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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Be All You CAn Be

As usual John Maxwell's book, Be All You Can Be, is excellent. There is so much good, solid advise. I trust the following will be encouraging.

When you encourage others, you’ll find that they will encourage you. Attitudes are contagious. p. 14

You have probably seen the bumper sticker that asks, “Are we having fun yet?” Every time I see that bumper sticker; I want to write another one: “Are we doing right yet?” If we’re doing right, we’ll be having fun. p. 14

All giants have been weak men who did great things for God because they reckoned on His power and His presence to be with them. p. 16

The only one who can stop you from becoming the person God intends you to be is you. p. 26

Adversity is not our greatest enemy. The human spirit is capable of great resiliency and resourcefulness in the face of hardship. It’s not problems that mess us up. Someone said, “Cripple [a man] and you have Sir Walter Scott. Lock him in prison and you have John Bunyan. Bury him in the snows of Valley Forge and you have George Washington. Raise him in poverty and you have Abraham Lincoln. Strike him down with infantile paralysis and he becomes Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Burn him so severely that doctors say he will never walk again and you have Glen Cunningham, who set the world’s record in 1934 for the outdoor mile. Deafen him and you’ll have Ludwig van Beethoven. Call him a slow learner, retarded, and write him off as uneducatable and you have Albert Einstein.” p. 36

Any problem is a problem when there is no purpose. But no problem is a problem when there is a purpose. When you really have a dream, you aren’t a problem conscious person. When you see a problem, you also see a dream, and the dream that takes you through the problem. p. 60

Average doesn’t look so good when you realize it’s the worst of the best and the best of the worst. p. 63

Think of the great men and women who continued to pursue their dreams into old age. Think of people like Moses, who at eighty years of age led 3.5 million people out of captivity. Or Caleb, who at eighty-five years of age said, “Give me that mountain.” Or Colonel Sanders, who at seventy years of age discovered “finger lickin’ good chicken. Or Ray Kroc, who after age seventy introduced Big Mac to the world. Then there’s Casey Stengel, who at seventy-five became the manager of the Yankees baseball team. And there’s Picasso, still painting at eighty-eight, and George Washington Carver, who at eighty-one became head of the Agriculture Department. There’s Thomas Edison, who at eighty-five invented the mimeograph machine and John Wesley, who was still traveling on horseback and preaching at age eighty-eight. Don’t ever be content with having reached a goal; don’t rest on your laurels. History is filled with examples of people who, though they had accomplished great things, lost sight of their vision. When Alexander the great had a vision, he conquered countries when he lost it, we couldn’t conquer a liquor bottle. When David had a vision, he conquered Goliath; and when he lost his vision, he couldn’t conquer his own lust. When Samson had a vision, he won many battles; when he lost his vision, he couldn’t win a battle with Delilah. When Solomon had a vision he was the wisest man in the world; when he lost the dream God had given him, he couldn’t control his own evil passion for foreign women. When Saul had a vision, he could conquer kings; when he lost his vision, he couldn’t conquer his own jealousy. When Noah had a vision, he could build an ark and help keep the human race on track; when he lost his vision, he got drunk. When Elijah had a vision, he could pray down fire from heaven and chop off the heads of false prophets; when he lost the dream, he ran from Jezebel. It’s the dream that keeps us young; it’s the vision that keeps us going. pp. 64-65

People want a cause—they need a goal. If you’re not dead, you must be still alive; you want something to live for, whether you’re eighteen or eighty-one. p. 65

Little minds have wishes, and great minds have causes. p. 71

I’ve found that before any great accomplishment is achieved in reality, it’s believed in the heart. If we need to hear the applause of the crowd before our Goliath is down, we will never slay him. We have to begin our attack in the face of criticism, believing that the applause will come later. p.74

John Wesley was one who understood that leadership means dissatisfaction. He averaged three sermons a day for fifty-four years, preaching more than forty-four thousand times altogether. To do this, he traveled by horseback and carriage more than two hundred thousand miles, or about five thousand miles a year. He was greatly devoted to pastoral work. During a later period in his life, he was responsible for all the churches in England. To get his work done, he rose at four every morning and worked solidly until ten at night, allowing brief periods for meals. At age eighty-three he was upset to discover that he could not write more than fifteen hours a day without hurting his eyes. At age eighty-six he was ashamed to admit that he could not preach more than twice a day and he was angry that he would sleep until 5:00 a.m. Charles Spurgeon was known as the prince of preachers. Like Wesley, he was not satisfied with just being a great orator; he had a passion for the work of God, and he was never satisfied with the number of souls that he had won. At the age of thirty he preached to five thousand people at Metropolitan Tabernacle, and he still wasn’t satisfied. He was once invited to lecture at a university where all of his expenses, his wife’s expenses, and his personal secretary’s expenses would be covered, and in addition he would receive $1,000 pr lecture over fifty-day period. Spurgeon, however, turned down this offer, suggesting that, instead of taking their $50,000, he would stay in London and attempt to win fifty souls for Jesus Christ. pp. 118-119

We have been talking a lot about the apostle Paul, a man who was not satisfied and was not about to quit as he pressed toward that high mark. But there are other men and women in the Bible who were driven to greatness by dissatisfaction with their present conditions. Nehemiah was fairly well off as the cupbearer for the king in the royal court. He was surrounded by luxury, but he was willing to leave all of that to go back and help rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. Or consider Esther, the queen who chose to risk death in order to rescue her people from suffering. Joshua and Caleb could have settled for the wilderness with all of the other people, but they were unwilling to settle for second best. Why live in the wilderness when you can live in the land that flows with milk and honey? Moses could have stayed in Pharaoh’s court and enjoyed all the pleasures and the riches of Egypt, but he chose to lead his people out. pp. 119-120

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