Holy Sweat
The Remarkable Things Ordinary People Can Do
When They Let God Use Them

© 1987  Tim Hansel (1941-2009)

1. Christian life. 2. Success — Religious aspects — Christianity.

BV4501.2 .H334 1987 ~~ 248 H249-1 ~~ LCCN: 87008263 ~~ OCLC: 1547104 ~~ 198 p.

Holy Sweat is held by 97 libraries including Messiah College and Wheaton College


Table of Contents

From the Jacket of the Book

Introduction ..... 11

Part One: An Adventure Like No Other

The "Why" of Holy Sweat ..... 19

1. Missing the Adventure ... 21

2. Turning our Theology into Biography ..... 26

The Incarnation Principle  Any Old Burning Bush Will Do  Astonish Me! The Fifth Gospel

3. The Christian Life Is Not What It Seems ..... 40

The Kingdom of Niceness  Reckless Christianity  The Boring Christian Life

4. The Essential Need for Change ..... 54

We are Called to Continual Change  "I'm a Sinner!"  Transformed — Even at Age 82

5. Our Ultimate Goal: "Wholiness ..... 60

Part Two: The Personal Peak Performance Process

The "What" of Holy Sweat ..... 65

6. You Gotta Start ..... 69

7. Vision ..... 77

8. Clear, Precise, Written Goals ..... 85

9. Courage ..... 93

10. Teamwork ..... 104

11. A Passion for Excellence ..... 111

12. The Ability to Fail ..... 117

13. Perseverance ..... 126

14. Joy — the Master Skill ..... 132

15. Giving It All Away ..... 144

16. Your Own Peak Performance Points ..... 149

Plus One — The Eleventh Key ..... 151

Part Three: People of the Gap — Being a Joyful, Competent, Compassionate Servant Leader

The "How" of Holy Sweat ..... 155

17. What Is a Servant Leader? ..... 159

18. What Is Our Model for Being a Servant Leader? ..... 168

19. What Is the Power Source for Being a Servant Leader? ..... 175

Epilogue Great Lady ..... 191

Notes ..... 197

From the Jacket of the Book

In Holy Sweat author Tim Hansel gives the ten keys to personal peak performance: start, vision, goals, courage, teamwork, excellence, the ability to fail, perseverance, joy, and giving it all away. Hansel puts flesh and bones on these keys in an exciting way. Peak performance, as represented here, is not an achievement but a process. Any person who is struggling to stretch any area of his or her life in a positive direction is a peak performer. And the ultimate purpose then of peak performance is to give it all away, for Christ's sake.

The future just isn't what it used to be ... —Anonymous

   I truly enjoy the process of writing. It is one of the greatest privileges in my life. We are moving into the most difficult future of all time. It will demand our very best. Holy Sweat was written in the hope of again discovering "how do we explore and fully utilize the manifold gifts God has given us?" And what is it all for? We will explore the ultimate purpose of this journey called life.


   A little boy asked his mom one day if she knew what Goliath said when David hit him with a stone.

   "Why, I didn't know Goliath said anything," his mom replied.

   The little boy nodded his head knowingly and said, "Sure he did. When David stone in his sling and whipped it around, and let it go and hit ol' Goliath right between the eyes, Goliath said, 'Hmmmm, nothing like that has ever entered my mind before.' "

   The aim of this book is to offer you some new ideas, maybe some that have never entered your mind before.

   I need to warn you in advance, though, that this is not a cautious book. It's meant to challenge you, to stimulate you, to provoke you to new levels of thinking — and then to action.

   Jeremiah 30:2 says, "Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you.' "

   Over the past two decades, and especially the last seventeen years of my work with Summit Expedition, God has been emphasizing in my life the concepts revealed in this book. I had to write it. This book is designed quite literally to change lives. One of its major aims is to remind us constantly that God will supply, but we must apply. I can say that with great certainty, knowing this book has changed at least one life — my own. I've lived this book, and found its truths to work. Its basic theme can be summed up int he title: Holy Sweat.

   I can hear you now. "How could all that smelly stuff that pours off us when we exert ourselves be — holy?!"

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   It seems like a paradox, doesn't it? Holy — sweat? The two words don't go together. Or do they?

