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Review: Jesus Called He Wants His Church Back
By Ray Johnston

Jesus Is Calling-This book goes deep into the depths of Christians and American Church ministries. The author starts the book off by acknowledging that Jesus is popular in America- true. After two thousand years, he is still a global favorite and sits at the top of the US polls. He’s more popular than Beyoncé, Frank Sinatra, or Mozart. He is quoted more often than Winston Churchill, Woody Allen, or Forrest Gump’s mom.
The author states that the people that left Christianity were those who called themselves Christians, but did not live the life. They’re finally given up the pretense. Christians in America faith should be breaking records with all the resources: World-class buildings, corporate level leadership, Technology, and etc. So the question is “Why aren’t we? Why nobody wants to go to church anymore?”
In part 1 of the read it begins with this title “A World without Jesus.” The very thought of it should bring you to your knees, but think about it for a moment. Where were you when Jesus called your name? Did you answer the call swiftly, steady, or slowly? If you haven’t accepted the call, isn’t the title befitting for your choice. What if the title was “Living on The Opposite Side of the Fence?” With a sub-topic who is watching over you if not Jesus….hmmm.
The writer says this “the greatest need of any Christians is to reconnect and rediscover the power unleashed by connecting with and actually following Jesus. While we look at the changes America has embodied, they left out the most direct component-Jesus.
The seven things that changed Americans are:
 Americans lost Innocence (1950)
 Americans lost Authority (1960)
 Americans lost Love (1970)
 Americans lost Values (1980)
 Americans lost Faith (1990)
 Americans lost Security (2000)
 Americans lost Hope (2010)
The past seven decades have shaken America and not fully grasping the real problem that something is missing. Recognizing that in each decade Americans have lost one thing that is essential for emotional, relational, and spiritual health.
It is impossible to be emotionally healthy…..
It is impossible to be relationally healthy….
It is impossible to be spiritually healthy….
Without innocence, authority, love, values, faith, security, and hope.
The author began to impress upon us some heartfelt logic to really consider:
 Try raising good kids without innocence…or values….or authority
 Try leading a team, business, or country without respect for authority
 Try building a healthy marriage without love….or values…or faith
 Try building a better future without faith and hope
 Try being emotionally healthy without security or hope
 Try being happy without hope
These would be completely impossible without Jesus; Jesus showed us innocence, authority, love, values, faith, security, and hope. It takes a firm foundation and that take time to build a foundation. “Everyone wants a solid foundation for their homes, their marriages, for their kids’ values, and for their future”, but without the groundwork being laid the foundation will not stand. Many have used church as a money-making avenue and trying to get people to basically buy salvation….to buy a blessing….to buy a miracle or sign. Last I check Jesus didn’t need or want that type of help. Jesus is the ONLY One that can save, heal, and deliver. You definitely can’t buy your way into Heaven….the devil lied to you all if you thought you could.
If you truly read your Bible, the church is a body of believers in Christ Jesus that meet at a designated place to worship, prayer, and read scriptures. So many have been misled, misunderstood, and misguided by what others feel is right in their own thinking in regards to the church. The Bible has been misdiagnosed by many only taking bits and pieces out of it like a kiddie meal, instead of taking the full contents of the Bible for growth and maturity.

When under fire people get misconstrued of the season, thinking you did something wrong or something in your life is out of order; why couldn’t it be that God is refining that person for a new season or preparing them for something. “Life happens in seasons. Ecclesiastes says there’s a time for everything. Everything has a season. Good seasons. Bad seasons. Productive seasons. Growth seasons. And seasons of decline. Seasons of mourning. Grief. Seasons of laughter. Jubilee. Seasons where there are more obstacles than opportunities. Often followed by seasons where we can’t seem to find time for all the opportunities. There are seasons of stretching, where God seems to shape something new in our hearts. And we often don’t know what that new is until we enter another season.
Seasons of passionate, growing love. And tough seasons, where love is tested. Seasons you’re more the leader and seasons where you’re more being led. Seasons of blessings. And seasons of wondering where are all those blessings others seem to be experiencing” (Edmondson, R).
Just remember that Jesus knows us better than we know ourselves and if we try to say differently, we are lying to ourselves. Therefore, at some point we have to recognize that without Jesus it is impossible to live a healthy stable life. Many churches may fall by the wayside, but know that not all churches are spotted; there are some that truly serve God and want to honor the Father commandments. Too many of us try to play it safe and use television as a way to get the word, but what about fellowship with others of the same faith. Didn’t Jesus fellowship with others from town to town? Didn’t Jesus sat and talked with others?
Believe it or not the Christian Community can grow in a capacity to which Christ is calling us too. A Community takes care of one another, a community provide for the community, a community builds and not tear down, a community teaches other how to build, a community strive as the connection is being bonded and branded and a community thrust out negative people that would destroy the community.
The author states that “every Christian is called. Every Christian is gifted. If you are a Christ follower, then you are called to serve.” Life is too short to waste and you cannot get a do over, so why not do what you have been called to do and follow Christ. If you are called to it, then you were equipped to do it. Christians are called to be believers, but we’re also called to be belongers. You will never be the type of believer God wants you to be until you get rooted in a local church.

This was defining an interesting read, full of details, and nuggets for one to really chew on. I would recommend this book based on the in-depth information and concern for the church. Too many have lost their way back to Christ’s heart and replace that void with worldly things. Jesus wants His church back!

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Trust in God Matters

Trusting God

     In reviewing this book, “Trusting God: Why His Plan is Better Than Ours” speaks volumes of trusting God in spite of the seasons we’re in, we must continue to trust in Him.

