In order to live the Overboard Life, we must be willing to learn from, and join in, the experiences of others. Books offer us a great means to accomplish this goal. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons we started Overboard Ministries -- to create books that encourage people to live the Overboard Life. Each of our titles will challenge you, through story or direct teaching, to live the remarkable life God is calling you to. I was having lunch with a fellow youth pastor yesterday, a man living Overboard in his marriage and ministry, and we were talking about books. In our conversation he noted the challenges of reading, especially the problem of being able to carve out the time necessary to read. Time is the most common obstacle expressed when I talk to people about reading. The second most common challenge is trying to figure out what to read.
First, let’s talk about time.
The average adult reads about 200-250 words/minute. The average book is about 45,000 words. In our works, Project Joseph is 45,000 words, Project Nehemiah is around 39,000 words, Extreme Mind Makeover is close to 60,000 words, From Ruby Ridge to Freedom is 46,000 words and Dream House is 48,000 words. That means it would take the average adult approximately 180-225 minutes to read an average book. Not many of us have three or four hours just laying around waiting to read a book.
However, what if you broke down that time into 10-15 minute chunks each day? While you may not have a spare three hours to read a book, I know you have 10 minutes here or there, to start one. By using 10-15 minute chunks every day, you could easily read an average sized book in 20 days. Over the course of a year, you could get through 18 different books! Not bad for investing just ten minutes every day.
Now if you will invest ten minutes a day into reading, the next question is what to read? Let me give you some suggestions:
- Read a book that challenges you on a particular subject. I’m currently reading, “40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life” by Tommy Newberry. It’s a book that is helping me shape my thinking in a way that focuses on joy and thankfulness. It’s fantastic and highly recommend it to anyone! Steve Etner’s book, “Extreme Mind Makeover” also falls into this category.
- Read a biography. Stories about other people are my personal favorites. There is something powerful about seeing how other people live, and how they overcome great obstacles (or not, in some cases) to achieve their goals. I read biographies about athletes, businessmen and women, politicians, everyday heroes, missionaries and more. Sara Weaver’s book, “From Ruby Ridge to Freedom” is a fantastic biography that Overboard Ministries was privileged to publish.
- Read a good novel. Novels are a dime-a-dozen, but good ones aren’t so easy to come by. It’s also easy to make all of our reading come from this category, but we need to avoid that trap. Several Christian authors crank out good novels frequently, including Karen Kingsbury, Francine Rivers (two of my wife’s favorites), Ted Dekker and Randy Alcorn (two of my favorites). If you have a favorite author, please list them in the comments below. Overboard doesn’t currently publish works of fiction although we did recently help Jason Nightingale publish his story, “The Faithful Watchman.” If you want a great Christmas gift to pass along, this short little book is perfect!
- Read in your profession. Whether you’re a pastor, an assembly line worker, a stay-at-home mom or a police woman, there is material written in your field. Become better at what you do, by reading about it. Living Overboard demands that we do our very best at whatever we do -- especially our vocation!
I try to rotate through these types of books. Here is what I’ve read most recently: “On Being a Pastor” (in my profession); “40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life” (a book that challenges me); 4-part Ted Dekker series (novels that I’m reading with my son AJ); “Pete Rose” (biography). If you will commit to 10 minutes a day, you could read 4 or 5 books a year in each of those categories! Commit to 15 minutes a day and you could crank out 30 books a year, over 7 in each category!
What books would you recommend others to read? Tell us in the comments.
It just takes 10-15 minutes every day to increase your ability to live the Overboard Life. Will you step up to that challenge to establish a reading discipline in your life?
Go ahead and take the plunge -- life is better on the water!