Sunday, July 29, 2012

The 3-Minute Difference by Wayne Nance

Tour Date: July 30

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It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Mission Books; New Edition edition (July 1, 2012)

***Special thanks to Rick Roberson of The B&B Media Group, Inc for sending me a review copy.***


Wayne E. Nance, better known as the "Real Life Attitude Guy", is the well-known developer of the ABCs of getting your life under control. He is founder and CEO of Real Life Management, Inc. With his help, more than 50,000 struggling people have successfully improved their lives and given Wayne credit for helping them do so. Top corporations, the U. S. Army, organizations, and churches throughout the United States also use the Life Management system for the benefit of their employees and leaders. Wayne has been called Dr. Phil Foxworthy, a funny guy with a serious message.

Today, Wayne is a highly respected speaker, trainer and author of The 3-Minute Difference, Mind Over Money and Liten Up for Life. He previously hosted "The Real Life Attitude Guy" simulcast on Dallas radio 570 (Fox Network) and is currently working to launch that programming on the Web. As president and CEO of Real Life Management, Inc., Wayne's life focus is to provide the education that he feels has been insufficient in matters pertaining to health, finance, relationship building and how they are related.

Wayne lives in Texas with Shannon and their three daughters, Christel, Melissa, and Kara.

Visit the author's website.


Are you overweight, broke, or headed for divorce? Even one of these problems can be personally devastating. But what if you're facing all three at once? Years ago, Wayne Nance's life was out of control.   An incessant smoker, he weighed 315 pounds.  His marriage was disintegrating and his finances were bottoming out.   He finally realized that his obesity, debt and relationship meltdown were surface problems resulting from his core attitudes and beliefs. In The 3-Minute Difference, Nance describes his journey back from the ragged edge of reality to a healthy, productive life. His personal journey uncovered a proven solution-a solution that can alter your health, money, and relationships in only three minutes.

The 3-Minute Difference is about more than just weight, money, and marriage. With the five insightful steps Nance offers for ALTERing your attitude, you can apply these principles to any area of your life that is out of control. Nance thoroughly explores each step, defining and explaining them in detail. Readers will come away with surprising, perhaps first-time ever insight into their own core attitudes and how they impact their beliefs and choices. The 3 Minute Survey is a valuable tool to use in improving life in the areas of finances, relationships and health. The 3-Minute Difference shows you where to start and then gives you a plan on how to get there."

Product Details:
List Price: $16.98
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Mission Books; New Edition edition (July 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1618431188
ISBN-13: 978-1618431189


INTRODUCTIOA Crisis in America

I want you to let your mind indulge in a little bit of fantasy for a moment.   Imagine yourself in a very successful career.  You’re making quite a bit of money—well into six figures. You’ve got a gorgeous 6,000-square-foot home with a fancy pool and a water- fall in the backyard. Parked in your three-car garage is an imposing Mercedes-Benz sedan. On your wrist is an enormous Rolex watch, the one with all the diamonds on it that dazzles everyone who sees it. Sound like a life you’d care to have?
It did to me. It’s the American Dream, after all. And in 1984, I had that dream and more. I was the kid from the poor side of the tracks who had raised himself up by his bootstraps, got a good education,  went to the big city, worked  hard,  and eventually met with success.
And you know what?  There’s not a thing wrong with that.  If that picture is similar to a dream you’ve always had, or a dream you’ve actually attained, I say, “Great! Don’t give up on that dream. Keep that dream alive.”
But know this: if you had seen me living that dream in 1984, you’d have said, “Wayne Nance has the perfect life.” But you’d have been dead wrong!  Because the truth is, my life was out of control. Meaning that I was making bad decisions that created serious long- term consequences for my happiness, health, wealth, and family.
Do you ever feel as if your world is spinning out of control?  A lot of us do in the post-9/11 world,  with  the economic  downturn that followed, the disaster of the stock market and the loss of many people’s  retirement funds,  the  ever-present  threat  of terrorist at- tacks,  the downsizing  of companies and  the offshoring  of American jobs, the erosion of values as corporate scandals have come to light,  and  so  many  other  things  that  make  us  worry  about  the future.
Those are serious matters, for sure. But did you know that there’s a crisis in America that actually affects more people on a practical, daily basis than any of those “world-class”  headline-grabbers? It’s a crisis that shows up all over the place but can be seen most graphically in three areas that all of us deal with every day: the lifestyle issues of food, money, and relationships. To put it bluntly, way too many Americans are fat, broke, and unhappy at home and at work.

