Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

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BOOK REVIEW: Leaders Made Here by Mark Miller

Leaders Made Here by Mark Miller. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. 130 pages. 2017

In his latest book, Mark Miller writes that you ensure you’ll have the needed leaders to fuel your future success when you build a leadership culture. A leadership culture exists when leaders are routinely and systematically developed and the organization has a surplus of leaders ready for the next opportunity or challenge. The author states that he wrote the book primarily for those who can see the value in a strong bench of capable leaders but lack the strategic framework to make it so.
As is his custom, the author teaches through an entertaining fable, much like those of Patrick Lencioni and Ken Blanchard. We meet Blake, the new CEO in a mid-sized firm in a slow-growth industry. Not only is the firm not growing, but it sustained a recent tragedy (explosion) on Blake’s first day on the job, in which six employees were killed. Although the accident was attributed to human error, Blake said that it was actually due to leadership error. Leadership failed and people died.
Blake tells his senior leadership team (minus one, as the head of Human Resources decided to retire about being injured in the explosion), that they need to build a leadership bench, which is not a term they are familiar about.
Blake decides to seek out his mentor Jack, who we met in the author’s previous book Chess Not Checkers. Jack suggests that Blake appoint an interim or hire a consultant to help with the leadership bench issue. Blake decided to reach out to Charles, a rock star in the human resources world to help him out and also to help identify a new head of Human Resources. Although Charles is going through his own personal issues, he agrees to take on the short-term assignment.
As Charles and his team begin their task, they develop a charter, conduct interviews with members of the senior leadership team, and do some benchmarking with leading firms that have built a leadership culture. They want to build a culture where they can say with integrity that leaders are made here. They eventually come up with five commitments of a leadership culture.
I’m fortunate to work in an organization that has a leadership culture. Much of what I read in this book reminded me of my organization. For those who work in organizations that do not currently have a leadership culture, this book would be an excellent first step to take toward building one.

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Book Review: Making Sense of God by Timothy Keller

Making Sense of God, An Invitation to the Skeptical – Tim KellerMaking Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical by Timothy Keller. Viking. 336 pages. 2016

This book is considered to be a prequel to Tim Keller’s excellent 2008 book Reason for God. The author wrote the book to bring secular readers to a place where they might find it even sensible and desirable to explore the extensive foundations for the truth of Christianity. He compares the beliefs and claims of Christianity with the beliefs and claims of the secular view, asking which one makes more sense of a complex world and human experience. He challenges both the assumption that the world is getting more secular and the belief that secular, nonreligious people are basing their view of life mainly on reason. He then compares and contrasts how Christianity and secularism seek to provide meaning, satisfaction, freedom, identity, a moral compass, and hope—all things so crucial that we cannot live life without them.
Who is the book written for? The author states that if you think Christianity doesn’t hold much promise of making sense to a thinking person, then the book is written for you. In addition, if you have friends or family who feel this way, the book will be of interest for you and them as well.
He gives us two reasons to read the book. The first is practical. He first states not whether religion is true, but only to make the case that it is by no means a dying force. The second reason is a personal one. He writes that if you are experiencing unquiet and dissatisfaction in your life, they may be signs of a need for God that is there but which is not recognized as such.
This is a weighty read, not one that you will read through quickly. Of the many topics that he covered, the two that I got the most out of were his discussions of identity and particularly the problem that morals pose for secular people.
The author includes a list of five books for further reading that will give readers a good overview of Christian beliefs presented in the context of most contemporary arguments for and against their validity.
This was one of the best books I read in 2016, and I highly recommend it.  Click on this link to read more reviews of Tim Keller’s books. Continue reading


Why I Would Recommend You Don’t Go See the Movie “The Shack”

the-shackKnowing that I enjoy going to the movies, I’ve already had many friends ask me if I was planning to see the upcoming film adaptation of William P. Young’s best-selling 2007 novel The Shack. When I tell them that I’m not going due to serious theological issues in the book, they usually respond that they don’t know or care too much about theological issues, they just loved the book.

Several years ago, when it seemed like everyone I talked to was reading the book (the book has sold an incredible 22 million copies to date), I decided to read it myself. I wanted to see why it was resonating with so many people, even some of my friends who didn’t regularly attend church. And while the book can speak to those who have experienced a tragedy or lost a loved one, I had serious concerns about the way the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) were portrayed.

