Book Review: The Life Giving Leader by Tyler Reagin

LGLAn all-new feature of “Serminutes” will be occasional book reviews that I feel stand out and should be strongly considered by those who follow this blog. I am not compensated by the publisher for my reviews and I assure my readers that I will do my best to provide honest and objective feedback. Thanks for reading. 

The Life Giving Leader

A Life Giving Book for Life Giving Leaders and Their Teams

DISCLAIMER: As an avid reader and follower of leadership books, I enrolled in an opportunity to be given a preview copy of this book by the publisher. I assure you the following review will provide you with an objective synopsis of what you can expect to find in this title. I was so inspired and challenged by this book that I ordered a hard-copy for my personal leadership library. And, I will be sharing this book with leaders I have the opportunity to serve with across the globe.

Tyler Reagin packs this book with practical, insightful and immediately replicable leadership concepts for you, your team, and those you influence.

While I’ve never attended a Catalyst Conference, I have reaped great benefits from the resources they provide, but this book by Tyler Reagin ranks among one of the most insightful outflows from this organization. Tyler has rubbed shoulders with some of the world’s most progressive leaders, Christian and otherwise, and he’s embracing and embodying the best of the best. Therein lies the strength of this book, they’re not just intangible concepts, these have been lived out by Tyler and his team at Catalyst. The powerful principles he shares come from a place of sincerity and transparency, but they are applicable to mainstream leadership too, meaning you do not have to be a Christian to realize how essential integrity is to leadership. Your team knows the difference. They will know when you’re operating from a place of sincerity or selfishness, and that mindset flows throughout your leadership style. Tyler reveals that as leaders we have the privilege and responsibility of establishing a culture of trust, transparency, and time.

A couple of standout concepts from this book are the practical aspects of leadership in which most books fall short. Tyler is not afraid to tell his readers leadership requires sweat, hard-work, and being willing to be the example to those you inspire. Face it, before we lead we must inspire. Tyler gives you the secrets to inspiring those whom you lead.

The other incredibly difficult but powerful pill to swallow in this book that will transform your leadership is what Tyler calls doing a “360” where you allow those who love you, and those whom you trust to expose for you your potential blind spots. This is next level leadership stuff that many leaders will balk at because the thrust of this concept requires you to listen to honest and transparent feedback about how people perceive you and your leadership. We make too many assumptions about how people perceive and receive our direction as a leader. This is a revolutionary concept and enables those who embrace it to truly, as Reagin describes, to lead from their “truest selves.”

This book reveals many more ground-breaking truths. Get your highlighter ready, get your mind ready, and most importantly your heart ready to learn what it takes to truly become a life giving leader.

If you’re interested in this book you can find it on Tyler Reagin’s Website https://www.tylerreagin.com/lifegivingleader or on Amazon

For more information about Tyler Reagin visit his website https://www.tylerreagin.com/

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Inspirational Sermonettes, Devotionals, and Sermon Ideas for Busy Christians, Pastors, Teachers, and Bible Students!  Visit our ABOUT PAGE  for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you.  ~ RD Mangold

Caged by an Open Door

CagedWe have a white Maltese-Bichon mix dog aptly named Casper. I say aptly named because while he’s white, and named after a ghost, he’s afraid of his own shadow. Whether this was brought on as a result of his early puppy-hood, prior to us owning him, or something just inherent to his demeanor, we’ll never really know. He refuses to give us a straight answer 😉

He suffers from a slight case of separation anxiety, for those who do not know what that is, it can be described as a state of anxiousness that your pet suffers during your absence. They can exhibit OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) behaviors like pacing back and forth around the door, barking incessantly, or they can go into a destructive tirade. I am not a dog expert by any stretch, but we know when a dog starts to tear stuff up when you’re gone that it is safer for him and your furniture if he’s safely and comfortably crated while we’re gone. There are some dog-lovers who will fault us for this, but it is a decision we didn’t take lightly. In fact, we occasionally leave him uncrated when we’re gone for short periods of time only to be reminded when we return why we decided to crate him.

