What Matters Most: How We Got the Point but Missed the Person
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WaterBrook / 2012 / Paperback

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What Matters Most: How We Got the Point but Missed the Person

WaterBrook / 2012 / Paperback

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CBD Stock No: WW730571

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Product Description

God wants to be known not just known about. Are Christians missing out on the person of Jesus himself? Discover the wonderful things that can happen when you move beyond intellectual creeds and enter into an ever-deepening, life-transforming relationship with your Creator. Previously published as Out of the Question. Includes exclusive author interview. 256 pages, softcover from Waterbrook.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: WaterBrook
Publication Date: 2012
Dimensions: 9 X 6 (inches)
ISBN: 0307730573
ISBN-13: 9780307730572

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Publisher's Description

Belief can exist in isolation, but faith requires a relationship 
Why wade in the shallows of belief when you can plunge into the depths of faith? Belief involves a different way of thinking, but faith brings about a new way of living. It grows through direct experience and a close relationship, both of which come as you follow Jesus.
As Christians we often talk about developing a "personal relationship" with Christ, but instead of pursuing a relationship, we pursue knowledge. We are tempted to place confidence in our definite, settled beliefs, which offer a pale substitute for the daily adventure of an honest relationship with Jesus.
In What Matters Most, Leonard Sweet presents a challenging and compelling approach to belief that is joined by dynamic engagement with God. You are invited to explore the uncharted regions of faith by following Jesus, completely on his terms. Once you begin, you will never go back to mere belief.

Author Bio

Leonard Sweet, PhD, is founder and president of SpiritVentureMinistries and is a professor at Drew University in New Jersey and a visiting professor at George Fox University in Oregon. A leading social critic and cultural observer, Sweet is considered one of the most influential Christians in America. He is the chief writer for Sermons.com and has authored numerous books that have changed Christian thinking, including The Gospel According to Starbucks, Soul Tsunami, and Jesus Manifesto (with Frank Viola). An internationally known speaker and preacher, Sweet lives on an island in northern Washington state.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for What Matters Most

"Len Sweet has really done it this time! In true midrash form, Len exposes the beauty of a relationship with our Creator. He asks all the hard questions and leads us to a place of grace beyond the formulaic answers. Throw all your selfhelp books in the trash and immerse yourself in a book that will help you see your faith journey in a whole new way."
—CHRIS SEAY, author of The Gospel According to Tony Soprano

"No charts, no boxes, no to-do lists. Just everything we thought we knew about faith but didn’t. This is the book we should be reading in our small groups."
—SALLY MORGENTHALER, author of Worship Evangelism, founder of Sacramentis.com and Digital Glass Videos

"Way back in the 1970s, some thoughtful Christian leaders began talking about a relational theology. The term held intrigue and promise. Now, Leonard Sweet has given us a great gift. Here is a panoramic view of what a relational theology can mean for Christians today. Whether you’re a spiritual seeker trying to get the lay of the land, or a seasoned traveler trying to make sense of what you’ve experienced, or even a disillusioned leader who feels it’s all gone stale—this book will help you see in a fresh, inspiring, profound, and invigorating way."
—BRIAN MCLAREN, author of A New Kind of Christian and The Church on the Other Side

Product Reviews

3.5 Stars Out Of 5
3.5 out of 5
4 out Of 5
(4 out of 5)
3.5 out Of 5
(3.5 out of 5)
Meets Expectations:
3.3 out Of 5
(3.3 out of 5)
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Displaying items 1-5 of 6
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  1. Kosciusko, MS
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    How Would You Feel.....
    March 26, 2013
    Kosciusko, MS
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    How would you feel if God told you to kill your only child? Would you ignore God? Would you continue to follow God? Would you actually do it? Would you call God crazy? Would you turn your back on God? Just what would you do?

    This book will help you decide who or what is first in your life. It will also show you that God has a much deeper understanding of who we are than we do of ourselves. I found that it helped me to answer a lot of questions that I had about God and myself and how I should be following Him, not doing the me me me thing.

