Talking with God by Adam Weber – Book Review Repost (Re-released today)

 

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A lot of books on prayer read in a typical format.  They define prayer.  They explain the definition of prayer.  They give examples.  Then they conclude with a challenge to pray.  This book, Talking with God: What To Say When You Don’t Know How To Pray by Adam Weber, is a different breed of prayer books.

Talking with God is sectioned into four parts: The God We Talk With, The Way We Pray, How to Pray When…, and Only The Beginning.  These sections essentially function to help the reader understand a small momentum shift has occurred in the focus of the topic.  Other than that, the author maintains what I found was a wonderful conversational style of writing, which made for extremely fast reading.  Also, the type font is super easy on the eyes, which makes this book very enjoyable to digest.

I highly recommend this book.  It is clear, concise, yet full of Weber’s personal stories of reflection, humor, and typical life situations to bring a “realness” to prayer.  One can understand the definition of prayer, but applying that to the often hectic, busy, overwhelmed lives that most of us live becomes a challenge.  Weber simplifies prayer into what it should be: talking with God.

Don’t think that because the book is a quick read and a simplification of prayer that it lacks depth, because it certainly does not.  Weber cites and addresses many passages of Scripture, explaining how they apply to the prayer life of the individual.  Weber also pulls from past prayer teachers such as Brother Lawrence.  Beyond the research, Weber uses many personal stories from his church and pastoral ministry to give the reader insight as to why this book was written and why it’s necessary in the climate of our culture.

One thing that I kept thinking about while I read, was that this book seemed to be targeted directly at my age group.  (25 to 40)  Weber uses a lot of illustrations that relate to someone who grew up during the 80s and early 90s.  I do not see this as a hindrance to anyone younger or older, but there might be a small disconnect.

Let me share one of my favorite paragraphs from the book:  “We don’t need to impress God.  He’s the one who wants to be friends with us.  Just be you.  The real you, not some weird version of you.  Don’t try to sound all prim and proper.  Don’t use strange religious words.  Don’t worry about saying the wrong thing.  Don’t make it complicated.  Just talk with him.  We can’t mess it up!  My best advice on prayer: say exactly what’s inside you.  Don’t edit your words.  Say whatever you’re feeling.  Tell God in a few words.  But don’t hesitate to ramble either.  Let it be unpolished.”

If you feel like your prayer life is lacking.  Or if you don’t have one at all.  I urge you to give this book a try.  It’s a prayer book unlike most prayer books.  It’s a call into a deeper, intimate, yet real-life, raw, conversational relationship with God.

Talking with God re-releases today (February 27th 2018) in paperback.

You can order it on Amazon HERE

 

 

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for this review.

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Life Without Lack by Dallas Willard – Book Review Repost (Released today)

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Dallas Willard has been instrumental in my life at helping me move from being simply someone who says that believe in Jesus, to someone who actively and intimately loves Christ Jesus. I was presented with Willard’s The Divine Conspiracy at a point in my life when I was heavily considering walking away from my calling into ministry. I was done. I didn’t want to go down that path anymore. I still “believed in Jesus”, whatever that really means, but I didn’t find significance or purpose in ministry. I’d rather just watch from the sidelines. Exposure to Willard’s books changed all that. Not that Willard pushed the for call back into ministry, but his explanation of the intimacy found in Christ Jesus and what he means to truly follow Him, helped me to see life through a new lens, a new perspective. I will forever be grateful and thankful for Dallas Willard.

When Dallas Willard died in May of 2013 I was heartbroken. No one knew it until today, but I cried in my car on my way to work after finding out. Although I knew Dallas was experiencing the wonderful presence of Christ, I grieved the loss of an incredible man of God and the end to his books and teachings.

Thankfully, through the work of Gary Black Jr., Gary Moon, John Ortberg, Jan Johnson, and more, Dallas’ influence and work has continued.

Life Without Lack: Living in the Fullness of Psalm 23 is another beautiful continuation and extension of Willard’s work posthumously. Through the efforts and collaboration of Larry Burtoft (a friend of Willard) and Becky Willard Heatley (Willard’s daughter) another public addition to Willard’s catalogue has been preserved.

Life Without Lack is a compilation of Willard’s eight-week teachings series on Psalm 23 originally taught in early 1991 to a group of roughly thirty people at Valley Vista Christian Community. The teaching was preserved on cassette tape, and transposed into this book, a project that Burtoft had planned on for years, but never found fruition until after Willard’s death. As a Dallas Willard enthusiast, I was absolutely delighted to hear the news of the release of this book.