   That's just the point. Holy sweat is an "oxymoron" — a descriptive phrase consisting of two apparently opposite words that, when combined, convey a startlingly new and revealing image. Put another way, it's a new concept, fused by means of the juxtaposition of two ideas. It is something that shocks us in a joyful way, and provokes us to a new level of thought. The word holy is to remind us of our highest calling. And the word sweat is intended to infer the constant change and renewal involved in the process of our getting there. Holy sweat is a paradox. Holy refers to our common bond, while sweat is something we must do on our own.

   The Bible is full of many such terms. We are told we must lose our lives in order to find them; we must die in order to live; we must give away in order to have; we must admit we are wrong to be declared right; we are strongest when we are weakest; when we are the least, we are the greatest. Even the incarnation — God becoming man, the Word becoming flesh — is a paradox.

   But a paradox is a way of discovering the deepest of truths. The root of the word paradox suggests that — para and doxia mean "alongside glory."

   Holy Sweat is such an idea. The image I want it to convey is the active melding of the spiritual with the earthy, the holy and the physical, a profound paradox that lies at the very heart of this life we call Christian. Holy Sweat reveals that the holy is here within us, waiting to pour out of us, and that it's much more accessible than we ever would have thought. It's grace with blisters; it's redemption in overdrive.

   With just such a startling image, I want to shake your ideas of how you look at the Christian life. I want you to see its paradox, its amazement, and its potential — all within you. The spiritual and the physical can and do meet. We so often make the grave mistake of separating the two, thereby diffusing the power God has planted within us. It is vital for us to remember again that in the opening pages of the Bible, God created

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"stuff': earth, vegetation, animals, man, woman — not intangibles such as love, virtue, faith, and hop. Those will come soon enough. In the beginning he acknowledged that the physical and the spiritual are not mutually exclusive entities — and this theme remains consistent throughout the Bible.

   The Old Testament is crammed with changed lives, with earthy stories, with actual events. It's not a recording of selected concepts and theories. We are not offered abstract and ethereal principles, but real encounters of a living God and his people. The incredible truths of the Bible are revealed to us through genuine life-changing stories, not just through a group of isolated principles to memorize.

   Each of us is a one-of-a-kind story as well, through which our Lord continues to reveal himself. I like Elie Wiesel's wonderful statement, "God made man because he loves stories." The word story goes back to the Greek word eidenai, "to know." Your story is important. How you live it out is vital. And the great mystery of the Bible is that God has said, "Don't let your character be moulded by the desires of your ignorant days, but be holy in every part of your lives, for the one who has called you is himself holy. The scripture says, 'Ye shall be holy, for I am holy' " (1 Peter 1:15-16 Phillips).

   We are called to live a holy life. As far as I know, there are no exceptions. But what does that mean? I believe that holiness must be more than just a concept. Our living is to be holy; our moments of pain, our moment of joy, and our efforts to live life to the fullest can be holy.

   As Abraham Heschel once said so beautifully, "Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy."

   This book is an invitation to a celebration and an adventure. At the core of it is what I call the process of personal peak performance — keys to unlock the holy that is already within you. They are called "keys" rather than principles for a distinct purpose. A key is a relatively small and simple device, but it can be very useful in unlocking something you want. By a simple turning, vast warehouses of resources can be made available to you.

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They are also called keys because we already carry them with us. My prayer is that one or all of these keys will enable you to release and utilize the incredible potential that God has given you.

   I admit that "peak performance" is a somewhat awkward phrase. Our world has coined it to mean an act of accomplishment, a strenuous sort of self-effort mentality we "psych up" for that results in a plaque or a trophy, a higher income or applause, a svelte body or a blue ribbon.

   This peak performance concept is not based on accomplishment. This book is not just another "ten easy steps to success." The peak performance concept presented here is a process, one that helps form in us a holistic lifestyle based on a deeply spiritual foundation — not toward perfection, but toward wholeness. There's a freeing difference.

   What, then, is this book? Holy Sweat is more a discovery than a set of instructions — an invitation to, and a celebration of, a hidden adventure.

