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Ordering Your Private World Hardcover – January 7, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gordon MacDonald has been a pastor and author for more than fifty years.  He serves as Chancellor at Denver Seminary, as editor-at-large for Leadership Journal, and as a speaker at leadership conferences around the world. His books include Building Below the Waterline, Who Stole My Church, A Resilient Life, and Ordering Your Private World.  Gordon and his wife, Gail, live in New Hampshire.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; Revised edition (January 7, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785263810
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785263814
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
McDonald's book is one I reread every January. It puts me back on the track of ordering my life again after the chaos of the holidays. If you have a tendency to procrastinate, to overload your calendar, or you easily lose sight of how to structure your time, this book will be the greatest gift (if you take the time to read it) you ever give yourself.
One of the more profound things McDonald addresses in his book is being honest enough to say you can't be all things to all people. In fact, he cites examples in the Bible to say that it should never be our goal. "Called people know exactly who they are not," McDonald says. There is freedom in those words for the person who thinks he or she must do everything. He uses John the Baptist as an example. When John is asked in Scripture who he is, he says he is not Christ. McDonald says, "Knowing who he was not was the beginning of knowing who he was." John knew the role of his life and ministry and because of it, was able to do his job of acting as "forerunner to Christ."
Through a chapter by chapter study guide at the back of the book written by Leslie H. Stobbe, the reader can examine his or her life by answering questions. In many ways, I found the study guide's questions sent me on a journal experience as I read the scriptures suggested. The study guide is gentle, yet you can go as indepth as you want to.
What I also like about McDonald's advice is that he truly gives examples of how to order your world. How to order your office, create files, etc. that really will simplify your life. He doesn't pulpitize the reader, rather he provides examples from his own life where he failed too and how he was able to change.
Buy this book and change your life. This will not be a book you put on your shelf or bury in your nightstand drawer. This will be a book that you will underline in, write in, and use as a resource to keep you on the track of succeeding in organizing your private world.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Pat D. Langille on March 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Recently, I was reading Bill Hybels' Too Busy Not To Pray. In it he referred to this book as the source of some ideas about how to journal without spending hours each day at it. Since I'm not naturally a journaler, but I do see the benefits of journaling, I picked up this book to see what MacDonald had to say about it. I found an entire book of stimulating ideas.
MacDonald draws a compelling analogy for people who do not spend time developing their inner resources: they're like sinkholes. A sinkhole is a geologic phenomenon that occurs when the water table is being depleted. On the surface, everything looks OK, until a point of depletion is reached where the surface is no longer sustainable; it collapses into the emptiness beneath. Likewise, a person who goes through life without attending to their inner life will find that when difficult times strike, they will not have the inner strength to respond. They will collapse -- emotionally, physically, and/or relationally.
He then goes on to talk about how to develop our inner strength. He starts by talking about living as a called person, not a driven person. How can you tell which you are? He gives some guidelines (for example, #1: A driven person is most often gratified only by accomplishment. #6: Driven people tend to be highly competitive. #8: Driven people are often abnormally busy) and talks about how to live as a called person. He talks about using our time wisely by "seizing" it and talks about what happens when we don't. MacDonald's law of unseized time #3 says "Unseized time surrenders to the demands of all emergencies." The book has some good suggestions, not new to most of us who have studied time management, but a good refresher and motivator nonetheless.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 7, 1997
Format: Paperback
Other than the Bible, Ordering Your Private World has been the most influential book on my life and I read it (or reread favorite parts) at least once per year. All five sections of this book have influenced my life for the better: motivation, use of time, wisdom and knowledge, spiritual strength, and restoration. MacDonald starts out by dealing with our motivation in how we use our time. He contrasts the life of the driven person with the life of the person who is called - and share distinct things about their life that you will notice. For example, a driven person is preoccupied with acquiring the symbols of accomplishment - while the called person focuses on good stewardship of what they have. Once MacDonald deals with the differences between being driven & called, he deals with the use of time and shares some symptoms of poor time management. One of the most practical sections of the book, "MacDonald's Laws of Unseized Time" follows these symptoms - as the reader is shown how to budget their time for good use. Once that you see how to recapture the use of your time and control it - Gordon then discusses the last three sections - on wisdom and knowledge, spiritual strength, and restoration. One of my favorite parts of this book - are the memos that are at the beginning of every chapter. I will close with this one: "If my private world is in order, it will be because I am convinced that the inner world of the spiritual must govern the outer world of activity."
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 12, 1998
Format: Paperback
ORDERING YOUR PRIVATE WORLD By Gordon Macdonald Reviewed by Lindsay Woods
In this book, Gordon Macdonald looks at an aspect of our lives that is commonly overlooked, often with devastating results. He speaks of an area of our life apart from the external. If we think of our public life being filled with work, relationships and different achievements, them we might think of our private world a where we spend time with God and become spiritually refreshed.
Gordon likens it to a bridge on a ship, where we assess our life for signs of impending crisis, or burnout. Where we access all information, on our current state. Our motivations, relationships, spirit, and calendar are all checked.
He discusses the danger of unchecked motivation. One of the things he looks at is the person who is driven to achieve their goals, how to recognize them, and the things that suffer in their pursuit. He uses a case study to illustrate the point, detailing an individual who's aims were wealth, and prestige - external things. A person with no use for internal qualities like wisdom. The results being that he was receiving counsel to save his marriage.
Gordon looks at the contrast between driven people and called people. The latter recognizing that they are stewards of the life that God has given them, and that any position that they have is from God therefore they needn't strive to achieve or equally to maintain.
Our usage of Time is examined. Criteria for evaluating effective time usage, and guidelines for improving productivity. Symptoms like broken deadlines, dislike of work and self, and lack of intimacy with God point to poor time organization. Time is a gift from God, that must be used carefully.
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