Thursday, May 01, 2014

April's Reading List

Love Works.Seven Timeless Principles for Effective Leaders by Joel Manby

Part autobiography, part corporate mentoring, and part Christian exhortation - this book works. Love Works is a framework for successful leadership - be that corporate, non-profit, ministry or volunteer. Joel outlines a proven path to success through creating a culture of love, which results in a passionate and motivated workforce. 

Love Works explores the seven principles of love found in I Corinthians 13, which are to be patient, kind, trusting, unselfish, truthful, forgiving and dedicated.  Joel Manby has refined and relied upon this leadership philosophy for more than twenty-five years. He is currently the President and CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment (HFE). HFE was featured in the hit show Undercover Boss and the response of the 18 million viewers to seeing love in action, led Joel to write Love Works. 

 "Agape love is the foundation for the bet and noblest relationships that humans are capable of. It is deliberate and unconditional love that is the result of choices and behaviors rather than feelings and emotions."  

"Think about love the verb, not love the emotion. Think agape....Think commitment and will, not feelings, and you will start to see how love works."

I recommend this book!

The Disciple: Following the True Mentor by James M. Houston

This book promised to explore how the world has gotten mentoring wrong. It claims that, "Through clear and compelling examinations of Scriptures, Dr. Houston exposes the mentoring approaches to avoid, and opens the way instead to an authentic and energizing Mentor/disciple relationship with God. This is to lead us to bring out the best - "the essential Christian identity" - in each person we meet. We will, "above all, learn how to humbly seek Christ, who alone can lead you to whole personhood."

I loved the introduction by Dallas Willard. This quote made me excited to read the rest of the book, "As apprentices of Christ we are not learning how to do some special religious activity, but how to live every moment of our lives from the reality of God's kingdom. I am learning how to live my actual life as Jesus would if He were me."

I found myself getting lost within the first chapter...I wanted this book on my ipad so I could tap the strange words and get instant definitions. I asked, Michael definitions, puzzling him and leading him to ask, "What ARE you reading?"  This book read like a seminary text book - and not a first year seminary text.  I knew where we were going - but I just couldn't figure out what he was saying quite a bit of the time.  I found it funny that the classics he quoted from made perfect sense to me. Therefore, the book has merit...but it was not a pleasant reading experience for me and I am still not 100% sure I really figured out the bottom line of the book.This is one I needed to do with my very smart, well-read, theologically trained friends.

Basically, the point I took away is that we are to be discipled for Christian living by Christ, the Word, and Worship. Our mentors should not be  the various models we see in history: the heroic myth, the stoic, or secular psychotherapeutic.  I stayed with it and began to comprehend the vocabulary by the end....but sentences like this, "As we have recognized, the logocentricity to the text is intrinsically contingent...." had me screaming "Say it PLAINLY!"  ::snort::

Why did I stick with this? Because God has been challenging me to stretch my mind. Chaplain C began meddling the day I began reading this - he mentioned when Jesus quoted Deut. and said we should love the Lord with our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30), Jesus ADDED mind - which highlighted that concept to his listeners. I felt I needed to heed the challenge to not become lazy in loving Him with my I stuck with it and there were some good thoughts and quotes in the book. I'll ponder it a bit more. If you are very interested in mentoring, if you have a great vocabulary and good background in theology - this is a great read.

I'm reading brain candy next! 

This She'll Defend by Melissa Miles
 I stumbled across, This She'll Defend, and found the pull to read it irresistible.  It's set in Darmstadt, Germany on an Army Post. The Chapel, PWOC, towns I've heard of and the acronyms I know and love played heavily in this story. 
When Carmen's husband, Ed, is offered a job as a civilian engineer on an Army post in Darmstadt, they jump at this new family adventure.  Carmen has a life anyone would envy. She knows with certainty she would never do anything to jeopardize her family. And then....

I found the beginning of this book to be slow. However, I soon was pulled in to the plot. A familiar plot - with twists.  Before to long, there was no way I would quit reading until I finished the story. Amazing end to the story.