   Holy Sweat is about servant leadership, about wholeness, about the excitement of unfolding revelation, about the passion to become the best that you can be — and then to give it all away ... and at the center of it all, it's about joy.

   If you are wondering: "How do I do this?" that is perhaps the wrong question. Instead, I hope we will ask, "How can I be this? How do I become who I already am deep inside?"

   There are all sorts and varieties of Good News / Bad News jokes. One of my favorites is about the man who goes to see his doctor. The doctor says, "There's some good news and there's some bad news."

   The patient says, "Well, doc, give me the good news first."

   "The good news," the doctor says, "is that you have twenty-four hours to live."

   The patient gasps, "If that's the good news, what is the bad news?"

   "Well, the bad news," the doctor continues, "is that I couldn't reach you by phone yesterday."

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   I accept the estimate of the theoreticians that the average person accomplishes only 10 percent of his or her potential. Author John Powell insightfully explains that amazing fact to help us realize that the average person sees only 10 percent of the beauty in the world around him or her and tastes only a tenth of the deliciousness of being alive. "[H]is heart is only 10 percent alive with love and his mind embraces only a small part of the thoughts, reflections, and understanding of which he is capable."

   Is that bad news or good news? Well, the bad news is that many people will miss life at its fullest because of mere lack of information or motivation. But the good news is that the best season of your life can be ahead of you no matter what your age or circumstances — if you choose to make it so — because 90 percent of your potential is not only untapped and unused, but also undiscovered. That's not just good news, it's incredible news! And unlike the doctor's patient, it's never too late to tap into it.

   The Holy Sweat peak performance keys are designed with this in mind. But they are full of surprise. How many peak performance concepts end with giving it all away?

   But I'm getting ahead of myself.

   You will see. This is an unusual book. And we're called to be unusual people. Perhaps this is not a book of "how to" as much as it is "why not?" Here and now. We need to know the power of Christ within us and tap into that power.

   The very first Bible verse I learned was from 2 Corinthians 13:3: "The Christ you have to deal with is not a weak person outside you, but a tremendous power inside you." As the poet Wendell Berry says, we are called to continually "practice resurrection."

   Perhaps it is said best by Paul himself in a passage I believe to be one of the scriptural platforms for this book, Ephesians 3:14-21. In the J.B. Phillips translation, it begins under the appropriate heading of "I pray that you may know God's power in practice":

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   As I think of this great plan, I fall on my knees before the Father ... and I pray that out of the glorious riches of his resources he will enable you to know the strength of the Spirit's inner-reinforcement — that Christ may actually live in your hearts by your faith. And I pray that you, rooted and founded in love yourselves may be able to grasp (with all Christians) how wide and deep and high is the love of Christ — and to know for yourselves that love so far above our understanding. So will you be filled through all your being with God himself.

    Now to him, who by his power within us is able to do infinitely more than we ever dare to ask or imagine — to him be the glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever, amen. (Italics mine)

   That is our goal. And what a goal!

   There is a danger here, however.

   To undertake this process of personal peak performance without understanding why we want to live this lifestyle, and how to live it, could easily cause many of us to lapse into the traditional ideas of peak performance.

   The ropes we use in our Summit Expedition wilderness courses are made of three separate strands woven into one line that can hold over five thousand pounds. One of these ropes is only about as thick as a person's index finger. By itself, one of these strands would be unsafe. But together they're almost indestructible. We trust our lives to these ropes.

   Just as it's critical for a climber to have all three strands of his or her rope in good condition, so it is with these ideas. It is critical that you not limit yourself to just knowing what a peak performer does, but that you also continually keep in mind why a person should do it, and then how to make that peak performance a lifestyle of servant leadership — as God planned it all along. All three strands are needed to make us strong. So that's how Holy Sweat is structured. First, I explain the why of this new lifestyle, then the what, and finally, the how.

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   As you read, you may agree or disagree with my ideas. Either way, I'm satisfied. Because either way, you're thinking.

   Do you remember the Owl, in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland? Alice sought out the Owl because she had heard that he had The Answer. When she found him, she said, "It is said that you alone have the Answer."

   The Owl replied, "My friend, as much as is said of me is true." So she asked the Owl her question.

