Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Review/Giveaway: Secondhand Jesus

A WINNING READINGS GIVEAWAY!

Title: Secondhand Jesus: Trading Rumors of God for a Firsthand Faith
Author: Glenn Packiam
Genre: Christian nonfiction
How to enter: Leave a comment on THIS post right here! If you're a subscriber or a follower, leave a second comment for a second entry.
Entry deadline: January 10, 2010
Restrictions: Open internationally

That's right, enter right here for this giveaway. Please note: we are giving away our review copy, so it has been gently read.
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Do you ever feel like this Christianity thing isn't quite what it was made out to be? You were sold by the positive, upbeat sermons each week, and the worship songs move you powerfully, but you're just not getting everything out of the relationship that you expected?

Well, this book sorts through some of the myths or rumors that prevail in contemporary Christianity and addresses the resulting questions. Rumors like, "God will give me what I want." Or "God is pleased with my goodness." And questions like, "Where has the glory gone?" And "How can God come to me?" The Ark of the Covenant is the recurring theme throughout the book as its story provides answers to the questions. There are discussion questions at the end of each chapter for group reading.

Secondhand Jesus: Trading Rumors of God for a Firsthand Faith is published by David C. Cook and has a list price of $14.99. You can download a sample chapter or see videos at Hear It First. You can also visit Glenn Packiam's site for more information on the book or his companion CD, Rumors and Revelations.

Author Glenn Packiam is an associate worship pastor at New Life Church and the director of the New Life School of Worship in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is one of the founding leaders and songwriters for the Desperation Band. Glenn is also the author of Butterfly in Brazil: How Your Life Can Make a World of Difference. He and his wife, Holly have two daughters and one son.

It can be difficult to mix personal anecdotes with in-depth scriptural content and contemporary dialogue to create something that is motivational and inspiring; that causes readers to rethink their views of God. I believe the author has succeeded.

He aptly uses Keith Green's phrase, we "fall asleep in the light," to describe the state of many Christians today. We become complacent, happy to have God in proximity, just with a little personal space. The author's personal wakeup call occurred when the senior pastor of his church, called the most influential pastor in America, became the center of a scandal. That Thursday experience made him examine the "rumors" that permeated his faith.

I kept seeing my own stories throughout his examples. Take the pastor's wife who shared a "praise report" about finding a parking space close to the mall. I've heard those types of testimonies and have even thought them myself, but here's how the author puts it: "Wow, isn't God good? He ignores mass genocide in Rwanda, but cares enough to get you closer to JCPenney." Paradigm shift, folks!

And the chapter on "Where has the glory gone?" There are times when I'm just not feeling it - that glory thing. Yet it's not because God isn't present, but because He isn't our focus. Even when I'm begging Him to feel real, my focus is on how I feel, rather than on Him.

I think the main point I got out of the book is that Christianity is not about me. It's not about us as individuals. It's not about what we do or how we help people. It's not about the church, local or worldwide. It's about God. It's not about work, which puts the emphasis on what we do, but about worship, which puts the emphasis on God and God alone. Our responsibility, which is not an easy one, is simply to let Him in. In deep, which is considerably out of the comfort zone for the majority of us and means putting "ourselves" aside. Very unnatural for us humans, but the result is pure joy.

The rumors aren't true, but the truth is far better, should you choose to embrace it.

Well organized, lots of examples and illustrations, scriptural insights, and motivational, too? Yep, I recommend this book.

Thanks to The B&B Media Group for the review copy of this book.

Here's author Glenn Packiam with "Burning in Me."

70 comments:

Giveaway Roundup said...

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Ticia said...

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Faither said...

I think the main point I got out of the book is that Christianity is not about me - If more of us understood that, think God would probably be a tad happier.

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