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Welcome to the July, 2008 edition of Leader's Edge Book Summary. The following summaries are provided by The Mission Exchange and David Mays, Director of Learning Initiatives. Click on any image below to read the full summary. Send your thoughts and ideas to .

When It's Rush Hour All Day Long

The Voice of Authority

On the Side of the Angels

When It's Rush Hour All Day Long
Finding Peace in a Hurry-Sick World

Author: John W. Tadlock

Publisher: New Hope Publishers, 2003, 144 pp.
ISBN: 978-1-56309-7706

John Tadlock is the Church, Minister & Family Wellness Facilitator at the Virginia Baptist Mission Board. He believes that hurry costs us a great deal and life can be slower, simpler and better.

Chapter 3. Prayer as Listening

We have occasional functional deafness, hearing what we want to hear and filtering out what we don't. We are uncomfortable with inaction. Slowing down and being quiet before the Lord can be an abrupt and uncomfortable change. It's like withdrawal from a stimulant.

However, listening to God can be a powerful and profound experience. We can cultivate an intimacy that is not dependent upon our words. We can simply listen for God to speak to us. What about practicing prayers of silence, waiting in God's presence for Him to speak in that still, small voice?

Developing a good devotional life is important for more than the preparation to do something productive. Prayer is the means to nurture one's relationship with God.

"Anything worth doing is worth doing frantically!" - Anonymous

"Hurry has been identified as the greatest enemy of the spiritual life." "There is no pause button on our lives." "Hurry sickness is loading ourselves to the hilt with the 'stuff' of life." (19, 23-4)

"God wants to give to all of us the greatest of all gifts; but we can't take them because our hands are too full of other things." (59, quoting Oscar Byrd)

"You can be as straight as a gun barrel theologically and as empty as a gun barrel spiritually." (66, quoting Vance Havner)

"We appear to live in a culture that conspires to force all of us to move through life as quickly as possible." "And there are few, if any, off-ramps." "Our capacity to wait has been severely eroded." "And time is precious when you're always in a hurry." (121-22)

Not applicable.

One of the more serious costs of hurry sickness is poor judgment. Fatigue reduces our critical faculties. We become more impulsive. We are more likely to be insensitive, oblivious, and judgmental toward others.

Jesus was probably interrupted a lot but nothing in Scripture indicates he ever became impatient with anyone who came to him on a busy day. He was attentive to each one.

What if our lives were measured by how we handle interruptions? Perhaps this is real life, being fully present to everyone and everything that comes within the range of our vision, including the interruptions. What if we could see the intrusions as vehicles delivering blessings?

David's Recommendation:
Tadlock suggests we restructure our lives by the following two suggestions:
1. Prioritize your promises. We spend too much time on concerns or issues that are not true priorities.
2. Learn how to say no gracefully to good things.

In your team or small group:

  • Make a list of the things you can remember that you promised during the past week.
  • List each of these as an A, B, or C priority.
  • Are there any promises or commitments you regret?
  • What did you say 'no' to over the past week or two?
  • If you were living the week over, what would you do differently?

To purchase this book from Amazon, click on the link below:

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The Voice of Authority
10 Communication Strategies Every Leader Needs to Know

Author: Dianna Booher

Publisher: McGraw-Hill, 2007, 212 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-07-148669-9

Visit The Visual Church

Dianna Booher is a Fortune 500 consultant and CEO of Booher Consultants, a communication training firm. These principles are meant to help you sell your ideas, expand your influence, inspire and motivate your team, handle crises in a way that builds trust, and identify characteristics that increase your credibility. A sprinkling of clever sayings keeps you chuckling as you read.

Chapter 7. Are You Concerned and Connected?

How many times do you hear something like this? "Your call is important to us. Please hold for the next available representative. The wait from this point is approximately 30 minutes...."

Leaders can take opportunities to connect with people as people, to take an interest in individuals. It might be as simple as remembering their names. They can move beyond logical explanations and address the emotional concerns of people, considering the impact of the message they are delivering upon the hearers.

Consider the context when you speak to people. Are they fearing a merger or a layoff? Is their work meaningless or dull? Are they overloaded or pressed with deadlines. Are they suffering personal stress?

When you're wrong or make a mistake, admit it. The straight, unvarnished truth will make you a trusted leader.

"The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth...should not be three different things." (16)

"In the absence of information, people get their facts from whatever faucet is leaking - whether accurate or not." (29)

"Be repetitious." "People hear what they expect to hear. They don't hear what they don't want to hear. To overcome that natural tendency to tune out, you'll need to repeat your message in multiple ways, at different times, using different methods to get your point across." (75)

"Attention to detail reflects an attitude of quality, commitment, and consistency communicated to customers. When somebody says, 'I'm not a detail person,' I start to sweat." "Attention to detail creates an overall message...." "Credible communicators follow through with what they promise - or stop promising." (94-6)

"Instantaneous sums up today's standard for quality communication." "The issues of speed and timeliness have become even more complex as hierarchies disappear." "Delay is deadly." "Delay decays morale." (133-136)

"Make feedback an obsession. Look into your lover's eyes and whisper, 'I love you' and what do you expect to hear in return? Silence? If it happens often, the relationship's in trouble. Yet every day that awkward silence can be 'heard' when people say to a boss, 'It's done' and hear...silence in response." (181)

"A career officer tells of his decision to end his 10-year active duty army career and the rank of captain after a significant 'mis-connection' with his career management officer (CMO). At his performance review, the captain discussed the options for his next career move with his CMO, who advised him to reenlist and laid out the steps for him to be promoted to major ahead of his contemporaries. The very next day following their discussion, the young officer, out of uniform, happened to pass his CMO walking across the parking lot. When the captain saluted and the older officer returned his salute and greeting, it was obvious he didn't even recognize the young officer - much less remember his name.