   And he answered carefully, "You must find out for yourself."

   Alice said angrily, "Did I need the Owl to tell me I must think for myself?"

   "But, my friend," the Owl replied. "That is the Answer."

   I hope as you discover what is inside the covers of this book, you'll be inspired to do some heavy thinking of your own. That's always the answer. Perhaps you'll even invent some of your own keys to add to these. I hope you do. These are just what have worked for me. I've struggled through each of these stages in order to discover the path to wholeness. Through detours and dead ends, cul-de-sacs and crooked ramblings, I've wrestled to make these all a daily, exciting part of my existence. I pray that this is what these ideas will do for you, too. These pages are not intended to be "answers," but windows — and windows are for seeing through.

Spell checked to here 8/28/18

Part One: An Adventure Like No Other

The "Why" of Holy Sweat

Chapter 1

Missing the Adventure

   The trouble oftentimes with religious people is that they try to be more spiritual than God himself. — Frederick Buechner

   Living the good life is frequently dull, flat and commonplace. Our greatest need is to make life fiery, creative, and capable of spiritual struggle. — Nikolai Berdyaev

   In the midst of a generation screaming for answers, Christians are stuttering. — Howard Hendricks

   Are you tired of just sitting home every weekend and watching your lawn die? Is your idea of adventure limited to watching the late-night TV special? Or finding a deodorant that lasts twelve hours? Has your spiritual life grown sluggish? Are you becoming more a spectator than a participant in life?

   If any of these sound all too familiar, then evaluate yourself by honestly answering the following 17 questions yes or no:

   ____ Do you spend most of your Christian life sitting stiffly and quietly in a thing called a p-e-e-e-w?

   ____ Have you ever pushed any area of your life to its limits, only to realize that there was probably more to life than you previously thought?

   ____ Can you recall the last time you felt unique, fully alive, reaching for all your potential?

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   ____ Do you sometimes think of Christianity as a nice but, at times, unrealistic religion?

   ____ Is your idea of the good Christian life still limited to getting a gold star for attendance or knowing all the words to a printed prayer?

   ____ Is your idea of risk putting a fish symbol on your car?

   ____ Is your idea of Christian maturity being on three committees at the same time?

   ____ Have you ever felt like you're missing something?

   ____ Well, if you answered yes to any of the above, you are. You're missing an adventure like no other.

An Adventure Like No Other

   What do we mean by adventure? You can answer that question yourself by answering another set of question:

   ____ Have you ever been somewhat bored by it all?

   ____ Have you ever felt you're  just going through the motions?

   ____ Have you ever asked yourself whether or not all your Christian activity is really the same as experiencing the fullness of Christ?

   ____ Do you ever find yourself being more concerned about your Christian reputation than the needs of the world or of those around you?

   ____ Have you ever risked it all and lost — and still thought it worth it because it brought you into a deeper relationship with the living God?

   ____ Do you really feel like you can "do all things through Christ who strengthens" you? Or are those just nice words to memorize?

   ____ Is your faith a dull habit or an acute fever?

   Webster's Dictionary defines adventure as "moving into the unknown, an exciting enterprise, a bold undertaking with an

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uncertain outcome, a remarkable occurrence in one's personal history." Amazingly enough, the word comes from a Latin root which means "to arrive."

   Anonymous, quite possibly the most prolific poet and writer of all time, once said, "For life is a mystery to be lived out rather than a problem to be solved." Life is special. It is the very crucible which God has given us to discover, know, and share his son. "The truth is," said Anatole France, "that life is delicious, horrible, charming, sweet, bitter — and that is everything." Many miss this wonder, this fullness, this joy — primarily because they miss the adventure.

   From the cradle we understand our need for adventure, even though it is easily lost as we grow older. Most of us experience this need as teenagers whether or not we know it by name. Young people need large doses of adventure in order to change, discover, and grow. It they aren't sufficiently challenged by real-life adventures, they will seek and find fictitious adventures of significantly less value. I'm not at all surprised when I see youth explore drugs, sex, or delinquent behavior. I don't condone it; I'm simply not surprised. Such young people are often seeking their idea of newness and adventure. It is their means of breaking what Paul Tournier, in The Adventure of Living, calls "the deadly monotony of a society which to them has become over organized, fossilized and impotent."

