Monday, December 21, 2009

Book Review: How to Reach Your Full Potential for God

How to Reach Your Full Potential for God cover

How to Reach Your Full Potential for God
by Charles Stanley

Hardback: 256 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
First Released: 2009

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Back Cover Description:
God has more for you.
... more ways for you to feel joy.
... more ways for you to experience His peace.
... more ways for you to encounter His beauty.
... more expressions of His love to shower upon you.

Are you ready to experience God's best?

In How to Reach Your Full Potential for God, best-selling author, teacher, and pastor Dr.Charles F. Stanley lays out seven essentials to an abundant life--the life of purpose that God planned specifically for you.

"You are not here by accident....You are here to accomplish a job that God assigned to you from eternity past."

If you settle for less than God's best in your life, the world will lose your contribution, and you will miss the exhilaration of reaching your full potential.

"It is an awesome, eye-opening, and inspiring thing to catch a glimpse of how God is working in your life--weaving together who He made you to be with those things He has prepared you to do and experience."

Chapter by chapter, Dr. Stanley makes the biblical path to fulfilling your God-given potential clear, practical, and inspiring. Follow it to experience the joy, peace, and love that your heavenly Father has waiting for you. Read these pages, embrace these principles, and enjoy every moment of life at its best.

The title of this book is excellent in describing who it's for. If you want to reach your full potential for God, then this book is for you. It's written in a style of a coach (Dr. Stanley) telling an athlete (the reader) how to win the game (a life serving God) with the game plan coming from the Bible. Some of the advice might sound a little extreme to some readers, but I'd agree that extreme is appropriate if you want to reach your full potential--just like a top athlete is willing to push themselves beyond the comfortable and easy to do his best.

Some chapters, like chapters 4 and 5, came mainly from the Bible and used a nice amount of Scripture to support his points. (I really liked chapter 5, by the way, and I hope he has or will someday write a whole book on "a clear/clean mind.") Other chapters drew an overall principle from the Bible and then, since the Bible didn't give specifics, drew on other sources to create a game plan.

While this book is rather self-focused, it's not "you ought to have these goals (do these things) if you want to be a good Christian" but a "here are our goals and here's how to accomplish them." At the end of most chapters, he gave an example of how a real person applied that chapter's principle and what the results were.

I had a slight question here and there about the nuances of how he phrased a statement, but overall I found his theology solid. I liked that he has the reader focus on God as their source of strength to accomplish everything. So, if you want to reach your full potential for God and would like Bible-based coaching on how to do it, this book will help.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter Three (pp. 23-24, 30)

After you shake off the bonds that are keeping you from seeking and acknowledging your potential, you are likely to encounter several hurdles in your attitude or thinking. These obstacles can trip you up unless you are willing to overcome them with your faith. Let me point out at least seven of these hurdles.

Hurdle #1: A Limited Perspective

Some people are focused solely on themselves in the here and now. As a result, they are extremely nearsighted. They see only what is happening right before them or what is affecting their lives with the greatest intensity at any given moment. Concerned only with what is happening this hour or this day, these people live in the moment, sliding from minute to minute without any thought. They react to life rather than respond to it. Reactions are immediate, instinctual, impulsive, and generally arise from emotion. Responses, by comparison, are measured, evaluative, and "thought out" to some degree-and therefore, they tend to be slightly delayed in time. Both reactions and responses have a spiritual root but their expression is different. The Lord calls us to express godly responses--behaviors based upon our spiritual value system, our belief in God's Word, and our intimate relationship with Him.

Others view life by looking only in the mirror. They see only how people, circumstances, or situations affect them--not how they might impact the lives of others. Although these personality types do not consider others, they usually expect others to think continually about them and are upset if that is not the case!

If you believe that your purpose in life is solely in the here and now, or that your purpose is wrapped up entirely in what will benefit you, it is very likely that you will become extremely self-indulgent. You will ask only, "What brings me immediate pleasure and satisfaction?" And then you will seek out and pursue only those things.

The real question to ask is, "What does God have in mind for me and for my life?" Our ultimate purpose on this earth is not to gratify and satisfy ourselves, but to bring pleasure and joy to the heart of the Father.


Hurdle #6: The Fear of Failure

Another major hurdle that can trip us up is the fear of failure. Each of us must acknowledge that we already have experienced far more failures than successes. How many times do you think you fell down learning to walk as a baby before you finally took your first steps? How many wrong notes did you play before you mastered your first piece on the piano? How many times have you misread driving instructions and taken a wrong turn?

All of us have failed at some things. But that does not mean we are failures. It tells us that we have tried some things and discovered that we needed more skills, more sensitivity, more love, more information, or more of God's presence and power in order to succeed. Failures teach us if we will choose to be taught. They inform us if we will open our minds to be informed.

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