To help you be discerning as you consider whether or not to watch the film or read the book (as interest in the book has been rekindled with the release of the film), I offer the below perspectives from three respected Christians teachers.

  1. Tim Keller. In this article Tim Keller writes “But here is my main problem with the book. Anyone who is strongly influenced by the imaginative world of The Shack will be totally unprepared for the far more multi-dimensional and complex God that you actually meet when you read the Bible.”
  2. Tim Challies. In this article (which also links to his lengthy review of the book), Tim Challies writes “The Shack presents God in human flesh. It makes the infinite finite, the invisible visible, the omnipotent impotent, the all-present local, the spiritual material. In its visual portrayal of God it diminishes, it obfuscates, it blasphemes, it lies. Even though I would watch the film to help others interpret it and to bring correction to error, I would still be subjecting myself to a false, blasphemous portrayal of God. I cannot allow myself to watch it even for that purpose. I cannot and will not watch or review it.”
  3. Randy Alcorn. Randy Alcorn writes “Unfortunately, increasingly few people these days are well grounded in the Word and have both the knowledge and the discernment to filter out the bad while embracing the good. That means that some people, perhaps many, will fail to recognize the book’s theological weaknesses, and therefore be vulnerable to embracing them, even if unconsciously. Sadly, I personally know some who have been led down a path of universalism through their understanding of the book and what they have heard the author say, either publicly or privately.”

I know these comments won’t be popular with many. Please seriously consider them when making your decision about whether you will see this film. And if you disagree with what is written here, please let me know and why.  Also, if you need good materials that address the topics in the movie such as “Where was God when I lost my loved one?” I would be glad to give you some recommendations.


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My Review of “Explore by the Book”

explore-by-the-book-90-days-in-john-14thru17-romans-and-james-by-timothy-keller-and-sam-allberryExplore by the Book: 90 Days in John 14-17, Romans & James by Timothy Keller and Sam Allberry. The Good Book Company. 192 pages. 2017

Explore by the Book looks at John 14-17, with verse by verse readings/commentary written by Sam Allberry, Romans, written by Tim Keller, and James, written by Allberry. The 90 devotionals included in this book are taken from the Explore Quarterly devotional.  The book is referred to as an “open Bible devotional”, in that you will need to keep your printed or digital Bible open as you use these studies. You’ll be asked questions throughout so that you think about the text. While it is commendable to provide a product which will have you interact with the Scriptures such as this, I feel it was a major misstep to not include the actual Scripture text (or at least a hyperlink to the passage in the e-book edition), being discussed in the book. I read almost all of my books in the Kindle version. As I read the book, I had to constantly exit the book and look up the passage in my Kindle version of the Bible. This decreased my devotional experience with the book.

It is suggested that you set aside a half an hour a day for 90 days to work through these studies, and to respond to the questions that are provided. Each study has sub-sections of the passage covered. After each small chunk of teaching there will be questions to address, and one or both of the headings Apply, and Pray. You are to use these sections to turn what you have read in the Bible and speak back to God.

This book, which features excellent content, would best be read in the hardback edition, which comes with ribbon marker and space for journaling.  It is suggested that before you read each study that you read the passage and then include several things:

  • The Highlight: the truth about God that most struck you.
  • The Query: the questions you have about what you have read (and your best attempt at answering them).
  • The Change: the major way you feel the Spirit is prompting you to change either your attitudes, or your actions, as a result of what you have read.

After you have completed each study, record:

  • One sentence summing up how God has spoken to you through his word.
  • A short prayer in response to what you have seen.

Explore by the Book is a wonderful concept that is best used with the hardback edition of the book and a physical copy of your Bible open. I would not recommend the e-book format, due to the concerns expressed above.

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My Review of Bryan Chapell’s book UNLIMITED GRACE

unlimited grace by bryan chapellUnlimited Grace: The Heart Chemistry That Frees from Sin and Fuels the Christian Life by Bryan Chapell. Crossway. 192 pages. 2016

Bryan Chapell, was the President of Covenant Theological Seminary for most of the time I attended the school. He served there for three decades in teaching and administration. He is now the Senior Pastor at Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, Illinois, where Tammy and I were married years ago. Unlimited Grace is his latest book and it’s a gem, perhaps my top book of the year, right up there with The Whole Christ by Sinclair Ferguson.

