Grit to Great (New York City: Crown Business, 2015)

You have heard of the wonderful best seller Good to Great by Jim Collins.  Such a great book encouraging leaders with strategic principles:

  • First Who, Then What– Getting the right people on the bus and in the right seats.
  • Find your Hedgehog– Stick to the thing you do best.
  • Push your Flywheel– Stick to the work and watch what happens.

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Books are great.  Leaders are readers.  Sometimes when time is short, reading is the first to be cut. It doesn’t have to be that way.  Leadership Book Summaries are a great way to learn the main meat of the book in a timely fashion.

Why Grit Matters — How do you catch up in the game of life when you aren’t blessed with perfect scores on your SAT, an Ivy League education, or a family fortune to give you a head start? Passion and perseverance matter more than intelligence when it comes to being successful. The endgame belongs to the truly diligent, not the merely talented. It
belongs to those who have grit.

The Talent Myth — Achievement in any field takes a huge degree of effort and hard work. Talent alone is overrated.

Ditch the Dream — While the dreamers are still sleeping, the doers are taking victory laps because they had the sense to wake up and get to work.

Lose the Safety Net — The great Nik Wallenda showed us all how to meet your fears head on.  If you wait to act in a situation until it’s risk-free, what you’re really risking is a lifetime frozen at the starting line.

Get into Wait Training — Why do some reach for Cheetos rather than their running shoes?  Hard work is the secret.  Those who have grit are willing to wait and see how hard work can make a difference.

Bend like Bamboo — The ability to turn enormous obstacles around is less about having the strength of a sturdy oak
and more about having the flexibility of a slim stalk of bamboo that will sway even in the gentlest breeze.

No Expiration Date — The brain is like a muscle that, with exercise, becomes stronger. And its plasticity and growth are fueled by learning new tasks and taking on new challenges. It’s only when we don’t use our intellect that it begins to waste away.

Grit for Good — What it takes to make the world a better place requires a great deal of hard work—long hours, little or
no pay, sometimes toiling in harsh environments at great risk with little measurable success in sight.

The Insanity of God (Nashville: B&H Books, 2013)

Every now and then a book comes along that truly inspires.  The Insanity of God has truly inspired me and  challenged me.  I read it on my phone and my iPad with the Kindle app.  It is 384 pages but it read like a novel and I simply could not put it down.  Every Christian who is serious about living for God should take a look at this book.  The stories alone will be enough to refresh, re-ignite or continue to feed the fire in your heart.

I wasn’t sure what the content of the book would be from the Title.  You really can’t judge a book by the cover.  I do get the idea of playing off the idea of Insanity.  God is not insane in any way but it sure seems like it sometimes.  The Insanity of God is from our perspective not His.  He is fully in control, sitting on His throne and is not nervous about anything.

I am deeply concerned but hopeful with/for the North American Church.  There has never been a time when it was easy to identify oneself as a committed follower of Jesus.  All over the world, whenever a follower of Jesus makes Jesus out to be the same as God and the only way to salvation, there will be persecution.  If we simply leave Jesus be and receive all of the blessings of knowing Him the pain from being identified with Jesus can be averted.  But it is the crucified life that rejoices mostly with the power of resurrection and knowing Jesus personally.

Memorable Quotes Underlined:

Suffering is one of God’s ordained means for the growth of his church. He brought salvation to the world through Christ, our suffering Savior, and he now spreads salvation in the world through Christians as suffering saints. In the words of Paul, “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3: 12). Clearly, there is a sense in which the danger of our lives increases in proportion to the depth of our relationship with Christ (loc. 182 Kindle).

Serving God is not a matter of location, but a matter of obedience (p. 75).

If Jesus is not the answer to the human condition, there is no answer (p. 141).

“Don’t ever give up in freedom what we would never have given up in persecution! That is our witness to the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ!” (p. 196).

“Do you know what prison is for us? It is how we get our theological education. Prison in China is for us like seminary is for training church leaders in your country” (p. 231). 

Before we can grasp the full meaning of the Resurrection, we first have to witness or experience crucifixion. If we spend our lives so afraid of suffering, so averse to sacrifice, that we avoid even the risk of persecution or crucifixion, then we might never discover the true wonder, joy and power of a resurrection faith. Ironically, avoiding suffering could be the very thing that prevents us from partnering deeply with the Risen Jesus (pp. 308-309).

