Category Archives: Leadership

Equipping others to rise to their full potential.

Leadership 101

I have an apple tree in my back yard that has never borne fruit. Year after year, we sought signs that something would come of our efforts to put it in good soil. But nothing revealed indicators of growth. How about you? Have you been feeling like there’s no fruit from your work?
Pastor Bill Hybels says leadership begins with yourself. When you are dormant, people won’t follow you. So, how will you push yourself? He suggests taking leaders to lunch and asking questions, exposing yourself to new ways of looking at things, and developing character.
If leadership begins at home, then it does matter what we do when no one’s watching. We are all managers of:
• Time
• Money
• Words
In Psalm 39, David said he would watch what he said around others. But he also affirmed in Psalm 40 he would tell of God’s goodness. He sought the Lord’s help to know when to speak and when to be silent. What would that look like for a leader? We have opportunities to speak truth into people’s lives. Will it be laced with criticism or kindness?
At The Global Leadership Summit, Leadership Coach John Maxwell challenged all to add value to people’s lives every day. He said we can learn from the way Jesus valued Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman and even children. It takes intentional living to see things from someone else’s perspective.
Let’s get back to the basics in our leadership habits. Find ways to stretch yourself and your team. Expose yourself to new ways of doing things every day. Ask questions. Listen. Put your house in order. Speak kindness into the hearts of others. Hold yourself accountable to a high standard of integrity.

apple tree from back yard
This year, however, something is different with my apple tree. The branches are heavy laden and getting ready for harvest. Maybe you’ve been waiting for the fruit of your labor that seems negligent in coming? Don’t give up. Keep building on the basics of love and faithfulness. Let integrity be your hallmark. When God’s timing is ripe, you will see a harvest of His faithfulness in your life and in your work.

Sally

In what ways is the Lord nudging you to stretch your leadership skills today?

Review & a Giveaway: The NKJV American Woman’s Bible!

NKJV American Womans Bible

The timing for the release of The NKJV American Woman’s Bible, and a celebration of our heritage of faith, could not be better. As we approach the birthday of our nation, we reflect on ways the Lord has intervened for our country, and the principles on which it was built. To say this book is patriotic would be true, but it is so much more. It begins with “A Woman’s Journey To Godliness,” and continues with examples from our nation’s history of women who fleshed out what it meant to embrace faith in tumultuous times.

General Editor, Dr. Richard G. Lee has done his research! Indeed, he compiled the American Patriot’s Bible and authored another twenty-one books. His works highlight the legacy of the Judeo-Christian values that created a foundation for our government and justice system. He says, “American history is no stranger to the fact that God uses humble, unassuming ‘everyday’ people to do extraordinary things.”

I love the behind-the-scenes look at our country. Sidebars are filled with quotes and qualities of virtuous women. Biographies add detail to the lives of many unknown, but influential people. And glossy inserts are packed with the stories of those who sacrificed and served their Lord and country.

In a time when patriotism is ebbing low, this book is an important standard. It lifts up the Word of God and shows how applicable it continues to be, in every generation.

The fascinating biographies include immigrants, pioneers, presidents’ wives, missionaries, writers, peasants, celebrities, slaves, singers and songwriters. Here’s a sampling of the quotes that grabbed my attention:

“You can be too big for God to use, but you cannot be too small.” – Nelle Reagan

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.” – Corrie ten Boom

“Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare, social justice can never be attained.” – Helen Keller

“Faith isn’t the ability to believe long and far into the misty future. It’s simply taking God at His Word and taking the next step.” – Joni Eareckson Tada

“Democracies have been, and governments called, free; but the spirit of independence and the consciousness of unalienable rights, were never before transfused into the minds of a whole people…The feeling of equality which they proudly cherish does not proceed from an ignorance of their station, but from the knowledge of their rights; and it is this knowledge which will render it so exceedingly difficult for any tyrant ever to triumph over the liberties of our country.” – Sarah Josepha Hale

”The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” – Coretta Scott King

Do you love stories of heroes of the faith? Hebrews 12:1 says we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. They are the ones who endured hardship and overcame difficulties with a shining faith in God. The NKJV American Woman’s Bible is an inspiring look at the sacrificial ways women gave their devotion to God’s truths and the practice of those truths in a young nation.