Chapell writes of how he has been on a journey together with the people of Grace Presbyterian Church to discern how the grace of the gospel can transform a church by freeing people from sin and fueling their lives with new hope and joy. He states that this book is an effort both to reflect what they have learned together and to teach the values that he hopes will guide those who join on this gospel endeavor.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part takes the reader on a journey to discover how grace not only frees us from the guilt and shame of sinful lives but also provides daily fuel for the joy that is the strength of Christian living. The second part explains how preachers, teachers, counselors, mentors, parents, and all others who share God’s Word can find grace in every portion of Scripture. And the final part attempts to answer the common questions people ask about how to find grace, and how to keep from abusing its blessings. The author states that the aim of the book is to identify not only how these truths of grace affect our understanding of God’s acceptance at the end of our lives, but also how they empower our efforts to honor God every day of our lives.

Dr. Chapell states that the essence of grace is that God provides for us what we could not provide for ourselves. In this book he addresses many helpful concepts such as legalism, our identity, performance, behavior, holiness and motivation towards obedience, God’s acceptance of us, sin and repentance, the distinction between justification and sanctification, biblical fear of God and His judgement.

It took me longer than usual to read this book because of the number of passages I highlighted. I highly recommend this book. Read it and share the wonderful message of God’s grace with others.

bryan-chapell65 Wonderful Quotes from
Unlimited Grace by Bryan Chapell

  1. New obedience and daily living in harmony with Christ’s standards may enable us to experience God’s forgiveness, but we never earn it.
  2. God’s great grace toward us fosters such love for him that we want to please and honor him. His mercy toward us stirs such overwhelming thanksgiving in us that we desire to live for him. Love compels us.
  3. A Christian for whom love of God is the highest priority is also the person most motivated and enabled to serve the purposes of God.
  4. We will inevitably focus our resources of heart, soul, mind, and strength on what or whom we love the most.
  5. Grace draws the one to whom it is extended closer to the One expressing it.
  6. We are ultimately controlled by whatever we love the most.
  7. Real change—real power over seemingly intractable patterns of sin and selfishness—comes when Christ becomes our preeminent love. When that happens, all that pleases and honors him becomes the source of our deepest pleasure, highest aim, and greatest effort.
  8. When his delight is our greatest joy, we give our lives in fullest measure to his purposes.
  9. Since God is entirely holy, we cannot earn his approval based upon our efforts.
  10. Those who try to make themselves acceptable to God by their own efforts are comparable to someone trying to clean a white shirt with muddy hands.
  11. Because he is just, there’s no double jeopardy or double punishment with God. Once the penalty has been paid, it doesn’t have to be paid again. And because he is gracious, God determined that all who confess that they need and want Jesus’s punishment to serve as a substitute for their own will have no more penalty to pay—now or ever (Heb. 9:22–26).
  12. What happens if we ignore Christ’s provision? Then we will face a judgment day on which people will have to explain why they didn’t believe they needed Jesus. They will have to prove that they are as holy as God requires for an eternity with him.
  13. Grace not only promotes grateful devotion but also derails self-serving pride.
  14. While everyone should be concerned about whether his or her behavior pleases God, the Bible makes it clear that our behavior does not determine his acceptance. His mercy does (Titus 3:4–5).
  15. The reason our good works or intentions are inadequate is not that there is no good in them, but that they are not sufficiently good.
  16. Good behavior doesn’t get you into heaven or out of hell. That’s game changing for people banking on their goodness to get God’s acceptance. But does that mean what we do doesn’t matter to God? No. It means that good behavior has to be motivated by something other than a presumed payment or feared penalty for our performance.
  17. But what else is there to motivate us to good deeds if our relationship with God cannot be purchased by them? The answer is the relationship itself.
  18. Who we are in loving relationship with God is not determined by what we do; rather, what we do is determined by who we are.
  19. God’s grace motivates our behavior; our behavior does not manufacture his grace.
  20. God’s gracious claim on us is our greatest cause for serving him.
  21. What we do must not determine who we are, but who we are by God’s grace should determine what we do.
  22. Grace justifies guilty sinners so that they have Jesus’s guiltless status before God.
  23. Though our sin pollutes us, we are sanctified by God’s grace so that he can use us for his holy purposes.
  24. Because we know that God expects us to make progress in our sanctification—to grow in personal holiness—we can begin to think that our status is determined by our progress. We begin to base our justification (being okay with God) on our progress in sanctification (how we are doing with regard to personal holiness). This line of thought basically leaves us evaluating whether God loves us based on whether we are being good enough to satisfy him.
  25. We must remember that our justification (being okay with God) and applied sanctification (being a pure child of God) are never determined by what we do but, rather, by faith in what Christ has done.
  26. God expects personal works of holiness as a loving response to his grace, but not as a way of gaining it. If we had to earn grace at any time in our Christian lives, it would not be grace.
  27. The heart stirred by God’s justifying and sanctifying grace will long to serve him. In contrast, one who believes that God will love us only when we are good enough may serve him with vigor but will struggle, and almost inevitably fail to love him.
