Weird: Because Normal Isn’t Working – A Book Review

In the hustle and bustle of daily life, we are constantly struggling to fit in and relate well to our culture. For the Christian, the problem with fitting in is that God has never called us to be normal. That is the theme of Craig Groeschel’s book, Weird: Because normal isn’t working. His premise for writing the book is that the believer is to be easily distinguished from the world. Their lives are to have a different priority. Their relationships should be others centered, their time should be structured to bring glory to God, etc. Groeschel says that the Christian should be weird.

The book is divided into five sections that deal with different areas of the Christian’s life that should look a little “weird.” Groeschel addresses each section in three chapters that approach the topics from a separate angle. He deals with the believer’s time, money, relationships, sex, and values. Perhaps my favorite idea that Groeschel presented in the book was in the section on relationships, but the idea can be applied to the all the topics he addresses. He said that many times the believer is working hard to hit the bullseye in their relationships. We feel like we are doing well in an area, and we are tireless in our effort. The problem is that many times, we are aiming at the wrong target. “So you mean all that work I am doing is fruitless because I am working toward the wrong goal?” That’s it! We become consumed in so many areas of our lives thinking we are doing the right thing, but are we putting God first? Are we following His plan? I remember that Adrian Rodgers once said that he could love his wife better as the second priority in his life than the first. The truth is, when we put God first and stop trying to write our own destiny, we find that he directs our steps and leads us down rewarding paths of spiritual growth and abundant living.

Groeschel does a nice job of cutting through the rat race of the Christian life and showing us how the Bible says we should live. I found the book to be encouraging and straightforward. It was hard to put down. It deals with practical areas of the daily walk and will touch every life with a need to reflect and reevaluate. I have bought another copy of the book to loan out to young people who are trying to establish their identity. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had an army of young Christians that were more worried about bringing glory to God than fitting in. I may not agree with every single area of Groeschel’s theology, but this is a great book. Pick up a copy, read it, and pass it on to a friend!

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Erasing Hell: What God said about eternity, and the things we made up – A Book Review

Recently, the media has focused attention on topic of God’s love and Hell brought about by the book, Love Wins, by Rob Bell. In that book Bell supports the idea that all people will eventually go to Heaven. He also goes as far as to challenge the existence of a literal Hell. In light of these very public developments, authors have been scrambling to offer rebuttals to Bell’s view of the doctrines of universalism and Hell. Erasing Hell: what God said about eternity, and the things we have made up by Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle is one of these rebuttals. 

The traditional evangelical doctrine of Hell is that all people are condemned to hell because of their sin. They are culpable to God in a very real way and each deserves the penalty of eternal death. (Romans 6:23) Hell is the place reserved for punishment of the wicked (those who have not repented and turn to Christ for salvation). The traditional doctrine also views Hell as eternal punishment that is retributive in nature and not for the purpose of rehabilitation. In other words, Hell is punishment not rehab to be released once a certain level of penalty is paid. Universalism is the idea that all people will go to Heaven and is based on the assumption that a loving God would never send anyone to Hell.

Erasing Hell is a short but effective defense of the biblical doctrine of Hell. It is a quick read and easily understood. It is great for the layperson or the pastor who needs to do some quick research. If you are confused about the doctrine of Hell or just want to learn what Scripture teaches, this is the book for you. There are much more involved defenses of the biblical view if you are looking for something more academic. Contact me, and I can give you a recommendation.

Book Reviews and Blogs

I am always looking for books to read that challenge and inspire me to strengthen my spiritual walk. I also want to be current with the Christian literature scene. I have church members that come to me and ask, “Have you heard of this book?” Not only do I want to know what books are out there, I want to know what’s in them. That way I can guide the people that God has given me to shepherd to good books that will meet them where they are. With that in mind, I have started this blog. While there will be other posts on this blog, like spiritual reflections, devotional thoughts, political commentaries and cultural hot topics, the main purpose is to provide short book reviews for my flock and other Christians to help them find books for growth and lesuire reading. I hope this is helpful. I do have a pastor’s schedule, so I can’t promise that I will blog every week. But I will do my best to provide book reviews at least twice a month. Enjoy the blog