Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Would you rather...

Would you rather drink half a cup of a strangers salive or; eat all the hair out of your bathtub drain?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Year End Book Review 2009

Here is the 2009 review of the books I have read this year, along with a brief review and my personal thoughts and comments.

How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else, Michael Gates Gill This is the memoir of Michael Gates Gill. A man who was born into wealth, and had everything. A man at the top of his business. But, he loses it all. When he runs out of options he goes to work at Starbucks (starts at the bottom). This book tells of the lessons he learned from his experiences and how Starbucks, and the people he meets working there, impact his life. Related post: Hello, Goodbye

Book Yourself Solid, Michael Port This business book reveals the secrets to successful marketing and selling. The secret is in truly knowing your business/company, but not only knowing it, know how to talk about it. The reader is taken through the steps of how to create excitement in potential customers, so they will utilize your service or product.
The Great Eight, Scott Hamilton The figure-skating phenomenon lists his eight methods to experience true happiness (even when you have every reason to be miserable). Related post: Scott Hamilton, The Great 8

Consulting for Dummies, Bob Nelson/Peter Economy I was interested in learning about what the job of a consultant actually entails. How it is done? How people make money doing it? Related post: Church Coach

The Noticer, Andy Andrews Perception is reality. There are many ways to look at the same thing. It's all about perspective. Related post: The Noticer

Contemplative Youth Ministry, Mark Yaconelli A lot of youth groups have forgotten why they exist. The youth group should be more than an after school activity, or something for kids to do during church. The purpose of youth ministry is to share the love of Jesus. This responsibility is one that is to be shared by the entire church body, not just the "youth pastor". Yaconelli's book is all about getting back to what youth ministry is all about, Christ. Preparing the heart of the youth worker, staff, volunteer to effectively enable students to experience God. Related post: Churches These Days
Put Your Dream to the Test, John C. Maxwell This leadership expert identifes 10 questions to ask yourself, and answer, to make your dreams a reality. I had the opportunity to hear him teach on this at church (Christ Fellowship), and was able to have him autograph my copy. Related post: Dream Test

It, Craig Groeschel Some churches have "it", and some don't. Through personal experiences with his church, Groeschel, reveals what he has found that determines if a church will have "it" or not.

How to Get Rich as a Televangelist or Faith Healer, Bill Wilson The reader is taken on an irreverent, tongue-in-cheek ride through the world of televangelism. This book calls out the secrets and tricks that the great "healers" use to make "miracles" occur, and tells how to make the right appeal so that your financial coffers will remain full.

The Charismatic Century, Jack Hayford An informative look at the formation of the pentecostal church movement. See what events led up to the Azusa street revival, and how the effects of that revival are still being felt today. Related post: Revival

The 21 Most Powerful Minutes in a Leaders Day, John C. Maxwell Based on "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership", this book offers a six-week daily reading to help enhance the leaders influence.

The Seven Faith Tribes, George Barna Brings to light the seven most influential "faith" groups in America. He enables the reader to understand what they each believe, how the act on those beliefs, and why it matters to us. Related post: 7 Faith Tribes

Just Do Something, Kevin DeYoung Many people spend a lifetime waiting to do something great for God. All God really wants is for us to just do something!

In, But Not Of, Hugh Hewitt This year was my second time to read this book (will probably read it again in 2010). This book offers practical guidance on how the Christian man or woman should appropriately channel their ambitions, and how they can influence the world.

Aftermath, Inc., Gil Reavill Tells the story of crime scene clean-up/biohazard technicians. What happens when CSI goes home?

Breaking the Jewish Code, Perry Stone Why are the Jewish people so successful? Can their success be our success? The answers to these questions lie within the pages of this book by the Voice of Evangelism's founder and president. Stone's book outlines 12 secrets that will transform your life, family, health and finances.

Preaching in the Spirit, Dennis Kinlaw As ministers, the only way that our sermons can be effective is if the spirit of God is in them, and that same spirit moves on the hearer's of the message. If we want Gods spirit on our ministry we must first prepare for His Spirit in our lives. Related posts: Preaching in the Spirt (Self-Discovery); RSVP

The 360 Degree Leader, John C. Maxwell This was my favorite read of the year. Many times we read or listen to these leadership experts, but we don't think we can apply the principles because we are not at the head leadership position of our organization. This book does away with that excuse, and offers practical advice on how to lead from any position within the organization.
Primal, Mark Batterson As Christians we need to return to the primal meaning of Christianity. This is to love the Lord our God, with all our hearts, soul, mind, and strength. Related post: Primal,Mark Batterson

Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, John Wood He had a comfortable job, an executive position at the top software company, and all the perks that go along with it. But, his life changed after a backpacking trip to Nepal, revealed the need for books and education for the children. He left his job, and created Room to Read. This is his story. (one of the best reads of 2009).

