Book Review: What’s Best Next by Matt Perman

What’s the best book that you should read next? I would have to suggest Matt Perman’s What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done. 

whats-best-next

This is the most important productivity book that I have ever read. It approaches productivity from a Christian view in light of eternity and exposes the global mission of the individual.

This introduction offers this thesis:

“The essence of gospel driven productivity is this: we are to use all that we have, in all areas of life, for the good of others, to the glory of God-and that this is the most exciting life. To be gospel driven Christian means to be on the lookout to do good for others to the glory of God, in all areas of life, and to do this with creativity and competence. Further, being gospel driven also means knowing how to get things done so that we can serve others in a way that really helps, in all areas of life, without making ourselves miserable in the process to overload, overwhelmed, and hard to keep up systems.”

Matt Perman doesn’t just give us a philosophy of productivity. He gives us a practical process. Like David Allen’s Getting Things Done, He helps you build an entire productivity system that can be adjusted to suit your personality and work style.

Perhaps my favorite thing about this book is the author’s use of the Scriptures in proving his productivity philosophy and process. Never have I seen the topic of productivity so closely tied to the Gospel. It is God’s desire for His people to be productive in expanding the Kingdom of God.

Obligated, Eager, and Unashamed

I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Romans 1:14-16).

The Apostle Paul makes three statements here that sum up his attitude towards evangelism and spreading the Gospel:

1. I am obligated (I am debtor).
2. I am eager (I am ready).
3. I am not ashamed.

Sad to say, our attitude towards evangelism can often be summarized in opposite terms. When it comes to the difficult work of real evangelism, we seemingly have little sense of obligation, no enthusiasm, and considerable embarrassment. In fact, those of us in Western society may even feel like it is our obligation to keep quite unless we cross the lines of the politically correct.

If you no longer feel obligated, eager, and unashamed about sharing the Gospel, try to remember back to the time you were first saved. You know exactly where I am going with this. These three words describe the new convert perfectly. And they should always remain our attitude toward evangelism.

Obligated:

Why am I obligated? Allow me, in this short space, not to get too theologically deep. Let’s just answer this question using simple logic. We are obligated to share the Gospel because Jesus told us to. Every child of God is called to be a witness and is given power to fulfill this calling (Acts 1:8). We have a duty and an obligation to our Savior.

We are obligated to share the Gospel in every nation (Matthew 28:19). Everybody needs to hear this message at least once. If you believe the consequences of rejecting or accepting this Gospel, then your burning desire should be that all would hear the name Jesus and come to know Him.

Eager:

Paul said “I am ready.” My guess is that this is were the breakdown comes for many Christians. We love the Gospel and we may even feel obligated to share the Gospel, we just don’t feel very eager. Instead of sharing, we allow fear, doubt, and worry to hinder us and we carry around the guilt of feeling obligated but not acting. We live in a fast-paced, busy world. If we are looking for excuses to not share the Gospel, we will find them in abundance. But if we ever cast off our complacency and see one soul led to Christ with our help, we will forever be eager to share and share again.

Unashamed:

Paul was not speaking here of his confidence in his ability to communicate or convince. He was speaking of the Gospel’s ability to save. We certainly have nothing to be ashamed of. This Gospel works! It is the power of God unto salvation. It has never failed someone who has believed.

The Gospel In A Nutshell

Studies in First Corinthians – XXV

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Paul is quickly coming to an end of his first letter to the church at Corinth. He has revealed the emptiness of their supposed knowledge and philosophy. He has preached the message of the cross. He has corrected the errors in their practices and doctrine. He has proclaimed the triumph of love. And now he draws out the foundation upon which he has leaned heavily: the gospel.

“I declare unto you the gospel” (15:1).

Nothing else matters if they have not truly received the gospel. Have their lives been changed by their response to the implications of the dynamic message of the gospel of Jesus Christ?

Paul demonstrates to them that the gospel he has preached is based upon certain facts. Furthermore, there is indisputable evidence, so there is no excuse for failing to believe and accept it. Not only is this gospel based upon facts, but it has immense personal implications for every person. The awful possibility grips Paul’s mind as he thinks that the Corinthians may have only believed in vain. This depends, for them and for us, whether our faith has produced a proper response.

