Posts Tagged ‘pastor’

Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential [Hardcover]

July 19th, 2012

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Book Description
Publication Date: October 12, 2004
In this remarkable New York Times bestseller, Joel Osteen offers unique insights and encouragement that will help readers overcome every obstacle in their lives.

Editorial Reviews
Amazon.com Review
Houston televangelist Joel Osteen is well qualified to write this book, having used the seven principles he shares to achieve his own “rags-to-riches” story. At the heart of Osteen’s message is that achieving a successful, prosperous life of fulfillment can only occur when we stop worrying about the past or future to make the most of each present moment by using our God-given strengths and talents to achieve our goals. The key to doing so are the seven steps Osteen outlines: Enlarge Your Vision, Develop a Healthy Self-Image, Discover the Power of Your Thoughts and Words, Let go of the Past, Find Strength Through Adversity, Live to Give, and Choose to Be Happy. Mixing biblical teachings with his own personal experiences, Osteen explains each of these seven steps in an encouraging, optimistic manner that makes them accessible to anyone interested in principles of personal growth. Although written with a Christian slant, the seven steps Osteen shares will have value to anyone wanting to know more about practical steps of self-betterment, regardless of their denomination.–Larry Trivieri Jr.
From Publishers Weekly
Houston megachurch pastor and inspirational TV host Osteen offers an overblown and redundant self-help debut. Many Christian readers will undoubtedly be put off by the book’s shallow name-it-and-claim-it theology; although the first chapter claims that “we serve the God that created the universe,” the book as a rule suggests the reverse: it’s a treatise on how to get God to serve the demands of self-centered individuals. Osteen tells readers that God wants them to prosper, offering examples of obtaining an elegant mansion or a larger salary (“don’t ever get satisfied with where you are,” he cautions). In seven parts, he details how readers should enlarge their vision, develop self-esteem, discover the power of thought, let go of the past, find strength through adversity, give back to others and choose to be happy. The section on giving comes as too little, too late—Osteen’s message to remember others and “get your mind off yourself” flies in the face of the previous 200 pages. There are some good pockets of advice, such as letting go of past hurts and avoiding bitterness. Editorially, the book would have packed more of a punch if a third of its repetitive slogans and stories had been pruned. Theologically, its materialism and superficial portrayal of God as the granter of earthly wishes will alienate many Christian readers who can imagine a much bigger God.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details
Hardcover: 310 pages
Publisher: Warner Faith (October 12, 2004)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446532754
ISBN-13: 978-0446532754
Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches

Biography
Joel Osteen is a native Texan and the Pastor of Lakewood Church, which according to Church Growth Today is America’s largest and fastest growing church with over 38,000 attendees. On July 16, 2005 after completing $95 million dollars in renovations, Joel moved Lakewood Church into its new 16,000 seat home — the former Compaq Center which is now the largest regularly-used worship center in the United States. According to Nielsen Media Research, Joel is the most watched inspirational figure in America. His weekly sermon is broadcast into television markets across the U.S. where it is viewed by seven million Americans each week and more than 20 million each month. His weekly broadcast is also seen in almost 100 nations around the world. In 2004 his first book, Your Best Life Now was released by Time Warner debuting at the top of the New York Times Bestsellers List and quickly rising to #1. It remained on the New York Times Bestseller for more than 2 years and has sold more than 4 million copies. Most recently, Joel was named as one of Barbara Walters’ “10 Most Fascinating People of 2006” and he was selected as the “Most Influential Christian in 2006” by the readers of Church Report Magazine. The son of John Osteen — a highly respected minister of the Gospel and the founder of Lakewood Church — Joel attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma where he studied radio and television communications. In 1982, Joel returned to Houston and founded Lakewood’s television ministry where he produced John Osteen’s televised sermons for 17 years until January 1999 when his father passed away. For many years John Osteen encouraged Joel to preach, but he always declined preferring to work behind the scenes. In early 1999, Joel felt compelled to accept his father’s invitation and he preached his first sermon on January 17th of that year. Little did anyone know that would be the last Sunday of John Osteen’s life. Two weeks later Joel began preaching and later that year was installed as the new Senior Pastor of Lakewood Church. Almost immediately, weekly attendance began to grow at an extraordinary rate and, in 2005 Joel moved Lakewood Church into its present location, the former Compaq Center, a 16,000 seat arena that was once home to the Houston Rockets professional basketball team. Now, with his wife Victoria and the leadership staff of Lakewood, this innovative church is poised for the new millennium. Joel’s extraordinary success can be found in his core message: That our God is a good God who desires to bless those who are obedient and faithful to Him through Jesus Christ. It is Joel’s deepest desire that his own life be an example of that principle and that everyone who hears this message of hope and encouragement would choose to accept God’s goodness and mercy and to become all that God wants them to be.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 67 people found the following review helpful
Don’t dismiss its simplicity October 2, 2006
By D. Wilburn
Format:Audio CDI am a lifelong Christian and have read and studied the Word from many angles and sources over the years.

