I truly believe God put this book in front of me last month. The only thing I'm disappointed about is that I bought this in digital form because what I wanted to do, about half way through, was hurry up and finish the book so that I could start making changes to my own journey and put this book in the hands of my friends. I did, in fact, buy a copy for one friend, and then tell several others they needed to read this. You will have no doubt that Mr Adams is truly listening to God when his words touch you personally, and the stories relate to your life. While I'm sure we can agree that we are all works in progress, Kevin Adams shows how he came to live a life that people can look at and see "Christ" instead of merely "Christian." After posting quote after quote from The Extravagant Fool on my social media pages, I finally just started telling people (including my pastor), "Go get this book!"
The Extravagant Fool by Kevin Adams is the true story of Kevin's life after the stock market crash of 2008. He was one of those people that us ordinary folks had no sympathy for. He had lived above his means for years, spent every dime he earned then borrowed more so that he could live above his means. He owned 3 houses all worth more than the last. He lived in the one and rented all those of less worth. He was very proud of all he had managed to amass until the crash when he had to look at the way he had wasted his good blessings. He watched as everything was lost. He was faced with lawsuits, foreclosures, and homelessness and then to top it all off his son left the home. He and his family went from being the family where nothing is too good to being the family looking for the charity of others. He couldn't buy a job, he wallowed in self-pity until he and his wife decided to listen to that still small voice of Jesus.
Mr. Adams pulls no punches with how he squandered his good fortune. In fact the beginning chapters of the book are difficult to read for this middle income reader who watched as people like Kevin get help to provide for his family while middle income folks kept on paying their bills and watched their retirement go into banker's pockets. But by the end of the book where Kevin and Holly start to listen to God and follow his plan, I see their great courage and I had admiration for them. This book starts slow and is difficult to get into but is worth it in the end. I would judge this book as average.
I was provided this book from Booksneeze for this review.
"[_] the beginning of faith is not a mere passing from one mess to another but a sequence of events designed to teach us that we are less than we thoughtÃ¢â¬âless than our onetime accomplishments, less than our courageous steps, and even less than the wisdom we think we've gained. But God is more than we hope, more than we believe, and always more than we can see. " -Page 215-216 The Extravagant Fool.
The Extravagant Fool by Kevin Adams rises from the foundations of 1 Corinthians 3:18:
"Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become "fools" so that you may become wise."
Adams states, "Through this verse God revealed to me that there are essentially two kinds of foolsÃ¢â¬âone who says (or lives as if) there is no God, and one who lives as if there's nothing worthwhile outside of God."
The Extravagant Fool is one man's faith journey: a faith journey that begins where common sense ends. Kevin Adams was at the peak of financial success: he owned his own thriving business, commercial real estate, luxury investment properties, and was in the process of building a million dollar home when the financial crisis of 2008 hit. By January 2009, he had lost it all. From a million dollar home to a small rental with a failing air conditionerÃ¢â¬âand no way of knowing where rent money would come fromÃ¢â¬âAdams has to make a choice between striving and working harder or learning to live by absolute faith in God.
The Extravagant Fool hooked me from the beginning. Having become accustomed to the walk by faith mantra, I've spent many seasons thinking I'm truly walking by faith only to find that my faith doesn't even amount to mustard seed measurements. The Extravagant Fool challenged me, rocked me, but most importantly began chiseling away at my own perspective of what faith looks like.
In his book, Adams states, "I was only maintaining a flexible faith, the faith of a man who believes that God is more powerful than himself, but not quite as smartÃ¢â¬âa faith where small victories are quickly hijacked by the Enemy and used to disguise the overall solution."
My review copy of this book is filled with underlines and dog-eared pages. Kevin writes poetically and metaphorically, however, I didn't find the abstract language difficult to follow. His writing style has been likened to Donald Miller's in Blue Like Jazz, so if you find that type of writing difficult this may not be the book for you. Adams' insights made me pause and ponder; and his journey with God inspired me to beg God to make me an even bigger fool for His name (as scary as that sounds).
Kevin writes about the controversies we all have in the tug of war between being realistic and having faith; between looking at things practically and looking at things through God's eyes. He explores the idea that as the church we've become focused on living Christian-centered lives as opposed to Christ-centered lives. Adams walks the tightrope, with Christians on one side chanting "look to the ant" and Christians on the other declaring "God helps those who help themselves" all the while trying to look straight ahead to God, so he can arrive at what His word truly says about faith.
The Extravagent Fool is not overly complex or philosophical, yet is deep and profound. I read it in a day and found myself wanting to reread it as soon as I turned the final page. Adams weaves lessons into his storytelling, so you don't feel like you're sitting in a lecture hall, but are on the journey with him, learning the lessons as you walk.
