Monday, May 27, 2013

Kyle Idleman - Gods at War [Book Review]

Having not read the viral 'Not a Fan', I loved 'Gods at War' from the very beginning. Not necessarily for it's writing style as names like Rob Bell, Max Lucado, Mark Buchannan or Phillip Yancey might come up when it comes to writing that wants you to get to read a book for a second and a third time but more for it's introspective and insightful moments and the author's ability to handle a topic such as idolatry in such a relevant and realistic format.

'Gods at Wars' is a book about the various gods that contend for the space of the one true God in our hearts. 'I've heard that before' I hear you say but it would shock you some unseemly things we have gotten comfortable with in our culture which are actually and out-rightly gods! 'bronzed'  images we have carved for our selves. After all, Idols aren't so old school. They are still much around. All they did was just morph and Kyle Idleman tells us the why,how and what they morphed into.

For anything chapter 12 'God of Family' is a must read. Kyle switches the bouncy mood writing in which most of the book is written for a sage style say the Max Lucado style and the truth therein is weighty and impactful. It's a no miss at all.

Ann Voskamp (Author of 'One Thousand Gifts: a Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are') says this about this book

"Pick up this book only if you are weary of losing battles, if you are done with band-aid solutions, if you are ready for the real winning. You won't finish it and be the same person"

And I didn't. Get the book, you sure won't.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Judah Smith - Jesus is _______.[Book Review]

You should never judge a book by its cover. You should never. Whatever that really means with Judah Smith’s Justin Beiber-endorsed book (I am serious. You didn't watch the E! interview?) I’m not sure yet but here are some thoughts I had about this book immediately I got into the first chapter.

-          - Bubble gum gospel! It is obvious Judah Smith has served as one of those teen pastors that make you roll your eyes with their ‘uncalled for’ illustration of the bible with modern parallels that don’t really match.

-        -   It is obvious Judah Smith is obsessed with pop culture and his reference to it in his book unlike other new generation preachers is very distracting. Honestly I’m expecting ‘Jesus is your homeboy’.

But that was just a chapter into the book. In ‘Jesus is_____’ Judah Smith, Lead pastor of City Church Seattle helps us see who Jesus is fundamentally. And the interesting thing is most people (Christians alike) have glossed over these fundamental expressions of Jesus. I soon found myself highlighting the book all through into the second chapter ( in fact it wins for me 'most highlighted book of the year'). 

The interesting thing is Judah Smith leans more to a writer than just a preacher. You would feel the poetic and artistic elements seep in at times and then there are moments here and there and sometimes oh, it’s gone again. It’s obvious this book was likely written over a long period of time cause there are really deep rich moments in chapters that would leave you with a new definition of you, your reality and the world at large (and yes Jesus too). And there were chapters that would leave you probably rolling your eyes ‘what was that for exactly?’

Before I got this book, I heard so much buzz about it, read some ‘bad’ reviews and I actually found it hard to find a good review that told me exactly why the reading experience would be a good one. So is ‘Jesus is____’ worth getting and reading? Yes. I really think so and this is why: this is a book that explains as simple as possible the grace God offers the world through Jesus his son. It’s not preachy, non-linear and the writer does the job in a beautiful and artistic way. It’s the best I have come across on this subject and even if you are a veteran, you are bound to still have an epiphany.

I also searched for quotes from the book to help decide to make my choice but really found some ‘drabby’ ones (even from the author’s site) compared to some really great ones from the book that would sure get people more intrigued and here are a just a few

-        -   In the name of hating sin, the Pharisees ended up hating sinners

-       -    Mentally chastising the bad deeds of other people is more comfortable than dealing with my own

-      - The enemy is not bad people- it’s badness itself

-        -  Jesus sees our sin more clearly than anyone, yet he loves us more than anyone

-         -  Grace and Truth aren't enemies. They are on the same side.

-          - When some people hear about grace, the first thing they think is: so I can go out and do whatever I want, and God has to forgive me? They haven’t met grace- they have met a concept. They’ve met an idea. They've heard a nice sermon.

 Honestly this a tip of the tip of the iceberg, want more? Go get the book. I’m glad I didn't judge this one by its cover. I'm glad I went past the first chapter. All in all I'm glad (and better off) I chose to read Judah Smith's Jesus is_____. So glad I did. 


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