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Book Review: Unashamed by Lecrae

By far, Lecrae has shattered the box of Christian music forever. His book has challenged expectations again. Who would have thought a christian rapper would ever write a book or that it would be any good? But it was so good. Lecrae’s book, Unashamed, is an honest and sincere look at the author’s life. We travel with him through his massive highs, equally massive lows, and everything in between. What we find is an ordinary man with an extra-ordinary calling on his life and his pursuit of stretching himself to become everything God has created him to be.

Here are a few of my takeaways>>>

>> One aspect that really spoke to me was Lacrae’s honestly about the struggles all Christians face when it comes to ‘earning our faith’. He talked about how we struggle to understand God’s love for us because we struggle to see ourselves the way he does. Lacrae eventually realized God loves Him before he ever makes those right decisions. He’s operated FROM the acceptance of God not FOR the acceptance of God.

>> He talks a lot in the second half of he book about having a Christian World View. I thought I knew what that was but apparently not. His ideas brought fresh insight to an old conversation about who we as believers should be on the world stage. He challenged me to view myself in the same way.

>> Finding his own unique voice in the music industry. Whether you are a music, public speaker, business owner, or a single guy looking for a date; everyone is looking for something to make them stand out. It’s amazing to realize that many of us spend most of our lives trying to ‘fit in’ when we should really be looking to stand out as our own unique self. That’s probably my number one takeaway. The question of “Who am I?” “What makes me unique?” “What is my unique voice in this world?”

I have a personal ranking system with all books I read ranging from 1 (never admit I read this) to 10 (I need to read this again, blog about it, tell the world). This book definitely made it to a 10. It’s filled with great stories, great questions,  and great encouragement. This is the kind of book that I’ll probably end up buying a few extra copies so they can be given away to guests.

You should definitely give it a try.

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Book Review: 15 Invaluble Laws of Personal Growth

BK3033__48597_zoomBook 25 of 5o in my quest to read 50 books in 52 weeks. (2013)

15 Invaluable Laws of Personal Growth (by: John Maxwell)

Link to this book

I question the leadership of anyone who is not well read in all things Maxwell. This one is probably his most applicable especially for young leaders.  (For now, that’s still me.)

From Amazon:

Are there tried and true principles that are always certain to help a person grow? John Maxwell says the answer is yes. He has been passionate about personal development for over fifty years, and for the first time, he teaches everything he has gleaned about what it takes to reach our potential. In the way that only he can communicate, John teaches . . .

  • The Law of the Mirror: You Must See Value in Yourself to Add Value to Yourself
  • The Law of Awareness: You Must Know Yourself to Grow Yourself
  • The Law of Modeling: It’s Hard to Improve When You Have No One But Yourself to Follow
  • The Law of the Rubber Band: Growth Stops When You Lose the Tension Between Where You are and Where You Could Be
  • The Law of Contribution: Developing Yourself Enables You to Develop Others

This third and final book in John Maxwell’s Laws series (following 2-million seller The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork) will help you become a lifelong learner whose potential keeps increasing and never gets “used up.”

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: Just like shampoo…. apply, rinse, repeat.

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Book Review: Cracking Your Churches Culture Code

CultureCodeBook 23 of 5o in my quest to read 50 books in 52 weeks. (2013)

Cracking Your Churches Culture Code (by:Sam Chand)

Link to this book

Instant yearly read for me.
Love the concept and respect the chances he takes in this book trying to convince us that what he is saying really does carry such significant weight.
When I first read the opening chapter which said, “Culture is more important that vision.” I thought no way. But once he unpacked everything it was the only explanation for what I have witnessed over and over throughout life. I’ve watched so many great people with great vision seemingly beat their heads against a wall for years and never seem to really get traction. Sam reveals that a seed is only as good as the soil. Put a good vision in bad soil and nothing happens. Put good vision in good soil and the possibilities are endless.

Really love the questions at the end of the chapters as well. Makes it perfect for staff reading and processing.

