Thursday, July 6, 2017

Chazown by Craig Groeschel


        If you're familiar with the Christian 'celebrity' world, chances are you have heard of Pastor Craig Groeschel of Life Church in Oklahoma City. What's that? You have not heard of him. Well, odds are better that you may have used the mobile Bible app created out of his church called "You Version". Ah, now you recognize him, or at least the app. But, Pastor Craig is a mega-church Pastor, conference speaker and writer.. This month, I was asked to review a revised version of one of his prior books called "Chazown", given to me free by the kind leaders of Waterbrook Press, available at The views expressed are entirely my own.
        First, what in the world is a Chazown? Chazown is a Hebrew word that means "vision" or "dream" (feel better now?). The tag line on the title of the book says. "Discover and Pursue God's Purpose for your Life". And the book centers on helping you achieve that end. It includes a lot of questions, diagrams and pertinent points to think through on the way to achieving your goals. And those questions and assorted resources are great as a guide, and would definitely be helpful for introspection or small group study, which is most likely why they were designed.
        Since a great deal of Christian marketing is aimed at the felt needs of individuals, while offering minimum scripture,, it is no surprise that Chazown fits that pattern. Now, I am not knocking it. As I do believe Pastor Craig is a gifted writer, very funny and practical in his applications. If you go through the questions and genuinely reflect on them I am confident you will come out with more insights on your purpose for living than prior to taking the adventure.
        However, my hesitations with the book, and the approach it uses, is that I can not see the Apostles, first generation disciples, or anyone committed to Biblical patterns, as having used the approach given. While the author does start off with a scriptural foundation for his treatise, and does often quote scripture, it is most often not the emphasis. I can not see Peter, James, John, Paul, etc. as having sat down to ask themselves these questions and going through this process. Thus, it is not a God given vision being addressed but, ultimately, how to get 'your own' (ie - and then state it was GOD given).
        Again, I like Pastor Craig and there is no questions that he and his church have done a great deal for the body of Christ world-wide. But, in this case, please remember when reading that that no one in scripture actually did all of the things being advocated, and many still somehow managed to fulfill God's plan for their lives. I hope that if you read or if you do not, that God will also lead you to HIS Chazown for you, that you may discover and pursue your God given purpose.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Say Goodbye to Regret by Bob Santos


      I have reviewed books written by Bob Santos previously and it has always been a good experience. Mr. Santos has written three previous books and "Say Goodbye to Regret - Discovering the Secret to a Blessed Life" is his latest work. But don't let the title confuse you, for while it does address regret that we have had in the past, to some degree, the focus centers mainly around the key to avoiding regret in the future, which is the wisdom of God.
      The first chapter "If I Only Knew Then..." should hit close to the home of all those who reads it, as he writes about a theme all too common for multitudes, if not everyone. The remaining chapters expound on the subject of regret, and center around avoiding it in the future through the use of wisdom. Yes, there is a chapter on putting past regrets to rest. But, wouldn't all of us like to avoid having regrets in the future by making wise decisions? This is where the author's greatest contributions to the subject come into play.
      A couple of things I have liked about all of the books I have read by Bob Santos include the following. First, the subjects he has chosen to write about thus far have been very relevant to everyone, including the topics of grace, Bible study and regret (Champions in the Wilderness is a compilation of several topics). Second, having been a college campus minister for many years prior to his writing career, he is in touch with not just the issues but the thought process some will use in 'mentally responding' to each thesis he proposes and this gives him an ability to anticipate the reactions of others before they have even voiced their complaints.
     I admit I was a little disappointed that the book did not focus more on past regret and perhaps the title through me a little bit. So, for that aspect I do not consider it his best work of the four subjects but it is still worth a read. If you have ever found yourself thinking from time to time 'why do I keep making the same dumb decisions' then this is probably a place you may want to start. And, ALL of us can use a little more wisdom for the future. I look forward to the next contribution the author makes to the literature world, though I can't imagine what relevant topic he will choose to tackle next. Pray for him for the wisdom of God for his future.