Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Love Does: Discover A Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World

Bob Goff in Love Does: Discover A Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World shares practical lessons learned from a life lived on faith and how they link to the teachings of Jesus.  Goff writes relatively short chapters centered on poignant and often humorous stories from his own life and those that he does life with.  Goff, a lawyer, leads what many of us would call an extraordinary life where in his spare time he supports global justice initiatives.  One of his stories recounts how he became a Consul for Uganda, with many of his stories relaying his own experiences in that country.  In fact, the proceeds from the book are divided between Donald Miller’s Mentoring Project and Goff’s Restore International Leadership Academy in Gulu, Uganda, which provides educational opportunities for children in war torn northern Uganda.  In the vast majority of chapters Goff explains how his experiences have enlightened him on the life and teachings of Jesus, restating the basics of New Testament passages without the typical Biblical citations found in “Christian books.”
Goff’s message is clear, Love Does!  Love is something that has energy and action around it.  And as Christians it is not enough for us to think about love but we have to put love into action.  By expressing love in an active way we can share in the work of Jesus and get to know Him in a better way.  Love does not sit idly by but moves!
Love Does is easy to read, with the reader feeling like you are engaged in a conversation with Goff.  Goff tells stories and he has interesting stories to tell.  With this being said, I think there are three key groups this book can be helpful for.  First, those seeking to know about Jesus will enjoy this book.  Goff’s writing is easy to engage with and his choice to restate Biblical text without citing makes the book non-threatening to a non-believer.  One does not have to be in the club to understand what Goff has to say about Jesus!  Second, those wanting to find direction in their Christian walk will get simple advice from Goff, do something.  And his tales show how powerful just moving in a direction can be if you don’t know where to start.  Third, Christians deep in their faith can stand to review Goff’s lessons.  Goff makes it clear that we make religion too complicated.  For Goff through action we can get clarity about God as He uses motion to make things occur around us.  Especially convicting for me was the chapter on Stalking Jesus!  Yes, stalking Jesus.  He notes that often we spend so much effort getting to learn the “facts” about Jesus that we are looking at Him from 1,000 yards away while failing to know Jesus by responding to work and entering into life with him.
Donald Miller in A Million Miles in a Thousand Years introduced us to his friend Bob Goff, a force to be reckoned with.  In Love Does we get to know Goff on a new level through his own words.  I feel comfortable saying Goff is my friend.  We both love Disneyland!  And if I really need to run something past him, I do have his phone number.  Because you should always be able to contact a friend directly!  Thanks friend for reminding me that love is an action verb!
Review Copy Provided by Thomas Nelson

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Empty Promises by Pete Wilson

Pete Wilson in Empty Promises: The Truth About You, Your Desires, and the Lies You're Believing addresses head on the issue of idols in our lives.  Wilson notes that "idolatry is when I look to something that does not have God's power to give me what only God has the power and authority to give (Wilson, Empty Promises, 5).  He then goes on to explain that we, including those in the church, are practicing idolatry on a daily basis not allowing us to achieve our purposes.  Wilson then chronicles the common idols of our day, including the warning signs that we are worshiping at a false idol.  These idols include; power, success, money, beauty and religion.  Wilson notes that humans are inclined to worship and that only by worshiping God can we achieve our true purpose of reflecting Him.  Wilson finishes with practical tips for connecting with God and throwing off false ones. 

I have to be honest, I went into this read expecting generic Christian book and a continuation on the themes in Wilson's first book Plan B.  Instead, I found all new content that was challenging and to be honest things we need to be saying to each other.  Wilson is honest and calling us out in the church on our issues.  Chapters on pleasing others for their approval and religion for the glorification of self will make many uncomfortable.  There was plenty in this book that I found challenging!  Wilson identifies the sin of idolatry in the midst of God's people and then gives us the prescription for overcoming it.  The text itself is very well written, easy to read, and has a nice balance of personal stories, Biblical references and secondary supporting sources.  Overall Empty Promises is a very challenging book attacking issues that are often blind spots in the church. 

Review Copy Provided by Thomas Nelson