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Susan Boyle

I watched an inspiring story the other night. It's not a new story, it's one I am sure (by now) we are all familiar with. It is the story of Britain's Got Talent contestant, Susan Boyle.

It was a "rewind" type of program, all the players were being interviewed, they were showing the past footage of her performance. When the crowd first sees this woman, and she says that she can sing, you can see and almost feel the doubting and judgemental responses of the crowd and judges. They really have already written her off before she even sings one note.

But, then, she sings. The atmosphere of the crowd/judges shifts dramatically, from one of doubt and judgement, to one of enraptured awe. She is amazing!

There are people in our lives who doubt us, who judge us, who say we can't accomplish this dream or goal. Don't let those people determine who you are. Disappoint the naysayers.

Susan Boyle could have just given up and walked off the stage at the lack of hope she was given by the crowd. But, she new who she was, and what she was capable of. She persevered. Her dreams have become a reality.

When people display a judgemental or negative attitude toward you or what you can accomplish. Don't back down. Remember who you are and what you are capable of. More importantly remember Whose you are and what He is capable in your life!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

To all our readers,

Thanks for reading,
Aaron Johnson
Experience Shift

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Would you rather...

Would you rather....

For many years have acne that will go away when your 30, or for life have a birthmark the size of a quarter in the middle of your forehead?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Primal, Mark Batterson

Love the Lord Your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. (Mk. 12:30)

This is the passage that is explored in Mark Batterson's newest offering, Primal. The intent is to get back to what Christianity is really all about, take away all the unnecessary clutter, and be left with the basest tenant of the Faith. Primal Christianity is this, to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Batterson leads the reader on a journey to reach this point.

Part I: The Heart of Christianity

In his book "A Man After His Own Heart", Charles Siebert shares a scientific yet poetic depiction of a heart transplant he observed at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. Not long after, Siebert attended an annual banquet for transplant recipients, and he was deeply moved by their profound appreciation for life. They spoke in reverent tones about the second chance at life they had been given. They humbly acknowledged their responsibility to honor the donors. And many of them talked about new desires that accompanied their new hearts.

Sieber concluded -- and his research is backed up by numerous medical studies -- that transplant recipients don't just receive a new heart. Along with that new heart, they receive whole new sensory responses, craving and habits. (pg. 16)

This is the beginning of primal Christianity, a change of heart.

Part II: The Soul of Christianity

The primal soul of Christianity is being aware of the presence of God. Batterson tells the story of the small, beautiful, island, Pingelap. This island is filled with every kind of beautiful plant. However, the inhabitants of the island are all colorblind. They live in the midst of all this beauty but have no idea how beautiful it really is.

...many of us are as blind to the wonder as the Pingelapians are to color. There are miracles all around us all the time, but we lack the perceptual capacity to perceive them. We are in the presence of God, but we are unaware of it. We are surrounded by the glory of God but can't see it. (pg. 59)

Part III: The Mind of Christianity

Loving God wit all your mind literally means loving God with all your mind. It means managing your mind. It means making the most of your mind. It means loving God logically and creatively, seriously and humorously, intuitively and thoughtfully. (pg. 94)

Imagination is a form of God worship. As we surrender our imaginations, and creativity to Him. We are worshipping, as we worship He fills our minds with more imaginations and creativity for His glory.

Part IV: The Strength of Christianity

God desires for our strength to be surrendered to Him. As we physically serve others (mission trips, work days, etc.) God is worshiped. A lot of people want to stay away from the "labor" ministries (set up/tear down, work and witness, service projects), and stick with the "easy" ministries. However, those people miss out on one of the four primal factors of our Faith. God desires our strength. As we work, and wear our physical bodies down, for Him, He is worshipped.

Let this be the first book you read in 2010! Return to the primal foundations of the faith. Embark on "A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity".

Let this book set your spiritual tone for 2010!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Knockout Entrepreneur, George Foreman

This book wins my worst read of the year award. Anybody serious about business, entrepreneurship, or just reading in general should avoid this book.

The principles, and ideas contained in its pages are paper thin, and are nothing new, groundbreaking or earth shattering. This book is replete with references to everything that "George Foreman" has done ("I did this, this happened to me, I obtained this").

From someone who has authored several books, this is a major disappointment. This may be able to slide by from a first time author, but not so, from a supposedly seasoned business person, and author. This book was so horrible, that I could not even bring myself to finish reading it.

Do not buy this book. Skip it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"Would you rather..."

