It's Not About Me Personal Guidebook: Rescue from the Life We Thought Would Make Us Happy

It's Not About Me Personal Guidebook: Rescue from the Life We Thought Would Make Us Happy

by Max Lucado

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780718039523
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 01/05/2016
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 542,409
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Since entering the ministry in 1978, Max Lucado has served churches in Miami, Florida; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and San Antonio, Texas. He currently serves as teaching minister of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio. He is America’s bestselling inspirational author with more than 130 million books in print.

Follow his website at Max Lucado.com

Facebook.com/Max Lucado

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Twitter.com/Max Lucado

Read an Excerpt

It's Not About Me

Personal GuideBook Rescue from the Life We Thought Would Make Us Happy


By Max Lucado, Len Woods

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2004 Max Lucado
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7180-3952-3



CHAPTER 1

PRIORITY 1:

ACCEPT YOUR PLACE IN THE WORLD


SESSION A:

BUMPING LIFE OFF SELF-CENTER


EXPLORING

In her classic book Mythology, Edith Hamilton tells the timeless story of Narcissus. This legendary Greek youth was unbelievably handsome. Every girl wanted him, but he wanted no one. He left broken hearts everywhere he went. One scorned maiden finally prayed to the gods, "May he who loves not others love himself."

The goddess Nemesis heard this anguished, angry prayer and answered it. So one day, as Narcissus bent over a clear pool to get a drink, he saw his own reflection and fell head-over-heels in love — with himself!

"Now I know what others have suffered from me," he cried, "for I burn with love of my own self — and yet how can I reach that loveliness I see mirrored in the water? But I cannot leave it. Only death can set me free." And that is exactly what happened. Narcissus leaned perpetually over the pool, fixed in one continual gaze, pining away for his own image, until at last he died.

The Greeks say that when the spirit of Narcissus crossed the river that encircles the world of the dead, it leaned over the boat to catch one final glimpse of himself in the water. We get our English word and modern concept of narcissism from this ancient story. A narcissist is one who is preoccupied, even obsessed, with self. Handsome or not, he is egocentric. Appearance aside, she thinks life is all about her.

Truth be told, there is a stubborn streak of narcissism in all of us. Self-centeredness is the great legacy of humanity's rebellion against God (see Genesis 3). At the root of Self-Ish-Ness is — do you see it? — sin. And as long as we remain absorbed and consumed with our own small lives and petty desires, we will scarcely acknowledge our great Creator or be of service to our fellow creatures.

Where do you see glaring examples of narcissism in our culture (for example, bodybuilders admiring themselves in the wall-to-wall gym mirrors, and so forth)?

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Why is it so easy for us to be focused on self?

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Who is the most unselfish person you know? How is that quality expressed? What impact does it have on others?

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REFLECTING

In trying to help us bump our lives off self-center, Max reminds us of this stunning passage in Scripture:

"God raised [Christ] from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church" (Ephesians 1:20–22 the message).

According to the passage, what does it mean for Christ to be the focal point of the universe?

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How does this complete focus on Jesus compete with the self-centeredness of our world?

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In what situations in everyday life do you tend to become more selfish?

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Max quotes the Bible passage that says:

"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 3:18 KJV).

According to this verse, how are we changed so that we are able to reflect God's glory?

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Max helps us understand our place in the world. Citing the moon as an example of how we should live, Max says:

"What does the moon do? She generates no light. Contrary to the lyrics of the song, this harvest moon cannot shine on. Apart from the sun, the moon is nothing more than a pitch-black, pockmarked rock. But properly positioned, the moon beams. Let her do what she was made to do, and a clod of dirt becomes a source of inspiration, yea, verily, romance. The moon reflects the greater light."

In what ways are we created like the moon? How should we function like the moon?

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When people look at your life, they see ... something. Intentional or not, your values and actions, your choices and words will reflect something. What will that be? What message do people read in your life? The people you brush up against — the ones you live with and work with — what conclusions do they draw about you? What would they say are your priorities?

