In his newest book VIP, O.S. Hawkins takes readers through what it takes to create a life of Influencevision, integrity, and purpose. Through inspirational stories, biblical examples, and charged challenges towards greatness, O.S. Hawkins illuminates a path for you to uncover what it is going to take for you to become a VIP.
Following the great success of his books The Joshua Code and The James Code, VIP is the next step on your journey toward the life God has for you.
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.10(w) x 7.10(h) x 0.60(d)|
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How to Influence with Vision, Integrity, and Purpose
By O. S. Hawkins
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2016 O. S. Hawkins
All rights reserved.
Those who create a winsome and lasting influence on the people around them are men and women of vision. They know where they are going. And, even more important, they know how they plan to get there. As I stated in the introduction, people of influence are like a vibrant river in whose flow others are not simply caught up, but they are carried away. In turn, it is difficult to persuade anyone to let themselves get caught up in your flow if you have little idea of where you are headed, much less how you plan to arrive at your intended destination. Vision is vital when it comes to being a person of influence. "Where are we headed?" is a valid question, and people with influence have a common characteristic: they have a definitive answer to that question.
Ancient Israel's King Solomon — purported to be the wisest man who ever lived — understood the value of vision. One of the proverbs this man of influence left us almost three thousand years ago says this: "Where there is no vision, the people perish" (Proverbs 29:18 KJV). The word translated from Hebrew into English as vision appears thirty-five times in the Hebrew Bible, which Christians refer to as the Old Testament. The word carries the idea of a perception — a vision — not of what we are right now but of what we could become. According to Strong's Hebrew Lexicon, the word's root meaning is "to mentally perceive; to contemplate." Those with vision are men and women who do not see situations and circumstances only as they are now, but as they could be.
Solomon continued: where there is no spirit of conquest, where there is no vision, the people "perish." The Hebrew word for perish is more often translated "to go back." It is used, for instance, in Numbers 14:3 (ESV) to describe the group of Israelites in the wilderness who wanted to "go back" to Egyptian bondage even after experiencing the miracle of crossing the Red Sea on dry land. Solomon is reminding us across the centuries that people who have no mental perception of what they could become or what they could accomplish tend to meander through life with no forward direction or perceived purpose. They merely exist from day to day with little or no sense that anything significant lies ahead. These individuals who live without a vision have little perception of what they could become and no real direction in life. They influence few, if any, people around them. People of influence, however, cast a vision of what God wants them to be, where He wants them to go in life, and how He wants them to get there — and others get caught up in their flow.
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Perhaps there are few figures in modern American history who had more fervent and loyal followers and, at the same time, more fearful and livid foes than my friend Jerry Falwell of Lynchburg, Virginia. A man of vision, he rose to public prominence in the 1980s when his Moral Majority — and the religious right that found its voice as a result — contributed significantly to the election of Ronald Reagan as president. In 1971 he had started a small Bible college at his local church in Lynchburg. While many thought him foolish and unrealistic, Falwell had a clear and grand vision for that struggling little school. He traversed the country sharing his vision. He spoke of a school that would one day be to evangelical believers what Brigham Young is to Mormons and what Notre Dame is to our Catholic friends. A few bought into his vision early on, but most thought it only hype, just hopeful rhetoric. Then dozens, then scores, then hundreds, then thousands of people started sending their students and their dollars in support of what today is Liberty University: they became caught up in his flow.
Recently I was invited to speak at the spring baccalaureate and commencement services at what is now called Liberty University. I had not been on the campus since Dr. Falwell's death and the accompanying funeral service in 2007. As the new president, Jerry Falwell Jr., a brilliant lawyer and educator with degrees from the University of Virginia, walked my wife and me across the campus, I could not believe my eyes. Today Liberty University is spread over thousands of beautiful acres. It has become the largest Christian university in the world with more than one hundred thousand students from every field of study imaginable. Even at this writing, hundreds of millions of dollars of new construction is in process — and Liberty remains debt free. Beautiful dormitories reach to skyscraper heights. The campus is filled with up-to-date athletic facilities, including a football stadium, a thirteen-thousand-seat basketball arena, an ice hockey arena, one of the finest baseball stadiums in America, and on and on I could go. The new medical school sits on Liberty Mountain, and down in the valley is the law school. Liberty's graduates are scattered far and wide, impacting lives for the good in every field of endeavor.