  28. Holy identity comes before holy imperatives. This order never varies in Scripture: imperatives are based on our identity.
  29. Obedience is always a response to God’s grace, and not a way of gaining it.
  30. Our identity determines what we do; what we do does not determine our identity. The imperatives we honor are based on the identity we have, and the order is not reversible. The practical implications of this simple truth will change every relationship of those who determine to live in patterns consistent with the gospel.
  31. Jesus does not love any child (young or old) because the child is good. Jesus loves his children because he is good.
  32. The message that Jesus loves us because we are good denies that the cross was either necessary or sufficient.
  33. Our obedience does not determine who we are. His grace does.
  34. The greatest blessing of the indwelling Christ is our new identity. We are as good as dead in terms of being able to satisfy God by our human efforts. But Jesus is alive in us by his Holy Spirit. So we have his identity.
  35. God will not love me more because I do better. He will not love me less because I stumble. His love is based not on my behavior but on my union with his Son—a union built on trust in his grace, not my goodness. Through that union, I have the identity of Christ and cannot be loved more, because I am already loved as infinitely as he. And because of that union, I will not be loved less, since Christ’s life, not mine, is the basis of God’s love.
  36. The power to obey our Lord requires that we know what honors him. We cannot do our Savior’s will if we do not know what he wants.
  37. The kind of teaching that puts God’s law and his grace in opposition to one another doesn’t actually understand how the Bible’s heart chemistry works. While it is true that our obedience to God’s law is not the basis of his love for us, that does not mean that God’s standards are bad, irrelevant, or to be ignored.
  38. Even if there are no tangible benefits in this life, we obey God because his standards reflect his own righteous and holy character. By living for God in situations where there is no apparent gain for us, we demonstrate our devotion to him.
  39. Our eternal relationship with God is a consequence of trusting in Christ’s death and resurrection—plus nothing.
  40. Duty and doctrine dispensed without grace can create only two possible human responses: pride and despair.
  41. We sin not because we don’t love Christ at all but because we don’t love him above all.
  42. Since the life source of sin is our love for it, we defeat sin when we deprive it of our affection—or displace it with a greater affection.
  43. When our love for Christ is preeminent (first above all things), it drives out love for sin and spurs our devotion to him (Col. 1:18).
  44. If our reason for reading the Bible is so God won’t get mad at us, or will be nice to us, then we are implicitly trying to buy his goodness with ours.
  45. The ultimate purpose of the Christian disciplines is to fill our hearts with love for Christ so that all other loves are displaced and diminished in power.
  46. If we truly love Jesus, we love what and whom he loves.
  47. His grace gets us into his kingdom, maintains us in the kingdom, and secures us for the kingdom.
  48. Every text relates some aspect of God’s redeeming grace that finds its fullest expression in Christ.
  49. The Bible actually seems intent on tarnishing the reputations of almost all its heroes. That’s because we are supposed to recognize there is only one true hero. His name is Jesus.
  50. Teaching people to be like a noble person in the Bible without dependence upon the grace that person needed to be noble only creates pride (in those who think they can) and despair (in those who know they can’t).
  51. Jesus loves us not because we are good but because he is.
  52. To teach that our goodness will get us to God apart from his grace is not simply sub-Christian (saying less than needs to be said); it is actually anti-Christian (teaching what is contrary to the Christian faith).
  53. Striving for godliness in response to God’s grace pleases our Savior. Trying to be good enough for his acceptance apart from his grace insults him.
  54. In its essence, legalism teaches that we are made right with God by what we do. The essential message is that good behavior gets us to God.
  55. The gospel is not a balance between law and grace. It is the good news of grace that results in grateful lives of godliness.
  56. While teaching (or implying) that obedience can merit grace is certainly unbiblical and damaging, not teaching what God commands is equally unbiblical and uncaring.
  57. True obedience is always a loving response to God’s grace, rather than a vain attempt to earn it.
  58. When we love God above all, fulfillment of his purposes is our greatest reward.
  59. Punishment intends to inflict harm on the guilty in order to impose a deserved penalty for wrongdoing. Discipline intends to turn a person from harm, to restore, and to mature.
  60. Biblical fear is not simply cowering before God’s power and majesty or bowing before his love and mercy. It is a proper regard for all that we know about God’s character and care.
  61. To motivate genuine holiness, hell must first be perceived as the just destiny of those who have broken the righteous standards of God. Those standards must also be seen as rooted in the holiness of God, and their transgression as deserving an eternal penalty. When all this is understood, then the mercy of God that saves us from the just penalty of hell, more than hell itself, is what generates love for him.
  62. The more we repent, the more we remove barriers from our fellowship with Christ, and the more we experience the joy of the forgiveness he has already secured for us.
  63. Forgiveness is not the same thing as pardon. Forgiveness is the provision of grace that obliterates relational barriers between us and God. Pardon is the removal of the consequences of sin.
  64. All believers will experience eternal pardon for their sin, but grace now requires that consequences sometimes be allowed in this life to turn us from greater sin and harm
  65. Our repentance does not earn his favor; it expresses our sickness over our own sin and our desire to turn from it into a closer walk with him.