I don’t know if it was just timing, or what, but I couldn’t help but notice this ‘happy preacher’ on TV. For years, I passed him by while scanning the channels, but I DID slowly begin to stop and listen- a little more each time. I was taken by Mr. Osteen’s simple messages, delivered with a humility and genuiness that I just don’t think can be faked. Anyway, I began to enjoy the half hour I spent with him on TV, but still couldn’t force myself to buy the book or even take his theology seriously for that matter – it was just ‘soul candy’ as far as I was concerned.

Finally, I gave in a little over a year ago and bought the book. I coincidentally began a new job that included a company paid daily bus pass. I began to read a chapter a day during my commute. I have now read this book at least a dozen times. Yes, it still has that candy-like comfort, but beyond that I have learned to respect the man and his theology. To those who cast it off as ‘name it and claim drivel’, I can only say that I receive a much deeper message from his words. Maybe it’s because I’ve never been a part of anything remotely like the ‘name and claim’ theology, or perhaps it’s because I’d like to believe that my own theology is deeper and therefore believe that his is too. What I’ll say is that while I have learned to appreciate how much God DOES love me and how much he wants for me, I realize that monetary wealth is just one of many types of wealth that’s being referred to in the book. And I hear the distinction loud and clear in his words. But I don’t think that’s necessarily his point. I don’t hear him PROMISING good things in this book. What I hear (and what makes the difference for me personally) is simply, – what kind of attitude are you going to have as you go through life (regardless of outcomes)? Personally, while I can’t say that his theology is totally supported in every detail by scripture, I can’t say that it contradicts it either, and it helps me immensely. Call it “Positve Thinking”. Call it what you want. It’s working for me and I can see its (positive) effect on me, my life and those I love and live with each day.

32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Life changing June 4, 2005
By Carolyn R. Scheidies
Format:HardcoverI don’t even know where to begin on this book. There was a time I understood the principles Osteen shares. I believed them, held to them firmly, until life happened, until exhaustion and opportunities denied or lost sapped away that faith. Until I read this book, I hadn’t realized how far I’d drifted from basics I knew were true and that made a positive difference. I hadn’t realized how negative some of my attitudes had become, attitudes I began to see reflected in my adult children.

Osteen brought me back to center, to my foundation: God is good; He loves me and wants the very best for me. He also wants me to trust Him, even in when bad things happen. God desires to bless, but my negative choices and attitudes can block that blessing. No longer.

Osteen makes clear … (…)

103 of 132 people found the following review helpful
The Fine Line October 23, 2004
By Pete Smith
Format:HardcoverWhat I think many people miss about Joel Osteen’s message (as well as the spelling of his name) is the fine line between a name-it and claim-it theology and the simple message of the Bible that God loves you. If God loves you and sent His Son to die for you (the Christian Gospel), then why would He just want Christian ministers to focus on suffering and sin instead of having a postive attitude of faith and trusting God for more. “If a earthly father gives good gifts…”

I think Joel believes that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, that there is only one way to heaven and that sin and the battle of the flesh is important, but just doesn’t focus on those things – Lord knows there are plenty of hell fire and damnation preachers out there.

