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Book Jacket

158229464X
Hardcover
224 pages
Sep 2005
Howard Publishing

Coached By Jesus

by Alan Nelson

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt

Excerpt:

INTRODUCTION

You have the potential for greatness. You have what it takes to make a difference in the world. With the right coach helping you unleash your slumbering possibilities, nothing-no one-can stop you. As the player who allows the coach to shape him into a star quarterback, you can allow Someone to teach you to achieve greatness by using what you already possess.

In this age of heightened competition and complexity, traditional education does not always produce the desired results. It's time that we rediscover the ancient practice of coaching: cultivating seeds of greatness by asking strategic questions-questions that cause us to think new thoughts and make new connections. Many of the great philosophers and teachers-like Socrates, Aristotle, and Jesus-used strategic questions to teach their students and mature their disciples.

Of all the great teachers throughout history, most believe that Jesus was the greatest. But if you were asked to name even one of the strategic questions that Jesus asked, could you do it? This book gives you the opportunity to contemplate not one, but thirty-one of these potent questions as recorded in the New Testament gospels-questions that still have pertinence today. These enduring, ageless insights have the ability to catalyze new growth in you so that you can experience the spiritual yet practical effect of the Master's wisdom.

Imagine for a moment what it would be like to be coached by the greatest Teacher who ever lived. Jesus's teachings have profoundly changed the lives of millions throughout history. What if we looked at His influence through the lens of coaching? What if we focused on the questions that Jesus asked people who desired to understand the deeper dimensions of their potential? Coached by Jesus is a tool to help you experience history's greatest Teacher in personal and meaningful ways.

Originally, the word coach referred to a means of transporting a person from one location to another (e.g., most of us who travel fly "coach"). The modern use of the term, in the context of human development, conveys inner travel, whereby a person moves from one place to another by responding to probing questions and taking action steps. This movement results in growth, transporting you toward the person you are meant to become.

A targeted question directs our attention to strategic growth areas. It has a way of engaging us, empowering us. An insightful question increases the chances of application, as we tend to own our own answers more than someone else's. A question can be less demeaning than a lecture, for it encourages us to think on our own. It doesn't assume we're ignorant or lack answers. Vital questions enhance our thinking skills.

As a leader and spiritual coach (pastor), I personally have seen over the last two decades the power that comes from mixing coaching with spiritual growth and renewal. Coaching is exceptionally productive among adult learners, and with that in mind I have designed this book to provide daily coaching sessions with Jesus. As you move through these thirty-one coaching sessions, you will find that as Jesus poses His questions, He doesn't dictate, but rather challenges you to engage in the process of thinking. He never forces you to believe a certain way, but He prompts you to discern what is important through the power of strategically asked questions.

As you prepare to begin your journey through these coaching sessions, choose a quiet, uninterrupted time and place. Focus your attention on these questions; ponder them deeply. Let them sink into your mind and spirit, then write or speak your responses to Him. You may choose to study one question each day for a month, or you may prefer to consider each session for a week. The sessions have a similar format: Each is titled with a paraphrased question posed by Jesus in one of the New Testament gospels. Following this title is the actual verse the question is taken from.

During each session we'll look at the question asked by Jesus and massage the idea a bit to see what application it might have in your life. The goal of this book is not to teach the more obvious lessons typically deduced from these historical passages. Rather, the aim is to uncover fresh perspectives from familiar passages.

Next the Let's Get Personal section takes you just a bit deeper, with three or four questions that help you search yourself and where you are in your journey.

Each session ends with Let's Get Going, a set of questions designed to help you reflect and act on the coaching session. Reflection without action is an intellectual endeavor yielding little growth; action without reflection tends toward busyness and creates habits that benefit little.

Rather than reading through this book in one sitting, use the sessions as your daily workout. The energy comes in working through one section at a time and letting it strengthen your mind and soul. Some sessions will likely have more personal relevance than others. This is to be expected. Consider using this book in an accountability group. Growth pursued together can be more enjoyable and effective than individual study.