What Grieving People Wish You Knew about What Really Helps (and What Really Hurts)

what-grieving-people-wish-you-knewBook Review ~ What Grieving People Wish You Knew about What Really Helps (and What Really Hurts) by Nancy Guthrie. Crossway. 192 pages. 2016

I can’t recall reading a more helpful and practical book as the latest from Nancy Guthrie.   I was aware of the author as a teacher that the women in my church respect, but the topic grabbed my attention.  This book came at just the right time – you see, our family lost a loved one just over four months ago. Grief hits everyone differently. I saw that with my family when I lost my Mom twenty years ago, and again recently as I lost my father-in-law. This book was exactly what I needed to effectively be able to minister to family members who are grieving, and it’s going to be extremely helpful for all who read it and are the beneficiaries of the wisdom contained within.

The book is dedicated to the thousands of GriefShare facilitators in churches. I was familiar with GriefShare, as a family member is currently benefitting from a GriefShare group and several family members are receiving their daily encouraging email each morning.

The author and her husband are not strangers to grief, having lost two small children. Since those losses, she has interacted with many grieving people. She asked them to tell her what others said or did for them that was especially helpful or meaningful in the midst of grief. She asked them what they wish those around them had understood about their grief. She has incorporated what those grieving people told her throughout this book. Her hope for the book, which I certainly found to be the case, is that we will find ideas and encouragement and be emboldened to engage instead of avoid, the grieving people who are all around us and are waiting for someone to interact with them about the loss of their loved one.  I found in these pages many helpful things to say (and not to say) with those who are grieving, and to do (and not to do) with those who are grieving. There are just too many helpful suggestions included in the book. You just have to read (and highlight) those suggestions and examples for yourself.

The author concludes this helpful and practical book with a few questions that often arise concerning how to comfort the grieving and her suggested answers. She also shares suggested Scriptures to share with those who are grieving, many of which are from the Psalms.

I highly recommend this book for all, as we will all face grief ourselves as well as be in situations where we are ministering to family, friends, co-workers and church members who are grieving. This is one of my top books of the year.