   I am surprised, though, that Christians who claim the wild message of Jesus Christ aren't out on the edge of adventure more often. I have seen all too frequently young and old alike withdraw beneath the shields of niceness, apathy, and boredom in order to avoid the high cost of loving and serving Christ. The pew has gotten too comfortable, and we are suffering immensely from a paucity of real adventure.

   This is one of the prime reasons why a few of us joined together in 1970 to form an unusual enterprise called Summit Expedition. The statement of purpose for this wilderness / adventure program is that it be "a process of training people in

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skills, values, competencies and attitudes to be able to serve Jesus Christ in any environment without perception of limit."

   Since our beginning, we have had almost ten thousand participants, ranging in age from six to seventy. They have experienced a quality of adventure that has encouraged them to discover not only who they are at deeper levels, but who God is at previously unknown levels of experience.

   We have often struggled financially to keep the doors to our ministry open and alive, but it has been more than worth it. Programs ranging from a few days in length to over three weeks have been attended by high school and college students, juvenile delinquents, married couples, dads and their children, leaders seeking more skills, the handicapped, executives, and even members of the United Nations.

   Summit's programs invite participants to stretch their horizons of commitment as well as their stamina and skill. One reason why the mountains are so ideal for such stretching is that they are removed away from our everyday lives where we depend on cars, cosmetics, and credit cards. We have become a society more concerned with how we look than how we "see." We don't realize how we atrophy — mentally, spiritually, and physically — in our noisy, cluttered world. But we can break away from that sort of existence. A new adventure explodes into being anywhere and anytime a person listens to God and faithfully obeys him.

   That is the adventure like no other. It's a surprise-filled journey toward deeply knowing the One who made us and knowing ourselves. Bearing the imprint of Christ as we do and knowing the security that he alone can give, I am surprised that Christians aren't the greatest adventurers on the face of the earth.

   Philip Brewer is a man with a remarkable gift for words. He recently gave me this poem to remind me that God simply asks us to give what little we have. Only then can he do what only he can do. This incredible journey begins with who and where we are.

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Five Loaves and Two Fishes

God uses what you have to fill a need which you never could have filled.

God uses where you are to take you where you never could have gone.

God uses what you can do to accomplish what you never could have done.

God uses who you are to let you become who you never could have been.

Philip Clarke Brewer

Chapter 2

Turning Our Theology into Biography

   The Word became flesh — and then through theologians it became words again. — Karl Barth

   He is asking us to be the chief bearers of His likeness in the world. As spirit He remains invisible on this planet. He relies upon us to give flesh to that spirit, to bear the very image of God. — Paul Brand

   Do you know why most of us miss the adventure? It's because we've never learned to plug our theology into our biography.

   One night on the "Merv Griffin Show," I saw Merv interview some body builders. Merv was standing there, looking at these guys who had muscles on their muscles, and he asked a poignant question: "What do you use all these muscles for?"

   One guy answered by flexing his muscles in one of those body-building poses.

   "No, you don't understand me," Merv said. "What do you use all those muscles for?"

   The guy said, "I'll show you." And flexed again, posing in another way.

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   "No. No. You still don't understand my question. Read my lips. What do you use them for."

   And the guy posed again.

   The tragedy is, I know some Christians like that. Don't you? They attend church; they go to seminars, conferences, and Bible studies. They keep building up their spiritual muscles, but they don't use them for the reason they were created. They've got muscles packed with knowledge and piety, but their essential purpose and power go unused. So they end up with all this power for show, just to look good, not for action. Sometimes they aren't really aware of it. It can happen to any of us. Sometimes it's so subtle.

   The root meaning of story is "to know," and knowing in the biblical sense is a very intimate thing. It implies to actual experience. It is not just head knowledge, cerebral assent, or muscular posing. John 8:32 says, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." You participate, you experience life, and make it biographical." So, your theology becomes your biography.