Would you rather thoroughly lick the entire surface of ten $1 bills and $2 worth of quarters; or, thoroughly lick the mouthpieces of four football players after a game?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Give More, Spend Less:Advent Conspiracy

A situation I have always wondered about, and never really understood is this...

If it is my birthday, and I have a great party, everyone comes and brings me a gift. I don't buy gifts for them on my birthday. At Christmas, Christ's birthday, we give gifts to everybody except for Him. Doesn't really make sense to me.

We could say how can we give a gift to Christ? The gift that Christ wants from us is this gift of generosity. Generosity, with our time, money, and resources (stuff).

"Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. [Let them] do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life." (1 Tim. 6:17-19)

I like the part that says God "gives us...things to enjoy". Growing up in church, we are always taught that God supplies our needs. However, this passage says that God "richly" supplies our wants.

We lack in generosity, because we fear what we may lose. We do not give money because we want to save it for something special, we do not give time because it's "our time" for us to do our thing, we do not share our resources because they may be limited. However, God promises that those things we are being stingy for (things for our enjoyment) will be provided. God will reward our generosity, by providing thing for us to enjoy.

The passage says to "do good" or be generous. This Christmas think about your circle of influence (the people you know, the jobs you work, the "circles" you are part of) and consider the needs that are present. What can you do to meet those needs? Can you skip out on a Christmas present, so that you have more money for generosity? Can you skip one Christmas party to spend time with someone who is lonely? Can you share a resource or give something away that will be of greater benefit to others?

If you see a need, do something about it. God has called us to generosity.

This call to generosity has no greater example than that of Christ himself. We are all born into this world with a need. The need for a savior, the need for a relationship with Jesus Christ. God looked upon us and saw our need. He could have done nothing, instead, He sent Jesus. He sent Jesus on Christmas day for the express purpose of giving His life for our need. Our need for forgiveness of sins.

This Christmas, be generous.

Give More, Spend Less.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Original B-I-B-L-E

We are surrounded by every resource imagineable to achieve effective Bible study. We have a plethora of commentaries, dictionaries, concordances, web sites (, and study Bibles to choose from and use. I myself have invested in several types of study Bibles, I have the NIV Student Bible, the Archaelogical Study Bible, the American Patriots Bible, and more. I have purchased these products to enhance my knowledge of the scriptures, to learn/know more about God and His Word. These things are great, but perhaps we need less.

I have put aside the study Bibles with their copious notes, sidebars, and cross references, and am just reading a Bible that has the Words of Christ in red. I am learning more about God, and drawing closer to Him than I have with these various other study books.

You see, the Christian faith is a heart faith, more than a head faith. As I read God's Word, uninhibated by scholars notes/opinions/thoughts, I have more opportunity to reflect on the scripture itself, and what God is speaking o me through it.

Use the study tools, occasionally. But, always make time to just simply read God's Word.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Free Resources

Just wanted to take a minute to introduce you to a good resource...Key This is home to the Bible teaching of Steve Brown, dedicated to getting you, and those you love, Home with radical freedom, infectious joy, and surprising faithfulness to Christ as your crowning achievement.

Steve Brown is a radio broadcaster, seminary professor and author. He previously served as a pastor for over twenty-five years and now devotes much of his time to the radio broadcast, Key Life.

He has available free teaching CD's, and a free periodical. These are great resources, Steve offers a very unique perspective of the scriptures.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

"Would you rather..." Wednesdays

Welcome to a new Experience Shift feature! Every Wednesday we will post a new "would you rather" scenario. Simply, put your response in the comments section below (write your reasoning, too).

Heres to the first "would you rather" Wednesday!

Would you rather have 5 bottles stuck on the finger of one hand for a year, or a bucket stuck on your foot for a year?

Monday, December 07, 2009

Christmas Shift:Advent Conspiracy

Christmas is a revolution. It's not so much the idea of revolution that we usually have of war, weapons, revolt, and upheaval. No, it is more a revolution in the truest sense of the word, a "drastic and far reaching change in ways of thinking and behavior".

And this is what Christmas is all about. With the arrival of Jesus, into our world, our way of life, thinking, and behavior was forever changed (like the revolution that takes place in our personal lives when we accept Him as our Lord and Savior).

But, through the years, something changed. Christmas stopped becoming about Him, and became a "revolution" of us. It has become a time of stress, busyness (often forgetting God), materialism, and focus on self (what am I getting, will they accept what I am giving).

We can go through the whole Christmas season and never truly experience Christ! Christmas is really all about having a true encoutner with Him!

In Matthew 2 we read of the magi, and the gifts they brought to their King. They brought the gift of worship, and they brought gifts of meaning (gold, frankincense, and myrrh). These are the same "gifts" that our King desires, still today.

