Through The eyes of A Lion

I love books. I love gifting my friends books that I have enjoyed and learned from. I really love being blessed with friends that think of me and gift me with books they think I will like. One of the highest honors in my life.

My Pastor and favorite authors Judah Smith posted about this book I few months ago. I had intended to eventually get to it; but when I was handed it by a dear friend that had a personal connection to the Author/Pastor Levi Lusko it instantly made its way to the top of my list. Perfect timing considering  I would have some free time over vacation.

Levi left Southern California to plant a church in Montana. Levi is a young pastor who is doing big things and building powerful ministry that is touching thousands. He and his wife have created what is close to my definition of a family. Four beautiful girls who he is an amazing loving father to. Things seemed close to picture perfect, right before tragedy struck. One of his baby girls was taken from this earth. My brain cant wrap my head around the pain that this must have on a Father/Pastor/Man. I don't know how you get out of bed in the morning let alone lead a community in teaching about how God is good.

This book is about just that: how to have faith and Love in Tragedy. When first getting into this book, I felt it was all good information but maybe I should just shelve is because right now in life: I am doing great. Why would I need a book on keeping faith during the worst of times. Levi provided an answer to that; because tragedy, sorrow , sadness and even death… is coming. Now is the time to prepare for that storm. As dark as it sounds there is a lot of light in it. I loved it. I had the pleasure of hearing him speak more about it at HIllsong last week and it was amazing. 

We have all had situations in our lives where we wish we could just turn and run. But how would we face our fears if we knew that God had a purpose for our pain? In this sermon from guest speaker Levi Lusko, Lead Pastor of Fresh Life Church in Montana, we learn how to see the struggles in our lives through a new lens.

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win

There are a few things I am passionate about and Leadership is one of them. This particular book is written by decorated Navy SEAL officers Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. These two guys might be two of the baddest on the planet, their work capabilities, drive and dedication to the job is unmatched. Beyond that, their ability to learn and lead successful teams in the most stressful battlefield situations is close to unbelievable. I am attracted to military leadership because the level of consequences is what pushes performance. These two wrote an excellent book; each chapter they take a story of their time in service, break down a specific leadership principal that made the outcome of their mission successful and take us through a practical business application. I learned a lot from this book and have already gifted it to many of my friends that I feel can use this in their tool kit to become better leaders (which we all can).

Jocko has encouraged me to set my alarm clock even earlier to allow myself fewer excuses to work towards becoming better on a daily basis. Check his twitter and new podcast for more info. 

Garden City

Whenever people ask me what it is I do I respond with; “That's a complicated question.” Yes, I have a job that I receive a pay check for every two weeks. I also do a multitude of other “stuff”.  I am passionate about my job but I can’t say it’s my passion. My passion is spending time with others, to tell people about Jesus and help show others we can all live better. I spend most of my days looking at my day job as box to check so I can get on with the fun stuff.

In this book John Mark presents us with different potential perspective on how we think about the meaningfulness of our jobs  “whatever it is you do – cooking, building, teaching, writing, mothering, project managing, beehive keeping – if you do it as an act of worship to God and expression of love and service to humanity, that's enough.” Maybe my job is more fulfilling than I allow it to be, maybe what I am doing is good enough.

I have such a hard time this year in feeling that my goals have been set to low. That I choose goals that are totally possible with only a few weeks of effort; as if I am ordering off the menu at chipotle. What about if I went Big and set something that scared me?

“Just remember one last thing: if your dreams are all about you, then your dreams are way too small. You need to dream larger. Larger than your job or career or net worth or name or body. You need dreams as large as Jesus’ vision of the Kingdom. “

If you are searching for meaningfulness in your work, feeling burnt out of just reaching for more balance, then this book is for you. 

The Grand Paradox:

This book has been in my queue for few months, when it was delivered by amazon I did a quick skim through and realized it was packed with information. It is written in short continent chunks each compiling extensive perspective on a specific topics. I had set it aside for a bit of time until I cold give it my full attention. The title of this book is powerful; bold enough to get me questioned about what was contained in the writings on numerous occasions while walking with it in hand and while reading it in coffee shops. I enjoyed the conversations it initiated but I was continually being asked, “What is the Grand Paradox?” I was not able to provide a comprehensive answer while I was in the middle of reading the book because there were to many Pradox’s of faith that were specifically explored throughout the text to cite just one example. However in the end, this is what I can say the book is about; the paradox of having belief in God.

Having faith raises a lot of questions for us on how these teachings that seems ancient fit in to our modern lives. Most of us have been raised to not question the teachings of the bible or paradoxes we identify where science conflicts with how we are guided to live with in faith. It is exactly what I love thinking about, how we can find the beauty in the complex and embrace it. 

The Heroic Path: In search of the Masculine Heart

I am always searching, mostly for answers but also new books. I came across this book by happenstance, I was browsing the Suggested pictures page on Instagram and I saw one of the Kids from Duck Dynasty post holding it. So I amazon searched the book and it seemed right up my alley.

This book is about a new vision of Manhood. How our society has lost our Rites of Passage leaving most modern men ill equipped for becoming whole as designed. This book takes us through where we have gotten it wrong and has designed a mystic path for us to get it right through the following steps:

Severance – An intentional leaving behind our old self. Getting up and breaking free to make a change.