Memorable Quotes from the Book

Here are 25 great quotes from Nancy Guthrie’s excellent new book What Grieving People Wish You Knew about What Really Helps (and What Really Hurts), one of the top books I’ve read this year:

  1. The first and most important thing I have to tell you is this: It matters less what you say than that you say something.
  2. Don’t hesitate to approach someone because you think it has been too long since his or her loved one died so that they’ve probably moved on and wouldn’t want to talk about it anymore. The reality is more likely to be the opposite.
  3. Even if you come up with the perfect thing to say (as if there is such a thing), it simply won’t fix the hurt or solve the problem of the people who are grieving. Really, there is nothing you can say that will make their loss hurt less. It’s going to hurt for a while. Your purpose in saying something is to enter into the hurt with them and let them know they are not alone.
  4. Grieving people are not expecting you to make the pain go away. They’re really just hoping that you will be willing to hurt with them. That’s what makes a great friend in the midst of grief!
  5. Don’t assume you know what someone else is feeling.
  6. Grieving people don’t need us to tell them what to do. They are not looking for advice unless they ask for it. They do, however, need caring, wise, close-by friends to talk with them about decisions that need to be made in a time when it is hard to think straight.
  7. A person who is sad doesn’t necessarily need to be cheered up but needs time, space, and permission to simply be sad for a while.
  8. Don’t tell them they need to move on. There is no timeline for grief, no appropriate or reasonable time frame for being really sad.
  9. I said the most typical thing people say to grieving people. And the minute I said it, I wished I hadn’t. I should know better. Here’s what I said, or more accurately, what I asked: “How are you?” Many grieving people say they simply hate the question.
  10. The reality of grief is that sometimes right after the loss we feel strong, but as time passes and the dailyness of life without the loved one settles in, we feel weak and weepy. And it can be awkward to talk about.
  11. I noted two things in particular that grieving people told me over and over again that they really want people to say to them. First, grieving people long to hear stories about the person who died and specific things she said or did that were meaningful and memorable. The second thing people told me they really want people to say to them—and this may be the most powerful way you can bring comfort to someone who is grieving—is to keep saying the name of the person who died.
  12. If I had to boil down the message of this entire book to just two words, these two would probably cover it: show up. Or, to put it another way, don’t disappear; don’t avoid. Enter in. Engage.
  13. The truth is, most people process grief through talking.
  14. We have to earn the right to laugh around or with our grieving friends. We earn that right by being willing to weep with them, by demonstrating and perhaps telling them outright that we are well aware of the load of grief they are carrying and that we don’t assume it is going to be dealt with quickly.
  15. What grieving people really need is a few friends who make it clear that they intend to show up and help out, not just in an initial spurt of effort but over the long haul.
  16. When we’ve lost someone we love, we have a hard time understanding how the earth can keep spinning and people can keep doing the daily things of life since it seems that everything about our world has changed. We want the world to stop and take notice.
  17. There is nothing like getting handwritten notes and cards in the mail. Nothing.
  18. I have come to think that one of the gifts given to us in the death of someone we love is that we think more about eternal things. We are awakened to the reality that this life is not all there is.
  19. In addition to the broad assumption that pretty much everybody goes to heaven or at least people who haven’t done anything really bad go to heaven, there is broad misunderstanding of what heaven really is.
  20. One book I’ve come across communicates like no other these truths about heaven and how they can make a difference to the grieving person—the only one I’ve bought in bulk to give to people—is Grieving, Hope and Solace. It is a beautiful book to give to someone in the midst of grief, written by Albert Martin following the death of his wife, Marilyn.
  21. Paul commanded us to comfort one another with the truth of the resurrection yet to come. Surely this reality should impact the words we use as we seek to comfort those who are grieving the death of someone they love who died in Christ.
  22. Our culture wants to put the Band-Aid of heaven on the hurt of losing someone we love. Sometimes it seems like the people around us think that because we know the one we love is in heaven, we shouldn’t be sad. But they don’t understand how far away heaven feels, and how long the future seems as we see before us the years we have to spend on this earth before we see the one we love again.
  23. Sometimes grieving people are told that they shouldn’t be sad, because the person they love is now in heaven. But such a remark ignores the deep pain and intense loneliness the grieving feel. There is room to be both deeply joyful that the deceased loved one is in the presence of God while also deeply sad that he or she is no longer sharing day-to-day life on this earth.
  24. To tell those working their way through grief that something must be wrong with them since they are still so sad suggests not only that they are doing this grief thing wrong but that the person who died really wasn’t worth being this sad over, in this way, for this long.
  25. It is our grief that keeps us feeling close to the person who died. There is a sweetness to the misery in that when we are thinking about that person, shedding tears over the loss, it actually helps us to feel closer to him or her.

