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Number of Pages: 208
Vendor: Multnomah Books
|Publication Date: 2013|
Kingdom Called Desire: Confronted by the Love of a Risen KingRick McKinleyZondervan / 2011 / Trade Paperback$13.49 Retail:
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Love Mercy: A Mother and Daughter's Journey from The American Dream to The Kingdom of GodLisa Samson, Ty SamsonZondervan / 2010 / Trade Paperback$0.99 Retail:4.5 Stars Out Of 5 3 Reviews
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Blue Like Jazz: Non-Religious Thoughts on Christian SpiritualityDonald MillerThomas Nelson / 2003 / Trade Paperback$9.79 Retail:4 Stars Out Of 5 61 Reviews
$16.99Save 42% ($7.20)
from the foreword by Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz
When Jesus was on earth, He painted a radical vision for His followers of an unseen reality. He called it "the kingdom of God." Even here, Jesus saidin the harshness and mess of earthHis kingdom is the way things really are.
His announcement was nothing less than revolutionary, yet His followers were not quick to pick up on it. They longed for another worlda world without injustice or oppression or poverty. But Jesus said that His kingdom was already happening all around them, through them, and in them.
This Beautiful Mess explores what happens when we view our lives through the lens of Gods kingdom. We see the beauty of Jesus reign breaking into the mess of our broken world. We see treasure hidden all around us. We begin to grasp our exciting part in bringing about personal and social transformation for His glory.
New for this edition: an updated preface, three bonus chapters, and a small group conversation guide.
Come experience a paradigm-shifting journey into the beauty of our King, and the beautiful mess that is His kingdom.
BONDing over BOOKS3 Stars Out Of 5Who's agenda are you really following?January 15, 2014BONDing over BOOKSQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 3The key is to ask questions, seek, understand and learn from those answers. THIS BEAUTIFUL MESS - Practicing the Presence of the Kingdom of God by Rick Mckinley is a book with questions and answers. It is a book about awareness, accountability and Christianity. It doesn't answer the questions, it asks them.
What does it mean to be a Christian in today's society? THIS BEAUTIFUL MESS reads more like a journal about the author's journey into discovering a way he would like/prefer to live life as a Christian. He divides it into three parts:
1. Discovering the Kingdom - "is to help us hear the words of Jesus again and begin to shift our affections toward Him and His brilliant vision."
2. Re-Visioning Life in the Kingdom - "is to recognize the kingdom, we need to learn to see differently. To see God's present kingdom in the midst of the ordinary miracle in which we live."
3. Practicing the Presence of the Kingdom - "is to tear down the fake walls. You are called to be a signpost along the road standing in the midst of suffering with people who are suffering and declare to them that they are loved."
The title, THIS BEAUTIFUL MESS implies that somewhere within the pages of the book there are paradoxical statements waiting to be found; after all, how can one find "beauty in mess?" The author stated that he chose to describe God's kingdom as messy because to "think of mess as real and apparent complexity, as absolute resistance against the tidy, easy, or manageable. For example, finding purpose and goodness in a desolate place. Christians don't like mess, not in our world and especially not in ourselves or our churches."
What is the "me-ism" of Christianity?... My desires, my hopes, my future, my agenda, etc. The author talks about being careful when "studying God expertly in His parts [because you can] miss Him entirely in His Being." In the Bible, it says that you can't serve two masters. You can't serve God and still be in control of your life. The book says God wants you to be a part of His agenda, and not you "trying to get God to endorse your agenda." If you think you've read or heard this before, you have! Rick Mckinley believes that in order to be a part of the kingdom you must repent. Repent... the author defines repent as to "stop what you're doing, to turnaround and do the opposite." He believes that God wants you to release the "smugly held beliefs, especially the so-called enlightened ones that convince us we have no need to repent."
What does any author or good book strive to do? What does any good book accomplish? According to bestselling author, Malcolm Gladwell, "Good writing does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else's head." After reading THIS BEAUTIFUL MESS, it's normal to reflect on what you've read and ask yourself "Would I be the same person today if I never read this book?"
THOUGHTS for your SOUL:
Ã¢â¬Â¢"If you start with the church, you might end with the church. If you end with the church, you may never get to the kingdom. But if you start with the kingdom, you will always get the church."
