Free Book download from my friend Steve Graves

When I know of something useful I am always inclined to share it here on the blog. So I am partnering with my good friend Dr. Stephen R. Graves for the next 3 days to offer you a FREE copy of his new book Flourishing: Why Some People Thrive While Others Just Survive.

This book is a great resource for you and your friends, including incredibly insights on the subject of flourishing. Again, just follow the link to download your FREE eBook today.

Steve is a leadership author, entrepreneur, and executive coach who has been helping leaders flourish for over 25 years.

I am excited to have the opportunity to offer his book to you and hope you will take advantage of this great gift and take a minute to download the book.

And please forward the link on to someone else so they can benefit from it. My hope is that this can be a way for you to share great content with your community as well.

Again, you can download the FREE ebook here. The Free download will expire on Friday.

Enjoy!

Interview with Margaret Feinberg on her new book Fight Back with Joy

You’ve Gotta Learn to Fight Back With Joy

My friend, Margaret Feinberg, author, speaker, and ski buddy, was scheduled to speak at Catalyst last fall, but had to reschedule. She was in the fight of her life with cancer.

In her new book and Bible study, Fight Back With Joy, she shares that at the news of the diagnosis, she chose to fight back with a rather surprising weapon—joy.

Her new book and Bible study, Fight Back With Joy, will take leaders everywhere by surprise. Let’s be honest, we’ve all read shallow books on joy that try to teach the why’s and how’s of joyful living.

But Margaret explores the depths of joy rarely plundered. Listen to these bombshells:

More than whimsy, joy is a weapon we use to fight life’s battles.

“Joy is your heritage, your identity, your destiny.

Practicing defiant joy is the declaration that the darkness does not and will not win.

Sometimes you have to poke holes in the darkness until it bleeds light.

If you can’t tell, Margaret is a gifted writer. Rich with Scriptural insight this book will take you by surprise and challenge you to fight back with joy as lead and serve.

The Secret To Living A Defiant Joy: An interview with Margaret Feinberg

It’s been inspiring to learn how Margaret has been practicing a defiant joy, and I thought you might like to get an insider’s look and read an interview with Margaret.

Your newest book and Bible study, Fight Back With Joy, was born out of your fight with a life-threatening illness. What was your difficult diagnosis, and what has your journey to health entailed?

 For the last 18 months, I’ve been battling breast cancer. Breast cancer isn’t just one disease represents thousands of different diseases with their varying components and factors. Being diagnosed under the age of 40 is significant. I’ve been through a brutal year of chemotherapy, radiation, and more surgeries than I can count or want to remember.

Why did you write Fight Back With Joy?

I studied joy for a year and was putting the finishing touches on book on joy—just two weeks from turning it into the publisher, when I received the diagnosis. I had been pursuing and activating joy in my life in the relatively good times, now I had to do it in the midst of darkness, depression, and torturous pain. Through the process, I’ve discovered the breadth, depth, and power of joy—that despite hundreds of sermons and many decades in the church—no one had told me of before.

In Fight Back With Joy book and Bible study, you really push the reader to reevaluate their definition of joy. Why do you think this is so important?

Much of the teaching I’ve heard on joy over the years is oversimplified. I remember those days in Sunday school learning that JOY is spelled Jesus, Others, Yourself. While that made perfect sense at 9 years old, I’ve seen how distorted that can become as an adult.

I see friends who love Jesus but spend so much time pouring into their kids, grandkids and others that their joy looks something like this: jOy.

Technically, it still spells joy, but more than anything, these men and women who are so exhausted, so empty, so running on fumes from pouring into others need to pause and take time to focus on themselves. Laying hold of joy right now will require them to reevaluate for a season and discover the joy that comes with JYo.

I also noticed how most of the definitions of joy define it more by what it isn’t than by what it is. I constantly heard that happiness is based on circumstance but joy is not dependent on circumstance.

Biblical expressions of joy turn out to be far different than what I had been taught. I am now convinced the writers of the Bible would say that, the reason we have joy is because we have great circumstances. If you are a child of God, you are drenched in the grace and mercy of God.

No matter what you’re facing: Your circumstances are better than you think. If you’re not experiencing joy, perhaps it’s because your definition of joy is too narrow.

On a scale of 1-10, how hard was it for you to write this book and Bible study?

An eleven! This journey has been the most painful experience of my life. And, to share about it requires some vulnerability. Okay, a lot of vulnerability. And, that’s really, really hard. But I feel like I’m finally ready to share what God has stirred in my heart along the way because although cancer has been the most painful journey—it has also been the most joyful. And no one is more surprised than I am.

 

Thanks Margaret! And she goes one step further by providing additional resources at the end of the book. She helps us, as leaders, know what to say and what not to say when those in our congregations, ministries, and businesses are going through crisis.

So often we want to pastor and lead people well, but just don’t know what to do. If you know someone facing a horrendous situation, Fight Back with Joy is a must-read.

