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Vendor: Multnomah Books
Publication Date: 2012
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Are you ready to open your imagination to the possibility that God has a vision for your life that is greater?
We all have honest moments when were gripped by a desire to feel that what were doing matters more. That who we are matters more.
And according to one of the most shocking verses in the Bible, Jesus wants the very same thing for every one of us:
"Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." -John 14:12
That single promise"even greater things than these"should be enough to shatter our acceptance of spiritual mediocrity. Unfortunately, most believers have only tried and given up on vague notions of greatness…then settled into a life thats just good enough.
Good enough = Baseline living that is marked by mediocrity, stuck in spiritual survival mode, and controlled by complacency.
Greatness = Vague, unrealistic aspirations of doing better that dont work in real life and lead to endless frustration.
But there is a third way.
Greater = The life-altering understanding that God is ready to accomplish a greatness in your life that is entirely out of human reachbeyond anything you see in yourself on your best day, but exactly what God has seen in you all along.
In Greater, Pastor Steven Furtick draws on the biblical story of Elisha to empower you to:
• Take a God-given dream from idea to reality
• Stretch your limited resources and abilities in ways you never thought possible
• Replace the images of yourself that keep you feeling stuck in the past
• Make a significant impact with your life starting today, rather than making endless plans for tomorrow that you never get around to
If youre tired of being ordinary, its time to dream bigger. If youre feeling overwhelmed about where to begin, its time to start smaller. Its time to ignite Gods Greater vision for your life.
"Writes Steven Furtick, Good enough leaves you stuck in stagnation. Grasping for greatness leads to endless frustration. But greater is a third way. My advice? Dont waste another second to embrace the third way. In Greater, Steven shows you that Gods vision for your life is ready to be ignited. Go aheadstrike the match!"
Jentezen Franklin, senior pastor of Free Chapel, Gainesville, GA, and New York Times best-selling author of Fasting
"If you ever felt like you were meant for more yet have settled for less in life, then Steven Furticks new book, Greater, is for you! Its proven biblical insights and practical applications will put you on your path to the greater life."
Kerry Shook, senior pastor of Woodlands Church, Houston, TX, and coauthor of the New York Times best-selling One Month to Live and the national bestseller Love at Last Sight
"Most people crave more out of life and sense there is a greater reason for our existence. Pastor Stevens new book, Greater, is the perfect book to stir your faith, build your spiritual confidence, and inspire you toward the unique calling for your life. If you read only one book this year, make it Greater."
Craig Groeschel, senior pastor of LifeChurch.tv, Oklahoma City, OK, and author of Soul Detox and Dare to Drop the Pose
"My friend Steven Furtick has an insatiable passion for the church to discover the fullness of life in Christ. In Sun Stand Still, Steven dared us to pray audacious prayers and believe God for the impossible. Now in Greater, he walks us through what it looks like to live out an audacious lifea life marked by nothing less than greatness Gods way!"
John Bevere, best-selling author of Relentless and The Bait of Satan
"Steven Furtick boldly pursues God with audacious faith like no one else I know. He is unapologetic about allowing God to accomplish greater things through him. This book will inspire you to do the same. To reach for greater. To believe for greater. To be greater."
Stovall Weems, lead pastor of Celebration Church, Jacksonville, FL
"In every generation God empowers a few great leaders to speak his truth with boldness. Steven Furtick is one of those voices in our generation. In his new book Greater, you will learn how to embrace Gods present plan for your greater calling and purpose."
Christine Caine, director of Equip and Empower and founder of the A21 Campaign
"Greater is about walking in Gods higher purpose for your life. Whether thats as a teacher, preacher, leader, parent, musician, artist, engineer, or entrepreneur, Steven Furtick will show you how to let go of your fears and embrace your greater purpose in God."
Israel Houghton, Grammy Awardwinning recording artist and worship leader of Lakewood Church, Houston, TX
"People today are bored, depressed, and confused because they have settled for good enough. But good enough is keeping us from living the life that God has called us to. In Greater, Steven Furtick embarks on a brilliant journey of transformation that every follower of Christ needs to take. This book delivers!"
Perry Noble, senior pastor of NewSpring Church, Anderson, SC, and blogger on leadership, vision, and creativity
"Pastor Stevens powerful yet vulnerable teaching grabbed my heart, equipped my mind, and stirred my soul like no other book Ive ever read. This is one I will return to again and again. For anyone who has ever dared to dream but doesnt know how to turn their dreams into reality, Greater is a must-read."
Lysa TerKeurst, New York Times best-selling author of Made to Crave and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries
"Some of us wear ourselves out trying to achieve greatness. Others of us miss our calling and settle for good enough. In Greater, Steven Furtick shows us the surefooted path to the Greater life."
Mark Batterson, lead pastor of National Community Church, Washington, DC, and author of Primal and In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day
"Steven Furtick is living exactly what hes written about in this bookstart small, dream big, and see what God will do! Our church has been massively blessed by the example of Pastor Steven, his family, and Elevation Church. Take it from the best. Dont underestimate what God can do with your small start. Get this book and be encouraged!"
