… the thoughts from a life in the Son-shine State

Posts tagged ‘book review’

Book Review: Radical Together

Radical Together

FINALLY!!!
It took me waaay too long to finish this book.
But, alas, it’s complete!

Radical Together: Unleashing the People of God For the Purpose of God, by David Platt, was a good book. I would describe the this book as more of the “how-to,” compared to the first of the series as the “ought-to.”

To be honest, It started well, but then began to drag a bit. This is when I put it down, and didn’t get back to it for a while.

I started to lose interest because I felt as though it was beginning to be redundant, repeating ideas covered in the first book (Radical), and retelling stories that might as well have been the same ones, even if they weren’t. I felt as though it was beginning to be redundant, repeating ideas covered in the first book (Radical), and retelling stories that might as well have been the same ones, even if they weren’t.

I hope I didn’t lose you there… but I think I made my point.

Fortunately, I was determined to finish.
This was a review copy provided by WaterBrook Multnomah, after-all, and I wanted to be honest, as well as finally get a new book (as if I don’t already have plenty others to read)…

I am glad that I chose to finish it!

Once I got back into the book, it began to improve.
Platt finishes really strong with some great chapters on the church, prayer, seeker-sensitivity, and God himself.

I would recommend this as a good read to follow-up the first book with, but just a heads-up that there is some repetition there is some repetition. ;)

Onward toward the “radical” call…

Steve

Book Review: Reggie

Reggie: You Can’t Change Your Past, But You Can Change Your Future, by Reggie Dabbs (with John Driver), was not at all what I was expecting! Reggie takes you through his life with stories, flashbacks, and lessons he learned (which I did expect). The subtitle, You can’t change your past, but you can change your future, is the message that is driven home through this fascinating autobiography. What I was not expecting (but should have) was the emotional journey that Dabbs takes us on as he uses the experiences of his past to confront us with our past. He eloquently weaves a thread of confrontation and challenge, while offering hope and change.

Having seen Reggie Dabbs in person several times, I approached the book expecting a great autobiography through the art of storytelling; which would naturally read easy. What I didn’t anticipate was the moments I would be brought very near to tears, and the sense of hope that I would feel. I was forced to look at my life—past, present and future—and evaluate what I needed to change in order to be the man that God has called me to be. I found myself not wanting to put this book down! This was a great surprise, and would recommend it to anyone.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review: Radical

The book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, by David Platt, is one heck of a book. But before we get into this book, there is a note that needs to be made:

  • This book is NOT for people that have no desire to change. If you are comfortable with uneventful, mundane, status-quo Christianity, and think it’s your job to argue doctrines and methods (yet not be passionate about serving your Savior Jesus Christ), then you will not like this book.

The book starts with challenging your view of God and how much value you place in your faith as a Christian. Platt doesn’t waste any time, and goes right for the jugular. As the pastor of a megachurch, he found himself being challenged by the fact that everything the American Christian culture represents—that same culture that drove him to build a megachurch, and that same culture that measures success by the size of the crowds, the size of the budget, and the size of the building—seems to be contradictory to what Jesus lived and taught. Platt shares his personal journey and struggle as he was reminded if the times when Jesus would say radical things, like, “Anyone who wants to be my disciple must eat of my flesh and drink of my blood.” Statements like this didn’t build a huge movement over night. In fact, it mostly drive the crowds away! The only ones remaining were His true disciples. So, now, he was faced with having to answer two questions for himself: 1. Was I going to believe Jesus?, and 2. Was I going to obey Jesus? Even though the radical statements of Jesus ended with few that were willing to follow, the result was a world that was flipped upside-down!

The author shares stories about how he and his church started to change the way they viewed the world; and how it impacted their desire to serve in capacities never before imagined. The transformation that began to take place in their hearts and in their community was incredible. You will be challenged in the major areas of your life—money, time, work, family, and your faith. The stories of the countless pastors and Christians from around the world who are living radical lives of faith will convict you. By the end of the book, you will be thinking of ways that you could be used in radical ways for the glory of God—that others would come to know Him as their Savior!

Man, I was so challenged by this book! I found myself spending many times, while reading, having to stop and take a moment to reflect, or repent, or even write down things that I had just read. I really appreciated the author’s honesty and wiliness to self-examine before he wrote a book about this stuff. Too many pastors, ministers, college professors, and regular ol’ Christians traffic unlived truths—our speech is full of ought-to’s and opinions on how one should do things, yet an honest self-evaluation would find that we often don’t even live up the expectations of our own sermonizing… a.k.a. We are hypocrites. Platt gives you a transparent, inside look into his journey of rethinking, and changing, his own understanding and fleshing out of the faith he claims to obtain—radical faith found in a radical man named Jesus, the Savior of the world.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review: Church Diversity

When I saw on Twitter that @ScottWilliams was writing a book called Church Diversity: Sunday, the Most Segregated Day of the Week, I thought, “Cool! It’ll probably be a good read; but it won’t really relate to me — I’m not a racist.” I mean, the last two churches I have been a part of are diverse, after all. The church I’m in now is small (running about 50 on a Sunday morning) and there is an old black woman and her granddaughter, an Hispanic couple, and an Asian woman (married to a white guy) — we’re doing good with our minority-to-white person ratio! And then I read the book, and discovered that church diversity is more than maintaining a ratio of ethnicity in your local church body. So, what’s my dark, little secret?