Ã¢â¬Â¢"When is my giving, no matter how generous, more about me than someone else?"..."Americans tend to assume that we know what the people in the rest of the world actually need."
Ã¢â¬Â¢"What you look to for freedom and security can actually enslave you."
Disclaimer: Let's BOND over Books received this book free of charge from the Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
CliffymaniaMichiganAge: 35-44Gender: male3 Stars Out Of 5Some good, some aggravatingDecember 20, 2013CliffymaniaMichiganAge: 35-44Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 4Meets Expectations: 3I don't know if it's because I'm older, or if I just had a diverse upbringing, but sometimes the problems that are being addressed in modern evangelical books are problems that I don't see. It's not that they don't exist, but they're being addressed as if nobody else sees it.
I was raised Lutheran (LCMS) and was reminded on a weekly basis that Jesus is Lord of Lords, King of Kings AND Savior. Apparently, this is not the case in many churches.
Why does the book exist?
McKinley believes that modern Christians are more concerned about getting to Heaven than living out the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. It's a valid concern. Anecdotally, I know many Christians who attend church regularly, but know little about what the Bible says, or how it should impact their lives. Studies have been done that show that less than 10% of modern Christians have a Biblical worldview; that is, their beliefs don't seem to match up with what we're taught in the Bible.
McKinley is a pastor and he writes in the first chapter that he hopes the reader will receive this book "not as a theological word on anything, but as a well-intentioned, God-loving invitation to go and grow." I understand the intent; he's just trying to show you something you may not have seen before, or maybe you haven't seen it at all. I get that. At the same time God's word on the topic, any topic, is far more important than our ideas. If you're sitting with a friend, you're just talking. If you're writing a book it needs to unashamedly have Biblical backup.
In chapter 6 he exegetes Tolkein's Silmarillion. He asks the question, "So how does God deal with the painful and often violent notes that His enemy creates and His creatures play along to?" And then he answers it with a quote from Tolkein's book. Illustrations are great for illuminating scripture, but not as a replacement answer.
In chapter 4 there is a simple, but incomplete description of repentance. He talks about repentance as an invitation from God rather than a penalty, which I would applaud. After all the Bible says that it's God's kindness that leads us to repentance so we should look at repentance in terms of a gift. However, McKinley's description of repentance, while including turning away from something we thought was right when we learned it was wrong, never mentions that repentance is turning from sin and to Christ. It's an odd omission.
McKinley makes an excellent point that if we accept Jesus as Savior, but not as King, we are only getting half the picture. When this happens the Gospel is more about you than God. As McKinley writes, "We end up living in a sea of chaos, where Jesus' kingdom people are often chasing after anything that will get Him to work His magic on their behalf. In other words, get the King to serve the bricklayers and barmaids."
"And we've shrunk the good news to a short list of words that will save a soul from hell."
McKinley also makes an excellent point about relevance. He decries the churches that are trying so hard to "look sexy enough" so that the "culture around us would fall in love with it." It's the tragedy of the modern church that tries so hard to be "attractional" they've lost focus of what they're attracting people to. McKinley writes, "We become relevant when we are committed to being that signpost of heaven in some part of our world. When we study Scripture, we find that relevance happens naturally when we choose to be real people caring for other real people."
The redemption of the book comes in Appendix 2. I'll just quote McKinley to show why.
"Attracting people to come to us is not the worst thing, for sure. But Jesus didn't use that model. He went to the people."
"People who were touched by Jesus had very little information on how to share their faith, yet they were effective witnesses. Mostly what they had was a deep desire."
"The gospel clearly indicates that if we change someone's morality without changing his or her heart through faith in Christ, we have not done anything of eternal significance."
The Wrap Up
There are parts of this book that touch the heart and open the eyes and other parts that I simply wanted to rip out. On the whole I would put a cautious approval on this book. There is definitely something we need to learn from it; the Gospel includes Jesus as Savior and King. However, there is a tendency to lean toward one side; the Kingdom side. However, if the author is right, that most evangelicals are familiar with the Savior side and not the Kingdom side, it makes sense that the book would lean that way.
One of McKinley's closing comments is the pay off for the book.
