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A Resilient Life: You Can Move Ahead No Matter What Hardcover – June 7, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (June 7, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785271511
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785271512
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #998,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. MacDonald offers sage advice to Christians in middle age and beyond, asserting that the greatest contributions God has for believers come during the second half of life. The prolific author and pastor tells how a high school track coach instilled values that laid the foundations for effective adult living. This wizened man taught the teenage MacDonald principles that have stayed with him for a lifetime: run with vision, look backward only to learn from mistakes, cling to self-discipline while giving distance to self-indulgence and find satisfaction in joining with others to make great things happen. MacDonald (Ordering Your Private World and The Life God Blesses) listened well to his mentor and sadly realized that he had inherited a "quitter's gene" from his family. In this book, he characterizes resiliency as being committed to consistently finishing strong. Those who nurture a big-picture view of life, he says, leave the weight of the past behind, discipline themselves to go the distance and run with a "happy few" who best embody the truest expression of lasting friendship. MacDonald's guide to embracing resiliency is especially practical as he describes running the entire life race with gusto, urging fellow Christians to enlarge their minds, harness their emotions and trim their egos. With a passionate yet humble voice, MacDonald's self-help guide is a classic, riveting read.
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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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Customer Reviews

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There are gems on every page and I cant wait to get back into the book.
J. Garratt
As one who isn't all that resilient by nature, I find great motivation and encouragement from Gordon MacDonald's writings.
sherylsplace
The reading in this book is entertaining, very insightful, and quite relate-able.
Anothony

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Patrice Fagnant-macarthur VINE VOICE on December 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Gordon MacDonald, a sixty-something pastor, offers a lifetime of wisdom in "A Resilient Life." Freely admitting that he was born with a "quitters gene," he credits the influence of his high school cross-country and track coach with helping him onto the road of resilience. MacDonald defines "resilience" as the "toughened condition of both the body and the mind" and goes on to describe many characteristics of a resilient person.

Perhaps most importantly, MacDonald offers hope. He is a firm believer that the second half of life is when God often has people make their greatest contributions, and that we are called to serve well into our senior years. Even if one's life to date has been less than ideal, "the Christian worships a God who can (and does) take the life of any person, turn it inside out, and use it to build a piece of His kingdom."

MacDonald emphasizes that building resilience is a daily pursuit. It requires a regular self-assessment, the discipline of spiritual pursuits, and making the most of one's talents. It also takes place within whatever stage of life we find ourselves in at the moment. One of the most valuable sections of "A Resilient Life" is Chapter Seven: "Resilient People Foresee the Great Questions of Life's Passage." MacDonald interviewed several senior citizens (including people older than himself) to get a full picture of the big questions of life at each age. He comes up with a fairly comprehensive list. These questions shape our lives and the answers we come up with help make us who we are at every stage.

Another important chapter is Chapter 9: "Resilient People Listen for a Call from God." A call "is an acknowledgment that one is accountable to God for the discharge of his life's duties." God calls each of us to fulfill our role in His plan.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Glenn H. Teal on February 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Gordon MacDonald does it again with his latest "A Resilient Life". The heart of the book is the powerful chapter on practicing repentance followed by many practical insights on staying in the faith race over the long haul. MacDonald writes as a guy who has been there -- a pastor once fallen - now restored. The power of his words is intensified by the witness of MacDonald's life. God used this book to speak powerfully to me -- what more can I say? Highly recommended.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Isaac on March 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
When I first read this book, I was exhausted and decipated. No matter how important my goals were, I simply wanted to drop everything and jump on a boat to a nomad island.

But this book taught me an important word. RESILIENCE! How foolish I was to think that these times of difficulty are reasons for me to give up~!

Now I know that difficulty is an opportunity for me to reach a new height~! I will now run forward, instead of walking, to make sure that I am resilient enough to be all that I am made to be in Christ our Lord.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Garratt on February 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The writing is rich and deep yet very simple to read and digest. I wish I would have read this years ago. There are gems on every page and I cant wait to get back into the book. I will be buying this book for both my kids and their spouses and using what I learn in my mentoring.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert R. Hostetler on August 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I first discovered Gordon MacDonald when I read his excellent book, Ordering Your Private World (which I highly recommend) and have since had the pleasure of meeting him professionally.

A Resilient Life (You Can Move Ahead No Matter What) is a wise and orderly treatment of resilience, which MacDonald describes as "getting stronger as I get older."

MacDonald returns often throughout the book to a central metaphor--the strategies for stamina bequeathed to him by his high school track coach--to show readers how to "finish what you start, persevere in adversity, push yourself to your potential." The book is divided into five sections:

Resilient People Are Committed to Finishing Strong
Resilient People Run Inspired by a Big-Picture View of Life
Resilient People Run Free of the Weight of the Past
Resilient PeopleTrain to Go the Distance
Resilient People Run in the Company of a "Happy Few"

Each section is divided further into short chapters.

One of my favorite parts of the book was this, from the chapter entitled, "Resilient People Open Their Hearts to the Presence of God": "A haunting memory sticks from years and years ago, when news came of a young husband in our congregation who was dead by an errant shot during a hunting trip. It was my lot as the family's pastor to rush to the home and sit with the family. As I drove away from my home, I found myself asking, "And what shall I give this family? My spiritual resources are dry. All I have is words, but my spirit seems empty." It was a most miserable moment, a scary one for a youthful pastor. And one of those times when I determined I would never again be caught with an empty soul when others needed spiritual resource.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Chad Oberholtzer on June 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
There is no debate that Gordon MacDonald is an accomplished writer of Christian books, and his acclaim is well-deserved. His writing is extremely readable, his ideas are accessible, and his stories are engaging. This book was well over 200 pages, but it flowed quickly and seamlessly. And having really appreciated some of his other stuff that I've read, I had high hopes for this book. Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed.

The main problem with "A Resilient Life" is that MacDonald tries to pack far too much content into one book. It's as if he tried to smash everything he's ever learned about Christian living into the book, whether or not it really had anything to do with "resilience," the supposed theme of the book. There are literally 28 chapters, each with a different thing that I need to do to live a resilient life. Yes, 28 different things that I need to do! The old axiom, "less is more," has never been more true. I wish that MacDonald had sliced and diced most of those chapters, settled on a few of the absolute keys, and spent more time with each of them. Instead, we have a collection of a million perfectly legitimate and potentially helpful suggestions and ideas, but they're just lost in the chaos of information overload.

To be sure, "A Resilient Life" is typical MacDonald fare, very interesting and easy to read. The through-line for the entire book is the discipline that he learned from his high school track coach. He weaves those running lessons from point to point, to provide a reference point for his many ideas. But, again, I found the book to lack focus and specificity that would have made it decidedly more memorable and impacting. Overall, it's a decent book, but it just wasn't what it could have been if he hadn't tried to cover so much ground and instead targeted his reflections on fewer topics.
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