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Book Review and Quotes from Lead Like Jesus Revisited

Lead Like Jesus RevisitedLead Like Jesus Revisited by Ken Blanchard, Phil Hodges and Phyliss Hendry. Thomas Nelson. 272 pages. 2016

In this revised and updated 10th anniversary edition of Lead Like Jesus by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges, Phyliss Hodges, President and CEO of the Lead Like Jesus ministry joins the original book’s authors.  They write that “Leading like Jesus is essentially a matter of the heart. It is also the highest thought of the head, it is the principal work of the hands, and it is both expressed through and replenished by the habits.” The authors teach to lead like Jesus whether you are leading at home, at church, or in an organization.

The authors state that self-promotion (pride) and self-protection (fear) dominate today’s leadership style. Many leaders act as if the sheep are there only for the benefit of the shepherd.  The Lead Like Jesus alternative approach to leadership is driven by four basic beliefs that have become central to the author’s ministry:

  1. Leadership happens anytime we influence the thinking, behavior, or development of another person.
  2. Jesus is the greatest leadership role model of all time.
  3. Servant leadership is the only approach to leadership that Jesus validates for His followers.
  4. Effective leadership begins on the inside, with our hearts.

The authors tells us that Leading like Jesus is a transformational journey. They discuss the role of the Heart, Head and Hands in this alternative way of leading. They also discuss Habits, both Being and Doing. They state that the greatest barrier to leading like Jesus is Edging God Out of our lives (EGO).

This new edition features helpful “Pause and Reflect” sections throughout the book, a “Next Steps to Leading Like Jesus Checklist”, resource list and a Discussion Guide, which is useful for individual study, but it is designed primarily for use in a group setting after everyone in the group has read the book.

I’m a strong believer in servant leadership. This would be an excellent book to read and discuss with others to learn how to Lead Like Jesus.