What are the facts? “I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (15:3-4). That is the gospel in a nutshell. It is the simple story of a man who lived in the Middle East about two thousand years ago who was crucified outside Jerusalem. He was buried and He rose again. He wasn’t just any man, He was God manifest in flesh. He died for our sin so that we can live.

These simple facts need each other. If you take anything away, you have no gospel. A cross without a resurrection is no gospel. The death of a sinful man does nothing to impact the eternity of mankind. These things: He died, He was buried, He rose again, are the basic elements of the Christian faith. Twelve simple men, most of them fishermen, could never have turned the world upside down unless all of the facts were true.

Have you believed the gospel of Jesus Christ? It will show.

“Hidden” Message in Names

I was watching a film on creation and the presenter made an interesting observation. You may have already heard or seen this but I thought I would share.

The names of the first ten generation of man and their meaning:

  • Adam – Man
  • Seth – Appointed
  • Enos – Mortal
  • Cainan – Sorrow
  • Mahalaleel – The blessed God
  • Jared – Shall come down
  • Enoch – Preaching
  • Methuselah – His death shall bring
  • Lamech – The despairing
  • Noah – Rest
Now put that all together and what do you get?
Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow, (but) the blessed God shall come down preaching (that) His death shall bring the despairing rest.

Fashion Kills Quality

Forgive me for quoting Seth Godin once again, but he tends to get me thinking.  He says…

If we define quality as regularly meeting the measured specifications for an item, then quality matters a lot for something like a pacemaker.  It doesn’t matter at all for a $3,000 haute couture dress.

More fashion = less need for quality.

Don’t misunderstand, Seth is not saying that the more fashionable something is, the lower its quality.  He is simply saying, the more fashionable something is, the less it needs to be of a high quality.  People don’t care if it is the best quality if it is the most fashionable, the most popular, and the most likely to get them noticed.

This should cause us to beware lest we make the Gospel more about fashion and less about quality. 

 

We tend to talk a lot about the Gospel in terms of popularity (fashion).  How does it relate to culture?  How do we get people to be interested?  Will they like it better if we do church this way?  But do we risk lowering the quality when we try to make the Gospel more fashionable?

We need to see the Gospel as relating more closely to a pacemaker.  Fashion is not that crucial.  The important thing is, “will it save my life?”  We are not peddling fashion; competing with the fashionista down the street.  We are spreading the news about a life-saving Gospel!

With that being said, the ideal situation is when something is considered fashionable because of it’s quality.  A truly life-changing Gospel has a good chance of becoming the most talked about thing this year!

“Follow Me” Means Everywhere (An Easter Post)

Jesus did not offer any conditions when He told his disciples to follow him.  He didn’t give them any specifics.  He didn’t tell them where they would be going.  He didn’t say follow me, unless I go somewhere that you don’t want to follow.  He simply said, “Follow Me.”  And that meant Everywhere.

And if I may, let me suggest on this Easter week, that there are three very specific places that we must follow Him; we must follow Him to the cross, we must follow Him to the grave; and then (and only then) we will follow Him in resurrection.

1. The Cross

“Take up your cross and follow me,” is what Jesus said.  There is no following Christ without a cross.  There is no following Christ without repentance.  Many imagine that they are following Jesus but they have not turned from their sin and toward Him.  Paul knew it and understood it.  He said, “I die daily,” and “I am crucified with Christ.”  If we are going to follow Him, following Him to the cross will be one of the first steps that we take.

2. The Grave

Just as Jesus was buried, we also must be buried with Him in Baptism.  Baptism is done by immersion (greek: baptizo) and is in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Paul had more to say about this in his letter to the Romans, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death…”  If we have followed Jesus to the cross, it is only natural that we will follow Him to the Grave.

3. The Resurrection

Finally, if we have followed Jesus to the cross and to the grave, we are promised that we will follow Him in resurrection.  “…that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection:”  When we follow Jesus to the cross in repentance and to the grave in baptism, we are promised that we shall follow Him in resurrection as we are gloriously filled with the Holy Ghost!

What do you say friend?  Have you followed Him Everywhere?  If not, this Easter season would be a great time to fall in behind Jesus and let your heart sing, “where He leads me, I will follow.”