Shrewd: Daring to Live the Startling Command of Jesus  -     By: Rick Lawrence
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Shrewd: Daring to Live the Startling Command of Jesus

David C. Cook / 2011 / Paperback

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* Jesus' idea that we be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves overturns all we think we know about God's kingdom! How can we be crafty and guileless? Drawing on the story of the calculating manager in Luke 16, Lawrence shows how Jesus used laughter, generosity, and bluntness as methods of holy shrewdness. 240 pages, softcover from Cook.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 240
Vendor: David C. Cook
Publication Date: 2011
Dimensions: 9.00 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 1434700739
ISBN-13: 9781434700735
Availability: In Stock

Publisher's Description

It doesn’t seem to make sense: Jesus tells his disciples to take a lesson from Satan himself.
 
A scandalous idea? Yes. Essential to the Christian life? Definitely.
 
Drawing on Jesus’s parable of the shrewd manager in Luke 16, Rick Lawrence explores Jesus’s shocking mandate to be as shrewd as Satan and as innocent as the Holy Spirit. In fact, Jesus implies, if we are going to be any good for the Kingdom of God, we’ve got to be a lot shrewder than we are now.
 
Shrewd shows us how Jesus was naturally shrewd in every encounter he had, using leverage such as laughter, generosity, and bluntness to influence a situation for good.
 
God calls us to be shrewd without evil intent, just as Jesus was. Because the truth is that we have no salvation outside of the holy shrewdness of a loving God. And that’s a scandalous story worth telling.

Author Bio

The author of dozens of books including Sifted, Rick Lawrence has been editor of Group magazine for over twenty years and is the co-leader of the Simply Youth Ministry Conference. Lawrence is a consultant to national research organizations and a frequent conference and workshop speaker. He and his family live in Colorado.

Product Reviews

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  1. bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    great teaching on a puzzling parable
    October 1, 2012
    bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5

    Does the parable of the shrewd manager make you squirm? Are you puzzled by Jesus' command to be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves? (Matt.10:16)
    You've probably read the parable in Luke 16:1-8. The shrewd manager is commended by Jesus. Have you wondered why Jesus told the story and how he could possible commend the dishonest manager?
    We've been told “shrewd” is an ugly word. We've been told that, as Christians, we are to be “nice.”
    Lawrence says we must separate shrewd from its negative connotations. He writes, “Applying the right amount of force at the right place at the right time is exactly how shrewd works.” (27)
    Jesus is “telling us that we must beat Satan (and those in his service) at his own game by practicing a greater level of shrewdness than he does, but with none of his cruel intent or evil motivation.” (34)

    Shrewdness – understanding how things work, then leveraging that knowledge to apply the right force in the right place at the right time.
    Innocence – freedom from guilt of any kind. (34)

    Lawrence helps us identify the habits that will help us understand how things work. He gives a six step simple path to shrewd living.

    “If we are not shrewd, Jesus warns, we stand no chance against the carnivorous momentum of the one who 'prowls around...seeking someone to devour' (1 Peter 5:8).” (152)

    You've probably never heard a sermon on this essential parable. I learned so much from this book! I highly recommend it.

  2. VicsMediaRoom
    Irvine, CA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A Way To Apply A Hard Command From Jesus To Our Li
    September 3, 2012
    VicsMediaRoom
    Irvine, CA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5

    Rick Lawrence in his new book, “Shrewd” published by David C. Cook gives us Daring to Live the Startling Command of Jesus.

    From the Back Cover: It’s the one Bible story you won’t hear in church.
    It doesn’t seem to make sense: Jesus tells his disciples to take a lesson from Satan himself.
    A scandalous idea? Yes. Essential to the Christian life? Definitely.
    Drawing on Jesus’s parable of the shrewd manager in Luke 16, Rick Lawrence explores Jesus’s shocking mandate to be as shrewd as Satan and as innocent as the Holy Spirit. In fact, Jesus implies, if we are going to be any good for the Kingdom of God, we’ve got to be a lot shrewder than we are now.
    Shrewd shows us how Jesus was naturally shrewd in every encounter he had, using leverage such as laughter, generosity, and bluntness to influence a situation for good.
    God calls us to be shrewd without evil intent, just as Jesus was. Because the truth is that we have no salvation outside of the holy shrewdness of a loving God. And that’s a scandalous story worth telling.

    The Dictionary defines shrewd as, “marked by clever discerning awareness and hardheaded acumen.” I have to admit the parable in Luke chapter 16 is not one of my favorites. Jesus is telling the story and He tells us flat-out at the beginning that the manager is unjust. As the story unfolds we find him acting even more unjust. Yet, at the end of the story, this unjust manager is praised by his master. Then Jesus tells His disciples that they should be shrewd like that manager. He tells them shrewd like a serpent, wise like a dove. Pastor Lawrence has done it again. He has taken a hard teaching from Jesus and make it not only easy to understand but easy to apply to our lives. He has taken the negative connotation out of the word and just made it useful. We need to understand that this is a command from Jesus so not only do we need to understand the parable but we need to apply it to our lives as well. Pastor Lawrence in “Shrewd” has made that possible. Shrewdness, then, is a way of living and relating that Jesus first modeled for us, then commanded us to do likewise. I guarantee you this is not a book you can only read once then put it on the shelf and forget about it. You will come back to it again and again. Everyone should have a copy of this book. It will help immensely!