Get this in the hands of your leadership team and Bible studies—it will equip your church to be the church.

Check out the video.

Pick up a copy of Fight Back With Joy at Amazon or Barnes and Noble today.

Top 50 Leadership Books to Read

I love leadership. And I read a lot. So I wanted to provide you with a list of some of the best leadership books I recommend.

These are not the only leadership books you should read. There are hundreds of others that are great. But these are just simply 50 of my favorite leadership books.

So here you go. And please share this leadership list with your friends, team, and other leaders who might benefit.

50 leadership books I recommend you read:

1. Good to Great- Jim Collins

2. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership- John Maxwell

3. Courageous Leadership- Bill Hybels

4. The Next Generation Leader- Andy Stanley

5. The Catalyst Leader- Brad Lomenick (***obvious bias on this one!!!)

6. Love is the Killer App- Tim Sanders

7. The Tipping Point- Malcolm Gladwell

8. Tribes- Seth Godin

9. It: How Churches and Leaders can Get it and Keep it- Craig Groeschel

10. Integrity- Henry Cloud

11. In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership- Henri Nouwen

12. Axiom- Bill Hybels

13. EntreLeadership- Dave Ramsey

14. Five Dysfunctions of a Team- Patrick Lencioni

15. Visioneering- Andy Stanley

16. Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us- Daniel Pink

17. Creativity, Inc- Ed Catmull

18. Linchpin- Seth Godin

19. How to Win Friends and Influence People- Dale Carnegie

20. Wooden on Leadership: How to Create a Winning Organization- John Wooden

21. Start with Why- Simon Sinek

22. The Leadership Challenge- Barry Posner and Jim Kouzes

23. Leading with the Heart- Coach Mike Krzyzewski

24. unChristian- Gabe Lyons and David Kinnaman

25. True North- Bill George

26. Undaunted- Christine Caine

27. Execution- Ram Charan and Larry Bossidy

28. Daring Greatly- Brene Brown

29. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People- Stephen Covey

30. The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork- John Maxwell

31. What the CEO Wants You to Know- Ram Charan

32. Rework- Jason Fried and David Hansson

33. The Experience Economy- Joseph Pine and James Gilmore

34. Made to Stick- Chip and Dan Heath

35. Blink- Malcolm Gladwell

36. Making Ideas Happen- Scott Belsky

37. The Effective Executive- Peter Drucker

38. Emotional Intelligence- Daniel Goleman

39. On Becoming a Leader- Warren Bennis

40. Leading Change- John Kotter

41. Now, Discover Your Strengths- Marcus Buckingham

42. Leaders Eat Last- Simon Sinek

43. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook- Gary Vaynerchuk

44. The Advantage- Patrick Lencioni

45. Leadership is an Art- Max Dupree

46. In Search of Excellence- Tom Peters

47. Start- Jon Acuff

48. Built to Last- Jim Collins

49. The Power of Habit- Charles Duhigg

50. Unleashing the Power of Rubber Bands- Nancy Ortberg

bonus:

51. Silos, Politics and Turf Wars- Patrick Lencioni

52. Boundaries- Henry Cloud

53. In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day- Mark Batterson

54. The Essential Wooden: A Lifetime of Lessons on Leaders and Leadership- John Wooden

55. The Spark- John Bacon and Lyn Heward

56. The Starfish and the Spider- Ori Brafman

57. The Fred Factor- Mark Sanborn

58. Onward- Howard Schultz

 

What would you add?

4 Ways Leaders Can Release Control, and Ultimately Thrive :: Guest Post

(from Cole NeSmith)
I love control. We love control. Control and leadership are actually very fine lines. I started writing my new book, Spiritual Innovation, in 2013 and very quickly I discovered that control is at the root of so much of what I do on a daily basis in my life and leadership. I suspect the same is true for you.
At the heart of Spiritual Innovation is the reality that God is infinite, and throughout history, He has revealed more of Himself and His activity to and through His people. God (being the same today, yesterday and forever) is still up to revealing Himself in the most unexpected ways. But the greatest enemy to joining God in what He’s doing is our own desire for control : controlling ourselves, our circumstances, those around us, and – ultimately – controlling God.
In chapter two of Spiritual Innovation, I tell this story about how the desire to control manifested in my life as a leader.
As a kid, I did chores—cleaned the toilet, mowed the yard, dusted my bedroom. The payment for chores was allowance. Each time I did a chore, I ran up to my parent’s bedroom, opened the bedside table and pulled out a white pad of paper with a long running ledger of plus and minuses, earnings and payouts. Most Sundays, I would run up to that ledger, pull it out, move the decimal point one place to the left and determine the 10% tithe I was to put in the pink envelope with my church’s logo printed on it.
So, 15 years later in life, as I was preparing to give a message about “generosity” at my church, naturally I started researching the tithe. The tithe was mentioned in the books of Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. It was an agricultural offering of one tenth of one’s grain, wine, and oil harvests. But continuing on in my preparation, it became obvious: tithe was only one example of sacrificial giving in the Bible.
In Luke 19, Zacceaus, as a result of his encounter with Jesus, gave away half of his possessions and returned four times the amount he had stolen from individuals. When Jesus encounters the Rich Young Ruler in Matthew 19, Jesus instructs him to give away everything he has and come follow him. In Acts, we see members of the Church giving away all they had and giving to others as they had need. Even Ananias and Sapphira—after selling their field—were told the money they had received was at their disposal.
So why the ten percent? I think it’s because we like control and formulas give us the illusion of control. Encouraging people into a place of freedom takes control away. As individuals, we feel at ease when we know the expectation and can, without thought, meet that expectation. We ask, “what will make God happy with me?” and work to meet the minimum requirement so we can feel at ease. Then, as leaders, if we reinforce ten percent, that gives us a common, consistent message and a sense of peace that we will receive at least that much. But no one needs to be in relationship with God to understand this ten percent rule. The tither need not listen to God for instruction on giving, and the leader need not listen for how to lead his or her people or trust in God for provision.
So here are 4 ways I explore in the book that we as leaders can release control, and become the leaders we are created to be.