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Max quoted the Bible passage that says:

"Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, [we] are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 3:18 KJV).

In what ways are we changed so that we increasingly "reflect" God's glory?

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What two specific changes will you make today, so that you can move off self-center and more consistently follow Christ?

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As you conclude this first session, pray this ancient prayer written by Bonaventure, the successor to Francis of Assisi as leader of the Franciscans.

O my God, Jesus, I am in every way unworthy of you. Yet, like Joseph of Arimathea, I want to offer a space for you. He offered his own tomb; I offer my heart.

Enter the darkness of my heart, as your body entered the darkness of Joseph's tomb. And make me worthy to receive you, driving out all sin that I may be filled with your spiritual light.


SESSION B:

ACCEPTING YOUR PLACE IN THE WORLD


REVIEWING

Life is not about you or me. That's the revolutionary "big idea" we began to wrestle with in Session A of Priority 1. We are seeing that until we "Bump Our Lives Off Self-Center" and understand how and where we fit in the big scheme of things, we will never be the people God wants, and we will never find the fulfillment we want. Let's warm up for this follow-up session by leaving the theoretical realm and dropping into the actual. Let's peek into the lives of some real people struggling with real-life, everyday issues.

Stan has been waiting all week for the big game. His favorite team just needs one victory to make the playoffs. Midway through the third quarter, with his team down by one and mounting a furious comeback, the game is preempted by a special news alert. A huge fire has engulfed an apartment building in a city about twelve miles away. Local news crews are there broadcasting live.

"Aw, c'mon!" Stan yells at the large TV screen in front of him. "We don't need live coverage — we can watch the highlights at 11:00. Aw, man, and we were just about to score! Gimme a break!"

* * *

"So, we're not going?"

"Honey, Carl worked in my division."

"Yeah, but you said you barely knew him."

"True. I barely did. He and I made chitchat on occasion. But what? I'm gonna not go to his funeral, and go to a Broadway musical instead? How is that gonna look? Everyone else will be there but me."

"Yeah, well, what about our plans? We've been looking forward to this play for three months!"

"I know, but what can I do? You act like it's my fault he died."

"I'm not saying that. I just know it'll be a long time before we get the chance to do this again."

"Look, I'm sorry. What do you want me to do?"

"I want you to put me first for once. Just once."

* * *

Steven is in a hurry to get to his son's soccer game. He left work a few minutes early thinking for sure he would avoid the heavy rush hour traffic. Not true. Traffic has been creeping along bumper-to-bumper for at least twenty minutes. People won't go. People won't move. Nobody will cooperate. It's a mess.

"Go, people! The light's not gonna get any greener than that! C'mon — get out of the way!" he yells at the sea of motionless bumpers in front of him.

Then, while he's glaring and fuming at all the cars, it hits him: You know, I'm furious at all this traffic, but the truth is I'm a part of the traffic. So what am I really saying when I get this angry? That my errands and destinations are more important than everyone else's. Hmmm. Interesting. I want everyone else to just pull over and get out of my way, because deep down I really believe my plans matter more than theirs. I guess that's pretty self-centered.


You may see yourself in these little slices of life. To which of the above scenarios do you relate the most? Why?

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In what recent situations have you put your desires ahead of another person's legitimate needs or concerns?

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EVALUATING

Jesus spent his entire time in ministry bumping people's lives off self-center. Before Jesus invited his disciples to follow him, they had very predictable lives. They lived in the same place they'd been born, with family members who had been doing the same work for generations. In an instant he rocks their world.

Matthew 4:18–22 captures Jesus' amazing invitation for a Copernican shift:

"One day as Jesus was walking along the shore beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers — Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew — fishing with a net, for they were commercial fishermen. Jesus called out to them, 'Come, be my disciples, and I will show you how to fish for people!' And they left their nets at once and went with him.

"A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, mending their nets. And he called them to come, too. They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind" (NLT).


Before you ponder the questions below, realize a few facts:

* This scene is right at the beginning of Jesus' public ministry.

