Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Book Review: Embracing Obscurity

The premise of this book is that we are each one in 7 billion.  That doesn't mean we are insignificant, only that our obscurity can serve God's purposes just as another person's fame can.  This is something to ponder in a culture where people will do almost anything to get their face on TV for a moment and will consider that "face time" more significant than years spent serving their families and communities.

Most of Jesus' years on earth—thirty years out of thirty-three—were lived in obscurity.  He was a dutiful son, a carpenter, and a worshipper of God.  Even in  his three years of what we would call full-time ministry, he did not seek out fame.  Instead he embraced the life of sacrifice among a persecuted minority in the oppressive Roman Empire.  Although God in the flesh, He "made Himself of no reputation."  See Philippians chapter 2 for a fuller exposition of Jesus' voluntary obscurity.

Humility is a virtue greatly undervalued today.  It is time for us as God's people to truly be more like Jesus in this respect.

I received a free advanced reader copy of Embracing Obscurity B&H Publishing Group.  This book is also available as a Kindle edition.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Undaunted: The Autobiography of Josh McDowell

Josh McDowell is a man with a gifted intellect who overcame a childhood that would destroy many children.  His is a story of God's power to redeem lost years and create beauty from ashes.

Many are familiar with Josh McDowell as a powerful speaker and uncompromising defender of the Gospel.  Now Josh opens his heart and lets us in on the story of a life shaped by poverty, abuse and neglect.  His story will speak to anyone who has ever turned away from a God they thought was indifferent or even cruel.

Young Josh rejected God because he could not reconcile a loving God with the abuse he suffered from an alcoholic father and enabling mother; nor could he accept that God had stood by while he was sexually abused by a hired hand in his own home.  Josh rejected God with a passion and taunted Christians when he went to college.

The Christians he taunted were happy to have discussions with him.  Finally, they challenged him to disprove the resurrection—after all, to disprove the resurrection is to discredit the entire New Testament.  Josh took up the challenge, traveling to Europe and conversing with scholars until he finally had to accept that the resurrection was a real event.

Once Josh knew the truth, he applied his formidable intellectual gifts to advancing the Gospel and was transformed into the Josh we know today.  Along the way, he teaches us lessons in forgiveness.  He not only forgave his parents, but forgave the man who sexually abused him for years.  Undaunted is a story of triumph over tragedy.

I received a free review copy of this book from Tyndale.