Last year I started something I hope to keep a personal tradition- I made a book list of books to read throughout the year. Well, I have to be honest, I don’t think I came close to finishing my first book list of 2008. I read Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge, but didn’t make it much further. I read, just not the ones on my list.

Well, here’s my list for 2009- hopefully it’s both realistic and challenging. I try to include various types of books- Christian, secular, history, leadership, political, & biographies- which I’m really into right now. The list has 13 books total-so far & 4 out of the top 5 have been on the NY Bestsellers list in most recent weeks. Here are the first 10.

1. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
2. Multiple Bles8ings by Jon & Kate Gosselin
3. Do the Right Thing by Mike Huckabee
4. Axiom by Bill Hybels
5. A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity by Bill O’Reilly
6. In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day by Mark Batterson
7. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
8. Tribes by Seth Godin
9. Teaching to Change Lives by Howard Hendricks
10. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

So far I’m off to a great start- I’ve already finished the first 2 books and am halfway through the third. I’ll try to blog here and there about what I’m reading so that I can keep up and stay on target.

Here’s a little personal insight from Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.

In Outliers, Malcolm discusses the whole idea that we aren’t successful necessarily because we work really really hard or because of our intelligence, but because of the circumstances we are born into. Our great grandmother did something small yet significant and by the time we come along circumstances have been set up for our success to be almost inevitable. There is no doubt that hard work and some determination get us there fully, but it is just part of the puzzle. Throughout the book Malcolm shares story after story of how circumstances have set highly successful people up to succeed- people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

As a Christian, I believe God has given each and every one of us the perfect plan to succeed at life. It could be easy to look around and see that just because we weren’t born into the “perfect” circumstances, we don’t have the ability to succeed. But despite what we were born into, God can use what may have been a broken and messed up situation for His glory and show the world that Jesus can mend the broken and make success out of what would be deemed a mess.

This passage of Scripture has always given me great comfort in my life. ” ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the LORD. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’ “ Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

I am convinced that God’s plan for my life is a big plan- much bigger and better than I could even think of. As long as I am committed and obedient to Him, I will succeed in life. I believe that for everyone reading this as well. Success may appear different on the outside, but we know when God is using us to do something we may never have thought possible. To be the Mom or Dad we may have never had, to be the friend when we felt abandoned, to be the role model that inspires others to greatness. Whatever it may be, the impact is of great significance in the world and the Kingdom when it is God’s will.

That passage continues, ” ‘In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me. I will be found by you,’ says the LORD.” Jeremiah 29:12-14a NLT.

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