Book Reviews From 2015

18 Quotes From Wise People In “15 Invaluable Laws Of Growth”

15 Invaluable Laws of GrowthJohn Maxwell always shares great quotes in his books! This is the hallmark of a true servant leader, who doesn’t hoard what he reads or hears, nor is he concerned about getting all the credit. Here are some of the quotes I enjoyed from Maxwell’s book The 15 Invaluable Laws Of Growth.

“Character is a quality that embodies many important traits such as integrity, courage, perseverance, confidence, and wisdom. Unlike your fingerprints that you were born with and can’t change, character is something that you create within yourself and must take responsibility for changing.” —Jim Rohn

“I’ve concluded that while nobody plans to mess up their life, the problem is that a few of us plan not to. That is, we don’t put the necessary safeguards in place to ensure a happy ending.” —Andy Stanley

“I bless you, prison—I bless you for being in my life—for there lying on rotting prison straw, I learned the object of life is not prospering as I had grown up believing, but the maturing of the soul.” —Alexander Solzhenitsyn

“Character cannot be summoned at the moment of crisis if it has been squandered by years of compromise and rationalization. The only testing ground for the heroic is the mundane. The only preparation for that one profound decision which can change a life, or even a nation, is those hundreds of half-conscious, self-defining, seemingly insignificant decisions made in private. Habit is the daily battle ground of character.” —Senator Dan Coats

“If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.” —Abraham Maslow

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” —George Elliot

“A sign of wisdom and maturity is when you come to terms with the realization that your decisions cause your rewards and consequences. You are responsible for your life, and your ultimate success depends on the choices you make.” —Denis Waitley

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” —Viktor Frankl

“The great secret of success is to go through life as a man who never gets used up.” —Albert Schweitzer

“All meaningful and lasting change starts first in your imagination and then works its way out.” —Albert Einstein

“It’s better to look uninformed than to be uninformed.” —Richard Thalheimer

“When average people ask themselves, ‘Can I do this?’ they base it on the circumstances they see. … An abundant thinker asks different questions. An abundant thinker asks, ‘How can I?’ This simple twist of semantics changes everything. It forces your mind to create a solution.” —Brian Klimmer

“It is not wise, or even possible, to divorce private behavior from public leadership…. By its very nature, true leadership carries with it the burden of being an example.” —Gordon B. Hinckley

“Never confuse the giftedness of a person with the person. Their gifts allow them to do amazing things but the person may be flawed, which will eventually cause harm.” —Fred Smith

“Great things happen whenever we stop seeing ourselves as God’s gift to others, and begin seeing others as God’s gift to us.” —James S. Vuocolo

“Your doubts are not the product of accurate thinking, but habitual thinking. Years ago you excepted flawed conclusions as correct, begin to live your life as if those warped ideas about your potential were true, and ceased the bold experiment in living that brought you many breakthrough behaviors as a child.” —Price Pritchett

“If you send a rocket to the moon, about 90 percent of the time it’s off course—it ‘fails’ its way to the moon by continually making mistakes and correcting them.” —Price Pritchett

“Self-fulfillment thinks of how something serves me. Self-development thinks of how something helps me to serve others. With self-fulfillment, feeling good is the product. With self-development, feeling good is the by-product.” —Fred Smith

I have shared a lot of other content from this book:

11 Quotes From John Maxwell In “Success 101”

Susscess 101John Maxwell’s 101-series of books are a great introduction to some of his other more in-depth books. As I like to explain it, the 101-level introduces you to the topic, and the 301- and 401-level classes/books take you deeper.

I am in the process of reading The Complete 101 Collection (I’ll post my review of this shortly). In the meantime, here are some quotes from Success 101 which I found thought-provoking.

“You cannot achieve what you have not defined. The problem for most people who want to be successful is not that they can’t achieve success. The main obstacle for them is that they misunderstand success.”

“What does it take to be a success? Two things are required: The right picture of success and the right principles for getting there.”

“Success is a journey rather than a destination. No matter how long you live or what you decide to do in your life, you will never exhaust your capacity to grow toward your potential or run out of opportunities to help others.” 

