Experimenting with “Power Points”

I love to read. On average I read two books a month. 

Over the last twenty years I have divided my reading into five categories:

  • Spiritual
  • Leadership
  • Church
  • Professional/Personal Development
  • Biographical/Autobiographical

Over the last twenty years I have accumulated hundreds of books.

Then things changed… I became an Army Chaplain. 

A few ways this changes things:

  • My space for books is smaller.
  • We will move regularly which means I will have to move hundreds of pounds of books regularly. #uggghhh
  • Many of the books which have served me so well in years past will no longer serve me well (e.g. I will not be teaching verse by verse through books of the Bible in 50 minute sermons. Rather, I will be giving 10 minute “field services” in which I share a quick thought with soldiers.

I realize that I have to “cull” my library. This makes me sad… and excited. 

Sad because:

  • These books have been my friends. They have encouraged me; confronted me; inspired me; taught me; humored me; and developed me.
  • Within many of these books are my notes… the story of my evolution. Should anyone care to do so, they would find the course of my life within the pages of these books.
  • These books, in a sense, have given me meaning. I am known as a reader… and these books are the proof. (Shallow… I know… but still it’s my story).

Excited because:

  • I am evolving! I’m letting go of something that has been part of my life for several decades and becoming something new… arguably better (time will tell).
  • I am being forced to think deeply (and painfully) about what I will read, how I will retain what I read, and what I will do with the book once I have read it.

I am a reader. I will always be a reader. I will just be a different kind of reader. 

As I reflect on how and who (i.e. authors) I will interact with in the coming years I am leaning toward this plan:

  • I will read more of fewer authors. Rather than reading everyone… I will read more of, for example, C.S. Lewis. I will be a specialist rather than a generalist. This will require me to pick carefully those people from whom I learn.
  • I will read niche genres. For instance, these last few years I have been interested in the “faith/science” discussion, so I will spend more time in this field and less time in “spirituality/theology” in general.
  • I will take and post notes. Taking a queue from Derek Sivers, I am going to post my notes on this blog and call them “Power Points.” Years ago I did this on my blog. Writing them out helped me remember my “power points” from each book, and it provided a tool to search for specific topics in the future.

And now the big question… what will I do with the book once I have read it?

  • If I take good enough notes I believe I can give it away. #uggghhh
  • Some books I will keep. Many I will give away.

One final thought…

As I considered all the reading I have done over the last couple of decades it occurs to me that I have read thousands of life changing ideas… but I remember a ridiculously small percentage of those… and have implemented even fewer!

So, I ask myself, what if I read less and implemented more?

What if I took 3-5 ideas away from each book and put them into action? Look at this math —

24 (books a year) x 3 (ideas per book) = 72 good practices every year!

OK… truthfully, I’ll not implement that many new ideas, but even 10% of that would be a huge win!!! Imagine improving your life by 10% each year! That would be a huge win!!!

So, that’s my journey… and the introduction to something I’m going to try… “Power Points.” I can’t wait to share with you.

A few questions for you:

  • How do you retain what you read?
  • What do you do with your books when you’re done reading them?
  • How much of what you read do you actually implement?

P.S. I am going to spend some time going through books I have already read and posting “Power Points” from these books… so for a while the authors and the genres will be more varied than they will be in the future.

Five Favorites Friday (11/16/18)

Five of my favorites from this week…

  • I have LOVED the “Cossack Squat”! It has opened up my hips and pushed my ankles to a good place! I’ve done it for a few reps every day this week. Check out this simple tutorial. 


  • Speaking of ankles… this tip from Charles Poliquin (HT to Tim Ferris and “Tools of The Titans”) has been incredibly helpful! 
  • This week I spent some time on Examine.com exploring the benefits of various supplements and foods (e.g. lemons, ginger, etc.). I made some adjustments to our food based on the information I discovered there. The information and valuable research that is available on this site will blow your mind! 


