m a cheerleader for the charismatic movement, so I rejoiced when I heard the news about revivalist Todd Bentley’s extended visit to Ignited Church. It was thrilling to hear the reports of miracles and to watch the crowd grow until a stadium was required to hold everyone.

“When we put bizarre behavior on the platform we imply that it is normative. Thus more strange fire is allowed to spread.”

When I visited a service on April 15, I was blessed by Heather Clark’s music and the audience’s exuberant worship. And I laughed with everyone else as I watched Bentley shout his trademarked “Bam! Bam! Bam!” as he prayed for the sick and flailed his tattooed arms over the crowd. Hey, Jesus didn’t pray for people according tothe Pharisees’ rulebook, so I’m open to unconventional methods.

But I would be dishonest if I told you that I wholeheartedly embraced what I saw in Lakeland. Something disturbed me, but I kept my mouth shut for three weeks while I prayed, got counsel from respected ministry leaders and searched my heart to make sure I was not harboring a religious spirit. The last thing we need today is more mean-spirited heresy hunters blasting other Christians.

I am not a heresy hunter, and I support what is happening in Lakeland because I know God uses imperfect people (like me and you) to reach others for Jesus. At the same time, I believe my questions are honest and my concerns are real.

My motive is not to criticize Bentley or the pastor who is sponsoring these meetings, Stephen Strader. In September 2002 Charisma featured a seven-page article about Bentley’s amazing conversion from drug addiction. I believe Bentley is a sincere brother who wants people to encounter God’s presence and power. No doubt this 32-year-old evangelist needs our prayers now more than ever, especially since he has become the focus of international media attention.

But as the noise from Lakeland grows louder and its influence spreads, I’m issuing some words of warning that apply to all of us, not just the folks in Lakeland. I hope everyone understands that these cautions are offered in love:

1. Beware of strange fire.The name of Jesus is being lifted up in the Lakeland revival, and three people came to the altar for salvation the night I attended. Larger numbers have come to the front of the auditorium to find Christ every night since then.

Yet I fear another message is also being preached subtly in Lakeland—a message that cult-watchers would describe as a spiritual counterfeit. Bentley is one of several charismatic ministers who have emphasized angels in the last several years. He has taught about angels who bring financial breakthroughs or revelations, and he sometimes refers to an angel named Emma who supposedly played a role in initiating a prophetic movement in Kansas City in the 1980s. Bentley describes Emma as a woman in a flowing white dress who floats a few feet off the floor.

All of us who believe the Bible know that angels are real, and that they work on our behalf to protect us and minister to us. But the apostle Paul, who had encounters with angels himself, issued stern warnings to the Corinthians, the Galatians and the Colossians about angels who preach another gospel or that demand attention. In Colossae, believers were so enamored with angels they had seen in visions that they became “inflated without cause” by spiritual pride (Col. 2:18, NASB). Paul was adamant that preoccupation with angels can lead to serious deception.

We need to tread carefully here! We have no business teaching God’s people to commune with angels or to seek revelations from them. And if any revival movement—no matter how exciting or passionate—mixes the gospel of Jesus with this strange fire, the results could be devastating. We need to remember that Mormonism was born out of one man’s encounter with a dark angel who claimed to speak for God.

2. Beware of bizarre manifestations.When the Holy Spirit’s power comes on people they may feel weak or even fall. The Spirit’s power can also cause people to tremble, shake, laugh or cry. Such manifestations are biblical and we should leave room for them. But where do we draw the line between legitimate experience and fanatical excess?

The apostle Paul had to deal with outrageous charismatic manifestations in the Corinthian church. People were acting like raving lunatics—and turning the church in to a free-for-all of unbridled ecstatic behavior. Paul called for discipline and order, and he reminded early Christians that “the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets” (1 Cor. 14:32). In other words, Paul was saying that no one under the influence of the Holy Spirit should act out of control.

In many recent charismatic revivals, ministers have allowed people to behave like epileptics on stage—and they have attributed their attention-getting antics to the Holy Spirit. We may think it’s all in fun (you know, we’re just “acting crazy” for God) but we should be more concerned that such behavior feeds carnality and grieves the Spirit.

When exotic manifestations are encouraged, people can actually get a religious high from jerking, vibrating, screaming or acting intoxicated. (I have even been around people who writhed as if in pain, or made sexual noises—thinking this was a legitimate spiritual experience.) But emotional euphoria doesn’t guarantee a heart change. The person who is bucking like an untamed bronco in a church service would benefit more from sitting still and reading the Bible for an hour. When we put bizarre behavior on the platform we imply that it is normative. Thus more strange fire is allowed to spread.

3. Beware of hype and exaggeration.Our hearts are crying out today for a genuine move of God. We want the real deal. We’ve read about the Great Awakenings of the past and we long to see our nation overcome by a wave of repentance. The church is in a backslidden state, and our nation has rebelled against God. We are desperate!

In our longing for a holy visitation, however, we must be careful not to call the first faint breeze of the Spirit a full-fledged revival. If we do that, we are setting people up for disappointment when they realize it may not be what we blew it up to be.

Some of the language used during the Lakeland Revival has created an almost sideshow atmosphere. People are invited to “Come and get some.” Miracles are supposedly “popping like popcorn.” Organizers tout it as the greatest revival in history.

Such brash statements cheapen what the Holy Spirit is doing—and they do a disservice to our brothers and sisters who are experiencing New Testament-style revival in countries such as Iran, China and India. We have a long way to go before we experience their level of revival. Let’s stay humble and broken before the Lord.

I am rejoicing over all the reported healings at the Lakeland meetings. Miracles are awesome. Crowds are great. But miracles and crowds alone don’t guarantee a revival. Multitudes followed Jesus during His ministry on earth, but many of the people who saw the dead raised or ate food that was supernaturally multiplied later crucified the Son of God.

It was the few disciples who followed Jesus after Calvary who ushered in a true revival—one that was bathed in the fear of God, confirmed by signs and wonders, tempered by persecution and evidenced by thousands of conversions, new churches and the transformation of society. We should expect nothing less.

J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Global Day of Prayer

This Sunday I'll be ministering in Culpeper at the Global Day of Prayer. Here is a note I received by the facilitator of this event, Pastor Jeff Light:

"On Sunday, May 11th, Pavilion A, Yowell Meadow Park, Culpeper, VA from 3:30 until dusk (7:30 PM). A regional observance of Pentecost, Global Day of Prayer and Mother's day; a Christian celebration of Almighty God's desire to hear from His Children. As the body of Christ gathers with picnic blankets, area worship leaders and worship bands will facilitate four hours of praise and worship and prayers to God in the Name of Jesus Christ. Godly speakers will testify to God's desire for intimate relationship and call for repentance and lives of obedience and love. This event is free and open to everyone. We pray that everyone will choose to participate. For additional information...please call Jeff Light, pastor of Novum Baptist Church at (540) 987-9523...(The event will be moved to the Culpeper UMC in case of inclement weather.)"
I hope some of you are able to make it to this time of celebration!