35 Quotes from Lead Like Jesus Revisited by Ken Blanchard, Phil Hodges and Phyllis Hendry

  1. Self-promotion (pride) and self-protection (fear) dominate today’s leadership style. Many leaders act as if the sheep are there only for the benefit of the shepherd.
  2. This alternative approach to leadership is driven by four basic beliefs that have become central to our ministry: • Leadership happens anytime we influence the thinking, behavior, or development of another person. • Jesus is the greatest leadership role model of all time. • Servant leadership is the only approach to leadership that Jesus validates for His followers. • Effective leadership begins on the inside, with our hearts.
  3. For followers of Jesus, servant leadership is not an option; servant leadership is a mandate.
  4. Leading like Jesus is a transformational journey. This transformational journey begins with the willingness to do whatever Jesus commands, with a heart surrendered to doing His will, and with the commitment to lead the way He leads.
  5. We believe that leaders who desire to lead like Jesus must first examine themselves by answering these two questions: Whose am I? and Who am I?
  6. Leading like Jesus in an organization creates a new culture that affects all relationships and every result.
  7. Wherever we live or work, whether we are influencing at home, at church, or in an organization, our paramount task as leaders is to create a culture that reflects Jesus’ core value: love. and Work, Lead Like Jesus Revisited by Ken Blanchard, Phil Hodges, Phyllis Hendry
  8. Leading like Jesus requires leaders to be shepherds and servants, who value each person as an integral part of the organization.
  9. HEART. Leadership is first a spiritual matter of the heart. Simply put, the heart question is this: Are you a serving leader or a self-serving leader?
  10. HEAD.  The journey to leading like Jesus starts in the heart as you consider your motivation. This intent then travels to the internal domain of the head, where you examine your beliefs and theories about leading and motivating people.
  11. HANDS.  You show what is in your heart and head in what you do with your hands: your motivations and beliefs about leadership affect your actions.
  12. HABITS. Your habits are those activities you do in order to stay on track with God and others.
  13. As a leader committed to leading like Jesus, you must make time to replenish your energy and refocus your perspective. Jesus did this through His five Being Habits: solitude, prayer, study of God’s Word, the application of Scripture to real life, and supportive relationships.
  14. Jesus expressed obedience to His Father and shared the Father’s love for His disciples through His Doing Habits of grace, forgiveness, encouragement, and community. As leaders desiring to lead like Jesus, we are encouraged to engage in both the Being Habits and the Doing Habits.
  15. To lead like Jesus, we have found that leadership improves when there is first a change on the inside: leadership is primarily a heart issue. We believe that if we don’t get our hearts right, we simply won’t ever lead like Jesus.
  16. Leading like Jesus—leading with love—is very difficult. It requires that you love those you influence so much that you help them move from who they are to who God wants them to be, and that process can be painful.
  17. Leading like Jesus means that relationships and results are intertwined. It means being committed to both developing others and achieving results in a way that honors God and reflects your core beliefs about whose you are and who you are.
  18. We continue to see that the most persistent barrier to leading like Jesus is a heart motivated by self-interest.
  19. The greatest barrier to leading like Jesus is Edging God Out of our lives (EGO). We believe you can Edge God Out in three ways: you can replace Him as the object of your worship; as the source of your security, self-worth, and wisdom; and as the audience for and authority over your daily work and life story.
  20. When leaders are filled with pride or fear, they react to things that happen to them. People who want to lead like Jesus, on the other hand, respond to things that happen to them.
  21. One of the greatest challenges in seeking to lead like Jesus is the intimacy with Him that this approach requires. The biggest barrier to intimacy is a fear of vulnerability—the fear of having to admit you don’t know all the answers, that you may need help, and that your abilities as a leader may be questioned..
  22. One of the key distortions affecting leader effectiveness is an EGO-driven fixation on short-term results at the expense of long-term integrity.
  23. Driven people think they own everything. Called people, on the other hand, believe everything they have is on loan to them from the Lord.
  24. Leading like Jesus means leading with humility. Humility requires knowing whose you are and who you are. Humility is realizing and emphasizing the importance of other people. It is not putting yourself down; it is lifting others up.
  25. God’s love will change you and, by extension, change your leadership. You will see leadership differently: it becomes less about power and control and more about the stewardship of the people you touch and of the work God has given you to do. You will see people differently, too: rather than seeing them as a means to accomplish the results you want, you realize that God has the same love for them that He has for you. Work becomes an act of worship and your workplace an outpost of God’s kingdom. You are no longer threatened by feedback; you no longer lead out of fear or cause others to be fearful of you.
  26. When we want to lead like Jesus, prayer becomes our first response, not our last resort.
  27. The two parts to the great leadership that Jesus exemplified: 1. The visionary role—setting the course and the destination—is the leadership aspect. 2. The implementation role—doing things the right way with a focus on serving—is the servant aspect.
  28. As a Jesus-like leader or manager, you still maintain your power, but your effectiveness soars because you are responding to the needs of your people.
  29. An effective Jesus-like leader acts as a performance coach. An essential duty of servant leaders is their ongoing investment in the lives of their followers.
  30. Servant leaders aren’t threatened by people around them who perform well, because their confidence is secure in the unconditional love of God. Being rooted in God’s love permits servant leaders to see and respond to the success of others in a different way: they celebrate it rather than fear it.
  31. If you seek to inspire and equip others to attain higher standards of performance and commitment, the best first step is modeling integrity in your own journey.
  32. Love is a core value of leadership, especially for a Jesus-like leader.
  33. As leaders, we are dispensers of grace in our families, churches, and organizations. We can extend the grace of believing that people are doing the best they can, given their level of awareness. It is up to us to make sure grace is extended; we lead in the way of grace.
  34. One test of whether we have the heart attitude required to lead like Jesus is how we respond when those we lead fail to perform according to our expectations.
  35. As leaders who desire to lead like Jesus, we are to be distributors of encouragement.