“Without a dream, we may struggle to see potential in ourselves because we don’t look beyond our current circumstances. But with a dream, we begin to see ourselves in a new light, as having greater potential and being capable of stretching and growing to reach it.”

“The bottom line in managing your emotions is that you should put others—not yourself—first in how you handle and process them. Whether you delay or display your emotions should not be for your own gratification. You should ask yourself, What does the team need? not, What will make me feel better?

“The greatest enemy of good thinking is busyness.”

“Successful people face the danger of contentment with the status quo. After all, if a successful person already possesses influence and has achieved a level of respect, why should he keep growing? The answer is simple: your growth determines who you are; who you are determines who you attract; who you attract determines the success of your organization. If you want to grow your organization, you have to remain teachable.”

“Few things gain the appreciation of a top leader more quickly than an employee with a whatever-it-takes attitude. That is what successful people must have. They must be willing and able to think outside of their job description, to be willing to tackle the kinds of jobs that others are too proud or too frightened to take on. These things are what often elevate successful people above their peers.”

“Good leaders…find a way to succeed with people who are hard to work with.” 

“Successful people admit faults but never make excuses.”

“If you are successful where you are, I believe you will be given an opportunity to succeed at a higher level. … Leadership is a journey that starts where you are, not where you want to be.”

14 Quotes About Thinking From “The Moral Foundations Of Life”

The Moral Foundations Of LifeAs I noted in my review of The Moral Foundations Of Life (you can read that review by clicking here), Oswald Chambers wanted Christians to think more deeply about their relationship with Jesus Christ, and then live differently because of their new way of thinking. Here are some of his quotes related to a Christians’ thought life.

“When we become spiritual we have to exercise the power of thinking to a greater degree than ever before. We starve our mind as Christians by not thinking.” 

“The Atonement of our Lord never contradicts human reason, it contradicts the logic of human intellect that has never partaken of regeneration.”

“Is Jesus Christ’s teaching God-breathed to me? There is an intention that seeks God’s blessings without obeying Jesus Christ’s teaching. We are apt to say with sanctimonious piety, ‘Yes, Jesus Christ’s teaching is of God’; but how do we measure up to it? Do we intend to think about it and act on it?” 

“The old idea that we cannot help evil thoughts has become so ingrained in our minds that most of us accept it as fact. But if it is true, then Paul is talking nonsense when he tells us to choose our thinking, to think only on those things that are true, and honorable, and just, and pure.” [Philippians 4:8-9; 2 Corinthians 10:5]

“We are so extraordinarily fussy that we won’t give ourselves one minute before God to think, and unless we do we shall never form the habit of abiding. We must get alone in secret and think, screw our minds down and not allow them to wool-gather.” 

“If a man lets his garden alone it very soon ceases to be a garden; and if a saint lets his mind alone it will soon become a rubbish keep for satan to make use of.”

“If we have been storing our minds with the Word of God, we are never taken unawares in new circumstances because the Holy Spirit brings back these things to our remembrance and we know what we should do; but the Holy Spirit cannot bring back to our minds what we have never troubled to put there.” 

“Think of the sweat and labor that a scientific student will expend in order to attain his end; where do we find men and women concentrating with the same intensity on spiritual realities?”

“As soon as you get down to pray you remember a letter you ought to write, or something else that needs to be done, a thousand and one little impertinences come in and claim your attention. When we suspend our own activities and get down at the foot of the Cross and meditate there, God brings His thoughts to us by the Holy Spirit and interprets them to us. … God has not the remotest opportunity of coming to some of us, our minds are packed full with our own thoughts and conceptions.” 

“The devil does not need to bother about us as long as we remain ignorant of the way God has made us and refused to discipline ourselves; inattention and our own slovenliness will soon run away with every power we have. … All we need is grit and gumption and reliance on the Holy Spirit. We must bring the same determined energy to the revelations in the God’s Book as we bring to earthly professions. Most of us leave the sweat of brain outside when we come to deal with the Bible.”

“God will not bring every thought and imagination into captivity; we have to do it, and that is the test of spiritual concentration. The inattentive, slovenly way we drift into the presence of God is an indication that we are not bothering to think about Him. … God gives us the Holy Spirit not only for holy living but for holy thinking, and we are held responsible if we do not think concentratedly along the right lines.” 

