I was able to get a copy of Wayne Cordeiro’s new book Sifted: Pursuing Growth through Trials, Challenges and Disappointments (kindle version) that comes out in April.
This book for me came at a good time. It proved to be a good time of recalibrating for me in my thinking.
One of the most helpful parts of the book was how in each chapter there were questions for you to interact with. It is easy as a leader to skip over these and get to the content, find out what the author says. But if you skip them, you will miss much of the power of the book.
What I appreciated about this book was how real it was. As a church planter and leader; trials, challenges and disappointment are part of the territory. It takes maturity and time to see how God uses them and grows you through them. I can honestly say looking back over the last decade of working in churches, that God has used and redeemed many of the trials that I’ve experienced.
But why does this matter? Why is sifting important?
According to Cordeiro,
Sifting produces a clarity about who we are and what we do, giving definition to the work of ministry that produces long-term results and fruitfulness. The real question, then, is not whether we will face failure. It is how well we will face it. How we respond to the challenges and trials in our lives and ministries makes all the difference in the world…A sifted person is someone who is able, by God’s grace, to reflect on his experience and emerge from a time of trial with a better grasp of what matters most. He’s a person who has been tested, proven capable and mature.
Not only that, but “A sifted life is an influential life. Your greatest influence takes place after you have been sifted and have survived.” That is important to keep in mind in the midst of sifting in your life. If right now, God is working in you, sifting your heart, remember that it matters why he is doing it and how you come out on the other side.
Here are a few things that jumped to me in the book:
- Scripture tells us that the challenges we face in life happen for a reason, and the process of sifting refines us, revealing our weaknesses, exposing our self-dependence and inviting us to greater faith in God and greater dependence on his promises.
- When God begins a season of sifting in your life, the first thing that will be tested is the ballast of your life, which is your heart. It’s the weight beneath the waterline. You can’t see it, but any refining of your heart will affect everything else you do. The heart is not about skill, gifting, or even calling. It’s deeper still. It’s the epicenter, the core of everything. It’s where you respond to God.
- When something challenging is happening to us, we shouldn’t spend too much time trying to figure out who is causing it. The choice we face is simple: will we trust God and look to him throughout the difficulty we face, regardless of the cause, or not?
- Faith can be defined as living in advance what you will understand only in reverse.
- God must first accomplish something in you before he can accomplish something through you.
- The two greatest days in your life are the day you were born and the day you discovered what you were born for.
- The normative Christian experience, even when we’re in the center of God’s will, is that we seldom receive a clear view out the front windshield. Usually we see much more clearly out the rearview mirror.
- An open door does not necessarily mean smooth sailing.
- This is one of the keys to long-term ministerial success: know how God has gifted you, know where God has called you to be, and then function faithfully in that role.
- God will not hold us accountable for how much we have done. He will hold us accountable for how much of what he has asked us to do that we have done.
- There is a sense in which I can truthfully say that the church does not exist to help people, to solve their problems and alleviate their disappointments. Not ultimately, at least. The primary reason the church exists is to worship God and to point people to Christ, the ultimate solution to their problems.
- Seldom are your critics actually disappointed with you. They are usually disappointed with themselves, their lives, or God. You are simply a convenient target.
- One of the most important keys to long-term ministry success – that you’re only as powerful as your dependence on God’s strength.
- We are only as busy as we choose to be.
- God will one day hold us each accountable for all the things he created for us to enjoy but we refused to do so.
- Today it is far too easy to substitute busywork for the real work of ministry.
- It is our unguarded strengths that become our greatest weaknesses.
- The most important thing about you is what God says about you.
If you are a leader, you should buy this book. Definitely worth the time. This book will definitely make the list of “Best Books of 2012.”
Here’s what the publisher had to say about the book:
In this book, pastor and seasoned church leader Wayne Cordeiro speaks the truth in love, offering wisdom and insight to prepare leaders as they face the difficulties and hardships of planting and leading churches, while providing encouragement and inspiration for the journey. An experienced practitioner, Wayne shares the things he wishes he’d known when he was starting a new church. With additional stories from Francis Chan and Larry Osborne, each chapter includes a thought-provoking challenge question to develop a heart that is surrendered to God, focused on “being and becoming” versus “doing and accomplishing.” Wayne writes about a healthy integration and balance of personal care and leadership amidst the difficulties of church leadership. Instead of a “how to” book on models and methods, this is a combination of a self-assessment book that challenges leaders’ scorecards of success, encourages leaders to realize that they are not alone in what they are experiencing, and provides wisdom for the long haul to position younger leaders for a life of ministry and finish strong.