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by Michael Simone
“If you want to be convicted and challenged to reach the next level in your life and relationship with God, read Altitude.”
— Bill Hybels
Everyone needs courage and hope.
Everyone has wobbly moments of faith.
Everyone needs to make the move that changes everything.
Altitude will fly you over eight moves that will change the trajectory of your life. The chapters reflect what every person strives for: crafting a life of meaning and purpose.
Altitude is written by teaching pastor Michael Simone, using insights gained from life experiences and biblical
stories. Combined with his poignant letters from God and the study guide, Altitude will apply transformational moves to help individuals and small groups create the future.
“Here’s a book that will do a lot of good because it’s filled with practical insights from real life experiences of a faithful pastor. Those who want broken relationships healed and good relationships nurtured will find this book a treasure.”
“As a pilot I was taught from day one that plenty of
Altitude and proper Attitude were the two most important commodities a pilot could have. Michael Simone shows us how they are also vital to life and uses great stories
to show how to gain both.”
—Ken Davis, best-selling author of Fully Alive
President, Dynamic Communications International
“I’ve done my fair share of flying—in the cockpit and as a passenger. I know what it takes to keep a plane on course, and it pales in comparison to navigating life and leadership. In Altitude, Michael Simone calls serious minded Christ-followers to step it up in several critical areas of life. The practical wisdom in this book can impact the trajectory of your life, if you let it.”
—Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor
Willow Creek Community Church
President, Board of Directors
Willow Creek Association
Pub Date: 04/01/2013
Price: $14.95 USD / $15.95 CAD
Trim: 6 x 9
Format: Trade Paper
YOU FLY THROUGH LIFE at the speed of life. Your velocity blurs the edges of cognition. The afterburners are always on. If you’re like me there are a few things you’re trying to fix or unravel while zooming along. Doing that is never easy. So, how’s it going as you rip through reality?
Altitude is the concept I use to describe whether or not life is working. I know some parts of your life are working and some parts of your life are messy. I know because that’s how mine is. Altitude ultimately comes down to two pithy questions. Do you know who you are? Do you know where you’re going? That being established at the fragile beginning of this book, I also need to tell you one thought stuck fast in my mind—“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” 1 Peter Drucker said it. I believe it. Another way to read Drucker’s thought is, your next move changes everything. I believe that, too. Altitude is gained or lost from the sum of your moves, as you are answering two succinct questions. That statement tells the story of my life. It tells your story, too.
YOUR NEXT MOVE CHANGES EVERYTHING
Let me tell you how those five words flew into my brain one spring day. It was one of those perfect afternoons in April. No showers in sight. It was a grand day for an old ball game. I picked up my father-in-law and drove to Williamsburg, from Virginia Beach, for a JV baseball game. My son was playing center field. The obligatory bag of peanuts was ready to cast her wickery husks on the ground. For some reason there was a small bench down the right field line, as if built there just for us. With our rustic box seats and crunching away, we watched possibly the sloppiest baseball game in history. No one could catch a ball. No one knew what to do with the ball. The score went back and forth, forth and back. Mercifully, that last inning arrived. The score was 8-7 in favor of the home team. There were two outs when my son came up to bat. He smacked a fastball up the middle. The tying run aboard, our spirits soared in hope of extra innings.
Then I realized what we were up against. Our weakest hitter shuffled toward the plate. Bat loomed bigger than boy. I sniffed the air, now turning cool in the fading afternoon. Trouble. I frowned and set down the peanuts. The first pitch was a rocket. Strike one! My son stole second base. The next fastball, like a bat out of a bad place, was never seen by the batter. Strike two! My son stole third. Tension filled the air. Would the unthinkable happen, or would we suffer the legendary agony of defeat? These are the moments we live for in sports. The pitcher looked in. My son took a bold lead off third. The batter hunched over home base trying to get in touch with his inner Babe Ruth. The pitch zoomed. “Pow,” shrieked the catcher’s mitt! Strike three! Game over. I walked across the diamond toward my son who was walking toward me. He asked a question I’ll never forget. “How much did we lose by, Dad?” Stopped in my tracks I responded, “How much did we lose by? One run. You should’ve stolen home!” I was stymied. He was in the game! He had a uniform on! He was on the team! But he didn’t know what the score was! His next move could have changed everything!
Now, I don’t know what would have happened if he had tried to steal home. He might have been out. He might have been safe. But I do know this. As he broke for home, old men would rise to their feet putting weathered hands over their hearts. Women holding babies would clutch them a little tighter, opening their mouths in astonishment. Kids playing behind the fence would stop pushing and throwing dirt to stare at this blur of red numbers, white pants, and silver cleats, racing toward doom or destiny. A magnificent slide! A billowing cloud of dust rising to heaven! The umpire shouts—and I don’t know if he exclaims “Safe!” or “Out!” But I do know this—it would have been one heck of a finish to a baseball game!
Forty-two years ago, I made a move that changed everything. I was visiting a friend at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. One cold February night, after meeting with the football team for a Bible study, the first Bible study of my life, I walked back to the dorm pondering who I was and where I was going. I was just passing through Indiana on my quest to find the meaning of life. I was committed to travel the paved and rocky roads of the world to find an answer to the riddle of me. But I was ambushed in hoosierland. I was embraced by God on a clear, starry night. My move of asking Christ to change me that night was a 180 degree turnabout. I hadn’t expected God to show up in my brain like a fiery lightning strike. I wasn’t prepared for an epiphany. But He’s been showing up ever since with amazing consistency.
So here I am, knowing that your next move changes everything, because I’ve lived it into my fifth decade of faith. I’ve seen a church sprout and grow out of the most confusing time in my life. I’ve seen an organization caring for orphans in Nicaragua explode from my heart. I’ve seen water, for a village in Togo, gush because of an unpredictable lunch with a friend in Copenhagen. And I’ve experienced daily the wonder, miracle, and mystery of what happens when you make the next move with Him.
Inside you’ll find eight critical moves for creating your life. Air Traffic Control sections will help you land your plane. My hope is for you to grab or invent your next move. My prayer is for you to create your future. May you find out who you are and where you’re going. May you gain Altitude all your days.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
About the Author
Michael Simone is the founding and Senior Pastor of Spring Branch Community Church, a mega-church with nearly 3,000 members in Virginia Beach, VA. His first ministry assignment, in 1972, was working with street kids, in East Harlem, NY. He teaches Religious Studies at Saint Leo University, South Hampton Roads Center. Michael is also Chaplain at the Virginia Beach Psychiatric Center. His doctoral work is in the area of marriage and family. He wrote the study guide for Couples Who Pray and has been a keynote speaker for The Fall Festival of Marriage. Michael loves baseball and played on the Field of Dreams movie site, Dyersville, Iowa. His passion is bringing faith and life together through speaking and writing. Spring Branch is a member of the Willow Creek Association and is a premier host site for the Global Leadership Summit. The author lives and works with his wife, Gail, in Virginia Beach, Virginia.