He’s grown quite familiar with our routine. As of this post, Casper is 13 years old. We’ve had him since 2005. Back in 2012, he did something that blew our minds. Every Sunday we go through a ritual just before leaving for church. We’d tell him to go to his cage. He usually lets out an obligatory “huff” and goes straightaway. But, on occasion, he can tell when we’re about to leave for church and he will automatically head to his cage.

On this particular Sunday, we were in a hurry and must have forgotten to lock him up in his cage. When we returned home from church, we found him in his cage, barking and yelping like he always does when we get home, waiting for us to open his cage. When I reached down to unlatch it, I realized it had never been latched to begin with. He sat in his unlocked cage the entire time we were at church. We chuckled at his oversight, but something very profound dawned on me.

How many of us are caged by something that God never intended for us to be caged by? Have we grown used to the feeling of being trapped? Have we settled for that feeling of seclusion and isolation, when in fact, God has already set us free, we were just unwilling to step into the freedom that was already purchased for us at Calvary by Christ’s crucifixion?

We may laugh at silly Casper for remaining locked up when he could have been frolicking around the house wreaking havoc, but how many of us are content to remain caged up when just beyond that open door awaits our promise, our purpose, our potential?

What’s got you caged today? Fear, past failures, critics, insecurity, doubt, etc.? Christ has set you free my friend. Stop living captive to these debilitating figments of your imagination. Stop believing the toxic lies of the devil that’s telling you not to even try.

Come on, reach out, give it a shove, God’s already unlatched your door. Now step out into the future that He’s already prepared for you. Stop being caged by an open door!

Revelation 3:8, “I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Inspirational Sermonettes, Devotionals, and Sermon Ideas for Busy Christians, Pastors, Teachers, and Bible Students!  Visit our ABOUT PAGE  for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you.  ~ RD Mangold

From the Lab to Life

LabLifeWe may talk a good game. We may be able to trash-talk with the best of ’em. We may even be able for a brief time talk so much smack we believe it ourselves. But, there’s coming a day when God is going to filter all of the fluff in our lives and demand that we put up, or shut up!

In Christ’s teaching about that great day in which we will appear before His Judgment Seat, He makes a distinction between those who SAY and those who DO.

Matthew 7:21 – 22, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (BOLD added for emphasis)

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

Jesus went on to say we will be known by the fruit, or evidence, we produce. Did you get that? We will not be measured by our professions or confessions, we will be measured by the completion of the mission!

Let’s face it, too often our churches can resemble a laboratory. We run experiments in controlled environments. We measure, we scrutinize; we theorize and hypothesize! We sanitize, and organize. We’re dead-set on our protocols, policies and procedures. We’re never quite ready to pull the trigger on the findings of our experiments or theories. We’re just content to remain, much like lab rats in their cages, trapped in the lab.

God never intended for us to remain in the lab never to step out into real life where things can get messy and unpredictable. Jesus specialized in the messy didn’t He? Sinners, lepers, tax collectors, and prostitutes…oh my!

If studying is your thing, research will reveal churches that are growing are the ones that go from the lab to real life. They’re shedding their proverbial lab coats and throwing out their clipboards. They’ve quit crunching the numbers and they’ve stepped into a new realm of power and demonstration. A new world of influence and impact.

Everyday churches are closing their doors and pastors are moving on to other jobs and vocations because their church was too content running experiments in the safety of a sanitized environment rather than getting out there, doing something meaningful and impactful, with real-life examples of people’s lives being transformed by the renewing, life-giving power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

You can’t grow a church in a petri-dish folks! As gross as this sounds, we can’t artificially inseminate this world with the Gospel!

  • It’s time for some real reproductive power!
  • Some real fruit-bearing power!
  • Some real Holy Ghost power!

It’s time we shed the lab coats, safety goggles, and clipboards, roll up our sleeves and do whatever it takes to get the job done!

