I like books because they make me think. I’ve found that when I’m thinking, I’m growing. I like thinking and growing.
A couple of years ago I wanted to break out of a mental, emotional, vocational and spiritual rut. Reading, thinking and growing helped me do just that.
My first book of 2018 was Own the Moment by Carl Lentz. Lentz is the lead pastor of Hillsong Church in New York City. I didn’t realize how controversial he was until I posted on social media that I loved his new book. It turns out that most people who criticize what he has to say have not read what he wrote. I find that … interesting.
Lentz basically writes about his views on life and ministry. He uses basketball metaphors and since I like basketball, life and metaphors I liked it a lot. If I were to develop a scale by which to evaluate books, his would rank toward the top.
Here are a few of thoughts from his book that I think will trigger growth in my life:
- Own the Moment
The title itself motivates me.
What if instead of excuses I had resolve? Verses that challenge me then might be doable, like Ephesians 5:16: “Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.”
Lentz writes about how to personally make the most of the opportunities we have all been given.
If I have learned anything in the last 10 years it is how powerful it is to “own” where we are in life. The good and the bad. Partnering with people who own their mistakes is refreshing. “My bad,” was something often said on the court when a teammate missed a play. People don’t have to be perfect, but it builds trust when you know they hold themselves responsible for their actions. On the positive side, having a team with different skill sets is essential to winning. So, owning our strengths and weaknesses makes us more effective.
One of Lentz’ most inspiring ways to own the opportunities we are given in life is..
- Love People
Sounds simple. Sounds like something Jesus would say. We all know it is hard to accomplish.
Here is a great quote from the book: “Label people with grace, not hate.” So good! Lentz talks openly about how he has applied that principle to racial tensions in his city and the “Black Lives Matter” movement and even to those who criticize him.
This section of the book was powerful for me as the racial tensions in New York City are here in St. Louis and everywhere. I appreciated how he went out of his way to encourage the conversation. He talked about how much criticism he received for saying, “Black Lives Matter.” His encouragement to have the difficult conversations was awesome and then he wrote about how to love those who criticize you! Note easy, but so important.
- Being Uncool Has Never Been Cooler
That’s the title of chapter 16, and it makes me think. Mostly because, every time I’ve ever tried to be cool, I’ve proved I’m not.
Going even deeper, Lentz taps into a few ideas that have truly helped me grow out of survival mode and toward a life that I love. Check out this bulky quote:
“And this is why you have to know what success means, what winning means, what your purpose is to you – so you don’t end up allowing others to manipulate what should be joyful to you into something that becomes joyless.”
Similar thoughts pushed me down a path and keep me running hard in the direction of success and significance in my life.
- You Don’t Need to Save the World
This is the final chapter of the book, and it’s the one that provoked the most thoughts. Where other books simply repeat themselves a few times in the second half, this one saved its best for last.
This book and this final chapter helped me focus on what I can do. To take a minute and focus on who I am and what value I can add to others today. I hope you will do the same.
If you haven’t already subscribed to my email list and received my top 10 books and the 15 books on my 2018 reading list, then do so today. Let’s think and grow together. I’d love to hear what you are reading as well!