Presenting the first annual, “Vinnys”!

In honor of last night’s award show, I figured I would follow suit. I present, “The Vinnys,” my top 5 recommended resources for life and faith that I have discovered since around this time last year. (Hopefully, I will hand myself the correct card as I write these down!)

I’m just sharing these for mutual encouragement. I’m not associated with these products and I’m not marketing. They have just produced some awesome results for me. Have a favorite resource you think we could use? Please say so in the comments!

1) Best Work/ Life Balance Resource- “Living Forward” by Michael S. Hyatt and Dan Harkavy

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Synopsis: This is a great, easy reading, and fun book. I actually enjoyed Harkavy’s writing style the best, but both authors are extremely on point. They walk you through how to assess each of the areas of your life and whether you have inadvertently fallen into “drift” (like a surfer or swimmer can get caught in a dangerous current and taken away from the shore they’re heading toward.) Then, they step-by-step help you plan action steps and priorities to renew purpose and give you wins along the way. Just one year after I bgan with tbis book, I’m nearing the accomplishment of a college degree I never thought I would have.

Best feature: It comes with a HUGE package of additional tools as well, including a pre designed pdf “Life Action Plan” that coincides perfectly with the book, a downloadable spreadsheet calendar for implementing the plan, and even an Evernote file used to walk you through the development of your Life Plan. The book and tools caused me to face some hard truths while seamlessly moving me forward in my faith, family, finances, and values.

Great Quote: “When you are gone, the only truly memorable thing you will have created are the memories you leave behind. How do you want to be remembered? The possibility of shaping those memories can be a powerful lever for motivating personal change.”

2) Best Devotional- The Forgotten Way by Ted Dekker and Bill Vanderbrush

 

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Synopsis: The Forgotten Way lays out a path and purpose for mediation that causes a believer to get back to the real essence of identity and love in the Lord. It helps (immensely) in turning off the noise and distraction of worldly chatter and false success by reminding you daily of what it truly means to be a follower of the way Christ lived. If you enjoy some of the fruitful outgrowth from the Catch The Fire or The Torronto Blessing over the last decade or so- you’ll love this book.

Best feature: Ted Dekker has been my favorite author for several years, but this book gives you insight into the painful childhood experiences he ednured as well as the price he paid to become the prolific and talented writer he now is. The book comes with a study guide that makes it possible to use in a small group.

Great quote: “The Spirit of Truth comes to show us the Father’s love and our union with and in Christ, because only in this awareness can we love as He loves and so show ourselves and the world the love of the Father.”

3) Best Leadership Resource- “Leaders Book Summaries” http://www.studyleadership.com

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Synopsis: Between my wife, children, ministry, school, etc…there is no way on earth I could possibly read all of the books on leadership I desire. If you’re like me, study leadership will be an invaluable tool for you. Dave Frederick does a spectacular job of choosing great books both christian and secular and summarizes them with extreme expertise. For just $7 a month, you receive a new downloadable summary (usually about 7-10 pages, laid out just like the book), in your inbox every other week. I remember Bill Hybels exhorting that all leaders should be in the midst of reading a leadership book all of the time. Study leadership makes this possible in a busy life- and really sets you up well in interviews when the invariable “What are you reading now?” Question comes up.

Best Feature: Though ordering a book on leadership is probably never a “waste” of money, I’ve saved a lot of the green stuff because now, I only order books whose summary truly caught my attention to the point where I felt I needed more.

4) Best App- “Group Text” by Andrea Vitorri

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Synopsis- If you work for a church or a company that can’t affordlarge database/ communication software or if the program you’re forced to use is unwieldy or not useful, or if you’re just someone that often needs to send texts to groups and hates that everyone always receives everyone’s responses, then “Group Text” is for you. The app interfaces with your contact list and you simply organize them into sub lists or groups within the app. (It doesn’t manipulate your conatct list outside of itself.) Then, you type and send the text to the whole group no matter how large or small. Everyone on the list will receive your text but when they respond- only you will see them! I use it for absolutely every volunteer team and group of ministry participants I work with, bar none.

Best feature- It’s just a one time purchase of $3.99. Since it works with yuor phone’s indigenous texting, there are no per text fees (beyond what your own personal cell phone plan involves) or character limitations.

5) Best Leadership Book- “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKown.

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Synopsis- This book has made the rounds the last few years, but I only discovered it recently. This book is a good read that just makes so much sense, you could just skip prioritizing what motivates and dip the whole thing in highlighter all at once. It teaches the reader how to prioritize and keep pritoritizing until the bulk of what you do is “essential.” In other words, you’re not stuck wasting time and effort on things that aren’t effective to the goal. Most of us would say, ” I have no choice about a lot of what I do” but McKown deftly helps you realize that’s probably more of an excuse than a reality.

Best Feature- Though it causes you to confront some hard truths, it does so in a way that you are really looking forward to making the changes. Best yet, the changes yield so much immediate fruit, relapse is all but impossible.

Great quote- “…are there limits to the value of hard work? Is there a point at which doing less (but thinking more) will actually produce better outcomes? It’s easy to think of a job in terms of the ratio between time and reward. But what really counts is the relationship between time and results.”

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