We need to move beyond the hypothetical and theoretical to the practical and powerful! One of the most frustrating feelings in my current role as a quality coordinator at my company is whenever there’s an audit, those in charge of preparing for it seem casual and so distracted. There’s no sense of urgency! Dare I say, the church can be just as apathetic at times about her role in these Last Days!

One day soon we’re all going to stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. One day we’re going to be put in the very precarious situation where we too will be judged on the deeds done in our body.

Will we be those who “say” we did this in your name Lord with no fruit, or proof, to substantiate our case? Or, will we be numbered among those who actually had the boldness, the courage, the urgency to step out of the lab and make a real difference in our generation!

My closing questions for you:

• Do you see yourself as a person of action or a person who is content to allow others to do what needs to be done?
• Do you do more planning than executing?
• Maybe you’re already sharing Christ with this world, so is there an undeveloped talent God has given you, an unanswered calling on your life, an unsung song inside you, an unwritten book you’ve put off for awhile?
• What one or two things will you begin to do right away, perhaps even today, that will set you up to begin to bring forth fruit in these undeveloped areas of your life?

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Inspirational Sermonettes, Devotionals, and Sermon Ideas for Busy Christians, Pastors, Teachers, and Bible Students!  Visit our ABOUT PAGE  for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you.  ~ RD Mangold

Our “Soul” Purpose

SoulPurposeThink about the number of people you know and interact with on a daily basis. Think about the sheer number of people in the cars as you sit in traffic. Think about that there are literally over 7 billion people on the planet and that number is growing every second. I believe by the Holy Ghost, that these are more than just flesh and blood people, these are souls. We can tend to use that term “souls” loosely, but it has a profoundly powerful impact if allow the weight of what’s at stake to sink in.

Jesus said in Matthew 16:26, “For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

The 17th Century Puritan Preacher, Thomas Watson said of this verse, “Every man carries a treasure about with him—a divine soul. And that this jewel should not be undervalued, our Savior here sets a price upon it. He lays the soul in balance with the whole world and, being put in the scales—the soul weighs heaviest.”

Some would argue the soul is of inestimable value, I would say that argument is flawed to some degree. The soul does have an estimable value and Jesus paid that price with His Blood. The God of Heaven robed Himself in flesh and suffered unthinkable pain and torture to ransom our sin-sick souls. And, because He paid that price, we have the promise of eternal life, as do all those who are washed in that Blood through baptism in His Name, and filled with His Holy Spirit.

So, before you’re too quick to lash out at that person in the parking lot for “stealing” your parking spot, or sarcastically dismiss the tirade of a disgruntled clerk, remember they’re more than just a person, beneath that thin veneer of flesh is a soul that will spend somewhere in eternity. You could be the only one standing between their decision to live for God or allow Satan to rule the day. Have compassion for them. Be an agent for healing rather than conflict. When you handle something of value, are you careless with it? Do you toss it around, mistreat it, or abuse it? Of course not! Souls are a treasure of great price.

Jesus views our soul as a treasure, as does the devil. The difference is, Jesus was willing to pay the price for that treasure. In his Gospel, John records the words of Christ in chapter 10, verse 10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Praise be to God that He thought we were worth saving and redeeming. So much so, He left the splendor of Heaven to prove there’s more to us all than meets the eye – we have a soul. Remember, people matter deeply to God as does their soul, and they should matter deeply to us as well.

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Inspirational Sermonettes, Devotionals, and Sermon Ideas for Busy Christians, Pastors, Teachers, and Bible Students!  Visit our ABOUT PAGE  for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you.  ~ RD Mangold

Reference vs. Reverence

RefVSREv

 

Thomas Jefferson wrote one of the most pivotal documents in all of American History, if not human history. The Declaration of Independence is viewed by many as almost a sacred mandate upon all humanity. Even as I read the words Jefferson penned in 1776, I still get goose-bumps, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

What you may not realize however is that Jefferson created another not-so inspirational document called the “Jefferson Bible.” In this unofficial bible, Jefferson edited the Holy Bible, specifically the New Testament, to remove the parts of Christ’s Life that he felt were not necessary, namely the miracles of Christ. He literally went through and physically cut those portions of scripture he disagreed with, and kept others like the teachings of Christ for reference purposes only.