Confrontation – Coming face to face with an uncomfortable and scary reality outside our comfort zones. So scary in fact it has become what has turned us away from the process of becoming men through this process of passage.

Transformation – The resulting change that occurs with confrontation. The development of strength.

Return – The return home forever change from the journey.

Most of us want to steer clear from the fires of the forge. We want to avoid the hammer and the anvil. But these are the very places where we are purified and shaped into our eternal destiny.

For the man who goes into the forge and onto the anvil, his life is changed. The man who surrenders to the Consuming Fire welcomes the sweat and strain, as he is re-formed into something sharp and powerful and deadly. His very life is put into the forge-Fire pressed and cold hammered into something else entirely.

This is our Transformation.

It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways


I love Amazon. I love it because I am able to give used books a new life on the cheap. One time I bought an old textbook on Hydrodynamics, my thought was that I would learn more about surfboard design. I am 100% honest when I say I could not even keep up reading through the first page of the Introduction. It now sits on my book shelf and is the first book I get called out on by anyone of my friends who is browsing though the selection to see what I am reading. I do enjoy books that are heavy in information but I also like books that flow between chapters so I can hammer a few chapters out on the beach. This book is a great combination written on a topic everyone can use a little more information about, Food and its relationship with our bodies. I feel like I have put in a decent amount of effort in learning about diet, nutrition and food but this book still blew me away on how much of the basic principles I was missing. Dallas and Melissa Hartwig wrote this book in support of their 30 day nutritional reset program and even though I hate getting pitched on some new diet fad it supports the basic principles of your diet being based on nutrient dense foods. The program itself can be very beneficial in opening people’s eyes in regards to how powerful your nutrition is in fixing many of the common issues many people’s bodies have been forced to deal with over the years. I am a big advocate of nutrition being the base of self improvement. If you want more energy, to fix nutrition related problems or a way to teach your parents to eat healthier then pick up this book. 

This Beautiful Mess: Practicing the Presence of the Kingdom of God

There are some days when this book title seems like the perfect description of what’s going on in my life. There are all these scattered broken pieces that fit together just perfectly; I just need to take a step back to see what whole picture looks like from time to time. Rick Mckinley is a pastor who runs an amazing church out of Portland Oregon. His church Imago Del would be my home if I lived in Portland, Rick and his community take action to spread the love of the kingdom in practical life changing ways through the streets of their city. This book provides practical examples of how to live like Jesus in our everyday lives. He shows us that’s it’s more than providing financial assistance to those in need but his community thinks in real terms of how to help raise up our communities. It made me take time to consider if what I am doing is really enough; it’s not and theses examples have showed me I can do more.

"My Name is Hope: Anxiety, depression, and life after melancholy"

"My Name is Hope: Anxiety, depression, and life after melancholy" - John Mark Comer 

Another awesome book on a heavy topic. This book found its way to me at the most perfect time. On paper my life was close to perfect and I should have been happy. I wasn’t; I was battling anxiety on a level I had not ever experienced, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t keep focus I was overwhelmed and debilitated. I knew prescriptions were the quick and easy solution. It could provide a temporary relief and was a quick workaround. That’s not me, I want to find the root cause and come to a healthy solution that will provide a long term resolution. I was ready to dig deep and do the work. This book was an action plan that allowed me to identify what Anxiety is and where is comes from allowing empowering me the ability to start to do the work to get back to where I needed to be. Depression and Anxiety are complicated medical issues, this book might not be the solution for everyone but I will tell you it’s the best place to start. 

The Last American Man

The Last American Man
By Elizabeth Gilbert

It’s not easy to find exceptional examples of men living in our modern society. Men that live life outside the status quo. I have always been interested in learning of ways in which others have chosen to do something different and are unique in finding their own personal American Dream. Eustace Conway is a fantastic example of someone that has chosen a different path. Documented by Elizabeth Gilbert in The Last American Man is an account of Eustace choosing from an early age to live off the land and preserve his masculinity in recapturing the American Frontier. I learned a lot about the primal instincts of men that are stripped away in a culture driven by technology in striving to do more faster at a cheaper cost. Eustace has spent his years re-learning on how to live off and preserve this beautiful country and has dedicated his life to passing on that knowledge to the next generation of youth. He has been on adventures that most of us couldn't even dream of. 

Loveology: God. Love. Marriage. Sex. And the Never-Ending Story of Male and Female.”

Okay okay, I am sure everyone is beyond sick of me talking about this book. I honestly can’t begin to explain what a game changer this was for me and other people in my life that have read it. This book has re-framed the way in which I look at Love and Relationships forever. The author John Mark Comer is an inspirational leader and someone who I deeply admire. The book itself is covers the theory of Love, Sex and Marriage in the Christian faith. This book is a must read for anyone who is single or engaged, male or female. Pick up a copy or let me know and I would love to let you borrow mine.

My full review here: Loveology

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

This book is another one on my must read list. It as an absolute must read for anyone with creative interests or wanting to start tackling something new and challenging. Steven Pressfield breaks down the concept of “Resistance”; which is essentially the theory of what is preventing you from doing whatever it is you would like to do. This book was fundamental for me in overcoming my challenges in beginning to write and any task I want to tackle. The War of Art is a super easy and short read, great for a plane flight or to leave lying around to chip away at chapter by chapter over time.