"At some point in the history of the American church, our gospel seems to have become fragmented Ã¢â¬â cut off from the whole person Ã¢â¬â and, not surprisingly, smaller. But in order to enter the kingdom vocation, we must preach the exclusivity of Christ and the life-changing message of Jesus while at the same time putting that love on physical display through, for example, social action."
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. Check out my reviews and you'll see this is often true.
RickJurupa ValleyAge: 35-44Gender: male4 Stars Out Of 5Good Encouragement for His creationOctober 5, 2013RickJurupa ValleyAge: 35-44Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 3Meets Expectations: 3Life is hard. I've coped best with life when I've been God-focused and kingdom-focused. It's no wonder then why Rick McKinley's book, This Beautiful Mess, would appeal to me with this promise, "In the mess of everyday life, you can live in the beautiful presence of the kingdom." For the most part, I wasn't disappointed.
Before I get into the content, let me first commend Pastor McKinley's writing style. Many of the topics could have been heavy and hard. However, with elegance and grace, his words draw in the reader helping us to marvel at his topic: God's creation. Examples from his own church, Imago Dei Community, help the reader to imagine the possibilities and avoid getting bogged down in theological ideals.
The book with its oddly attractive title is about how, "Jesus invites us to live out the historical reality of His kingdom in our contemporary post-everything culture." The book breaks down into three sections (four if you count the appendix, which is often a "throw away" section in most books, but not so here): 1) Discovering the Kingdom, 2) Re-Visioning Life in the Kingdom, and 3) Practicing the Presence of the Kingdom -- knowing, seeing, and doing. McKinley expertly weaves scripture and practical application to convincingly argue for how we should live among His creation, His kingdom.
My only knock on the book is addressed by McKinley himself in the Appendices. The book was all too focused on this world and this life and not enough, for my taste, about God's glory and eternal salvation. To be fair, I was looking for something for which the book was not intended. In Appendix 1, McKinley encourages us to look beyond the dichotomy between the gospels of salvation and kingdom. He warns us that focusing too much on one loses sight of the transforming power of the other. Until I read the appendix, which I, admittedly, skip more often than not, I had the uneasy sense that McKinley was too focused on the creation and not at all (or at least not sufficiently) focused on the Creator. In the end, everything about the kingdom and the reasons to practice the kingdom mindset is important only because Our Lord and Creator is worthy of our praise.
NOTE: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review
WoofiejoAge: 45-54Gender: female3 Stars Out Of 5Some good nuggets to absorbAugust 20, 2013WoofiejoAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 3Value: 3Meets Expectations: 1The Kingdom of God is not just experienced in heaven (as many believe), His kingdom is the way things really are_.and it's already happening all around us. We live in His Kingdom, and the book makes the valid point that many of us do not live like it is His Kingdom. We live as if Jesus is our Savior but not as our King, a very important distinction. I love this quote from McKinley "When I became a Christ follower, the sad truth is that I transferred Christ into my kingdom, into the context of my life. My kingdom consisted of my desires and aspirations, namely the future I hoped for, an agenda that allowed me to reign as I chose_.I wasn't good at ruling my little kingdom, though." He goes on to say "I realize now that God was not abandoning me. He just wanted nothing to do with my kingdom agenda. First, we had to settle the kingdom dilemma. Had Jesus bowed to my agenda, He would not have been the true God."
There are some big thoughts to absorb early in this book. McKinley goes on to discuss different elements of what it's like to live in His Kingdom and how to shift your thoughts and your actions to serve God appropriately. While there were many good nuggets sprinkled throughout the book, I found it was not a book that I eagerly anticipated the next chapter and the later part of the book did not hold my interest as much as the first few chapters did.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books program in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.
booksbystephWIAge: 25-34Gender: female3 Stars Out Of 5Been There, Read ThatJuly 31, 2013booksbystephWIAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 3I am giving this book a neutral review rating. This author is another theologian who is giving his version of what the kingdom of God means in relation to the present time. I am not agreeing or disagreeing with what the author is saying, but I have heard it all before.
As for the writing, I got lost as he jumped from one metaphor to another just to get a simple point across. And what is with the random poems at the end of the chapters? Another why to confuse the reader into believing the author's point-of-view? If you have the patience, give this book a try.
Until next time, live life one page at a time!
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