The Inspired Leader

The Inspired Leader: 101 Biblical Reflections for Becoming a Person of Influence by Richard Blackaby (Russell Media)

Richard Blackaby, president of Blackaby Ministries International, pens the majority of these brief devotionals, joined by 29 current or retired CEOs of major corporations or businesses. The devotionals are divided into 10 sections, such as "Leaving a Legacy" and "Leading in the Workplace." Each of the 101 devotionals ends with three succinct questions for reflection and application.

The individual devotionals have attention-getting titles, such as "Is Prayer a Part of Our Business?" Many deal with subject matter that will be of interest not only to people in business, but to others, as well. In "Just as He Pleased," Blackaby brings out the higher calling of Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A, and John Rockefeller of Standard Oil. Both went beyond their business commitments to teach Sunday school classes in their respective churches.

Any business leader would benefit from the thoughts contained in this book. However, potential leaders—or anyone who enjoys true accounts of the activity of God—also will find this work a real blessing and a great read.

Skip Holman, minister of discipleship

Northeast Baptist Church, San Antonio

The Forever Box by Kristin Clark Taylor (Berkley)

Journalist Kristin Clark Taylor, who helped launch USA Today, worked as director of White House media relations under George H. W. Bush, the first woman of color to serve in that position.

In The Forever Box, Taylor shares memories and stories drawn from the mid-1960s summer she was 7 years old. She enjoyed special relationships not only with her mother and her grandmother, but also with other wise and visionary women who loved and encouraged her.

The little girl placed their special gifts into a forever box. Striking black-and-white photographs of the objects accompany Taylor's engaging stories as she allows readers a glimpse into her cedar chest. But clearly, the importance of the box isn't the objects but the values and precepts they represent and the power of memories to connect past with present and future.

The author offers practical guidance as she encourages readers to build their own forever boxes. Such items, she explains, leave for their children and those who follow "invaluable spiritual road maps that will lead them and guide them as they struggle to negotiate the turbulent, topsy-turvy world around them."

Kathy Robinson Hillman, former president

Woman's Missionary Union of Texas, Waco

In His Very Steps: What Does the Bible Say? by Charles J. Williams Jr. (IHVS Books)

Inspired early in his ministry by the classic In His Steps by Charles Sheldon, Charles Williams Jr. gives us In His Very Steps. This novel is about Jim Hartner, pastor of First Church in Kingston. Both the church and its minister find their lives affected by a young widow named Rebecca Grey and her children, Manny and Joy—a much-in-need family who had been living in a car.

On Sunday morning, the Grey family visits First Church, where Manny collapses in front of the congregation and ultimately dies. The mother is arrested for child neglect, and Joy is placed in foster care. Deeply affected by these events, Pastor Hartner challenges his congregation with the question, "What would Jesus do?" Seventeen members pledge to respond in Christ-like ways for one year. Williams calls this a commitment to a new definition of discipleship.

The bulk of the novel consists of accounts of these 17 people, whose lives are affected radically by their pledge. Williams does a good job fleshing out the life of each person. He concludes his novel with an interesting twist and adds a challenge for readers to encounter Christ for salvation and to walk in his very steps.

I personally found this novel a blessing and believe other readers will be challenged and enriched.

Leo Smith, retired executive director

Texas Baptist Men

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