That was the moment that the younger officer made the decision to give up his 10-year career on active duty and join an organization where he could work for someone who valued his personal contribution.

Leaders who show they care about people as individuals - not as employees, suppliers, or customers - make a connection."

If you are harvesting this illustration for future consideration, file it under connecting, caring, or valuing people.

Don't you find it frustrating when someone apologizes and then negates the whole apology by continuing to talk, adding denials or good intentions or excuses or blame?

When you are wrong, or make a mistake, or your results don't meet expectations, admit it. Step up to the plate; take responsibility. Don't "spin," make excuses, blame others, or attack. Tell the straight, unvarnished, direct truth. Express regret. Apologize if it is appropriate. As Ogden Nash said about a good marriage, "To keep your marriage brimming, with love in the loving cup, when you're wrong admit it. And when you're right, shut up."

David's Recommendation:
Think about the last time you can remember someone making an apology. Was it a good one? How did you respond emotionally? Why do you think you responded as you did? If the apology was disappointing, what made it that way?

Now think about the last time you made an apology? Can you remember one? Can you remember what you said? Did it meet the criteria above? If you were to do it over again, how would you change what you said?

Do you have an apology debt to someone or about something?

To purchase this book from Amazon, click on the link below:

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On the Side of the Angels
Justice, Human Rights, and Kingdom Mission

Author: Dr. Joseph D

Publisher: Authentic, 2007, 201 pp.
ISBN: 978-1-932805-70-3

Dr. Joseph D'Souza is president of The All India Christian Council, international president of the Dalit Freedom Network, and associate international director of Operation Mobilization International. Benedict Rogers is a human rights activist and journalist. He works for Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

Human rights and justice must be reclaimed by Christians. Human rights is central to Kingdom mission, not just a secondary 'political' activity. The authors describe situations, cite statistics, give examples of positive actions, and suggest steps for the Christian community, both individuals and institutions.

Chapter 6. What Next? Responding to the Need

Those who will inherit the Kingdom are those who stand by the side of Jesus in his trials (Mt 25:31-36) - and that means standing by our neighbors in their tribulations.

Meaningful involvement is characterized by the guiding principles of authenticity (you really do know what's going on, from first hand experience if possible), aid (you are doing something personally or as an organization to assist the oppressed), and accountability (you account for actions and expenditures).

Before engaging, become informed. Read authoritative books and magazines. Watch documentaries. Join the mailing lists of reputable human rights organizations. Attend human rights conferences. And above all, meet people from the countries themselves.

Avenues of engagement include the following:

  • Pray. It is the most effective method for confronting oppression.
  • Speak up as an advocate.
  • Some professionals can attempt to hear both sides of a story and seek reconciliation by sitting down with the accused to try to help them find a way to stop abusing their people.
  • Write letters to people in positions of influence such as representatives or senators, foreign ministers or secretaries of state, the embassy of the country of violations, government officials in these countries, officials of international organizations, etc. Start with your elected representative. Write to companies doing business with brutal dictatorships.
  • Demonstrate. March. Protest outside an embassy. Do a candlelight vigil.
  • Stage an action in a country troubled by persecution.
  • Provide assistance such as time, finances, material assistance (such as books, clothing, medicine, and supplies), professional or technical expertise.
  • Pursue a career within a system of influence or public service in order to use your position for advocacy.
  • Mediate by persistently raising cases of oppressed individuals and communities.

Ask God to show you which countries he wants you to especially advocate for, and in what specific ways he is asking you to pray, protest, and provide.

"Each person facing abuse of their own human rights is a fellow human being of eternal value, created by God in his image. Each one is our neighbor." (3)

"Jesus was all about changing communities. In this respect, Stott argues, 'his whole ministry was political.' Jesus never started or tried to influence a political party or organization - he was apolitical in that sense - but in the broader definition, his agenda was entirely political." (5)

"But the church faces two dangers. In addition to neglecting justice, there is an equal threat that it could become so focused on human rights advocacy in this world that it loses sight of the eternal kingdom. Human rights advocacy is a core activity in the church's mission, but it is not the only one." (6-7)

"How we go about confronting evil is key, ...it is our methodology that distinguishes a Christian approach." "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:21). "In short, we are called to be fierce in doing good." (75)

"When the church fails to act in truth, justice, and courage at historic times of evil against humanity, it signs its own death warrant for subsequent generations." (122)

Not applicable.

Jesus perpetually acted on behalf of the oppressed. His kingdom model enraged the establishment and delighted ordinary citizens. Throughout the Gospels Jesus embraced the untouchable, fed the hungry, ate with the outcasts, forgave the unforgivable, healed the sick, and welcomed the marginalized as close companions.

The crux of the Great Commission is discipling all peoples. That includes teaching and obeying the Great Commandment, which includes involvement in the lives of those who are being oppressed, persecuted, abused, and dehumanized.

David's Recommendation:
Divide your team in two groups. Ask one group to argue in favor of the statement: "As Jesus modeled for us, we must work toward the elimination of structures and philosophies of evil as well as the transformation, rehabilitation, and well-being of individuals."

Ask the other group to argue in favor of the statement: "As Jesus modeled for us, we must work toward the eradication of evil by the transformation of the hearts, attitudes, actions, and well-being of individuals, both oppressed and oppressors."

What is your organizational approach to justice and human rights?
What level of priority does it receive?
What is your personal involvement?
What is one step you feel compelled take?

To purchase this book from Amazon, click on the link below:

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Although readers may not agree with all the statements or positions of the authors, we believe, on the whole, books summarized in Leader's Edge will inform, stimulate, and provoke profitable discussion.