    If you would like to listen to interviews with other authors and professionals please go to Kingdom Highlights where they are available On Demand.

    To listen to 24 hours non-stop, commercial free Christian music please visit our internet radio station Kingdom Airwaves

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from David C. Cook for this review. 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.”

  3. Grace for Sinners
    Simpsonville, SC
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    2 Stars Out Of 5
    More Nuanced Approach Needed
    September 3, 2012
    Grace for Sinners
    Simpsonville, SC
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 2
    Value: 2
    Meets Expectations: 1

    I was intrigued by Shrewd precisely because you don’t hear a lot surrounding this topic. But I was disappointed on the delivery for two reasons. First, the premise is built upon a misunderstanding of the two passages which use the word shrewd (Matthew 10 & Luke 16). Second, and closely related, because the foundation was shaky you never got a crisp definition of what he means by Christian shrewdness.

    Let’s addresses my first objection. Matthew 10:16 says, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” This verse is in the context of persecution and shepherding Jesus’s flock in the midst of wolves. So the command to be wise as a serpent it seems most natural to connect with dealing with the wolves mentioned and the innocent (harmless) as doves connects with dealing with the sheep. Lawrence in the book tries to make the connection between serpent and Satan and dove and the Holy Spirit but Matthew doesn’t seem to make that connection (pp. 34-35).

    Luke 16 Jesus tells a parable about the dishonest manager who is about to getting fired so he settles his master’s debts for half price and saves his job. Jesus immediately provides the point of the parable. Jesus says, “ I tell you, use the riches of this world to help others. In that way, you will make friends for yourselves. Then when your riches are gone, you will be welcomed into your eternal home in heaven” (v. 9). Rick suggest Jesus was praising the servant’s dishonesty as a positive model of shrewdness (pp. 153-54) but that line of thought misses the point which Jesus explicit teaches in verse 9.

    Now the second objection. The word shrewd rarely occurs and where it does is constrained by the context of these scenarios. It seems then unnatural to lift up this one quality as ultimate for Christian living. I do applaud Rick’s push back on the idea that Christians should just be naive and nice. A kind of simple minded pushover (pp. 45-50). But because of the confusion over the first point and the stretching of the intent the definition of shrewd never comes across clearly. Rick frequently references (pp. 24-27) studying the situation and applying pressure with levers (last 50 pages) and coming at the situation sideways (pp. 142-151). One selection demonstrates the kind of tension due to the unnatural use of these texts and the word shrewd. Rick says,

    There are few things we hate more than feeling like someone is playing us for the fool. Even more, we abhor the thought that we might be playing someone for a fool. That’s just not . . . Christian. Shrewdness is a breach of our social contract with each other--our innate agreement to treat others as we’d like to be treated (p. 50 see also p. 143).

    Rick seems to be suggesting playing someone would be the Christian thing to do. After finishing the book I was disappointed because I felt like there was something there worth exploring but the presentation and emphasis was all wrong. The something there came out when he made statements like,

    This same dynamic was at work in the mother of all shrewd encounters—when the Trinity plotted the over- throw of “the ruler of this world,” winning back God’s beloved from the kingdom of darkness. When Jesus willingly gave up His life as a sacrifice for all, defeating the claims of Satan and stripping him of his authority and power, He knew His Enemy had grown soft after countless millennia spent killing, stealing, and destroying with only spotty resistance. Though the sacrifice was inestimable and the pain was incalculable, it was a relatively easy turn of the wrench for the Sensei of Shrewd. (p. 161 see also p. 61)

    But unfortunately the potential didn’t out weight misunderstanding of shrewdness.

  4. MarkDeVries
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A Little De-Centering for the Soul
    August 18, 2012
    MarkDeVries
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5

    A good spiritual director, like a good masseuse, causes the right kind of pain. In Shrewd, Rick Lawrence does just that--de-centers us so that we can be centered on what matters most.

  5. Leneita
    Asbury Park, NJ
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A Must Read!
    August 10, 2012
    Leneita
    Asbury Park, NJ
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5

    There are some books that communicate a wonderful truth. Then there are books that challenge you to transformational thinking. Shrewd, is among the latter. By taking a look at the parable of the Shrewd manager we come to understand as Believers what that word truly means. We have been taught that it is for those who are crafty or un-Christlike. However, the truth is that this is a way of learning to live in the Lord and the world. We can take a new perspective on attacking those situations that seem immovable- by understanding the ways that we can use leverage. Not only do we hear the theory- but there is a practical approach that enables us to know HOW to be Shrewd in the best possible way. Rick Lawrence is a great storyteller, communicator and his love for the Lord is contagious.

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