“Glean your thinking; don’t allow your mind to be a harborage for every kind of vagabond sentiment; resolutely get into the way of disciplining your impulses and stray thinking.”

“We have to transform into real thinking possession for ourselves all that the Spirit of God puts into our spirits.” 

“An undisciplined imagination will destroy reliable judgment more quickly even then sin.”

7 Final Quotes From “The Ministry Of God’s Word”

The Ministry Of God's WordI’ve been sharing some of the many quotes I highlighted in Watchman Nee’s book The Ministry Of God’s Word. You can read previous quotes by clicking here, here, here, here, and here. This is a book that I have called a must read for pastors, and you can read my full book review by clicking here.

“A minister of the Word ought to be attentive to how he speaks. The words he speaks must come through discipline, since God creates the words for us through His disciplining us. … How much you can speak depends upon how much you have learned inwardly. … It is more than your preaching His Word; you as a person must be so chiseled and tested by Him that the word which comes out of you is God’s Word.” 

“Let us realize that the minister of the Word must be tried first. Without any trial there can be no word. If other brothers and sisters should enter into trial before you, you have nothing to help them. Even if you should try to say something, it falls as an empty word. What use is an empty word? Word is formed in fire. … Hence the ministers of the Word are those who are chosen by God to be dealt with first, to be tried first, and to know the Lord first, so that they may minister Christ to God’s children. … If we expect to have a big ministry we should be ready to receive more dealings.”

“The Word of God is full of emotion. It should not be recited verbatim in a mechanical way. It ought to be pressed out through deep feeling. … One’s emotion must be so refined that he can rejoice when God’s Word is joyful and wail when the Word of God is sorrowful. His feeling follows the Word of God closely. This is not performance. Please never learn to perform. … The more spiritual a man is, the richer his feeling. … The more lessons one learns before God the more enriched his feeling will be.” 

“A minister of the Word should know that God is building up his ministry through each trial and difficulty. Do not be so foolish as to deem it best to flee from trial. If no thorn, then no grace, hence no power and little ministry. You may speak the Word but you do not possess the strength of the spirit to push it out. You need the Word; you also need a usable spirit.”

“In preaching the gospel, if you make men a little bigger, you make the gospel somewhat smaller. … Spiritual humility comes through our being enlightened by God to a real knowledge of our self, where as soulish self-abasement is the result of looking at man, comparing ourselves with others, and being afraid of men.” 

“We need to take good care of our mind that it may be usable when God wants it.”

“He who desires to minister the Word must learn how to speak simply. … Always remember that God’s Word is for men to understand, not for them to become confused about. … Hence a very important point in ministering the Word is to climb high before God. The higher we climb the more God’s Word is released. God rejects low thought, low-quality persuasion, cheap metaphors or words. Reach high and yet be clear.” 

 

21 Quotes From “Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn”

Sometimes You WinAs I mentioned in my book review (which you can read by clicking here), John Maxwell always expands my horizons with his writings. I appreciate his ability to use his own life experiences as well as historical and contemporary examples and writings. So some of my favorite quotes from Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn are from Dr. Maxwell, and some are from others that he quotes. Enjoy!

“I sometimes react to making a mistake as if I have betrayed myself. My fear of making a mistake seems to be based on the hidden assumption that I am potentially perfect and that if I can just be very careful, I will not fall from heaven. But a mistake is a declaration of the way I am, a jolt to the way I intend, a reminder that I am not dealing with facts. When I have listened to my mistakes, I have grown.” —Hugh Prather

“Those who profit from adversity possess a spirit of humility and are therefore inclined to make the necessary changes needed to learn from their mistakes, failures, and losses. … When we are focused too much on ourselves, we lose perspective. Humility allows us to regain perspective and see the big picture. … Humility allows us to let go of perfection and keep trying.” —John Maxwell

“Most people spend their entire lives in a fantasy Island called ‘Someday I’ll.’” —Denis Waitley 

“An idealist believes the short-run doesn’t count. A cynic believes the long run doesn’t matter. A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short-run determines the long run.” —Sydney J. Harris