•   67 percent of Americans are estimated to be overweight or obese by Centers for Disease Control (CDC) standards.
• 85 percent of Americans will retire with Social Security benefits as their only means of support. In other words, they’re broke.
• 51 percent of Americans are divorced. Many others remain in marriages that might be called “psychological divorce.”
Clearly, something’s wrong in America!  Especially if you overlay those numbers on top of each other. Just imagine three pie charts showing the 67 percent of Americans who are overweight, the 85 percent who will retire virtually broke, and the 51 percent who are divorced.  Stack them on top of one another, and what do you see? That a lot of Americans are all three—fat, broke, and unhappy in their relationships. But that’s not the worst of it. The saddest thing is that many people struggling with one, two, or even all three of these problems don’t even think they have a problem!  Take obesity, for example. A 2004 Associated Press poll found that six people out of ten who qualified as overweight by government standards said their weight was just fine—healthy, even.
Or consider this observation from the national sales manager of a company  that  helps  small  businesses  and  individuals  facing bankruptcy work  out settlements  with their creditors:  “From  personal experience,  I see that  as people get further  into debt . . . they start making short-term decisions and don’t prioritize  their debt correctly.  Eventually, they start feeling overwhelmed, give up and go into denial.”1
What happens when someone goes into denial about their debt? They go deeper in debt.  They may also start eating.  Indeed, The Toque, a satirical Canadian website, imagines a VISA card issued by McDonald’s called (you guessed it) the McVISA. The idea is that people will be more likely to eat at McDonald’s if they can charge their Big Macs.
With that premise, the site invents twenty-two-year-old Josie Amblin, a student who uses her McVISA card at least ten times a week! “I can’t stop,” she confesses to a fictitious reporter. “It’s just so easy to purchase a burger and fries with credit.  I know I can’t afford to eat at McDonald’s this often, but I can’t help myself!”
Amblin racks up $2,100 on her McVISA card, even though it only has a $1,500 credit limit.
The whole story is a spoof, of course. But it hits the nail on the head. “I can’t stop! I can’t help myself!”  That’s the cry of someone whose lifestyle is out of control.   Someone who is making bad choices that will create serious long-term consequences for their happiness, health, wealth, and family.
In 1978, I was a poster child for being out of control in all three of the lifestyle areas I’ve mentioned. I weighed 315 pounds (that’s fat, by the way, even if you’re six feet, one inch tall). I was a financial advisor, but I had five credit cards maxed out. And at home, my wife, Shannon,  wasn’t exactly happy  with me because she and my daughter never saw me because I was too busy making  money for the family. At least that’s what I always told them (and myself): “I have to work this hard to provide for our family.” Yeah, right!
I was in total denial. I was caught up in a crisis that I didn’t even see. I was succeeding and making lots of money, and by society’s standards I was doing just fine. Only I wasn’t doing fine. You’re not doing fine when you can’t bend over and tie your shoes without being out of breath. You’re not doing fine if you’re giving great financial advice to other people, but your own financial condition is a house of cards just waiting to collapse. You’re not doing fine if you never spend time with your family because you’ve got to keep one step ahead of the hounds that are chasing you.
Because I didn’t have any boundaries, I let other people’s opinions determine my opinion of myself. I looked fine to them, so I thought everything about me was fine, too. But it wasn’t. My life was out of control.
Some people hit bottom and then finally wake up. I had to hit bottom three times before I woke up! (I’ve always known I was a slow learner.)  The first wake-up call came in 1978, when I was twenty-eight years old, with a beautiful wife, a one-year-old daughter, and another baby on the way. I was just at the point when a young man should be enjoying life to the fullest. Instead, my doctor was warning me that if I didn’t stop eating, I’d never see my fortieth birthday. Was that what caused me to change my ways? No! Guess what I did when I left his office? I headed straight across the street to a pancake house. I’m not kidding! And I charged the meal on a credit card. (You see, I do understand someone like Amblin!) So what was my first wake-up call? It happened during my annual visit to the “Big Men’s” store.  I was packing on so much weight that every year I needed new clothes—in the next larger size. You can imagine how embarrassing it was to make that trip. So it became my style to shift attention (and  blame) away from myself by complaining  about  the clothing manufacturers in Asia and how they were cutting their styles too small, or to joke that my wife was shrinking  my clothes in the washer.
But on one trip, when I started mouthing off, the old tailor spoke up. For ten years he had listened to my bull and said nothing. This time around he had had enough. He was getting ready to retire, so what did he care?  Right there in front of my wife, he turned to me and said, “It’s not your wife or the Taiwanese, pal. If you weren’t such a fat slob, you wouldn’t have a problem!”
I was stunned. I’d never been so insulted in my life. How dare him! Boy, was I ever mad! So I showed him. Why, I walked right out of that store without buying so much as a dime of new clothing!
But in truth, that guy did me a favor.  Because what he said was true. And it hit home. I was fat. Overweight. Obese. Whatever you want to call it, it doesn’t matter.  What matters is that I finally faced up to a cold, hard reality: my weight was out of control.
At some level I’d known that for years. But I had been in denial about it for years, too, really since I was a boy. You see, I come from a dysfunctional family on the outskirts of Houston, Texas (“dysfunctional” means you can get away with anything if you’ll just deny reality). Our family was the kind where Momma cooked everything in bacon grease. And if somebody  didn’t  have a third helping  of pie for  dessert,  she’d feel totally  offended.  But guess what?  In spite of Momma’s cooking there wasn’t a single “fat” person in the family. No, sir! We weren’t fat, we were just “big- boned.” That extra 50 or 60 or 90 or 100 pounds everyone was carrying was just the result of a “slow metabolism.” Just a “large thyroid.” And so Momma always told me that being fat just runs in our family. We had that “fat gene” going, don’t you know? (You see how denial starts early?)
With a background like that, it’s no surprise that early on I became the fat kid.  Eventually, the fat kid grew up to be the fat man. Only I wouldn’t admit that I was a fat man. I had all kinds of excuses to say I wasn’t. I was in total denial. “Justifiable denialism” is what I call it. I lied to myself to justify my poor decisions.  But the  scales don’t  lie, and  your  waist  doesn’t  lie, and  your  health doesn’t lie. And by the time I was twenty-eight I was getting sick and feeling tired.  And to be honest, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.
So I did what almost everyone does when they finally accept the truth that they’re carrying too much weight: I went on a diet. In fact, I went on lots of diets. The grapefruit diet. The water diet. The low-carb diet. The six-meals-a-day diet. You name it, I tried it.
Sure enough, I lost weight.  And gained it back.  So I’d go on another diet, and lose weight. And then after I’d lost the weight, I’d quit the diet and I’d gain the weight back. Plus a little bit more. So I’d go on another diet, and lose the weight again. And then . . . well, you get the picture.
