As we come to an end of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, you would imagine I would write my final enews about some book rich and deep in reformed theology.
After all we started 2017 recommending N.T. Wrights newest book, The Day The Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’ Crucifixion. A substantive theological read.
In a year where the Reformation motto Post Tenebras Lux rode high, this GHC 2017 blog needs to end as high. Strangely I have decided to end this year by reviewing Bill Hybels’ book, Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul.
Not exactly the theological colossi I had imagined.
Hybels hasn’t been known for writing theologically. Much of this book is anecdotal and does not necessarily follow any principles taken from Scripture. In truth – the book wouldn’t normally make my recommended reading list. For a book titled “Simplify”, its writing needed to be simplified. Shrink it down to easily half its length. In fact when you simplify the book down it does feel a little like a ‘motherhood declutter class’ as one critic put it.
But despite all these negative aspects of this final book of 2017 I recommend it for one core reason – you can be the most theologically astute Pastor around (and I hope you are); you can be a Pastor that expertly interprets the text well to our age and culture (and I hope you do) – but – if you are leading a healthy church you have to be healthy. If you aren’t, then it doesn’t really matter how theologically in tune you are or how great a preacher you are. Pastors who are trying to lead on empty won’t get very far.
I end 2017 not pushing for better theology or better cultural engagement. I end pushing for you to be healthy …because 2018 is fast approaching and then 2019, then 2020, then 2021. Remember – healthy churches are led by healthy Pastors. No exceptions.
So – grab “Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul”. Read it all or read the chapter that most jumps out at you – the place you are most at. It’s a simple read. Ten chapters. Ten practices to unclutter your soul:
From exhausted to energized.
From overscheduled to organized.
From overwhelmed to in control.
From restless to fulfilled.
From wounded to whole.
From anxious to peaceful.
From isolated to connected.
From drifting to focused.
From stuck to moving on.
From meaningful to satisfied.
For me – I needed to reread chapter 8 – From drifting to focused.
I had to reconnect to my ‘life verse’.
I had to refocus on what I am best equipped to do.
I had to recharge my motivation for what drives me.
And I had to do this before the year ends and a new year with all its opportunities and challenges starts. As a multi-tasker, I had to regain the focus on the more important; letting the many other good things fall into their correct place behind the most important.
At the same time I had to remember that while Hybels book is helpful, full of practical insight, the better simplifying and decluttering of my soul comes from a closer and deeper life with God. It’s never truly achieved just by simplifying, but by soulifying.
May you end the year – well prepared for the next year.