Book Review: Sifted

Have you ever felt like you were being stretched, pushed, kneaded, sifted?  If not…it’s coming.  If you have…it’ll probably happen again.  Wayne Cordeiro is a master at addressing leader fatigue and helping those in ministry remember where they should be looking for their source of strength.  His latest book Sifted does just that…points people to Jesus.  I also really benefited from reading Cordeiro’s book Leading on Empty a little over two years ago.  Both of these books articulate exactly what happens when I try to serve others out of my strength rather than from the overflow of what the Lord is doing in my life.  Sifted takes a look at exactly what God is doing as you face times of disappointment, challenges, confusion, and trials.  There is a purpose in all of it as the Lord seeks to refine us and help us become all that He created us to be.

I highlighted several things while reading and have posted them below…

  • The process of sifting, coming to that moment when our strength is spend, is how God builds our faith.
  • Sifting produces a clarity about who we are and what we do, giving definitely to the work of ministry that produces long-term results and fruitfulness.
  • Proverbs 4:23 gives us this warning: “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flows the springs of life.”
  • “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33
  • The Bible indicates that trials will come if you are pursuing effective Christian leadership.  Sifting will happen.  Know that it will happen.  The only unknown is when.
  • God will do something through you when you first allow him to do something in you.
  • You can’t gain lasting momentum by building your vision in response to another person’s ministry.
  • I tell people that the two greatest days in your life are the day you were born and the day you discovered what you were born for.
  • Discovering and accepting your calling is an important marker of a leader’s surrender to God and one of the keys to battling the temptation to compare yourself with others.
  • Having a sense that your calling is secure helps you endure.
  • In the end, 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.
  • Leadership tips:
    1.  Learn quickly what hills you will die on and which ones you must not.
    2.  Learn when to build bridges and when to draw lines, and don’t get the two mixed up!
    3.  Learn when to confront and when to let it die and never bring it up again.
    4.  Learn that when you become a leader, you can never again get angry in public.
    5.  You can never defend yourself when a staff person or leader has been hurt by your comments.  The best thing to do is to being with the wash of repentance, even though it may not have been your doing.  Repentance and forgiveness clear the wound.  You cannot apply salve until you remove the grit which causes the pain.
  • We can teach what we know, but ultimately, we will reproduce what we are.
  • “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time.” 1 Peter 5:6
  • There’s an old rabbinical saying that never ceases to challenge me. “God will one day hold us each accountable for all the things he created for us to enjoy but we refused to do so.”
  • The goal is “that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.”  2 Corinthians 2:11
  • The sifting process is God’s way of bringing us back to our first love and our first call.
  • A sifted life is an influential life.  Your greatest influence takes place after you have been sifted and have survived.
  • There’s a powerful truth in Isaiah 48:10: “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.”
  • The ability to persuade, influence, and speak with conviction can be a powerful tool for success, but unless it is stewarded with humility, integrity, honesty, and obedience, it becomes a tool for serving a leader’s selfish desires.
  • Having integrity means protecting the reputation of those not present in order to gain the trust of those who are.
  • Proverbs 16:9: “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”
  • The truth is that our potential is found in what lies ahead of us, not in what lies behind.  Past trophies are empty of potential.
  • Sifting is God’s intentional way of making us more like Jesus, people who are compelled by the love of God and willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of the gospel.

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