Ingesting these questions and exploring the truths of the Master's teaching will enable you to authentically claim, "I've been Coached by Jesus." I commend you for taking this vital step toward realizing your potential. Jesus is ready to be your life coach.

SESSION 1

ARE YOU MAKING A DIFFERENCE?

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?

-Matthew 5:13

The right amount of salt enhances the flavor of food without drawing attention to itself. A dash of this simple white ingredient awakens an entrée's dormant flavors. But Jesus's question isn't about salt; it's about you: How are you improving the conditions around you? Are you making a difference? Are you looking for ways to help others more than you are looking for ways others can help you? Are you seeking ways to enhance the beauty around you?

Salt has a distinct flavor, and so do you. Out of millions of possibilities, God formed you. Of the billions of people who have and will ever breathe the air of this earth, you are the one God chose to live in your skin. You are unique. Even identical twins have different fingerprints. As genetic coding is unraveled and cloning becomes an approaching reality, remember that no one can copy your individuality. There are times when only your hug will dry a tear of someone close. Your grin can salve the chaotic emotions of a harassed store clerk. Your compliment can inspire a child not to give up. Knowing that your calling is unlike others', consider how you will leave your mark on the people around you.

Bland people are users-consumers who absorb the gifts, time, and resources of others. They ultimately take more out of the world than they give. Self-centered people are as common as potatoes. You can be the one to stand out, to spice things up. But keep in mind that salt doesn't steal the show from food; it simply highlights the existing flavor. Likewise, you can add value to the world around you. Let your behavior cause the waitress to say, "I'm glad he sat in my area." Strive to make your boss boast, "I'm the one who hired her." Live life in a way that enables your friends and family to say, "We're so lucky to have you in our lives." Subtly, quietly, make a difference in everything you do and everywhere you go.

Jesus is talking about your unparalleled role in life, but He puts an interesting twist on it. He asks, how can salt, having lost its saltiness, regain its flavor? How do we lose our saltiness? Do we lose it by forgetting our uniqueness, by allowing the machinery of society to squeeze us into its mold as it conditions us to think that we're just like everyone else? In this question, is Jesus calling you to use the gifts He has given you?

You're free to be you. Your true individuality is fulfilled when you enhance the lives of others. You serve best when you help others in the areas of your strengths. Discover your particular qualities. Explore the possibilities. Experiment to uncover what you're good at. Don't beat yourself up by comparing the strengths of others with your weaknesses. Don't elevate yourself by contrasting your abilities with others' inabilities. Know your strengths and use them-to serve others and thus fulfill yourself.

When you ponder your saltiness, don't limit your flavor to career dreams or large life accomplishments. Salt is a common ingredient that can make a big difference. We often overestimate the impact of a few, large contributions and underestimate the value of many small ones. In the living of each day are opportunities for you to leave a positive mark on the planet. Recognize and seize them. You have a calling from your Creator to live a salty lifestyle, using your one-of-a-kind influence and embracing opportunities to make a difference. Don't lose your flavor.

Let's Get Personal

Jesus always knew just what buttons to push in those He taught in order to help them take a long, hard look at their hearts. The question we're examining today could be expanded into three new ones to help us do just that:

o Where are you the most salty? In other words, where do you make the biggest difference in life?

o How have you accented the lives of others in small, common, "salty" ways?

o How do you enhance others' lives, rather than drawing attention to yourself?

Vigilance is required to maintain your saltiness. The busyness of life has a way of leeching the God-given saltiness out of you. Don't let this happen. Fight for it. Don't let others intimidate you or corrupt your desire to leave your mark, to make a difference. Consider each day an opportunity to enhance the flavor of the lives of those around you. You have only one shot on earth to find your flavor and release it. Are you making a difference?

Let's Get Going

1. Write down three of your strengths.

2. What tempts you to give up being salty?

3. How can you increase or regain your saltiness?