Skip to main content

Greater




Greater by Steven Furtick

This book by Pastor Steven Furtick is a book designed to give greater purpose and meaning to believers as they long for something more in their lives.  Based on John 14:12, Furtick writes, “He’s (Jesus)calling us to be greater with Him through His Spirit within us” (5).  The goal isn’t to be greater than Jesus but to be a part of how God is doing extraordinary things through us.  I agree with Steven that the big thing that Christians are in danger is of wasting their lives.  Overall, there were some really good points that Furtick makes in this book alongside some troubling sections.  The places where Steven really drew me into the book was the way he used a series of questions to get at the heart of his point.

After walking through the life of Elisha in the Book of Kings, Steven examines what it means to find your calling.  The ways that believers might find their calling are unique and come in a myriad of ways.  Steven writes, “Is there a message that seems to be hitting you upside the head over and over again” (34)?  How does the experiences and people around you confirm or deny the calling on your life?  Steven is careful to not fit the calling of a believer for greater to fit a common stock example, but notices that a person who is willing in faith to follow this calling is headed down the right path.  As Elijah threw his cloak over the head of Elisha, Elisha knew that something other than pulling an oxen was in store for him, and he pursued this in faith. 

Steven’s section on the God who doesn’t do details was a very unique way of seeing God’s work in our lives.  The point is not that God doesn’t know all the details or carry out these details but that He doesn’t give us a blueprint for every detailed decision he is going to make in our lives.  Steven writes, “But as you obey, you’ll be placing the results in the hands of a God who knows every detail and who has a contingency for every circumstance you’ll ever face” (45).  Stepping out in faith is not an act in tomfoolery because we know that God is orchestrating all these events in our lives for his glory and our good.  Our lack of knowledge in understanding the how and why’s of God’s workings can often lead us into doubting waters where we shake a fist at the Almighty.  Yet, ‘God never makes up anything as He goes along,’ but has a plan at every step for our lives (45). 

There were many times where I think Steven stretched the biblical passages relating Elisha too much and made much of novel interpretations.  I don’t recommend following Steven’s interpretations on Elisha, but one can consider them for yourself.  Secondly, I wonder if this overemphasis on doing greater things might actually hinder people from living the ordinary life of obedience in ordinary ways.  If we understand Steven’s concept as following Jesus in obedience in a greater way even if that means in our own worlds (work, taking care of kids, cleaning, helping neighbors, etc.), then I agree with him.  Yet, sometimes all this talk of greater smacks askance at the lives of most Christians who struggle to make it through each day but who desire to follow Jesus in obedience at their demanding jobs and struggling families.  I wonder if the book might have more adequately addressed these issues also.


Thanks to Waterbrook/Multnomah for the free copy of this book in exchange for review.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder
Misperceptions, misconnections, and missed observations are just some of the issues that Timothy Snyder raises in his book, Black Earth, concerning the Holocaust.  Snyder, no stranger to the frontlines of scholarship on the Holocaust, with his previous book Bloodlands, that concerns the land from Hitler to Stalin, takes a look at the Holocaust from new sources and new avenues of thought.  How did some nation-states survive relatively unscathed from Nazi persecution while others, notably Jewish populations, succumb to a wave of killings?  Also, what was the role of the Soviet Union in the war and how did Stalin effect changes in the Final Solution?  These questions are only two of the many that Snyder answers in his detailed account of the Holocaust.
One of the best chapters was entitled The Auschwitz Paradox.  Generally when the public thinks about the Holocaust, we think of Auschwitz first or at the top of our mental m…

the great spiritual migration

The Great Spiritual Migration by Brian D McLaren

Brian McLaren and his own pithy way brings to the foreground and emphasis on a new kind of Christianity. The kind of faith that Brian envisions is a kind of migration not been set in the bedrock of beliefs that is unmoving but rather shifting with both culture and with faith. His new book the great spiritual migration is exactly that, a pointed work that encapsulates a vision towards the future where Christianity is changing and its peoples lives are changed as well.

Brian states in the introduction, "but we also know that for a lot of people Christianity is malfunctioning, seriously so, and it's not pretty. This kind of frustration with conventional Christianity is what McLaren gets gets to at the heart of this message is concerned with a number of different clusters unbelief. One, namely that Christianity has been stuck in a set of propositions or beliefs that has controlled churches in the faith, rather then a spirit of love t…

NKJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson

NKJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Growing up with the NIV, the NKJV was not a bible I was familiar with.  This new NKJV Study Bible takes all of the features of the Thomas Nelson Study Bible and makes them better.  Right out of the box I noticed that the Bible was considerably lighter than most study bibles I have read.  Further, the text font was much larger than most study editions, although I’m not quite sure of the size. The aquamarine color was a great touch and the Bible was finely put together, enduring the wear of many coming years of use.
Why is this Bible worth the purchase?  First, the study notes were great for extra handling of particular confusing and messy areas of Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments.  Yet, the study notes aren’t an obstruction to the reading of the biblical text.  Clearly, the editors have taken great care in making the text stand out and the notes illuminate certain themes and areas of Scripture.  Second, the NKJV takes into account all t…