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5 Stars Out Of 5
Conversational, Humorous, and Refreshing
March 11, 2014
I really liked this book. Angie's style of writing made me feel like I was having a conversation with an old friend---a kindred spirit. We do share a mutual friend, Sarcasm, and this brought the topic to a level that I could relate to in many ways. This is not a formulaic plan to being a perfect Christian. Indeed, I am one of those who can easily get so caught up in the "rules" of what is expected of me that I will lose sight of keeping my eyes and focus on Jesus. This book is a reminder that we are not to measure ourselves against other believers, nor sit down with a list to check off the task we have completed---"Pray âˆš, Read 3 Chapters of Bible âˆš, etc." When we focus on the rules rather than the relationship with God, it is easy to become discouraged. If you are looking for a formal book on searching for God, this is not the book for you. However, if you like a conversational style, sprinkled liberally with humor, Chasing God is a deep, relaxing breath. I highly recommend it.
Disclosure: I received a free copy from Icon Media Group for review purposes.
Angie Smith is a popular blogger, writer and speaker and she takes on this huge challenging question borne out of her own struggles to do this 'Christian life' right. She uses many scripture examples to show us the easy, true and rewarding way to live this life ... stop chasing Him.
Angie Smith's book is written in a very casual, friendly manner. She uses sarcasm and witty banter and of course a real bare-hearted approach to teaching. It was a fun and inspiring read.
If you are looking for a book that will take a microscopic look at our feeble attempts and inevitable failures this is it. Not as an attack on how we are failing, but as a reminder that we are simply focusing in the wrong direction. Our human perspective is not cutting it.
Smith strips our purpose down to the basics of reading scripture and clinging to the simplicity of it. The whole Christian life isn't about striving for anything! It is about following, obeying, surrendering and resting in Him.
The best part of the book for me was the way Angie Smith spoke in an intelligent, gentle and humorous way, as a friend who has been there, done that. She opened my eyes to areas where I'd been chasing God instead of loving God. Overall I highly recommend this book. There was no down side for me at all.
So, grab a copy of Angie's book. Grab a coffee and a comfortable chair. Don't forget your pencil, Bible and extra paper because this book will change the way you do life.
Thanks to the author and Icon Media Group for a chance to review this book free of charge. This is my honest opinion. I was not required to review it favorably.
Are you chasing God? You may not realize it even if you are. Angie Smith, author of "Chasing God", was not aware that what she was doing for God or because of God was actually running after Him. All of this running left her feeling like she would never be good enough to catch up with Him.
I struggle with being "good" enough. I'm constantly wondering whether I'm doing enough, saying the right things, being the right person to be in God's good graces. I'm know the theology of doing vs. being. This circular argument has been going on for a long time. God loves me no matter what. Why don't I get it? Do you get it? Is your mind linked to the "gotta be good enough" thought process?
"Chasing God" is not a book about finding God. It's about not getting caught up in a chase that doesn't exist but about following God. God doesn't need to be caught. He isn't running. In her book, Smith reveals how she has spent a great deal of time searching for God and how chasing after God only makes us feel further away from Him. There is no guide to measure ourselves against. God loves us because of who we are. He doesn't carry around a measuring stick.
"Chasing God" offers reassurance and encouragement in your Christian walk. I love Smith's honesty and openness and vulnerability. There are many quotable thoughts and concepts to think about. Sometimes the personal examples go a little overboard but shouldn't keep you from getting some great wisdom from it.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Icon Media Group in exchange for an honest 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."
Before I opened this book, the only concrete knowledge I had was that God was calling me to read it today, so I did. Being blessed with various books to read, it is a rare day to see me not reading. In fact, as I have pondered how I ever got to where I am today as a reviewer and blogger, the thought comes to mind of how God called me to start this blog in May 2011. Yet, the original intentions have grown far beyond my wildest imagination or even dared to dream. Originally, I thought I would write whatever the Lord put on my heart that day to share, but it has become something radically different. Not only am I not doing this alone as I have the best friend a woman can ask for who has answered God's call to not just read and review, but so much more. Someday we'll talk about that change.
In her nonfiction writing, the author shares with humor and transparency what the Lord has taught her over the last year, and the radical change that has resulted in her heart. Angie states she started writing this book a year ago, but when asked for the contents page she couldn't come up with one. No matter how much she prayed and sat down to write, nothing would come forth. All of that was by God's design because He was teaching her something over time that she would then share in the pages of this book.
Chasing God is how God revealed Himself to Angie about Who He is and Who He is not, along with her struggles to let go of being in charge. Like all of us, there are questions she posed and wanted answers to, but one lesson God wanted her to be okay with is not knowing the answers. Personally, I believe the most freeing words we can speak are,"I don't know." Why? There is no way we as finite beings will ever be able to fully comprehend or explain to anyone's satisfaction answers to their questions about an infinite God. He has revealed some knowledge of Who He is to us, but certainly not all. There will always be an aspect of mystery about God. Are we okay with that?
When you read the book, there will be times for contemplation and other times you will find yourself bursting out in laughter. Women can relate very well to what Angie shares. God loves to unveil Himself before those who seek His face, though not as a culmination of academic knowledge. Angie is like most women; she feels deeply, wants to know the beginning and the plan before letting go and allowing God to truly lead us. Grab a copy, take a little time to read and then share with someone what God speaks to you about what you've read.
Are you chasing after God? Angie was for years. She was reading commentaries, memorizing verses, and concentrating on spiritual disciplines. She had colored pencils and journals everywhere. She rededicated her life every chance she got.
Then she came to a realization: she had wanted to understand God more than she wanted to know Him. She found she was imitating other Christians more than she was Jesus. That revelation changed her life.
Angie offers her thoughts on the difference between looking for Him and looking at Him. There is a difference between chasing after God and following Him.
How do you stop chasing God and really find Him? Angie says it starts when you truly realize what God has done for you. She shares her experiences and the lessons she's learned along the way. For example, repentance really doesn't happen when we are badgered into it. "Genuine repentance doesn't happen when people put us in a corner; it happens when we realize God chose us in spite of the fact that we would never have chosen Him." (69) And transformation? She notes that we are not in charge of that. 2 Corinthians 3:18 tells us we are "being transformed," passive tense. It is not something we can make happen. The Holy Spirit is in charge.
But that does not mean we sit an do nothing, expecting the Holy Spirit to change us. She realizes that the times she is walking closest to Him is a combination of resting in His promises combined with prayer, Bible study, worship, etc. Motives matter, however. She advocates daily meditation on Scripture. But rather than checking off the chapter in your "read through the Bible" schedule, the goal is to be in a place where God can talk to you. "He wants your heart to be fully engaged and your mind fixed on Him when you read." (147)
I found her section on emotions and faith to be outstanding. It was really liberating for me. Another good part of the book was her teaching on God's sovereignty and prayer.
If you're frustrated in your spiritual life, if you've been fervent in all the spiritual disciples yet sense something is missing, maybe you've been chasing God. Read this book. It will help you find rest in His presence.
Food for thought: "We spend more time talking about how wonderful it is to hide under His wings than actually finding refuge there." (103)
I received a complimentary galley of this book from the publisher through Icon Media for the purpose of this review.