One diet I followed was Dr. Atkins’s first diet. He had two of them over the years. I tried the first one. He said if you ate about  as much  cheese and  eggs and  red  meat  as there  are  in the  state  of Texas,  you’ll lose weight.  I tried that and I did lose weight.  I lost about forty or fifty pounds, and pretty quickly.  But then I was diagnosed with a fissure tear in my colon, because I wasn’t eating any fiber or carbohydrates.
Surgery laid me up for a month.  And while I lay in that bed, I said to myself, “If I ever stop bleeding and get out of this bed, I’m going  to  learn  something  about  nutrition,” because  I had  never learned anything about it in school. I had been an athlete, but in my day the people in charge just said, “Eat chicken-fried steak, Wayne. You need something that’ll stick to your ribs. Don’t worry about the gravy. You’ll run it off.” I knew nothing about nutrition, food supplements, or how to balance my diet.
So when I got well, a friend told me about a book by Covert Bailey titled, Fit or Fat? Boy, was that a lucky break!  Bailey had a great concept: fat makes you fat. That was in 1979.  Amazing, isn’t it? Fat makes you fat. When  I read  that,  I realized  that  about  98 percent  of what  I was eating contained fat. I also discovered that when I wasn’t eating fatty foods, I was eating Oreos and chocolate milk and stuff that was loaded with sugar.
Bailey opened  my eyes to a lot,  and  I was shocked  to learn how  much  I didn’t  know  about  nutrition. After that, I couldn’t learn enough about it. I got really serious about what I ate, and I lost more than a hundred pounds over a two-and-a-half-year period.  All of a sudden I was the new thin guy. The 205-pound guy instead of the 315-pound guy.
So I’d gotten my life under control, right? Not exactly. I was only focusing on my weight. My spending was still out of control. Which means my work habits were out of control.  At 205 pounds I wasn’t  spending  any  more  time  with  my family  than  when  I’d weighed 315. I’d gone from being a big, fat, broke man with a lot of stress and an unhappy family to a thinner broke man with a lot of stress and an unhappy family.
Fast forward to 1984. By then, as I’ve said, I was making quite a bit of money.  I had the house, the car, the watch, the American Dream.  I sincerely thought I had it made. And I was thinner, too.
And yet . . . what difference does it make if you live to be one hundred if you’re miserable?  I was miserable.  I went through tremendous mood swings and depression.  I thought, “How can I be depressed when I’ve got it all?”
About that time I went on a trip to Philadelphia. I was now in insurance, and a very large insurance company wanted to honor me as one of its top ten salespeople in the country.  Quite an honor!  As I was riding on the bus from the airport to the hotel, we stopped at a red light downtown. I looked over and saw a big Catholic church. Suddenly tears started coming down my cheeks. I felt terribly sad. “I really don’t want to go to that hotel,” I was thinking.  “I just don’t want to go. I don’t want to be honored. I don’t want anybody giving me an award for being a guy that’s a workaholic who never sees his family, who just focuses on his money, his Mercedes, and himself. I feel very fake. I don’t feel good about this at all.”
But soon I was dropped off at the hotel.  Sure enough, I had my big private suite, all decked out with a complimentary fruit basket and a bottle of champagne. That was kind of cruel in a way, because I didn’t have Shannon there to enjoy it with me. The fact is, she had declined to come to the convention. She didn’t like being with me at that point in my life, because I was pretty much a jerk.
So there I was, the big shot in his big fancy room—all by his lonesome for a whole week. And boy, was I lonesome! So one day, right in the middle of the convention, I walked out of that hotel and went and found that Catholic church.  I’m not Catholic,  but I went inside and  ducked  into  a pew and  got down  on my knees,  and  I cried out to God: “Help  me understand why I’m so miserable!”
I didn’t really know what to expect. Nothing happened right away.  I finished the convention, collected my award,   and went home. About a week later, Shannon  told me that our girls’ elementary  school  was having  an open  house,  and  she wanted  me to go and  meet their  teachers.  I was still feeling kind of depressed, so I said I didn’t want to meet any teachers.  But for some reason I relented and went anyway.
My older daughter’s fourth-grade teacher had asked the students to make posters in answer to the question, “If you could have three things in your life, what would you want?” I looked carefully at the artwork arrayed on the bulletin board. Of the thirty-two kids in that class, twenty-six of them had drawn as the top three things they wanted out of life: more money, a sports car, and a big house.
Suddenly a light went off in my head. It was my second wake- up call. I thought about  those posters all the way home—driving in our Mercedes-Benz  to our six-thousand-square-foot home, driving past the other  six-thousand-square-foot homes in our subdivision, each with a Mercedes-Benz or sports car in its three-car  garage. By the time we arrived I had clarified my thinking.  “You know what?” I told Shannon.  “I’m miserable. I’m miserable because I’m trying to keep up with the Joneses, and I never wanted to be a Jones to start with. The worst of it is that we’re sending that message to our kids, and it’s the wrong message.”
Within  a year of that  night,  we sold the house,  got a smaller house in a different  neighborhood, I traded  in the Mercedes  for a pickup,  started  wearing  cutoffs,  and  got a Mickey  Mouse  watch made  of plastic.  I said to myself, “I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I’m going to refocus.” And in that  way I came to grips with  the fact that  my financial  lifestyle was out  of control, and  I needed  to  start  dealing  with  the  money  issue,  just  as  I’d worked  on the weight issue.
But I wasn’t out of the woods yet. Far from it. In 1992 Shannon and I hit rock bottom in our marriage. Remember,  I’d been in denial for years thinking  that  if I just provided  a nice lifestyle for my family,  they’d think  I was great.  Sure, we’d downscaled to a more modest home and all, but I was still providing well for my family.
But  one  day  Shannon   finally  decided  to  cut  to  the  truth. “Wayne, you’re basically a jerk,” she said. You can see that people sometimes have to shoot pretty straight in order for me to “get” what they’re saying.
At first I felt terribly defensive.  “Look at all I’ve done for you!” I thought to myself. “Look at all I’ve provided for us! Just look at all I’ve managed to accomplish in my life! Why, don’t you realize you’re talking to Wayne Nance here?”
But she was firm and clear: “I hate to tell you, Wayne, but you’re just a jerk. I don’t like you. And I hate to tell you the truth, but your kids don’t like you very much, either.”
That was yet a third wake-up call. Somehow the thought that the four people I cared about most in this world didn’t like me very much got my attention. “This isn’t working well,” I thought. “I started out fat, and I fixed some of that.  Then I started chasing money, and I fixed some of that. Yet now my family doesn’t like me very much. I think I better take a long, hard look at myself.”
So I did.  I went for counseling and had a lot of discussions over a long period of time. I came to grips with the fact that life is complicated. You can fix one thing about yourself, but that may only lead to problems with other things. The real question is, what’s driving your behavior? What’s the underlying  thing that’s creating all the  surface  problems  you’re  trying  to  fix? That core thing is what you’ve got to go after.