    I will read this book again, it is that good and God reveals something new in it every time you read it. I hope you will try it and enjoy it as much as I did.

    I got this book free from the publisher, WaterBrook Multnomah, all I had to do was read the book and give an honest opinion. This is what I have done.
  2. Milton, FL
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    2 Stars Out Of 5
    A review of What Matters Most
    January 25, 2013
    Milton, FL
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 3
    A Review of What Matters Most by Leonard Sweet

    By Adam Koppin

    What Matters Most: How We Got The Point But Missed The Person, previously released as Out of the Question_ Into the Mystery, is a scholarly work by Dr. Leonard Sweet. Sweet is the founder of SpiritVenture Ministries, a professor of Drew University, a visiting professor at George Fox University, and as the reader will find out through reading, he has, and had his finger in several other pies.

    The book is 199 pages long, 12 pages of chapter-divided "Questions for Personal Contemplation and Shared Conversation," and several pages of endnotes. Many people dismiss the number of endnotes as evidence of the scholar's research, but it is something I look for in a work. The author clearly has done a lot of research, and has a wealth of knowledge, that he put into this book.

    What Matters Most focuses on the Christian's relationship with others and the world around him, so it has that awkward feel of a cross between a devotional read, and scholarly effort. I would have a hard time finding a lay Christian reading this as a devotional, it is more of a scholarly read for vocational ministers and pastors. There were a lot of passages that really made me stop, and reconsider how I have been reading scripture. Sweet asks a lot of thought provoking questions, and fills the pages with anecdotal evidence and quotes. This is what I really appreciated about the book.

    What I didn't like about the book is that I kept having to ask myself, "What's the point?" At times I had trouble finding the connection points between anecdotes, passages, chapters, and sections.

    The book is divided into eight sections. The first sections describes that faith is a relationship, and each section after that breaks down our relationship with God, God's story, other people of faith, those outside of the faith, God's creation, symbols, and spiritual world. Personally, I turned off when I got to our relationship with God's creation as I felt it got a little "green." But again Sweet has the ability to ask questions that really makes you think. For instance, "Why do we have more of a problem with people worshiping trees, than we do when people worship money, titles, and possessions?" That's a good question, but my answer would be, "Because they are actually worshiping that tree."

    The book has a lot of redemptive qualities, but on the whole, I won't read it all the way through again, and probably wouldn't recommend it to anyone either.

    I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
  3. Monroe, NC
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Another challenge
    September 21, 2012
    Monroe, NC
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    DISCLAIMER: I received an Advance Reader's Copy of the book What Matters Most by Leonard Sweet from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers in exchange for a publicized review of the book.

    This is a book about relationships, and how the great majority of people get them wrong, especially the one with Jesus. Sweet's book is both a charmer and a challenge. It is charming in that he keeps it light, but challenging in that he hits nails squarely on the head. He most assuredly hits home in how the majority of humans talk about relationship, desire relationship, but have better relationships with inanimate objects than we do with other humans. This book is another one of those books that most Christians would think is unnecessary or inapplicable to them. The sadder truth is that it is more necessary or applicable than we like to admit. Sweet has challenged us before, and this book is another challenge to get us to realize that it is people that matter instead of possessions. Every Sunday school class or small group or family would do themselves a huge favor to use this book as a lesson tool. 13 chapters would be just 13 weeks - one quarter of one year - but time well spent for all involved. Even better spent for the difference they would make in the lives of other people in the world.
  4. St. Louis, MO
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    1 Stars Out Of 5
    September 4, 2012
    St. Louis, MO
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    Quality: 3
    Value: 1
    Meets Expectations: 1
    What Matters Most by Leonard Sweet 2012. Soft cover, 244 pages.

    Published by WaterBrook Press. I received through the Blogging for Books reading program.

    I was encouraged to express my honest opinion, whether negative or positive!

    This book had a bad start with me since I was not attracted to the cover, size of book, layout or style of writing. However, obviously I could ignore those factors, if the content of the book proved to be Biblically sound!