Entitled, “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth,” was completed in 1820 by cutting and pasting with a razor and glue numerous sections from the New Testament as extractions of the doctrine of Jesus. Jefferson’s condensed composition is especially notable for its exclusion of all miracles by Jesus and most mentions of the supernatural, including sections of the four gospels that contain the Resurrection and most other miracles, and passages that portray Jesus as divine. (Wikipedia citations [2][3][4][5])

For obvious reasons this has disturbing implications, to say the least, but sometimes one letter and its placement can make all of the difference in a word. The words “Reference” and “Reverence” are great examples of this principle. As it turns out, one letter, an F or a V has the potential to be an effective barometer in our walk with Christ.

Our lives can be lived in “reference” to Christ i.e. His teachings, His principles, His ideas, His values, and incredible insight. Much of the world has a “reference only” view of Christ’s earthly life and teachings. While admirable and even inspirational, this narrow view lacks a vital component. A view of the Life of Christ as merely a good reference for living our lives places a dangerous distinction between the characteristics of Christ versus the character of Christ.

To extrapolate Christ’s teachings from His Life, without allowing for His Divine Presence to enable, equip, and empower us, sets us up for some unrealistic expectations because much of what Christ taught ran counter to the culture of His day and even ours. In other words, His teachings were not popular, and to exercise His teachings without His empowering Spirit, can set us up for discouragement. Christ did not just teach, He embodied His teachings which provided His followers with not just instruction, but demonstration of how those teachings should be lived out.

John states it this way in the his account of Christ’s words, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (15:4-5)

While a life lived in “reverence” to Christ does so as a way of elevating Christ’s teaching in our lives to a place of Holy Reverence and Honor. A perspective of reverence enables and empowers us to embody the life-giving teachings, principles, and most importantly, commandments of Christ. We live our lives as a way of allowing Christ’s true character and nature to shine through us.

From a cold dark prison cell in Philippi, the Apostle Paul penned these very famous words, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).

How could Paul write such things facing such dire circumstances? Paul knew that it was only “through Christ” which gives us strength, and in another place, the all-sufficient grace to face unthinkable trials, tests, and even power to live up to the self-sacrificing, counter-intuitive and counter-cultural teachings of Christ.

With a mere reference view, we have the option of taking or leaving things as the world does. But, maintaining a reverence for both Christ and His teaching, it will provide us a holy compulsion drawing us into a relationship with the originator of the principles, teachings, and ultimately commandments of Christ.

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Inspirational Sermonettes, Devotionals, and Sermon Ideas for Busy Christians, Pastors, Teachers, and Bible Students!  Visit our ABOUT PAGE  for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you.  ~ RD Mangold

Fostering an Adoption Mindset

Adoption MindsetI won’t pretend to even begin to say I know what it is like growing up in the foster care system. I’ve had friends and even some family members who tell stories of what it’s like when you’re on the receiving end of being a foster kid in the system and longing for the day you will have a “forever home.” In fact, many can’t even relate to the concept of having a forever home because they’ve been bounced around from place to place, and family to family. You’re always in a state of flux and you’re always bracing yourself for when the rug is going to be pulled out from beneath you.

When I was younger my grandparents fostered a sister and brother and they fought like mad to be able to adopt them. These particular children were my age and I had grown to love them like my own sister and a brother. When the fateful day came for them to be reassigned, it devastated our family because we had grown to accept them and were willing to adopt them as our own flesh and blood, but the “System” wasn’t having it. The tears streamed down all our faces. It was one of the saddest days of my childhood. The relationships we had quite literally “fostered” were abruptly and tragically ended. In the words of Little Orphan Annie, “It’s a hard-knock life,” don’t even begin to describe the nightmarish life of these children.