   Translating our theology into biography is merely meshing our beliefs into everyday reality. It's that simple, and that profound. It's simple, but that's not to be confused with "easy." It is far from that. In fact, it is perhaps one of life's greatest challenges. God wants to have an unblinking reflection in what we call ordinary. If God speaks to us anywhere, it is in our daily lives. I believe it is more important to live one word of Scripture than to memorize volumes. And living that one word will be a breakthrough to a whole new dimension of this life we call Christian. It will be a window through which you will see and experience greater fullness in Christ. Helen Keller was struck deaf, dumb, and mute by a virus at the age of nineteen months. She would have remained forever trapped in her prison of silence had it not been for the heroic efforts of her teacher, Annie Sullivan. The turning point in Helen's life came when Miss Sullivan gave her one word — WATER. When Helen discovered that one word, she discovered the world. It

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was the doorway to her future, and she went on to become one of the great human beings on this planet. My hope is that somewhere on these pages, you will discover that "one word" that will irrevocably change your future.

   Barth's classic comment that the Word became flesh and through theologians it became words again is all too true.

   Are you like me sometimes? Does your Christianity become more rhetoric than anything else? I like to challenge people to "walk their talk" — but find that sometimes I fall into the trap of "promenading my loquacity."

The Incarnation Principle

   I was on a plane one afternoon and happened to be reading the New Testament when the lady beside me glanced over and said, "Excuse me, Sir, are you a Christian?"

   I said, "Yes, Ma'm, right down to my toes, right down to the marrow of my bones."

   She looked at me strangely, and said, "That's an interesting way to put it. What do you mean?"

   And we had an intriguing conversation about the "incarnation principle" — about the melding of the spiritual and the physical, about the fact that Christianity is not just a spiritual commitment, but a total commitment. Many of us have never let what we know in our heads seep down into our feet and hands, and the marrow of our bones. We've got this powerful faith, but we live as if we don't know what to do with it. I'm reminded of St. Paul's words in 1 Thessalonians 1:2-5: We are always thankful to God as we pray for you all, for we never forget that you faith has meant solid achievement, your love has meant hard work, and the hope that you have in our Lord Jesus Christ means sheer dogged endurance in the life that you live before God, the Father of us all.

   "We know, brothers, that God not only loves you but has selected you for a special purpose. For we remember how our gospel came to you not as mere words, but as a message with power behind it — the convincing power of the Holy Spirit."

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   More than not, we fail to experience the incarnation principle, not so much because we're unmotivated as it is we're uneducated. Many of us have never fully realized that an adventure awaits us out there. We don't know that the lifestyle we're called to live is radically different from the soft, comfortable, tidy one we see all around us. Why? Sometimes it's because we are thinking "spiritual" rather than total. God's greatest desire is to make us whole, complete in him. It's amazing to realize that every time Christ healed someone, he simply made them whole. It's also important to note that he did each one uniquely. He will make each of us whole in a unique way.

   Christians are famous for separating the sacred and the secular. But I don't see God drawing those same kinds of lines. In fact, the only real difference between the sacred and the secular is that the secular doesn't know it's sacred yet.

   Our theology must become biography, not only because the world needs it so desperately, but also because that was the supreme example God gave us in Christ. The Incarnation.

   "The Word became flesh," John 1:14 says, "and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth." That is what incarnation means. "It is untheological. It is unsophisticated. It is undignified," writer Frederick Buechner has said. "But according to Christianity it is the way things are." The incarnation gives us an ultimate model. If God had wanted to teach us psychology, he'd have sent us a psychologist; if he had wanted to teach us about science, he'd have sent a scientist. But he wanted to teach us about personhood, so he sent a Person, the Word made flesh — not only to show us what God is like, but also what life is like.

   "To incarnate" means to embody in flesh, to put into or represent in concrete, tangible form. For example, we are called to incarnate God's love — make it real — as well as his forgiveness. Likewise, we're called to embody his peace, and to live out his hope of justice. But the Bible goes even further than that to say that we're called to incarnate his very Presence, as a continuation of the greatest event in human history. When Moses stood at the burning bush he was told to take off his shoes because the

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ground on which he stood was holy. "The incarnation means that all ground is holy because God not only made it but walked on it, ate and slept, and worked and died on it. If we are saved anywhere," Buechner explains, "we are saved here .... One of the blunders religious people are particularly fond of making is the attempt to be more spiritual than God Himself."

