Craig Groeschel isn't funny. That's probably harsh to say about a guy I've never met, seeing as how reading such a comment written by someone else towards me would probably hurt my feelings. But I think he knows his jokes are bad--most preachers do. But they still spit punchlines like their paycheque depends on it.
What does that have to do with Groeschel's new book Fight? Well, if anyone has watched/listened to one of his sermons, you would recognize that he writes in a similar voice. Fight is posed as a book for men, and the general audience target seems to be men married with children--although the content is not exclusive. Groeschel's basic premise is that all men will have battles that they must fight in life, and God provides the strength we all need to fight like the "warrior" God has made us to be, using the story of Samson in the Bible as an example of everything men should NOT be like.
Maybe I'm simply not the intended target, but the macho, jock-talk, oh-I-wish-I-was-an-MMA-fighter talk just doesn't motivate me to pick up my rugged cross and run a hundred miles with it over my shoulder. The warrior-speak just doesn't do it for me. But I suppose for those men who are into jock-talk and oft picture themselves as Mel Gibson in Braveheart, being told you're a warrior is inspiring.
Something else I don't care for is the short 2-3 page "chapters". Where a "normal" book that I am used to reading has a handful of chapters with subheadings to break up the chapter a bit, Fight is organized in a way that those subsections are chapters unto themselves. I suppose again the target reader is someone that is labeled as having a short attention span? I don't know. I will say it makes for great a great potty-page-turner, where you can finish a chapter easily in a sitting.
In spite of how my analysis may sound, I actually very much enjoy Groeschel's writing, speaking, and all that has become under his LifeChurch.tv ministry. But I find this book to be quite shallow in life-changing content. It's as if Groeschel was under contract to right another book, and this is the best he could come up with.
Fact of the matter is, the book reads like a really long drawn out sermon. Groeschel is hosting a simulcast on October 26th focusing on the topic of Fight, promoted as a men's ministry event. I think if you register and listen in on the content of this event, you won't need to buy the book.
I've read a lot of books for men. How to be the spiritual leader of the home, how to be the man of the family, how to be a better father, etc. In his book, Fight: Winning the Battles that Matter Most, Craig Groeschel has written a book about how men were called to be warriors. He's pretty clear that this is a book for men, and not for women. He even encourages women to put the book down. I didn't appreciate that, because if this book really applies to me, then it would be great for my wife to read this book.
In essence, Groeschel explains men are designed to by God to be holy warriors. I don't really disagree with that thesis, because most men do want to be the warrior and show their mate how they will fight for her. They (we) want to be the knight in shining armor to rescue our damsel, who's in distress.
I was surprised Groeschel chose to be base the book on the life of Samson. While there are many positives we can take from Samson's life, I find as many negatives and things I should not be doing. The purpose of choosing Samson is to teach what was right and what was wrong. Groeschel was able to help me learn more through his study, but I still felt Samson could have been one part of the picture, and he could have used other biblical characters to help bring home the point about what men should be like.
Groeschel pointed out how men usually show emotion by demonstrating anger as opposed to the many other emotions which are within us. He concludes or surmises that possibly that anger is really self-directed, or directed toward God, and others. Anger usually is what will drive a man to action. He also speaks about other issues such as greed, envy, and lust.
This is a pretty short and easy read. I think most men will see themselves at various points in the book. Groeschel's goal is for men to take over the spiritual leadership in their families and to move closer to holiness through self-discipline.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÂ®.com.
Fight: Winning the Battles That Matter Most by Craig Groeschel
"_within every man, God has planted a divine desire to fight for righteousness." - Fight, p.13
As king of the flannelgraph boards, the Biblical/historical figure of Sampson is one that many a young boy wishes to be. Set apart by God from birth, Sampson is the original superhero. Fight, by pastor Craig Groeschel, examines the life of Sampson in parallel to the modern Christian male. Both have been created by God in His image; both are prone to utter and complete failure. Groeschel goes out of his way to point out that Sampson's failures, like ours, are never due to one time events. Like the falling blocks in a game of Tetris, our decisions stack up and can eventually lead us down a road to ruin. However, like Sampson, we are never beyond God's redemptive power.