I am giving away a copy, courtesy of Thomas Nelson Publishers, to one reader in the continental United States. Leave a comment on my blog (Comments are at the top, under the title) about a favorite hero of the faith, and you will be entered into the drawing, to be held one week from today, June 16, 2016. Side note for those from my area, there is even a biography of Mary A. Lathbury, who helped found the Chautauqua Movement in Western New York!

Sally

Disclosure of Material: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through the The Blog Spot Network book review program in exchange for a fair and honest review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Bible Study Expo

2016 Poster

Marnie Swedberg annually hosts an event that has become a go-to resource for me. She invites authors to share the stories behind their Bible studies, and in the process, makes the writer more real. It brings a smile to follow the conversation threads during this event; the fast paced comments on the Facebook party happen at the same time as The Bible Study Expo, and the enthusiasm is contagious. It’s fun, because these gals have become friends. As we dialogue over author quotes, we encourage, inspire and enjoy one another!
Maybe you’ve wanted to lead a Bible study, but never had the courage to step out? I’ve blogged about that at “Why lead a Bible Study?” Here, I want to tell you how I’ve benefitted by connecting with authors. Listening to their voices online, you can hear the passion for the subject they researched. Marnie interviews them, they share behind-the-scenes discoveries, and we all come away enriched by the treasures in God’s Word.

A few years back, Sue Edwards was involved in the Expo, with her book, Ephesians: Discovering Your Identity and Purpose in Christ. I connected with Sue’s work, even though she was not able to attend at the last minute, and used it with my Women’s Bible Study group. I had the opportunity to participate in launching an online study of Ephesians on Sue’s Facebook Page. We also went on to use another in the series, Luke: Discovering Healing in Jesus’ Words to Women.
This year, Kathy Carlton Willis is on the docket with her book, Grin With Grace. Our Women’s Class just wrapped up this study, and I’m looking forward to hearing more stories from Kathy’s quirky take on life.
How can you benefit from attending the Expo? You develop friendships, find studies to share, and more fully appreciate the author’s work. Besides, you may be one of the winners of the door prizes from Sarah Young, Logan Wolfram, Raechel Myers, Barbara Roose, Sherry Poundstone, Kathy Carlton Willis, Jeanne Brooks, Sherri Burgess, or Gwen Smith!
Come join us at The Bible Study Expo, Thursday, March 17, 2016!

Noon – 2 Pacific

1-3 Mountain

2-4 Central

3-5 Eastern
Sally


Where do you find retreat locations?

forest_retreat_by_environaut

When word of mouth gets out that you’re looking for a place to host your gang, people can be really helpful with ideas. So helpful in fact, that it gets overwhelming.  Whether you’re planning a family reunion, church getaway or a team building event for work, there are a few crucial elements to settle first.

1) Do we want to cook?  Didn’t you think the first question would be about food?  Let’s be practical!  We all want to know what’s for dinner!  The food question is a big issue because it could pare down the number of choices.  Do you want to haul in food to grill yourselves, or do you want the food to be prepared and served in a dining hall?  There are merits to both and they affect time, cost and atmosphere.

2) What kind of amenities do we want?  Swimming?   Fishing?  Campfires?  Spa Treatment?  Golfing?  The location can bolster your theme’s effect.  For instance, a Boy Scout retreat would be out of place in a 5 Star Hotel.  And many people prefer a mattress over sleeping on the ground in a camping area.  So, find what works for you.

3) What size of group do you need to accommodate?  While searching the internet for a retreat location, my co-coordinator came across a gorgeous setting with prayer gardens and a castle atmosphere.   It wasn’t big enough for our retreat, but later we used it for a leadership training event!

Try several keywords when you Google places: retreat centers, vacations, and hideaways all convey the idea.  When you think like a tourist, you can find things you may not have noticed before.

4) How far are you willing to drive?   Even though a closer location is enticing for gas savings, it also presents a unique challenge.  People feel free to come and go according to their own schedule!  That means they miss out on group bonding time, as well as cheat themselves out of the amount of time needed to unwind.  If they’re still running on their own timetable, have they really retreated from the daily grind?

5) How much will it cost?  Your answers to all of the above questions will funnel down into this last major one.  Cost will effect who can come and participate.  If the cost is too high, you may eliminate someone who really needs to be there!  Anything you can do to knock off some of the price will create goodwill and growth in the long run.  Fundraisers in the months prior to your event are helpful, as well as build anticipation for what is to come.

