Saturday, October 10, 2009

Book Review- Fearless by Max Lucado

One of the most difficult things we have to overcome is fear, and its cousins doubt, anxiety, and worry. Max Lucado, a pastor and prolific writer, explores how fear affects us, how it limits us, and how it can ultimately be overcome.

We fear so many things- failure, challenges, money (or the lack of it), violence both human and natural, the unknown, death. We fear what we cannot control, and we are anxious about the things we do control. Almost every aspect of our lives offers something to fear or something to worry about. It poisons our joy,
Christ's most common command in the New Testament is not to love God, to love our neighbor, or to do good; it is “don't be afraid.” If Christ, who knows us as only the Creator can know His creation, spends so much time talking about our fears, it is a clue to us that dealing with our fears should be a priority. But how? By refocusing away from our fear and onto the person of Jesus, who tells us "Take courage. I am here!" (Matthew 14:27 NLT).

Lucado is an engaging writer. He uses simple language, extensive Scripture, and even humor to express a profound faith, and invites us to share that faith. I greatly enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to anyone, but in particular to those who find fear and anxiety their companions.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Book Review- The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley

Andy Stanley is a prolific writer and great communicator. His gift is to present simple principles using simple words that communicate profound truth.

In this book, Andy talks about something that seems trivial, and he admits it; the destination where we arrive depends on the road we travel to get there. Get on a road going north from Atlanta, and you are not going to arrive in Florida. It doesn’t matter how much you wish for it and how hard you pray for it- the road you have selected just won't get you there. The powerful message of the book is that this principle applies not just to our travel, but also to every aspect of our lives.

Life is full of desired destinations - a career, a home, financial, relational and spiritual peace- and every one of those destinations comes at the end of a journey along a path. Choose the wrong path and despite our desire or intention, we will not arrive where we wanted to be when we started out.

The power of this book is that beyond pointing out this principle, Andy uses Scripture to encourage the reader toward choosing the right paths in the first place. I found this book entertaining and encouraging, and hope all my friends read it; especially the younger ones- they still have time to avoid some of the nastier journeys and destinations.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Healing Place...Part 2

When a person is losing blood, it is pretty obvious- it is messy, and to the untrained eye, horrifying and distracting. Even obviously contrived Hollywood blood is distressing. In many injuries the thing that kills is not the injury itself but the resulting blood loss. One of the first things done in the ER is to start to restore blood volume with saline, plasma or even whole blood.

What are we losing in emotional trauma? Joy, contentment, self-confidence, sleep,concentration, and more. How do we restore these things? Check out Galatians 5:22-23. These "fruits of the spirit" are just exactly what are needed.

When in pain we are internally focused. Our healing goal is to redirect focus from "me" and "my pain" to "Him" and "His presence in my life." Of course, as naturally selfish and self-centered, our tendency is inward and not outward- but outward and toward Christ is the only place we will ever find true joy and true contentment. After all, the pain and loss we are dealing with is usually caused by the loss or betrayal of something human or worldly.