  • This week Sherri (aka “Mrs. Peterson”) and I learned a new communication exercise from a couple of our friends (Thanks Dallas and Courtney). It’s called FANOS (an acronym). It only takes a few minutes every day, and it is a great tool that will enhance communication with and awareness of your spouse! Check out a short summary here.


  • The sentence that keeps running around in my head… “If we’re gonna walk we walk as lions, if we’re gonna stand we stand as giants” (from “Lions” by Skillet). I’m thinking this will end up as some kind of an image tattooed on my body… a constant reminder of the power of God flowing in and through me. 

So there’s five of my favorite things from this week. If you found something helpful… I’d love to hear from you! Have a GREAT weekend! 

Five Favorites Friday

Hey ya’ll!

Here’s five of my favorite things this week…

  • A quote I’ve been contemplating this week comes from my friend, Shawn Lovejoy“Be where your feet are.” This is a call to be fully present in the moment! Good reminder Shawn… especially in these days of transition! Be present for my family. Be present with my friends. Be present as the pastor of Church180.


  • These verses are really important to me right now (especially as we navigate the valley of death known as “being parents of teenagers”):  “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT) #pleasehelpmejesus


  • Friends… this week Sherri and I have spent time with friends from Church180 and the community… eating… laughing… reminiscing… dreaming. As we prepare to transition from Rock Hill we realize, the best thing we have here is people. Friends!


  • Music I’m enjoying – Fathead! Great for a “chillin” kind of mood! (I can’t believe I haven’t heard of these guys sooner! Thanks for the tip Amazon Music!)


  • Tears. I’ve cried a few times this week. Not like a “sobbing” cry… but a “wet eye” cry #hangingontothemancard. This week Sherri and I watched “Indivisible” and “No Greater Love”. Both are stories about Army chaplains and the stuff they see/do in the service of soldiers and country. We know that crazy days lie ahead… but we are equally confident that God has pointed us in this direction! We are humbled, and excited to serve… even if we do it with a few tears in our eyes. (This instagram post from Sarah Sandifer made my eyes leak a little too.) #tearsareagoodthing

So there they are… my five favorite things/experiences this week. How about you? What’s been some of your favorites?

Five Favorites Friday (11/2/18)

Five of my favorite things this week…

  • I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot this week: 

Hard times create strong men.

Strong men create good times.

Good times create weak men.

Weak men create hard times. 


  • I’ve spent time reading through the Bible books of 1 and 2 Kings… and wondering “Why are people so quick to ignore God?” While this may not technically be one of my “favorite” things this week… it may have been one of the more important questions with which I wrestled.


  • Definitely a highlight of this week has been the time spent with people. As we prepare to transition into a new chapter in our lives, we believe that our greatest memories will be of the people we love… so we’re spending time listening, learning, encouraging, and instructing the people we love!


  • This week I picked up Jentzen Franklin’s new book, “Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt. I enjoyed the first part (the second part was largely about marriage… not bad but not what I was expecting.) The first part talked a lot about forgiveness and kindness… two things that God has been counseling me on lately!

These are five things that have taken a lot of space on the desk in my head this week! 

Entry #2: Transitioning

Today I spent about 45 minutes talking with my Superintendent (my church boss… ranking right below Jesus 😉 ) about the logistics of a successful transition at Church180

We are still waiting to hear the “final word” regarding our transition date to the military. In the meantime we are doing a few things:

  • Working with our Superintendent and a core of leaders in our church to make the smoothest possible transition for Church180.
  • Identifying projects and departments around Church180 that need focused attention in the days/weeks to come .
  • Spending time with people from Church180, and people in the community.
  • Planning out the final sermons I will be preaching at Church180… actually, they are the final sermons I will preach as a civilian (at least for a long time).

