Be part of our book club.
We’re starting with Experiencing GOD, by Henry Blackaby.
You can pick up Experiencing GOD from AdventSource, amazon.com or at your local Christian bookstore, and join us. Weekly blogs on each chapter are now live here on the IGNITIONblog, and it would be awesome to get your comments as we do this together [You’ll find them labeled and tagged, Experiencing GOD].
Let us spark the revolution in our hearts. We want to fuel a movement of young adults wholeheartedly seeking a 24/7 experience of the living GOD.
Congruent with that desire, we urge you to find relevant ways to daily deepen your devotion to Jesus. GODencounters has an array of books recommended to further explore the themes introduced at young adult gatherings like GODencounters and IGNITION. We’re starting with the theme of Worship As a Way of Life: 24/7.
Read, pray, and process along with us. Do it with your small group, your bible study, your friends, or for your personal devos. Whatever works for you is fine. In addition to the blogs here, book club discussion boards can be found on Facebook , encounters cafe online , and MySpace.
We hope you will join us. If you are not acquainted with Experiencing GOD, find below a synopsis and critique:
A Review by Jonathan Russell
Blackaby, H. and C. King. (2004). Experiencing God: Knowing and doing the will of God. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman.
Experiencing God is a must-read book for anyone who is serious about experiencing a deeper journey with their Creator. With the experience of many years in pastoral ministry, Henry Blackaby takes the reader on a journey that deepens faith and challenges the status quo of Christian culture.
The premise of the book is summed up succinctly in its title. It is Blackaby’s goal to help his readers to be more than Christians: to connect deeply with their God and Creator.
Frankly, the book starts somewhat slowly. He starts out with some fundamentals of Christianity: the need to experience God personally instead of simply being familiar with doctrines. Also, the nature of God, how God always wills the ultimate good for His people. He then touches on the meaning of servanthood and being obedient to God. While there are some good insights in the first few chapters, the truly transformational material begins after fifty pages or so. Blackaby’s seven realities of experiencing God are the real meat and potatoes of this offering and what make the book essential to the faith and journey of every Christian. The bottom line for Blackaby is that the quickest way to experience God in your life is to look around your world to find what God is already doing, then simply find some way to join Him in the process. From this basic belief, the reader is lead on a journey of exploration, delving into the how-to’s of hearing God’s voice, and the nuts-and-bolts of responding to His call.
In the way that this book is put together, there is a profound simplicity. There are many authors that have dealt with spiritual development. Many seem to approach it from a decidedly right-brained relational perspective. Their basic premise seems to be that the old spiritual disciplines don’t lead to a meaningful relationship with God, so we must do other things to get in “the Spirit.” At this point, Blackaby differs from these other authors. He approaches the subject with a distinctly left-brained perspective, focusing on a relationship through certain specific, quantifiable steps and activities. His idea is that God still talks to people, and He uses the same old stuff to communicate with us, if we would simply listen and obey. Yet Blackaby takes the same old stuff, and transforms it into something that revolutionizes Christian culture.
Drawing on the examples of the Old Testament, the author points out that whenever God made plans, they were big. He points out that if we would truly allow God to make plans in our lives, the plans would be equally big. Then step by step, the reader is directed to specific practices and decisions that will lead them into harmony with God’s plans.
This book is not written as something that will point a person toward a relationship with God. It is written as a workbook that engages the individual with God, almost from the very first page, with thought-provoking questions and specific assignments about how to experience God today. The expectation is that the book will be an experience with God from the first chapter. Because of this expectation, the book delivers. As you read, you cannot help but engage with the Creator in answering deep spiritual questions. The author affirms this as he writes about the experience of meeting God in scripture.
“When you come to understand the spiritual meaning and application of a Scripture passage, God’s Spirit has been at work. This does not lead you to an encounter with God; that is the encounter with God” (p. 164). In the same way, this book does not lead you to an encounter with God, it is the encounter.
It is not without its faults, however. In every chapter, the author uses powerful personal illustrations that demonstrate the God-sized plans that can occur when a Christian is committed to following God’s plan above his or her own. While these stories can be inspiring and faith-building, they have an unintended side-effect. There are so many profound stories of faith that the author begins to sound more than human.
It would be easy for a reader to look at the book and say, “I could never do that.” So while the illustrations are well-intentioned, it would have been more effective had the author included some references to the journey of faith and the failures that occasionally come with it.
In spite of its minor flaws, this book is a classic that should be read by every Christian. It will revolutionize the way that the average person thinks about their relationship with God. It even has the power to change the way we do business as a church community. This book has the power of couching timeless, biblically based principles in contemporary language that anyone can understand and apply. As a result, this book is a resounding success in inspiring all who may read it.