Joel doesn’t say that if you claim something in Jesus name you’ll get it. Instead, he says to have faith that God will bring you through your circumstances and wants good things for you. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for…” We’ve lost the hope that we should get from God’s love. It is after all GOOD news.

Many people (and several reviewers) criticize Joel for not being overtly evangelistic to save souls or not preaching more on sin. Funny how few ministries are seeing the thousands come to the Christian faith like are coming through Joel’s church, television programs and events and even more find the encouragement to change their lives for the better. Perhaps honey does work better than vinegar?

As far as being applicable to people of other faiths or no faith at all, truth is truth. If I don’t touch the flame, I don’t get burned whether I’m a Christian or not.

In a world full of uncertainty, it is good to have a messenger who will inspire us to Live Our Best Lives Now! A nation in the war on terror needs it.

Let It Go: Forgive So You Can Be Forgiven by T.D. Jakes

March 1st, 2012

Let It Go: Forgive So You Can Be Forgiven

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Book Description
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
T.D. Jakes, New York Times bestselling author of Reposition Yourself, Making Great Decisions, and more than a dozen other titles, now presents this book on forgiveness, demonstrating once again why he is called “a spiritual genius,” a “master of meeting mankind eye to eye,” and one of America’s best preachers.
He understands that he and fellow Christians share spiritual truths “that transcend time and culture and reflect a universal understanding of human nature.” The spiritual truth he explores in Let It Go concerns forgiveness and why it is important for those on the receiving end of wrongful behavior as well as those who commit acts of wrongdoing.

“Forgiveness is a big idea and it works best when it is invested into people who have the courage to grasp the seven-foot-high idea of what’s best for their future rather than the four-foot-high idea of recompense for what has happened in their past,” Jakes writes in Let It Go. This book explores forgiveness as an idea and at the same time offers specific and clear actions for readers who seek to apply the idea in their daily lives. Offenses are a part of life, he says. But conflicts can be resolved and relationships do have a future, if we learn how to forgive. No matter how great or small the injustice, Jakes shows how the matter can be put behind you for the sake of a better tomorrow if you can Let It Go.

Editorial Reviews
About the Author
T.D. Jakes is the founder and senior pastor of The Potter’s House of Dallas, Inc., and a regular personality on the Dr. Phil show. The New York Times bestselling author of Making Great Decisions and Reposition Yourself, he lives in Dallas, Texas. His sermons are always enjoyable and energetic.

Product Details
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Atria Books (February 28, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416547290
ISBN-13: 978-1416547297
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces

Biography
T. D. Jakes is the CEO of TDJ Enterprises, LLP; founder and senior pastor of The Potter’s House of Dallas, Inc., which has over 30,000 members; and the author of the New York Times bestselling Making Great Decisions and Reposition Yourself. Time magazine and CNN referred to him as “America’s Best Preacher.” His TV show, The Potter’s Touch, reaches 67 million households per month. He has been the host of national radio and television broadcasts and is regularly featured on the highly rated Dr. Phil show. He lives in Dallas, Texas with his wife, five children, and two grandchildren.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK HERE: Let It Go: Forgive So You Can Be Forgiven

Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt

February 1st, 2012

Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream

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Book Description
Publication Date: May 4, 2010
What is Jesus worth to you?

It’s easy for American Christians to forget how Jesus said his followers would actually live, what their new lifestyle would actually look like. They would, he said, leave behind security, money, convenience, even family for him. They would abandon everything for the gospel. They would take up their crosses daily…

But who do you know who lives like that? Do you?

