I Blog For Books

24 June 2015

Bringing Heaven to Earth

Do you ever start reading a book in the middle, or near the end? While this is not the preferred method (for obvious reasons), there are occasions when it just happens that way. I picked up Josh Ross and Jonathan Storment's Bringing Heaven to Earth, and it fell open to chapter 13. Chapter 13 begins on page 169, pretty close to the end of the book. What struck me so strongly that I continued to read from this odd starting place was the chapter's title, How to Lose the Fear of Failure. How weird is that? This book began speaking to me from the time it fell open to that oh-so-fitting chapter.


Subtitled Fears and Perfection Keep Us from Joining Jesus's Celebration, this chapter begins by explaining the difference between phobias and pet peeves. Before you begin ticking off a list of your pet peeves, bear with me. Chew on this sentence for a moment: "Phobias interfere with life and cause deep personal distress" (Ross & Storment, p. 169).

Why do we fear? The reason for fear is as varied as the number of people who fear. What I fear may be something different that what you fear, or it may be the same, for very different reasons. This is not intended to be a discourse on phobia, but rather an attempt to understand that aha! moment that comes when something is explained so clearly that it suddenly, amazingly, makes perfect sense. "Fear can paralyze decision making that would draw us deeper into the heart and mission of God. There is a reason the command 'Do not be afraid' shows up more than any other command in Scripture ... atychiphobia, a fear of failure" (p. 172). 

I fear failure. There have been times when I refused (and still do) to do something that I do not believe I can do well. If I can't be good at it, I don't want to play (hence the reason I never played team sports). Instead of stepping out on faith, I stepped back. Instead of stepping forward and sharing Jesus, I stepped back into my secure world. Have I denied Him by doing so? Another question that bears asking is "What have I denied me?" Please don't take that in the selfish context that it appears to read. I don't mean that I have missed personal gain, or glory, but rather the possibility of a connection, a shared growth, or the ability to reach out to someone who might need it. Does my fear keep me from living fully for Christ?

This book is well written and well worth a read. It has changed the way I look at Heaven, in a good way. I recommend this book, and will be reading it again. Most likely in the not-so-distant future. (Yes, it was that good).

I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in return for writing an honest review. The opinions included in this blog are my own. 

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.~Psalm 139:23-24 NIV

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