Thursday, April 29, 2010

Untamed


In their book Untamed, Alan and Debra Hirsch talk about a time when their small community of believers was building relationships with a group of prostitutes. They would knit clothes, provide food and more for these “working girls.” They write,

“Our intention with these women was ultimately for them to know Jesus. So we began to disciple them. Did they know we were doing that? Absolutely not—I doubt they would have come at all if they did. Rather, our discipling of them was to expose them to the values of the kingdom and the heart of Jesus for the outcast. These women knew that we were believers, but we never abused our relationship with them by imposing our views or inappropriately “evangelizing” them in the narrow understanding of this term. We exposed their hearts to the issues of injustice and serving others, and helped put the poor on their radar. Most of these women started as professional women concerned with becoming affluent, getting bigger and better homes, and living more comfortable lifestyles. Discipling for them meant that over time they began to look more like Jesus by embracing values that were more in line with the kingdom, and as this transformation began questions about God and Jesus started taking place.” (pg 148-149)

The authors contend that we make a mistake by keeping discipling limited to followers of Christ. It’s as though we consider everything pre-conversion as evangelism and everything post-conversion as discipleship. Yet they say, “Discipleship is not just for those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior—it’s for everyone! We believe it is a great mistake to restrict discipling to just Christians and keep it within the confines of the Christian community. We as believers are called to disciple everyone who comes into our orbit of influence.”

Interesting thoughts, yet, that's how we should be acting everyday. I call it lifestyle evangelism. Are you doing that? Do you even agree with their premise?



Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Obstacles Welcome

Obstacles Welcome is a great title for this easy to read leadership book, which also packed a good punch. Ralph de la Vega recounts his life story as he migrated to Florida from Cuba. He recalls the struggles, even the issues he had to deal with as a child and how they shaped him into the leader he is today.

de la Vega is the President and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. He came to the United States without his parents and was raised by friends of his parents. Then after he settled into a new way of living life, his parents arrived in the United States and he had to help acclimate them.

This is an inspiring story about the decisions he had to make along the way to becoming the CEO of AT&T Mobility. While this is not a church leadership book, many of his principles are universal and can be applied personally or corporately.

There were many personal stories de la Vega told which were interesting to see how the corporate giant AT&T operated. He gives practical insight into how we went about making decisions, even when he was unsure about a situation, he walks you through his process.

I also liked this book because, unlike many books on leadership that tend to be all theory and not practicality (which is fine, to a point), de la Vega gives good, practical advice on creating actions plans, taking calulated risks, vision, recognition of obstacles as opportunities, unlearning "old-think", etc.

I would recommend this book to those who are interested in ways in which others face conflict, calculate risk in decision making, seek vision, and use obstacles as a means for opportunities in their personal, as well as business life. This was an encouraging book to read.

Advent Devotional!

The Wonder of Advent Devotional: Experiencing the Love and Glory of the Christmas Season , by Chris Tiegreen is one of many books and devo...