1. Platform People
In our desire to control, we often leverage people to achieve our own agenda. But the true role of a leader is not to use others but to platform them into their created purpose. This means that the initiatives of our churches may change over time as the people of our churches grow, mature, come, and go. So often, we create positions and push people into the holes to fill the void. But perhaps we should be creating positions not based on our own agenda but on God’s agenda as He blesses the people of our churches with specific gifts and talents.
2. Celebrate Uniqueness 
In order to platform people into their gifts, we must first begin to value people for their uniqueness. So much of modern, American Evangelicalism is built on the concept of sameness, and often “different” scares us. But as we step into relationship with God, he doesn’t neutralize the personalities and personas of each individual. God makes us each with unique gifts and talents to contribute to the unfolding of His plan of heaven on earth. It’s the role of the leader to help uncover the uniqueness of the people around us and to encourage, challenge, and equip them to step into the fullness of who they are created to be.
3. Embrace Exploration
Too many leaders settle to recreate. Too many of us are okay with trying to replicate what we’ve seen someone else do at some other place or at some other time. But God wants to accomplish something unique to where you are. Here and now. That means we have to become people of risk. We have to be people who are willing to explore the unknown depths of God and ministry, placing our complete trust in Him. It means we have to be willing to try things that may fail. But it’s in the exploration that we discover God in more intimate ways than ever before.
4. Practice Creativity 
If you’ve ever made something, you’ve practiced creativity. If you’ve ever asked, “how could this be different” or “how could we do this better,” you’ve practiced creativity. You see, creativity is central to the Christian life. Everything we are called to involves not only seeing things as they are but as they could be. God calls us to be people of hope who see the world as He sees it. And as we release our need for control, we begin participating in making the world, not what we think it should be, but what God has always intended it to be.
Life seems so much easier when we’re in control. But when things are up to you and me, they are limited to the confines of our human capacity. And God’s dreams for the world are so much bigger than anything we could ever accomplish on our own. So today, release control, step into an expectation of innovation, and see God do things far beyond anything you’ve ever imagined!
Cole NeSmith is the Creative Director and co-pastor of City Beautiful Church in Orlando, FL. His new book, Spiritual Innovation, helps us move from the need for control to a new level of exploration, expectation, discovery, and creativity in our faith and lives. Get it here.

He also creates interactive and reflective art and worship experiences through his company, Uncover The Color.

He blogs at colenesmith.com and is on Twitter @ColeNeSmith.

11 New Books I Highly Recommend

in Favorite New Things,Friends and Links,leadership,Misc,publishing. No Comments

Here are a few new leadership books from friends that I highly recommend:

1. Yes or No- by Jeff Shinabarger

2. Unstoppable- by Christine Caine

3. Row for Freedom- by Julia Immonen

4. The Best Yes- by Lysa TerKeurst 

5. Overrated- by Eugene Cho

6. Be the Message- by Kerry Shook 

7. Jesus Prom- by Jon Weece

8. Addicted to Busy- by Brady Boyd

9. Life with a Capital L- by Matt Heard

10. The Sticky Faith Guide For Your Family- by Kara Powell

11. Life on Mission- by Aaron Coe 

The Catalyst Leader is $2.99 Today ONLY: Thursday, July 3

Hey friends!

Today only- The Catalyst Leader book Kindle version is available for $2.99 on Amazon.

Go Get it NOW!

Again, today only- THURSDAY, JULY 3. The Catalyst Leader Kindle version is $2.99 on Amazon.

Buy one for yourself and one for a friend to pass on.

And if you’ve already read the book, then please buy 2 copies of the Kindle version for your friends/family.

This is such a great deal!

Thanks for the support! And thanks to our friends at Amazon for making this possible.