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|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Vendor: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2013
How do you access a real, thriving, vibrant faith? You trust a big God, and you start living like hes real. Its time to put our comfort and ease and false security on the line. If we know God is real, lets pray as if hes actually listening. If we know hes good, lets reflect that goodness in the world. When our problems feel big, lets lean on the One who is bigger. Is that risky? Sure, says Owen Strachan. Embrace it anyway. Its literally the only way to live.
Owen Strachan is associate professor of Christian Theology and director of the Center on Gospel & Culture at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. The author of seven books, he is married to Bethany and is the father of three children.
Kyle Idleman is the Teaching Pastor at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, the fourth largest church in America. He is the author of the award-winning and best-selling book not a fan. He is also the presenter of several video curricula, including not a fan, H2O, and the newly released study gods at war.
KyleAge: 25-34Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5Must read!!!December 30, 2013KyleAge: 25-34Gender: maleMeets Expectations: 5There has been a recent trend within the printed world of evangelicalism. Several faithful pastors have written about the apparent complacency within the Christian church. Francis Chan's Crazy Love and David Platt's Radical could be considered the two primary works written addressing this issue. I believe both of these books are extremely helpful but both do lack certain important traits. However, Owen Strachan's new book Risky Gospel is not just another book added to the discussion. Strachan's book is actually the best of both placed into one volume. Risky Gospel goes deeper than Crazy Love and it appears to present a more balanced view of faithful gospel living than some have critiqued Radical to have presented.
"God doesn't save us to coddle us. He doesn't give the gift of his beloved son so we can hide away, safe and secure from a sinful world and all its challenges, like the wicked servant. God makes us his own so he can unleash us to be vessels of mercy. He saves you, my friend, to make you a comet in the sky, a vessel of righteousness, a citizen of the kingdom, a priest to God, a faithful and fearless worker in his vineyard" (29).
One of the great benefits of this book is that it by no means speaks only to the missionary or the one pursuing vocational ministry. This book is written for the house-wife, the construction worker, etc. The average Christian will read this book and come away recognizing that they are not average. There is a glorious gospel that has implications that can be lived out regardless of your station in life. It encourages all saints while not encouraging them to life outside of the realm in which God has placed them. The housewife will come away wanting to life a more risky life for Jesus in her home. The truck driver will come away encouraged to living out a more risky gospel in his job. Again, this speaks to all Christians where God has them; it does not call for them to leave their current station in life in order to follow Jesus more faithfully. It does however, call them to a consider, with sober-mindedness, how to live a deeper Christianity where they are, whether that be to abandon all for the mission field or to disciple their children more faithfully and wash their wives more faithfully in the Word.
There is such a desperate need for the church to present before the watching world biblical Christianity. For too long the old and weak ambassador for Christianity has been a traditionalism that has no power. If there is going to be a resurgence in Christian living and witness, it will not first be fought on the battle grounds of the public square. It will not be fought in our schools, courtrooms, or even primarily in the mission field. If there is to be a "Battle of Normandy" fought for the revival of Christianity, the beaches will be stormed on the shores of our own hearts and victory will come with us embracing a risk taking, grace-filled gospel.
In accordance with FTC regulations, I would like to thank Thomas Nelson publishers for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review
jandmrashVirginiaAge: 25-34Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5You'll want to read this book!December 21, 2013jandmrashVirginiaAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 4Meets Expectations: 5Risky Gospel, by Owen Strachan, is chock full of the ingredients it takes to make a good book on Christian living: personal stories, biblical text, humor and applicability (did I just make up a word?) This book is for people of all walks of life and all stages of their journey with the Lord.
No matter who we are, life often feels very busy - sometimes overwhelming. We don't want to settle for mediocre, but we do and for a hundred different reasons. And life gets hard. I think there's a part of all of us that just wants things to be easy. But, as Owen points out, the Christian life wasn't made to be an easy, put-your-head-down-and-get-through-the-day kind of life. We were made for more - so much more! But, that doesn't mean life will be easy. In fact, many verses paint the opposite picture and Owen doesn't try to hide that fact. "You follow God and you just might get asked to walk in the wilderness. For forty years." (pg. 34) That sounds scary to some and causes us to hold back, it keeps us living in mediocre-land. To step out of that and live out the risky Gospel, we have to first understand who God is and realize our identity as His child.
Owen does a phenomenal job of pointing out the need to understand who we are in Christ and he does so by pulling out Scripture to encourage us in embracing our identity. As we do that, we gain purpose and confidence. We begin to see that no matter our station in life, we can grow, we can bring glory to God. Once we understand our identity, Owen reminds us of the importance of building our faith and gives us practical ways to do that. Then he points out something most books seem to ignore: that we will fail. We will get frustrated with ourselves and our experiences. But the story doesn't end there - we have hope because of this risky Gospel living in us. Too many authors today give us these ways to be better Christians and then when we don't live up to it, we feel guilty, ashamed and drowning in despair. I love that Owen is honest about the human condition, his own included, and the redemption found in Jesus. This book is set apart from others like it because it combines a solid biblical foundation, honesty about the human condition and hope/encouragement for our lives. It makes living boldly seem doable and not so scary. I definitely think this is a must-read book and will be purchasing copies for friends and family, for sure!