It was at that point that I encountered a powerful truth:  there is more to managing one’s lifestyle than merely making “right” choices. You see, almost  all the diets, budgets,  relationship books, and  other  lifestyle advice I had  gotten  said that  if I just made the “right” choices, everything  would  work  out.  Just eat less fat. Just stay within a budget.  Just tell your wife you love her more.  Just show up at your kid’s soccer game. Just count to five when the annoying person at the office pushes your buttons. Those were all the “right” choices. Do those and you’ll get your life under control.
Problem is, I’d made a lot of those “right”  choices. But my life still was not working.  Worse yet, I was having to put enormous energy into making “right” choices. So much energy, in fact, that if I let my guard down for an instant,  or if I felt tired or down or angry or whatever,  I’d just blow off my resolve and do it the old way— order  that  extra  meat patty  and the double  fries, buy that  tie that cost twice what  I intended  to pay, take on that  extra  speaking  engagement even though  I’d promised  Shannon  I’d be home that weekend.  Clearly, something else was contributing to my behavior besides making “right” choices, important as those were.
That’s when I encountered this breakthrough truth,  the truth that allowed me to start getting my life under control: most of what causes us to make the lifestyle decisions we make is not our choices, but  our  attitude  and  our  beliefs.  By attitude I mean the inborn “wiring” that we brought with us into the world.  Our attitude has to do with our basic outlook or orientation toward life, what we focus on, what matters to us, what we put our energy into. Attitude makes the biggest difference in our behavior.  Later in the book  I’ll take  you  through a simple  3-Minute  Survey that  will show  you your attitude, and I’ll tell you where you can get more information about  your “hardwiring.”
When I learned that the core of my lifestyle problems was my attitude, I started on a journey that continues to this day. I wondered, “Am I the only person in America who is struggling with food, money, and relationships?” What I discovered shocked me.
I began going to health spas and fitness centers, where I traded speaking and training for the opportunity to interview spa participants.  That gave me lots of firsthand data about the issues people really struggle with.
I found that millions of Americans are in crisis in those three areas.  In addition, I discovered that there is a link among those three issues—obesity, debt, and divorce. The link is people’s underlying attitudes. I discovered that certain attitudes are especially at- risk for obesity, debt, and divorce.  In other words, many of the same people who struggle with their weight and other health issues struggle with their money and related financial issues, and also struggle with their relationships, both at home and at work. They struggle because of their attitudes. And sadly, they don’t even realize that their attitudes are leading to self-defeating and self-destructive behaviors!
Would you like to know whether you (or someone you care about) are one of those people? Better yet, would you like to know how  you  can  regain  control  over  your  lifestyle,  no  matter  what your wiring may be? This book will help you do that.
First it will help you understand your attitude and how it affects everything you do and every decision you make.  Then it will take you through the same five-step plan that helped me lose more than a hundred pounds and keep the weight off for more than fifteen years.  The  same plan  that  helped  me pay off my five credit cards,  so that  today  Shannon  and  I live debt-free.  The same plan that has allowed Shannon and me to stay married—and increasingly happy—for thirty-one years.
Now let me point out that I have not written this book on my own.  This is a joint venture between me and my co-authors, Bill Hendricks and Keet Lewis. We decided  that  we would  write  the book  from  my  perspective,  using  the  first-person   singular  (“I,” “me,” “my”). But rest assured that this book expresses a common understanding among three partners. Indeed, Bill and Keet will tell you that they, too, have felt out of control at various times in their lives. They use this program daily to better manage their lives and businesses.
Bill understands the challenge of keeping life in balance, having lost his wife to breast cancer several years ago, and single- parenting his three daughters in their adolescent and teen years. Meanwhile he has headed  a consulting  practice  that  uses the phenomenon  of giftedness  to  work  with  businesses,  nonprofits, and churches to manage their strategic “people issues,” and with individuals seeking career guidance.
Keet has an extensive background in managing companies spanning several industries.  Today he is a busy entrepreneur with a variety of business and charitable activities.  He teaches the concepts in this book in his consulting work with companies, schools, and religious organizations. Like me, he has struggled at times with his weight and finances, and he has personally witnessed the success of our program.
Others have also contributed to the ideas presented in this book.  I’ve mentioned Covert Bailey’s influence on me. Keet first learned about attitudes from his friend, Zig Ziglar, who taught him that attitude is everything.  As Zig so aptly puts it in his foundational work, See You At the Top “Your  attitude determines your  altitude,” and  that  “we  can  Alter our  lives by Altering  our Attitudes.”
Keet began  his personal  dedication to understanding behavioral  science when,  as the CEO  of a manufacturing company,  he studied  and  applied  the principles  relating  to temperament as explained  by bestselling author Dr. Tim LaHaye  in his classic work, Why  You  Act  the  Way  You  Do.  Dr.  LaHaye wrote many other books on temperament, and they are a must read for any serious student of the subject. Additionally, Dr. James Dobson, Dr. John C. Maxwell, Dr. Steve Farrar, Dr. Howard Hendricks, Dr. Bill Bright, Josh McDowell, Dennis and Barbara Rainey, Dr. Tony Evans, Rich DeVos, Dr. Ron Jenson, Dr. Jack Graham, Judge Paul Pressler, and Bill Hawkins have all contributed much to our understanding of life- style issues like parenting, personal responsibility, and leadership through their very insightful writings. All of them have helped to lay a foundation for our work at Real Life Management.
Keet, Bill, and I hope that this book  will be a helpful complement  to the work  of people  like Bailey, Ziglar,  LaHaye,  Dobson, Maxwell, Rainey,  Jenson,  and  others  who  have pioneered  in the field of attitude and lifestyle management. Above all, we want this book to offer hope.
If I was able to regain some control of my life, you can do the same, no matter how desperate you feel your life has become. I’ve helped countless people just like you over the years through my training  workshops and  seminars  at corporations, health  spas, financial planning  firms, universities,  churches,  and many other  settings. Almost all of the folks I’ve met have tried way too many of the quick-fix diet, budget, and relationship gimmicks on the market. Most of them were discouraged. A lot of them were desperate. Some had even given up.  “I’ll never change!” They said.  If that’s how you feel, I implore you to keep reading. Because I’m not going to ask you to change.
You read that right. I’m not going to ask you to change. The word “change” implies that you need to make a 180-degree turn- around and basically become someone other than who you are. I’ll never ask you to do that.  God wired you the way you are, and I’m fine with that. I want you to be fine with that, too. You are just fine the way you are! But I know you’re not happy with the way you live. So come on inside this book with me, because I’ve developed a proven strategy to help you turn your life around.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Upended: How following Jesus remakes your words and world by Jedd Medefind and Erik Lokkesmoe

