In New Book, John Maxwell Delivers Lessons in Faith and 'Intentional Living'

Leadership expert John C. Maxwell at the offices of Krupp Kommunications in the Flatiron District in Manhattan, New York on Wednesday October 7, 2015.
Leadership expert John C. Maxwell at the offices of Krupp Kommunications in the Flatiron District in Manhattan, New York on Wednesday October 7, 2015. | (Photo: The Christian Post/Leonardo Blair)

He also apologizes early on to anyone he may offend by his discussion of his faith.

"I talk pretty openly about my faith in this book. I do that because it has been an important part of my personal journey. It may also be a part of yours. But I also know that it may not be. Rest assured, I will not try to force my faith on you. If you're indifferent to faith, or even if you have a negative disposition toward faith or God, I sincerely believe you'll benefit from hearing my story," he writes. "Having said that, I want you to know that I'll let you know when I'm going to talk about my faith, and you can skip that section if you want to. I won't be offended."

I was still absorbing Maxwell's message from the book when we sat down to discuss it only hours after I had finished reading it on Wednesday. I told him I found the book "stunning." He listened as I fumbled around in my head to find the right words to say the book struck a chord in me. Perhaps I didn't want to admit that his book made me question whether I was living a life of significance.

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"I believe we all have a longing to be significant, to make a contribution, to be a part of something noble and purposeful," he writes in the book.

I had ticked that statement off as true for me.

Then this one hit me:

Significance is messy. It's inconvenient. It's overwhelming. At times I've been disappointed in myself. I've also been disappointed by others. All the couldn'ts, didn'ts, and wouldn'ts in my life have shown me my shortcomings. The story I wanted to write and the one being written are different. But that's OK. My strikeouts have developed my character, and my hits have been unforgettable. When your story of significance moves from ideal to real, it will begin to remake you.

I ticked that one off as another truth too. Read it again and let it sink in if you missed it.

Maxwell uses a powerful blend of stories from his own life and others throughout the book to explain how you can only live a life of significance by being intentional about it. And being intentional involves taking action.

"The goal of the book is not to have a passive reader say it was a great book. The goal of the book is to get a person to say, I can be intentional and be significant right now and I'm gonna do it, and by the way John, I'm gonna tell you what I did," he says.

His references to faith are authentic and inspiring.

It is always my desire to do my best. I have adopted Coach Wooden's motto "Make every day your masterpiece, "so it's a given that I will give my best every day. But God helps to make my best, as flawed as it is, even better. I have always believed that God will be there for me and help me. In fact, my belief in myself grows out of my faith. I totally embrace the words in Jeremiah 29:11: "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"

"My faith influences my message because it is the message. Everything I know about leadership is out of the Bible," Maxwell tells me when I ask him to explain the difference between Intentional Living and his other work.

"If I'm in the business community I don't quote Scripture, I don't talk about that. But the principles, the leadership principles, they're all in the Bible. So what I try to do, I don't try to convert anybody, I try to add value to people," he explains.

Contact: Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

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