The book is broken into eight chapters, which follow the eight original teaching sessions. Each chapter richly and deeply defines and explains life with God, through the context of God’s ever-present character. Psalm 23 provides the foundation of the teaching yet is not overly expounded. If one were looking for a commentary on Psalm 23, this is not the book for that. What is elucidated is the fact that the Good Shepherd as described in Psalm 23, offers true freedom and peace in an intimate relationship with Him.

Life Without Lack is meaty. It is not a quick read. It is a book that is meant to take time to digest, time to apply to one’s life, and time to dwell upon. This is not a new concept to those who are familiar with Willard. For me, at least, while reading Willard, to read and re-read the same chapter in a sitting, is commonplace. Good content takes time and reflection to grasp and process.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. Read it slowly. Read it purposely. And read it with the hopeful expectation that you’ll be enlightened, encouraged, and invigorated by it. May you grow deeper in your relationship with Christ Jesus through it. If this is your very first Dallas Willard book, then I recommend you borrow or purchase Hearing God, The Spirit of the Disciplines, The Divine Conspiracy, or Renovation of the Heart to read beforehand or closely afterward. Dallas Willard writes and speaks with a breadth of knowledge, worth taking the time to ponder and apply.

Life Without Lack released today (February 27, 2018). It is available in hardcover, ebook, audiobook, and more. You can order on Amazon, Christianbook, and through all major book retailers.

Disclaimer: I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher. (This in no way affected my honest review of the book)

God-Soaked Life by Chris Webb – Book Review

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I first became acquainted with Chris Webb when he was the president of Renovaré USA. For those unfamiliar with Renovaré, it is a Christian ministry “that models, resources, and advocates fullness of life with God experienced, by grace, through the spiritual practices of Jesus and of the historical Church.” Currently, Webb acts as Deputy Warden of Launde Abbey and Diocesan Spirituality Adviser to the Diocese of Leicester.

God-Soaked Life (InterVarsity Press – Formatio) is Webb’s second book, after previously releasing the delightful and beneficial The Fire of the Word in 2011, and it certainly lives up to his previous accomplishment.

God-Soaked Life takes the reader through seven chapter-sections each with four sub-chapters within, all pointing and progressing towards the aim of living one’s life in the presence of God and in the reality of the Kingdom. Webb reveals and emphasizes the significance of the Christian living in community. Living alert to the Kingdom and conscious of the ever-loving care and compassion of the Father, motivates the Christian to live with that same desire. A loving Christian community is the natural outworking of a God-soaked life.

Chris Webb beautifully articulates the deep meaning of living as the community of God, the church, here on the earth. Life is not a precursor to eternity. Life is not a waiting room before we get to Heaven. Life is the marvelous opportunity to live in the presence of Christ, furthering and continuing His ministry, His Kingdom, now.

A quote from the book that summarizes well the direction the author is leading the reader, comes near the end of the book: “To follow Jesus is to accept his call to participate in the gift of God’s kingdom realized in our own time and place, and so to live as members of the God-soaked community of love” (Webb 2017, 170).

Rather than simply defining or outlining how one should live, think, or act within the Kingdom, or God-soaked life, Webb also sympathizes and identifies some of the struggles and mistakes we all make as human beings. This establishes authenticity and credibility between the author and reader, but also allows for feasibility, user-friendliness, tangibility, and practical application into one’s life.

I highly recommend reading God-Soaked Life. It is an easy read (under 200 pages), but not lacking in profound communication and insight. Although the intriguing stories and illustrations keep the reader turning pages, I suggest reading this book slowly, prayerfully, and contemplatively. The magnitude of the transformation that a God-soaked life necessitates is worth the time and patience.

One characteristic of the book that I absolutely loved was the Scripture and Reflection pages, found at the end of each of the seven sections. These extra reflections allow the reader to not only engage the topic in a more profound manner, but also to provoke thought and behavior change. Don’t read past these. Take the time and effort to “soak” it all in.

Overall, God-Soaked Life was a thorough, comprehensive, and transformative look at what it truly means to live in the Kingdom of God right now.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary publicity copy from the publisher. (This in no way affected my honest review of the book)

Silence & Solitude – Five Minute Moments

Today in Five Minute Moments, we explored the spiritual disciplines of silence and solitude.  A practice of removing oneself from the hurry and busyness of one’s life, in search of quiet and isolated time with God.

In the video presentation we read a brief excerpt from Ruth Haley Barton’s book Invitation to Solitude and Silence, as well as practice a short meditative devotional listening time focused on Psalm 46:10.

I hope you enjoy, as we seek to connect deeper and more intimately with God through the spiritual disciplines.