    The point of this book is relationships. The author comes from the viewpoint that Christians follow rules, but have forgotten how to cultivate relationships. While I agree that relationships just don't seem to be successful now-a-days, I don't believe this author was qualified to address the subject. I know of a score of better books and messages, and even blog posts which cover the subject wisely and Biblically.

    I suspected something was wrong with this book when I saw at a glance that there were hardly any Bible verses quoted in the book, but many quotes by people like Dominican friars, Mystics, Dostoyevsky, Aristotle, Richard Cranshaw, Mystic Nicholas of Cusa, James Hillman, HOmer Simpson, Lily Tomlin, Emily Dickinson, etc. while only a few quotes from Charles Spurgeon, hymns and the Bible.

    The book turned out to be almost blasphemous as the author constantly stated wild beliefs and un-Biblical thoughts.

    For example, I quote the author: The center of gravity of global Christianity is shifting from the North to the West to the South and East. Western Christianity was tutored by Greece and Rome. It will now learn from Asia.

    What Christianity learned from Greco-Roman culture (Stoicism, neo-Platonism) was how to express itself in rhetoric and reason. When we start learning from Asia, and the cultures of India, Tibet, and China, we will move beyond the rational to the mystical...God is a mystery, not a master's thesis...Jesus was not a Greek, nor was he a classical thinker. He was a Hebrew, Eastern in thought and culture, relational in practice, and mystical in spirituality.

    See what I mean? The author is almost....New Age? Later in the book, he mentions relationships with his ancestors, and favorite famous (not all Christian) people from the past. Bad, bad, bad.

    Lastly, chapter 3 was terrible as the author totally twisted the meaning of Abraham's relationship with God. This chapter states that ''God never wanted Abraham to kill Isaac and was hoping (yuck) that Abraham would argue with God and ultimately refuse to carry out the directive.''

    The author also quotes a favorite paragraph from Conrad Gempf which is so blasphemous I hardly dare share it, but which says that God is interested when we argue with Him, and He likes losing the arguments even more than He likes winning them. Excuse me? The conscientious reader will now slam this book and send it to it's death via the recycling bin!

    So, I simply close with the warning to beware of this author, Leonard Sweet's writings. Usually Blogging For Books offers Christian material, but I guess I need to be more careful, and not just hastily choose a book to review based on the title! I hope these thoughts helped you.
  5. Oregon
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Very thought provoking
    August 2, 2012
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    "What Matters Most: How We Got the Point but Missed the Person" by Leonard Sweet.

    In reading this book, I have likely gained far more than I yet realize. While at times it seemed as though the author might be repeating information I found this helped to really drive home to me the concepts the author was teaching. As I would read and ponder on the authors message I gained a far more in-depth understanding of the purpose, value and essential importance of relationships.

    In my opinion this is not a book for the casual reader. I found the authors messages to be deep and meaningful, requiring much thought and pondering on my part. I kept a red pencil for highlighting as I found there were many points throughout the book that I recognized I would want to reflect back on.

    One very interesting point the author addresses is the story of Abraham and Isaac. Like the author, I too have struggled to understand that story. I anticipated I would read the usual telling with it's accompanying explanation. Instead what I found was a very thought provoking alternate way of interpreting those events. The author shares with us what is titled "Twenty Questions Of Faith"; his twenty questions about the story. He brought up some very interesting questions; some similar to questions of my own; most questions I didn't even know to ask.

    Further along a personal story is shared and the author poses the question, "How many times have I sacrificed being "in relationship" for the personal satisfaction of being "in the right"? How many times have I won the argument, but lost a friend or damaged a heart?"

    Overall the key message I gained from this book is the essential importance of relationship with Jesus Christ, with God and with my fellow human beings. I don't know that I can even begin to adequately give tribute to the value of the content of this book in a review. The only way to truly benefit from the wisdom and insight offered is to read it and ponder on it's message. I think the best way to summarize is to quote from the author: "Relationship is pivotal to Christian theology, because God is Love and Love is impossible outside of relationships."
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