As we walked across the campus that day, I thought much of my friend. My first inclination was to exclaim, "How I wish Falwell could see Liberty University today! But before I said the words, I thought, He did see it — and that's why it's all here! Vision is the V in becoming a VIP, a very influential person.
Before every great undertaking, someone — a VIP — has a vision for the task ahead. Think about it. The winning football coach has a game plan before kickoff — a vision of what he wants his team to accomplish and how to do it. The military commander envisions the strategy before the battle ever begins. The artist has an idea in his or her mind before the brush ever touches the canvas. But many individuals simply exist: they go to work, attend meetings, follow schedules, and something is missing. So often we simply cannot put our finger on it. What is it? I think it is vision. Having a vision for one's life is vital to living a worthwhile life, and those who influence others in life have a vision. They are able to see the end from the beginning, and they reach the end with a spirit of conquest.
History is replete with accounts of how one man or one woman inspired entire nations. Consider Sir Winston Churchill. When in London years ago, I visited his underground war rooms. Still on his old desk from those dark days of World War II is the little placard with words that reminded him daily of his vision for victory, the words of Queen Victoria's prime minister during the Boer War: "There is no depression in this house and we are not interested in the possibilities of defeat — they do not exist!" And who can forget his famous speech when he said, "Never give in — never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense." Visionaries like Israel's Golda Meir, our own Ronald Reagan, Russia's Mikhail Gorbachev, Britain's Margaret Thatcher, influenced entire nations and lifted them to new heights by holding forth a powerful and positive vision that led them to believe again in themselves and their future.
* * *
The Bible itself offers story after story of the impact of visionary leaders on others.
* Joshua and Caleb were two of the twelve Moses sent to spy out the land of Canaan upon their exodus from Egypt. Their ten friends returned and reported to Moses what was: walled, impenetrable cities and warriors who appeared to be giants, along with other related impossibilities. But Joshua and Caleb saw not simply what was, but also what could be and would be if they simply followed their God-given vision.
* Abraham influenced and is therefore revered by the three great world religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. He played a key role in Old Testament history because he was a man of vision. God promised Abraham that he would become the father of a great nation of people (Genesis 12:1–3). But there was a problem — and it wasn't insignificant. Abraham was already an old man and his wife was barren: they weren't able to conceive a child. But God instructed Abraham to look up at the stars in the night sky and hold to the vision that his seed would become just as numerous (Genesis 15:5). Abraham did ... and it did! He never let go of his vision; he believed God's promises.
* Joseph influenced two of the world's most progressive nations because he held to his vision for leadership. When Joseph was seventeen, God gave him a dream that showed he would be the leader of a great nation, and he never let go of it ... even in the dark days when it seemed an utter impossibility.
* And there's Simon Peter, a fisherman who had a vision for the church. The first time our Lord saw his rough ways and callused hands, Jesus referred to him as a small pebble. Jesus also foresaw that Simon would become a great rock, so He gave him a new name: Peter. The same Lord looks at you even now — as you read these words — in the same way He looked at Simon Peter. Jesus does not only see you for who and what you are today, but He sees who you could become and what you can accomplish.
No one has ever walked the face of this earth who has influenced more people across the centuries than Jesus Christ. He left us with a huge vision and an accompanying large task. He challenged a small group of ragtag followers, who were basically an uneducated group, to reach an entire world with the good news of His gospel. Talk about a visionary! Their commission — and ours also, by the way — was not simply to go after a few locals, but entire nations all over the globe. This vision is even more amazing when we consider the challenge was given to men like James and John, Peter and Andrew. They were just local fishermen from the countryside and were joined by men like Matthew from the local IRS office. They adopted Christ's vision and ran with it all the way across the Roman Empire in a single generation. Without such modern conveniences as air travel, television, the Internet, and cell phones, they changed their world in their own lifetime. And when they all died, those they influenced kept telling the story and somebody told someone else this good news ... and someone told someone else ... and someone told someone else ... and someone told someone else. And that telling has continued for more than twenty centuries until it arrived at our own heart's door!
Those who have lasting influence on others are men and women of vision.
