Heads Up: “Book Review Posts” are always going to be a bit longer than most posts.
I’m reviewing two books, this time around. One I’m almost finished reading, and the other I haven’t gotten to, yet. Unfortunately, because I wasn’t clear in my communication with the publisher about the giveaway copies, I only received one review copy of each book. My fault. Sorry about that.
But fear not. I’m still giving one away – the one I haven’t already scribbled in! 🙂
Let’s start with the aforementioned “scribbled in” copy.
Several years ago, the workbook, book and eventual phenomenon called “Experiencing God” by Henry Blackaby and Claude King was a powerful eye opener for me. This book, “Experiencing The Spirit” by Drs. Henry & Melvin Blackaby, brings to mind the themes and truths of that earlier work, but with an emphasis on the work and Person of the Holy Spirit.
Straight up, let me just say that I’m loving this book. It’s balanced, rings true and is highly motivating. In a time when some Christians are basing their theology of the Trinity on works of fiction, the Blackabys provide a Biblically sound portrait of the Holy Spirit, His role in the Trinity and His work in the life of believers. And they do it in a way that isn’t stuffy or dry.
These guys are not known for parroting the latest trend or towing along with the oldest tradition, and this book reflects that.
I was particularly excited to read their take on “Spiritual Gifts” and “Spiritual Gift Inventories” in particular. I think this is because it is something that I’ve been saying for a long time, and it was nice to realize I’m not alone in my thinking.
Here’s a sample:
“Taking a spiritual gift inventory can help you understand where you’re strong and where you’re weak. It can even help identify how God has used you since you’ve become a Christian. But it shouldn’t be used as a guide for how God desires to use you in the future, for God’s purposes are based upon His strengths, not yours alone.”
“One of the dangers of relying on a spiritual gift inventory is that you’ll be tempted to trust the test results and not turn to God to seek His perspectives about your giftedness. After all, why spend time seeking after God when you can take a test and get immediate results?”
The authors also stress the importance of relationship and obedience for a life that experiences the power of the Holy Spirit in all of His fullness:
“The Holy Spirit doesn’t need to equip you for what you’re not going to do, so if you’re in rebellion against Jesus and refusing His right to be Lord, he doesn’t need to send the Holy Spirit to equip you for service. And, tragically, you miss out on the joy that He brings.”
“If we seek the gifts of the Spirit and not the Holy Spirit Himself, we’ll always focus on self. We must learn to understand that there are no gifts apart from an intimate relationship with the Spirit. And the work of the Spirit is directly connected to the lordship of Christ in our lives.”
The book incudes a study guide, and I’m strongly considering using it as a resource for Stoneview Church.
A few caveats:
- This book is definitely written with Christ Followers in mind, and is not really intended for those who are not already following Christ.
- There is a smattering of “Christianese” sprinkled throughout the book. If you’re a new Christ follower you may not know some of the lingo.
- The authors use expressions like “intimate love relationship” referring to our interaction and connection with God. These types of phrases make most men cringe. I’d prefer phrases like “connection with God that is based on love” or something similar that communicates the same truth without the “creepy” factor.
That said, there is some incredible truth communicated in this book, and I highly recommend it. Find info on purchasing a copy here.
Now on to book two, “The Treasure Principle” by Randy Alcorn.
Because I haven’t read it, yet, I’m providing the summary from the publisher. But I will say that I’ve heard wonderful things about this book and have wanted to read it for some time. Below the summary you’ll find information on how to receive my copy of the book.
From the Publisher:
Flip-Flop Your Concept of Giving!
“Bestselling author Randy Alcorn introduced readers to a revolution in material freedom and radical generosity with the release of the original The Treasure Principle in 2001. Now the revision to the compact, perennial bestseller includes a provocative new concluding chapter depicting God asking a believer questions about his stewardship over material resources. Readers are moved from the realms of thoughtful Bible exposition into the highly personal arena of everyday life.
Because when Jesus told His followers to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,” He intended that they discover an astounding secret: how joyful giving brings God maximum glory and His children maximum pleasure. Discover a joy more precious than gold!”
I’m going to read this book (without marking in it) then give it to the first person who leaves a comment on this post on this blog (johnnyleckie.com) correctly answering this question: “What is the name of Johnny & Leona Leckie’s new dog? ” (Hint: The answer can be discovered on my Twitter feed: http://www.twitter.com/jrleckie.)
Or you can purchase a copy here.