Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Grace of God by Andy Stanley

In The Grace of God, Andy Stanley takes us on a tour of God’s grace throughout the Bible.    He took Bible verses and stories I was familiar with and told them through the lens of Grace.  I never really considered the fall of Adam and Eve in that way.  I also really never considered discipline to be Grace.   The way Mr. Stanley explains it however, it is definitely Grace.  
Then in the retelling of Jonah I was quite convicted.  I thought much about my Ninevites.  I also thought much about my “vines”.  When I heard Amazing Grace before, I always thought of Jesus.  He paid for our sins with his life and through His Grace we are saved.    But I found this to be an in-depth review of his lineage, from Abraham to Jesus.  This was a great perspective.  It also reminded me that God uses imperfect people.  He even grants Grace to us imperfect people.  And some of the greatest Heroes of the Bible like David and Solomon were woefully imperfect.
All in all I came away from reading this book feeling better.  Knowing we don’t deserve Grace is often forgotten.  Being reminded of all the people who have gone before us who did not deserve Grace and were given it anyway makes me feel better about being a human.  I came away with a new lease on life and a renewed passion to grant grace whenever possible.  Even to those Ninevites in my life.
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 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, October 15, 2010

Transforming Church in rural America by Shannon O'Dell Book Review

Transforming Church in Rural America by Shannon O'Dell is a great book for a pastor or leader who wants to grow their church.  Who doesn't want this?

I found this book informational mostly because I really don't know anything about the inner workings of a church.  I could also clearly see some of the things he referred to being problems in my own church.  I chuckle each time I leave my own sanctuary with its dedicated pews and brass plaques on everything from the Chandeliers to the stained glass windows.  I could only imagine the fight over removing some of these things.  Our church building dates back to the 1800's and even though it burned to the ground once it was rebuilt and dedicated to the original families that built building one.  Oh yes, what a fight that would be.

While I don't lead a church I can see where the information presented could be used in other work related areas and plan to use it with my own teams in the future.  This also gave me some ideas to get more involved in the church and offer my talents to helping build the team.

This book also made me reflect on church splits.  What caused them and where the two sides are now.  So as a non-Pastor I found this book brought me a lot of insight and wisdom I do plan to pass my copy onto my Pastor.  I don't hold out much hope for removing the brass plaques though.