Chazown. Yeah, I wasn't sure how to say it either; but that is the only issue I had_ well, until I opened the book. Partly because the author, and pastor of LifeChurch.tv, Craig Groeschel, helps you with the pronunciation at the very beginning of the book. But also, you get past not quite getting the pronunciation because it is really of no consequence unless you are reading it out-loud to an audience; and in that instance, you could simply agree with your audience to pronounce it how ever you choose, just as long as they understand what you are saying.
Enough about the title, though. This book, Chazown: Define Your Vision. Pursue Your Passion. Live Your Life on Purpose., is an incredible book. It is the only adult* book that I know of that has chapters as short as the chapters inside, that encourages you to take as long as possible to read the book, and is still so powerful. (*I don't mean adult in a dirty way, but simply in terms of the target audience.) This book really helped my wife and I to focus on the vision, passion, and purpose God has placed inside of us. The 2-to-6-page chapters made it easy to pick it up when you had a few minutes and read, well, a whole chapter in just minutes! Every chapter and/or part of the book has questions and action steps to actually put into practice the message of the book; and the author wants you to actually take breaks from reading and focus on different aspects of your life, only returning to the book once you are ready for the next part. Despite the easy read, and the breaks for applying the principles, this book packs a powerful message coupled with an extremely practical application that I have not seen in any other Christian Living book. (Other than the Bible, of course!) ;)
I recently received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. Couldn't wait to tear into it! Make sure you set aside time to not only read, but to do some serious soul-searching.
Of course, no book will give you answers to change your life. But rather, it can be used as a tool to aid us in our search for significance. It will ultimately be God who leads you on your customized journey.
Craig Groeschel has written this book as a blueprint for figuring out what we're created to do. It's like "The Purpose Driven Life" was just the introduction and this is the meat-filled portion of the "how to" book.
But be warned! This book is not a book that can just be read. This requires our time, energy, and sweat. Throughout the chapters, readers are challenged with questions; deeper questions than we're probably used to. But if you take the time to do the "homework" assignments, as I refer to them, you will discover more about who you were created to be-not to mention more about who the Creator is!
This book encourages you to dream big with God standing beside you. He really does want to give us the "desires of our hearts." What's yours?
Since Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life, the Christian market has been flooded with books on discovering your purpose in life. Craig Groeschel has taken that process of discovery to a whole new level. With witty quips and insightful illustrations he leads the reader into a journey of self-evaluation, meaningful meditation, and strategic exercises to identify their chazown, God's vision, revelation, or dream for their life.
Chazown provides a path for getting you where you want to go on purpose and not by chance. By identifying your core values and your spiritual gifts then overlapping them with your life experiences a sweet spot of God's design for your life begins to emerge. Identifying that sweet spot and formulating both a purpose statement and a plan of action is the heart of the Chazown experience.
Filled with meaningful questions and step by step instruction, you will be equipped to set goals in five major life areas that Groeschel refers to as spokes. These spokes are your relationship with God, your relationships with people, your finances, your work and your health and fitness.
I found the online tools that are at www.chazown.com to extremely helpful in working through the exercises in the book. Although, it could easily be accomplished offline, the online experience was a real help for me to make the most of the insights in the book.
If you are looking for a quick read that will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy, this book is not for you. But if you are interested in wrestling with the most important areas of your life and methodically pursuing growth in those areas, then you will thoroughly enjoy this book and the tools that are available with it.
The author of Chazon, Craig Groeschel, is, without doubt, a visionary: a person of unusually keen foresight. It's obvious from the success of his ministry and the popularity of the books he's published. His hope for the rest of us is that we might also becomw visionaries, that we might find and live into God's vision for our lives. In fact, he believes it's "critical to our survival."
Groeschel cites Proverbs 29:18 as "the most important statement from Scripture [he] will quote in this book." This verse being the cornerstone of his thesis, one would hope -- especially since he's a pastor -- that he would be more careful in his handling of God's Word. But he only does what so many pastors have done with this verse: pins his thesis on a misinterpretation of two words, one of which he uses as the title of the book, and reads it out of context.
Without going into too much detail, the whole verse says: "Where there is no vision (chazown; divine revelation, prophetic vision), the people perish (yippara'; run wild, are unrestrained); but he that keepeth the law (torah; divine instruction), happy is he." The verse is placed in the first of two clusters of proverbs dealing with discipline -- discipline of children, of those under one's authority, and of self-discipline. The proverb actually means that without God's revelation people miss God's mark -- they sin -- the wages of which is death; but when they obey His instructions they're blessed.
That being said, one would have hoped that a pastor so gifted with foresight would have more biblical insight. As Christian's, our "purpose on this earth," having been freed from sin is to be slaves of righteousness. Perhaps it doesn't sound as exciting as becoming a visionary -- whether for one's own fulfillment or for service to God -- but it's neither the point of Proverb 29:18 nor of our life in Christ. Groeschel's vision isn't God's revelation, so this book should probably be avoided.
This was a hard book to get into. Intriguing and all, but hard to start. The end of Part I (only a dozen pages into the book) gives you the assignment to write your epitaph. That's when I set the book aside and said, "I'll get back to this later."
A month later, I finally decided to just go on without doing all the silly little assignments.
I'm glad I did pick it back up, because there is a lot to love about this book. It isn't the fluffy, Christian self-help book that I had started to fear. Some things I love:
* The chapters are very short. Very. As in, most are a couple pages.
* Groeschel has a delightful sense of humor.
* And aside from the epitaph assignment, the others don't seem so overwhelming. Challenging, often. But not overwhelming. And not silly. I had jumped to conclusions.
* And the overall message is nowhere near as overwhelming as it first sounded. You aren't meant to follow his little formula and overnight your entire life will change. The idea is that you pick ONE area, and work on that. A "choose your own" self-help book, so to speak.
* Did I mention easy to read chapters that are short?
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.