Don’t let too many options cheat you out of finding the best option for your retreat. A little bit of research will launch you into the next phase of planning and equip you for the nuances of a great event!

You can find more articles like this, here.

For more tips on Retreat Planning, see my ebook, How to Plan a Women’s Retreat!

Sally


Bible Study Expo

Check out the Bible Study Expo on Thursday, August 20, featuring 12 authors:

– Liz Curtis Higgs with “It’s Good to be Queen”

– Pam Farrel with “7 Simples Skills for Every Woman”

– Sara Hagerty with “Every Bitter Thing”

– Kimberly Sowell with “The Thin Red Line Series”

– Danette Crawford with “Total Turnaround”

– Sheryl Pellatiro with “Fearless Faith”

– Stephanie Olson with “Jesus is Passing By”

– Mindy Ferguson with “Moses”

– Jessie Seneca with “Joseph”

– Kathy Howard with “Embraced by Holiness”

– Carey Scott with “Untangled”

– Marnie Swedberg with “Flow Through Vessel”

The Expo is 100% free and online, catch it while it happens, or come back to dig in later. I have found this exercise to be very helpful in picking out resources for our study groups, as well as for networking.

How about you? Are you looking for your next study for Fall?

Sally


The Art of Work by Jeff Goins

The Art of Work

The mystical world of “calling” is tackled expertly by Jeff Goins in his book, The Art of Work. He unpacks what it means to find a fulfilling vocation, and the steps needed to get there. This book is actually less about a “job,” and more about a life well lived.

Goins says there are seven common characteristics to a calling: awareness, apprenticeship, practice, discovery, profession, mastery and legacy. These characteristics overlap to form a lifetime process, and when followed, will bring clarity to one’s work.

I love the perspective this process provides. In an “instant society” where we expect graduates to move directly to their dream job, the author brings reassurance for those of us who feel we’ve never arrived. He says a vocation is “not something you try; it’s someone you become.”

The book’s resource list is extensive. Citing stories of ordinary people who took leaps into their calling, Goins paints a portrait of the commitment it takes to go against the mainstream workforce. You find friendship in failure, that proven learning ground for change. And you’re reminded that pursuing your calling is supposed to be difficult.

One of the biggest takeaways for me, is connection to the idea of a portfolio. When life is seen as a collection of experiences that contribute to a whole, they become a collaboration, or portfolio, moving toward an extraordinary life. Doesn’t that take the pressure off of finding one “perfect” job, and instead, steer one toward learning tools from each place we’ve been?

No matter what stage of life you’re in, you need this book. It will empower you to leave the legacy you’ve always wanted!

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sally

I review for BookLook Bloggers


Book Review: Possible by Stephan Bauman

Possible
Does poverty, injustice and world suffering bother you? Get ready to be bothered more. Stephan Bauman has written, Possible: A Blueprint for Changing How We Change the World, with a look at the worst our generation has been offered. But Bauman also offers hope, by presenting a blueprint that will ignite a new approach to problem solving.

Bauman is the president and CEO of World Relief, who has lived with feet on the ground in developing countries struggling to fight AIDS, trafficking and factions. He says, “We owe it to subsequent generations to honestly ask ourselves if we are responsibly stewarding our moment in history.”

But what does it mean, to steward our moment? Bauman says we need to step up to use our skills and abilities to find solutions to the problems that plague our world today. He provides tools for groups to access what their unique contribution can be and invites all to lives of radical obedience marked by sacrificial love. He says the invitation of Jesus to be vulnerable is one way of accepting glorious grace into our lives.

Bauman says reformation begins with a complaint. When we care enough to get upset, then it can turn into prayer. Prayer galvanizes courage. Courage fosters commitment. And commitment becomes the foundation for action.

Bauman sends the clarion call to abandon narcissism, self-absorption and insecurity in order to take up a higher calling to pursue a relationship with God instead of addiction to ministry. Indeed, Bauman says our world’s problems are all relational. People will change when they experience a love that collides with their belief systems.

Possible is a compelling book. It awakens the call to more, by asking hard questions about character and motive. I believe this generation is ready for change, and this book helps us to see that change is Possible!

