The Trellis and the Vine Quotes

I just reread The Trellis and the Vine after first reading it in college right after it came out. I was once again reminded why I enjoyed it so much the first time! There’s a lot of great things to take away from it, so here are the quotes that stuck out to me this time. My biggest takeaway: Start small, meet with 2 people and pray for the Lord to multiply the efforts.
“The basic work of any Christian ministry is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of God’s Spirit, and to see people converted, changed and grow to maturity in the gospel.” (8)
“Trellis work…tends to take over from vine work. Perhaps it’s because trellis work is easier and less personally threatening. Vine work is personal and requires much prayer…trellis work also looks more impressive than vine work. It’s more visible and structural.” (9)
“To be a disciple is to be called to make new disciples….our goal is not to make church members or members of our institution, but genuine disciples of Jesus.” (14)
“We will be arguing that structures don’t grow ministry any more than trellises grow vines, and that most churches need to make a conscious shift-away from erecting and maintaining structures, and towards growing people who are disciple-making disciples of Christ.” (17)
“If we want our strategy to be people-focused, we should concentrate on training, which increases the number and effectiveness of gospel communicators.” (19)
“Instead of using our volunteers, we should consider how we can encourage them and help them grow in the knowledge and love of Christ, because service flows from Christian growth and not growth from service.” (20)
“If we just focus on gap filling, we’ll never move out of maintenance mode.” (20)
“If ministry in our churches is based on reacting to the problems people raise, many will receive no attention because they are more reserved in sharing their problems…If you take a problem approach to ministry, people with the most critical needs will dominate your programs, and these needs will wear you out and exhaust you, and reduce the effectiveness of your other ministries.” (22)
“Elders and congregational leaders should be active vine-growers themselves before we consider giving them responsibility for oversight.” (24)
“We must be exporters of trained people instead of hoarders of trained people.” (25)
“Heb. 3:12-13. This can only mean that God wants all Christians to be speaking to each other regularly, urging and encouraging each other to stick with Christ.” (46)
“Everyone should be pursuing the same goal, which is to edify the congregation in love.” (48)
“What we are really talking about is a Bible-reading movement.” (57)
“This is why unity is so important in the congregation, and why complaining, grumbling and discord is so totally out of place.” (65)
“Gospel partnership is the normal Christian life.” (66)
“Leaders, pastors and elders are responsible to teach, to warn, to rebuke, and to encourage. They are foreman and organizers, guardians and mobilizers, teachers and models. They provide the conditions under which the rest of the gospel partners can also get on with vine work-with prayerfully speaking God’s truth to others.” (67)
“In the New Testament, training is much more about Christian thinking and living than about particular skills or competencies. We see this in the pastor epistles, in the words that are translated as ‘training’ in our Bibles.” (70)
“The heart of training is not to impart a skill, but to impart sound doctrine.” (71)
“Training is inescapably relational.” (75)
“If a trainer is committed to a relational approach, training programs enhance rather than detract from the personal training.” (77)
“We want to see people grow in: Conviction – their knowledge of God and understanding of the Bible Character – the godly character and life that accords with sound doctrine Competancy – the ability to prayerfully speak God’s word to others in a variety of ways.” (78)
“The gospel by its very nature produces growth.” (82)
“We must be willing to lose people from our own congregation if that is better for the growth of the gospel” (83)
4 steps to growth: “At the outreachstage, people come into contact with the word of truth for the first time…Once people respond to the gospel message and put their faith in Christ, some sort of initial follow-up is needed to establish them in the faith and teach them the basics…Then follows the lifelong process of growth as a Christian disciple-growing in the knowledge of God and the godly character that flows from that knowledge…The fourth stage training is not a sequential one…to grow like Christ is to grow in love and a desire to serve and minister to others.” (84-5)