“Those things that hurt, instruct.” —Benjamin Franklin

“You can’t grow and learn if your focus is on finding someone else to blame instead of looking at your own shortcomings.” —John Maxwell

“The highest reward for our toil is not what we get for it but what we become by it. … Mistakes are not failures. They are proof that we are making an effort. When we understand that, we can more easily move out of our comfort zone, try something new, and improve. … Improvement demands a commitment to grow long after the mood in which it was made has passed.” —John Maxwell 

“Success in most things comes not from some gigantic stroke of fate, but from simple, incremental progress.” —Andrew Wood

“The main trouble with despair is that it is self-fulfilling. People who fear the worst tend to invite it. Heads that are down can’t scan the horizon for new openings. Bursts of energy do not spring from a spirit of defeat. Ultimately, helplessness leads to hopelessness.” —Norman Cousins

“Positive thinking must be followed by positive doing.” —John Maxwell

“When you are influential and highly respected, people tend to tell you what you want to hear, not what you need to hear. They are seeking your approval, or they flatter you. Unfortunately, this creates a gap between what you hear and reality. If you find yourself in that situation, you will need to work extra hard to get the people close to you to speak honestly into your life. And you will have to become highly intentional in observing and listening.” —John Maxwell 

“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you would have preferred to talk.” —Doug Larson

“Circumstances are the rulers of the weak; but they are the instruments of the wise.” —Samuel Lover 

“Mistakes are painful when they happen, but years later a collection of mistakes is what is called experience.” —Denis Waitley

“Ninety percent of those who fail are not actually defeated; they simply quit. … As you face bad experiences, it’s important for you to remember that you can rarely see the benefits while you’re in the midst of them. You usually gain perspective on the other side of it.” —John Maxwell 

“Most people would rather change their circumstances to improve their lives when instead they need to change themselves to improve their circumstances. They put in just enough effort to distance themselves from their problems without ever trying to go after the root, which can often be found in themselves. Because they don’t try to change the source of their problems, their problems keep coming back at them.” —John Maxwell

“To grow, you must be willing to let your present and future be totally unlike your past. Your history is not your destiny.” —Alan Cohen

“If I had my life to live over again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.” —Tallulah Bankhead

“Maturity is doing what you are supposed to be doing, when you’re supposed to be doing it, no matter how you feel.” —Dom Capers 

“Have you not succeeded? Continue! Have you succeeded? Continue!” —Fridtjof Nansen, Nobel Peace Prize winner

“How we think when we lose determines how long it will be until we win.” —G.K. Chesterton

Thursdays With Oswald—The Thinking Of A Christian And An Atheist

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Oswald ChambersThe Thinking Of A Christian And An Atheist 

     All scientific finds have at one time been modern. Science is simply man’s attempt to explain what he knows.

     …I can explain the world outside me by thinking; then if I can explain the world outside me by my mind, there must have been a Mind that made it. That is logical, simple and clear; consequently atheism is what the Bible calls it, the belief of a fool. “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 53:1). An atheist is one who says, “I can explain by my mind to a certain extent what things are like outside, but there is not a mind behind that created them.” 

     …We [Christians] have no business to be ignorant about the way God created the world, or to be unable to discern “the arm of the Lord” behind things. 

     …If we [Christians] will bring our thinking into captivity to the Holy Spirit, we form what is termed “Nous.” Nous is a Greek word meaning responsible intelligence. Whenever we get to this point of responsible intelligence, we have come to a sure line of thinking. Until the nous is formed in natural life and in spiritual life, we get at things by intuition, by impulse, but there is no responsible intelligence. …We have not only to be good lovers of God, but good thinkers, and it is along this line that we can “try the spirits whether they are of God.” 

From Biblical Psychology

Christians—above anyone else—should be first-rate thinkers, because we have a natural mind AND the Holy Spirit. We should constantly study, read, discuss, debate, and meditate to sharpen our thinking. The Holy Spirit will stimulate our thinking along the right lines, but we have to put some thoughts into our minds first!

“We have not only to be good lovers of God, but good thinkers.”

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