Wednesday, August 09, 2006
In Jeff Edmondson’s book Gutsy Faith (Hard Conversations with God) we learn how to hear and obey God’s voice and will for our lives. The title of the book (Gutsy Faith) gives good credence to what self-surrendered obedience to God takes. Not shy to address tough issues Jeff dives headfirst into a hard conversation with God. One of the key points to this book is that it is never God’s desire to say no to His children (pg.25). From this we’re launched on a no holds barred journey of what our lives would/could look like if we embraced and believed this.
Positive: I appreciated the extra reading of Scripture before each chapter. It set the stage nicely for what each chapter contained. A nice job was done connecting the Scriptures to the chapters in the book. I also appreciated Jeff’s inductive Bible study skills of pulling truth from the Scriptures.
Usually the chapters will start with a re-telling of the Scripture chunks (the ones you’re asked to read at the beginning of each chapter) in a bit more drawn out and readable way (I really liked that!). This was a nice way to pull the reader into the story and maybe make him/her see some things they missed or see from a different perspective. Jeff then explains the passage in its historical context. Answering the question: What did this mean back then? He also looks at the passage of Scripture within the context of the previous and following chapters of the book. We find this to be the key in interpreting some of Jesus’ sayings and teachings. Jeff also is very mindful of the Scriptures as a whole and their teaching about human salvation and redemption.
The Bible study within this book was very well done. I actually wanted more of it. I think it shows how much time the author spent studying, reading, and re-reading not just the passage of Scripture, but the whole book. The story was told, personal illustration was given, sometimes practical advice was given, and through the Thought Questions section application was given.
The Thought Questions section at the end of each chapter move this book into the workbook/small group genre. I personally think this book would best be used within a small group or one on one situation. Sure you can go through by yourself, but working with someone else and hearing how he or she answered the questions would build fellowship. The questions weren’t surface level questions either. This is something I appreciate because so many times bible studies and/or devotional books ask shallow thoughtless questions. To answer these questions you’re going to have to sit down and think. It’s helpful because it helps you hammer out what you really believe. Used within a small group setting, this could be priceless, because you could help one another in developing a systematic theology.
This book is also very practical. Chapter 14 Too Tired To Deal With It is an extremely helpful chapter to anyone wanting to hear from God or anyone wanting to know how to hear from God.
Negative: Although this book is for everyone, at the same time it isn’t. Anyone could read it, but not everyone will pull from it what Jeff is intending to be pulled. This book is meant for someone already in a relationship with Jesus. If you don’t have that, you may find this book interesting and a good read, but nothing more. This is especially true when it comes to the Thought Questions section of the book. These questions play off of one’s relationship with God. They seek to develop and grow a deeper understanding of God and to nurture a deeper relationship with Him. So, those who read this and don’t have that (personal relationship with God) will feel left out. But, Jeff knew this when writing the book and I believe he was targeting a specific group (late teen to twenty somethings) who will no doubt find this book a helpful guide as they walk with the Lord.
Final thoughts: I highly recommend this book to any youth pastor/pastor needing a discipling tool for older teenagers and college career. It wouldn’t hurt for adults to read too. This could also be a helpful tool for any pastor engaged in evangelism and discipleship. Once new converts are won to the Lord, they will no doubt find themselves having hard conversations with God. This book is also a perfect fit for one on one and small group discipleship. It’s enjoyable, easy to read, and challenging. If you interested in purchasing this book you can do so by clicking here --> Gutsy Faith by Jeff Edmondson.
Posted by Tim Sheets at 2:32 PM