" Relentless Pursuit: God's Love of Outsiders Including the Outsider in All of Us" by Ken Gire is a remarkable book that celebrates the outsider inside all of us. This book touches on the lives of outsiders inside and outside the Bible with an attention to detail and choice of wording that draws the reader into the book and closer to Jesus.
I cannot believe how much I loved reading this book. I was expecting a self-help type of book and instead found myself staying up late to read a few more pages. It called to me on my nightstand like a really good work of fiction, yet this book is completely real! As a Catholic, I noticed many Catholic undertones in this book and enjoyed that this book was relevant to all Christian denominations.
Grab a copy of this book and you will not be sorry! I received my copy of this book for free in exchange for my honest review.
For some of us, we do at some point in our lives, maybe in all parts of our lives, that no matter what we try to do, we seem to not be able to fit in with others.
In Ken Gire's, "Relentless Pursuit", this is addressed as he addresses outsiders from the Bible, history and even his own life, and with discussion questions geared toward motivating, encouraging and provoke both personal reflection and group discussion (if the book is used in a group setting), how our eyes can be opened, to the friendship and promise of not leaving us alone, that God gives us.
"Relentless Pursuit" is not a cure all book and doesn't offer absolutes but rather, reminders that we really are not alone as we may feel and through introspective questions, encourages the reader to really discover ways to reach out to others, via community involvement, growth as a Christian and introspection.
I really enjoyed the layout of the book. The questions that are offered are brief but to the point, and the overall layout of the writing, is personal but not over the head. It felt like I was reading a personal journal and the style of writing is casual and conversational, not condemning nor did it makes promises that were not attainable.
It reads like the gentle push of a good friend whose encouraging to look to the Lord and find ways that we can reach out from feeling alone or ostracized or as an outsider and instead, find healthy ways to move past feeling the feelings that one may currently have at the moment.
The book itself is short and yet detailed and filled as well not just with biblical references, but the cultural references to iconic books, movies and topics make it easy to realize that the feelings we are having, are just temporary and more than anything, we are not the only ones.
This is a great book to read and if you are starting the New Year with the resolution to be more involved or maybe you are new to an area and having trouble re-adapting, whatever the circumstances, "Relentless Pursuit" is a touching, compassionate book that for the reader, reminds them how they are not really alone.
***Thank you to Baker Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this product in exchange for my personal opinion***
This is a very easy to read and understand book. Everyone will relate to some part of what the author is presenting.
I found the author of this book to be very open with his personal examples. If you sometimes feel like you are not acceptable to the Lord or that you are very different then other Christians, you will benefit from reading this book. I think we all feel like an outsider at different times in our lives. This book will help you learn to draw closer to the Lord and other Christians when you are feeling this way.
The author doesn't just use personal examples but also relates his point to people from the Bible. This was my favorite part of the book. I also really liked the discussion questions. I think this book would be perfect for a Sunday School class or Bible Study. Reading this book about feeling like an outsider with others who may feel that way too can't help but be an encouragement to you.
I gave this book 5/5 stars for a few reasons. I like the author's examples. I felt he was very accepting and non-judgmental in his writing. I also liked the short chapters!
I would like to thank the publisher for the copy of this book I enjoyed reading. I gave an honest review based on my opinion of what I read.
What makes Christianity different from any other religion is while other beliefs teach about how man can reach out to God, Christianity teaches that God is the One who reaches down to get us. God is the One who is pursuing us to come into fellowship with Himself by He provided a rescuer for our sins. Jesus even said in the parable of the lost sheep, "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?" (Luke 15:4).
Ken Gire in his latest book, Relentless Pursuit, talks about God pursuing outsiders. which is all who are lost. He starts off with saying that "The Bible from start to finish is a story of God's pursuit of the outsider-the foreigner, the stranger, the outcast." He talks about God sent Jesus to become a man to reach out to those who are outsiders just as Jesus Himself said, "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10). Gire uses several illustrations from the Bible, other people, as well as his own life to teach his readers that God is a pursuer.
I totally agree that God is a pursuer and He did reach down to man by sending Jesus to get outsiders to draw them to God. What made this book not so much a great book is to me it seemed a little too man-centered as if man is the center of God's universe which is not true. God does reaches down to outsiders for his glory that we can display his glory among the people of the earth. It was an easy-to-read book with great stories, but not one I would give to a high recommendation.
