The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller is a modern day look at Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal’s son. The older son is looked upon as a moralistic do-right church attending type person who disdains the younger worldly thrill seeking brother.
Keller chooses to focus on the older brother, and his attitudes towards those outside his moralistic self-righteous compass.
Keller holds that we need not only repent of sin, but also of our righteousness. Only in God’s extravagant grace is found true righteousness and relationship; true for both brothers. Trying to simply live righteously apart from Christ is on self-righteousness alone is an exercise in god-making self-exaltation.
Recently, a friend gave me this book. At this stage of life in which I find myself, he, my friend, thought the book apropos. His comment, "You need to see God bigger than you do right now," initially soured my taste to pick up the book. Once in its initial pages, Mark Batterson pulled me into his faith-prayer world.
Now, if you're looking for some deep theological search mode on prayer, this is not the book for you. As another friend shared, "The Circle Maker seems weak theologically." My answer to this criticism, "The Power of the book is in the miracle of the life of the author, and the "perplexing & amazing" founding of National Community Church in Washington D.C.
The Circle Maker challenges us on our view of God; a high view or low view. Is God bigger than our problems? Or, do we view our problems as bigger than God.
The Circle Maker challenges our impotent prayer lives! Seeing the God of the universe of over 80 billion galaxies demands a high view of God. Yet, God works often in the realms of faith; our faith in God's power. Our faith by praying circles around the God-desires placed in our hearts to accomplish above ordinary things marks every page of the book.
The Circle Maker challenges us to faith-pray circles of prayer around our God-given heart-desires unleashing God's power to work in our lives!
"The issue is never, 'Are you qualified?' The issue is always, 'Are you called?"
"Are your problems bigger than God, or is God bigger than your problems? Our biggest problem is our small view of God. That is the cause of all lesser evils. And it's a high view of God that is the solution to all other problems."
"We give up too easily. We give up too soon. We quit praying right before the miracle happens."
The rest is yours to discover!
Just My Thoughts,
A friend gave me this book just before I left my last pastorate. At first, I simply set it on one of my bookshelves in my then huge office. Feeling obligated to read it a bit since it was a gift, I sat down and opened the pages one day. It instantly grabbed me.
I'm not much of a devotional book reader. Read several dozen of them over the years. There all the same. Trite little stories wrapped up in a biblical truth which really doesn't do much for me. Seems all a bit too conveniently simple. Life I know for fact, is not convenient nor is it simple!
But . . . Sarah Young's devotional, Jesus Calling - Enjoying Peace in His Presence, is, I think, different. The content of Sarah's devotional is a prayer journal of dialogues rather than monologues. It's her journey learning to seek God's face as she speaks to God, and God speaks to her. Her insights of God speaking are biblically based, moving, and personal.
If you need a bit of new life in your devotional time, your quiet times, and meditation you might give Jesus Calling a look. It's also available on Android and Apple apps.
Just My Thoughts,
If you want an honest conversation about being disappointed with God, this is the book for you! Yancey takes a candid, honest look at our view of God, and our disappointment with God. Yancey explores three vitally difficult questions about our understanding of God. In these questions he seeks for answers; different answers.
1. Is God Unfair? This is the big one. Why are evil people seemingly rewarded and good people punished?
2. Is God Silent? What doesn't God answer some of our prayers? Why does it feel like God doesn't hear or care?
3. Is God Hidden? Does God sit back somewhere in the cosmos oblivious to our concerns and cares?
Three very tough questions. I think most readers will appreciate Yancey's attempt to deal with the subject. Even if they perhaps disagree with his conclusions.
During my recent short vacation, I picked up Bill Bryson's book, A Short History of Nearly Everything. Now, if you lean towards the intellectual side of cerebral existence you will definitely find plenty to take issue with some of Bill's Conclusions! But, if you dwell in the realms of average to slightly above average IQ's like the rest of us, this book is full of insight and discovery. It is a fascinating book.
What makes the book so worth while is that Bill takes subjects that might normally bore one to absolute tears, and puts character into the subject matters making them live and breath. Bill, I wish you where my science teacher! Perhaps, science class might have appealed to me more. But, really; wow!
My favorite chapter was on Einstein, and Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Bill does quite a masterful job explaining Einstein's brilliance in this area, and the reasons for its importance. It's a great read!
If your struggling with forgiving someone who has wronged you, most of us do, one of the best books I've read in recent years is Desmond and Mpho Tutu's The Book of Forgiving published by HarperOne. As someone who lived in South Africa during the Apartheid era experiencing many conversations with people who committed atrocities against other South Africans, I can tell you the Tutus have more than earned the right to talk about the subject.
They answer questions like, "Why Forgive?" And, for me more importantly, "What forgiveness is and what it is not." They exemplify the "Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World."
One of the valuable aspects of this book is the interactive process Bishop Tutu takes us through! From journaling to Forty Days of Forgiving through the medium of the internet, forgiveness-renewing-releasing, and relationship can be yours! Give it a read. The book is easily purchased through Amazon, and is cheaper through Kindle or eBooks. With its introduction by the Tutu's over the internet, it's much much more than just another book.
After finishing the book my thoughts were, "If the Tutu's can forgive I can too!"
It is well worth the read!