I’m looking forward to Voddie Baucham’s new book on the relationship of the story of Joseph to redemptive history.
The trailer does a great job of sparking your interest:
I’m not blogging this because my editor tried to reduce the number of sentences I started with “but” and “and” in What’s Best Next (though that did happen). I’ve had this down on my list to post for over a year; but I suppose this truth is not as appreciated as I perhaps thought it was.
So, here are two great words on this from two important books on writing.
Many of us were taught that no sentence should begin with “but.” But that’s wrong—there’s no stronger word at the start. It announces total contrast.
Starting a sentence with a coordinating conjunction is an informal style; it makes your writing sound conversational. In addition, a conjunction at the beginning usually draws attention to the sentence and adds punch.
JP Moreland has written a great article showing that the Scriptures affirm principles of limited government, not big government. Here’s the start:
A few years ago on ABC’s The View, Star Parker and Michael Moore had an instructive exchange. To justify state-regulated universal healthcare, Moore sought to marshal support from Jesus: Jesus claimed that if you care for the poorest among us, you do this to him. According to Moore, this proves that Jesus would be for universal healthcare. Star Parker’s response was stunningly accurate: Jesus never intended such action to be forced on people by the state. Such acts were to be voluntary and from a freely given heart of compassion.
I subsequently published an opinion piece siding with Parker. I claimed that Jesus would not be for government mandated universal healthcare. The piece went viral on the internet and most people weighed in against me, including most Christians. In my view, this reaction signaled the fact that there is a lot of confusion about the biblical view of the state and its role in society.
Dan Pink, bestselling author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us and several other business books, has recently launched: The Drive Workshop: Using Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose to Transform Your Business and Yourself.
It’s a training workshop for organizations on how to move more effectively from the old methods of motivation (carrots and sticks), which typically create mere compliance, to more human forms of motivation that create engagement and develop employees — and organizations — more effectively.
It’s worth checking out.
The Virtual Assistant Solution: Come up for Air, Offload the Work You Hate, and Focus on What You Do Best is Michael Hyatt’s new e-book, and it looks great.
The concept of a virtual assistant was first brought to the forefront, it seems to me, by Tim Ferriss in his book The Four Hour Workweek. What Tim had limited space to talk about, Michael Hyatt now fleshes out for us in much more detail, going into why a virtual assistant is such a good idea and how to do it well.
Here is the table of contents:
1 Why You Need a Virtual Assistant
2 Why a Virtual Assistant Beats a Traditional One
3 What a Virtual Assistant Can Do for You
4 Answering the Most Common Questions
5 The First 90 Days with Your Virtual Assistant
6 Tools for Staying in Sync
And here’s a helpful overview from the introduction:
The term “virtual assistant” means a lot of things to a lot of different people. To be clear, I’m talking about someone who works remotely and with whom you contract for professional services like clerical work, meeting and event planning, project management and coordination, even marketing and social media. The idea is having help that fits your needs, your schedule, and your budget. And you can have it without the constraints of payroll, benefits, and recruiting.
Authors, coaches, consultants, creatives, doctors, entrepreneurs, executives, nonprofit leaders, lawyers, pastors, professors, and speakers— there’s a long list of people who could benefit from a virtual assistant.
But despite how many people could benefit, I’ve noticed that many are reluctant to take the plunge. As a result, they miss getting the help they need. Maybe that’s you. Maybe you think hiring a full-time, in-office assistant is your only option. Maybe you have no experience with virtual assistance (or have had a bad experience like I did) and don’t think it can work for you.
This book will clear up the misconceptions and allow you to be more effective with your time and talents. It will equip you to understand the dynamics of a virtual workforce, define how one or more virtual assistants can help you accomplish more than you ever thought possible, and offer practical advice on how to hire, integrate, and fully benefit from your new virtual staff.
(Hyatt, Michael. The Virtual Assistant Solution: Come up for Air, Offload the Work You Hate, and Focus on What You Do Best (Kindle Locations 96-106). Fleming House Publishers. Kindle Edition.)
You can also read more about the book in Michael’s post introducing it.
Seth Godin, in a post from about a year ago:
The false choice of mediocrity
Too often, we’re presented with choices that don’t please us. We can pick one lousy alternative or the other. And too often, we pick one.
I was struck by Apple’s choice to put a glass screen on the original iPhone. Just six weeks before it was announced, Steve Jobs decided he wanted a scratchproof glass screen. The thing is, this wasn’t an option. It wasn’t possible, reliable, feasible or appropriately priced. It couldn’t be done with certainty, and almost any other organization would have taken it off the list of appropriate choices.
