I am reviewing both "Finding God in the Bible" and the film "Father of Lights" by Darren Wilson.
Darren Wilson is a man who grew up in the Christian church, but didn't have a relationship with God. There were many things about God and the Bible that scared Darren, or didn't make sense to him. When he was close to thirty, Darren found himself dissatisfied with his life, and creatively blocked. He was also angry with anything that had to do with God or church. Out of desperation, he gave into his wife's entreaties, and asked God for help. From that moment foreword, his life changed completely.
Darren's plea led him to God, and spiritual worlds opened up to Darren he had never expected. He saw angels, healings and met a man who heard God literally talk to him every day. His career went a new direction, that of a film maker. Although Darren had never had a desire to be a film maker, and didn't feel he had the training or equipment to do it, he made three films that were all very popular--all because he followed the urgings from God. He also wrote books, and went to many places around the world. But his biggest desire in his life was to become a friend of God.
Both the book, "Finding God in the Bible," and the film, "Father of Lights," document Darren's amazing journey being a friend of God. He chronicles his about-face opinion of the Christian church, the Bible, and the greatest desire in his life. He records astonishing people, events and situations. Many people become Christ followers during his journeys. Although he does not agree with some of the ways other Christians try to bring people to Christ, he prays for his fellow Christians, even ones with opposite methods than his.
Both the book and the movie really cause one to think. As a Christian, it caused me to reflect about the best way to have a relationship with God, and to be a Christ follower. Darren Wilson was very sincere in his writing of this book and this film. I give them both 4 stars.
The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book and film through Chosen Books and Bethany House Publishing for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner. Despite my receiving the book free, it has not influenced my judgment, and I have given an honest opinion.
This is a book about friendship with God, plain and simple. The author uses Bible stories to illustrate God's love and faithfulness to those who befriend Him. Delving deeply into curious events in the Bible, Wilson reveals reasons and explanations that speak to God's character and nature. Wilson also invites readers to compare their own experiences, relationships and lives with those in the Bible. It turns out that the people in the Old Testament faced the same problems, temptations and emotions that we see today.
The writing is simple, down to earth and even humorous, at times. Wilson writes the way friends speak to one another. The humor helps to emphasize the sameness in people of all times who seek a friendship with God. Who can resist chapters with titles like "And You Think Your Family Is a Bunch of Jerks!" and "All the Weirdos in the Old Testament"? Saints, sinners, prophets and apostles were all just ordinary people who made mistakes, yet sought and found true friendship with God.
Finding God in the Bible invites readers to dive into a deep, lifelong friendship with God. Knowing and understanding more about God, especially through the person of Jesus Christ, can only bring an even deeper desire to know, love and serve Him and to be His friend. Rather than quenching a thirst for God's love and friendship, this book will make readers thirsty for more. Fortunately, there is an infinite amount!
I was given a free copy of this book by Chosen Books of Baker Publishing Group, for the purpose of review. I recommend this book for adult and teenage readers.
Have you ever wondered why all those stories are in the Bible? A friend of God asked to murder his own son. A man after God's own heart arranges the death of his lover's husband.
Darren is himself a story teller and approaches the stories of the Bible a little differently. He suggests God reveals Himself through His interactions with the characters He created. Darren spent the last six years on a personal journey of discovering the living God revealed in biblical stories, resulting in this book.
The implications Darren gathers from the creation story are amazing. God reveals Himself as Friend. His first interaction with humans is a kiss. He gives man the command to produce, to be creative. We are reminded our words carry weight with God.
Darren looks at Moses, God's friend who started out a hot-headed murderer. "Moses' story shows God's disregard for who you are now and His belief in whom you will become through friendship with Him." (73)
Other stories Darren investigates include Abraham, Joseph, Gideon, King Saul, David, and all the weirdos in the Old Testament (a talking animal, a bald prophet, a prophet making clay models, a prophet going naked for three years while he preached). He also includes the absurd way God chose to usher His Son into the physical world.
The lessons he brings out of the stories are encouraging. For example, from David, "God always sees our potential, whereas we usually only see someone's past." (154) And, "Friendship with God does not rid us of our flaws." (175)
Some of the insights are very challenging! How about this one on being friends with God? "Basically we are acquainted with God. We go to His house once a week. We eat with Him occasionally. Once and a while we actually talk to Him, and we know other people who are really good friends with Him. We've had just enough interaction with Him over the years that we can confidently say that we know Him and that He knows us." (45) But there is a big difference between an acquaintance and a friend.
And this one about how we do church: "In an era where we worry so much about whether or not our church services are appealing or if we're doing evangelism 'right,' God has His Old Testament prophets do things that would land anyone in our society in an insane asylum." (196)
I liked his insight about Lazarus, that "very good friends of God are forced to endure incredible hardships for 'the ultimate glory of God.'" (220) He adds good reasons as to why. That will make the "God always wants you well and prospering" Christians think a bit!
Darren says God might have included all these stories in the Bible so we will know that God is willing to use people like us to accomplish His tasks - and to remind us God might also be using that other person we think is so strange.
This is a great book, looking at the stories in the Bible and finding the revelation of God's character and nature. It is also a great book about friendship with God. Read it and wonder again that God would invite us to be His friends.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
Honestly, if you are only going to read one book this year make it "Finding God in the Bible"!!! Author Darren Wilson grew up in the church and yet never learned to speak Christian-ese. (Thankfully) This well written book is refreshing and provides a lot of insight into the stories of the bible that I have heard a hundred times. Somehow Mr. Wilson managed to pull something out of each of those stories that I had never thought about before. My heart feels full after reading this book. God is to thoroughly in love with me and just wants me to be His friend. What a crazy idea!
BTW, I was given this book free in exchange for an honest review.
Disclosure: I received complimentary products to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own.
I'm not sure what I expected when I got a chance to read Finding God in the Bible. Based on that part, I expected it to be pretty much a book that told me what I already knew about who God was. Then I looked at the subtitle - What Crazy Prophets, Fickle Followers and Dangerous Outlaws Reveal about Friendship with God - and was much more intrigued.
The author, Darren Wilson, is the founder of Wanderlust Publications, a production company aimed at advancing the Kingdom of God. Although he doesn't overtly focus on it in the book, he brings up several times talking to God and listening to God on a more direct level than most people seem to experience. And through this lens, he looks at the God of the Bible in terms of His relationship with other people. The book has a very casual tone, not at all stuffy (with headings like "All the Weirdos in the Old Testament" and "Born in a Bunch of Crap"). This makes it much more accessible for those who want to see God as a friend. I definitely feel like this book was enlightening and interesting.