Sally

Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.
 

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Book Review: The Leadership Handbook by John C. Maxwell

The Lea

Could an author of 46 titles have anything more to say? John Maxwell is known for good content, but can he deliver again? Scanning the Table of Contents, my curiosity is piqued. Titles like “The Toughest Person to Lead Is Always Yourself,” “Influence Should Be Loaned but Never Given” and “Experience Is Not the Best Teacher” draw me in.

Maxwell tackles topics like integrity, priorities and the burden of leadership with his characteristic honesty, and doesn’t hold anything back as he challenges leaders to take ownership in a new level of change needed for a new generation. His stance is to build leaders, who will in turn build leaders. The power of influence creates impact when a leader invests in the modeling of the next generation. And that is where this book goes to a different level than other books on leadership. Maxwell creates a game plan for mentoring by giving tips, formulas and questions to pursue with a mentee. By investing in a life, the mentor is creating a legacy that will outlive the natural course of work.

Maxwell says, “If you want to make an impact, then work on your influence. If you want to add value to others, help them work on theirs.” (p. 194)

He does deliver again, by adding value to those who pick up his book. Not only does The Leadership Handbook provide practical application, but it calls the leader to rise to a new level of accountability and personal investment in the lives of people. Maxwell says, “You must come to realize how unimportant you are in comparison to the task with which you have been entrusted as a leader. That requires a level of objectivity, maturity, and humility that many leaders never attain. Your goal as a leader isn’t to be indispensable to the people you lead; it is to leave your people something that is indispensable to them.” (p. 248)

And therein lies the mark of a true leader, when that leader learns how to serve.

Sally
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
I review for BookLook Bloggers


Book Review: Bethlehem Road

Beth

Bethlehem Road is a journey through the book of Ruth and looks at the cultural nuances disrupted when a Moabite joins lives with an Israelite.

Michael Whitworth is a preacher and also the author of The Epic of God and The Derision of Heaven. He regularly blogs at Start2Finish.

The book promises to comfort others who have walked the road of suffering and to strengthen faith in the providence of God. While that was a tall order, it fulfilled the task by showing how God’s hand worked with the initiative of His people to bring events around for their good and His glory.

An interesting theory was raised in the idea that Ruth parallels the Proverbs 31 woman. I find that thought exciting, because I can relate to Ruth more than the other gal. But, if written about David’s great grandmother, then the book of Ruth would be a likely target for the woman exalted in Solomon’s annuls.

Although most people don’t pick up a commentary for their reading pleasure, Bethlehem Road reads more like a conversation and shows the relevancy to current events. It brings hope to a world in bleak circumstances.

One of the things that gave me pause was the assertion that Ruth’s actions were more memorable than Abraham’s leap of faith, because she didn’t receive a call from God like Abraham did. Abraham followed God because of his relationship with God. Ruth followed God because of her relationship with Naomi, and that is a beautiful reminder of the responsibility we all have to lead others to the Lord, as we are in relationship with them.

I also appreciated the affirmation that we all need someone who will be faithful to us when we go through the storms of life. The explanation of the word hesed, or God’s blessing, is one of loyalty and faithfulness, and especially in reference to caring for one who is unable to do so on their own. It is an act of imitation, in the highest form, as one imitates the kindnesses of God.

This book is an interesting read; it draws the reader into the story of a woman who took a chance in the middle of her own heartache, and found a greater blessing through serving others.

The author compares the loss of his own father to the loss Naomi, Orpah and Ruth suffered. Indeed, “death comes knocking, leaving behind in its awful wake three graves and three widows unable to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives because some of the pieces are now missing.” (p. 26) But, the author also concludes that God comes alongside us when we suffer. God uses others to comfort us when we face shattered dreams, and His silence does not equate to His absence.

The author makes use of a vast Bibliography to substantiate his views, and the result is a well-rounded research into the hidden work of God in the daily events of our lives.

I especially appreciate the reminder that God can and will use us in the mundane as well as the spectacular. Our calling is to obey and, in the natural course of living, to act with integrity.

Every once in a while, there comes along a book that is a pleasure to recommend, and this is one of those books. It provides detail with heart, and draws the reader to understand that

Sally

Disclosure of Material: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through the BookCrash.com book review program, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”