Why I picked up this book:
A better question would be, “Why would I not pick up any book written by Ruth Haley Barton?” I have several books of hers and use them for “check-ins” with myself, to get a pulse on if I’m running too fast, need to listen more intently, or live more deeply. I read through her books slowly, not because they aren’t good, but because it is necessary for me to do so. Reading this book as been a practice in spiritual formation.
Who Should Read Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership:
This book is particularly helpful for leaders, especially those who are living fast-paced and full lives. With prayer, inspirational quotes, thought-provoking questions, spiritual practices and scriptures throughout, it centers us on God, gives good perspective, and invites us into a spiritual rich, and physically and emotionally healthy way of being in the world.
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A Work of Heart: Understanding How God Shapes Spiritual Leaders
Author: Reggie McNeal
What is spiritual leadership?
“The first order of responsibility for spiritual leaders: to reflect the heart of God to the people around them (XIV).”
I’ve come to understand that the first person that I must lead is myself. Self-leadership includes everything from the way I focus my mind, nurture my body, and care for my soul and spiritual well-being, to the discipline in which I pursue my purpose.
When it comes to leadership, you must put your heart in it. The lesson from this book is: “When a leader loses heart, he [or she] loses (xix).” Life is difficult and challenging for every one of us. While some challenges and days are more difficult than others, it is certain that all of us will struggle in this world. When confronting their grief at the reality of his own death, Jesus words to his disciples was this: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33 NIV).” I love that in our English translations, there is the coordinating conjunction “but” in this sentence. In this sentence the word “but” connects and contrasts the trouble of this world with the proper response to take heart. Taking heart is an intentional act and it affirms the hope we have in Jesus. Jesus has overcome this world! In him, we are victorious and can therefore, live as champions in spite of the world’s troubles.
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Water. That’s the theme that has been reoccurring over the past few weeks. This water is not living, pure drinking water from easy flowing foundations but violent, dangerous, troubled waters that are sure to take you under if you are not careful. These violent waters are not uncommon for those of us who have been called to serve God’s mission in the world.
God and Troubled Waters
Moses knew about crossing over dry ground while observing the dangers of these uncertain waters on both sides. What if they relented and swallowed up the Israelites and the Egyptians on their crossing? Joshua also carried the descendants of these same people on a long journey and across a river on their way to the Promised Land. Indeed the disciples had their share of storms and troubled waters.
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