Tour Date: July 25th

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It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card authors are:

and the book:

Passio (May 1, 2012)

***Special thanks to Althea Thompson | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.***


 Jedd Medefind serves as president of the Christian Alliance for Orphans. Prior to this role, he led the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives as a special assistant to President George W. Bush. He and his wife, Rachel, love the great outdoors and have four children. Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

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Erik Lokkesmoe is the founder and principal of Different Drummer, a LA/NYC-based audience and fan mobilization agency for top entertainment brands. Erik has a MA in public communications and a BA in political science. Erik and his wife, Monica, have three children. Hometown: New York, NY

Visit the author's website.


Christians follow a Man who upends our most basic assumptions and expectations at every turn. Yet for many of us who claim to follow Him, our lives are not peculiar at all. If anything, we are a rather predictable people. We follow an upside-down God yet live right-side-up lives.

Yes, we often hear calls to more radical living. Sometimes we yearn for it. But often “radical” ends up being just an idea. But apprenticeship to Jesus is often far more costly. That’s why this book isn’t about big choices that make us radical. It’s mostly about small choices that begin to mirror the life of One who was radical indeed.

Product Details:
List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Passio (May 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616386053
ISBN-13: 978-1616386054


C h ap t e r 1

Eternal Truth and the Daily Grind

Most of the genocides of the twentieth century—from Communist Russia to China to Cambodia—were led by avowedly atheist gov- ernments. Often, pastors and priests were among the first killed. But the story of Rwanda’s genocide is more complex. Yes, many faithful Christian leaders were targeted for immediate death. But in 1994, when the horrific events of one hundred days took an estimated eight hundred thousand
lives, roughly 90 percent of Rwandans claimed to be Christians.
Experiencing the pictures and stories of the genocide in the Kigali Memorial Centre today, a thoughtful Christian cannot help but question in anguish, “How is this possible in any nation, let alone one that was sup- posedly so Christian?”
Rwandan pastor Antoine Rutayisire has grappled with this question himself. He experienced the searing pain of the genocide firsthand. In both anger and grief he explored what enabled such a profound gulf between professed religion and what played out in practice.
At the heart of the matter Rutayisire has concluded that the Christianity of most Rwandans was totally divorced from their ordinary lives. It had to do with heaven, but not earth; abstract doctrines, but not daily choices. Rutayisire explains how traditional African religions always carried implications for virtually every task and interaction, from animal husbandry to cooking. The imported Christianity that took root in much of Rwanda, in contrast, was “a kind of catechism based on memory but not touching issues of daily life.”
The issue was not simply that many Rwandans did not take religion seriously or didn’t carry sincere religious beliefs. Most all Africans do. The issue was that their Christianity carried almost no consequence for the small choices they made every day. The missionaries had taught cate- chisms and rituals, but not how Jesus would want them to manage a busi-
ness or interact with their neighbors.

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Rutayisire explains, “The consequence was that many people got bap- tized and integrated into churches, but every time when they ran into prob- lems, they fell back into traditional religion. . . . And in terms of conflict, they relied on what they had been taught by their fathers.”1
It is easy to view the savagery of Rwanda’s genocide and imagine it has nothing to do with us. But the simple truth is that the Christianity prac- ticed by many self-described Christians worldwide is not all that different from the religion practiced by the many Rwandans who failed to stop, or who even participated in, the genocide. It is a religion of great truths and noble ideas that remain largely disconnected from daily choices.
Even those of us who take our faith seriously can fall into the same trap, allowing gaps to form between Christian conviction and the activities of daily life. We study and explore doctrinal truths, but we often feel at a loss to explain how they affect the way we converse with friends, serve our boss, or invest retirement funds. We lack practical connection points  between Christianity’s big ideas and what we do each day.
Like that of many Rwandans at the time of the genocide, our religion may feel real enough in the life of the mind. As Rutayisire would say, we have been baptized and integrated into churches. But we have not learned what it looks like to “walk as Jesus did.”2 So when practical decisions must be made, we fall back on habits and learning that really have little to do with the ways of Jesus. When tested, such religion disconnected from daily life is found profoundly lacking, whether in school or work, marriage or wider social engagement—just as it was in Rwanda.

the  fataL  spLit

Disconnecting Christian faith from daily experiences is not just unfortu- nate. It is deadly. We see its effects on a grand scale in the breathtaking evil of genocide, but just as surely in the withering of once-rich friendships, marriages grown cold, or children estranged.
Over a lifetime the disconnect becomes a trail of opportunities squan- dered. It is the possibility of living vibrantly, loving well, and leading in ways that leave lasting impact . . . lost forever.
At times even Christian teachers have encouraged this fatal split. They have elevated a higher realm of religious knowledge and activity above the lower  realm of everyday life. But this view has no basis in Jesus or the apos- tles, nor the Old Testament either.3 Rather it was Greek philosophers and Gnostics who tried to divorce the spiritual from the physical. For them

abstract ideas were superior to the world around us. So spiritual progress required moving away  from physical things. Their goal was to transcend the mess and muck of the ordinary.
In contrast, Christianity—like Judaism before it—affirmed that all God made was “very good.”4  Paul summed it up well to Timothy: “For every- thing God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.”5  This includes work and recreation, food and wine, sex and friendship.
Yes, sin has marred these things profoundly. But God’s response is not to abandon or transcend ordinary, physical things. Rather, His plan from the start was to enter  His creation in order to repair, renew, and restore.6
That same pattern is God’s call to His people as well. We are to take His truth and vitality into each day’s activities and interactions, just as Jesus did. Learning how to do so from Jesus is the lifelong adventure of the apprentice.
Though exceptional, there were many in Rwanda in 1994 who’d embraced this vision too. One was Celestin Musekura. As a pastor he’d sought both to teach and to live a practical, daily apprenticeship to Jesus. When the 1994 genocide began in his home country, he was completing his graduate studies in Kenya. While most everyone who could was rushing pell-mell out of Rwanda, Celestin headed in, risking his life to try to turn his fellow Hutu tribesmen from murder and to exhort Tutsis to resist the urge for revenge.
There were others too. As evil surged around them, they refused to par- ticipate or look the other way. Some hid neighbors in their homes. Others stared down machete-wielding mobs. Many died for their efforts to pro- tect innocent life. But they’d learned long before how to weld together eternal truth and their daily choices—and they continued to do so, even at immense cost.
Today, with anguish from the genocide yet pungent in Rwanda, Celestin and others like him continue to live as apprentices to Jesus. Though still mourning profound loss, they forgive those who killed their dear friends, family members, and neighbors. Risking the hatred of their own tribes members, they build reconciliation in their communities and churches. Slowly they are reweaving the fabric of Rwanda.
Explains Celestin, “Amidst the bloody history of tribal hatred, Africa’s only hope lies in a Christianity that pervades our lives down to the smallest

things, when our identity in Christ supersedes our tribal identity. It is costly. But the alternative costs even more.”7

Can  We reaLLy  do it  today?

Living two thousand years away from Jesus’s time on earth, it may seem overblown to speak of actually becoming an apprentice to Him. Looking closer, however, we realize that the experience of Jesus’s first apprentices is not as different from ours as we might think.
Paul, like us, never walked with Jesus. Yes, the twelve disciples did have the privilege of observing Jesus in person. But it was only for three short years. And truth be told, they didn’t do particularly well as apprentices while Jesus was still with them. It was only after Jesus’s departure, when they were in much the same situation we are now, that they really began to look like His apprentices in their attitudes and actions.
For them and all who’ve followed since, the core of apprenticeship has always been the same. Responding to God’s grace and empowered by His Spirit, the apprentice marks the words and ways of the Master—and then puts them into practice.
Follow Me, Jesus offers to us too. It is a summons to learn not just about
Him but also from Him.

Person a l Note s:  Jedd
With college graduation nearing, law school seemed the next logical step for a guy who didn’t have the prerequisites for any other graduate studies. But talking with many who’d walked that road gave me pause. So few loved what they did. The grinding hours at big firms brought fat paychecks but seemed to snuff out enthusiasm and purpose.
Three close friends of mine were grappling with similar thoughts. We each wanted badly to engage the world fully and experience Christ’s life to the full. Just as much, we feared that the ladder of success might lead to far less than we hoped for out of life.
So, with a blend of hope and desperation, we put grad school and pay- checks on hold. Instead, we’d spend the year living with and learning from committed Christians around the  globe—people who served God and neighbor faithfully in their own native lands. Most of all, we hoped to taste life at its fullest . . . and learn how to keep that going for five or six decades. The months ahead were indeed the adventure of a lifetime: from the Guatemalan highlands to Russia’s frozen north, Africa’s mountain kingdom
to the endless rice fields of Bangladesh.
But there was a sobering element too. No matter how thrilling a place was when we first arrived, we were struck by how quickly exciting wears off. Adrenaline ebbs. Exotic becomes commonplace. We saw with dismal

clarity that the life  to the full we sought wouldn’t be found in relentless adventure alone.
Yet  alongside this realization, hope glimmered. It  wasn’t in  the buzz of novelty or grand exploits but in a number of the local Christians we served alongside. Their work and relationships weren’t exotic to them. Many had done what they were doing for years. They delivered medical care to Guatemalan peasants; taught wrestling and Jesus in Russian orphanages; created simple business opportunities for the poor in Thailand; led secret house churches in Communist Vietnam. Their work and daily choices were mostly quiet, steady. Some weren’t in full-time ministry at all. Yet their days blazed with the kind of purpose and humble joy we hoped would fill ours to our last breath. With countless small choices to follow Jesus, they infused daily life with eternal life.
That journey taught us more than we could recount. But what I most pray will shape my choices is still that simple realization. Life to the full isn’t found out there —in far-off adventure, or a much-anticipated change, or the next stage in life. Rather, it’s found in ordinary places and daily choices to love and give and serve with abandon for Christ’s sake.

not  MereLy  a huMan  pursuit

We must know from the start that apprenticeship is not merely a human pursuit. Its wellspring is always response to God’s grace. It is surrounded by faithful witnesses from every generation. It is engaged as part of a com- munity, both local and global, called the church. It is nourished continu- ally by God’s living Word. It is undertaken with a continual sense of gift, never earning or merit.
Perhaps most importantly, Jesus promised His apprentices a mighty Helper.  The Holy Spirit works continually, both within and alongside the true apprentice. He  encourages, convicts, provokes, guides, enlightens. Apart from the Spirit, our labors become wearisome toil. But as we wel- come His labor inside and around us, beauty and good fruit spring from even our most feeble efforts.
The fact that apprenticeship to Jesus is not merely a human pursuit, however, does not mean that it happens apart from the human choices that go into most any other form of apprenticeship. We would not imagine we could become an excellent chef or doctor or painter simply by waiting for it to happen to us. Nor can we if we desire to become like Jesus.
We must learn from Him how to do so via practical, daily, real-world decisions. Choice by choice we participate with the Holy Spirit in bringing our understanding, character, and daily actions into alignment with those of the Master.8

This book explores just one facet of this apprenticeship: how we commu- nicate. Yet there may be no better place to begin. For we are all communi- cators, and how we do so shapes both the quality and outcomes of virtually everything we do. If we can become a true apprentice of Jesus in this, it will touch every relationship and undertaking.
The approach we will  take together is straightforward. Like Jesus’s apprentices in every age, we study the words and ways of the Master recorded in the Gospels and amplified in all of Scripture. We take special note of how He spoke and served through speech, how He listened and led, how He connected and conveyed. We consider carefully how what we see can be reflected in our daily choices. We learn from others too who have done the same before us.
All of this we offer frequently to God in prayer. We ask from Him more- than-human insight and perseverance. We invite the vivifying, guiding presence of the Holy Spirit. Then, ideally as part of a community that shares our commitment, we put what we see into practice.
If we are ever to connect the lofty convictions we claim with what we do day in and day out, this is where we must begin. Here we start to knit together eternal truth with our jobs and parenting, marriage and friendships. Over time every interaction increasingly reflects the heart
the Master.

graCe  and effort

Person a l Note s:  Jedd
My dad was twenty-one when he first donned the flat-brimmed hat of a Yosemite  ranger. Never had he wanted anything more. But learning the ropes in 1969 was nothing like the myriad classes and certifications that novice rangers undergo today. Instead, Dad was paired with a veteran ranger and sent out to learn in action.
He hadn’t been on the force long when the old-timer he’d been paired
with, Ranger Utterback, slid from their parked patrol car into the night. “We’re seeing a lot of drugs used and sold in this camping area,” explained Utterback. He held up his hand as Dad began to follow. “Leave the hat in the car. Too obvious.”
Raucous laughter drew them through the darkness to a group gathered around a fire on the edge of camp. Dad followed as Utterback moved into a space shadowed by a large pine. Marijuana smoke hung dense in night air. In those days even possession of the drug was a felony.
As Utterback prepared to step into the firelight, Dad stopped him. “I’ve never made an arrest,” he warned.

“Just watch what I do and do what I do,” whispered Utterback.
That phrase became the theme of the summer, from serving arrest war- rants to chasing break-in bears out of cabins. Dad watched, then replicated. Looking back, he describes, “Rangers joining the force today have some advantages in all the formal training.”  However, he observes, “when  you learned by putting on the uniform and following a veteran, you saw how to do it. The things you can’t get from a book or a class. How to convince a hostile crowd to cooperate, calm down a hurt child, or scare off a bear with- out hurting it. If you have the desire, you absorb all of this from the veteran
in the field in a way you just can’t fully learn in a classroom.”
Riding horse patrol one morning with  another veteran ranger, Don Pimontel, Dad encountered one of the most beautiful scenes he’d ever laid eyes on. As the two men crested a mountain pass, the snow-laden peaks of Yosemite’s vast north country rose ahead of them. Overhead, thunder- heads billowed heavenward, painted with every shade of dark and light. Immediately below opened a meadow, fragrant and glowing purple in a sea of lupine flowers.
Dad sat on his horse, awash in wonder. Unexpectedly, tears began to fill his eyes. He pushed them back and set his jaw as he imagined a ranger ought. But when he glanced over at Ranger Pimontel, that illusion was ban- ished forever. Pimontel’s leathered face glistened, wet with tears.
“I didn’t just learn from him there; I felt with him,” Dad shared with me decades later, “I knew it was OK to feel the beauty. God’s beauty.”
Dad learned that summer not just as a student but as an apprentice. Facts and information were certainly part of the training. But the most important elements went deeper. The veteran rangers like Utterback and Pimontel provided what no classroom teacher could. This included habits and skills Dad had not possessed before, which increasingly became second nature. Perhaps even more significant, they conveyed new perspectives,  commit- ments, and even intuition. The veterans’ time-tested  ways of protecting and serving could hardly be put into words; yet they were passed from one gen- eration of rangers to another as Dad carefully observed and then put them into practice.

The intentionality and effort suggested by the term apprentice may make some Christians uncomfortable. Sometimes this discomfort is little more than a slumbering spirit; we may not like the idea of putting serious disci- pline into changing behavior and beliefs that we feel are good  enough. Or there may also be another, more legitimate discomfort. Does an emphasis on our role and our disciplines of apprenticeship undercut His grace? Might it lead toward pride and “work-your-way-to-heaven” righteousness? Could desire to grow more like Jesus in action change our focus from gratitude at what God has done into a self-consumed bravado in what we are doing?
History reveals that there is, in fact, danger in that direction. Whole movements have grown up around efforts to earn the favor of both God

and man by straining for spiritual attainment. Such quests can feed arro-
gance and self-centeredness as gasoline feeds a fire.