Dino Rizzo, lead pastor of Healing Place Church, Baton Rouge, LA, and author of Servolution
"Steven Furtick understands spiritual vision like few people I know. If you desire a life beyond your imagination, read this book! Greater will take you to a whole new level and invite you to experience the power of God every day."
Jack Graham, senior pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, Dallas, TX, and author of Powering Up
"The distance between desire and doing is often intimidating because we dont know where to begin. But in Greater, Steven Furtick shows that Gods greater for our lives is as far away as our first step of obedience."
Ed Young, senior pastor of Fellowship Church, Dallas, TX, and author of Outrageous, Contagious Joy
"Steven Furtick is in my head again with Greater. Hes challenging me to be greaterand the good news is that all I have to do is think big and start small."
Tim Sanders, author of Today We Are Rich and CEO of Net Minds
"My friend Steven Furtick calls us to a faith-filled life of trusting and believing God for greater lives than the ones we are living now. Its not about us, though. Its about Gods greater glory in and through our lives. If you are ready for a life-altering experience with Jesus Christ, pick up a copy of Greater."
James MacDonald, senior pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, Chicago, IL, and author of Always True and 10 Choices
DiscipleMom LauraTXAge: 35-44Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5don't settle for good enough. . .try greaterJune 21, 2014DiscipleMom LauraTXAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5In his book Greater, pastor and author Steven Furtick encourages readers to pursue "greater" instead of good enough or greatness. He says, "Greater = the life-altering understanding that God is ready to accomplish a kind of greatness in your life that is entirely out of human reach."
Taking lessons from the prophet Elisha and weaving them together with scriptures and modern-day stories of faith, Furtick shows how God is present in the ordinariness of life and how readers must choose to break away from the old and embrace the new. He also encourages readers to:
get their hands dirty because faith is work;
to see their limitations as God's greatest opportunities; and
Furtick ends Greater with prayers over the readers, in a sort of "passing the mantle" just as Elijah passed the mantle to Elisha. Furtick encourages readers to take up the mantle and live a life that is not good enough or full of greatness, but a life that is greater.
As is normal, Furtick fills his book with Tweetable quotes. His story-telling abilities and down-to-earth, every-day way of putting things draw readers in to Elisha's story, meeting readers where they are and helping them move on to "greater."
This book is an easy read, but it's not necessarily easy to put the principles into practice. They are challenging in that the reader has to let go of pride and selfishness in order to take up the mantle and live a life that is greater--to embrace what God wants to do in and through them.
I like the suggested "Tweets" listed below each chapter title in the table of contents. They whet the reader's appetite, and then when the reader happens upon them in the text, they likely find themselves highlighting those very quotes. But in context, those quotes mean so much more. Additionally, there are discussion questions at the end for groups, though individuals would still benefit from them. The questions lead readers to process what they've read, to internalize it, to apply God's Word to life.
About the Author
Steven Furtick is the best-selling author of Crash the Chatterbox and Sun Stand Still. He is the founder and lead pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, and he holds a master of divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Furtick and his wife Holly have three children, Elijah, Graham, and Abbey.
* Blogging for Books has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for this honest review.
CliffymaniaMichiganAge: 35-44Gender: male1 Stars Out Of 5Can't take it seriouslyAugust 20, 2013CliffymaniaMichiganAge: 35-44Gender: maleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 1"Naaman was a rock star." - Steven Furtick
Why does the book exist?
Steven Furtick's basic premise is that "most of us are not in danger of ruining their lives, we're in danger of wasting them."
This book promises not to be just another "self-help psuedo solution" but to "give you confidence to know that nothing is impossible with God, the clarity to see the next step He's calling you to take, and the courage to do anything He tells you to do."
Does he succeed in all this? Maybe I'm getting old, but this book reads like it comes from the experience level of a teenager. When I read quotes like "Naaman was a rock star", or "Captain Awesomesauce", or "history would be rewritten" it gets difficult to take it seriously. If I can't take a book seriously it's not going to give me confidence, clarity or courage.
What does Furtick do well?
The book is easy to read and engaging. He weaves personal anecdotes in and out of the message with ease.
In general, he encourages the reader to trust in God even when it doesn't seem like things are getting better.
He also encourages the reader to not settle for good enough, or mediocrity. However, this one gets sticky because he assumes that if what you're doing something like farming, or working a 9-5 job, then you're stuck in the mundane and mediocre.
And that's about all the good I can pull out of this book.
Where does the book fail?
The book is fraught with problems, but I'm going to narrow it down to three.
Furtick makes a lot of assumptions and they start at the very beginning. At the end of chapter 2, Furtick describes Elisha, the prophet whose life is the basis for the book.
"Elisha started out just like many of us, living under the tyranny of the ordinary, plowing hard dirt."
