Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Right to Lead by John C. Maxwell

So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands. Psalms 78:72

I just finished reading The Right to Lead by John C. Maxwell.  Wow.  I thought this book looked a little "light" at first.  It appeared to be a loose collection of tidbits from other books that had been repackaged for resale.  I was half right.  Much of the content is not new, but from other Maxwell books et al.  However, it is not loose.  The content is a soul searching look at what a leader is, and is not.

The main premise is that leadership is a right, not a title.  People will follow you based on title because of the structure of authority setup in certain places.  However, that does not make a person a leader.  John tackles 7 key qualities of leadership: Action, Vision, Sacrifice, Risk, Determination, Service, and Integrity.  Each section has key insights in small and concise summaries.  Additionally, many biographies show real life examples of these qualities in action and the resulting leadership of the individual.

This is a fantastic book.  It made me look at myself as a leader.  Am I living up to the potential God has given me?  Am I honoring the place God has put me in?  Am I trying to be better?  I have read this book several times already and will probably do so several more.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Word of Fire

Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? Jeremiah 23:29

As I read through the Bible I am amazed at how it continues to change who I am.  How I see the world.  How my own character needs to be refined in certain areas.  How things in my life that I thought were acceptable are revealed to be sin.  That is the power of the Word of God.  It is living.  It has the power to change the hearts of men.

Yet with all this power, the scriptures are often set aside by both Christians and non-Christians.  Non-Christians attack the authenticity of the Bible, its age, the fallibility of its authors or that it is even truth.  How heart wrenching.  Our Creator, our Father, wrote us (all people) an amazing tool and it is turned away.  As I talk to people about the Bible, I hear a lot of arguments that are superficial and selfish.  Arguments to trick the mind into turning from truth and back to sin.  Arguments fueled by lies from satan.  That is why God calls His words hammer and fire.  When things of man come against things of God they will be destroyed.

Oh how I wish people could see this truth.  That God is God.  His Word is for us.  He loves us.
I mentioned Christians shy away from the Bible as well.  Many don't take time to read at all.  Or if they do, maybe they have a Psalms and Proverbs reading plan.  God's word is fire to everyone.  It is meant to refine us.  Burn away those things which are not needed.  So why do we shy away?  Fire hurts.  Yet without the refining, we cannot grow.  So, let's open our Bibles.  Read.

If it's been a while since you've read (or maybe never) start with the Gospel of John.  Hear Jesus' words as He speaks to a hurting world.  As He promises life to us.  As He heals people.  As He mends hearts.  As He speaks to you.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Jesus You Can't Ignore

The Jesus You Can't Ignore (What You Must Learn from the Bold Confrontations of Christ) By John MacArthur

The Jesus You Can't Ignore takes a look at several key sermons Jesus gave during His 3 year ministry on earth. MacArthur takes a look at Jesus' teaching style, audience and the background behind the sermon. The purpose is to point out the major flaw in modern evangelicalism. That is, we shy away from truth. We would rather not offend than tell the Truth of the Gospel. We use false attributes of Jesus to justify this approach. The truth, many of these teachings are blasphemy.

As to my own reaction to this book, I was challenged and angered. Challenged because it is a tough read to see how Jesus spoke truth with boldness. I often find myself meek or shying away as I am telling people of the Gospel. I feel challenged to stand up for truth just as our Savior did. There is no room for dialog, no room for alternate paths. Man can only be saved through faith in Jesus Christ.

I was angered when I read of some of the ways the Gospel is being diluted and dismantled. What a horrible thing to take the truth of eternal life and try to sanitize it as not to offend. Unfortunately, I have to take some blame myself. I have not stood for the gospel every time I should. But that is the past. I'll be held accountable now that God has revealed this to me. I must stand strong.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

From Spurgeon

Yet there used to be a gospel in the world which consisted of facts which Christians never questioned. There was once in the church a gospel which believers hugged to their hearts as if it were their soul's life. There used to be a gospel in the world, which provoked enthusiasm and commanded sacrifice. Tens of thousands have met together to hear this gospel at peril of their lives. Men, to the teeth of tyrants, have proclaimed it, and have suffered the loss of all things, and gone to prison and to death for it, singing psalms all the while.

Is there not such a gospel remaining? Or are we arrived at cloudland, where souls starve on suppositions, and become incapable of confidence or ardor? Are the disciples of Jesus now to be fed upon the froth of "thought" and the wind of imagination, whereon men become heady and high-minded? Nay, rather, will we not return to the substantial meat of infallible revelation, and cry to the Holy Ghost to feed us upon his own inspired word?

The Spurgeon Archive. This excerpt is from "A Gospel Worth Dying For," a sermon preached on Sunday Morning, 12 August 1883 at Exeter Hall in London.