On the home front…

  • I am training hard! I’ll be one of the older guys in training… but I have every expectation of giving the young dudes a run for their money.
  • I’m watching every video and reading every article I can find about military culture and chaplains. I’m talking with every veteran and chaplain I can find who will shed insight on what it takes to be an effective, helpful chaplain… a chaplain that the soldiers WANT on the team!
  • I am writing out workout plans for Sherri and “Morning Shenanigans” for the ladies to be executed when I am not home. (If you’re not sure what “Morning Shenanigans” are… check out my Instagram page).
  • I am spending time with each of my ladies on our dates and making an effort to capitalize on key moments such as breakfast time conversations, etc.
  • I am reading and thinking a lot about the kind of work/ministry I will do in a military environment.

Yesterday I had the chance to sit down with a local Christian bookstore manager and do an interview. It was fun to talk about our transition and I was able to walk through a few key ideas that have been helpful for us as we have arrived at this decision. You can watch that interview here.

Five Favorites Friday (10/26/18)

Five of my favorite things this week include:

  • Amazon Music. This is part of the Amazon Prime package. It allows me to create multiple playlists… and it’s a real plus for the garage workouts (aka “morning shenanigans”). I like it better than Pandora because it allows me to pick specific songs I want rather than Pandora which limits me to genre.
  • Podcast I’m listening to a lot these days… my friend, Rob Polenik, owner of Brutal Iron Gym has been cranking out some great content that focuses on health and happiness! These podcasts are short and packed to the brim with helpful information!  I listen while I walk! (you can find him on PodBean or Itunes – search for “Brutal Iron Gym”)
  • Speaking of Rob and Brutal Iron Gym, he and his dad make one of my favorite “recovery tools”… a metal “scraper” used to work through knots in my muscles, break down scar tissue, etc. You can read about Graston work here. You can watch it in action here. If you’re interested in purchasing your own scraper reach out to Rob!
  • This week I finished John Meacham’s biography of Thomas Jefferson. Some of my favorite insights included how much value Jefferson placed on physical exercise, and how hard he worked to avoid confrontation. I also enjoyed watching the man who loved and often lived the “ivory tower life” employ pragmatism! Also, it was insightful to realize that the world of politics has always been dirty and hateful. We are NOT living in the worst days… it has always been bad. We just see it more now due to social media. This was a long book, but worth the read for anyone interested in history, leadership, and the management of power in personal and political environments.
  • Something I’m contemplating is how to take a page out of Derek Sivers practice of taking notes on the books he reads. I read a lot of books and am looking for a way(s) to remember and apply my favorite lessons from each book. Sivers has figured out a way that works for him. Every time I sit down with my books to use his method… I get overwhelmed, so I’m still searching, but I think I will end up using some of his ideas!

And so there they are… my five favorite things from this week! If you find something or someone helpful on this list I’d love to hear about it! 


Entry #1: Transitioning

Two weeks ago, Sherri and I shared with some of our favorite people in the world (Church180), that we are preparing to transition out of our role as a civilian pastor and move into a new role… active Army Chaplain (I wrote about it here).

As we prepare to do this, there are a lot of things that run through my mind:


  • How will my ladies handle my absence? 
  • How will they adjust to the new environment(s)?
  • Will Church180 be okay?
  • How will I deal with sleeping alone? (I’m a cuddler!)
  • What do I need to do to leave Church180 on a high note?
  • How in the world am I ever going to perform a 30 minute church service in the field?! (I can’t even preach a sermon that short).
  • The people at Church180… will I see them again? Which ones? 

And that’s just the stuff that comes quickly to mind! 

Over the course of 21 years of ministry, we have moved several times. Each time we determined to love and enjoy people right up until the very last second! We made a decision NOT to withdraw in an effort to ease the pain of separation. We determined to lean in, even though we knew it would enhance the sadness when we left. 

We believe that seeds of love that are sown are better than seeds of love that are stored. Seeds that are sown will bloom… and bring beauty. Seeds that are stored, though filled with potential, will yield nothing. 

As we prepare to transition, our first determination is to love as many and as much as we can… right up until the very end!