Category Archives: Books & Media

Book Review — Living Life in the Zone


Living Life in the Zone: A 40 Day Spiritual Game Plan for Men

Kyle Rote Jr and Joe Pettigrew

Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009 (329 pp–$14.99)

Former soccer legend, Kyle Rote Jr, and “America’s Leadership Doctor,” Joe Pettigrew, have teamed up to map out a 40-day experience–supposedly themed after the Experiencing God 40-day journey. The days are broken down into 6 groupings:

1. A broad vision for biblical manhood

2. Husbanding

3. Fathering

4. Male friendship

5. Vocation

6. Future planning

Why 40 days? The authors answer: “Throughout the Bible, God uses forty days as a significant period of time in which to accomplish His purposes” (xix). They then cite several biblical examples to make their case: the flood, Moses on Mt. Sinai, Wilderness Wanderings, Elijah on Mt. Horeb, Jesus’ fast and subsequent temptation.

Each day follows the same format (which is helpful; you know what you’re going to get each day–a help for early morning devotions until the morning fog dissipates). The devotion begins with the purpose of the day (called the “Thought of the Day”). This is followed by “The Coach’s Corner,” which gives a 1-2 page overview of why the issue for the day is important to your life as a man. “The Game Plan” gives biblical passages that illuminate the issue (the verses are quoted at length rather than merely cited). The “Playmakers” section gives an example from sports to make the day’s point. The “Time Out” asks three practical questions that help pinpoint how the issue applies to the man’s life. “Today’s Assignment” gives an action point that the reader is supposed to accomplish for the day–i.e. “Ask your wife, or your children’s mother, what she is most concerned about in regard to the current needs for protection for the family. Consider calling and talking with your children today and making sure that each one knows how much you love them” (116).

I found the practical bent to the book immensely helpful. From a man’s perspective, religion can seem very ephemeral and not practical. This book helps put flesh on the various characteristics to being a godly man. One of the pressing problems in the church today is getting men involved. With the feminization of our culture and the attacks on what it means to be a man–the majority of men do not want to dress in pastels and skinny jeans. This book is a good attempt to bridge that gap.

It is the kind of book that you would want to give to a man who wants to be faithful in his Christian devotion but does not know where to begin. It is written with the peripheral attender of church in mind–not something you want to give someone who is already leading in the church. HOWEVER, it could prove to be an invaluable resource for these men to lead a men’s group. Six weeks of meeting with men and working through the devotions together and hitting high points could help to bring men into the fold. With the audience in mind, this book would need to be given with the assumption he will be reading it with other men. Reason being that most men on the periphery will not finish a 40-day game plan. They need accountability and peer example to want to continue.

The bridge could have better been constructed with a shorter volume–329 pages is imposing on someone who prefers SportsCenter and highlight reels. If the book is meant for a man to read on his own, I would recommend shortening the book to 20 days. This is more easily managed and attainable.

Further, the sports examples make the book appetizing to the spiritual couch potato. Men like Staubach, Hershiser, Bird, Belichick, and Wooden all translate the purpose for the day. I would recommend putting these examples at the beginning of each day to give a big vision of what is to be accomplished–the “Coach’s Corner” could be done away with (thus shortening the book).

While this book is commendable, I think what is needed is a robust understanding of how the Bible fits together. This devotion is a great starting place for getting men involved in spiritual matters. But entertainment cannot be the fiber of healthy Christian diet. As a follow-up to this devotion there needs to be a laying out of the biblical narrative so that men can get a better understanding of the Bible. I believe part of the anemia found in the church lies in the perceived ineptitude of many men when it comes to what the Bible teaches.

I recommend this book for men who love sports and do not read their Bibles. But please have them read it in a small group; followed by a biblically rich devotion or book.

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Filed under Books & Media, Manhood

Abortion Has Got to Stop!

!!WARNING!! This video is explicit.

http://herestheblood.com/player-viral.swf

Does your stomach churn? Does your heart ache? Do something about it. Go to http://liveaction.org and http://abort73.com and get informed. I use to believe choice was more important than life. After seeing what that choice entailed, I began to realize that life is more important than convenience.

Do you want to help your friends see that life trumps choice? Bring the facts to the light. If they watch this video and go to the website, then they’ll be confronted with reality and scientific hypothesizing as to when a child *becomes* a human. A child always is a human.

