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Book Review: Gasping for Breath

John Busacker started blessing PLI even before PLI began. Thanks to his insight and input, PLI’s unique investment in leaders was shaped.

John has taught “Leadership from Within” to thousands of leaders in the U.S., and he’s also partnered with Dr. Scott Rische, our international director, to train leaders in South Korea, Hong Kong, Latvia, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, Philippines, Indonesia and India.

John and his coauthor have offered another blessing to the PLI family with their book Gasping for Breath (find it on Amazon).

Gail and I think you’ll be blessed by the book.

They’ll be doing a webinar for the PLI family on March 23 at 2 pm CST. “Restoring the Weary Leader” will invite you to recover your breath – and in the process, learn to become fully alive, renew, grow and flourish by helping you establish a sustainable personal and communal life. You can sign up here.

Scott Rische offers you a taste of the book below.

Check it out. After the long season of pandemic and everything else surrounding it, John and Dave have a gift for you.

Jock Ficken

Book Review of Gasping for Breath

reviewed by Scott Rische

There are many books written about losing our “being” by being so busy with our doing. But there are only a few books that I have had the privilege of reading where I sense the breath of God Himself in its writing. This is one such book.

In Gasping for Breath, David Johnson and John Busacker get to the heart of a life that is DRAWN instead of only being DRIVEN. They masterfully offer insights, not just opinions—insights that engage and encourage. They provide biblical truths that convict and challenge, and they share personal stories that move and inspire. And they give suggestions that empower and provide direction, especially at the end of every chapter when they encourage the reader to Read, Reflect, Respond.

They called their book Gasping for Breath because “…in one way or another, at one time or another, we all come up gasping for breath” (pg. 16).  The book has its own outline provided by  the authors, but how I would describe the contents of this in order to encourage its reading would be:

God created us to breathe.

We are not just living bodies, but living souls that need God’s breath to live. “It all began in the beginning with the breath—the first breath” (pg. 23).

All of us, at sometime in our life, find ourselves gasping for breath, because we are:

  • Running so hard we don’t have time to catch our breath,
  • Inhaling that which robs us of life and breath, or
  • Holding our breath because of being afraid of what will come out and how others will respond to or think of us.

Not all the air we breathe is the same.

“The question is, what kind of air are you breathing?” (pg. 78) Some of what we breathe is good for us, and some of it is bad for us. We were created to breathe truth, not lies. Truth brings life. Lies suffocates it.

We can regain God’s breath by learning again to breathe the way God first created us to breathe.

Breathing has two parts: breathing in, and breathing out. You cannot stay alive if you only breath in. You must also breath out. And this kind of breathing begins with a question: “In that place at the center of you, where you live with yourself, how is it with you there?” To answer this question means finding a “rhythm” or a “rule of life” to live by. And some patterns to follow that the authors offer are:

  • Silence. Stillness allows for reflection.
  • Solitude. Not loneliness, which is something to be endured, but solitude, which is something to be embraced.
  • Sabbath. Rest as the beginning, not the end.
  • Prayer. “To be at home with God…” (pg. 134)
  • Reverent wonder. Recovering one’s sense of awe!

Rhythms and rules for life, or developing a rule of life, are about being connected to a PERSON, Jesus Christ, not just following a list of practices. They are about finding a PLACE and TIME to become, not just do. They are about embracing a PURPOSE for life that gives, not just takes.

We need to breathe together with others.

We cannot, and were not created to, do this on our own.

“The healthiest men and women we know are appropriately transparent, inviting other people into their own life. Their pleasure is in being found rather than in concealing themselves from God and others” (pg. 153).

But there is more to breathing than “me.”

It’s also about giving this breath away to others.

The authors share: “Do not underestimate the power of a word to set the course of someone’s life. Your words have the power to affirm identity, to determine destiny, to call forth life” (pg. 184).

Let your last breaths be your best, and remember that your last breath will be your first in the presence of God!

Read this book! It will be worth every minute you give to do so, and will be a source of life, breath, and direction for you.

One Response

  1. Rony Ricardo Marquardt says:

    I’m really excited to read this book, to breath it into my life and to breath it out sharing it with other people in Brazil. Thanks, Scott, for the review. Thanks, John and David, for this book.

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