The author reminds us that “we as Christians need to understand the importance of trust and all that it entails. This means learning both the requirements and ramifications of fully committing to God.” The author made an interesting point, if we truly want to experience the strength of God, we must first embrace our weakness. He says “it takes more strength to allow yourself to be weak than to pretend that you are strong.”

We as Christians don’t really like showing our weakness in fear of being scolded, talked about, rejected, and cast aside. We tend to take pain as an unbearable emotion that

However, by embracing our weaknesses, we are allowing God to show us His strength.        2 Corinthians 12:10 (HCSB) “So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

The author put it this way: the door to strength in the kingdom is weakness. This really does get you to thinking, especially verse 9 of 2 Corinthians 12 “But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”  When you are suffering and beg the Lord to remove this cup, the Lord says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfected in weakness. How awesome to know that you don’t have to be strong all the time. When you’re at your weakest moment God’s power will strengthen you, just trust Him.

“When tribulation and persecution comes, we can lean on him and not just endure, but prosper under His strength. However, being rooted and grounded in Christ, you will not fall, but if you are not rooted in the Lord, you will straightway stumble (Reimer). Mark 4:17 (AMP) And they have no real root in themselves, and so they endure for a little while; then when trouble or persecution arises on account of the Word, they immediately are offended (become displeased, indignant, resentful) and they stumble and fall away.

Remember that through it all His grace is more than enough to sustain us. His strength is enough to make us strong and we will not just endure, but thrive!

Hebrews 11.1(HCSB) “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.”  The author says faith is actually required, and it doesn’t come when the water is still.  My commentary is: faith is required when the waters are troubled and the test comes in like a flood. Your faith is either going to be activated or in default. Your faith is either going to take you higher or keep you stagnates in your current position.

The author hit the nail on the head, trusting God means letting go of worry, and letting go of control. The last one is major because we want to control everything, it’s when we can’t control everything we become anxious; wondering if it’s going to turn out right­­—God’s Got it!

The author shares a few things with us that we should always remember:

  1. You can never hide from God.
  2. God doesn’t hold a grudge.
  3. God will always welcome you with open arms.
  4. When you hurt, God hurts.

The author states: you build trust with God the same way you would build trust with anyone: by spending time with them and developing an intimate relationship. Simply put: crave out some time, eliminate distractions, and be honest. If you can’t be vulnerable to God than what will become of you; God isn’t into condoning, but He’s into redevelopment and reconstruction.

This book was very inspiring and refreshing; it even had me doing some evaluations of my walk. I highly recommend this book to ALL whose walk, faith, and life have been tested. This young man has learned some key points and has shared them with the world to grab hold and continue to trust God.

 

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I had the pleasure of reviewing this book titled: “The Sweet Side of Suffering”.  In reviewing this book the author share some of her most painful moments. In sharing her experience of suffering she bring out validate points in regards to finding that sweet spot while suffering.

The authors’ Introduction notes that “Suffering is a reality that demands our full attention.” While nobody wants to suffer, we’re all bound to experience some type of suffering at some point or another in our lives. The many highs and lows of emotions that suffering brings, make you even question your own purpose in life. However, God’s timing is always on time and He never miss the mark.  Galatians 3:4 says, “Have you suffered so much for nothing?” The writer puts the scripture this way, “Have you suffered so much without experiencing the sweet side?” Then she asked “why waste suffering?”

Suffering can bring into play unwanted attacks if you’re not careful into whose hands it’s in. Another question that is often asked, “Why God allows suffering?”  Suffering came as a result of the Fall of Man and everything on the earth will experience it unwillingly. However, the great thing about suffering is, we don’t have to waddle in it we have a great Shepherd that experienced every need that we went through. The song writer puts it best this way, “Must Jesus bear the cross alone and all the world go free.  No, there’s a cross for everyone, there is a cross for you and me.”

The author is aware that “often suffering catches us by surprise,” but it is by the power of prayer that will get you through the rough seasons. Therefore, we can meditate on Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  In Matthew 5:45 “that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the just and on the unjust.” So you see no one is exempt from suffering, but we do have a place of refuge. The author details intricate steps that we can take to obtain the sweet side of suffering. She discusses hearing the voice of God and knowing God ; which is vital to obtaining the sweet side  of suffering.  “

When we are facing times of confusion in our suffering, when we are confused by God’s ways, our human nature often tends to withdraw from God.” The enemy delights in the abatement of our faith in God. The worse thing about this is, it displeases God when we heed the voice of the enemy and not His. We are reminded that we can always communicate with God. He wants us to come to Him, to talk to Him and fellowship with Him. In Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest [I will ease and relieve and refresh your soul] (AMP).”

Max Lucado quote: “A season of suffering is a small price to pay for a close view of God.”  In spite of the season of suffering, it’s important that you know the Master Creator. The author reminds us that even in biblical days, the chosen ones even dealt with peer pressure, bullying, backstabbers, murderers, embezzlement, conspiracy, and various issues that we deal with today.  Nonetheless, God is able to still keep you in all things and in all seasons.

The author talked about shared suffering, you’re not in it by yourself. 1 Peter 4:12-13 “Dear friends do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you, but  rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”  Suffering  makes us keenly aware that we need God  and there is no getting around this fact. The sweet side is “God will keep us in perfect peace when our minds is stayed or focused on Him (Isaiah 26:3).  Our hope and future relies on us pressing forward, regardless of the situation, we can and will overcome. We are VICTORIOUS!!!!

Yes, I recommend this book for those who are entering a storm, in a storm, or coming out of a storm. There is a sweet side to all the hardship we endure in life, the One to whom we can take rest in and renew strength.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Sweet-Side-Suffering-Recognizing/dp/1572937459