• Book Reviews,  Growing as a Leader

    The Problems of Christian Leadership

    Back in 1985 evangelist, teacher, and leader, John Stott, gave four messages to the staff of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students in Quito, Ecuador. Thankfully Inter Varsity Press recently published these messages in a 95 page book titled The Problems of Christian Leadership.

    As a reader of many of the Stott’s books I wasted no time in picking this one up and diving in. I was not disappointed. Stott address four common problems, or challenges, Christian leaders face in their work –

    The Problem of Discouragement

    The Problem of Self-Discipline

    The Problem of Relationships

    The Problem of Youth

    Though I must admit, before I started the book, I wondered if these four problems were still the most pressing challenges facing Christian leaders today. But as I read and reflected on my leadership experience as well as those of others, I realized these issues are as real today as they were 30 years ago.

    But the best part of Stott’s teaching isn’t just identifying these seemingly timeless problems it’s in the wisdom and practical advice he brings to each. The book is simply a leadership guide for tackling each of these four problems. For example, the reminder  in the chapter titled The Problem of Self-Discipline, of the importance in making regular time away from daily work for prayer, reflection, and tasks requiring quiet and focus caused me to act. I’ve now blocked out a day a month in my calendar to make this focused time a reality.

    So, if you’re looking for or in need of a solid, practical and inspiring book on authentic leadership, read The Problems of Christian Leadership. You’ll be blessed with 300 pages worth of insight and inspiration packed into a 95 page book.

  • Book Reviews,  Living as a Leader

    Our Relationship to Creation

    I’m reading the last book written by John Stott before he passed away, titled The Radical Disciple. If you haven’t read it you must. It’s not often we have the privilege to read the intentional final published words (Mr. Stott knew this would be his last book) of such a significant person on such an important topic.

    The sub-title to the book is Some Neglected Aspects of Our Calling and true to the sub-title, Stott covers a wide range of neglected discipleship topics, including one chapter titled “Creation Care”. The fact that John Stott, in his last book, covers this topic, only affirms the great respect I’ve always had for him.

    Let me share with you just a bit of his perspective on creation care.

    “The Bible tells us that in creation God established for human beings three fundamental relationships: first to himself, for he made them in his image; second to each other, for the human race was plural from the beginning; and the third, to the good earth and its creatures over which he set them.

    Moreover, all three relationships were skewed by the Fall. Adam and Eve were banished from the presence of the Lord God in the garden, they blamed each other for what had happened, and the good earth was cursed on account of their disobedience.

    It stands to reason therefore that God’s plan of restoration includes not only our reconciliation to God and to each other, but in some way the liberation of the groaning creation as well. We can certainly affirm that one day there will be a new heaven and a new earth, for this is an essential part of our hope for the perfect future that awaits us at the end of time (e.g., 2 Peter 3:13, Revelations 21:1). But meanwhile the whole creation is groaning, experiencing the birth pains of the new creation (Romans 8:18-23). How much of the earth’s ultimate destiny can be experienced now is a matter of debate. But we can surely say that just as our understanding of the final destiny of our resurrection bodies should affect how we think of and treat our bodies we have at the present, so our knowledge of the new heaven and earth should affect and increase the respect with which we treat it now.”

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