Please watch the following clip and then read on.

So, about that “dark, little secret”. It didn’t really hit me until I was well into the book, and was reading a letter written by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In the letter, he speaks to the racist heritage of the Assemblies of God… Bum, bum, bum! That was it. I have been raised Assemblies, and am ordained Assemblies! OH, SNAP! I represent a racist heritage! Great…

The truth is, if you were raised in the United States of America, chances are you have a connection to some sort of racism or segregation. And an even sadder truth (is “sadder” even a word?) is that as Christians in America, we are still seeing it happen week in and week out.

  • When you go to church, do you see a church staff that represents the different races, classes, and ethnicities that are present in your community?
  • Are there evident attempts by your family, church, or social group that clearly states “Everyone Welcome“?

If the answer is “No”, then this book is a must read (even if it is “Yes”, still read it). It will rock your world, and cause you to view diversity in the church not just as a cool idea, but as a must. After all, Jesus, in the Great Commission, says to “Go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matt 28:19), not just the ones that look like us.

Learning to love like Christ — which is inclusive…

Steve

Book Review: Soulprint

Soulprint: Discovering Your Divine DestinyThere will never be another one of you – ever. Biologically, your DNA is a unique combination of information that has never existed before you, and will never be repeated after you. This unique, biological identity is tracked by your fingerprints. (I know what you’re thinking, but, no, this is not a biology book.) Author Mark Batterson, in his book Soulprint: Discovering Your Divine Destiny, shows us that in the same way that we are biologically unique, our souls are also unique. There will never be another you in all of eternity – God created you for the very length of time you are alive, to be in the place(s) where He has called you to, to do a work that no one else was called to do. That is your soulprint. Being created in the image of God goes deeper than our skin, or even our physical bodies for that matter – it goes all the way to the depths of our soul. We were created for the purpose of glorifying God. This is done through the life that we live; and that life is a destiny, written by God, before the foundations of the earth.

This book totally nailed me right where I’m at in my life and ministry! Once I hit Chapter 2, I was totally in the book! This read was one of the fastest reads I’ve had in a while. Batterson walks you through several life-changing events in the life of King David. They are all the stories you may know, but the perspective and insight into these course-altering moments brings new life to them; and leaves you hungering to leave your soulprint on eternity! Everyday, God is teaching us, preparing us, and guiding us. His plans are not our plans (thankfully)! So, let’s not get discouraged at where we may be in our lives; but instead recognize that God created you to do something that no one else in all eternity will do. Trust in Him, live in obedience to His Word, and watch how He will use you!

Book Review: Slave

John MacArthur’s Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity In Christ is packed with historical, cultural, and theological gems regarding the role of slaves; and the use of this imagery in the Bible. What starts out reading like a theology book—dealing first with Biblical texts, and then ancient Rome, and it’s influence on the writers of the New Testament—ends with a challenge to accept the role of Jesus Christ not just as Savior, but also Lord. With every other line either followed by a parenthetical reference or footnote, this powerful study is worthy of both your living-room and the classroom.

Not what I was expecting (in a good way)! Honestly, I was expecting this book to just scream, “Die! Die! Die!” But, instead, I was challenged to take a look at my own understanding of what the role of a slave was historically and culturally, and then allow the Holy Spirit to show me my own role as a “slave of Christ”. Throughout the book, the paradox of slavery to sin and slavery to Christ is revisited. What was beautiful, though, was that MacArthur then takes us on the journey through the process of being first slaves of sin, to slaves of Christ, then sons of God, to finally being citizens of Heaven. The idea of slavery being supported by the Bible may go against moral standards in your body; but, understanding your role in Christ as a slave will help you understand that the world’s view of freedom is really the worst kind of slavery there is… “if the Son sets you free, you are truly free” (John 8:36).

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review: Sun Stand Still

“Audacious faith” – that is the key phrase in Steven Furtick’s Sun Stand Still. The subtitle says it all – What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible. The story of Joshua asking God to cause the sun to stand still in the sky, that the Lord’s words may come to pass, is that backdrop to this challenging, inspiring book. In the same way that Joshua possessed an audacious faith to ask God for what seemed impossible, we are to live a life of this same type of faith. What are you expecting God to do in your life? Are your expectations vague? Or are they too simple? Maybe you are expecting God for something that really doesn’t impact anyone around you? God desires to do more than we can imagine! Furtick pushes you to dream way beyond the ordinary, and to consider believing God for the impossible – which, to God, is anything but!

This book challenged me in areas of my life that are currently in question. As I closed the book, there was a stirring in my soul – down in my gut (and no, it was not dinner). I want to believe God for things that I have previously only dreamed of! Do I have enough faith to truly believe they will happen?! Let’s find out!

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