Read this post which concludes:

In 2008, the latest year for which data are available, there were 89,469 abortions in New York City, while there were 127,680 live births. This means that 41 percent of pregnancies ended in abortion in New York, far beyond the national rate of about 23 percent. In the Bronx, a full 48 percent of pregnancies ended in abortion. With rates as high as these, any medical risks associated with abortion could amount to a public-health crisis, as the disturbing rise in the rate of pre-term birth may already indicate. Policymakers should be discussing what can possibly be done to lower the rate of abortion in New York. . . .

When the head of the city’s legislative body and local subsidiaries of some of the most powerful organizations in the country attack fewer than 20 shoestring operations in New York City that offer free abortion alternatives, while nearly 90,000 women procure an abortion every year in the city, it is clear that it’s not about choice. It’s about abortion.

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Filed under Abortion, Books & Media, Culture

The Art of Marriage

I am so excited about this project Family Life has been laboring toward for a couple years now. This is something that will bless the church tremendously and deepen couples’ walks with Christ in ways we can only dream of!

A wonderful snip on anger in marriage below:

http://mediasuite.multicastmedia.com/player.php?v=f33lpem8

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Filed under Books & Media, Family | Parenting

The Prodigal: An Animation

Another great animation by actionJones

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Filed under Art, Books & Media, Soteriology

Gifts that Matter

For those of you who have not heard of Blood: Water Mission, this is a worthy ministry that seeks to provide clean blood and clean water to AIDS affected and impoverished areas in Africa.

You can support this ministry by purchasing t-shirts and water filters. Neat idea. Worthy cause.

Blood: Water Mission Store

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Lashed to the Mast

A friend of mine posted a lengthy quotation from Eugene Peterson’s The Contemplative Pastor. The following two paragraphs are a good reminder that we are weak and can, like Odysseus, be lured away by the sirens of people pleasing. We need God’s grace in seeing that we, yes even you, can fall as fast and hard as the latest tabloid headline. You are one stupid second away from utter ruin. We also need to resolve of brothers and sisters to hold us to the commitment we made when we first set out on the stormy sea. When your men are about to mutiny and the waves are about to consume you, will you be fixed on your Star of direction?

We are going to ordain you to this ministry, and we want your vow that you will stick with to it.  This is not a temporary job assignment but a way of life that we need lived out in our community.  We know you are launched on the same difficult belief venture in the same dangerous world as we are.  We know your emotions are as fickle as ours, and your mind is as tricky as ours.  That is why we are going to ordain you and why we are going to exact a vow from you.  We know there will be days and months, maybe even years, when we won’t feel like believing anything and won’t want to hear it from you.  And we know there will be days and weeks and maybe even years when you won’t feel like saying it.  It doesn’t matter.  Do it. You are ordained to this ministry, vowed to it.

“There may be times when we come to you as a committee or delegation and demand that you tell us something else than what we are telling you now.  Promise right now that you won’t give in to what we demand of you.  You are not the minister of our changing desires, or our time-conditioned understanding of our needs, or our secularized hopes for something better.  With these vows of ordination we are lashing you fast to the mast of Word and sacrament so you will be unable to respond to the siren voices.

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Filed under Books & Media, Christian Living, Pastoral, Quotations

Where Are All the Good Man-sites?

I was talking with my wife yesterday about biblical manhood and woman. There are so many good sites for women to visit to learn about biblical womanhood (list below), but when it comes to living biblically as a man, you will have a hard time.

Theology sites abound. And, sure, there are posts sprinkled about that have topics on leading your family and such. But where can a man go that wants to learn about what it means to be a man? I found one site – and it was pretty pathetic and full of sarcasm. Sure, there are numerous books about how to be a warrior, a poet, a lumberjack, an Eastwood-wanna-be – but few books give me Bible and put me under its teaching. Fail.

I decided I want to begin writing a little more on this topic as a help to those men who want to consider and learn what it means to be a Christian man.

This is a need that needs to be filled. Why don’t we open up this new avenue for OffTheWire by having you put some sites you have found helpful for being a man, biblically. Maybe we can help get some resources together.

Biblical Womanhood Blogs (this is an open list, so if you have others to add, please put in Comments):

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Filed under Books & Media, Christian Living, Family | Parenting, Resources