B4B: Finding Your Way Back to God by Dave and Jon Ferguson

9781601426086

Dave and Jon Ferguson are church planters in Chicago and leaders of the church-multiplication movement: Exponential.  Exponential  is also the name of their previous book, which may be my favorite book I read in seminary.  (And I read a lot of books…)  This gave me high hopes of course, but I also knew that this book was written for non-Christians more than it was written for me.

 The way they communicate to seekers is very different than the way they communicated to church leaders in Exponential and, even though I was expecting it, it still rubbed me the wrong way at first.  For example, the subtitle is “5 Awakenings for your new life.”  Having grown up in a slightly new-age environment, the word “awakening” doesn’t get me excited, it makes me cringe.  In the beginning there were several instances like that, but I quickly settled in and began to enjoy the book for what it is.

What Finding Your Way Back to God is, is a fantastic and biblically faithful guide to… finding your way back to God.  Surprise!  Following the parable of the lost son(s), it walks through what it means to realize your need for God, repent, and turn to Jesus’ work for your help.  It’s all done in non-Christianeese, so they use “help” instead of “salvation,” they start with “regret” before building it into the fuller and more vital “repentance,” and so on.  But the lighter word choices don’t lead to a light theology.

I even came to appreciate the word awakening.  Luke describes the younger son with the words, “When he came to his senses he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare and here I am starving to death!  I will set out and go back to my father…” (Lk 15:17-18a, TNIV).  The Fergusons are calling a generation to this kind of awakening.

In the coming month, Jesus has given me a lot of exciting opportunities, including celebrating Easter with my church, visiting my family in California, and attending two conferences.  When I have more time to settle down and reflect, I’d like to share my own story as it follows the awakenings set out in FYWBtG.  I may also compare it to another book I just finished, Tim Keller’s The Prodigal God, which is a beautiful retelling of the parable of the lost son(s).

If you are not a Christian, but want to know more about what it means to become someone who follows Jesus, I would strongly recommend Finding Your Way Back to God, and I would even be happy to give you my copy.

In Christ,
Brandon Ray Boulais

As with all the posts beginning with B4B, I received a copy of Finding Your Way Back to God from bloggingforbooks.org in exchange for an honest review.

Advertisements

B4B: My Top 4 Reasons Why You Should ASK IT

ask it

While Andy Stanley is rather coy about what “the question” is, I won’t be.  It’s just too hard to dance around.  The question which Stanley believes we need to apply to every aspect of our lives is:

Is it wise?

Not a complicated question, really.  And yet Stanley’s point is that for some strange reason (human brokenness and sin) we don’t ask it!  Instead we systematically convince ourselves that its “ok” to do it, even though we know its a dumb idea.  And dumb (unwise) ideas have a tendency to stack up into bad (sinful) ideas.

Here are my top 4 reasons for recommending the book.

1. It hits some of our biggest needs concerning human wisdom.
Again, our biggest problem isn’t lack of knowledge, it’s a lack of faithfulness to what we already know.  Andy Stanley’s book doesn’t try to teach us a bunch of facts, it reveals the truth about our nature and works to help us to make the choice which we already knew was right from the beginning.

2. The book hits hard at some of our most common problem areas.
Whether it’s finances, weight loss, time management, or sexual fidelity, Andy Stanley pulls no punches.  His advice is so basic and yet so essential that it may surpass books that focus on any one of these issues exclusively.

3. It’s light reading but not light content
Andy Stanley is one of the leading voices in how to communicate to people who didn’t grow up in the church, and it shows in the quality of the writing.  The book is immediately relevant to non-Christians, but is very clear and unashamed of it’s gospel message.   It is a very fast read, and yet none of it is fluff, and none of it is trash.  Too often, Christian books with this level of curb appeal are stuffed with out-of-context Bible verses that have nothing to do with the subject, or just outright dangerous theology.  Ask It doesn’t have any of that.

4. It has discussion questions in the back that will make for great small group discussions.
I would strongly recommend Ask It for adult small groups and book clubs.  It’s broad enough to be relevant to pretty much everyone, and yet ties all these spheres of interest together in way which will foster interactive conversations.
It’s nice to see the questions included in the book instead of sold separately.  (It is also available as a DVD series.)
It provides discussion for 6 weeks, one for each part of the book.  My only criticism of this is that the first weeks reading is very long compared to the other weeks.
If you are looking for a similar series that uses video check out the series below on time management.  Both the video and discussion guides are free!
http://northpoint.org/messages/time-of-your-life/

Riverside members: A copy of Ask It  will soon be added to our LIFE Group section in the library.

As with all my blog posts with B4B in the title, I received a copy of Ask It for free in exchange for an honest review.

In Christ,
Brandon