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.

A Picture, A Mirror, and A Window

Isaiah 6:1-8

Isaiah’s great vision by which he receives his calling can be discovered and applied in three parts.

  1. A vision of the Holiness of God – an UPward vision.
  2. A vision of the Sinfulness of self – an INward vision.
  3. A vision of the Need to be filled – an OUTward vision.

Every person who comes to know the LORD will go through this same process. In fact, as we walk with the LORD, we will find that we tend to rotate through these three stages. I’m not sure what stage you are at today, but let me offer you a picture, a mirror, and a window.

Photo by whimsicality

A Picture of God’s Holiness

Pictures are never as good as the real thing. Words are pitiful when employed with the task of describing God. I am curious to know if Isaiah read his words describing the scene he portrays in the sixth chapter of his book and felt as if the words were inadequate. His words give us a glimpse of the majesty of our LORD. God is so many things; He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere present. But perhaps the greatest difference between God and man is that God is holy and man is not; man is sinful and God is not. When you have a clear picture of His holiness, you will be looking into a mirror which reveals your true self.

A Mirror to See Yourself

When Isaiah saw the holiness of God, he could clearly see the sinfulness of himself. Being in God’s presence is like looking into a mirror that reveals all of your sin and weaknesses. That is why Isaiah said, “All of our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). But notice what happens when you continue to look into the mirror. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass (mirror) the glory of the LORD, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the LORD.

A Window to See the Need

Certainly you have notice the immediate excitement in one who has recently been changed and forgiven by God. They want to tell everyone what the LORD has done for them. Isaiah’s immediate response to having his sins forgiven is availability. “Here am I, send me!”

Luke 16 tells us of a certain rich man and a certain poor man named Lazarus. The rich man had everything he needed for a comfortable life. Lazarus laid at the rich man’s gate, full of sores and desiring the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. The rich man needed a window to see the need that was just outside his gate. If we have been saved by the power of God, then we need a window to see those who are dying just outside of our gates, hungry for just a little taste of the presences of God that we enjoy on a daily basis.

A picture, a mirror, and a window; which one do you need today?

Look! What Do You See?

glass half full
Photo by artfulblogger

“The glass is half full.”

“The glass is half empty.”

Two people see the same thing, the difference is in perception. Their perception will be determined by their attitude. Their external experience is the same, but their internal conclusions are dramatically opposed.

This familiar scenario is played out for us in Numbers 13 with twelve spies and conflicting reports. As Israel approaches the Promised Land, the Lord speaks to Moses commanding him to send one leader from each tribe to spy out the land that he is going to give the children of Israel. Notice that all twelve were leaders and all twelve received the same promise (Numbers 13:2).

All twelve men had the same external experience. Their reports confirmed the promises of God concerning the land. “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.” (Numbers 13:27)

However, their internal experiences were quite different.

  • “We are well able to overcome it.” (Numbers 13:30)
  • “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” (Numbers 13:31)

Ten spies said, “We are grasshoppers compared to our enemy.” Two spies said, “Our enemies are grasshoppers compared to our God!”

Ten put difficulty between themselves and God. Two put God between themselves and difficulty.

Ten saw with the eyes of the flesh. Two saw with the eye of faith.

Ten saw an obstacle between themselves and their promise. Two saw an opportunity for their God to show Himself mighty.

Your focus determines your faith. Your attitude determines your altitude.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus!

Building Fires

Here is another little tidbit from John Maxwell’s latest book Everyone Communicates Few Connect

Mr. Maxwell writes of the importance of marrying passion with the vision.  “A vision without passion is a picture without possibilities.”  It is difficult to be passionate about something that we haven’t personally experienced.  This is why the best sermons, the best songs, the best poems and stories are always born out of a personal experience.  Mr. Maxwell gives four questions for the communicator (minister) to ask concerning vision and passion.  These are good questions to ask ourselves as we prepare to minister.

1. Do I believe what I say? 

2. Has it changed me?

3. Do I believe it will help others?

4. Have I seen it change others?

If we can answer yes to all of these questions, we have married passion to our vision.  When we do this in ministry we will, as Mr. Maxwell so capably says, “do more than just light a fire under people; we will build a fire within them!  If you have that fire, it will ignite in others.”

A fire underneath somebody causes them to move for a moment.  They may get stirred up while you preach or sing, but is it lasting?  But when the fire gets inside them, that is a different story.  A fire on the inside will make a lasting change!

Where are you building fires?  Underneath or within?

If God is going to use you to set the hearts of men on fire for Him, He will have to set you ablaze first!

Stay Hot!