“There are three approaches or emphases that we wish to examine which we will call: the pastor as service-providing clergyman, the pastor as CEO, the pastor as trainer.” (94)
Clergyman: “Perhaps the most striking disadvantage of this way of hiking about ministry is that it feeds upon and encourages the culture of ‘consumerism’ that is already rife in our culture…in this sort of church culture, it becomes very easy for the congregation to think of church almost entirely in terms of ‘what I get out of it,’ and thus to slip easily into criticism and complaint when things aren’t to their liking.” (95)
CEO “One of the key strengths and advantages of the church growth approach has been its promotion of congregational involvement.” (97)
“Unless Christians are taught and trained to meet with each other, and to urge and spur one another on to love and good works, the small-group structure will not be effective for spiritual growth.” (100)
“One of the first steps in applying these challenges is to conduct an honest assessment of all your congregational programs, activities and structures, and assess them against the criteria of gospel growth. How many of them are still useful vehicles for outreach, follow-up, growth or training? Is there duplication? Are some structures or regular activities long past their use-by date?” (108)
“If we pour all our time into caring for those who need help, the stable Christians will stagnate and never be trained to minister to others…ministry becomes all about problems and counseling, and not about the gospel and growing in godliness.” (111)
“Churches don’t make disciples; disciples make disciples.” (117)
“A co-worker must be completely dependable in rightly handling the word of truth.” (119)
“We wait to long to recruit someone, and they make family or career decisions that close off ministry options.” (149)
“What are you more interested in: the growth of your particular congregation, or the growth of the kingdom of God?” (149)
“Christian ministry is really not very complicated.” (151)
“The word ‘disciple’ means, above all else, ‘learner’ or ‘pupil’…the essence of ‘vine work’ is the prayerful, Spirit-backed speaking of the message of the Bible by one person to another (or to more than one).” (153)
“This training is not simply the imparting of certain skills or techniques. It involves nurturing and teaching people in their understanding and knowledge (their convictions), in their godliness and way of life (their character), and in their abilities and practical experience of ministering to others (their competence).” (155)
“What stands in the way of Christ’s disciple-making vision in Christian congregations? In most cases, it’s not a lack of people to train, or non-Christians to reach out to , but stifling patterns and traditions of church life.” (156)
“Building some form of regular training and ‘ministry talk’ into the agenda of church council meetings is very useful.” (161)
The principle is: do a deep work in the lives of a few.” (161)
“The most important factor is how much we love the message of God, and how much we love the people all around us who need to hear it.” (170)
“Take someone with you.” (170)
“Is there a core group of people who understand the priorities of the church and can effectively train others in those priorities?” (173)
“If people in your congregation do not want to serve, then how effectively are they being taught and discipled? Do your people know that laying down their lives for others is an integral part of being Christian?” (175)
“The people in these communities no longer see themselves as consumers of spectators, but as servants wanting to see others grow.” (178)
“If small groups are not led and run well, they can easily become ineffective or even dangerous structures where people gather to share their ignorance, and where there is no genuine pastoral oversight. Without training, delegation of pastoral ministry and responsibility to a small-group structure is an abdication of pastoral stewardship.” (179)
“Some administrative of organizational chaos can be managed, but the chaos of sin or false teaching does real damage.” (183)