Patti CreekComanche, TXAge: 55-65Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5A Soul-Searching BookDecember 7, 2013Patti CreekComanche, TXAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4This book took me a couple of tries to "get going", but once I stuck with it, I found the more I read, the more I wanted to read. It reminded me of what being a "Christian" is all about.
Mr. Strachan seems to be very "plain spoken", and that is a good thing. Too often, authors get too caught up in fancy words, or big complex ideas. He just puts it "out there", to be easily understood.
The idea of this book is to remind us what a "true Christian" is. What our duties are as true Christians.
He gives many, many examples and explanations of how the "true Christian" should be willing to take risks and be much bolder than we are. So many of the Christians today want to "stick their heads in the sand" and just hide away from the world. They are not assertive as they should be. A good many of them don't want to "ruffle feathers", or hurt anyone's feelings, so we "accept the immoral standards of today. That is not the "role" of a true Christian. We are to be "in the world, but not OF the world". Just because we are around this immorality does not mean we have to accept it or condone it, let alone join in.
This is only what a portion of this book is about. He covers many more subjects about how we need to get our priorities straight if we are truly Christian.
It was definitely a "soul-searching" and thought provoking book. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to make their walk with God stronger.
Scotty5 Stars Out Of 5One of 2013's best books ...December 7, 2013ScottyQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5You couldn't tell just by looking at the cover that "Risky Gospel" by Owen Strachan (published by Nelson Books) is one of the best books of 2013.
But it is.
When I received my review copy, my first thought was, "Who is this guy?"
I had never heard of Owen Strachan; I'm glad I have now.
The author page in the back of the book presents an impressive set of credentials for Dr. Strachan, and even that could be misleading with regard to this book. When reading that Dr. Strachan is an assistant professor, the Executive Director of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, has written six books, and writes essays for noted publications, you might jump to the conclusion you're about to read something complex by a formal academician.
You would be right ... and sort of wrong.
Being a professor, Dr. Strachan is an academic, but in "Risky Gospel" he takes a complex issue and breaks it down into simple terms, then communicates as if he's your study buddy in college. I didn't count the number of times he used the term "dude" but I noticed them.
Then you open the book and get blown away.
The first two chapters completely captivated me as Dr. Strachan launched into his argument that God has given us a risky Gospel to live out in a big, bold way and that God wants us to "abandon fear and build something awesome."
What I think makes this book one of the best in 2013 is that Dr. Strachan gets right his diagnosis of what's wrong with the church, but then does something extraordinary for many writers today --- he demonstrates a real and raw understanding of human beings as a part of that diagnosis, and thus speaks realistically and practically to his readers while remaining unrelenting in his challenge to them.
And make no mistake about it, "Risky Gospel" is a full-throttle challenge to readers in the likes of the best-seller "Radical," only better. The only reason I believe it is better is because of Dr. Strachan's ability to not just persuasively present a biblical argument, but to always keep his argument tethered to an understanding of people. He "gets" the struggles the common Christian faces with his thoughts, desires, and emotions, and is still able to provide reason for pushing through to living out a risky gospel.
"Something has happened to many of us today. We're not sure what transpired to make it so. We just know that we're a little off. We love the Lord, and we want to love him more, but we don't really know how to ramp everything up. We feel a variety of things, but they boil down to a mixture of fear, uncertainty, and boredom. And what does all this mean for our actual, day-to-day lives? It means, I think, that at the base, we fear making the wrong decision, taking the wrong step. We know God is good and real, but we struggle to act on that belief in everyday life, because our problems feel bigger than God's promises," Strachan writes.
He gets it.
From there, Dr. Strachan walks you through God's call for us to live a risky gospel by abandoning our fears and truly building something awesome with our lives.
Yes, that sounds like a platitude you might read on any given day on a host of social media sites, but it isn't. It's what God really wants from us. And if you want to learn how to make that happen, then by all means buy this book and read it cover-to-cover.
"Risky Gospel" isn't a perfect book. I actually thought the chapter regarding the church was weak, or at least somewhat dull. But like a good friend who cares, Dr. Strachan comes alongside believers and challenges their current state while providing recommendations any Christian can take to change their lives, if only they will risk it.
I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com 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."
bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: 55-65Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Take risks for meaningful Christian livingDecember 3, 2013bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4Do you feel you're a little off in your Christian life? Maybe you love the Lord yet you feel a mixture of fear, uncertainty and boredom. Maybe you just want to get through today and not ruffle any feathers.
Strachan says he understands. He's been there too. But he wants you to know that there is a Christian life where you thrive in the Lord, where you can experience better, bigger, and bolder things. But it means you have to jump - take a risk. To help you do that, he explores the strength and boldness of God, the ground for trusting and confident faith. He also encourages you to learn who you are in Christ and what you have in Him.
Strachan covers the need for gospel-driven discipline, ways to build a happy family, working for God's glory, committing to your church, and building an evangelistic witness. In all of this he makes his case for a "risky," bold life.
This book is aimed, I think at college or young career age Christians who want to invest in God honoring pursuits - who want to reach their spiritual potential. If you are ready for gospel risk, ready for a life shaped by the gospel, this book is for you.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
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