   Christianity celebrates the real, the actual, the practical. "Without a firm rooting in creation," Eugene Peterson says, "religion is always drifting off into some kind of pious sentimentalism or sophisticated intellectualism or snobby elitism. ... The Word became flesh. Things matter. The physical is holy."

   God revealed himself through a lifestyle, becoming flesh, matter, substance, real. Hence, God works in the eternal present, through us here and now. He lives within us here and now. God wants to bind us back to himself, an act that will result in the life abundant that he promised. When God repeats something in Scripture, I am sure it's to make a point. I understand, for example, that in the book of Ezekiel, over sixty times it says, "I want you to know Me."

Any Old Burning Bush Will Do

   God has no more ceased being revelation than he's ceased being love. As Major Ian Thomas has put it, "Any old burning bush will do."*

   Our hearts beat excitedly over stories of people like Abraham and Moses, yet we fail to recognize that they were as frail and nervous as we are. We stand in awe of Moses at the burning bush: "Now there is a bush that burns," we say. "I would like to be a bush like that, but I'm just a heap of ashes." And that's as far as we get.

   We discuss the phenomenon of what God can do in a life, tell amazing stories about it, praise it — but then resign


* I am indebted for this concept to Major Ian Thomas, and I highly recommend his classic book, The Saving Life of Christ

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ourselves to being nothing more than what we think we are, a mere bystander, resigned to sitting in the balcony among the spectators.

   But it is not the bush that sustains the flame. It is God in the bush, and so, any old bush will do!

   The shocking message of the Bible continues to be that God has chosen the least suspecting of all vessels to do his greatest work. What you are at this particular moment in your life is irrelevant — your nationality, your education, your personality, or how you are physically, spiritually, and otherwise. Who you are is likewise irrelevant. What counts most is what and who you are willing to become. See that scruffy-looking bush over there? That bush will do. See this funny-looking bush over here? It will do too.

   Thomas writes, "Moses had to discover this and you will too! He had to discover that a fine physique and noble ambitions, royal breeding and Egyptian scholarship could never be a substitute for that for which man was created — God Himself!"

   We tragically have thought that becoming a Christian is a matter of conforming to a certain pattern of behavior, a certain image of preconceived holiness. Our problem is that we've continually viewed the incredible power of God from a distance. God called Moses by name — but when did he call him? That is the key. Did he call Moses while Moses stood admiring at a distance? No, God didn't reveal himself until Moses "turned aside to see."

   Perhaps you're wondering why you've never experienced the passionate Presence of God. It could be because you're standing back, viewing Christianity from a distance. It is quite possible that your life could remain powerless and unused by God simply because you never took the time to understand why God uses men and women for his great purposes. You've never thought about translating your theology into biography.

   "All you need is what you have, and what you have is what He is! He does not give you strength, He is your strength!" Thomas states. He does not give you joy, he is your joy. He does not give you hope, He is your hope! "Christ in you, the hope of glory."

Page 32

You cannot have more — and you need not have less."1 Talk about adventure!

   God's truth is written in our blood, our bones, our breath, our eyes, our ears, and every part of our body. Christianity is not just a spiritual commitment but a total commitment of our intellect, our bodies, and our souls. And this is the underlying reason, the why, for pursuing our peak performance lifestyle.

   Why then aren't we more aware of this idea? Why do we fall into a boring, complacent lifestyle that is only "Christian" around the edges? God has given us astonishing evidence of who he is, countless astonishing stories in Scripture to prove what he can do through us, and he's come to us in astonishing fashion through Christ. He is, in fact, God's "unexpected Word."

Astonish Me!

Spell checked to here ... 9/17/18

   We need to be unfettered 

Chapter 3

The Christian Life Is Not What It Seems

   There he is. In the temple again.... — Martin Bell

   A man was asked to speak

Chapter 4

The Essential Need for Change

   Has any man ever obtained inner harmony by simply.... — Norman Douglas

   A close friend of mine was asked back to his forty-year high school reunion. For months he saved to take his wife back to the place and the people he's left four decades before. The closer the time came for the reunion, the more... 