Resources for Church Music Teams

One thing I’ve been asked through my years in ministry is what are some good resources for those who are feeling called to oversee or help out in a worship ministry? So here’s a list of the best resources I’ve found, I’ve ordered them in the order of significance I’ve found them to be:

Worship Matters by Bob Kauflin. I’ll read and recommend pretty much everything he’s done! This book gives a great theological base while tying it to the practical elements of what a worship leader is called to do.
True Worshippers by Bob Kauflin. This is a follow up to Worship Matters, and is aimed at the congregation. Helpful for a worship pastor to think through what he should expect of the congregation.
The Worship Pastor by Zac Hicks. Each chapter is a different area the worship pastor at least needs to be aware of and thinking through on a regular basis. If you’re interested, the list is: The worship pastor as…. Church lover, corporate mystic, doxological philosopher, disciple maker, prayer leader, theological dietician, war general, watchful prophet, missionary, artist chaplain, caregiver, mortician, emotional shepherd, liturgical architect, curator, tour guide, failure.
Christ Centered Worship by Bryan Chapell. Similarly to Rhythms of Grace (see below), Chapell takes it to the New Testament to present and how the various elements of church services through history have all attempted to be demonstrations of the gospel message.
Doxology & Theology edited by Matt Boswell. A number of worship pastors across the country contributed to this one, but it addresses how doxology and theology are two sides of the same coin. If our theology (study and understanding of God and who He is) does not affect and allow our doxology (praise of God) to become deeper and richer then it’s useless.
Rhythms of Grace by Mike Cosper. Cosper walks through the Bible and how the story of the Bible should shape our worship services.
Worship By the Book edited by D.A. Carson. This is an older one, but gives 3 ideas about how to structure a worship service, from high church to low church.
Desiring the Kingdom by James K.A. Smith. Smith is a philosopher at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, this is one of a three part series where he directs the cultural liturgies of our day and shows how those affect us, and also how we should be intentional with our worship liturgies because we are shaped and formed by that which we most love.
The Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards. This one should be read by every worship pastor! It’s a classic that talks about the need for both emotions and intellect in our worship (loving God with our heart, mind, soul and strength)
Gather God’s People by Brian Croft and Jason Adkins. I just read this one, it adheres pretty closely to the regulative principle (in a church service, we can only do that which is specifically described in Scripture), and I don’t agree with their idea of singing “Psalms,” (as in Ephesians 5:19, “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs), but they’ve got some great things to think about as far as what the Bible actually tells us about how we should corporately worship.
Reformation Worship by Jonathan Gibson and Mark Earngey. I just started this one after getting a recommendation from Mark Dever at T4G. It’s already given me some great nuggets anythings to think through and about. They take a look at some various church liturgies from 1523-1586, with some comments and updated translations. So this includes liturgies from Calvin, Knox, Luther, Cranmer and many others. I realize it’s a hefty book, and very expensive, but from my just starting it, it looks like it will be a really helpful resource.
Online Resources:
-Bob Kauflin blogs at Worship Matters regularly.
Doxology and Theology. This started as the book, it’s the worship branch of The Gospel Coalition. They also do a conference regularly.
Worthily Magnify. This is by a worship pastor name Jamie Brown. He’s at an Anglican Church, and I don’t agree with everything he writes, but it’s some good stuff to think about.
Worship Matters Video Intensive. I waited YEARS for him to do this! I’m currently taking my leaders at church through this, it’s Bob walking through his book in a video format, with discussion questions.
I’m always looking for new books or resources for us to use that are helpful for us to think biblically and theologically about how we craft our worship services, but this list will keep you busy for quite a few months, and give you many good ideas about how to better plan and structure our corporate worship services.

A Salve for My Soul

I posted a while back how excited I was for a new book coming out by Barnabas Piper simply titled “The Pastor’s Kid.” You can read some of what the book is about in Ed Stetzer’s interview with Barnabas here. I read the entire thing the day I got it and have already loaned out the 2 copies I had. So my incredibly short review about it is that I needed it.

Barnabas grew up not too far away from where I grew up and I even attended the church he grew up in after I graduated from college. While I’ve never had the privilege of meeting Barnabas I have met his little sister and parents and have benefited greatly from his father’s ministry. This book did an incredible job of revealing the temptations, weaknesses and issues inherent in growing up as a pastor’s kid. It brought some of my own sin issues to light and caused me to reflect on why I have ended up the way I have.

If you are a PK I would highly encourage reading this book, and if you are a P I would even more highly encourage that you read this book. It’s helpful for working through how to grow up in the spotlight and ways that PK’s are prone to sin that many other children aren’t. It can become so easy to hide behind Bible trivia instead of actually having a heart change. I’m grateful that God has continued to pursue me despite my lack of pursuing him, and despite my choices he still lavishly pours out his love to me.

Dealing with the “Gray Matters”

I was first introduced to Brett McCracken during my time at Taylor University when he came to speak about his first book “Hipster Christianity.” My time in college was right in the middle of the emergence of the “cool Christianity” taking off where many my age were dealing with the issues raise by the Emergent Church and doing our best to reconcile these new issues with our generally conservative Evangelical upbringing. I quickly found myself spending time with those of the more reformed persuasion popularized by Collin Hansen’s “Young, Restless and Reformed.” Along with our questions of faith came the questions of the legalistic upbringing we experienced including, but not limited to: no drinking, no dancing, no smoking, no R rated movies (unless it’s about Jesus), no swearing and no cards. (Ok, the no cards rule was my grandma’s when my dad and I took them out to play some Rook). As my friends and I grew during college we were also expected to sign an agreement saying we would continue to uphold these things during our time in college (Taylor recently lifted their ban on dancing, but I was already gone). 4 years after I heard Brett speak, I finally got around to reading his newer book “Grey Matters.” In it, Brett wrestles with 4 areas that have been divisive among Christians for many years: food, movies, music and alcohol, the latter being the most divisive in recent years (see John McArthur’s letter to the Young, Restless and Reformed).

