Monday, August 18, 2014
David Wilkerson - The Cross, The Switchblade and The Man Who Believed by Gary Wilkerson
The book that I have chosen to review will not be available for purchase until September 2. I received an advanced reader copy of it, provided free for bloggers through the book review program for bloggers, available at www.booklookbloggers.com. I was not required to write a positive review, and I did not have to be for this one. Put simply, this was a fantastic book.
If you have never heard the name David Wilkerson, perhaps there's a chance that you have heard of the name of an organization called "Teen Challenge". The program is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program with the highest success rate in the nation, founded by David Wilkerson many decades ago. No, you haven't heard of it? You might be familiar with the book "The Cross and The Switchblade" which tells the story of how Teen Challenge began. What, you don't know that one? Ok, maybe you've heard of Times Square Church in New York City, where he Pastored faithfully for many years. Oh, you don't know about that one either? Then, you need to read this book. And even if you do know about the things I've mentioned, you still need to read this book.
Time and space do not allow me to furnish as many details as I would like to share about the content of the book. So, I'll highlight why I thought this was a great read. First, biographies can sometimes be written by researchers, historians and students who admire a person from afar but may have never met them in person. This one, however, was written by David Wilkerson's son Gary. And it is a firsthand account of details, stories and history that others may never have known.
Second, the author is incredibly honest as he tells the story of his dad's life. He does not portray David Wilkerson as a "superhero" to be idolized (and, just for the record, David would have despised hat). He tells of the highs, lows, struggles, idiosyncrasies, triumphs and tragedies without painting a picture of perfection. He shows you that David Wilkerson was just a man, who struggled like the rest of us, but had faith in an incredible God who accomplished the impossible through him. For this reason, I admired David Wilkerson more as a person, and God, whom I serve, more to work through ordinary people, greater than when I started. And, finally, the story kept me going. I received the book on a Saturday and finished it on a Sunday. It was a good read.
If you wonder if God could ever use you and feel like you've messed up too much, read this book. It's not just David' Wilkerson's story. It's the story of multitudes who were changed and used for the glory of God. If you know someone who's struggling in areas of their life with habitual issues, then let them read this book, to encourage them that change is possible. And if you want to see what God can do through simple people, like you, then read this book. In the story of one man's life, you'll become acquainted with Jesus Christ, who makes all things possible to him who believes.