Chapter 5

Our Ultimate Goal: "Wholiness"

   Be holy because I am holy  — 1 Peter 1:16

   Whether a person arrives at his destiny or not — the place that is ...

Part Two: The Personal Peak Performance Process

The "What" of Holy Sweat

   I have never met a Christian who sat down and made plans to live a mediocre life. — Howard Hendricks

Chapter 6

You Gotta Start

   Fear not that your life shall come to an end, but rather ... — John Henry Newman


   This may sound crazy, but before anything can happen, before you can ...

Chapter 7


   Is life so wretched?... — Dag Hammarskjold

   To make the process of peak performance

Chapter 8

Clear, Precise, Written Goals

   To move in the dark is to move blindfold. — 1 John 2:11

   Most people don't know what they really want — but they're sure they haven't got it. — Alfred E. Newman

   The greatest thing in world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we're moving. — Oliver Wendell Holmes

   If having a vision is mandatory for

Chapter 9


   What we need now is endless courage. — Katherine Porter

   Be strong and of good courage.... — Joshua 1:6

   One man with courage makes a majority. — Andrew Jackson

   The trick is not to rid your stomach of butterflies, but to make them fly in formation. — source unknown

   We've talked about goals and vision. But what

Chapter 10


   I am more than I am, but less than we are.

   There's a wonderful story about Jimmy Durante, one of the great entertainers of  

Chapter 11

A Passion for Excellence

   The quality of a person's life is in direct ... — Vincent T. Lombardi

   Living the good life is frequently dull, flat and commonplace. Our greatest need is to make life fiery, creative, and capable of spiritual struggle. — Nikolai Berdyaev

   In the midst of a generation screaming for answers, Christians are stuttering. — Howard Hendricks

   Do you ever wonder how good, really good you could be at something? What are is it ...

Chapter 12

The Ability to Fail

   If you want to double your success rate, double your failure rate. — Thomas Watson  president, IBM

   Living the good life is frequently dull, flat and commonplace. Our greatest need is to make life fiery, creative, and capable of spiritual struggle. — Nikolai Berdyaev

   In the midst of a generation screaming for answers, Christians are stuttering. — Howard Hendricks

   A young man had just been elected to

Chapter 13


   Those who believe they believe in God but without passion in the heart, without anguish of mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, and even at times without despair, believe only in the idea of God, and not in God himself. — Madeleine L'Engle

   Never give up. — Winston Churchill

   To be able to fail well is absolutely critical. But the ability to make failure work for you and not against you requires one more quality: perseverance. This elusive

Chapter 14

Joy  — the Master Skill

   Joy is peace dancing.

   These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. — Jesus

   Joy is the flag

   Happiness turns up more or less where you'd expect it to

   A young man had

Chapter 15

Giving It All Away

   What if we gave ourselves away as if in each person we were meeting here our Lord Himself? — Lloyd Ogilvie

   The essential — Nikolai Berdyaev

   God doesn't ask — Howard Hendricks

   All that is not — Howard Hendricks

   This principle of our peak performance process

Chapter 16

Your Own Peak Performance Points

   Thus again, the Way will teach you the Way, and the Way is learning not to withhold yourself. — Bernard Phillips

   Each of our journeys is, as we've said, uniquely individual. The Christian

Part Three: People of the Gap

Being a Joyful, Competent, Compassionate Servant Leader

The "How of Holy Sweat

I sought for a man to stand in the gap and there was none. — Ezekiel 22:30

I want to know God's thoughts. — Albert Einstein

   A good and generous man wanted to teach his son and his daughter

Chapter 17

What Is a Servant Leader?

   He who is greatest among you shall be your servant .... — Matthew 23:11

   Of this I am certain. The ones among you who will be truly happy are those who have sought and found how to serve. — Albert Schweitzer 

Chapter 18

What Is Our Model for Being a Servant Leader?

   When Jesus gathered His disciples for

   Kaki Logan, one of our finest instructors, tells a powerful but familiar story ...

Chapter 19

What Is the Power Source for Being a Servant Leader?

   Just as each of us has

   By now, you may be rolling your eyes, wondering if this whole, lofty idea of servant leadership is actually possible for you. Even though

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