7 Quotes From “Self-Improvement 101”

Self-Improvement 101In all of John Maxwell’s 101 books there is an overall theme, but there are also numerous snippets which we can immediately apply. Here are just a few of those thoughts from Self-Improvement 101.

“The ironic thing is that change is inevitable. Everybody has to deal with it. On the other hand, growth is optional. You can choose to grow or fight it. But know this: people unwilling to grow will never reach their potential.”

“The only way to improve the quality of your life is to improve yourself. If you want to grow your organization, you must grow a leader. If you want better children, you must become a better person. If you want others to treat you more kindly, you must develop better people skills. There is no sure way to make other people in your environment improve. The only thing you truly have the ability to improve is yourself.”

“There’s certainly nothing wrong with the desire to progress in your career, But never try to ‘arrive.’ Instead, intend your journey to be open-ended. Most people have no idea how far they can go in life. They aim way too low.”

“Pride is the number one hindrance to teachability. … While envy is the deadly sin that comes from feelings of inferiority, the deadly sin of pride comes from feelings of superiority. It creates an arrogance of success, an inflated sense of self-worth accompanied by a distorted perspective of reality. Such an attitude leads to a loss of desire to learn and an unwillingness to change. It makes a person unteachable.”

“People’s purpose in life is always connected to their giftedness. It always works that way. You are not called to do something that you have no talent for. You will discover your purpose by finding and remaining in your strength zone. Similarly, you cannot grow to your maximum potential if you continually work outside of your strength zone.” 

“What is the greatest obstacle you will face once you have achieved your goals and tasted success? I believe it is the ability to let go of what you have so that you can reach for something new.”

“Every new level of growth we hope to experience as leaders calls for a new level of change. You cannot have one without the other.”

You can check out my review of Self-Improvement 101 by clicking here.

Attitude Check

Attitude checkWhen we realize that nothing can thwart God’s plan, and that you and I are a part of that plan, I think there could be a couple of attitudes that might pop up: (1) Confidence―not in my abilities, but in God’s; or (2) Humility―not thinking less of myself, but thinking of myself less.

Confidence without humility leads to self-destructive pride, and humility without confidence leads to self-destructive fear. We need confidence with humility, just like Jesus demonstrated in going to the old rugged Cross.

We can see the confidence in Jesus when He claims to be the “I AM” (John 8:54-59). But we can also see the humility of Jesus when He said He would lay His life down (John 10:11, 15:13).

These two attitudes converge powerfully in John 13:1-17 when we read that Jesus knew that God had put all authority under His command (vv. 1, 3), and then He used His confident authority to serve His friends by washing their feet.

Confidence without humility won’t serve because it thinks others must serve them. Humility without confidence won’t serve because it thinks others will take advantage of them. But Jesus was confidently humble (or humbly confident) so He could serve. It’s the only time Jesus said “I have set you an example” (v. 15). Our attitude is to mirror His, and we are to confidently and humbly serve.

A humbly-confident / confidently-humble servant is known by his or her:

  • Heart―E.G.O. (edging God out) or E.G.O. (exalting God only) [*]
  • Head―having his/her thoughts aligned with the Word of God
  • Hands―serving God and others (Matthew 20:25-28)

If you were to honestly reflect on this, where do you rate yourself?

  • Are you confident that God loves you and has a plan for your life, a plan that cannot be thwarted?
  • Are you humble enough to serve others? To give up your own agenda so that God is glorified?
  • Can you honestly say you have the right E.G.O.?
  • Are your thoughts becoming more and more aligned and shaped by God’s Word?

We’ll be continuing our series on The Old Rugged Cross next Sunday, and I would love to have you join us.

[*] My thanks to Kenneth Blanchard for his insightful description of E.G.O. in his book Lead Like Jesus

Links & Quotes

link quote

“Puffery in doctrine leads to its dishonor.” —Charles Spurgeon

“In love’s service, only the wounded soldiers can serve.” —Dr. James Stewart

“Don’t bother about the idea that God ‘has known for millions of years exactly what you are about to pray.’ That isn’t what it’s like. God is hearing you now, just as simply as a mother hears a child. The difference His timelessness makes is that this now (which slips away from you even as you say the word now) is for Him infinite. If you must think of His timelessness at all, don’t think of Him having looked forward to this moment for millions of years: think that to Him you are always praying this prayer. But there’s really no need to bring it in. You have gone into the Temple (‘one day in Thy court is better than a thousand’) and found Him, as always, there. That is all you need to bother about.” ―C.S. Lewis

“The itch of self-regard craves the scratch of self-approval. That is, if we are getting our pleasure from feeling self-sufficient, we will not be satisfied without others seeing and applauding our self-sufficiency.” —John Piper

Some godly women on the front lines of the war against the sex industry.

13 Quotes From “The Solomon Seduction”

Solomon SeductionThe Solomon Seduction is a biography on King Solomon, a Bible study, a book for men to overcome temptation, a leadership book, and a great discussion starter for a men’s group. In other words, there are lots of reasons for guys to read this book! You can read my full book review by clicking here, and below are some of the quotes I highlighted from this book.

“Moderation can be a great thing. But the idea that anything is okay as long as it’s done in moderation has given rise to some of the wackiest notions known to man. … One of the big problems with using moderation as a justification for whatever you want to do is that it’s almost impossible to take just a bite when you’re really hungry.” 

“Are you just a guy who goes to church, or are you serious about growing spiritually and acquiring discernment? satan’s chances of seducing you will rise or fall on your answers to these questions.”

