1. I Will! Nine Traits of the Outwardly Focused Christian
    Thom S. Rainer
    B&H Books / 2015 / Hardcover
    Our Price$4.49 Retail Price$12.99 Save 65% ($8.50)
    5 out of 5 stars for I Will! Nine Traits of the Outwardly Focused Christian. View reviews of this product. 12 Reviews
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  1. ChristianDroid
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Caution: Steel Toed Shoes Required
    August 8, 2015
    ChristianDroid
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Caution, reading of this book without steel toed shoes may be harmful to your feet.

    From the introduction to the end of this book, I could not help but wonder how Thom Rainer had managed to peer inside my church life over the last couple of years. Sure his character in the introduction was female and I am male. She was recently divorced and I've been happily married for almost 30 years. She had left her church and I continue to hold a place of leadership in the church that I attend. But the stories were still the same. Throughout the book, Rainer discusses the importance of being an outwardly focused Christian. With the use of narratives and characters that the author has known throughout his life, Rainer is able to show the reader the difference between being inwardly focused and outwardly focused. Of course, this may come at the expense of your toes as the author continues to step on them in his no holds barred explanation of how we are to serve Christ and His church rather than waiting to be served ourselves.

    In the book itself, Rainer writes the most apt description of his latest work; "I Will is not a checklist of things to do to please God or to be a good church member. This book is an expression of a natural overflow of ministry that should take place because of our love of Christ and His church."

    I Will is highly recommended for anyone who has ever burned out on church, anyone who awoke on Sunday morning and dreaded "having to go" to church, and those who are just interested in serving God to the best of their ability. It is well written, interesting, and will make you reconsider your motives and methods of worship. Just don't forget the steel toed shoes!

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing. 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."
  2. Fitzysmom
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Review from Rambles of a SAHM
    August 6, 2015
    Fitzysmom
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I can't honestly say that I was excited to read this book. You see I felt a terrible sense of conviction right from the cover. All of those crossed out phrases have been in my thoughts and most likely on my lips. I know I should, but . . . just fill in the blank with a lame excuse and that would be me.

    I've been a church member for most of my life. If you were to ask me generically if I love the Church I would say of course I do. But if you were to dig a little deeper and be a little more specific you'd find the cracks in my attitude. Just like any long-term relationship we've kind of worn thin in places. And the truth is that I hate that! But until recently I hadn't thought much about how to repair and restore the joy that I once found in the body of Christ.

    In his straight-forward yet gentle way Thom Rainer has set out nine traits that if adopted would make large strides in putting that relationship back in proper perspective. He starts with talking about our attitude (which of course didn't help mine)! If you look around it is easy to see that we all want to know what's in it for me. That attitude has slowly pervaded the church and it is having a disastrous affect on all of us.

    Chapter Two is titled "I Will Worship With Others". The following is a quote that just laid me flat:

    "In many of our churches, we have to beg people to attend worship services. But so many have inexcusable conflicts. Like the football game. Or the kid's soccer game. Or the traveling softball team. Or the weekend at the lake. Or the fact that I only slept five hours.

    For many Christians, all other activities have become mandatory while the worship service has become an optional afterthought." (pg. 29)

    So when did I start worrying about disappointing others by not being able to commit to something when it is on a Sunday and being fine with neglecting the Church? That's a tough pill to swallow. As a kid growing up skipping church was never an option but as an adult I have done that very thing.

    In the chapters that follow Rainer continues to point out areas that we should respond with an "I Will". He drives the point home by taking a look back at the first churches of the New Testament. Can you even imagine any of those early believers saying, "Um sorry can't make service tomorrow I've got a big meeting on Monday that I have to prepare for." Hardly!

    Chapter 7: "I Will Not Be A Church Dropout" and Chapter 8: "I Will Avoid The Traps Of Churchianity" had the biggest impact on me. There are so many things that have become the norm in our churches (like coffee shops and youth rally atmosphere worship services) that I just don't like. But these two chapters again reminded me that I don't go to church because of those things, I go because I serve God.

    Rainer describes Churchianity as: "practicing our church and religious beliefs according to human standards rather than biblical guidelines." (pg. 93) Ouch! He shares five symptoms that are all too common and should be avoided at all costs. These are all things that are easy to recognize in others, but the point is to recognize when we have adopted them ourselves.

    If I had to sum this book up I would say the theme is You Be The Change You Are Seeking. Joy is contagious and if you are serving God and your fellow man out of a heart of joy others are going to want to join you. The thought that remains after reading the book is that foreign Christians would be dumbfounded by our Americanized version of the Church. They risk being killed for gathering together while we neglect that sacred right.

    While I think this would be a great book for small groups, I say you read it first and absorb its contents. Then approach your leadership with it and encourage your people to join you in this thought provoking study.

    I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
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