Fight is organized into 3-4 page chapters. I enjoyed these easy to digest chunks of truth. My biggest and only complaint with the book was the unneeded machoism that permeates throughout. Much like John Eldredge's Wild at Heart, Groeschel felt the need to add blanket gender assumptions such as:
"Think about it this way. There are two kinds of movies: chick flicks and, well, everything else. Do chick flicks inspire men? Do they make them want to be stronger, braver, better men?What about in Pride and Prejudice when Keira Knightley's character says to her new husband, "You may only call me â€˜Mrs. Darcy' when you are completely and perfectly and incandescently happy." And he responds with, "Then how are you this evening_Mrs. Darcy?" and kisses her on the forehead. And then, "Mrs. Darcy," as he kisses her on the cheek. And then, "Mrs. Darcy," as he kisses her on the nose. Again, if you're a guy, you have no idea what I'm talking about right? Or if you do know, you're trying hard to forget." (page 14)
Despite comments such as the one found above, I enjoyed my time reading Fight. Craig does a fantastic job going beyond the Sampson depicted in Sunday school flannelgraphs and digs into the heart of what made him a man. I highly recommend this book.
I was given a copy of this book by BookSneeze. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.
I regularly follow his church's podcast and try to keep up with his sermons as much as possible.
Needless to say, I enjoy the resources Craig Groeschel puts out.
And so when I was given the chance to receive an advance copy of his upcoming book for men, I jumped at the opportunity (well, not literally, but I did get really excited).
I was not disappointed.
This book reads like a devotional book, with five sections containing seven short chapters each (so it would take five weeks to go through, reading a few pages each day).
In this book, Craig focuses on the story of Samson, and how men can overcome the lies of the enemy and the pull of the sinful nature in order to fight - and win - the battles that really matter in life.
And I must admit, I was a little curious how he could spend an entire book focusing on the life of Samson.
It's one of the most well-known stories in the Bible.
Most people have heard it ever since Sunday school.
Could I really learn anything that I hadn't already been told for years?
Craig dives into the details of Samson's life, and points out things that I had never realized.
He successfully takes the story of Samson, and uses it to draw powerful application points for my life.
If you are a man looking for an excellent read, I completely recommend picking this book up when it comes out.
And if you a woman, wanting to find out ways to encourage your man to reach his potential in Christ,
then I also encourage you to read it (Craig also invites you to read it).
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÂ®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
We all make poor choices, and sometimes those choices concern the things that we think are important. Using Samson (read about him in Judges, chapters 13-16) as the primary example, Pastor Craig Groeschel does some teaching on how to pick our battles in such a way as to make an impact for God. In his latest book, Fight: Winning the Battles that Matter Most (Zondervan, 2013), Groeschel makes a strong case for allowing God to use us despite our weaknesses. As he puts it, Samson is the strongest man to ever live, but his story doesn't have a happy, â€˜walking-with-God' ending. Why, because he made some poor choices. (Can you relate?)
Samson was a Nazarite; set aside, dedicated to God, and as such made three vows. 1) No booze; 2) don't touch anything dead; and 3) hair doesn't get cut. Of course if you read the Sacred Text, you'll see that Samson broke all of his promises. Goreschel points out that as Samson got off track, and lost focus, he allowed lust, entitlement and pride to take over. He listens to his emotions instead of God.
Groeschel writes in an engaging style, he's pastoral, but reading this book was like reading a letter written to me. He's transparent, but not in the tabloid sensationalism style, and time and again he referred to his own Samson moments. Time and again I was reminded that I have Samson moments too. We're all faced with Samson moments, but Groeschel shows how he uses (and we can use them too) his faith, an active prayer life, and knowledge of the Word of God to overcome the loss of focus moments in our lives.
The happy ending is that Samson after a life of letting his "I want it" emotions rule his thinking was able to turn back to God. My take away from this book is that I'll never measure up to the super-heroes of the faith, but that doesn't mean that in my imperfections I can't be used.
Learn to be a warrior, you're going to have battles, and you've already got the tools you need to fight those battles (faith, prayer and the Word of God). The choice is yours - what kind of decisions will you make?
I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a favorable review.