I Blog For Books

30 March 2013

gods at war






A few short days ago, I received an unassuming package in my mailbox. Opening it to reveal Kyle Idleman's newest book Gods at War. And so the journey began ...

Not having read Idleman's previous book, not a fan, I was not sure what to expect. His introduction immediately reveals that this book will be a more personal experience. Recounting a "teachable moment" with his 8 year old daughter brings a shocking realization: idols are not the graven images of a dusty past, but present today in forms that are far more insidious and threatening. After all, who gives a second thought to many of the things that we take for granted? Have you considered that the importance you place on things (status, money, possessions, etc) thrusts them firmly into the place of something that you worship (idol)?

"The deadliest war is the one most of us never realize is being fought." How true those few words - and all before I had completed the introduction. Moving forward, Idleman blasts you with another seemingly simplistic view that brings his point home: "Goals can become gods. You start to serve them, live for them, and sacrifice for them." Sound familiar? Just a few more hours at work and we are sure to nail down that promotion/new position/recognition. It's okay if we have to miss a game/competition/family outing/church ... we can make it up tomorrow/next week/next year. Remember Mt. Sinai and the calf? "Anything at all can become an idol when it becomes a substitute for God in our lives." (emphasis mine) Proverbs 27:19 reminds us that "As water reflects the face, so one's life reflects the heart." (NIV). What does your life say about where your heart lies?

Pastor Idleman breaks down his book into four parts, detailing the gods that can detract us from focusing on the one true God. From the temple of pleasure (food, sex, entertainment), to the temple of power (success, money, achievement), to the temple of love (romance, family, me), the author gives an eye-opening view of how easy it can be to turn away from what is real to begin a never-ending journey for thethingthatisbetterandjustaroundthecorner. "The battlefield of the gods is your heart. Your heart is shaped by your thoughts ... be careful how you think, because that's what you will worship."

This book did what I expect any good book to do: it made me think. It drove me to ask myself some questions, and I didn't always like the answers. What is most important? Is God the most important thing in my life? Am I living like He is the most important, or am I just paying lip service? Am I talking the talk without walking the walk?

"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."~Proverbs 4:23 NIV


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

04 March 2013

1000 Days: The Ministry of Christ

When choosing a book for review, I seek out a title that grabs my attention - something that makes me think, or makes me want to learn more. This is the first Jonathan Falwell book that I have read, and I will admit to being slightly disappointed. I was expecting the book to be a deeper study of Christ's ministry; instead, what I found was more questions than answers. I do believe that the book would be great for group study, the questions at the end of each chapter are designed to make you think about changes that could bring you to a closer walk with Jesus.

Several thought-provoking moments occurred while I was reading this book. I most appreciated the reminder of 1 Samuel 16:7 "Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." I agree with this statement, and feel that it is an important reminder in the world of today where so much focus is put on one's outer self.

I think that Falwell brings up some good points, although I disagree with his interpretation at times. As many reviewers before me have noted, if you want to know Jesus, read the Bible. If you are looking for an indepth study of Christ's ministry, this is not the book you are looking for. I gave the book a 3 star rating because I felt there were several points that applied to my own life, and I felt that the book made me take a deeper look at my own following of Christ's footsteps.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255