“Solomon is the perfect example of the fact that you can have your cranium crammed full of discernment and still end up embarrassing yourself. Keep in mind, he not only knew the book of Proverbs, he wrote the vast majority of it! And then ended up doing many of the very things he himself said were foolish!” 

“All of satan’s various attempts at seducing believers must include an attempt to undermine Scripture.”

“What we have here is a case not of ignorance or confusion or misinterpretation, but of satan subtly and artfully manipulating Solomon’s thinking to the point where he felt the commands of God seemed out of touch with his real-world experience.”

“satan doesn’t try to get you to forsake your good priorities. He just encourages you to mix in a few lesser priorities that will compete with those good priorities.”

“Mark it down. When the word I starts replacing the word we in your speech, something ugly is happening in your heart. Your ego is swelling.” 

“Big-ego people almost never back up and take another look at their actions. Why should they? They’re convinced that everything they do is right. It never occurs to them that they might be on the wrong track. They’re so infatuated with themselves that they can see nothing but that beautiful image in the mirror.”

‘What’s the big deal?’ If ever a question spoke to the attitude of our generation towards sin, that one does. We shrug off sin as though it’s just a little harmless fun. You know, boys will be boys. Everybody sows some wild oats, right? Or, if we don’t play the what’s-the-big-deal card, we claim that the sin we are indulging in is actually necessary.” 

“Instead of repenting, instead of exterminating, illuminating, or correcting their bad behavior, [sin managers] try to manage it. They believe that if they can keep the behavior from getting out of hand, keep people from being hurt or offended, keep the status quo from being upset, keep the ugliness under wraps and out of sight, they can hang on to their sin and everything will be fine. … This is typical of sin managers. Instead of seeing sin as the problem, they see the awkwardness the sin creates as the problem and believe, therefore, that if they can find an answer for the awkwardness, they will have solved the problem.”

“In the category of cold, hard truths, this is a doozy: God doesn’t share the throne of your heart with anybody or anything. You either give it to Him wholly and completely, or He vacates it. You can tell yourself that God comes first and that the sin you’re harboring is just a little something you need to work on, but if you choose a lifestyle of sin management over repentance, you’ve pledged your allegiance to your sin, not to God.”

“Repentance is not what saves us; grace is. But repentance is a response to grace that makes what we are after having received grace different from what we were before. … Repentance concerns itself with how things are while sin management only worries about how things look. Think of a messy closet. Repentance cleans out the closet. Sin management straightens up the closet. Repentance throws away the junk. Sin management rearranges the junk. Repentance gives you a better closet. Sin management only gives you a better-looking closet.”

“When we see Solomon at the height of his idolatrous lifestyle, marrying and buying and indulging like an out-of-control sailor on a weekend pass, what does he say over and over again? ‘I said to myself…’ (Ecclesiastes 1:16, 2:1, 2:15, 3:17, 7:23). Solomon was talking to himself about a lot of things he should have been discussing with God. Who can argue that the reason why he was seduced and eventually reduced to an object of scorn and pity was because he excluded God from so many areas of his life?” 

 

Thursdays With Oswald—Sanctified Specimens

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 ChambersSanctified Specimens

     May God save us from the selfish meanness of a sanctified life which says, “I am saved and sanctified, look what a wonderful specimen I am.” If we are saved and sanctified we have lost sight of ourselves absolutely, self is effaced, it is not there. 

     …We are saved and sanctified for God, not to be specimens in His showroom, but for God to do with us even as He did with Jesus, makes us broken bread and poured-out wine as He chooses. 

From Bringing Sons Unto Glory

The Apostle Paul said it this way, “You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20, Amplified Bible). And he wrote later, “God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world” (1 Corinthians 7:23, New Living Translation).

If God has changed you, don’t try to remain a specimen on the shelf, don’t posture and pose. In fact, stop thinking about how good you look because that only glorifies you. Instead, let God by glorified as you allow Him to use you as a living, breathing example of how He can totally change someone’s life.

Altar Ego (book review)

Altar EgoCraig Groeschel is an amazing communicator! Partly because he shares the truth without watering it down or over-complicating it, and partly because he is so transparent with us. Altar Ego is a practical look at how and why God wants to “altar” our perception of ourselves.

The title of the book is not a misprint: Craig persuasively makes the case that we need to bring our view of ourselves to God’s altar so He can alter how we view ourselves. In the opening pages, Craig describes it this way—

If you’ve ever felt insecure, inadequate, or insufficient, this book is for you. Chances are good that you are like most of us. You attempt to draw worth or value from the wrong places. You’re inclined to believe what others say about you over what God says about you. You say you believe one thing but privately live out of a double-standard set of beliefs. If you call yourself a Christian, you probably hope to live a life pleasing to God but often find yourself trying to please others or yourself. If you can relate, I’ve got good news. You are not yet you you are supposed to be. 

Altar Ego is divided into three sections. In the first section you will learn how God sees you; in the second section you will learn how to live altarnative values to those the culture promotes; and in the final section you will discover a newfound boldness that comes with seeing yourself as God sees you.

Because of Craig’s easy-to-read style, and his forthrightness about his own shortcomings, you will not feel like these concepts are too complicated or only reserved for those who are more spiritual than you. Even if you don’t feel “insecure, inadequate, or insufficient,” there is still a lot to learn from Altar Ego.

I am a Zondervan book reviewer.

How To Avoid Getting A Big Head

John Wesley said that harsh words spoken to us actually provide a helpful balance:

“Who could bear honor and good report, were it not balanced by dishonor?”

In other words, if the only things said to you are words of praise, it’s awfully hard to keep from getting a big head! So when the painful words come, it is important to evaluate them, but also recognize that they might be just the medicine you need to reduce ego swelling. 

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