It was unreasonable.
And that’s the key. Remarkable work is always not on the list, because if it was, it would be commonplace, not remarkable.
A very helpful article by Anne Bradley at The Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics.
Here’s a great part, which shows the connection between our mandate as Christians to care for the poor and the importance of economic freedom as a means of enabling the poor to lift themselves from poverty:
Reason #2: We are Called to Serve the Poor
We are told in Scripture that the righteous care about justice for the poor.14 Christians believe that poverty is an affront to human dignity. Justice means enabling the poor to elevate their dignity by helping them escape the trappings of poverty. There is no other way of organizing society that has lifted more people out of poverty than global markets which are supported by economic freedom. According to a recent Brookings Report, nearly half a billion people escaped living at or below the poverty line between 2005 and 2010. Never before in history have so many found liberation from poverty in such a short time. The report goes on to say that the change is driven by the highest levels of sustained economic growth ever recorded in the developing world.15
The principles of economic freedom provide a blueprint for human flourishing. Markets consist not of a physical place, but of a mechanism of human coordination and cooperation. They bring unique individuals together to trade their time and talents in the service of others. For example, greater flourishing fostered by economic freedom ensures that poor women can open businesses without being overburdened by regulations and entry barriers that would keep them in poverty.
When reading on leadership, you very quickly come across references to “mission” and “vision.” Unfortunately, the meaning of those terms, and the difference between them, is not often made clear.
So, here’s the difference.
Mission: The ultimate purpose of the organization; it’s reason for existence. It’s why you do what you do. A mission is never “finished,” so a good mission is one that you would still be able to affirm 100 years from now.
Vision: Used in multiple ways. It is sometimes used just to mean a vivid description of what it will look like when you are fulfilling your mission in all the ways you want. More precisely, though, it is typically a large goal, usually 5-10 years out, that represents the chief focus and state of affairs you are seeking to bring about during that time period. Hence, it has a finish point and can be completed — but it is a stretch. A good vision derives from and is aligned with the mission.
Here’s an example for a church:
Mission: To glorify God as a loving community of Christ-centered people.
Vision: To have a vibrant worshipping community of 1,000 people, from all age groups, who are active in the city for justice and mercy and loving one another, being built up by solid preaching, and meeting in regular fellowship groups.
Note, of course, that if you are a church you don’t need to make numbers central to your vision. I just did that here to help keep the example clear. A good vision is quantifiable in some way; but numerical growth doesn’t need to be central to how you define success for your church. (On the other hand, I don’t think it’s bad to care about numerical growth, either; in fact, I would argue we have a mandate to care about it in some sense, because every person matters.)
Here’s one of the best parts:
Some social observers are starting to refer to a younger generation facing chronic unemployment or underemployment as the lost generation. Presently it seems the church’s response in these troubled times echoes the empty words decried by the apostle James, “Go, be warm and be filled.” Have we settled in for a respectable appearing faith devoid of works? Are we not in effect saying to so many, “Go, be warm, be filled and be unemployed.”
Could we spend more time praying and thinking how to extend a hand up instead of merely offering a hand out? Could we point a way forward so that a lost generation might become the entrepreneurial generation? What if a new generation of apprentices of Jesus would not only lift up the banner of justice, but also bring the rich truths of the Gospel into the economic sphere of life? What if a rising generation would push back against a spirit of entitlement and class envy? What if a gutsy go-for-it new generation would embrace personal diligence, disciplined responsibility, self-sacrifice, risk-taking and creative entrepreneurship? What if more venture capital, economic opportunity and intergenerational mentoring were available both in our urban and suburban areas?
STOP using ["there's no way"] as an excuse. As believers, as followers of Jesus, if we’re not chasing after something that is so much bigger than we are, and there’s no way we could ever accomplish it without God, then we are playing it too safe.
Is there currently something you are working on, organizing, idea crafting that is so big that everyone around you says “There’s no way!!” If not, it’s time to think big. Get outside your comfort zone. Dream about accomplishing a project so out of your abilities that it keeps you up at night.
God calls us to think big. If we are only working on something that we can accomplish on our own, with our own strength, I’m not sure that’s good enough.
So what’s on your heart or stirring in you that you keep pushing back because it just doesn’t seem possible? Whatever it is, put it on the table. Stretch. Pursue it. “There’s no way” those around you will say. But there is a way. God can accomplish what seems impossible to us. With our sweat. And our work. Through His power.
There IS a way WE can do that……