Throughout the book Brett doesn’t shy away from recognizing that these areas can be divisive for people and does a fantastic job of acknowledging problems on both sides of these issues. The most surprising one for me was the section on food. How many of spend any time thinking about what we’re eating and why? Or why some foods taste so good and others don’t (those that don’t seem to always be the healthy ones. What’s the deal with that!?). Yet through all 4 of these areas discussed, they offer opportunities for us to worship God as we’re commanded to do in 1 Corinthians 10:31.

One of the keys that emerged from the book for me was how community changes all these areas. I really enjoy cooking-thinking through the spices and different ingredients can be combined together to form something that doesn’t taste anything like the separate ingredients on their own. And even better: pairing said meal with a good wine or beer. Yet when I cook a big meal and sit down to eat by myself, it’s never as enjoyable. I generally try to invite someone or someone’s over to enjoy it with me. There’s something even better about eating within the context of a community. And this is true of the other areas discussed as well.

All of us have a favorite band that we could listen to on repeat all day (or bands). How many people have you told about your favorite bands by giving them a CD or having them listen with you? And the same thing is said about movies. They’re so much more enjoyable when you can discuss the movie with someone later. And finally, the four letter word in some Christian circles: alcohol. Being able to discuss the different flavors accented by a beer or wine is a very enjoyable community experience that allows us to learn from each other (as long as everyone is legally able to partake, if you’re in the US and under the age of 21, this shouldn’t take place).

So I’m grateful that I finally took the time to read this book, it’s very helpful in thinking through a number of the ramifications that come from dealing with these gray areas in life, and all of them can either help or hinder our worship of God. How do you think you can use gray areas as an opportunity to worship God within the context of community?

Are You Boring?

For much of my life I’ve tried very hard to be someone who is interesting and will stick out in a crowd. This is generally easy for me because of my outgoing and extroverted nature. In fact, most people I’ve met wouldn’t describe themselves as boring people. After I turned 25, I realized I’m not nearly as exciting as I try to make myself seem. In fact, I might even be considered boring. I get up around the same time every day, do the same things during the day, and then go to the same church every Sunday to meet with and encourage those around me. This week I read the book ‘Boring: Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life‘ after seeing it recommended on Tim Challies’ website a while ago, it had been on my list for a while.

Starting with Shane Claiborne, there has seemed to be a resurgence in living a “radical” or “sold-out” life to Christ. And generally this means that the way Americans live is bad and living on 10% of what we make should be the mark of a REAL Christian. Yet what about those who don’t make six-figure salaries, but are faithful in the jobs they’ve been giving? Those that lead their families faithfully, help serve in their church body and commune with God regularly? Is there room for a person like that in Christianity? I sure hope so, because that is essentially my life. In the introduction to the book, Michael says, “Chasing dreams isn’t the problem. Neither is maximizing what you have to make a difference in the world for the sake of Christ. The problem is in our definition of significance.” Throughout the rest of the book he does a wonderful job showing how the gospel affects our entire lives and purpose as we live out our boring lives to the praise and glory of God.

The first few chapters lay the groundwork for the specifics of following Christ in a boring life. First the story of Saul, who was called to be king when he was looking for donkeys. Is there anything more dull or boring than looking for donkeys? Yet God met him while he was looking for his families’ lost donkeys and used it as an opportunity to grab hold of Saul’s life and redirect his path. The problem is not many of us view or ordinary lives in view of God’s continual grace and guidance of our lives. We see ourselves as ordinary people, yet through Christ’s work in our lives we are anything but ordinary. Michael argues that the key to this is finding our contentment in Christ. He argues, “True contentment isn’t about settling for less. It’s about seeing the true value of what we already do have in Christ.”

This contentment and peace that comes from trusting that God is working in the ordinary means leads to a thankful and repentant heart trusting that God is using us for his glory. This includes regular times in God’s word, relationships with those around us, our spouse, our kids, our finances, our jobs, and our Sunday morning gatherings. All of these areas are things we see as ordinary parts of our lives, but because they have been infused by an extraordinary God, they are no longer ordinary. We are to continue to follow Christ in our daily monotonous lives. That is a truly extraordinary life. A life that is “radical” and “sold out” to Christ.

I would whole heartedly recommend this book to you. It removes the pressures of performance in our modern culture and allows you to rest in the grace and truth of what Christ has done for us. It views life through the lens of the gospel and demonstrates how to glorify God in the moments we consider boring and routine.

