Book Review – I Will: Nine Traits of the Outwardly Focused Christian

I picked up a book back in December, by Thom Rainer, called “I Will: Nine Traits of the Outwardly Focused Christian,” but it wasn’t until recently that I actually took the time to read it. It’s a short read–just a little over 100 pages–so this is going to be a really quick review.

wp-image-1867108290jpg.jpgI’m not sure what I expected when I picked up the book, but I think I thought it was going to be more about missions. So, I was a little surprised to find out that it’s actually directed towards believers.

It’s no secret that the state of the American church is in disarray. As Rainer put it, “Somewhere in the twentieth century, believers, particularly in America, began to shift from an attitude of self-sacrificing service to God and worship of God, to consumer-focused, self-servicing attitudes” (p. 30). This statement pretty much sums up the purpose of the book: to make believers aware of this fact (if we weren’t already) and to show us the way back.

Rainer talks about our attitudes as believers; the importance of being a growing member of a church, and worshiping in community; serving (both in and outside of the church); being a giver; sharing the gospel; and avoiding the traps of what he calls Churchianity— which he defines as “practicing our church and religious beliefs according to human standards rather than biblical guidelines” (p.93).

Overall, I think this is a good book for believers who find themselves often complaining or are unsatisfied with the churches they attend. If you find yourself constantly complaining about the music, the message, the parking, the ministries, etc., then perhaps you may want to pick up a copy of this book, take a step back, and rethink the purpose of the church. (Honestly, I think that most believers have felt frustrated with the church at some point in their walk, but our attitude and how we react–whether or not we allow God to change our heart–makes all the difference.)

After reading this book you should come away asking what you can do for the church, rather than what the church can do for you. So…what will you do?

Take care, and God bless!

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Book Review – Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

A week ago, I finished reading Francis Chan’s Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God. I was reading through it for a second time; this time, with a friend from work. The first time I read Crazy Love was back in 2010 after I rededicated my life to Christ. It was the perfect read for someone who had been walking in the world. It showed me what it meant to be loved by a holy God, and what it looks like to be in love with Him, and to follow Him.Crazy Love

This time, as I read Crazy Love from the perspective of someone who’s been walking with the Lord for some time, I felt convicted for my complacency. Many people criticize Francis Chan for his “unrealistic” views of what it looks like to be a follower of Christ; but when I read the New Testament, I find everything he says to be biblically accurate. Chan challenges his readers to rise above the comfortable life of the “normal American Christian,” to open their eyes to the true heart and calling of Christ, and to follow the examples of the early Church. God doesn’t want lukewarm Christians (Revelation 3:15-16)! He wants us hot! He wants us passionate about Him and passionate about reaching the lost. We’re not called to just meet once or twice a week and study the word, we’re called to be doers of the word (James 1:22-25)!

The fact that Chan had to write a book to tell us this, when we could just pick up the Bible and read it for ourselves, says a lot about the state of the American Church. I finished this book being reminded that my job as a follower of Christ isn’t to just sit in a pew, it’s to be Christ’s hands and feet in the world, to share His truth and love, to be intentional. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be “normal” and I don’t want to serve “leftovers to a Holy God” (Chan, 2013). He deserves my best, my all!

So, whether you’re a new believer, or someone who’s been walking with Christ for some time, be sure to check out this book for a quick spiritual check-up.