Monday, October 31, 2011

Get your Chazown on!

4 STARS: Review of Chazown by Craig Groeschel

This book disturbed me.

Don’t worry, that’s OK…that is what is supposed to do.

Author Craig Groeschel asks, “Are you willing to let God disturb you with dreams so big that you don’t know how they’ll be accomplished?”

If you are, this book will help you create a roadmap of how to get there with God’s unique purpose for your life.

The book was broken up into small, bite-sized chapters which I enjoyed. It gave me time to pause after each chapter and reflect on the topic at hand, and it also helped me feel like I was succeeding (even if it was just in a small way by reading 33 chapters in a few hours) so that I could move on to succeed in a big way for God.

The book is also two-for-one…a workbook fit into a book. Groeschel offers additional free online resources and worksheets to go along with the book to make your time and energy more productive and focused on finding your God-given “Chazown,” which is the Hebrew word for vision.
By working through the book you can create your personal vision statement and then move forward to set it into action. Groeschel is a practical pastor—which I have liked in his other books as well—in that he lets the reader become the driving force in the book. For example, it is up to the reader to decide what part of his/her vision statement on which to work first (there are five fundamentals he suggests). “Go and live your action plan in that part of your life for a while, then come back and create a plan for another area,” he writes. I appreciate this. Sometimes when we want to make changes in our lives, we create a list of those changes, but when we see how long the list is (at least for me) it is crushing. So instead of going forward with gusto to change and cross things off the list, we sometimes just do nothing. I believe doing it in bite-size pieces, as Groeschel permits, will ensure success in the long run instead of trying to swallow it all at once and get suffocated.
Rejoice in knowing that God chose you to live right now. So get your “Chazown” on!

*I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Holes can only be filled by the Holy

REVIEW: {W}hole by Lisa Whittle

In this book, author Lisa Whittle walks the reader through how to truly become whole. We all have holes in our life story that can only be filled by God and Whittle shows how to give Jesus access to those holes so He can fill them.

She focuses on three main holes in one’s life: the hole of religion, the hole of roles, and the hole of experiences. I highlighted, dog-eared a great many pages of the book for the truth in which they spoke into me and holes from which I suffer.

Throughout the book, Whittle weaves her personal story with Scripture and action points to help the reader fill his/her own holes. At the end of each chapter she poses poignant questions for the reader to consider. Sitting down the book after each chapter and pondering on the questions are worthwhile.

In the Appendix she offers results of a 2010 research study conducted by Barna Research about how Christians feel about their self-perception, their priorities in life, their intentional service for God and more. The results are very eye-opening.

At the end, she writes one of my favorite things in the book: “We claw and grasp and reach and strain to stay afloat by our own efforts. All the while Jesus wants us to face the end of ourselves so He can fully begin.”

*Tyndale House Publishers has provided you with a complimentary copy of this book.

Monday, October 3, 2011

REVIEW: Lioness Arising by Lisa Bevere

TWO STARS: Looking for more meat for my lioness teeth to tear into

As an animal lover, I was excited to get this book and read about how women are supposed to be lionesses to wake up and change the world.
The author states that since Jesus was the Lion of the tribe of Judah, we are to be the lioness. I really like that picture!

But then the book fell short for me. There are some good quotes which caused me to ponder, though, like the one from Matthew Arnold (a 19th century British poet and philosopher): “If ever there comes a time when the women of the world come together purely and simply for the benefit of mankind, it will be a force such as the world has never known.”

Overall, unfortunately there just didn’t seem to be enough meat for my lioness teeth to tear into. Maybe it wasn’t the book, though, maybe it is me—a pastor who is already fierce and wants to become fiercer. I believe this book is more aimed toward women who need to first discover and embrace they are a lioness, not those who already know they are.

*I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.