It is that time of year again when I give a list of my favorite things for those looking for a few ideas. Not all of these have deep spiritual value but more of a way of assisting the greater things. I also asked Payton to submit some of his favorite things.
The Vine Project. This is the book we have mentioned several times over the past year. It is an excellent book, but more importantly, it is a greater way for you to understand more of what we are doing as leaders. It will also help you understand why this is a long process and not something that can be rolled out in a month. A “project” takes time and lots of prayer. If you are wondering, the focus group is in phase 2 of the book. On Amazon you can purchase the book for $19.99 or the Kindle version for $9.99.
Church History: The history of the Churches of Christ is an important part of who we are as a congregation. Many people have heard of Alexander Campbell or Barton W. Stone, but few know much about our movement that began in the early 1800’s. Two books I suggest are “Discovering Our Roots: The Ancestry of Churches of Christ” by C. Leonard Allen and Richard T. Hughes and “Renewing God’s people: A Concise History of Churches of Christ” by Gary Halloway and Douglas A. Foster. These are easy reading. I believe we must never forget where we came from, the good and the bad. While Christ is our true identity and reason for being, our history helps us understand how we were shaped and the goal of the Restoration Movement. You can find these for $15.59 and $15.99 on Amazon.
The Best Pen: For all of you notetakers out there, you understand the importance of a good pen. In times past I have mentioned the Pigmy pens for marking your Bible. This is about writing notes in your Arc notebooks, bulletin or just taking notes. A pen is a personal item so I will not recommend a specific kind. There are many styles. I will do the next best thing and let the experts help you. The link counts down the top 100 pens! If you are like me, you will head to the top 10. Anyway, it is pretty interesting and is perfect to stuff in a stocking. Click here to go to the website. Prices vary based on what you like.
Highlighters: I don’t highlight in my Bible, but I do in researching for sermons and classes. Some people love to highlight passages that stick out to them. The problem with regular highlighters is they can bleed through the page. There are a couple of types that are designed not to bleed, smear or fade. One such type is the “Bible Safe Bible Highlighters.” They come in six different colors and are $7.56 for the pack. Joe Wild mentioned a type of highlighter he uses that comes out more like a crayon and doesn’t bleed. Don’t worry, I questioned Joe to make sure it wasn’t using, in fact, a crayon. There is a brand called “Bible Dry Pencil”, with several colors, that can also be found on Amazon for $12.99. If this fails, remember it was Joe’s idea.
Mini Fan: It is sad I am recommending a fan for a Christmas gift, but we live in Florida. This is for the hot natured person in your life. The “OPOLAR” battery operated fan is one of my favorite things this year. Missy bought one for herself, and I sort of took it over. I use it when teaching class and something in worship. It is rechargeable and a single charge will last 10-40 hours (depending on the three settings). It is also foldable, which allows it to be set down in different positions and in your pews!. This fan is also endorsed by Cassandra Young, who has already invested in two since seeing Missy’s fan. You can find these on Amazon for $24.99. It is totally worth the money.
Christian Music: I am a big fan of the Praise and Harmony project put out by Keith Lancaster. Most of our new songs come from these CD’s. They are acappella songs recorded by about 300 Christians. You can click here to go to their store. Just click on the “Praise & Harmony” section to find all the songs. You can also find other acappella music from their various groups. In the “Praise & Harmony” section you can buy CD’s or individual songs for your computer. You will also be able to listen to pieces of songs. The CD’s run about $19.99 for their newest and $16.99 for older ones. The individual songs are $1.29.
Payton offered up a few things he recommends, especially by way of leadership. He is addicted to reading and narrowed it down to three books. Here are his suggestions with his reviews:
How To Be Like Walt by Pat Williams. “That’s right, THE WALK DISNEY. I believe that Walt Disney is more than a man. He is a symbol of the values he represents: imagination, honesty, optimism, and vision. There is much to learn from the life of Disney and the growth of his empire.” You can find it on Amazon for $13.95 or Kindle for $9.99.
The Power of Positive Leadership by Jon Gordon. “Many leaders face numerous obstacles, negatively, and tests on a consistent basis. That’s why positive leadership is so crucial! Gordon fills this small book with practical ways to build a great culture, unite your organization, and develop connected teams all through positivity.” You can get this book on Amazon for $17.
Leadership and Self-Deception by The Arbinger Institute. “This is a mind-boggling book and a global phenomenon in the world of leadership. Told through narrative form, the authors expose the fascinating way that we bind ourselves to our true motivation and unwillingly sabotage our own efforts to improve performance and achieve success.” This can be purchased on Amazon for $12 or Kindle for $9.99.
Payton also suggested some board games that would be good in promoting family time or with others. He goes beyond the traditional games and offers up some unique ones:
Above and Below. “This is a mashup of town-building and storytelling where you and up to three friends compete to build the best village above and below ground. The artwork is breathtaking and each games plays different. Fun for the whole family.” You can find it on Amazon as one of the deals of the day for $26.88 (regular $49.99). It is also tagged as an “Amazon Choice.”
Mr. Jack. “Mr. Jack is a cat and mouse style game where one player (playing the infamous Jack the Ripper), is attempting to escape untraced, while the other players (the investigators) try to reveal him. The stakes are high!” You can find it on Amazon starting around $40. There is also a Mr. Jack: Pocket Edition for $20 and tagged as an “Amazon Choice.”
T.I.M.E. “is a narrative game, a game of ‘decksploration.’ This is one of my all-time-favorite board games, but it’s difficult to explain. You reveal the game as you slowly work through a deck of cards in the attempt to resolve a mystery. Play it once and find yourself hooked! (Many expansions are available).” It too can be found on Amazon for $53.99.
One more Payton recommendation, along with my own. It is in the area of electronics and would be good for people who enjoy listening to audible Bibles, Christian music, podcasts, etc..
Powerbeats3 Wireless Headphones. “A little pricey, but if you’re looking for a good set of headphones, look no further. You can sweat in them, run with them, garden with them and jam out on your podcasts. All hands free of your phone.” These can also be purchased on Amazon at a starting price of $79.99.
Bose Noise Canceling Headphones. This is on my wish list. When you see the price tag you will understand why I haven’t purchased it with a couple of kids in college. I also like headphones that go over the ear instead of in the ear. Did I mention they are noise canceling? Have you ever been on a flight with loud talkers or babies crying? Ok, I know I’m old. I have tried these in the Bose store and they are pretty amazing. If you are familiar with the Bose sound, you know the quality in the listening experience. It would also be nice when you just need some time of silence from the distractions around you. It looks like you can get the series 1, wait for it, for $329. The newer, series II, goes for $349. Did I mention they cancel out noise? These are not recommended for use during my sermons. If you see Santa, let him know I have been a good boy this year.
This wraps up the annual “Favorite Things” blog for this season. No telling what they will come out with next year.