Personally, Carmen's feelings  both of arriving and leaving a foreign country resonated with me. For example,  "A chapter in her life was ending, and she felt a loss as if a friend was dying. It was hard to explain, but the emotions were tangible and the gnawing feeling that she would never recapture the happiness and magic of the life they had spent here was constantly in the background. She sometimes felt like living overseas had been a fairy tale. She could almost see the big adventure book slamming closed in her face."

If you've lived in Germany, I think you'll enjoy this read. If you've lived on a military base overseas and participated in the chapel community, I think you'll love this story. If you want a fun read with an interesting plot - give this a try.

I must say that I think one needs to be written about Misawa....with karaoke, onsens, Oriase Gorge and tsunamis....I think it would be great!  I can think of friends I would volunteer for this - but maybe they'll think of the idea themselves. ::wink::

Undaunted: Daring to do what God calls you to do by Christine Caine
Excellent book, recommended!  Christine shares a bit of her back story...and it is good. She shares a bit of how God led her and her husband to begin The A21 Campaign - an international ministry to end Sex Trafficking in the 21st century. They are involved in rescuing, legislating, safe homes and transitional homes. They were told their campaign would NEVER work - but they were undaunted. God is bigger than the bully of difficulty. "The giant in front of you is NEVER bigger than the God who lives within you."

Christine shares from her own life story how God rescued her from being unnamed, unwanted, and unqualified. Jesus rescued her, transformed her life and now she rescues others.  There are many quotes I could share. This is vintage Christine, "Your heart will take you much further than your gift ever will. Cultivate a heart after God."

Heart Failure by Richard L. Mabry, M.D. 
I love mysteries and suspense. Richard Mabry writes great medical thrillers - Christian suspense. In this volume,  Dr. Carrie Markham's medical practice is taking off, she's engaged to Adam Davidson, a para-legal - and life seems to be on a great course.

And then the attempts on their lives begin. Adam confesses he isn't who he has presented himself to be.  Which one of them is the target of the attacks? "Carrie is left with an impossible choice: abandon the fiance' she isn't sure she really knows, or accept his claim of innocence and help him fight back against this faceless menace?"

Heart Failure includes a discussion guide for those who want to use it in a group setting. I'm watching for more reads by Dr. Mabry.

A Different Kind of Wild: Is Your Faith Too Tame? by Debbie
This book was suggested to me by Ellen, our current PWOC Spiritual Life Ministry Team Leader. It's a book she would have liked to work into our year of Bible studies.  Debbie Alsdorf is a Women's Ministry Director in Northern California and the founder of Design4Living Ministries.

Debbie encourages women to live up, instead of acting out. She challenges us to  break from from old expectations and and boring patterns and find the WILD (Women in Lifelong Development) way of life.  The twelve chapters in this book are divided into three parts: Developing: growing up spiritually, Daring: living by a different standard, and Determined: finding courage to follow a new path.  A twelve-week study guide is included. Debbie's heart for discipleship and spiritual formation shines through the pages of A Different Kind of Wild.

This would be a good book to read with a  new believer, to do as a summer study (possibly without the guide), as a book club selection or a 12-week Bible study. I would personally like to see more Scripture included, and a few varying topics...but this message is solid. A good starting spot on a woman's journey to spiritual transformation.
The Leadership Lessons of Jesus: A Timeless Model for Today's Leaders by Rob Briner and Ray Pritchard.
All leaders are not created equal. In The Leadership Lessons of Jesus, the authors take us to the feet of Jesus to learn from the best.  In fewer than four years, Jesus inspired his followers enough that they were willing to give their lives carrying out His vision.

The authors work through the Gospel of Mark highlighting Jesus' example of leadership. Each of the seventy short entries begin with a verse and moves on to explore and adapt individual techniques that made Jesus' leadership so powerful (you know - other than being GOD).

I learned from this book. I thought a couple of the readings took Scripture out of context and applied it in ways I doubt the author intended.... I find the same with many books.  I do think this is an easy read on leadership and contains valuable insights. I did enjoy meeting Jesus from a "new angle."

Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
I have not heard of comedian Jim Gaffigan. I will be checking out youtube and netflix. ::grin::

Dad is Fat (a titled inspired by a child's artistry) is a hilarious look at Fatherhood from Jim's perspective. It reminds me a lot of Bill Cosby's, Fatherhood,  a book Michael and I enjoyed immensely a couple of decades ago.  No, I don't like his perspective on EVERYTHING....and he does use a word a couple of times....but honestly...this was a great read. I especially liked, "Are You Done Yet?" and "Six Kids, Catholic."

If you're looking for a fun read, are a new parent or want to re-live the glory days when you had a houseful of preschoolers.....this book is for you.

Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims by Rush Limbaugh
Michael suggested we read this  for school. I will admit I didn't give it much attention - and so when we began studying the Revolutionary War, I pulled it out. You know - Rush REVERE....this would have fit better a few weeks ago. Nevertheless, Alex and Stacia really enjoyed it. I was entertained.  AND they retained more info than they had from the text books we'd  read. Win/win. The book is written from a conservative standpoint but did not grind political axes. Solid history - entertaining history.  It is written for 10 - 13 year olds but both Stacia (8) and I (50) enjoyed it as well. 

Join Rush Revere, a history teacher, as he time travels back to key points in the history of the Puritan Pilgrims.  The kids like this one so much, we ordered Rush Revere and the First Patriots for next week. 

Rising to the Call of Leadership by Kay Arthur, David and BJ Lawson 
In these six-week studies you actually work through Scripture together during  40 minute class sessions. In other words - NO HOMEWORK - but -  you are not subjected to simply throwing out what you've heard in a sermon, or always thought about a passage. You are led through an inductive exploration of passages centered on a specific topic. I've seen them used in adult Sunday School classes, Youth groups, summer women's studies...and currently....we are using the one in our family circle.

THIS study centers on leadership. Every person  leads in a variety of spheres. Some are called to lead in the church.  What is the difference between being the "person up front" and being a godly leader?  In Rising to the Call of Leadership, key leadership principles are illustrated in the lives of  Eli, Samuel, Saul and David. How do you make good decisions under pressure? How do you deal with mistakes? What does courage look like? What does God expect of leaders.

I recommend this book as a personal study if you are in a position of leadership. I would love to take a leadership team through this book - maybe as an online discussion or during a board retreat.....This doesn't give the nitty-gritty tools others books do - but it does a good job on focusing on the intimacy a leader has with God - the spiritual care of a leader.

Being a Disciple: Counting the Real Cost by Kay Arthur, Tom and Jane Hart
I worked through this on my own as I was considering where it may fit in our chapel program. Our chapel vision is discipleship and I wanted to look at this before recommending it.  It is in the same series as the above study.

We are currently working through this one in our Family Circle. I love it! I love covering the topic with our kids. It's sometimes hard to understand the difference between being a "cultural Christian" and a "disciple" if you are raised in the church.  This study makes us ask the hard questions - and answer them together. AND we're teaching them how to approach the word inductively. We have decided I need to print out some sheets for each person with the passages we are covering. They need to be able to make marks.

From the website:  Jesus said, "Come, follow Me!" Will you? What will it take? Get past the fear of commitment and learn about the freedom of walking in Christ. What is the difference between a true follower of Jesus Christ and others who merely call themselves 'Christian'."

Highly recommended for a variety of settings.

Choosing Joy!
©2014 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...


Laura J. said...

I was just looking at verses about serving. Several of us leaders in our home school co op need to delve into serving like Jesus and being leaders. Think I will check out Rising to the Call of Leadership. Thanks for the recommendation.
Laura J.

Unknown said...

I don't know if you were winking at me, but boy was I thinking the same thing you were. I would love to read this book about Misawa.

DeEtta @ Courageous Joy said...

Great Laura...and Mary...yep I WAS winking at you and/or Renee....I would love to read this book set in Misawa AB... ::snort:: I'd love to write it but more than that - I'd love someone else to write it. LOL