I often have a pile of books that I am reading. Not usually a pile of novels. Those I read through in just a sitting or two. But “thought” books (non-fiction, often theological but sometimes not…) take a bit more time and I often have to stop and find a notebook and pen so I can write down quotes or just take a few notes.
This morning I finished a couple of them and felt inspired to write down a few thoughts on each. So, I’m going to just start at the top of the pile and work my way down! Here are the first two:
Crazy Love by Francis Chan
I have to tell you, I’ve wanted to read this book for quite some time. However, after reading a review of Rob Bell’s Love Wins, I was a bit apprehensive. For some reason, both these pastors have been in the same compartment in my mind.
They shouldn’t have been.
Crazy Love is one of the best books on God/the church that I’ve read in a long, long time.
“We need to stop giving people excuses to not believe in God. You’ve probably heard the expression ‘I believe in God, just not organized religion.’ I don’t think that people would say that if the church truly lived like we are called to live. The expression would change to ‘I can’t deny what the church does but I don’t believe in their God.’ ’At least then they’d address their rejection of God rather than use the church as a scapegoat.”
And that, friends, was just the forward.
This book is written in a “new generation” format- there are websites listed to look things up, directions to stop reading the book and go watch youtube videos, and reference to building projects that hit the $20 million dollar mark.
Still, even “old-school” people such as myself who don’t own TV’s, go to the library for internet access and try to keep all building projects under three thousand dollars, can enjoy and embrace the message given.
Chan takes the first three chapters to lay a foundation about God. To begin with, stop praying/talking and start thinking/listening about who God is. Do you actually know?
Steeped in Scripture and quotes from giants of the faith like A.W. Tozer, Crazy Love seeks to put a fire under the church to start living dangerously.
At the same time, on a personal level, it strives to open our eyes to the relentless love of our Creator. To free those who are bound by the chains of “perfection” (what we think we need) then “guilt” (what we get when we fail) and spin them around to face a God who is passionately in love with them.
Healing Sands by Nancy Rue & Stephen Arterburn
Actually, yes, this is a novel. However, I think it worthy of mentioning. I’m pretty much in love with Nancy Rue. Her writing is clear and concise, making it read like your watching a movie. I’m not that good of a writer, nor will I probably ever be, but I can fully appreciate it!
Healing Sands is the third in the Sullivan Crisp novels. (Healing Stones and Healing Waters precede it) I wasn’t crazy about Healing Waters but that had to do with the story-line, not the writing.
Just a little background: Sullivan Crisp is a psychologist who uses different (as in, not the norm) methods to reach his clients. An on-going behind the scenes story about him stretches through all three novels.
Healing Sands tells the story of Ryan, a focused, driven photographer who comes home after six-months in Africa on assignment to find her ex-husband with a new girlfriend and her two sons uninterested in reviving their relationship with her.
When she goes on assignment to take photographs of a murder and sees her oldest son through the view-finder of her camera- all of life screeches to a halt.
On her quest to prove her son’s innocence, she comes face to face with some of her own faults, the number one being her out-of-control anger.
Despite the fact that this novel, like many, uses outlandish circumstances (although all possible) to magnify emotional responses, the underlying journey toward surrender is something that every one of us has to face in our day to day lives.
In the end, this book’s finest quality is its sense of reality. The people involved face real situations with real emotions and real decisions that you and I might make are the outcome. All liberally sprinkled with the reminder that God is working on a bigger picture: our hearts.