Elisha's first appearance in the Bible (1 Kings 19) finds him driving a plow behind a team of oxen. It was certainly hard work, but we are never told how Elisha feels about this work. Did he love it? Did he hate it? Was he doing a good job, or a poor job? We don't know. Furtick makes the assumption that Elisha must be suffering from the "tyranny of the ordinary." Even though there's no evidence of it, Furtick needs Elisha to hate his job for the premise of the book to work; if you're just plowing a field, you must be wasting your life.
The next big problem is the allegory. Furtick has a bad habit of turning events into allegories.
When Elijah shows up to commission Elisha, Elisha burns his plows (1 Kings 19:21). Furtick then asks, "What plow do you need to burn?"
In 2 Kings 5 a man named Naaman wants to be cured of leprosy. Elisha instructs him to wash in the Jordan River seven times to be healed. Naaman refuses because the water is too dirty for him. Furtick asks us the question, "What is the Jordan River in your life?"
In 2 Kings 6:5 one of Elisha's disciples is swinging an axe and it flies off the handle into the river. Furtick asks, "How have you lost your edge?" Your edge, like an axe head; get it?
These events aren't morality tales, they are actual events. Elisha burning his plows means Elisha burned his plows. Naaman was actually told to wash in the Jordan. Elisha's disciples actually lost an axe head. To allegorize these events is to make the Bible about you instead of God.
The sad part is how Furtick applies his own allegory. When Elisha burned his plows it was his source of income. No plow, no income. He was committing himself to God's call through Elijah. There was no going back. How does Furtick apply this? He burned his CD collection.
In my opinion there is one problem with this book that is "greater" than all the rest: It's confusing. Furtick relies so heavily on emotional pulls and motivational cliches that he must think the reader will gloss over the "yes it is/not it isn't" logic running through each chapter.
In one particular chapter he tells the reader it's not about Jesus and then explains why it is about Jesus. Then he explains again why it is always, but never, about Jesus.
"The more I study the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, the more I'm struck by an irony that marked his attitude toward His life. If Jesus had published a campaign slogan, I think it would have gone something like this: It's not about Jesus." (Greater, page 131)
Admitting this will sound heretical he quotes a couple of Bible verses; Philippians 2:6-7 and Matthew 20:28, Luke 12:37. None of these passages imply that Jesus' ministry wasn't about Jesus, only that He came to serve.
Then he starts to back track.
Let me say clearly and definitively: everything is for Jesus's glory. (Greater, page 132)
So, it is about Jesus. Well, no, it isn't.
But as He walked the earth, how did Jesus demonstrate the riches of His eternal glory? By getting down low. By choosing the way that made Him appear to be nothing in the eyes of people, all the while reconciling all things to Himself with a servant's towel around His waist. It only stands to reason: if it wasn't about Jesus, then it definitely isn't about you." (Greater, page 133)
Okay, so what he means by "It's not about Jesus" is that it's not about us. That's fair, it's not about us, but does that mean it's not about Jesus? Didn't Jesus claim to be one with the father? Didn't Jesus commend Peter for identifying Him as the Messiah? Didn't John the Baptist proclaim that Jesus was the lamb of God?
Furtick goes on to confuse the issue even more.
"In the words of the One whom it was all about / never about: â€˜Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it' (Mark 8:35)" (Greater, page 133)
"All about / never about"? That's a logical impossibility and to suggest that it's never about Jesus is just plain wrong and the verse he quotes proves it. Enough said.
The Wrap Up
As much as Steven Furtick wants to believe he's on to something new with this book, he isn't. The dustcover of the books says, "If you're tired of being ordinary - dream bigger." But what's wrong with being ordinary? What's wrong with doing your job well, providing for your family, and raising godly children? In Philippians 4, Paul talked about being content in all circumstances, but Furtick wants to incite us to discontent. If God calls you to do something different than what you're doing, then you should do it, but never despise what God is doing with you right now, right where you're at.
This is what "Greater" feels like: a motivational speaker who, because he's also a pastor, shoe horns scripture into his messages to make them sound Christian. Consequently you get a good idea with no foundation. It reminds me of when Jesus talked about building a house (good idea) on sand (bad idea) in Matthew 7:24-27. Funny, in that passage Jesus was saying that those who put his words into practice were like the man who built his house on a solid foundation. I guess it was about Jesus.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. Check out my other reviews and you'll see this is often true.
CheleAnn Arbor, MIAge: 35-44Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Perfect timing!April 29, 2013CheleAnn Arbor, MIAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5If you're ready to really focus on what God has for your life, this is the perfect book for you. God will use it and His word to guide you into dreaming those big dreams and making the practical steps toward fulfilling them.
ProductionMgrAge: 45-54Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5Time & Space SavingFebruary 22, 2013ProductionMgrAge: 45-54Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 4Meets Expectations: 5This is a great way to save space, time and take your entire library with you.
I love the fact that I can underline and make notes on my ebook.
grammyLaCygne, Ks.Age: 45-54Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5awesome book!January 22, 2013grammyLaCygne, Ks.Age: 45-54Gender: femaleSteve does an awesome job in helping you with your walk with the Lord.
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