Christians are always looking for ways to improve themselves. It goes along with conviction and desire to live to be more Christ-like. Chip Ingram has penned a beauty in identifying 10 terrific areas of the Christian life to improve, taking you from a good Christian to a great Christian.
Living “In the Spirit” or “for Christ” is more than just believing in God and accepting Christ as your savior. You need to be faithful in reading the Bible, praying, and petitioning God. We must always be exposing ourselves to growth and renewal. Paul used an analogy of a Roman soldier’s armor set to explain putting on the Armor of God.
York masterfully takes you through an adventure of God’s dream in this well written book of eschatology and social justice. You’ll be challenged by his personal accounts of how God transformed him from an atheist to a man of God completely on fire for Jesus Christ and His church.
Its the story that God is dreaming of. A world of justice without sin and hardship. A perfect world ruled by Jesus Christ Himself. A story presented through eschatology, personal stories, and scripture, York’s book is sound.
You’ll have a whole new view of what social justice really looks like, and an understanding of it from a biblical perspective. You’ll have a completely new outlook on God’s dream and the coming marriage supper. This book starts strong, gets you excited, and takes you on an incredible journey of transformation that will inspire you and move you out of your seat and onto the dance floor.
Its not a heavy read. I found the book on scribd.com (kind of like a kindle unlimited service, but better) and was able to finish the book in a week. He doesn’t use a giant vocabulary to make himself look intelligent. Instead, he let’s the word of God and his story guide you in understand God’s dream and your part in it all.
This is one of those books you won’t put down for a couple of hours at a time.
As the old hymn goes, “Leave a Well in the Valley”, so does Dale Peterson’s incredible story. It would be an understatement to say that this book is his well. In fact, he has many, and freely tells of them as he takes you through his journey.
I met Dale Peterson and his wife at my Church. We attend First Baptist Church of Northville in Northville, MI. He came in one Sunday morning to talk about his book and speak about his work, complete with a stack of books. I’m glad I picked up a copy.
I found myself completely immersed in Dale’s story of a family man, pastor, missionary, and then the center of a tragic shift in life. Open and honest, Dale took me through what felt like several valleys on his journey to restoration and ultimately the writing of this book.
Are you struggling with something? Going through a hard time? Dale’s writing and experience will give you what you need to take the bad situation, and turn it into a well for someone else to find and take comfort in. Filled with plenty of scripture to lean on, you’ll find this book both biblically sound, encouraging, and well written guide for trials.
I loved how this somewhat autobiographical book also presented a lesson and teachings. I appreciate the open book that Dale offered himself up as.
This is a fun read and a winner.
“The Story of Everything” includes you and God in an interdependent way. York Moore penned a beauty while painting this picture of chasing what you already know, but didn’t quite get.
I always appreciate an author that opens his life story and takes you down a road they walked. You can learn so much from them. York didn’t hold back in this regards. You’ll get a piece of his life throughout each chapter.
The challenges presented in “Do Something Beautiful” were powerful and eye-opening. I was able to look inside myself through the careful guidance of York Moore’s writings.
I set out hoping to understand more about what God wants from me. Instead, I walked away with and understanding that my story is underway, and I already know what my part is.
Inspiring and powerful, filled with scripture and wisdom, “Do Something Beautiful” is a winner all The way through.
Read the whole thing. Intro. Chapters. Conclusion. Finding a Church. You won’t be able to put this one down.
I came in contact with a person who was talking about his visions and tongues and all kinds of other things. I didn’t know how to respond to it, so I began to read up on the subject of gifts and the Holy Spirit more in-depth. Charles Stanley’s “Living in the Power of the Holy Spirit” was a good supplement to all the other books I’ve read this year. He gives you a biblical overview of what the scriptures say, and interjects his own teachings around it, so that you can better understand the Holy Spirit in comparison to non-biblical movements.
Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron, the brother of Moses, took God’s power into their own hands, thus being consumed by fire. In John MacArthur’s “Strange Fire”, he examines the dangerous practice of grieving the Holy Spirit, while building up your knowledge of true spiritual gifts, and the fruits of the spirit.
At some point in everyone’s life, they think about a transition into something better. Whether its changing careers, or just advancing themselves, there is that exploratory period. Bob Buford had one of these points in his life. This is where Halftime happened.
Buford arranged the book perfectly. There are three parts that break out each point in what your life could look like. The first half of your life, your halftime, and the second half.
Part 1 answers a lot of questions and talks a lot about his personal experiences through the first half of his life. You’ll find yourself going through his struggles and journey. You’ll also find yourself relating to a lot of those struggles and journey. There was one point where I thought I was reading an autobiography.
Part 2 takes you through the concept of halftime. Halftime is that transition period that could be a few weeks, a few months, or even a few years. He encourages you to be patient, pray about it, and seek what God has in store for you. At that point, he encourages you to act on it quickly, all while telling his story of what he went through.
Part 3 then shows you what the rest of your life will look like. Finishing well and enjoying the benefits of life doing what you were intended to do. Letting God execute his plan can be a scary proposition. Reading Bob’s story and listening to his advice is reassuring and comforting.
One of the things I liked best about this book was the length. It isn’t long, but it’s not short either. There is nothing missing, and there’s no shortage of scripture, stories, or advice. I also appreciate the honesty in his words when he tells you to get out of your comfort zone and act on what you feel God wants you to do. I also appreciate his honesty that your second half may not be what you initially think it will be.
Halftime is a winner. Maybe even perfect. You’ll get sound, biblical based advice that will help you understand your restlessness. If you’re feeling like you need to be doing something different, or something more, this book is for you.
Revision as of 3/6/2018.
Spiritual gifts are a topic that I hadn’t heard or read much about. Sure, they’re laid out in the bible. I’ve heard about people learning to speak in tongues, and have met people claiming to have visions. I’ve heard the stories of people casting out demons. In the back of my mind, I knew had gifts of my own, but didn’t think of them outside of the things I seem to be good at.
Out of a recommendation that I take a spiritual gifts test, I began looking for a good book on the topic. That is when I came across Peter Wagner’s “Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Grow Your Church”. A book more than just learning how to grow a church. It takes you through an in-depth study on all of the spiritual gifts, along with a good history lesson on various groups throughout history.
I appreciated his history lesson when it comes to the Pentecostal movement. I’ve always been leery of people who claim they can speak in tongues. I don’t quite understand the point of trying to learn a gift that you don’t have. I also never understood why its limited to 1 or 2 things. This gave me a new perspective and a background to associate those questions with. Wagner also gives you a look inside other groups to compare them too, and a good biblical challenge to read and study the bible.
As you journey through what he has broken out to be 28 spiritual gifts, you’ll be met with real-life stories from him and other people he met along his life. He’ll use real-world examples to help you understand each spiritual gift, how to identify the ones you have, and how to understand ones you don’t have.
I didn’t always agree with his definition of a specific spiritual gift. He talked a lot about gift projection, and I felt sometimes he was stretching into that arena. He tried to be biblical about it, and I didn’t feel that he was inventing them, but I found a couple to be a little bit of a stretch. Then again, I am not the one giving out gifts, so maybe his feelings were valid.
From an attention span and ease read angle, this book was perfect. I couldn’t put it down, and found it smooth and easy to understand. Like all writers, he used some words that I considered “big” and had to refresh my memory on, but overall he didn’t try to sound intentionally intellectual for the sake of fancy literature.
The “Can Grow Your Church” section is good for anyone, but specially, he talks to Pastors. Not being a Pastor, I found it valuable from my own perspective. It gave me great insight into how a Pastor might approach the arranging of his congregation in different tasks around the Church. This was a perspective I appreciated.
Something to take with a bit of skepticism is his definition of apostleship. Wagner believed he had this gift, and broke down the difference between holding an office and having the gift. While I agree with him in that sense, apostleship comes with three very specific rule. You must have witnessed Jesus Christ. You have to be appointed by Jesus Christ. You have to prove your apostleship with signs and wonders. You can read all about these requirements throughout Matthew, Mark, and Acts. Wagner believed he was good at planting and growing Churches because he had this gift, but not the office. I would have simply told him “You’re just good at administration.”
Another thing that gave me the willies was his wife’s gift of healing. Although he doesn’t go into detail, his criticism of the Pentecostal movement made me wonder a little bit what he was talking about. I am not sure if he ever took to a stage to perform mass healing, or if she simply sought out sick people and prayed over them. Still, I think the only one that has the true gift of healing these days is God. We as the body of Christ are to always be praying, especially for our sick. I just have to wonder why anyone would misread the writings surrounding the Holy Spirit, and think they can summon him on their command and heal people.
Because of these two points, I have chosen to take the rating down to a 3/5. This will most likely spark some discussion some day in my court, and that’s ok.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking to begin exploring spiritual gifts. If you’re curious about your own spiritual gifts, this is a good book for you. You’ll learn to identify your gifts, including his spiritual gifts test at the end of the book. Wagner does a nice job with the layout of the book in that you have a boxed out section each time he explains what a gift is. Those boxes have biblical references, examples, and definitions. I found that piece of the book the most helpful.
All Christians have spiritual gifts. They are used to make up the body of Christ. They’re not limited to learn to speak in tongues, or putting on a show about healing. Some of them have not been given out since the apostolic age. Gifts are very real and dynamic. This book will teach you about them and how to find your gifts.
I was recently asked if I had ever taken the spiritual gifts test. Spiritual gifts are given to Christians after they accept Jesus Christ. Everyone has at least one gift, and some have more than one.
I hadn’t really heard much about them growing up. The only things I ever heard was “Everyone has gifts!” and “Charismatic people are wrong!” I found that both are a little bit true, and a little bit off.
Romans 12:1-2, “1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (NKJV)
This tells me that I need to be living in a way that is honoring to God, and keeping my mind fresh and renewed from the things of this world that might drag me down. In doing so, I then open to doing the will of God, rather than doing my own will and wrong doings.
Paul continues teaching us that we need to stay in tune to God and that the body of Christ has many parts.
Romans 12:3-5, “3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” (NKJV)
The analogy to a “body” is one that we can relate to as humans. Our body is more than just one arm, or two legs, or just a brain. Everything is attached, working together, to accomplish the tasks that we need it to do. If we break an arm or a leg, we’re hindered.
The same is true of the body of Christ. If one part isn’t operating properly, the rest will struggle. We all have different talents, roles, and gifts. In the sense of gifts, we should be using those unique gifts to operate our piece of the body.
Romans 12:6-8, “6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” (NKJV)
Paul then takes us through the first few spiritual gifts. He’s intentional in his writing to us that we need to be intentional with our gifts. If we have the gift of teaching, we need to teach. If our gift is ministry, then we need to minster. If our gift is serving, we need to serve.
Stephen Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective people starts with being proactive. Dave Ramsey teaches that to get your finances under control you need to be intentional. So here does Paul teach through words that we should be intentional and go out and put our gifts to work, rather than waiting for them to come and get us. They’re already in you and part of your life. Why not make something happen with them?
As you start to explore your spiritual gifts, you first need to discover what they are. There are several tests and books out there to help you. My favorite author on the topic is C Peter Wagner and his book called “Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow“. You need to get in word, and pray about them.
Once you start to discover what your gifts are, think about the things you’re drawn too. Do they relate? I found mine did, and it explained a lot about another “strengths” test I had taken for work. From there you can start to do your part in the body of Christ, and accomplish good things.
Discovering your spiritual gifts can be enlightening, but you have to make sure you’re not confusing gifts with your personal goals and desires. You aren’t going to have certain gifts just because you want them. Pray heavily asking the holy spirit to reveal your gifts. Read scripture. Talk to your Pastor, friends, relatives, etc. Take a spiritual gift test. In the end, you may even need to fast on it. Ask God to help you recognize your gifts, and where he wants you to use them.
Spiritual Gifts are just that. Gifts. Take then without question and put them to work.
For more on the Spiritual Gifts, see 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4.
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