He desires our wholehearted, and sincere worship. He desires meaning, service to others, sharing life together, and being the Body.

Let's Experience Shift in our Christmas, this year! Let this year be the year of shifting from a revolution of us, to a revolution of Him (a revolution of life-change)!

Four practical steps that we can take to start this revolution:

1.) Recognize what Christmas has become.

2.) Believe it has/can change (a shift can occur).

3.) Conspire to change Christmas (conspire: to act or work together toward the same result or goal)

4.) Take action to start the change.


Sunday, December 06, 2009

Advent Conspiracy

At Christ Fellowship, we are celebrating Christmas a little differently! We are taking part in a conspiracy, an Advent Conspiracy!

The story of Christ's birth is a story of promise, hope, and a revolutionary love.
So, what happened? What was once a time to celebrate the birth of a savior has somehow turned into a season of stress, traffic jams, and shopping lists.

And when it's all over, many of us are left with presents to return, looming debt that will take months to pay off, and this empty feeling of missed purpose. Is this what we really want out of Christmas?

What if Christmas became a world-changing event again?

Welcome to Advent Conspiracy.

Brandon Boas

Check out this article featuring my cousin, Brandon Boas:

Brandon Boas knows how to overcome life’s struggles to pursue his dreams. The young man has launched his own photography business and received statewide and national acclaim, all while overcoming the limitations of Down syndrome.

On Saturday, from 4 to 9 p.m., he will present an exhibit of his nature photography at Iris Garden Gallery, 79 N. Van Buren St. in Nashville, and those attending will learn more about Brandon and his journey to become a professional photographer. His landscape photographs will be available for purchase.

“The reason why I like to take landscape photographs is because I like to capture the world’s beauty at any moment in time,” Brandon states. “The place that I find that inspires me the most to take pictures are the hills of Nashville, Indiana. The time I like to take pictures the most at Nashville or any other place is during the peak season of fall and springtime.”

Brandon says he likes to capture the changing of the color of leaves in the fall, as well as the blossoming of flowers in the spring, especially if butterflies are floating nearby.

“I began taking pictures when an old friend of the family showed me some of his photographs,” Brandon continues in biographical information on his Web site, “His photographs inspired me to start practicing taking pictures myself. Ever since then, I haven’t put down my camera.”

Brandon says he started off by taking photographs of his family, but then he realized his love for capturing landscapes and decided to pursue it more vigorously.

“At that point in time, my family started motivating me to begin to start taking pictures professionally,” he writes. That enthusiasm culminated into his company, BB Love Photos. “I want people with disabilities to know they can have dreams come true if they really want it bad enough.”

Despite what many may think, having a professional photography business with Down’s syndrome is only one aspect that Brandon believes makes him unique. The second is having no special training in photography.

“I have never taken a photography class of any sorts,” he writes. “I have just reached my goal by working hard and practicing. I am so thankful to have the ability to take photographs. Also, I am thankful for my family who helped me realize how much I love to take photographs.”

In November, Brandon won the John McCauley Memorial Community Awareness Award at Development Services Inc. in Columbus. DSI is a nonprofit agency established in 1975 to help children and adults with mental, physical and emotional disabilities reach their greatest potential at home, work and in the community, according to information from the organization. DSI also provides early intervention services, as well as job training and job placement, independent and group living, life skills training, respite care and family support. It serves individuals in 27 counties and also has a group home in Brown County on Hoover Road.
In his nomination of Brandon, DSI’s Tom Harping pointed out that Brandon’s message is a simple one: “Work hard and believe in yourself.” He added that Brandon has learned to use photography as a way to handle and cope with his feelings.

“A few years ago when he lost his cousin in a car wreck, Brandon took many pictures which were very spiritual and profound,” Harpring stated, explaining that one of Brandon’s favorite pictures from that time was of a barn and windmill at sunset.

“I can see God’s face in that picture,” Brandon says. “The world is full of beauty — sometimes we just have to pay attention.”

Besides being recognized by the McCauley award, Brandon has also been featured on WISH-TV Channel 8 and WRZQ radio in Columbus. He has photographs in galleries, stores and competitions in several counties, and recently spoke at a film series for the awareness of citizens with disabilities at YES Cinema in Columbus. He is also active on several boards: as president of the Bartholomew Chapter of the Self Advocates of Tomorrow and on the boards of Self Advocates of Indiana and Arc of Bartholomew County. Brandon has traveled to Washington, D.C., and Pittsburgh to advocate for citizens with disabilities at the national level.
“I want others to have the same chance I got to pursue dreams,” Brandon has stated. “People with disabilities want the same things everybody else wants — a chance to get a job, have good friends and independence.”

Read more: