The Grace and Truth Paradox

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The Grace and Truth Paradox by Randy Alcorn was given to me (and a copy to each of my siblings) by my Dad last Christmas. I had picked it up a number of times and read bits and pieces of it, but finally decided to read the whole thing through as I’ve been trying to get back into regular reading by picking a book to read each month. It’s a short read at 92 small pages and has a balance of anecdotes, truth about well, grace and truth and scripture to back it up.

The ideas of grace and truth are compared, contrasted and each shown throughout the book to be incomplete without the other. Without giving you a whole review of the book, I’ll just give you something about each that stuck out at me.

Grace

In The Grace and Truth Paradox, Randy Alcorn explains some of culture surrounding the parable of the prodigal son. Regarding the father, he says “Dignified men in the Middle East didn’t run. And they certainly didn’t throw parties for sons guilty of shame and waste.” I never really thought about this parable of a rebellious son who finally decides to come home in any context other than our own culture before. Certainly in any time and place, the father’s reaction of love and forgiveness towards his son is an act of grace, but this grace is even more radical considering the importance that Middle Eastern culture places on respect for family and the disrespect that this father’s son displayed to him and the rest of the family. This and much more is the kind of grace that God offers to me and enables me to offer to other people if I accept it.

Truth

How I handle truth in the seemingly small situations in life has just as profound of an effect as how truth is handled in the big moments and tough decisions. I’ve been watching Dead Like Me recently and one theme that seems to repeat itself is that the people who are dead (or undead) often regret the “small” things that they did not take the time for in life, like spending more time with family, or saying sorry or I love you more often. When it comes to truth, how I handle the small situations in life is what will be remembered.

Coming Up…

Next month’s book will either be Crazy Love, or I might possibly switch to fiction and read Eldest. Only time will tell, and you will find out for sure in another 30 days or so.

How to Wow

How to Wow

I’ve been reading the book “How to Wow” by Frances Cole Jones. Sarah suggested it to me and loaned me a copy to read. Since I’ve been having a hard time getting motivated to read lately, I thought that I would give myself the goal of reading one book a month, starting with “How to Wow”. Well, the month is drawing to an end and I am almost finished reading, so I thought I’d give a quick synopsis of my thoughts on the book so far.

“How to Wow” is mostly a collection of expanded bullet points on topics such as presentations, meetings, interviews and other situations you might encounter in a work environment. Frances Cole Jones lays out suggestions based on her experience for conducting yourself in such a way as to leave others with the best possible impression of you.

While there were many wonderful and helpful pieces of advice in this book, two things in particular stuck out to me. One is that 55% of communication is transmitted through facial expressions and 38% through tone of voice. I have always focused on what I am going to say and not how I say it, so to read that 93% of your communication is not about content, but about delivery certainly introduced a shift in my thinking of how I will communicate with others in the future. This isn’t to say that the change in communication will happen immediately, but it is something to start working on.

The second thing that jumped out at me is preparation. In every area of the book, Frances Cole Jones stresses the fact that you can’t really over-prepare for a meeting or event. I tend to under-prepare for things because they often seem overwhelming or unfamiliar, so I often think a lot rather than do anything to prepare. This will also require a shift for me to take action rather than becoming too entrenched in thoughts to move forward.

All-in-all, what I have read so far has been enlightening and very applicable to life (both work and personal). It’s also a pretty easy read as far as non-fiction goes.