Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Enemies of the Heart: Breaking Free from the Four Emotions That Control You by Andy Stanley

Andy Stanley in Enemies of the Heart: Breaking Free from the Four Emotions that Control You indentifies four heart illnesses that attack us and have negative impacts to our lives.  Though these four diseases are not physical, but emotional, they can be as harmful as heart disease and wreck out lives.  The four emotions that attack our heart are:
·         Guilt: I Owe You
·         Anger: You Owe Me
·         Greed: I Owe Me
·         Jealously: God Owes Me
These four emotions are underlying causes for relational disharmony with others and for the diminishing of our self worth.  Especially harmful, but not often discussed, is jealously which finds us harboring resentment against God and interfering with our relationship with our creator.  Stanley argues that way to overcome these diseases is the creation of habits that expose these emotions and allow us to break free from their hold on our hearts.  To conquer guilt Stanley advises confession.  Stanley offers forgiveness as the cure of anger.  For overcoming greed, he offers the remedy of generosity.  Finally to escape the hold of jealousy, Stanley prescribes celebration, the honest praise of the accomplishments of others.  By creating these habits, Stanley offers his readers an escape from these destructive emotions. 
In the past I have often found that Andy Stanley books are not for me.  However I really enjoyed Enemies of the Heart.  The book is honest, with Stanley freely using examples from his own life and those he knows to show both the destructive power of guilt, anger, greed and jealously and the power of creating habits to shatter their hold on you.  All four of these emotions are difficult issues to discuss, and his addition of a chapter on lust provides a very frank book that comes face to face with very difficult heart issues.  This is not a let’s feel good about yourself book, it is a text that makes you look into your heart and asses what holds you captive.  This is a book about the heart and what controls it, and it is frank, honest, painful and in the need immensely helpful in making it clear that we can escape the pain we emotionally put our hearts through.  This is a reprint of It Came From Within and it is a worthy title to reissue.                                   

Review Copy Provided by WaterBrook Multnomah

Friday, July 1, 2011

Mirror Ball: Living a Life that Reflects God’s Radiance by Matt Redman

Renowned worship leader and author Matt Redman in Mirror Ball: Living a Life that Reflects Gods Radiance argues that a life of true worship is a life that reflects Jesus Christ.  He goes onto demonstrate that the proof of one’s life of worship is not musical capability but a life lived with God always present in our lives.  A life of worship is one of adventure and a journey to become more like Christ.  A Christian is not one stuck in a neutral position but one moving closer to Jesus.  He reminds us that we have a big God with big expectations and that we should never underestimate Him.  Redman states that we need to put God first in our life and the decisions we make on a daily basis as an act of worship.  In the end, he reminds us that our power only comes from the light of Jesus which shines upon us.  In addition to Redman’s text the book includes an extensive study group intended for both group and individual study. 

For me “worship” is a blind spot.  That is what brought me to picking up this book, looking to get information about an area of church life where I feel inadequate.  I can’t carry a tune and have trouble clapping to the beat.  So for me, what we call worship in our traditional church services often is lost on me.  But what I found was very surprising to me.  This is not a book about musical worship, it is a book about worship by living a life of proper orientation.  Though Redman being a worship leader does use his own life and musical experiences as examples, they do not override his message for the non-musical.  Redman pictures the worshiper as one who properly points his life towards God.  As someone not adept at worship I found Redman’s book unthreatening and inspiring as a call to properly respect an awesome God.  This is a book that honestly anyone can read, not just worship team members.  Redman paints a picture where all of us are worshipers regardless of our ability to pick up a musical instrument.        

Review Copy Provided by The B&B Media Group, Inc.