* A former carpenter, Christ has just begun to preach and do miracles.

* The world has never seen or heard anyone like him.

* People are intrigued and amazed. "Could this be the long-awaited Messiah and Savior sent by God?"

* Peter, Andrew, James, and John have had some prior experience with Jesus, listening to him and observing his actions.


Got all that? Okay, now ...

To what are the men being invited?

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What does the invitation require of these men? If accepted, how would this opportunity change their lives?

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Why doesn't Jesus give more details about what following him will involve?

What word(s) do you think described how these fishermen may have felt as they responded (circle any and all that apply):

| scared | excited | anxious | relieved | confused | other: |

Would it have been possible for these men to follow Jesus while staying where they were, or without altering their lives? Can we follow Jesus, but continue to insist on following the course we have chosen for our own lives? Why or why not?

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When, if ever, did you first "meet" Jesus? What were the circumstances?

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What is the difference in saying, "Christ, I will follow your lead and live out your agenda" and saying, "Christ, I want you to help me accomplish my dreams"?

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Can you say with a clear conscience that you are following Christ right now, or are you struggling with your commitment?

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If you are not wholeheartedly living for Jesus, why the reluctance? Is there a specific area where you are going your own way?

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What scares you about surrendering yourself completely to Jesus?

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(Continues...)

Excerpted from It's Not About Me by Max Lucado, Len Woods. Copyright © 2004 Max Lucado. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction, v,
PRIORITY 1 — ACCEPT YOUR PLACE IN THE WORLD,
Session A: Bumping Life Off Self-Center, 2,
Session B: Accepting Your Place in the World, 7,
PRIORITY 2 — CLARIFY YOUR GREATEST DESIRE,
Session A: Show Me Your Glory, 16,
Session B: Clarifying Your Greatest Desire, 20,
PRIORITY 3 — FIND YOUR PURPOSE IN LIFE,
Session A: Divine Self-Promotion, 26,
Session B: Finding Your Purpose in Life, 31,
PRIORITY 4 — DISCOVER YOUR HIDDEN STRENGTH,
Session A: Holy Different, 40,
Session B: Discovering Your Hidden Strength, 45,
PRIORITY 5 — LIVE YOUR LIFE IN THE LIGHT OF ETERNITY,
Session A: Just a Moment, 54,
Session B: Living Your Life in the Light of Eternity, 59,
PRIORITY 6 — CONQUER YOUR STRESS AND UNCERTAINTIES,
Session A: His Unchanging Hand, 68,
Session B: Conquering Your Stresses and Uncertainties, 73,
PRIORITY 7 — CHANGE YOUR LIFE THROUGH LOVE,
Session A: God's Great Love, 80,
Session B: Changing Your Life through Love, 85,
PRIORITY 8 — LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE,
Session A: God's Mirrors, 92,
Session B: Letting Your Light Shine, 97,
PRIORITY 9 — KNOW YOUR LIFE MESSAGE,
Session A: My Message Is About Him, 106,
Session B: Knowing Your Life Message, 111,
PRIORITY 10 — REFLECT YOUR SAVIOR'S GRACE,
Session A: My Salvation Is About Him, 118,
Session B: Reflecting Your Savior's Grace, 124,
PRIORITY 11 — MAKE YOUR BODY A HOLY PLACE,
Session A: My Body Is About Him, 132,
Session B: Making Your Body a Holy Place, 136,
PRIORITY 12 — USE YOUR SUFFERING FOR GLORY,
Session A: My Struggles Are About Him, 144,
Session B: Using Your Suffering for Glory, 149,
PRIORITY 13 — REDEFINE YOUR IDEA OF SUCCESS,
Session A: My Success Is About Him, 158,
Session B: Redefining Your Idea of Success, 163,
PRIORITY 14 — RETHINK YOUR WAY TO HAPPINESS,
Session A: Upward Thinking, 172,
Session B: Rethinking Your Way to Happiness, 176,
APPENDIX — TIPS FOR GROUP LEADERS,
Using the Study in a Group Setting, 182,

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