A blog of FreeNHim Ministries
The Shack, by William Young
Mon, Aug 11 2008 10:18 | review
I typically do not read fiction, Christian or otherwise. I have to tell you now, this book is a MUST read. You may disagree with the author’s portrayal or imagery of God (I kind of like it) but the story will break your heart, stir up emotions you’ve rarely felt and then provide a perspective on God and His grace that will change your life. Don’t read this to satisfy some theological curiosity, read it relationally and allow God to speak through the story and revel His love in your own circumstances. I don’t want to give away any of the story...just get through the first four or so chapters and you're on your way to seeing God in a whole new light. I read this in one sitting...I could not put it down, I had to finish. You will enjoy it.
Freedom From Addiction by Mike |||amp; Julia Quarles and Neil Anderson
Mon, Aug 11 2008 10:15 | review
I’ve known Mike and Julia Quarles for a pretty good while...we’ve had lunches, dinners, produced podcasts and more but I have never read their book cover to cover until now. You have got to read this book.
Part 1 (the first seven chapters) has Mike sharing his personal struggles with alcohol addiction...a seminary student and Pastor as well as successful stock broker, his private life was no where near “successful”. Mike shares his struggles, his attempts at solving this drinking problem and his repeated failure. His wife Julia also shares what she was going through during this time...you get both perspectives and trust me, God was working in both their lives through this horrible situation.
Mike tried everything he could think of, like most of us would, to fix this problem. AA, treatment centers, healing sessions, psychologists, pastoral counseling, accountability... in fact, he lists 30 specific strategies all in his attempt to get free. He soon discovered that it’s the truth that set’s us free...the truth of the cross. We often hear that one has to hit rock bottom before one can experience freedom and there is truth in that statement...brokenness is key, but brokenness without truth will simply lead to hopelessness.
Neil Anderson, in Part 2 of this book, provides his insight on the issues of addiction and spiritual bondage. With insights garnered from Mike’s experience, Dr. Anderson begins his part of the book with “The Making of an Addict” and continues providing insight around our needs, our victory, the battle for our mind and body and more. At the back of this book is Dr. Anderson’s “Steps to Freedom in Christ” which takes you “step by step” through God’s truth that will set you free.
If you are struggling with addictive behaviors, check out this book and check out Mike’s web site at www.FreedomFromAddiction.org.
Grace Amazing by Steve McVey
Mon, Aug 11 2008 10:14 | review
Steve is no stranger to the community of grace-filled believers...author of Grace Walk, Grace Rules and others, Steve is well respected and recognized for his many teachings around the subject of God’s amazing grace. “Grace Amazing”, formerly released as “Grace Land”, touches some very sensitive topics among believers confronting the issues of “Religion”, questioning the idea that God will not put on you more than you can bear, discussing the idea that our old sin nature is really dead and gone, and so much more! How ‘bout that old concept of us “working for God”...yep, Steve nixes that idea as well and actually promotes “rest” for the believer. Are you tired of the same old Christian rhetoric...if so, then read this book and I’m telling you it is like a breath of fresh air.
How ‘bout a few quotes...”We don’t earn the blessings of God; we simply enjoy them by faith [pg. 107].” “Jesus did not tell the lukewarm church at Laodicea that their need was to return to the laws of God. He told them that their need was to return to Him [pg. 126]!” “We aren’t called to live by principles, but by the life of Jesus Christ who is within us.” “God won’t become angry with us as Christians, because the only thing that causes anger in God has been removed from us by the cross [pg. 162]!” There is so much wisdom and truth in this book...do the above quotes whet your appetite a bit?
I believe this book will not overwhelm new believers yet has enough depth not to leave seasoned believers begging for more. This book is personal, it is not an encyclopedia of grace but rather a book complete with real life stories punctuating Steve’s vast ministry experience. Each of the eleven chapters begins with a personal story or illustration and ends with a prayer; Steve also offers “G.R.A.C.E. Group Questions” at the end of each chapter to facilitate discussion should you desire to use it in a small group setting.
I enjoyed reading through Grace Amazing...Steve has an excellent perspective on grace with arguments and illustrations that are rock solid. If you get a chance to read it, let me know what you think. Also, check out Steve's website at www.GraceWalk.org.
Marriage! The Journey by Dr. Anne Trippe
Mon, Aug 11 2008 10:13 | review
OK...I am biased on this book. My wife Brenda and I met Anne Trippe in the mid to late ‘90s as we were learning about God’s grace and what is sometimes termed as the ‘exchanged life”. As we were training to become lay counselors, we were also struggling in our relationship. At that time Anne was teaching a class “Journey to freedom in marriage” and we were excited to be a part of it. God used Anne’s unassuming teaching style and grasp of the truth to get our attention and move our relationship forward. Her book expands on much of what was taught in that class and introduces the reader to a few brave couples who share their personal struggles while Anne guides them to the truth.
Anne structures the journey as a parallel to the children of Israel leaving Egypt and heading to the promised land...that’s where we all want to be in our relationships, right? Anne describes the “survival strategies” we’ve learned over the years, relationships that seem to go in circles, couples who get “stranded”, what “law” does to a relationship, myths of marriage, the role of adversity, our emotions and much more. You may find this is a radical departure from coping strategies, etc. found in most teaching. As Darryl pointed out in her book on page 87, “Depending on Christ for my emotional protection will be totally unfamiliar. I’ve never heard anything like this”.
Here are a few myths Anne exposes in her book (pg. 56)
-My spouse is to be my completer, otherwise, why marriage?
-I am entitled to my husband being the spiritual leader
-I am entitled to my wife being submissive and compliant
-If I serve my spouse, it makes me a doormat
-I need a person (spouse) to be fulfilled, complete, secure and validated
I still have so much to learn here but “God is faithful”; I trust this book will be an encouragement to you as it has been to me...get a copy at Amazon or most Christian book resellers, I highly recommend it.
The New You by Dr. Lewis Gregory
Mon, Aug 11 2008 10:09 | review
I met with Dr. Gregory (President of Source Ministries International) in late 2005...what a wonderful guy. His book is a culmination of many years teaching the truth of God’s incredible grace. The 300 page book (or better yet, Exchanged Life manual) is organized by “Your Origin”, “Your Problem”, “God’s Solution”, God’s Provision” and “God’s Plan”. He uses the KJV for scripture references which I do not prefer but he had his reasons. The book provides an excellent foundation for the “Exchanged Life” and is a good read with many scriptures and personal examples along the way.
A few quotes...”You were born spiritually dead--void of the life of God. Thus, the condition of your spiritual heart is beyond repair. Therefore, a spiritual heart transplant is vital! [pg. 9]” This basic truth is critical for any believer to understand...we must stop trying to repair our heart and life and recognize we have a brand new life in Christ. Dr. Gregory explains the radical transformation that took place when you accepted Christ as your Savior.
“...[Christians] are often heard praying about ‘getting closer to God.’ Why would Christians pray such prayers? It may be because they feel separated from God. This false sense of separation also is illustrated when Christians pray for the Lord to ‘be with them.’ [pg. 67]” Wow...that hits close to home. Dr. Lewis Gregory reminds us that nothing can separate us from the love of God!
There are many more quotes but suffice it to say that Dr. Gregory takes a believer step by step through the basics leaving virtually no stone unturned. I say the basics as this book is more breadth than depth...it’s deep enough to wet your whistle but doesn’t spend pages on a particular greek nuance...I find it very refreshing.
I see “Introducing the New You” as a solid book that will remind some and introduce many to the new life we have in Jesus Christ. You can order this book at http://www.sourceministries.net.