Because Kevin tells a story that a lot of men can relate to tooÃ¢â¬ânavigating his own paradigm shift from viewing himself as the provider to viewing God as the providerÃ¢â¬âmy hubby snatched up the book as soon as I finished it(and is loving it so far). It's a book for all audiences and I highly recommend it. I give The Extravagant Fool a 4.5 out of 5.
Please note: I received a free copy of this book from Zondervan through BookLookBloggers.comÃÂ® in exchange for my honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not compensated in any other way.
In this book, Kevin Adams talks about how he lost his business and finances and describes the whirlwind of losses and troubles that his family went through. Very candidly, he describes how he tried to stay afloat by even trying to get online jobs in order to raise money to at least buy groceries.
Through this moving book, we are able to see how God provided for Kevin's family in the hardest of times. Sometimes others gave, sometimes he got unbelievable jobs, say the one he got for only two weeks, but it raised enough income to support his family for 6 months.
It is a walk through trusting God in the hard times, obeying Him when obeying doesn't seem to make any sense at all, resting when He says to rest and moving only when He says to move.
I learnt a lot from this book, and it was largely a reminder of what I knew but had relaxed on following. I now plan to simply trust and obey, and quit laboring so hard - because the Lord's burden is easy, and His yoke is light. Unless He allows for a deal to work or connections to be fruitful and beneficial, our efforts are all in vain. It may seem foolish to do nothing when we are desperate for a solution, but if God says to rest, we should simply rest, because He always has a better plan for us than our efforts could ever produce.
Have you ever read a good book that drove you crazy because of a flawed writing style?
I have. In fact, I just finished reading one I'm going to recommend to you in spite of the style flaws in it.
The book is "The Extraordinary Fool" by Kevin Adams (published by Zondervan). This is a personal story of a man who had succeeded as far as the world is concerned. Living in a million-dollar home, married to a woman he loves, with children he loves, and succeeding in building his own business is the American dream that Adams achieved, and it was great!
Until it all came crashing down.
Well, the marriage and family survived, but the business and the "rewards" of financial success quickly came tumbling down for Adams. But we've all read stories like that. We've also read stories about how faith brought people through such hard times.
But there is something important that makes Adams' story different.
Adams didn't just trust God to bring him through hard times, he did more than that. He learned how to live by faith. Not faith for hard times. Not faith for the moment. But how to LIVE by faith ala George Muller style. About that, he writes:
"George Muller made it simple. By trading his commitment to Christianity for an absolute surrender to Christ, he left me with a challenge: learn to live by absolute faith --- foolishly so --- and let the answers be the answers, unembellished by my own desires or the opinions of others."
That's very different, and not very common today.
Because this is a story about really LIVING by faith and being fully surrendered to Christ, you'll find golden nuggets of insight strewn throughout the book. That's what makes this book worth buying and reading. But be forewarned, living by faith is so much more than what most people think that many readers will likely find themselves initially disagreeing with some of the decisions Adams made.
And that's the significance of this book!
The average Christian thinks they're living by faith, but more often than not they are living "practically" and "rationally." Living by faith will shake that up and turn things upside down. It did for Adams, and it does for those who make a real decision to follow Christ above all else, regardless of how impractical and irrational that may appear to be.
Now for my problem with the book, which is Adams' style of writing. There are a few flaws with how he writes that, at times, makes the book difficult.
First, in what seems to be an effort to keep the story flowing, I think Adams sometimes tells his story so fast that he leaves out some pertinent details. There were times when I didn't fully understand how Adams was approaching challenges by faith because he didn't provide enough details so the reader could fully understand.
What really drove me nuts was that Adams tries so hard to be poetic and eloquent with his choice of words that sometimes he just doesn't make sense. There was more than one occasion where I had to go back and re-read a sentence or paragraph and still didn't fully get what he was trying to communicate.
I chalk up these writing style issues to the fact that this is Adams' first book. I believe Adams is probably a diamond in the rough as an author. He certainly demonstrated in "The Extravagant Fool" that he has some brilliant, God-given insights worth sharing, and he can improve his writing style by slowing down just a little, providing a little more detail, and focusing on communicating a little more plainly so he can be more clearly understood.
I hope you don't let some style issues keep you from buying and reading this book. The content is worth absorbing and being challenged by, and you may just discover a new writer you would like to follow. I know I'm curious to see where Adams goes from here as an author.
I received this book free from HarperCollins Christian Publishing as part of their BookLook book review bloggers program. 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."