Last week my wife and I drove to Aurora, CO (suburb of Denver). On the way out there, while there, and on the way back I read or finished up 2 books and had just finished up 1 book before leaving.
Unleashed by Erwin McManus – I got this book for free on my iPad to read and review. That being said, I can’t really recommend it. It wasn’t a horrible book, there were great truths that were sprinkled throughout. The problems lie in the conclusions drawn by McManus. He talks about how the church has become too civilized and a lot of times we tell a new Christian to basically calm down and sit down. How we tame them and like it better when they stop making us uncomfortable with their brashness for Christ. This is true in that as like most social situations, we conform and pressure others to do the same – knowingly or otherwise. So his basic thing is not to conform; not to be tamed by religion; be whoever you feel is the wild barbarian Christ wants you to be. Again, there are truths in those points but it’s not the complete picture of truth. We cannot be tamed by religion, but the politics of the church, by the games played by those who are more interested in good citizens instead of christ followers. However, we aren’t wild just to be wild. If you are unreligious because you don’t like religion, for that fact alone, you are sinning as much as the religious person. Unless you’re relying on the Spirit to source and move you, anything you do, with good intentions or not is a self-sourced mistake, aka sin. He talked about his daughter wanting to do something and he asked her if she was scared. She said yes and so he said she had to do it. What? Is that the criteria? Was Eve scared when she took the apple? Was Jonah scared when he tried to run? Was their any fear in Judas when he betrayed Jesus? I understand that being afraid isn’t a reason to not do something, but it can’t be the indicator that what you’re doing is right either. So I can’t recommend this book to just anyone because of the potholes in the highway he lays. At the same time, the problems he pointed out in our Americanized Christianity should not be discarded with the bath water.
George Muller: Man of Faith and Miracles by Basil Miller – Although it appears as though I didn’t happen upon the best biography of this great man of faith, I still have to highly recommend it. Really, any of the biographies (including the autobiography) of George Muller would be worth a read. His complete dependence on God through prayer is enough to make anyone’s prayer life look paltry in comparison. From his unsaved youth in Germany to his prayer warrior life in England, you can’t help but be in awe of his story. Really just how he relied on God, daily, to take care of expenses and feed the orphans he took care of. He never petitioned anyone or made announcements of need to the public–to man–but instead sought the Father for his needs, daily. He considered it a joy to allow God to demonstrate His love and faithfulness through the daily living in prayer and trust. Even when they were down to the last penny and they didn’t know where the next meal would come from for the 2000 orphans, they trusted God to provide for them and he did. Muller kept a prayer journal, saying God answered over 50,000 prayers and took care of them as His Word promised. Muller also read through the Bible 4 times a year, for a total of over 200 times in his Christian life; 100+ of those times on his knees. Encouraging and demonstrative of God’s willingness to answer prayer, the biography of Muller is one everyone should read once.
Wrestling Prayer: A Passionate Communion with God by Eric & Leslie Ludy – This is probably the best contemporary book I’ve read on prayer. Although I usually have preferred to read authors from the past (E.M. Bounds & Andrew Murray or biographies of Hudson Taylor or George Muller), this book gives you a lot of meat about prayer and what it has done in the Ludys’ lives. Not only do they talk about real-life examples of prayers answered, they spend time teaching what can hamper prayer and how it has changed the focus of their life. Their focus on getting the focus on God, away from our spiritual babble, and off ourselves is something our generation can not hear enough of until we start applying it. The Ludys build their concepts on the idea that the Word of God is indeed the Word of God and that God cannot lie. If these are true, then the promises He makes in His Word must be believed with childlike faith. Too often though, we say “I haven’t seen that happen before” or “I haven’t heard anyone else say this happened like that” and so we bend the Bible to fit our experiences. Instead, if we truly believe in the principle of God’s Truth and His inability to lie, then we have to bend our expectations to that of the Bible. Anyway, I recommend you read the book if you are looking for solid teaching on prayer and an encouragement as to how God uses it in our walk with Him, demonstrated in the willing vessels that are Eric & Leslie Ludy.