Malcolm Tyree

A collection of thoughts on things that matter

Archive for the category “Books”

Conflict – Trust Building: why tension can improve trust

In his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Patrick Lencioni identifies conflict as being essential to great team work.  The problem is many of us see conflict as a bad thing, but when we’ve proven we can trust each other, conflict is something that helps us build each other up.

Instead of conflict being about tearing each other down, we need to see how conflict sharpens us.  When someone disagrees with one of your ideas or plans, remember they are not saying they don’t like you.  Instead they see a short coming in your plan or a flaw in your idea.  More often than not, they’re wanting what’s best, just like you are.

If you are slow to engage in conflict, choose to trust.  Trust that the person will receive the critique with a teachable spirit.

If you are on the receiving end of conflict, choose to trust.  Trust that the person you are in relationship with is working for your good.

The Hebrew Proverb captures this best:

As iron sharpens iron,
so a friend sharpens a friend.
(Proverbs 27:17)

A Quick Review of the Books I Consumed in 2014

Books have a way of opening our mind to experiences beyond our day to day lives. They allow us to think from different perspectives and glean from the learnings of others. I do enjoy fiction books, I principally take in non-fiction works.

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Here is a run down of the books I’ve worked through in 2014.

41 – George W. Bush’s look at his father’s life. – This was a fun and insightful look into this family which has dominated the political landscape for a generation or more. Without a doubt, George H. W. Bush has lived an amazing life and W paints the story well. I took a particular liking to the way W describes the family’s time in Odessa and Midland, Texas. Oh, if you’re looking for great quips, W quotes Barbara Bush in all her honesty and humor.

You Heard Me – Colin Cowherd of ESPN rants about his observations on life and sports. I like the way Cowherd is able to draw understandings about systems and approaches to life through breaking down sports. His unique perspective of being on the other side of sports industry helps us to see, it’s just life. If you like his radio show, you’ll enjoy the book.

Daring Greatly – Brené Brown’s stellar work on living life full on is my book of the year. Brown works through the paralyzing nature of shame and how it keeps us from living full lives. Her insights into vulnerability and courage will make you weep and inspire you to dare greatly.

A Farewell to Mars – Brian Zahnd walks through his understanding of how Christ-followers should live an alternate lifestyle when it comes to war and violence. This book will challenge your patriotic and American system sentimentalities. Zahnd sees our worship of war and violence as being an act of idolatry.

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt – Edmund Morris walks us through the extraordinary life of Teddy Roosevelt as he makes his way to becoming President of the United States. Seeing sickly Roosevelt overcome one adversity after another to become the man of courage and strength was exciting and it is easy to see why he is among America’s favorite Presidents. He was bull headed, fiercely devoted, and unwavering. Morris describes him as the embodiment of America at the turn of the 20th Century.

Zealot – Reza Aslan’s look into the life of Jesus was a insightful perspective into some of the political tensions and class systems of the First Century. I was intrigued in how Aslan sought to uncover the “true” Jesus, one he describes as more of a political revolutionary than a religious leader. For me, I found his description of James and Paul’s relationship to be some of the more challenging features. I does not appear to me that Aslan has a great appreciation for Paul’s contribution to the understanding of who Jesus was/is.

Leaders Eat Last – Simon Sinek’s exploration into how a leader’s behavior influences his followers is extremely insightful. Using examples from the Military and other fields, along with working through the chemical reactions that occur within our bodies, Sinek paints a picture in which servanthood really is the best form of leadership, especially when the servanthood is inspired by a greater purpose. I highly recommend this book.

Divergent – Veronica Roth’s post-apocolyptic teen drama is filled with a gritty world that wrestles through relationships and morals. The way Roth wrestles with the temptation to play each of us in our categories is quite interesting, especially since we are a mix of so many factors and features, so of which are in great conflict with one another.

Short Stories by Jesus – Amy-Jill Levine seeks to unpack some of Jesus’ parables a part from the anti-Jewish sentiment that they are often interpreted through into the church today. She seeks to show us how First Century Jews would have connected the words to other stories, events, and situations of their day.

Overrated – Eugen Cho is one of my favorite guys to follow on Twitter. I appreciated Cho’s call for us to be more than just talk regarding our Christian convictions, but to actually recognize that some of the difficult situations we find ourselves in are a part of how God is providing an opportunity for our convictions to be lived out. Cho pushes us to do more than just love the idea of changing the world, but to actually live out the process, even though the only world that changes may be our own.

Planting Missional Churches – Ed Stetzer is another guy I follow on Twitter (along with almost anyone else interested in church planting and leadership). This book is a reminder that so much of what we have done in the past is try to extract Christ-followers from their neighborhoods and points of life and bring them into the church, when in fact we should be helping Christ-followers see how they are to be incarnational in the places they already live.

Family-Based Youth Ministry – Mark DeVries seeks to offer a different way of youth ministry because there is a rising understanding that the traditional youth ministry model is not producing adult disciples of Jesus. DeVries is challenging the short-term nature of Youth Ministry and is hoping to help us place youth ministry within a greater context of discipleship, particularly as a part of the family’s discipleship.

One Man, One Time – Kelly Barcol is a friend and fellow church planter and this is his story. Barcol takes a honest look at his faith journey and how it is so strongly related to the time that one man, one time, loved him enough that Barcol was able to see Jesus.