In Radical, David Platt challenges you to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated the gospel to fit our cultural preferences. He shows what Jesus actually said about being his disciple–then invites you to believe and obey what you have heard. And he tells the dramatic story of what is happening as a “successful” suburban church decides to get serious about the gospel according to Jesus.

Finally, he urges you to join in The Radical Experiment–a one-year journey in authentic discipleship that will transform how you live in a world that desperately needs the Good News Jesus came to bring.

Editorial Reviews
Review
Responses to Radical

“In his compelling new book, Radical, David Platt delivers a powerful picture of the church in America today that, on key points, stands in sharp contrast to what the Bible shows us about the person and purpose of Jesus Christ. David challenges Christians to wake up, trade in false values rooted in the American dream, and embrace the notion that each of us is blessed by God for a global purpose—to make Christ’s glory known to all the nations! This is a must-read for every believer!”
—Wess Stafford, president and CEO, Compassion Intl.

“We have moved into a generation of young leaders who have a passion to surrender the American dream if necessary in order to embrace fully, compassionately, and wholeheartedly a bigger dream—the Great Commission. I have never been challenged by an author more than I have by David Platt. Read Radical, be blessed, and be changed.”
—Johnny Hunt, president, Southern Baptist Convention, and pastor, First Baptist Church of Woodstock

“Radical will cause you to bounce on a spectrum between two words: ouch and amen. Tough truths do that. They challenge us to examine our lives and then choose the lasting over the temporary. Read Radical if you’re ready to live differently.”
—Gregg Matte, senior pastor, First Baptist Church of Houston

“David Platt’s book will leave anyone who sincerely engages with his challenge dissatisfied—and faced with a decision: What will authentic faith look like in my life? This book has the potential to revitalize churches today to practice a radical, biblical lifestyle that can transform society and reach a lost world.”
—Jerry Rankin, president, International Mission Board, Southern Baptist Convention

“The church of the Lord Jesus has been seduced by a skilled seductress: the American dream. David Platt exposes this enemy of authentic Christianity and provides a way of escape through a radical faith that leads to a radical obedience. I am not the same after reading it. I trust that will also be true for you.”
—Daniel L. Akin, president, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

“It is almost impossible to keep the idols of our own culture from influencing us, whether we want it to happen or not. This is certainly true when it comes to the so-called American dream. We need our eyes opened! We need to be called out! In this challenging and thoughtful book, David Platt shows us the way to live for Someone and something bigger.”
—Darrin Patrick, founding pastor, The Journey, St. Louis

“Sometimes people will commend a book by saying, ‘You won’t want to put it down.’ I can’t say that about this book. You’ll want to put it down, many times. If you’re like me, as you read David Platt’s Radical, you’ll find yourself uncomfortably targeted by the Holy Spirit. You’ll see just how acclimated you are to the American dream. But you’ll find here another Way, one you know to be true, because you’ve heard it before in the words of the Lord Jesus, perhaps most forcefully in the simple call ‘Follow me.’”
—Russell D. Moore, dean, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Through solid examination of the Scriptures and compelling testimonies from believers enduring persecution, my friend David Platt pulls back the curtain on subtle dangers weakening the church in our Western culture. Radical is the urgent call we need to care more about the spiritually lost and physically impoverished people of the world.”
—Ed Stetzer, president, LifeWay Research
About the Author
DAVID PLATT is the pastor of The Church at Brook Hills, a four-thousand-member congregation in Birmingham, Alabama. Widely regarded as an exceptional expositor, David has traveled and taught around the world. He holds two undergraduate and three advanced degrees, including a doctorate from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. David and his wife, Heather, live in Birmingham with their family.
See all Editorial Reviews

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Product Details
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Multnomah Books; 1 edition (May 4, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1601422210
ISBN-13: 978-1601422217
Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 8 inches
Shipping Weight: 5 ounces

Customer Reviews:
This review is from: Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream (Paperback)
In Radical, David Platt looks at how Christianity in America has become far too comfortable. He suggests that Americans have become more interested in pursuing the “American dream” than in fulfilling their obligations to Christ. Platt mentions that many Christians will go so far as to twist the Word of God to mean what they desire it to mean. With this in mind, Platt challenges the reader to a year-long journey to make radical changes for the cause of Christ.