Book I’m Most Looking Forward to This Summer

In the midst of my life I often look back at how God has brought me through many experiences and difficulties to the point I am today. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a PK (pastor’s kid) who has now become a P (pastor), hopefully someday having my own PKs. Growing up as a PK can be incredibly difficult. It doesn’t often feel like you can have your own identity outside of the church or your parents (particularly your pastor father). And I had the double hit of always being told I look and sound like my dad. I’ve even been told today that my laugh sounds exactly like my dad’s. Even at school I was immediately identified as “the Jesus freak.” I look back on my times and thankfully didn’t feel a ton of pressure from people inside the church, but at the same time it’s always there. I remember at one point in the midst of a season of huge rebellion against God and my dad stumbling across the phrase in 1 Timothy 3 “He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive,” and realized that my dad’s job had the potential to be lost because of me. That’s a lot of responsibility for a 17 year old to manage! Were my parents at fault because of the choices I’d made? Not completely, it was my own sin that I take full credit for, but it still reflected poorly on my parents.

As I’ve transitioned from life as a PK to life as a P there have been some things I’ve had to work through with my dad, and there were some very difficult years of transition as we both had to figure out how to relate to each other, as father and son, as brothers in Christ, and now as co-laborers in the same denomination. When I was looking for jobs in ministry after college the one denomination I didn’t want to be in was the EFCA, because everyone in that denomination knows my dad. God has a funny way of answering our prayer requests, because I ended up in an EFCA church.

This leads me to a book coming out in July by Barnabas Piper (yes, John Piper’s son) who also grew up as a PK titled ‘The Pastor’s Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity.‘ I’m very excited to read this and see some of what Barnabas has to say about growing up as a PK, and not just a PK, but the PK of a very well known P. This isn’t an issue that’s easy for everyone to deal with, and it doesn’t necessarily come naturally for PKs to struggle with their faith and who they are in Christ. I hope and pray that I can help my kids someday work through their faith in a Christ honoring way.

I’ll be posting a review about the book as soon as I can get my hands on it, but until then, will enjoy the discussions that take place between Barnabas and Stephen Altrogge.

Finding God in the Dark

I first heard of Ted Kluck when I was in college and was trying to figure out where my theology was and how it fit within the framework of my friends, many of whom were big fans of Rob Bell. Ted was the co-author of the book ‘Why We’re Not Emergent: By Two Guys Who Should Be‘ that was incredibly helpful for me as I processed what the Bible said and how I should live that out. He later came and spoke at my college and I discovered he lived on the same wing as my Hall Director. My world since that time has only gotten smaller.

This leads us to today, where earlier this week I got and read a new book which Ted Kluck co-authored with Ronnie Martin (you may know him better from his days as the band Joy Electric) titled ‘Finding God in the Dark‘ that I wish would’ve been around for me to read in college. The book deals with the personal stories of both Ronnie and Ted as they both faced difficult personal situations and began questioning God’s care for them in the midst of tragedy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve questioned the goodness of God in my life when I’ve faced difficult circumstances. Ronnie’s intro to the book says, “For many of us, doubt and unbelief can be subtle poisons that gradually inoculate us over time from seeing the evidence of God’s grace working steadily in our families, jobs, relationships, and futures.”

The book is primarily just both authors telling the difficulties they had and the process they went through to find God at the end of the journey, and the hope they have that He will continue to provide for them. It is a good reminder for us as we seek God’s will in our lives. I enjoyed hearing perspectives of those who are a little older than me and have wrestled with some of the same questions I’ve wrestled with.

The book is helpful for reading if you’ve ever had times of personal doubt or struggle. It’s a good reminder of David’s thought in Psalm 23, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” How can we trust God when we are walking through the valley of the shadow of death? This book is a good reminder that He is faithful, and always will be. This book is a very quick read and worth the time that it takes to wrestle with God’s faithfulness.

It all stems from a fundamental disbelief that God is as good as He says He is. We can affirm it in our minds and say it with our mouths, but until it penetrates our hearts it will never transform our lives.

-Ronnie Martin


Worship Matters Study Guide

A year and a half ago I began a study with the music team I lead through Bob Kauflin’s book Worship Matters. Since that time, that has been consistently one of my most viewed blogs and the most googled phrase taken to my blog. So today I finally got around to compiling the entire study guide I did and putting it into an electronic format. I’ve got it in 2 different formats, a pdf or, for my fellow apple loving friends, as an iBook. Feel free to use them for your churches and let me know if there’s ways I could make this resource better. Thanks for checking it out!

