Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Operation Screwtape - Book Review

Operation Screwtape: The Art of Spiritual War by Andrew Farley was awesome!

I absolutely enjoyed every minute of listening to this book.  It had me thinking, pondering, rewinding, and laughing.  David Cochran Heath did a fabulous job at narrating this book.  He included all of the proper inflections, and the best-timed chuckles, to capture the deviousness of the devil's work.

Knowing a little bit about C.S. Lewis' book, the Screwtape Letters will help in understanding the idea behind this book.  But that work should not be considered a prerequisite to enjoying and understanding this book.

Here is the basic premise:  This is a manual on spiritual warfare against the Christian.  It is written, as if, from an "older" and more experienced demon to "young" demons in training.  It outlines various effective and efficient attacks on the Christian.  Attacks that, though they cannot remove the Christian from the love of God, they will render the Christian ineffective and unproductive for the cause of Christ.  Obviously, this is a very fictitious premise, but it is anchored in a spiritual reality that is very imminent.

Not knowing much about Andrew Farley, I found that I was hesitant and cautious as I was listening to this book.  I didn't know which direction he was headed on several different occasions.  But I found his points to be well-grounded in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I laughed at myself in nearly every chapter, as I realized that I had fallen prey to this attack or that maneuver that Farley was outlining from the perspective of a tempter.

Because of Andrew Farley's insightful points on our spiritual battles and David Cochran Heath's abilities at narration, I found myself reeling at the utter weakness of Satan in comparison to the Power of Jesus Christ.  As Christians, our focus needs to be in the cleansing reality of the Blood of Christ and we need to walk in that forgiveness that was bought by such a dear price.

I absolutely want to encourage you to pick up this book, and without a doubt, the version you pick up should be the audio version.  You can click through to Amazon to get the Christian Audio version, or go directly to the Christian Audio site to download it today.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Risk is Right - Book Review

I didn't know what to expect when I started listening to Christian Audio's version of Risk Is Right: Better to Lose Your Life Than to Waste It by John Piper. I hadn't heard of this book before I downloaded it. I am writing this review to tell you that I really liked this book.

Before I begin, here is Christian Audio's description of the book:
As social justice, environmental causes, and not-for-profit ministries rise in popularity, more and more people are looking for a life of adventure, to live for something greater than themselves. Helping Christians put their faith into action for the glory of God, popular pastor John Piper is releasing this stand-alone edition of chapter 5 from his best-selling book Don’t Waste Your Life. Piper teaches that risk is an action that opens us up to the possibility of loss or injury, but that living for Christ necessarily involves taking risks in faith, a road that ultimately leads to fullness of joy, the glory of God, and the good of others.
First of all, as with all of John Piper's books that I've read, there is a significant emphasis on scripture.  I love this about his books.  They feel more like an expository breakdown of different passages, than they do an opening up of John Piper.  Sure, it is just a book, and we are going to get the author's opinion when we read (or listen) to it, but it is so saturated with the Word of God that it feels like the personal opinion is filtered out and the opinion of the inspired text reigns supreme. Because of this emphasis, this book, like so many others that Piper has written, can easily be read over and over again, feeling like there is always something else to get out of it.  This also paves the way for this book to become more of a study resource, than simply a light read.

Secondly, this book drilled into an issue that is close to my heart.  I have always loved the aspect of excitement and adventure in following Jesus.  This book really honed in on this part of my heart in a way that made me think a bit more realistically and at the same time it made me dream big when it comes to risking it all for the sake of Christ.

Finally, on the audio version specifically, David Cochran Heath is one of my favorite voice talents.  I had heard his voice in audio Bibles before, but have just recently been hearing his voice in a few audio books. He really brings life to the book and his emphasis always seems properly placed.

This wasn't a very long book, but you can pick it up for an affordable price right now.  It is worth it.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

joyfully awaiting

"Let us consider this settled, that no one has made progress in the school of Christ who does not joyfully await the day of death and final resurrection"
John Calvin - The Institutes, 3.10.5