Free Book Summaries!

I love to read books, but don’t have enough time to read all the books I want to read. A while back I heard about someone who was creating book summaries of great books and I was like, “Yes! I get to digest the important points of some important books, without having to read the entire book!” – and then I found out I had to pay for these book summaries, and I was like, “No! I’m not going to do that!”

But now there is someone giving FREE book summaries. That is AWESOME. Auxano has just launched SUMS, free book summaries created for church leaders.

Auxano is a great friend of ELI and we encourage you to sign-up to receive SUMS.

You Can’t Give What You Don’t Possess

Followers of Jesus should Experience Life in a way that truly makes “the things of this world grow strangely dim.” Yet so few seem to—why? Jesus did not come to take life away, but to bring us a full, overflowing, wellspring of Life that pleases the soul like nothing else on earth can (John 10:10, John 4:10-14). And then we are called to Bring Life to others—to whoever will receive this gift from God. Experiencing Life and Bringing Life.


But you cannot give what you don’t possess I meet way too many Christian leaders who sell a product (Living Water) that they don’t drink.  That’s a sure recipe for either burn out, hypocrisy, or horrible moral failure.  At Gateway Church, we put together Spiritual Outcomes that help a person know what developmental outcomes to shoot for in different seasons, whether Discovering faith, Developing in faith, or Deepening that faith.


But as I look at all the possible outcomes, I’m convinced that three are foundational. Like a 3-legged stool, they form a steady base that can hold weight. So if you do nothing else, get these three spiritual disciplines as habits in your life, and help develop them in your kids and others.


The 3-Legged Stool:

  1. Staying Connected Moment by Moment – Jesus said, “Abide in me [stay connected] and you will bear much fruit, apart from you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) I hope it doesn’t take much convincing that this is important, since Jesus said that apart from this you can accomplish nothing of eternal significance!  Many Christians know about this – it’s called by many names “walking in the Spirit,” “abiding in Christ,” “practicing his presence”—but I find few who truly make an effort to grow daily in greater moment-by-moment connection. Soul Revolution and the 60:60 Experiment ( were written to help us grow in actually doing the one thing Jesus said was most important. I recently came across a new book written on the same topic from a little different perspective, Present Perfect by Greg Boyd.
  1. Feeding on God’s Word – Jesus said we must also “stay connected” to his Words (the Bible reveals God’s will and ways), so that we will can know the truth and be set free. (John 8:31-32)  He said we do not live by bread alone, but every Word that comes from God. (Matthew 4:4)  David declares that the person who meditates on God’s Word day and night is like a tree planted by a stream. It always has an underground Source of nourishment, even in the drought years, so it’s leaves stay green. (Psalm 1:1-3)  Over the last 25 years of ministry, I’ve observed that people who have developed regular habits of feeding themselves from God’s Word (daily reading a chapter, memorizing, meditating on its truths, studying it) keep growing.  Just like physically growing up means we must feed ourselves daily or become unhealthy, so we must feed ourselves spiritually. Anyone who can read or listen to read scripture to them can feed themselves. This idea that you need a Sunday service to “feed me” is the biggest lie that’s ever kept people stunted from growing!
  1. Confessing Community – If the evidence of truly growing to love God is how we love one another (1 John 4:7-9), then you can’t follow God’s Spirit or live out all the commands of Scripture if you are not in close proximity with a few other Christ-followers. If fact, Scripture warns us not to blow off regular meeting together. (Hebrews 10:24-25) Jesus spent most of his time developing 12, and poured even more time into Peter, James, and John. We must learn to live out all the “one anothers” of Scripture, supporting each other to grow up spiritually as we walk in total transparency together (walking in the light as it says in 1 John 1:5-9) and confessing our sins to God and each other because this heals us. (James 5:16)

Don’t try to sit on a 2-legged stool.  You need to be developing in all three practices, and when you begin to develop others—start here!  Help them develop in these three practices: Staying connected to God’s Spirit, feeding on God’s Word in daily ways, and living in loving, confessing community with a few other Christ-followers.

All The Good Things…

May He give you the power to accomplish all the good things

your faith prompts you to do. 2 Thessalonians 1:11


I’ve been reading through the New Testament and that verse caught my attention this morning.  I’ll be honest, my first thought was about a project I’ve been working on for almost a year that is almost finished. (You’ll hear more about that soon).


My second thought was about you.  Every week over 50 of you visit Church Planter Profiles and complete the Initial Screening Assessment because your faith has prompted you to do something good – start a new church.


Here is an essential truth: you can plant a church, but only the Holy Spirit can make it grow.  It is the Holy Spirit who plants churches, and He does that through people who have faith to pay attention to his promptings and pray constantly for his power.  A vision and strategy are essential, but they are a poor substitute for the Holy Spirit’s guidance.  Your gifts and abilities are valuable, but only when they are empowered by the Holy Spirit.


I’d encourage you to ask yourself the same two questions I asked myself:

  1. Am I doing the good things the Holy Spirit has prompted me to do?
  2. Am I trusting in the Holy Spirit for the power to do it?

Know this – I am praying that He will give you the power to accomplish ALL the good things your faith prompts you to do!


Generosity :: Feeds

Pastor Ron Klabunde,  President of Replenish Community Foundation, is a great friend of ELI and Cultivate. He shared this Replenish initiative with us:

Many new churches are looking for missional opportunities to engage both Christians and pre-Christians in Jesus’ mission, while creating an environment of discipleship.

Formed from the creative missional expressions of a church plant in Northern Virginia, Generosity::Feeds has grown into a nationwide collaborative effort with church plants and their local communities, to ignite new discipling relationships while addressing the food insecurity of children in their area.


You can work with Generosity::Feeds to engage your church and community to package 10,000 or more meals in 2 hours! These are then given to your local schools to distribute to children who go hungry outside school hours. Learn more at