Thanks Bethany House for letting me review this book
Relentless Pursuit: God's Love of Outsiders Including the Outsider in All of Us
By Ken Gire
Bethany House Publishers
The overarching theme of this book is the recognition of being outsiders. What it feels like on the outside looking in. Gire states that we are the marginalized; the disenfranchised. Sin is what puts us there. Sin is what keeps us there. There are times in our lives that we feel alone. We feel as though even among friends or in a crowd that we are immersed in a sea of strangers. But, Gire concludes_there is good news for those who are believers in Christ. God relentlessly pursues those who are the loners of the world. He tirelessly seeks after us; to relate to us; to love us; to befriend us.
So, what does this look like? This whole idea of the Creator and Sustainer of the universe spending countless hours pursuing unworthy humans to have an intimate relationship with seems so out of tune with the earthly reality that we witness on a daily basis. In our daily experience, we certainly may be the beneficiaries of the loving patience of those who will forgive us for minor offenses. Even then, normally, those whom we offend do not actively pursue us to restore the relationship. Normally, they don't run after us if they do not see any sort of remorse from us. And that is exactly the point of contrast that Gire is attempting to paint for us in this book. Jesus does exactly that. Similar to the parable of the Prodigal Son, we take from God whatever we can for our own selfish purposes and evil devices naively believing that a hedonistic life of pleasure and "freedom" await us when we turn away from God and exchange it for a life of debauchery and sin.
Normally, we give credence to the fact that God seeks the lost. We know in our heads that God is in the business of pursuing those who are far away from Him to bring them into the fold. But, Gire brings up the novel notion that His relentless pursuit doesn't end there. Even once we are safely within the fold, we still often succumb to the tasty treats from Egypt. We long for the sweet, savory delights of our old lives. We see our lives with Christ at times as burdensome and restrictive. We wander. We run. We get lost. Even during those times God runs after us just like the one lost sheep who loses his way, God leaves the flock of 99 to make sure that we return safely back into His watchful care. He sees us as worth the pursuit. He loves us just that much.
What I appreciated about the book was the way Gire wove illustrative stories throughout which pulled upon my emotions and drew me deeply within the reality of how much God truly loves us. We are introduced to people whose lives were so chaotic and tragically sad, or hopelessly lost (such as Francis Thompson or C.S. Lewis). Gire does not attempt to paint pretty pictures of people who are living the good life now and who have their lives all together and basically deserve God to pursuit after them at a stallion's pace. He vividly reveals the details of the way in which God actively pursues. The steps that are involved are faithfully portrayed in what cannot be denied to be anything less than the sovereign hand of God especially as he narrates the details of his own salvation testimony as to just how God relentlessly pursued him. Gire unapologetically cuts to the chase and clearly diagnoses the cancer and time and time again demonstrates the remarkable ways that God is able to intervene in a person's life to completely change a person's mindset and submit to this relentless Pursuer.
One particular note of disagreement I had personally lies in the observation that Gire makes regarding that God's plans radically changed following the Fall. He notes that when Adam and Eve were sent to dwell East of Eden that this was "Plan B." I am not sure if Gire intended for this conclusion to sound as though somehow this caught God off-guard and He had to edit His playbook to accommodate this "surprise." But, that is the conclusion that I drew from his observation. I don't believe this was a Plan B at all. I am certain from the broader context of Scripture that God understood this all along and that He had a redeeming plan in existence throughout eternity. The relationship that existed with Adam and Eve with God was certainly different than it was prior to the Fall. And, yes, it would affect humans throughout eternity. There would no longer be the perfect communion between man and God. Yet, to call it a "Plan B" I believe is much too strong of a term since I believe it taints an attribute of God; His immutable nature.
One note of caution as I read through the book. It does appear that Gire does seem to overemphasize the role of God as Pursuer. In comparison, I don't believe that Gire gives a balanced evaluation that, yes, indeed, God does pursue those who are lost as well as those who have been found, yet are prone to wander. But, there is an important element of human responsibility. He seems to focus primarily on the undeniable fact that the father does in fact pursue the son. Yet, he overlooks the context of the parable that the son did come to his senses first and was on his way back in repentance.
I received a free copy of this book to do this review from Bethany House Publishers.