Radical is the no-excuse, no-holds-barred work of a pastor who is fed up with what Christianity has become in America. In his passionate way, David Platt shares his burden about a Christian religion that has strayed far from what it is supposed to be. His book teaches and convicts readers. His goal is to help Christians see what they’re missing out on by holding back in their faith.

The book contains stories that will make you weep, as well as those that will shock you. It gives the readers a bold look at where Christians are failing in today’s society and how to bring about a positive change. Platt speaks with no apologies, and his message will undoubtedly raise some eyebrows, especially among the “religious” crowd. However, I found his radical statements to be true and straight down the line of what the Bible teaches.

Say “goodbye” to watered-down theology and “feel good” messages. While Platt’s message may not be popular, I believe it is God-sent.

This review is from: Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream (Paperback)
Radical, David Platt’s new book (his first) is a challenge to the American church to take back our faith from the “American Dream.” Platt, the pastor of four-thousand member The Church of Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama, pulls no punches, and somehow manages to disturb without offending.

In nine short and very readable chapters, he makes the case for a radical Christian faith–which SHOULD be the norm. He shows the shameful poverty of our faith amid the affluence of our lifestyles. He advocates a Great Commission mindset far beyond the tidy routines of our comfortable Christianity. He says, for example,

If Jesus is who he said he is, and if his promises are as rewarding as the Bible claims they are, then we may discover that satisfaction in our lives and success in the church are not found in what our culture deems most important but in radical abandonment to Jesus.

If people are dying and going to hell without ever even knowing there is a gospel, then we clearly have no time to waste our lives on an American dream.

Why would we ever want to settle for Christianity according to our ability or settle for church according to our resources?

After eight compelling chapters filled with writing like the above, Radical concludes with The Radical Experiment, a clarion call to “One year to a life lived upside down,” in which the reader is urged to commit to:

Pray for the entire world
Read through the entire Word
Sacrifice your money for a specific purpose
Spend your time in another context
Commit your life to multiplying community

One might expect those challenges to seem like asking too much, particularly in light of some examples he gives. On the contrary, however, it is far more likely that the reader will be champing at the bit to rise to the challenge and respond to the call. In other words, ready to be radical.

This book was provided for review by the publisher, Multnomah Books.

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Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

January 17th, 2012

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

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Book Description
Publication Date: May 1, 2008
God is love. Crazy, relentless, all-powerful love. Have you ever wondered if we’re missing it? It’s crazy, if you think about it. The God of the universe–the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and E-minor–loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. And what is our typical response? We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss. Whether you’ve verbalized it yet or not…we all know somethings wrong. Does something deep inside your heart long to break free from the status quo? Are you hungry for an authentic faith that addresses the problems of our world with tangible, even radical, solutions? God is calling you to a passionate love relationship with Himself. Because the answer to religious complacency isn’t working harder at a list of do’s and don’ts–it’s falling in love with God. And once you encounter His love, as Francis Chan describes it, you will never be the same. Because when you’re wildly in love with someone, it changes everything.

