Ordering Your Private World (book review)

You can look all neat and tidy on the outside, you can talk a good game and even have some short-term success. But if you aren’t growing on the inside, all that good looking outside stuff will eventually come crashing down. This is exactly what Gordon MacDonald addresses in his revised and updated book Ordering Your Private World.

MacDonald shares a quote from Ezra Pound which captures the theme of this book: “If a (person) has not order within him, he cannot spread order about him.” Amen!

Here’s what I love about Gordon MacDonald’s heart. This book is a revised and updated version of his original work. The first edition sold more than a million copies! MacDonald could have sat back and collected his royalty checks, but instead, he has kept growing, kept learning, kept on ordering his own private world, and wasn’t content until he could share his ever-growing insights with a whole new generation.

MacDonald is quite candid about the collapse of his own inner world, and how he had to work to restore and rebuild that. Throughout this book you will read more of his personal stories, as well as accounts from historical people (both famous and relatively unknown), and you will learn from numerous biblical examples as well.

Ordering Your Private World will help you reassess your priorities, learn how to take control of your time, help you find the best supports for your inner world, see through a biblical lens, and learn what it truly means to take a rest.

This book will be beneficial for everyone who wants to ensure their inner world is strong enough to support their outer world, but I would especially recommend this book to those in leadership positions. Leaders tend to be much more hard-charging and results-oriented people, and as such may neglect their own inner world. But whoever you are, this book will be a valuable part of your life.

I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer.

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The Maxwell Leadership Bible (book review)

Hands-down the best book for any aspiring, developing, or seasoned leader is the Bible! John Maxwell is a mentor of leaders that I have come to greatly appreciate over the year of my leadership development. So having John Maxwell’s commentary accompany my daily Bible reading time has been a  huge blessing! You can find this complete leadership development package in The Maxwell Leadership Bible.

The Bible is filled with leadership principles given by God Himself. John Maxwell is helping me compile various principles throughout the entirety of the Bible into cohesive units of study.

The Bible also presents us with various people who followed or violated God’s leadership principles. We are able to see the struggles that come to those who either ignore God’s directives or don’t consistently follow through on them. And we’re able to see the legacy of success that follows those who make it a priority to consistently walk in God’s precepts. Once again, Maxwell is brilliant at identifying these leadership lessons.

Normally I post reviews after I have read an entire book, but given the fact that my Bible reading time is in-depth and time-consuming, I wanted to post a review now to encourage Christian leaders to take advantage of this wonderful resource. If you want to use the Bible to grow your leadership capacities, the commentaries and insights provided by John Maxwell will be a huge blessing to you.

P.S. I am reading The Maxwell Leadership Bible on the Kindle version. I find it very convenient to tap on the footnotes, character studies, and leadership lessons that John Maxwell has prepared, and then quickly tap back to the biblical passage right where I left off.

Run Today’s Race (book review)

It’s amazing the thoughts you can think if only the right “seed thought” is first planted in your mind. In Run Today’s Race that’s exactly what Oswald Chambers does for us.

Run Today’s Race is a 365-day seed-planting book designed to send your mind exploring the applications of each day’s short statement or question. At most, each day’s reading is expressed in three sentences, but many of them are expressed in just a handful of words.

The original publication in 1918 was called Seed Thoughts Calendar. In the introduction we read:

“Oswald Chambers firmly believed in the concept of ‘seed thoughts’—brief, pithy sayings designed to arrest attention and stimulate thinking. The entry for December 9 perhaps best expresses his conviction on how to affect a person’s mind and behavior: ‘Our Lord was never impatient. He simply planted seed thoughts in the disciples’ minds and surrounded them with the atmosphere of His own life….’”

Each day’s entry in Run Today’s Race will take you only a few seconds to read, but you will have some excellent thought material to keep your mind occupied all day long. Make an investment in your spiritual growth by picking up a copy of this excellent book.

As an example from November 14:

“The proof that we are rightly related to God is that we do our best whether we feel inspired or not.”