While we all may not be able to relate to the hardships of foster life, there’s a generation out there right now that lives this kind of life in a constant state of spiritual, emotional, and relational flux; always bracing themselves for the next big break-up. We get bounced from broken relationship to broken relationship, longing for stability, love, and a forever home. But friends, in this world, it’s just not meant to be. God did not send His only begotten Son just to scoop up a bunch of foster kids. Christ came that He could adopt us all!

Herein lies the distinction. Christ doesn’t just want to be a foster parent. He doesn’t expect His church to just be a foster family. And, He’s certainly not in the market for relationships that come and go. God is committed to being your forever Father. He wants His Church to be your forever family, and He most certainly wants Heaven to be your Forever Home.

This world, at best, can only offer to be your foster parent, but Jesus wants to adopt you into the Family of God through His supreme sacrifice at Calvary. He paid the dearest price to ensure you were not only adopted but that you become an heir with Him for Eternity.

In the grand scheme of things, being adopted may not sound like the optimal outcome for children in this life. Some grow to feel their birth parents abandoned them. So Christ takes it one step farther. He not only adopts us, He allows us to be “born into this family” through His Death, Burial and Resurrection, we become the Sons and Daughters of God!

This is bigger than “foster-care” or adoption; this is about a New Birth experience, where your old life is buried with Christ, and you arise to become a New Creation in Him as well. Your old life is passed away, and all things are made new!

Ephesians 1:3 – 6, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Inspirational Sermonettes, Devotionals, and Sermon Ideas for Busy Christians, Pastors, Teachers, and Bible Students!  Visit our ABOUT PAGE  for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you.  ~ RD Mangold

Empty Suits

Empty SuitsFor 12 painstaking and exhausting years, this nameless woman suffered in silence. Alone, abandoned, and at her wit’s end, she had spent her last dime to find a cure. She suffered from an inexplicable condition the Gospels called an “issue of blood.” The Levitical Law banished such women to obscurity labeling them “unclean.” She desperately sought help from countless doctors and likely even the religious community, and they all simply made matters worse.

Desperate, tired, and depleted, she felt she had but one option; seek out the miracle-working rabbi. Due to the sensitive nature of her condition,  she tried to maintain a very low profile, it’s likely she literally crawled through the throngs of people to get to the teacher. She was bent on the conviction, if she could but touch the hem of His garment, she could be healed. In one incredible, unprecedented move, she reached out, touched the border of Jesus’ robe.

According to the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, The word translated “border” (kraspedon, Heb. tsitsith) is a tassel at each “wing” or corner of the tallith or mantle. The Law (Numbers 15:38-40) required that it should be bound with a thread of blue, the color of heaven, and so the type of revelation. The strict Jews to this day wear these tassels, though they are usually concealed. One of the four tassels hung over the shoulder at the back, and this was the one which the woman touched.

Upon the woman’s touch, Jesus felt “virtue” leave His body. This was a first and despite His divine aptitude, it even stopped Jesus in His tracks. The woman’s condition was healed immediately. No more doctors. No more early morning trips to market before the masses. No more early morning trips to the well before the arrival of the busy mothers. She was clean! She was healed! She was delivered! This was more than a condition, this had affected every facet of her reclusive life, and Jesus made it all possible.

She had tried 12 years worth of empty suits…the physicians, the priests, the “experts!” Are we more than empty suits, or do we possess the power of the Holy Ghost that will be the supernatural healing our generation is looking for?

She may not have touched Jesus directly, but He asked, “who touched me?” She could not reach Jesus, but she reached for the thing that had touched Jesus. The world may not immediately be able to touch Jesus…but if they reach out to you, someone who has touched Jesus, they will be able to touch the closest thing to Him…YOU!

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Inspirational Sermonettes, Devotionals, and Sermon Ideas for Busy Christians, Pastors, Teachers, and Bible Students!  Visit our ABOUT PAGE  for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you.  ~ RD Mangold