Thursday, June 30, 2016

Book Review of Hidden Agendas by Steve Brown {Excellent Resource!}

Here are some "titles" I carry: Pastor's Wife, Small Group Leader, Women's Bible Study Small Group Leader, and Children's Ministry Nursery Assistant. So to say my life contains leadership roles within the Church at times feels like an overwhelming understatement. I can't tell you enough how much I appreciate the phenomenal resource that Hidden Agendas [Dropping the Masks that Keep us Apart] is for Christian leaders. Whether you hold a leadership position within the church or within a Christian setting via pastorship, lay leader, paid position, counseling or simply by default (and don't we all feel that way sometimes?), Hidden Agendas is a "must read". Steve Brown brings a very honest and refreshing look not just at the masks we wear, but also addresses which masks we may want to leave & the importance of timing when we decide to take off a mask. The authenticity that Brown brings to this work is to be commended; it strips away our tendency to "muscle it" when we are dealing with various situations because we know what our Christian outward response 'should' look like. It's hard as a leader to find resources that allow you to view your life from a different angle. Brown's work allows you to adjust your perspective, shift your spiritual focus from merely spewing head knowledge to examining your need for a heart transformation. I appreciate the way Brown includes many areas of Scripture throughout Hidden Agendas, and he even has me wanting to do an in-depth study on Paul.

I will, however, say that this book could be "dangerous" in the hands of those who are arrogant or ignorant (this is a slightly tongue-in-cheek comment, by the way...but once you read it you will understand what I am saying). But I definitely recommend it to those who lead in any capacity, and also think it would be a great discussion book for those in leadership to walk through together.

*I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review*

Hidden Agendas
Hidden Agendas: Dropping the Masks that Keep Us Apart (New Growth Press, May 2016)
We like to pretend that hidden agendas are just for self-important bosses or egotistical politicians, but we all have them. Deep down, we all have a secret plan for getting from where we are to where we want to be, even if we refuse to admit it to ourselves.
And if our hidden agendas aren’t enough, we wear masks to obscure the truth even more. We put on these masks—like religion, appearance, power, politics, or protection—to drive our agendas. But all of this leaves us feeling phony, ashamed, guilty, and afraid. It’s killing us and hurting those we love. But for most of us, it will be a cold day in a hot place before we will be fully honest with anyone else.
There is so much more to life than hiding, pretending, and never being loved. In fact, there is already one person who sees behind the masks we wear and the hidden agendas that drive us. It does no good to tell God that you’re sick when you’re drunk, that you love him when you don’t, or that you didn’t steal and eat an apple (with apple juice dripping down your chin). God always recognizes and loves the “you” behind the mask.
So what can we do about the hidden agendas we have and the masks we wear? How can we gather the courage to be real? “Being real” has to start with your relationship with your heavenly Father. God already knows you inside and out. But God doesn’t know you in order to “out” you to your friends. His unconditional love for his own is reason we can pray to our Father without fear of rejection or judgment. Knowing God’s love, knowing that your heavenly Father is for you not against you is the only reason to give up your masks and develop the type of authentic relationships you never thought you could have.
About the Author:
Steve Brown is a radio broadcaster, author, and the founder of Key Life Network. A former pastor, he also sits on the board of Harvest USA and devotes much of his time to the radio broadcasts "Key Life" and "Steve Brown, Etc."

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