 

The 7 Deadly Sins of Leadership: And How to Overcome Them in Yourself and Others (2014)

Every leader will encounter the good, bad, and ugly aspects of human nature and behavior. Both in themselves and others that they rub shoulders. In the 7 Deadly Sins of Leadership, Morrissey sets out to give insight and provide a plan for dealing with each of the “sins”. He does it in three ways; each chapter has a self-assessment (ignorance is a death sentence for any leader as it eliminates the option to take action effectively), an understanding the behavior section (each leadership sin manifests itself in certain behaviors, each chapter deals with these separately), and a taking action section (once we have laid the groundwork for understanding ourselves and our behavior, we can take steps to becoming a more effective leader).  Finally, he offers the “grey area.”  Use with caution as the suggestion may be a bit risky.   Morrissey is quick to say that some of the book may or may not relate to each person but he leaves a caveat, if you don’t relate now, beware you may in the future. This is a resource that can be revisited throughout one’s career.  The chapter titles are:

  1. Gluttony– No Delegation.  Micromanagement. Refusal to Simplify.
  2. Pride– Never Listens. Lacks Trust.  Poor Hiring & Promoting.
  3. Greed– Money Focus, Indecisive with No Priorities, Lack of Communication.
  4. Lust– Lack of Follow Through, Short-Term Focus, Constant Reorganization.
  5. Sloth– Lies, Focus on Little Things, No Passion, No Creativity,
  6. Envy– Perfectionist, Irrational Comparison.
  7. Wrath– Anger, Prohibit Mistakes & Foster Blame, Focus on Negative.

As I work through this book, I will be providing updates.  So far it is a great read, very simple.  There is a list in Proverbs 6:16-19 that captures the essence of these sins, the closest New Testament parallel is found in Galatians 5:19-20.  The 7 Deadly Sins came from Pope Gregory in the 6th Century.  These became cemented into Catholic Church doctrine ever since.   So far the origins of the 7 Deadly sins have not been brought up in this book.  This is a management/leadership book from a secular perspective using these 7 Deadly Sins terminology.

Adrenaline and Stress (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1995)

Typically I read books for others, with them in mind. Each time I picked this book up to read I was the nail being hammered. A seemingly perfect read for this point in my journey. Nearly every chapter echoed, “I never knew that!” The most eye opening concept to me was the difference between good stress and bad stress. Having experienced a major ministry blow recently, no one would have been able to convince me that this was less harmful than staying in a high energy ministry. Hart assures that even good things can cause bad stress (13). The stress that kills is not the bad stress. In fact the stress that does us in is the stress of challenge, high-energy output and over commitment (54). Like a good “Aha!” moment Dr. Hart eloquently scripted these concepts over and over again. The human body doesn’t distinguish between whether a stressor is from within or from without the body- it responds the same in either case (25). Like revving up a car engine can actually be good for the engine in moderation but constant redlining of the engine will cause too much carbon build up. The engine and our bodies actually age faster (27). It is not enough to eat right and keep cholesterol down (28). Adrenaline and stress must be managed.

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Leadership as an Identity (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2009)

Ask yourself this question: What type of character qualifies the people God chooses to use?

The question itself assumes an atypical answer, simply because it leaves out so much. To ask only about one’s character seems inadequate when defining a leader. We surely need to ask about character, but also about personality, communication skills, IQ, education, previous experience, and more… don’t we?

Crawford Loritts disagrees. He answers the question with four simple words: Brokenness, communion, servanthood, and obedience.

These four traits form the framework for Leadership as an Identity. By examining each trait, Loritts undermines many pervasive assumptions about leadership that are unbiblical.

According to Loritts, God doesn’t look for leaders like the world does. He looks for disciples, and ironically, as these disciples follow Him, they will lead.

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When Helping Hurts (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2009)

Churches and individual Christians typically have faulty assumptions about the causes of poverty, resulting in the use of strategies that do considerable harm to poor people and themselves. When Helping Hurts provides foundational concepts, clearly articulated general principles and relevant applications. The result is an effective and holistic ministry to the poor, not a truncated gospel.

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The Mission of God (Downer's Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 2006)

Most Christians would agree that the Bible provides a basis for mission. But Christopher Wright boldly maintains that mission is bigger than that–there is in fact a missional basis for the Bible! The entire Bible is generated by and is all about God’s mission. In order to understand the Bible, we need a missional hermeneutic of the Bible, an interpretive perspective that is in tune with this great missional theme. We need to see the “big picture” of God’s mission and how the familiar bits and pieces fit into the grand narrative of Scripture. Beginning with the Old Testament and the groundwork it lays for understanding who God is, what he has called his people to be and do, and how the nations fit into God’s mission, Wright gives us a new hermeneutical perspective on Scripture. This new perspective provides a solid and expansive basis for holistic mission. Wright emphasizes throughout a holistic mission as the proper shape of Christian mission. God’s mission is to reclaim the world–and that includes the created order–and God’s people have a designated role to play in that mission

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The Master Plan of Evangelism (Grand Rapids: Revell, 1963)

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Since 290 Community Church prays, dreams, and works towards Making Disciples that Make Disciples, there is probably no better book on the topic than The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman.  Few books have stood the test of time and have been more useful for building the Kingdom of God one disciple at a time.