This might stimulate questions like:

  • Do I do my best only when someone is watching me, or do I do my best because God is always watching me?
  • Do my work ethic and pursuit of excellence make God look good to others?
  • Do I have to wait until I’m “inspired” to do my best, or can simply doing my best make me feel inspired?

9 Quotes From “Leadership Promises For Every Day”

leadership-promisesLeadership Promises For Every Day is a devotional book for leaders and aspiring leaders. A passage from the Bible is combined with a passage from one of John Maxwell’s outstanding books. It’s an excellent way to start your day! If you haven’t already, check out my review of this book here, and then enjoy a few quotes—

“How many leaders have ruined their lives and damaged the lives of others through immorality? Character has become a crucial issue today precisely because of the myriad of leaders in the political, business, and religious worlds who have fallen morally. No doubt they fall partly because the enemy has targeted leaders for attack. Leaders need to remember that they influence many others beyond themselves; they never fall in a vacuum. They also need to realize that replacing fallen leaders is a slow and difficult process.”

“Our goal among brothers should not be to punish or excommunicate, but to restore. Confrontation is a redemptive act of leadership.”

“Leaders need to respond to individuals based on their needs rather than their faults. … Good leaders do this well. They don’t lead out of a predetermined package of behaviors, but size up every situation and discern what must happen to reach the desired goal.”

“People rise or fall to meet our level of expectations for them. If you express skepticism and doubt in others, they’ll return your lack of confidence with mediocrity. But if you believe in them and expect them to do well, they’ll wear themselves out trying to do their best.”

“Leaders must constantly ask if their plans fit God’s revealed will for them and their organization. Then they must ask if their plans remain relevant to the needs of their mission, their values, their vision, and their long-range objectives. Finally, they need to ask if their plans fit the needs of their culture and time.”

“We need to remember that when people follow behind us, they can only go as far as we go. If our growth stops today, our ability to lead will stop along with it. Neither personality nor methodology can substitute for personal growth. We cannot model what we do not possess. Begin learning and growing today, and watch those around you begin to grow.”

“Servanthood is not about position or skill. It’s about attitude.” 

“People who blame others for their failures never overcome them. They simply move from problem to problem. To reach your potential, you must continually improve yourself, and you can’t do that if you don’t take responsibility for your actions and learn from your mistakes.”

“Laughter breeds resilience. Laughing is the quickest way to get up and get going again when you’ve been knocked down.”

I am always sharing great quotes from John Maxwell and others on Twitter and Tumblr. If you’re not following me there, please do so!

8 Quotes From “Jesus Always”

jesus-alwaysSarah Young does a masterful job in speaking the words of the Bible to us through the first-person voice of Jesus Christ in her book Jesus Always. Be sure to check out my review by clicking here. Below are a few quotes from this keepsake book.

“Train your mind to think great thoughts of Me! Many Christians are defeated by focusing mainly on less important things—the news, the weather, the economy, loved ones’ problems, their own problems, and so on. Granted, in this world you will have trouble, but don’t let troubles become your primary focus. Remind yourself that I am with you and I have overcome the world.”

“Be careful not to attach your sense of worth to your performance. When you’re dissatisfied with something you have done, talk with Me about it. … Your imperfect performance reminds you that you are human. It humbles you and helps you identify with flawed humanity. Since pride is such a deadly sin—the one that ultimately led to satan’s expulsion from heaven—being humbled is really a blessing. So thank Me for the circumstances that have diminished your pride, and draw near to Me.” 

“Praying not only blesses you but provides an avenue for serving Me. Rejoice that you can collaborate with Me through prayer as I establish My kingdom on earth.”

“When the task before you looks daunting, refuse to be intimidated. Discipline your thinking to view the challenge as a privilege rather than a burdensome duty. Make the effort to replace your ‘I have to’ mentality with an ‘I get to’ approach. … Remember that My Spirit who lives in you is the Helper; ask Him to help you when you’re perplexed.”

