Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Review: Life After Heaven by Steven Musick

Review: Life After Heaven by Steven Musick (with Paul J Pastor)
How My Time in Heaven Can Transform Your Life on Earth
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook (March 7, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601429886
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601429889

I liked this book a lot. Not because it's about near-death-experiences, though. I've read so many near-death experiences books and Jesus encounter stories that, while I love them and they do feed my faith, I'm not generally surprised by them any more. Jesus is always sweet, powerful, with beautiful eyes, and supernaturally good. Which of course, He should be because He is our savior. But after a while, it's the same old thing. So one needs to read these books for something other the recounting of the experience.

In this case, this book's uniqueness is it's depiction of a sick person who endured a long sickness until he was healed. That is what really blessed me in this book. I like any book which shows that someone can be healed even after a long illness.

Not all of us can endure long illnesses in a fairly good mood. This author managed. And, although many sick Christians wish to die in order to live with Jesus in heaven, Steven Musick endured life even though he wanted to die because he had already seen Jesus in heaven.

I won't say how he became sick. But after his illness, he died. Jesus met him and Jesus is "okay" and all the bad things in Musick's life was made "okay" or blessed into okayness by a super-understanding and super-loving Jesus. (yes, I kinda wish the author didn't use the word "okay" to describe the healing presence of Jesus when Jesus healed his soul. It just feels so touchy-feely. The book's a great book, an inspirational read but... that "okay" kinda made me cringe.)

Returning from heaven was difficult for Musick, but his experiences there continued to affect his life after he returned to his ill body. The love, power, and acceptance he saw when he walked with Jesus made him realize that heaven is always with us. The kingdom of God is everpresent and wishing to touch and overflow in our life on earth. There are few books that convey what the kingdom of God is as well as this book. In fact, there are very few books which actually try to show what the gospel of the kingdom is. This book does a good job.

 I recommend this book highly. I received this book free and without charge in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Review: Practicing the Power by Sam Storms

Practicing the Power -- Welcoming the gifts of the Holy Spirit in Your
by Sam Storms
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (February 7, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310533848
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310533849

I liked this book a lot. It makes you feel: This is what a church should be like, this is what pastors should be teaching their congregation -- the riches of God's grace and the power of God in us who believe.

If you're a Charismatic Christian, you've probably read tons of books on the gifts of the spirit. Usually these books are about the book author's journey and they are often limited to one gift of the spirit. So we have prophets writing books on prophecy, dreamers writing books on dreaming,  healers writing books on healing. Those books are all needed because those topics are pretty deep. But there are few books which can be used either for individual study, pastoral study, small groups, or larger communal church groups. This is one of them.

The challenge for anyone --especially a pastor-- who would want to actually practice the Biblically-based counsel in this book is that the church habits, services, and traditions would have to change a little to accommodate them. This means pastors might have to give up their desire to be the main "minister" to the congregation and become more of the one who trains, guides, and orchestrates all members of the church to minister to each other.

For instance, churches that only have the pastor pray for the sick, might have to give up some of their specialness (let's face it, many pastors like being the be-all and end-all and source and like running their little fiefs) and A) be Biblical in letting the elders/deacons pray for the sick and those who have shown that they have some gifts for healing. Although this isn't a book that teaches all aspects of healing (even deliverance is included) or prophesy or all aspects of any of the gifts, its chapters guide the reader into how to practice the gifts decently and in order yet in a way where the Holy is actually present to work. 

This book will teach pastors and church members how to guide the prophets, workers of miracles, healers, faithers to develop, recognize, and use their gifts. It will also teach them how to understand how God wishes to work in each church and how each gift is to be used. How many of us have heard some so-called prophetess say something that is supposed to be a prophecy and felt uneasy about it? This book definitely shows the pitfalls of wrong prophets, prophesying, and prophesies. I especially liked the part where the author addresses how to use, understand, recognize spontaneous "spiritual songs" in the middle of the service. This is definitely the kind of book Paul might have given to the Corinthian church.

This book is definitely a challenge, but for those of us who want to be in a church that is as Biblical as possible it's a great book and an easy read. Who doesn't want to be in a church that does church the way God designed it
I was given this book free and without charge in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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