Monday, 6 March 2017

Book Review: Union with Christ by Rankin Wilbourne

About the book: Nothing is more basic or central to knowing and enjoying God than Union with Christ.

Have you ever had difficulty connecting what you know to be true about God with how you feel or how you live each day? Have you ever longed to change but just felt stuck?

The Bible makes a stunning claim: God has provided a way for your life to be united to Christ's. What does that mean? Is it really possible for me, now? What would it look like?

In Union with Christ, Rankin Wilbourne makes union with Christ accessible and beautiful, for you. Union with Christ is not an abstract idea. It is a powerful reality. And recovering a sense of your union with Christ can change everything for you, like finally putting on a pair of desperately-needed glasses.

Discover how coming to see your life through the lens of union with Christ can help bridge that gap between your head and your heart, between your belief and your experience. Union with Christ is what we most need in order to know and enjoy God.

My Thoughts:  This book was not a quick read - not because it was boring, but because it contained information that needed time to settle in and process.   And I loved it!

The first half of the book is more theory, and takes a little longer to get through.  But the second half of the book is more practical and applies the theory from the first half of the book to your life.

Wilbourne uses several different metaphors throughout the book to help get across his points.  I really appreciated the sailboat analogy in particular.  

Here are a couple of quotes from the book .....

Though sailing might be unfamiliar to many of us, it's a good metaphor for our life with God. No matter how determined we might be, we can't change our hearts at the deepest level nor move ourselves forward. No amount of knowledge or grit will avail. We are always dependent on a power outside of ourselves. We need the wind. Without the wind, there is no movement. And as Jesus reminds u, "the wind blows where it wishes" (John 3:8).

Yet at the same time, we are not passive observers. We can't control the wind, but we can catch it. And in order to catch the wind, you have to draw the sail. And in order to draw the sail, certain God-given, time-honored skills need to be learned and put into practice. (pg 212)

And to gather together the themes of the four basic questions we addressed in part 3: when you know that you are not your own (chapter 7); when you know that Christ sets the horizon for your life (chapter 8); when you know that pursuing him gives purpose to each new day, not in fear of what you lack, but in the freedom of what you already have (chapter 9); when you know that Christ not only sets the horizon and charts the path but is himself in the boat with you (chapter 10); and when you know that your heart is not the compass he sails by but rather his own constantly faithful heart, then the means of abiding become means of resting and refreshment.   (pg 248)

This book is an invaluable resource, and one I will have to read again to gain even more insight - it's hard to process it all at once, even over a period of time!  But it it both theological and practical - a perfect book for laypeople.  I highly recommend it!

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me a complimentary review copy.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Book Review: The Dog Who Was There by Ron Marasco

About the Book: No one expected Barley to have an encounter with the Messiah.

He was homeless, hungry, and struggling to survive in first century Jerusalem. Most surprisingly, he was a dog. But through Barley's eyes, the story of a teacher from Galilee comes alive in a way we've never experienced before.

Barley's story begins in the home of a compassionate woodcarver and his wife who find Barley as an abandoned, nearly-drowned pup. Tales of a special teacher from Galilee are reaching their tiny village, but when life suddenly changes again for Barley, he carries the lessons of forgiveness and love out of the woodcarver's home and through the dangerous roads of Roman-occupied Judea.

On the outskirts of Jerusalem, Barley meets a homeless man and petty criminal named Samid. Together, Barley and his unlikely new master experience fresh struggles and new revelations. Soon Barley is swept up into the current of history, culminating in an unforgettable encounter with the truest master of all as he bears witness to the greatest story ever told.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

My Thoughts: I'm not a pet person or an animal lover, but the idea of this book intrigued me and I decided to give it a shot.

The story is quite entertaining from a dog's adventure standpoint. It is heartwarming at times and heart wrenching at others. I've always enjoyed fiction that takes during biblical times and found this to be an interesting twist to that genre. Marasco is a great storyteller!

Teens (and tweens, if some of the violent descriptions wouldn't bother them) would enjoy this read.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me a complimentary review copy.


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