“Do not despise suffering. It reminds you that you are on a pilgrimage to a far better place. … While you continue your journey through this world, be thankful for the comforts and pleasures I bless you with. And reach out to others who are suffering. I comfort you in all your troubles so that you can comfort others. Offering help to hurting people gives meaning to your suffering—and Glory to Me!”

“Your natural tendency when you’re feeling anxious is to focus on yourself and your problems. The more you do this, the more you forget about Me and all the help I can supply. This worldly focus only increases your anxiety! Let the discomfort you feel at such times alert you to your neglect of Me. Whisper My Name, and invite Me into your difficulties.”

“Today is the time to delight in the blessings I have provided. Since you don’t know what tomorrow will bring, make the most of what you have today: family, friends, talents, possessions. And look for opportunities to be a blessing to others.”

“Thank Me frequently; be on the lookout for My blessings, searching for them as for hidden treasure. Praise Me not only in prayer and song but in your words to other people. Tell them about My marvelous deeds; declare how great I am!”

I will be sharing more quotes from Jesus Always in the near future. If you want to be notified as soon as these quotes are posted, please subscribe by entering your email address in the right column.

I’ve also been sharing quotes from this book (and lots of other high-quality authors) on both Twitter and Tumblr. If you’re not following me there, please do so.

5 Quotes From “How To Read A Book”

how-to-read-a-bookIf you want to get more out of your book reading time, I’d highly recommend How To Read A Book to you. Check out my review here, and then check out some of the quotes I especially appreciated.

“We do not have to know everything about something in order to understand it; too many facts are often as much of an obstacle to understanding as to few. There is a sense in which we moderns are inundated with facts to the detriment of our understanding.”

“Good books are over your head; they would not be good for you if they were not. And the books that are over your head weary you unless you can reach up to them and pull yourself up to their level. It is not the stretching that tires you, but the frustration of stretching unsuccessfully because you lack the skill to stretch effectively. To keep on reading actively, you must have not only the will to do so, but also the skill—the art that enables you to elevate yourself by mastering what at first sight seems to be beyond you.”

“Perhaps you were beginning to see how essential a part of reading it is to be perplexed and know it. Wonder is the beginning of wisdom in learning from books as well as from nature. If you never ask yourself any questions about the meaning of a passage, you cannot expect the book to give you any insight you do not already possess.”

“Many persons believe that they know how to read because they read at different speeds. But they pause and go slow over the wrong sentences. They pause over the sentences that interest them rather than the ones that puzzle them. Indeed, this is one of the greatest obstacles to reading a book that is not completely contemporary.”

“‘State in your own words!’ That suggests the best test we know for telling whether you have understood the proposition or propositions in the sentence. If, when you are asked to explain what the author means by a particular sentence, all you can do is repeat his very words, with some minor alterations in their order, you had better suspect that you do not know what he means. Ideally, you should be able to say the same thing in totally different words. The idea can, of course, be approximated in varying degrees. But if you cannot get away at all from the author’s words, it shows that only words have passed from him to you, not thought or knowledge. You know his words, not his mind. He was trying to communicate knowledge, and all you received was words.”

On This Day (book review)

on-this-dayI truly believe George Santayana’s maxim about learning from history so that we don’t have to repeat its painful lessons. On This Day: 365 Amazing and Inspiring Stories about Saints, Martyrs and Heroes by Robert Morgan not only helped me learn history, but see that history through a biblical lens.

Each day of the year Robert Morgan will introduce you to someone who played a key part in church history. Some of the names will be well-known to you, and some of them will be brand new; some of the stories will make you smile, and some will break your heart. But all of the stories reinforced two major themes for me—(1) All of history is God’s story, and (2) God uses ordinary people to accomplish His extraordinary purpose.

Each day’s entry is short enough that you can easily add it to your daily schedule. If you are a teacher or a parent, these stories would be a great way to talk about current events in light of what God has already done in past history. Either by yourself or with others, you will gain a greater appreciation for God and the gifts He gives to men and women.

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