* * *
Most of us have, in one way or another, at one time or another, been challenged to "get a vision." Perhaps you heard it at a high-powered motivational meeting or sales seminar. But few of these events actually explain how to implement a vision, and a vision without an action plan is just a dream. Most of us have been there. We heard someone or read something, and got pumped up about what we could accomplish, but then had no real sense of how to make it happen. So this dream passed away like a hundred others before it. The converse is equally true: a task without a vision is pure drudgery. We all know people around us who know what they have to do, and they do it without a vision or any spirit of conquest. Consequently, the work — and maybe life itself — becomes simply mandatory and monotonous.
Since having a vision is vital to becoming a very influential person, how do we capture the concept? It is not that hard, really; let me explain. My wife, Susie, and I had the joy of seeing the birth of our two daughters. Thinking about the birth experience, I am convinced that their birth, as well as their growth, reflects the evolution of a vision. If you desire to become a person of vision, I believe you must understand that the first step in the birth of a vision is the same as the first step in the birth of a baby. A child's life as well as the onset of a vision begin at the moment of conception. The seed of a vision takes root in the mind and heart. For me this can be intentional and can happen when I consolidate all my facts, meditate on them, and seek to dream big dreams of what could be. Some of my own greatest dreams and visions, however, have come to mind in the natural flow of my own quiet devotional times and prayer life. God plants the seed of a vision in our hearts: conception takes place.
Nehemiah described that kind of experience. He had a civil service job and was comfortable with his benefits and retirement plans, but then he heard about Jerusalem's broken walls and burned gates. At that moment, his vision was conceived. He said, "I set out during the night with a few others. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem" (Nehemiah 2:12 NIV). Just as God put Nehemiah's vision in his mind, God Himself will plant a vision, a desire, within our hearts. After all, He promised to "make known to [you] the path of life" (Psalm 16:11 ESV). Having a vision means to see things not for what they are but for what they could be and will be! It is impossible to influence others without being a person of vision.
Whether we're talking babies or visions, gestation follows conception. During this extended time, the vision simply grows within us although others cannot see it for months. Nehemiah said he "told no one" (Nehemiah 2:12). Similarly, when Susie was pregnant with our daughter, we did not tell anyone for several months. In those first few months she was not showing, but our daughter Wendy was growing inside her. A man or a woman to whom God gives a vision needs a gestation period. During this time, we live with the vision. We allow it to grow inside us. We think on it. We meditate on it. We pray about it. We mull it over and over until it becomes more defined and solidified.
As I mentioned earlier, Joseph's life is a good example of someone in this gestation period. When Joseph was seventeen, God gave him the vision of what he would become. This idea grew in his heart for a long time, even when he lingered in an Egyptian dungeon and the possibility of its fulfillment seemed so far away. But Joseph never lost sight of it. We would be wise to follow his example. Once the vision is conceived in our mind and heart, we allow it to grow and develop, to fuel our passion and take more specific shape. After a while the people around us begin to see that something is happening, something is growing in us. Just as a mother-to-be can't rush the forty weeks of pregnancy, we who are parenting a vision can't rush its gestation. It is vital to the birth of both a baby and a vision.
Next comes the third stage in the life of a baby and a vision: birth! When the baby is actually born, we celebrate, hand out cigars, and send out the birth announcements. We don't give birth and keep quiet about it. Wanting everyone to know, we announce far and wide: "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!" Likewise, after conception and gestation of our vision comes its birth, the moment when we present our personal vision for everyone to see. We carried it to term in our heart, and now we want people to know where we are leading them and how we are going to get there.
And what happens after the birth? Sometimes the answer to that question is a single word, one of the most beautiful words in our English language: adoption. This remarkable event is when individuals who have not been involved in the conception, the gestation, or the birth take the baby into their hearts and homes as though she were their own — and, by all legal rights, she is! The baby now takes their name because she is a part of their family. She is more theirs than anyone else's because they have adopted her. What a beautiful thing — and how very fortunate are those who know this experience!
What happens after the birth of a vision? Again, that question can be answered with that same beautiful word: adoption. This remarkable event is when individuals — who have not been involved in the conception, the gestation, or the birth — take the vision into their hearts. A vision is confined to an orphanage of ideas until it is adopted by others who are caught up in the flow of the one who birthed the vision.
Excerpted from VIP by O. S. Hawkins. Copyright © 2016 O. S. Hawkins. 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.
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Table of Contents
Epilogue: My Most Unforgettable VIPs, 93,
Mission: Dignity, 117,
About the Author, 118,