From Amazon:

Strategies for transforming a toxic church culture

Why is it that the best strategic plans and good leadership often are not able to move churches in the desired direction? Sam Chand contends that toxic culture is to blame. Quite often, leaders don’t sense the toxicity, but it poisons their relationships and derails their vision. This work describes five easily identifiable categories of church culture (inspiring-accepting-stagnant-discouraging-toxic), with diagnostic descriptions in the book and a separate online assessment tool. The reader will be able to identify strengths and needs of their church’s culture, and then apply practical strategies (communication, control and authority, selection and placement of personnel, etc.) to make their church’s culture more positive.

  • Discusses how to diagnose the state of a church’s culture
  • Reveals what it takes to put in place effective strategies for creating a more positive church culture
  • Author served on the board of EQUIP (Dr. John Maxwell’s Ministry), equipping five million leaders world-wide.

This important book offers a clear guide for understanding and recreating a healthy church culture.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: Read it, process it, then… read it again.

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Book Review: Start With Why

51g77Ak+DtLBook 22 of 5o in my quest to read 50 books in 52 weeks. (2013)

Start With Why (by:Simon Sinek)

Link to this book

This book is great for anyone in leadership both in the business and non-profit circles. It really helps when you’re working “on” your organization not just “in” it.
We have a tendency of getting so busy making the next sale or pulling off another Sunday that we can forget about keeping the ‘big rocks’ in play.
Simon Sinek challenges us to step back and make sure our WHY is still at the center of our bullseye. If not, take the time to re-align ourselves.

From Amazon:

“A powerful and penetrating exploration of what separates great companies and great leaders from the rest.”
-Polly LaBarre, coauthor of Mavericks at Work

Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty?

In studying the leaders who’ve had the greatest influence in the world, Simon Sinek discovered that they all think, act, and communicate in the exact same way-and it’s the complete opposite of what everyone else does. People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers might have little in common, but they all started with why.

Drawing on a wide range of real-life stories, Sinek weaves together a clear vision of what it truly takes to lead and inspire.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: Really good, challenging read for business or top-level leaders. Not sure if it will really benefit non-leaders other to create discontent if you see your organization isn’t heading in the right direction. Some are in a position to make positive strides toward change. Some are, unfortunately not.

Why

 

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Book Review: Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When the Stakes Are High

Patterson1401946REPRINT-2:Layout 1Book 21 of 5o in my quest to read 50 books in 52 weeks. (2013)

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When the Stakes Are High (by:Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzler)

Link to this book

This book has become a yearly read for me. I’m learning that crucial conversations are all around us. Unfortunately we don’t realize it until it’s past. This book helps you become more aware of the conversation and how it can become life-giving or at least not toxic as well as giving you the

From their website:

Introducing the New York Times business bestseller that’s transformed organizations and changed the way millions of people communicate. With more than 2 million copies sold, this book—now in its second edition—gives yo

tools to not feel so intimidated.

u the tools to prepare for high-stakes conversations, transform anger and hurt feelings into powerful dialogue, and make it safe to talk about almost anything.

Get unstuck with best practice skills for high-stakes interactions.

The authors of Crucial Conversations didn’t set out to write a book on communication; rather, they

began by researching the behaviors of top performers. They found that most of the time, top influencers were indistinguishable from their peers. But as soon as the stakes grew high, emotions ran strong, and opinions differed, top performers were significantly more effective. What the authors observed during this study and captured in this runaway bestseller is a distinct and learnable set of skills that produce immediate results.

More than 2 million people and 300 of the Fortune 500 have used the skills in Crucial Conversations to successfully navigate life’s most challenging conversations.

Now it’s your turn. Learn the simple, yet powerful, skills in this book and realize significant improvements to both your relationships the results that matter most.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.sharedmeaning
Recommendation: While this book can technically be for everyone, it isn’t a casual read. I wouldn’t try to ingest this like a James Patterson ‘eye-candy’ quick read.  It’s best to be taken a chapter at a time. Mostly you’ll be stopping anyway to process and take notes.

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