Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book Review: Good News for Those Trying Harder by Alan Kraft

I came to this book because I longed for an emotional & spiritual experience which I perceived that other followers of Jesus the Christ all had, or said they had, when they became followers of Jesus. I was literally crying out for something more, something deeper, something real from my faith.  If you would like to know more about my spiritual journey, and why "crying out," is not something that would surprise me, read my article on my conversion experience called Diving In, an Act of Faith.

It was actually recommended by Amazon when I finished another book, The Barbarian Way: Unleash the Untamed Faith Within by Erwin Raphael McManus, so I bought it. It rocked my world.  It rocked my spiritual world first, but it ripped the foundations off of my life in the "World."  I will never be the same again.  

Before I tell you what I learned and what else I thought of the book, let me tell you a little about the author.   Alan Kraft is the lead pastor of Christ Community Church, Greenly, Colorado, and he is both a husband of many years and a father of several ages of children.  He has lived life, made mistakes, admits them, and is willing to share what he has learned with us. 

I recommend this book  to anyone who does not believe that they have not yet experienced “brokenness, faith or a personal relationship with Jesus" at the levels they once expected or hoped for. If you long for the “Peace of God that surpasses all understanding,” (Philippians 4:7) then this book is for you.

I recommend this book with even more urgency if your life is full of fear.  I don't mean spiritual fear, (like fearing God, fearing you are not worthy, fear of death), though it will help with that too.  I mean fear of anything in your life that is tangible or not.  If you are tired of being chased by the same anxiety; if you think a lot, "I can not catch a break," or you are having trouble sleeping because of the pressure in your life, this is a MUST READ.

If you have the world by the tail, and you really are "all that," you won't like this book.

In the reading of "Good News for Those Trying Harder,"  I discovered three things that I was lacking and looking for.

1) A personal relationship with Jesus.  I had asked friends at two churches in two states what a "personal relationship with Jesus," was, and what it felt like, because I was tired of the "Jesus Speak," I always heard from Christians like myself when speaking about Jesus.  I really did not know what it meant.  One church, only members answered.  Even though it was a monitored page and the pastors read it, no one who was trained answered.  The people said things like, "it's just like your relationship with other people." and the like.  NO IT IS NOT.  It is mind blowing and emotional, and it is all over the Gospel and can even be found throughout the old testament.  This book tells you where it is in the Bible and even shows you how to start down the path.  It will make you cry.  It will make you happy.  It will make you safe.

2) An Emotional Recognition of my Brokenness beyond the technical definition of sin we have all heard so many times before.  I discovered just exactly how I could discover what my sins really were, and that brought me to the floor, face down, several times.  Way past mind blowing.  Deeply soul stretching.

3)  An understanding of the roles of the Holy Spirit, Jesus and God the Father in my prayer life and in my mortal life.  I have always wondered what the deal was with the Trinity.  Why the doctrine was created by man, justified by scripture and memorized by millions, but not understood by anybody.  I discovered the sameness of God.  I discovered the Power of grace in the three parts of God, and most importantly to me, I discovered the universality of the Gospel.  How it applies to my life in all its aspects, every moment of the day, and just how amazing grace really is.

I don't know if these things were the intended messages of the book, but I do believe that the Holy Spirit and the Bible support the messages that I got for my life, and I suspect it will in your life as well.

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