I publish WendellNotes for significant books I read to make their perspective available to friends and GIN subscribers who may not otherwise have time for them. Before I started writing WendellNotes in 2011, book notes were part of my Journal. [Brackets separate my comments from the author's.]
Kingdom Innovation for a Brave New World
There are 5 phases of Kingdom Innovation: Identification (why), Ideation, Experimentation, Mobilization, and Multiplication. Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the greatest social innovations in the history of civilization. Golden Circle: Why? = Paradigm (center). How? = Principle. What? = Practices. Locate and frame the problem. The ability to ask powerful questions poses one of the greatest challenges. We become prisoners of our prototypes. Grooves of Grace occur where there is a supernatural ease. Things don’t normally scale through individuals; they scale through networks. It scales because it is not built on one leader.
This book is a sequel to Miraculous Movements (2012). By 2020, 74% of missionaries will be coming from the Global South. Every major endeavor in the Gospels and Acts is preceded by deep and intense prayer. In the Great Commission “Go” is not a command; it is a participle, meaning “as you are going.” The greatest results are seen when the Global South and Global North work in collaboration. “Self-discovery of truth” and “self-actuated obedience to truth” are proving to be dramatically more powerful in transforming people’s live, families, and communities than “teaching only” models. More Christians are now being killed for their faith than any other period in history. The first steps are prayer, prayer, and more prayer. Develop a strategy for also mobilizing others for prayer and fasting. Movements require a new leader at every link of growth in the chain.
Lead like Jesus
In Jesus we have an effective leadership model for all organizations, for all people, for all situations. Anytime you seek to influence the thinking, behavior, or development of people you take on the role of a leader. Your character is the sum of your habits. However you choose to hear the Word, if you don’t find a way to capture it, you will soon forget. In both the Old and New Testaments, the fear of God and fear of man are placed at the extremes of good and evil. Purpose is the meaning of the journey, not the destination. Values are the nonnegotiable principles that define character. When Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, He was transitioning His focus from the visionary role of servant leadership to the implementation role. There are 2 questions on God’s “final exam.” What did you do with Jesus? What did you do with the resources you were given in life? If you don’t seek first the kingdom of God, you will never seek it.
Leaders Eat Last
The price of leadership is the willingness to place the needs of others above our own. The cost is the expense of self-interest. It is the ability to grow our people that creates stable, lasting success. Companies and organizations are our modern tribes. Leadership is the choice to serve others with or without any formal rank. Endorphins and dopamine give us short-term rewards. The selfless chemicals, serotonin and oxytocin, take time to build up in our systems. Service is the key to breaking our dopamine addictions. All of the benefits of higher performing teams result from feeling safe and believing that their leaders have their well-being at heart.
Leadership Secrets of the Salvation Army
This book may provide a lens through which to view patterns of excellence in individuals and other organizations. The Salvation Army is arguably the best led organization in the world but it is not leader-driven. It is mission-driven. Effectiveness depends on the ability to align processes with purpose. A core competency is listening with the intent to learn and act. There are spectacular bottom-line benefits to individuals and group performance from mutual trust. Principle shapes purpose, demystifies leadership, and saves enormous energy. Reaffirming commitment to principles is the best way to deal with every challenge and threat to effectiveness. Just as challenges increase in crises, so do feelings of accomplishment and opportunities for outreach. Protecting the atmosphere for risk-taking is one of management’s most important responsibilities. We instinctively move toward that which warms our hearts, which gives us joy. We call it navigation by joy.
Let Us Pray
God creates and redeems us that we may be united with Him in defeating Satan and his works. He refuses to act alone and calls us to work with Him to accomplish His will. The way of working together is prayer—the real work. Prayer is the rail for God’s work. Indeed, prayer is to God’s will as rails are to a train. He refuses to work in areas where there are no prayers and where we are not united with His will. As we bring our will and thought to God, His own will and thought begins to be reproduced in us and becomes our will and thought. If we have no prayer burden, God cannot use us in His work. If the burden grows too heavy and it cannot be discharged by prayer, then we should fast. Burden is the secret of prayer. The sensible prayer of a carnal Christian stresses solely his own welfare. The spiritual progress of a saint can therefore be judged by the emphasis seen in his prayer.
Living close to God
Hindrances to prayer: I could never establish a consistent time of day to be with the Lord. My mind wandered. I often fell asleep. I quickly ran out of anything to say. It was always a one-way conversation. I could never remember the Lord at work. From Jesus’ day until now, the majority of believers have been illiterate, so the solution must be simple. This has nothing to do with prayer but everything to do with fellowship! While I had sought prayer, what I found was Christ. Speaking some part of what I had memorized or read, always speaking to Christ about Christ. The one thing the Lord cares about most is to hear you declare your love to Him. Be still, be quiet, and be slow. The impossible had taken place. I had experienced a 2-way conversation with God. This Lord of mine had a great deal to say to me. I found that many other passages could be turned in this way: Mt 5-8; John 14, 15, 17; Psalms, at least some part of all of them. Rm 6-8; Col 1-3; Eph 1-3 What the Father is to Christ, so Christ is to us. Almost everything Christ spoke concerning our getting to know Him had to do with either food or drink. The one thing the Lord cares about most is to hear you declare your love to Him.