Grace is opposed to earning, not effort.
—Dallas Willard

So we would do well to proceed with  care. To  imagine we could somehow earn  God’s favor is utter vanity. As Jesus portrays in story, it’d be like a household servant imagining he could pay off a debt equivalent to two hundred thousand years of wages.9 God’s grace alone is the wellspring of His favor and heaven’s only door. We must never forget that.
Yet . . .
Despite the hazards, Jesus never watered down His call to apprenticeship. Rather, He urges us to hold two counter-weighted truths at the same time. On one side, joyous gratitude at God’s unmerited forgiveness and love. On the other, a robust response  to that gift expressed in obedient action.
As Dallas Willard puts it, “Grace is opposed to earning, not effort.”10
Jesus depicts this truth in story at the end of His Sermon on the Mount. Two builders are constructing homes. As the old Sunday school song describes, the wise man built his house upon the rock. The foolish man built his house upon the sand. The rains came down and the floods came up, and the house on the sand went splat.
What distinguished the two builders? Not abstract belief. Not iden- tity as a Christian. As Jesus bluntly explains, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them  into practice is like a wise man who built his house upon the rock. . . . But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them  into  practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.”11
This down-to-earth, put-it-into-practice vision was especially vivid on Jesus’s last night with His disciples. Although unequivocally the Master, He strips Himself of His status both literally and figuratively. Wearing little but a towel, He kneels and scrubs dirt from between their toes. Then, rising and redressing, He puts the Master-apprentice relationship into words: “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should  do as I have  done.”12

a ChaMpion of  gift  and diLigenCe

Perhaps no living person has ever more fully celebrated the wonder of God’s unmerited favor than that great apprentice to Jesus, the apostle Paul. Paul viewed everything as a gift, including the very inclination to follow as Jesus’s apprentice. As he put it simply in 1 Corinthians, “What do you have that you did not receive?”13
Yet this same Paul described his own apprenticeship to Christ not only as receiving a gift but also as serious exertion. He knew better than any that grace saves us. Yet intense effort defined his pursuit of Christlikeness. “I  press on to take hold of that for which Christ  Jesus took hold of me. . . . Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize.”14
Every part of the Christian faith requires gripping two seemingly oppo- site realities at once.

> Justice and mercy
> Contrition and confidence
> Gentleness and bold truth
> A Savior who was fully God and fully man

In apprenticeship, we must do the same. We cling unyieldingly to the lavish, unmerited gift of grace. And we hold with equal passion to a vision for pursuing apprenticeship with abandon.
The outcome of holding this apparent contradiction together is a result worth longing for. Paul described himself as “the worst” of sin- ners.15 Nevertheless, as an apprentice to Jesus, he could declare without flinching, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”16
How could Paul claim that God’s peace would rest on those who prac- ticed not just what he taught, but what they saw him do? Not simply because he’d become a “good man.” Rather, Paul had come to mirror both the char- acter and behavior of the Master. So he could say, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”17
What a breathtaking thing it would be to meet a person today who could, in humility, say the same. Imagine it being said of you, “Follow the way she speaks and listens, for she mirrors the example of Jesus.” “Follow

the way he leads and loves, for he reflects the words and ways of Jesus.” Impossible? Not if we believe the Scriptures.
Yes, we will always struggle against sin. But we can have every reason for confidence that in five or ten years from now (even one!) we will look more like Jesus than we do today.
As we grow as Jesus’s apprentices, our small choices and daily habits increasingly reflect the Master’s. As explored in the chapters ahead, we become more fully present  before others; the ideas we convey become more tangible; our manner is recognized as more authentic; our questions guide and inspire; we present not just facts, but set them in stories that give facts meaning; our words carry greater vision  and weight.
Choice by choice, small act by small act, we “are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory.”18 Not just in theory, but also in the visible, tangible actions that meld eternal truth with daily life. Praise be to God that He never leaves us where we are.

Person a l Note s:  Erik
Apprenticeship demands humility. The very act of apprenticing to a master is acknowledging your own inabilities. You know less. You need to learn. You don’t have what it takes yet. Maybe that is why so many of us are reluctant to be an apprentice: it’s hard to submit to others. That is my chal- lenge, at least.
Early on in my career I served as a deputy for a senior speechwriter. He would pass me the ceremonial events—the award ceremony for a top employee, a ribbon cutting at the factory—and on a good week, he might let me take a swing at a first draft of a major speech.
“Good  start,”  he would say, and then inevitably hack away until only a few of my original lines remained—and even then, he would take credit for everything.
It was not humbling—it was humiliating.
“I’m better than him,” I would think, especially after lunch when he would kick up his feet on the desk, lean back in his chair, and sleep for two hours. I had no interest in being his apprentice. Maybe that showed. Eventually, my job became nothing more than printing speeches on 4 x 6 cards for
delivery to our boss.
It was a difficult season, but an important one. Looking back, I wasn’t ready. I needed to study great speeches, listen to the tone and cadence of leaders, and perfect my craft.
I thought I had it all figured out, just as Simon did until Jesus approached his boat.
The fifth chapter of Luke tells the story of Jesus teaching on the shoreline of a lake. A crowd is pressing in, and Jesus pushes back in a boat to cre- ate space and to amplify His voice off the water. Professional fisherman are nearby, cleaning nets after a dismal day of fishing.

“When    he   had   finished   speaking,   he   said   to   Simon,    ‘Put out  into  deep  water,  and  let  down  the  nets  for  a  catch”   (v.  4). Simon questions the Master, as all of us surely would and certainly do. I am the professional. I know what I am doing. This is not a good spot or time to fish. He relents, drops his nets. And the abundance of fish almost topples the boats and tears the nets. “They came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink” (v. 7).
Then Simon  repents, Jesus calls him  to a new life, and he leaves everything—even his boats and nets and crew—to follow the Master.
The simplicity of the story is beautiful. Jesus comes to you with an absurd request—Erik, leave the professional stuff to Me— and yet He is faithful and fulfilling, which leads to a humble repentance and a life renewed. Apprenticing Jesus isn’t a hollow echo of Jesus’s life and words. It’s not a self-awareness or self-preserving. Its about a real submission to living under the audacious authority of Jesus, the Master who will ask for everything we have so He can give us everything we need. We come empty. Ready. Humble. Only then can He begin.