Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Books I've ALMOST Finished, But Probably Won't.

In the months leading up to us moving, there were a couple books that I started to read, made most of the way through them, but have never finished for one reason or another. I have them sitting on my desk as part of the "soon-to-finish" section of my library. But I have to be honest, I don't think I am going to get to them anytime soon. So, I thought I would write a short statement about each one and then file them into my library. Here goes.

I first picked up this book several months ago when it first came out because I have always had a little interest in church planting. This book was highly publicized by Crossway (the publisher) and had a fairly cool video to promote it.

I greatly appreciated Patrick's focus on men to be men. We live in a culture that men are not what they used to be. Knowing that a church being planted relies upon the men to be the leaders, he begins with the man. What is he like? What is his character?

After dealing with the character of the man who is the church planter, he deals with the message the man is to proclaim. He calls men to be about the gospel message! He very directly says,
"The gospel, then, is fundamentally an announcement: it is not just about who God is or what he might do, but about what God has done in history. The gospel is not good advice on how to reach up to God; rather, it is a declaration about what God has already done to reach down to us. It is good news about a historical even that changes everything! This declaration calls for a response." (111)
This was where I have not finished the book. The last section deals with the mission of the man. Not long after I had put it down, I was challenged to dive back into this book because of some of the comments that John MacArthur made. He took some comments in this book to task (you can find his concern HERE). I am not going to go into it, if you want to understand them, read his arguments. What I greatly appreciated was Darrin Patrick's humble reply to MacArthur (find it HERE). It was encouraging to see how someone responded to public criticism of a comment he made.

I have always struggled with some ambitious thoughts I have had for my life. In my mind, they sound so proud and selfish (and they probably are). It was for this reason that I picked up Rescuing Ambition by Dave Harvey. I actually started reading this book as I candidated at a couple different churches before landing at Cornerstone Bible Church.

What I realized as I read this book is that ambition can be good or bad. And as I look to be ambitious, I need to continue asking myself is my desire to make Jesus look good or myself look good? It is my sin that makes me strive to make myself look better as opposed to making Jesus look better (not that Jesus needs to look better, but I hope you understand my illustration). It is about who I am in Christ as I pursue my hopes and dreams. He says,
"Sometimes God brings our dreams to life; sometimes he doesn't. But how we respond to his work becomes an important intersection for change in our lives. As we cooperate with him, we discover that it's not ultimately about nailing the promotion, or raising well-behaved kids, or winning the Daytona 500--as good as all those things may be. It's about something much bigger: how I become like Christ while I pursue those dreams." (70)
Probably my favorite part of the book that I read was chapter 6, "Ambition's Path." He talks about ambition being a paradox, well, at least godly ambition. He lists five paradox's:

  • Paradox One: The Greatest Fulfillment Is Found in Emptiness
  • Paradox Two: It's Wrong To Think First About Rights
  • Paradox Three: It's Really Something To Be Nothing
  • Paradox Four: When It Comes To Self-Evaluation, Don't Trust What You See
  • Paradox Five: True Humility Promotes Great Ambition

It is a good book, not life changing, but good. But in reality, how many are really life changing?

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