The Most Wonderful Time of the Year | Influence Podcast

Andy Williams sang that Christmas is “the most wonderful time of the year.” He was right, though for the wrong reasons. Now, don’t get me wrong! “Parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, and caroling out in the snow” are great and everything, but they’re not what Christmas is ultimately about.

In Episode 161 of the Influence Podcast, I talk to Joseph Castleberry about the real reason why Christmas is such a wonderful time of the year. We also debunk a few myths people believe about Christmas.

Dr. Castleberry is president of Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, an ordained Assemblies of God minister, and a former missionary to Central America. More germane to this podcast, he’s author of 40 Days of Christmas, published by Broadstreet (which I reviewed here).

Review of ‘The Kingdom Net’ by Joseph Castleberry

The Kingdom Net Joseph Castleberry, The Kingdom Net: Learning to Network Like Jesus (Springfield, MO: My Healthy Church, 2013). Paperback / Kindle

The subtitle of The Kingdom Net—“learning to network like Jesus”—might mislead you into thinking that this is yet another business book misappropriating Jesus’ life and teachings to help you advance your career. It isn’t. Or rather, to the extent that it helps you advance your career, The Kingdom Net does so by redefining your career in terms of the kingdom of God and his missionary purposes for humanity. Whether you’re a Bible-quoting evangelist or a business-minded entrepreneur, this redefinition ensures that you’re investing your time, treasure, and talents in worthy projects.

Joseph Castleberry is president of Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. In the course of his career, he has served in a variety of roles, including pastor, missionary, community development entrepreneur, and educator—all of which require competence in social networking as part of their respective skillsets.

Drawing on his rich and varied life experiences, he sketches a vision of kingdom networking that combines equal parts theological reflection, biblical example, and practical advice. You’ll learn about the kingdom of God, missio dei, the mission of humanity, and the mission of the church. You’ll also learn how to meet people, maintain contacts, drop names appropriately, and write thank you notes. And, as the book’s subtitle suggests, you’ll also learn from the New Testament how Jesus used social networking to advance the kingdom of God. (And Paul too!)

Indeed, Castleberry writes, “The kingdom of God is a network.” This network has a primary purpose of enfolding flesh-and-blood people into the life and purposes of God. Consequently, Castleberry concludes, “The growth of the kingdom is the growth of God’s people net.” In God’s kingdom—and there alone—humanity truly flourishes.

As a minister, I highly recommend this valuable book to my fellow clergy. However, I also think it’s a good gift for graduates as they commence their careers. Finally, I’d recommend it to business people who want to lead significant lives, not merely successful ones.

Full disclosure: I am a personal friend and occasional student of Joe Castleberry. Additionally, I work for the Assemblies of God, which is the parent company of My Healthy Church, but not for MHC.

P.S. If you found this review helpful, please vote “Yes” on my review page.

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