Book Review: Sifted:

  I honestly can't recall if it was Steve McCoy or Gospel eBooks that got me to get the Kindle version of  Sifted (Pursuing Growth through Trials, Challenges, and Disappointments) by Wayne Cordeiro with Francis Chan & Larry Osborne.  Nor do I know why I waited so long to read it.  Regardless, it turned out to be a book I needed to read.

What I liked

I found the book extremely helpful from beginning to end.  Ministry is filled with all kinds of trials, challenges, and disappointments and this book gave me principles to help guide me through them.  It gave me a framework with which to examine and question what was going on and how I was responding to it.

The book is broken up into 3 different parts: part 1 (chapters 1 - 4) deal with heart work, part 2 (chapters 5 - 8) deal with home work, part 3 (chapters 9 - 12) deal with hard work. In the introduction, Corderio explains that while all of life is work, vocational ministry presents some unique challenges.  The process of sifting begins only when we, as pastors and ministry leaders, come to the end of our own strength.  From there God begins to build our faith and form new character.  When we work God's way we experience new confidence  and faithfulness to what God has called us to.  Corderio spends the rest of the book detailing out what that looks like.  He ends the book by reminded the reader that the reason God sifts us is so we can give our newfound strength to those we lead and serve.

Favorite quotes

"Sifting produces a clarity about who we are and what we do, giving definition to the work of ministry that produces long-term results and fruitfulness.  The real question, then, is not whether we will face failure, it is how well we will face it.  How we respond to the challenges and trials in our lives and ministries makes all the difference in the world." (Introduction: The Twelfth Rep Kindle Edition)

"God will do something through you when you first allow him to do something in you." (Chapter 1 Where Sifting Begins Kindle Edition)

"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 to others."(Chapter 2 Identifying the Two Greatest Days of Your life Kindle Edition)

"Remember this: 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 asked us to do we have done." (Chapter 2 Identifying the Two Greatest Days of Your life Kindle Edition)

"... the core message of this book: sifting happens, but God is still in control, and in fact God uses this season for your good because he wants to do something in you before he does something through you. (Chapter 3 Expectations, Criticism, and Crises Kindle Edition)

"The real work of a pastor is to help people come to grips with God's goodness, even though we often do not understand his ways." (Chapter 3 Expectations, Criticism, and Crises Kindle Edition)

"The secret to experiencing more of God's power in your life is first recognizing you are not that powerful after all." (Chapter 4 Cry Out to God Kindle Edition)

"Don't blame anyone else.  Don't play the victim card.  Don't 'suck it up' and try harder.  Just cry out.  That may be exactly what God wants from you - a cry for help, a dependent plea." (Chapter 4 Cry Out to God Kindle Edition)

"We must learn to take responsibility for leading our families in righteousness as part of our commitment to ministry in the church." (Chapter 5 The Family Channel Kindle Edition)

"The goal is never to burn out for Christ.  The goal is to be consistently usable for kingdom work for however long God has us on earth." (Chapter 6 Rest, Sabbath, Drive Kindle Edition)

"In the end, when you look back and analyze the effectiveness of your ministry, much of it will come back to you and your spouse." (Chapter 7 Desperate Times Kindle Edition)

"When we feel trapped in a season of sifting and want to quit, we need to return to that original compass.  Return to the basics - your first love and your original call." (Chapter 8 When You Need a Breakthrough Kindle Edition)

"Surrender to him, and he will bring about the breakthrough he wants for you, in his time and way. (Chapter 8 When You Need a Breakthrough Kindle Edition)

"God's testing refines us in our failure, helping us to develop a deeper grasp of what it means to serve as we ourselves are served by God's gracious love and forgiveness.  And unless we understand the importance of true servanthood, our people will have a very difficult time seeing Jesus in our churches." Chapter 9 Hand to the Plow Kindle Edition)

"Learn from your history, because it is connected to your future." (Chapter 9 Hand to the Plow Kindle Edition)

"God uses difficulties in our lives to uncover and reveal any personal issues we haven't dealt with yet." (Chapter 10 Accessing Character Kindle Edition)

"The seasons of laborious, faithful obedience to God's work have prepared us for the present moment." (Chapter 11 Upping Your Skills Kindle Edition)

"Call upon God so that you do not lose heart in the midst of the testing, the trials, and the challenges you face." (Chapter 11 Upping Your Skills Kindle Edition)

"The true test of leadership is not how you fare under favorable conditions; it's how you respond when everything goes wrong." (Chapter 12 The Classroom for Great Leadership Kindle Edition)

"The safest place to take your offenses is to Jesus Christ.  When we bring our wounded hearts to Jesus, he converts our pain into blessing; he takes a liability and makes it a benefit." (Chapter 12 The Classroom for Great Leadership Kindle Edition)

"Not dealing with your sin will prove devastating.  Throughout the sifting process, God will give you regular invitations to reconnect with the message of the gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit.  Your sin will be exposed and confronted, and you will have opportunities to see the old man fall away and the new man rise." (Chapter 12 The Classroom for Great Leadership Kindle Edition)

"Jesus is always more than enough for us, but we will not know it until our faith has been tested." (Chapter 12 The Classroom for Great Leadership Kindle Edition)

"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." (Epilogue Sifted for the Sake of Others Kindle Edition)

Conclusion

This is a needed resource for pastors, of any ministry, of any size. Whether you are currently experiencing sifting or to be prepared when it happens, read this book!

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