We can stay fully functional into our 90s, 100s, and beyond. Sugar is one of the nutrients responsible for yeast aging fast and dying early. If aging is the central risk factor for all major diseases, it’s much smarter to intervene on aging itself than to try to prevent and treat diseases one by one. Fasting destroys many damaged cells, and damaged components inside the cells but also activates stem cells. Participants who adopted an a FMD for 5 days/month over a period of 3 months showed remarkable health benefits.]
Mansions of the Heart
Souls and prayer require an equivalent demand on our attention as do Scripture and truth. The real goal is a Love Relationship with God. It is the primary and foundational goal of spiritual growth. Holiness is the product of a loving relationship with God. If we begin to look for Jesus in the lows as well as the highs, we begin to see life as an adventure. We develop a constant inner joy in all we do, a joy that transcends our emotions. We experience a complete integration of worship and work.
Mastering the Rockefeller Habits
The fundamentals of creating a great business are the same for parenting great kids: a few rules, repeat yourself a lot, and act consistently with those rules. When alignment happens, the company thrives. The ultimate goal of structures and systems is predictability. Start a tradition of corporate story-telling. Training and development increase loyalty and operational excellence. Massive amounts do both well.
Maverick: a biography of Thomas Sowell
Retracing the footsteps of giants not only makes us witnesses to the intellectual clashes of the past, it adds depth to our understanding of the ideas that resulted from it and are still with us today. The most basic question is not what is best but who decides what is best. The first rule of economics is scarcity—and the first rule of politics is to ignore the first rule of economics. Families are best positioned to socialize the next generation. “Having been forced by birth to be on the receiving end of discrimination for many years, I cannot find the cleverness to justify it now, either to others or to myself.” The biological continuity of the generations lends plausibility to the notion of group compensation—but only if guilt can be inherited. The contemporary socioeconomic position of groups in a given society often bears no relationship to wrongs they have suffered. Data show that the existence of racism is an insufficient explanation of social inequality. Government has a role to play in social mobility, albeit a limited one, and incentives matter. It is not the recognition of a racial identity but its prioritization that is the problem. An adversarial, victim-focused identity that preoccupies us with white racism confuses racial unity with initiative--to rely on unity to do what only individual initiative can do.
Maxims for Thinking Analytically
Tacit knowledge is what we know but cannot say. Wisdom is defined by how one copes with uncertainty. Thoughtful long division provides simple and comparable metrics. Think about the margin, not the average. Positive cross-partials are the reason people congregate in urban areas.
Meeting of the Waters
Spreading values through commerce happens naturally--one reason why Business As Mission is so powerful. We must never equate economic or political weakness with spiritual frailty. Power is the enemy of Mutuality and often an enemy of Jesus Christ. Those most endowed with character and conviction are often ones who lack material wealth.
Start with creation, not with Christ. It’s about discovering and obeying, not teaching and knowledge. Disciple people to conversion not vice versa. Coach lost people from the beginning to discover and obey biblical truth. Discovery Bible Studies begin with creation and work their way through Scripture. Pray for Muslims with love, because they don’t understand what they do. One of the most serious problems in Islam is Mohammed’s own dying confession that even he didn’t know what would happen to him after death. Making disciples is a group process. Groups remember more than individuals. They learn faster than individuals, require less repetition, and group repetition becomes individual memory. Groups replicate faster than individuals and more often. We have to avoid falling into the role of explaining Scripture. If we do, we become the authority rather than allowing Scripture to be the authority. From 50 to 70% of the new churches in the most violent and extreme Muslim areas happened in part because of signs and wonder.
Private military actors worsen security in a free market such as Somalia but increase it in a mediated market such as Liberia and, under the right market circumstance, could even prove a powerful tool for the UN and others. Private military force, a timeless phenomenon, is back after a 400 year hiatus and is not likely to go away. The US penchant to lean on the private sector in war has produced the modern mercenary. The US has introduced 2 significant innovations to realize “humane” warfare: armed unmanned drones and a private military industry to do the dying for America. No one even tallies the numbers of dead contractors. The Army’s total cost of operating an infantry unit in Iraq was $110M, while hiring the same size unit from Blackwater to perform the same tasks was $99M. In peacetime, the cost differential jumps even more. The cost of maintaining an army infantry unit at home is $60M, whereas the cost of Blackwater is $0. “Moral hazard” is any situation in which one person makes the decision about risk, while someone else bears the cost if things go badly. In 2002 the US declared that it was “now threatened less by conquering states than by failing ones.” Neomedievalism: a non-state-centric, multipolar international system of overlapping authorities and allegiances within the same territory. International organizations now assert their own authority alongside states within the same territory, producing the conditions of neomedievalism. The IS vision of the future does not entail UN membership but rather a stateless caliphate and society based on their particular vision of Islam. Today about 1B people live in a failing or fragile state. When Westphalian militaries engage neomedieval foes, they often win every military engagement yet lose the war, because military success does not equal political victory. They achieve tactical results but fail in strategic objectives. In the era of colonialism strong European states conquered much of the world. Now the opposite is true. Strong states cringe at becoming entangled with weak states. Many of the specialized skills needed for stability operations can now only be found in the private sector and are considered proprietary knowledge. By outsourcing victory and defeat, the US is increasingly becoming vulnerable to the ebb and flow of contract warfare.