Editorial Reviews
From Publishers Weekly
Chan, senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, Calif., offers a radical call for evangelicals to consider and emulate in this debut guide to living crazy for God. Chan’s own life compels him to live with urgency, and with good reason. His mother died giving birth to him, his stepmother died when he was nine, and his dad when he was 12. As a pastor, Chan says that conducting weekly funerals for people younger than himself has likewise sobered him to life’s unexpectedness and frailty. Chan writes with infectious exuberance, challenging Christians to take the Bible seriously. He describes at length the sorry state of lukewarm Christians who strive for a life characterized by control, safety and an absence of suffering. In stark contrast, the book offers real-life accounts of believers who have given all—time, money, health, even their lives—in obedience to Christ’s call.Chan also recounts his own attempts to live crazy by significantly downsizing his home and giving away his resources to the poor.Earnest Christians will find valuable take-home lessons from Chan’s excellent book. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Francis Chan is founding pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California. He is also the founder of Eternity Bible College and sits on the board of directors of Children’s Hunger Fund and World Impact. Francis spends much of his time speaking to students around the country, committed to teaching directly from the Bible. His passion is to see the church display a much deeper love for Jesus. Francis lives in California with his wife, Lisa, and their four children.

Product Details
Paperback: 205 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; 1st edition edition (May 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434768511
ISBN-13: 978-1434768513
Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches

This review is from: Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God (Paperback)
There are many voices critiquing the North American church today. The voices come from both within and without; from those who love the church and those who hate it. We all know that there is something wrong. But what? In many cases the prescription is the same while the cure varies widely. In his new book Crazy Love, first-time author Francis Chan, pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California, regular speaker at Passion conferences and other events, and the guy who recorded that “Just Stop and Think” evangelistic video where he walks for miles holding a surfboard, takes his opportunity to challenge the church. “This book,” he says, “is written for those who want more Jesus. It is for those who are bored with what American Christianity offers. It is for those who don’t want to plateau, who would rather die before their convictions do.” It is a book that is meant to change the way Christians live their lives.

There are two ways of critiquing the church. We can critique out of love or out of disgust. Chan is committed to critiquing the church as an act of love. In a recent interview, when asked about the emergent church, he said this: “As a pastor I hear a lot of emergent leaders talk about what is wrong with the church. It comes across as someone who doesn’t love the church. I’m a pastor first and foremost, and I’m trying to offer a solution or a model of what church should look like. I’m going back to scripture and seeing what the church was in its simplest form and trying to recreate that in my own church. I’m not coming up with anything new. I’m calling people to go back to the way it was. I’m not bashing the church. I’m loving it.” And his love for the church is obvious throughout this book.

The format of Crazy Love is straightforward and effective. Chan dedicates three chapters to renewing our understanding of the character of God and seven chapters calling Christians to examine themselves. Within the book are two ongoing themes that are going to get people talking.

The first theme is that we must painstakingly examine ourselves. We cannot assume we are saved, or to use the biblical metaphor, we cannot assume that we are the good soil. Chan calls the reader to a serious self-inventory through a chapter that provides a profile of the lukewarm. He concludes, “a lukewarm Christian is an oxymoron; there’s no such thing. To put it plainly, churchgoers who are `lukewarm’ are not Christians. We will not see them in heaven.” God wants all or nothing.

The second theme is deeply counter-cultural, going against the stream of both Christian and secular culture. It is this: live your best life later. Chan wants to see Christians living differently–living in a way that is markedly different from those around them. He wants to see Christians forgoing much of what we consider necessary, what we consider our due, in order to focus on treasures that are eternal. He wants us to get outside the realm of what is comfortable to us and focus instead on radical obedience. “God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through.”

These two themes and a focus on the Scriptures serve to create a powerful and deeply challenging book. There is a very obvious commitment here to teach Scriptural principles from the Scriptures and to invite the reader to verify what he is writing from those same Scriptures. Not surprisingly, the book’s weakest chapter is the one that depends least on the Bible. It is a chapter providing examples of men and women who have made radical choices to live radically different. At least a couple of examples are of people who are probably not the best examples overall because as they’ve jettisoned their old lives, they’ve also jettisoned too much good theology.

That small critique aside, I found that this is a paradigm-shaking book with a message that Christians desperately need to hear. Too many of us are living too safely and too easily. But for the brief moments we spend at church each week, we are practically indistinguishable from the unbelievers around us. This is not the way it is meant to be. The church could use a loving exhortation and Chan delivers well.