Friday, March 22, 2013

Review of One Month to Love by Kerry and Chris Shook

When I first heard of the premise behind this book, I was ecstatic. I mean who wouldn’t be ecstatic a book on how to grow and deepen your close relationship and 30 days is the, it’s the magic pill we’ve all been looking for. Some would say since it’s based around a 30 day set up that this would easily be a good devotional book, however, for me and my hectic lifestyle that is not the case. I tried several different ways to get involved with this book, and none of them mainly really enjoyed this book.
I really wanted to like this book; I just couldn’t do it. I found some of the stories to be interesting and slightly entertaining, but found it hard to implement anything they were trying to introduce to us as a reader. This book is also been previously released before as Love at Last Sight; I believe they chose to republish it under a different name due to the success of the One Month to Live book written by the same couple. While this is not the worst book I’ve read recently it’s also not among the best. I would have a very hard time just recommending this to someone seeking help for their relationships, because it gives the illusion that it is a cure-all. However, this book does have its good points as long as you’re willing to work with them; those points being at the end of every chapter they offer a few actions or things to do to reach out and deepen your relationships and to make them strong they call them “challenges”.
Out of a good conscience I cannot fully recommend this book to someone trying to restore a relationship, but if you’re looking from minor tune-up than this may be the book for you. By law have to let you know that Waterbrook Press gave me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review; there were no guarantees that it would be positive. To find out more you can visit these links:
·  More Info

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Role of Prayer in Spiritual Leaders

How important do you think the role of prayer plays in the life of a spiritual leader? Read Col. 4:2 and comment on how this verse applies to a spiritual leader. Dr. Earley states that prayer saves time. “Prayer allows God to do more in days, hours, minutes, or even seconds than we could accomplish without Him in months, or even years, of work…..Once we understand this principle, we will learn to say, ‘I’m too busy not to pray.’” Can you affirm this statement? Give a specific example from your life or ministry.

From the five chapters you read (Earley chs. 1–5), what are 3 applications you can put into your own prayer life? Be specific regarding where this is coming from, (i.e. the textbook material or the Bible, etc.).

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 4:2, ESV)

Outside of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ there is no more important aspect to that man/woman’s life than prayer. Prayer can be defined simply as speaking with God. If you are going to be a leader especially a spiritual one you have to stay connected to God. When you evaluate Colossians 4:2, we are told to stay in prayer; and not just to ask for things but to be thankful for what we have. As leaders we can easily fall into the pit of only asking God to give/do things for us; all the while forgetting to recognize what He already has done and thanking Him for it.
My whole school career has been an example of the Lord using less time than the average person would imagine getting things accomplished. I have been blessed to be able to accomplish a lot of work very quickly only by His grace. He has given me the ability to write large essays/papers in a matter of hours because of His response to prayers where other people it may take days or whole semesters to organize them. I really like the reference Pastor Earley makes to Martin Luther in his work, when I was a new Christian I valued my prayer time and would spend hours at a time, and like Luther felt/fell the more I pray about it the better it will be dealt with.[1]
There is so much that we can take away from this book by Dave Earley. While this assignment only ask for us to give three takeaways on how to impact our own prayer life, each of the five chapters lays excellent ground work for us to build upon.  One of the things I must make time for is making the time to pray. We will make so many other things in life a priority and mark it on our schedules, but will not do the same for time with God! This thought comes directly from chapter two of his book, where he goes deeper and tells us to determine a set amount of time to pray.[2]
I tend to be a very private man about a lot of things and then there are areas you will find plastered all over social media. Dave points out the importance of asking people to pray for us. As many of you know I suffer constantly with pain from my fibromyalgia, and while I still long for relief, I no longer ask for those prayers which I probably should. Earley reminds us that the Apostle Paul constantly in his letters asked those he was keeping in touch with to pray for him and the struggles he faced.[3] Once you examine this area it reveals that there is a source of either pride or fear that keeps us from asking for help. Will you pray for me; that the pain will not be so unbearable I cannot focus on my task at hand, and I all I do will bring glory to the Lord? Thank you in advance for your prayers.
While I practice intercessory prayer often I need to be more specific about the things I am seeking the Lord for on behalf of others. It is very easy to get caught up in just praying very generic prayers for those on your list; it requires great love to pray intentionally for someone else. This is an area I will seek to grow in more, because Earley says, “Intercessory prayer is a primary tool used by effective spiritual leaders.”[4]

[1]Dave Earley, Prayer: The Timeless Secret of High-Impact Leaders. (Chattanooga: Living Ink Books, 2008)5.

[2] Ibid, 26.
[3] Ibid, 54.
[4] Ibid, 34.