The Purpose Linked Organization – Alaina Love seeks to help individuals and organizations work within their strengths. This take on personalities and strengths was helpful for me to cast in a fresh light the type of personality, temperament, and perspective I have when it comes to work. I working hard to keep my preferences (purposes) in alignment while not imposing them upon others.

Flesh – Hugh Halter is one of those guys who is just flat out honest. Yes, Halter is a pastor and church planter, but he is also someone you’d expect to find at the MMA fight or at the local pub more than leading people to follow Jesus. I guess that’s what we really need isn’t it? More regular people leading other to follow Jesus. This is as much an autobiography as it is a how to book.

Viral Churches – Ed Stetzer & Warren Bird remind us that following Jesus should involve a multiplication of followers of Jesus. Essentially, as individual grow as disciples they in turn will lead others to be disciples, which will lead to the need for more congregations/churches. So the key for the church expanding and going viral is not programs and events, but disciples making disciples.

Counterfeit Gods – Tim Keller is one of the leading Christian apologetics in the United States. Living in the heart of a culture capital, Keller sees clearly how money, sex, and power control our lives making them gods that we pursue. Keller writes, “When we are completely immersed in a society of people who consider a particular idolatrous attachment normal, it becomes almost impossible to discern it for what it is.”

Better Together – Jim Toberlin and crew explore the dynamics of a church merger. Using case studies they identify the marks that lead to a healthy merger, while being honest in stating there’s not just one type of merger. The indicators are that more churches will merge in the coming years so this is a helpful read for those exploring or leading others through this process.

So that’s what I have consumed in 2014. I’m working through Rob Bell’s book The Zimzum of Love. This book is about marriage and how we feed it to strengthen it.

In case you are wondering, I finished most of these. I either read these via Kindle or listened to them through Audible.

Forgiveness is a Hard Labor of Love & Faith

Honoring God means we will have to forgive others.  There will be times when the person we will need to forgive will be a family member or a customer, yes, even a boss.  And let’s just be honest; forgiveness is HARD!

Extending forgiveness is an act of faith and love.  Henri Nouwen describes forgiveness as: “love practiced among people who love poorly.”  Let that thought sink in: “love practiced among people who love poorly.”  When someone wrongs you, exercise forgiveness and allow love to emerge.

While you wrestle with the need to hold a grudge or seek revenge, keep in mind this passage of scripture: “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19).

Author Phillip Yancey expounds on this by saying: “in the final analysis, forgiveness is an act of faith.  By forgiving another, I release my own right to get even and leave all issues of fairness for God to work out.” (What’s So Amazing About Grace)

Today, practice faith and love – practice forgiveness.

Believing In Others

“Believing in someone else, so they can believe in themselves, is a small but hugely significant act of leadership” – Carly Fiorina, Tough Choices.

Think back through your life for a moment.  Who is it that inspired you? Was it a coach; a parent; a teacher; a mentor? Someone, if only for a moment, took a chance on you.  They believed you could accomplish something.  As you think about it, remember how empowering that was for you.  Let that motivate you today as you work.

While you work, look for the people you influence.  You don’t have to be their supervisor, you just have to be of influence in their life.  Take a moment and believe in those people.  Let them know how much you believe in them.  Who knows, you may be inspiring a CEO-to-be.

The Trap of Success

This may sound out of place, but did you know success can be a trap?  It’s hard to imagine this is true, but more individuals and companies have fallen into this trap than we’d care to admit.  In the recent books, American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company and Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul, the authors identify that both companies had been hugely successful, but they had fallen into the trap of success. They had become complacent.

When we’ve been good or great for so long, it’s easy to assume we’ll always be good or great.  When we lead the market, it’s hard to imagine that someone could overtake us.  This type of thinking slipped into Ford and Starbucks.  As a result they allowed short-cuts to be taken.  They drifted away from some of their core values.  They even relaxed because of their success.  Within a short period, they found they were falling behind.

Both Ford and Starbucks had to make major adjustments between 2006 and 2010.  Their years of success has lured them into the trap of complacency.  Fortunately, they lead themselves out of those traps by returning to their values and vision.  Customers have once again lifted them up as the best in their markets.  But they must be on guard against the trap of success.

What areas in your life do you feel as though you’ve become a success or successful?

How can you guard against complacency in those areas?

Here are a few suggestions on how to guard against complacency:

1. Deepen Your Faith. Recognize that what success you are experiencing is a result of your work and God’s blessing.  Additionally, your faith in God and yourself will help you see there is more ahead.

2. Look Ahead, Not Behind. The future is more motivating than the past.  When we look behind us, we see where we’ve been.  When we look ahead, we see how far we have to go.

3. Rest, Don’t Relax. We need rest.  God teaches us to rest throughout the scriptures.  Rest is critical for us to recharge.  When we relax, we lose our edge.  When we relax, we lose focus. When we relax, it’s easy to settle.  When we rest, we know there is more to the journey.

4. Return to Your Why. This is an odd statement.  When you’ve reached a point of success, return to the big idea behind your endeavor.  Why did you start this? Why have you worked so hard? Why is it worth it?  I find “why” questions very motivating.

What suggestions would you add to avoiding complacency, the trap of success?

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