Is Jesus Greater Than Religion?

A couple years ago Jeff Bethke broke on the scene with his viral YouTube video ‘Why I Hate Religion But Love Jesus‘ which has since racked up over 26 million views. This led to him being a pretty hot commodity in the Christian community and has given him quite the opportunity to share the Gospel. One of the ways he has worked the spread the Gospel is through the book “Jesus > Religion” which came out last month.

In an open, real and gritty look at his life, Jeff shares  his struggles with God, but also how God has continued to reveal himself to Jeff throughout his difficult life, and with chapter titles like ‘Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?” I found myself chuckling but also very much relating to the themes Jeff addresses. When the video first came out there was a bit of discussion from within The Gospel Coalition circle on if Jesus really does hate religion. So aside from that, I really enjoyed the book. (But when Lecrae writes the intro to the book, it’s hard to not look forward to it)

One of the toughest chapters for me to read was the 4 chapter, “Religion Makes Enemies/Jesus Makes Friends.” This chapter deals with divisions in the church which is one of the issues that I face on a regular basis. The main issue he addresses is homosexuality. Only he doesn’t address it from a hypothetical perspective, but from a personal perspective. His mom was openly gay, and he struggled with how he should interact with her as a Christian.

In this chapter was one of the most profound statements in the book. Jeff says,

Last time I checked, I was my own worst enemy. No one has caused me more grief, pain, or heartache than I have. The Bible rarely tells me to fight against someone who doesn’t believe what I believe, but it frequently tells me to fight against my sin and the disease that’s drawing my away from Jesus.

The whole book is definitely worth reading, and one I would recommend for church small groups/missional communities. At the end of each chapter is some questions to work through the material in a practical way. This makes applying the book a very simple process. I’d keep it on your shelf and loan out on a regular basis.

I’d also check out Tim Challies’ review of this book.

Are You Crazy Busy?

I got and read Kevin Deyoung’s new book yesterday, Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book About A (Really) Big Problem which has since then dropped in price to $7.99. This is a very quick read, which is really helpful when I’m so busy!

The book is broken up into 3 main parts: the problem plaguing many in the Western world today (being too busy), followed by 7 plagues of busyness, and finally, a “what now?” conclusion chapter. The introduction set the stage for this current dilemma with some very helpful questions (like “Do you check work e-mails and phone messages at home?”) as well as some statistics that I had often pondered but never had concrete answers to (like the fact that our annual hours have increased from 1,716 in 1967 to 1,878 in 2000, which is an extra hour every day compared to the British, and 2 more hours a day than the Germans and Italians).

The meat of the book are 7 diagnoses Kevin suggests we need to use to self-evaluate. The most impactful for me were chapters 5 – ‘You Can’t Serve Others without Setting Priorities’ and 7 – ‘You Are Letting the Screen Strangle Your Soul.’ I far too often just say yes to everything that comes my way, and while this can be for very good things, is it always the best use of my time? Absolutely not! Kevin says, “Efficiency is not the goal. But if Jesus is any example, God does expect us to say no to a whole lot of good things so that we can be freed up to say yes to the most important thing he has for us.” I know for many people in my generation (early 30s even in to high school) the threat of technology invading our lives is a constant struggle. Even during youth group I see a majority of the students on their cell phones (always in their Bibles, right?). I just this week turned all the notifications off on my cell phone which has honestly been such a burden lifted off me (I’m planning to blog on that later).

The final chapter, while very good, seemed to be adding just one more mandate onto an already busy life – the need for prayer and devotions. While I agree this is something that needs to be the utmost priority in our lives, I don’t think it should be because we need to, but because we want to spend the precious time in communion with our God.

While this is a very good book about the busyness of our current lives, it felt a bit unfinished to me. As Kevin admits in the beginning of the book, “I’m writing this not because I know more than others but because I want to know more than I do.” David Murray has written a very good addendum to this book with some practical steps people can implement in their own lives in order to get rid of some of the busyness in their own lives.

“A man may preach from false motives. A man may write books, and make fine speeches, and seem diligent in good works, and yet be a Judas Iscariot. But a man seldom goes into his closet, and pours out his soul before God in secret, unless he is serious.”

-J.C. Ryle ‘A Call to Prayer