It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
Today's Wild Card author is:
and the book:
The Art of the Follower: Using the Lessons of Jesus to Become the Follower God Wants Us to Be
Carpenters Son Publishing (June 1, 2013)
***Special thanks to Rick Roberson for sending me a review copy.***
MY REVIEW-I have to tell you, I was really hoping this was a book I would like. I enjoy reading some other books than the fiction and it stimulates the brain and thought. But in all honesty, I was very disappointed. I flip the book open after it comes in and the first chapter I come to is one about Esther. Now if there are any younger people reading this, or you are single, I would urge you to stop reading. For a woman, Esther is a chapter you would immediately read, right? So some of it was good. I was really getting into it. Until he hits the part about how Esther had to have been using sex to get to the king. Excuse me? He then goes further about how you have to be an active and gymnastic partner in the bedroom. Umm, ladies, this is not a book about marriage or even a book for ladies only. This is not acceptable in my eyes!! I could not believe some of the things that were in here and I would feel uncomfortable posting most of what it said. And if my younger sister had picked it up and read this? I would be very upset. I had a hard time posting this negative review but I can't give it a positive look, at all.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
As the author of more than 75 books distributed worldwide, Pastor and Medical Doctor, Dag Heward-Mills also leads a worldwide ministry and presides as Bishop of Lighthouse Chapel International, with almost 1,300 churches spread across the globe in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Australia, including 63 churches in 24 U.S. states. Heward-Mills holds highly-successful evangelistic outreaches throughout Africa and other emerging countries and leads a myriad of other endeavors, including a Medical Missions Team, Bible training centers, schools, a hospital, an orphanage, church leader conferences, a host of media outlets including an on-line television site and more.
Visit the author's website.
SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:
Some twenty centuries ago, Peter and his brother Andrew were the first to respond when they heard Jesus say, "Come, follow me ..." Since that day, millions have answered that same noble call to follow in his steps.
However, in today's Christian culture of shallow commitments and half-hearted discipleship, where many believers deem it their right to choose when, where and how far they will follow, unconditional obedience is often perceived as a legalistic and lifeless proposition. In his newest book, "The Art of the Follower" (summer 2013), Dag Heward-Mills, world-renowned pastor, author and evangelist, assures readers of the joys of unbridled pursuit of God and encourages them to follow from a sincere heart of gratitude for his great grace and love.
List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Carpenters Son Publishing (June 1, 2013)
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:
P ART I
Following is Eternally Significant
At first glance the practice appears innocent and simple enough.
. . safe . . . and usually rewarding. But, beware my friend! Following is actually a very powerful practice . . . frequently risky . . . sometimes life-threatening . . . and always consequential.
In everyday language we often hear and speak about following. Notice these common expressions:
Follow the leader
You’re following too close Just follow me!
Don’t follow me. I’m lost too! (bumper sticker) Follow your nose
She/he has quite a following Follow the money
I think I’m being followed I was just following orders
So, who are you following? I don’t mean breaking news, a favourite performer or sports team. I’m asking about the beliefs you follow -- the ones that shape your personal values and attitudes. What defines the true significance of your life? Who do you look to for guidance? Which teacher has the answers that satisfy your soul? Whether intentionally or unknowingly, everyone is following someone.
If we’re truthful, the first answer is usually “me.” I follow me! Indeed, every one of us begins in life following ourselves, our own wants, our desires, our personal passions. Eventually, most of us also notice the value in altruistic efforts that bless others. But, truth be told, without the “feel good” rewards of these activities, we eventually struggle to sustain them. For, at our core we are all sons of Adam and products of “the Fall.” Our carnal hearts march to the drumbeat of “self” -- alienated from the Maker who created us to know and enjoy an intimate and personal relationship with Him. It is our untamed “me” -- our selfish rebellion -- that bars us from this righteous pleasure.
Paul declares in Romans 3:10, “There is none righteous, no not one.” The prophet Isaiah penned, “All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6). Fortunately, he prophetically adds the solution: “but the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Jesus said of himself in Matthew 20:28, “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” You may have recited from your childhood the familiar words of John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
This promise of salvation -- the redemption opportunity each of us needs so badly -- was fulfilled in the life and death of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. This salvation gift from God himself becomes real for you when you receive it. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Salvation cannot be acquired by working diligently to imitate Christ. Ephesians 2:8-10 instructs us, “For it is by grace [unmerited favor] you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God pre- pared in advance for us to do.” When correctly understood, this amazing redemption and new standing with God daily motivates our love and obedience to Jesus Christ.
The true Christian believer “follows” Jesus Christ. And following him is serious business -- a life-long commitment to being his disciple as a mature follower. Some twenty centuries ago, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew were the first to hear and respond when Jesus said, “Come, follow me . . .” (Matthew 4:19).
Since that day, thousands of millions have followed their example -- heeding Christ’s eternity-changing invitation to “Follow Me!” Jesus is the only worthy one to follow because he is the Christ, the only begotten of the Father and the only Saviour of all mankind.
Over the next five chapters, I pray your mind will be illuminated and your heart will thrill to a deeper understanding of the Art of the Follower.
What Is The Art of Following?
Throughout your Christian journey, many leaders will request your allegiance. Always the first question you must ask is, “But, who are you following?” If, upon examination, that leader’s life validates that he or she is truly following Jesus, then you may follow safely. However, one must never lose sight of the truth that only Jesus Christ can forgive your sins and one-day present you faultless before the Father. So, first and always, follow Jesus!
Defining The Art Of Following
• The art of following is the art of copying
• The art of emulating someone
• The art of imitating something
• The art of trying to be like someone
• The art of reproduction
• The art of cloning
• The art of becoming a double
• The art of becoming a twin
• The art of catching up
• The art of surging forward
Success Follows Following
Children naturally and instinctively employ the art of following. By copying, children surge forward with leaps and bounds -- learning to speak complex languages in very short periods of time. Following, copying or emulating accomplishes almost all the learning younger children do.
Following, however, isn’t just a personal practice of individuals. Many nations -- rich for centuries -- became so by following. Europe and America largely used the art of following to become among the oldest and most prosperous nations in the world. Through emulation, each European country became like their neighbours and developed into an almost identical wealthy state. Their roads, buildings, and other infrastructures are similar. Their banking and economic systems are almost identical. Their military capabilities match. The lifestyles of the people and the conditions of living are similar in each of these countries. Indeed, through emulation, the nations caught up with neighbours -- refusing to be left behind in the race for prosperity.
Similarly, nations more recently rich also employed following. Taiwan, China, and Korea are well known for their ability to follow and copy. Indeed, most nations that have become wealthy in the last fifty years are masters at the art of following. These wealthy nations are well known for their ability to copy. Indeed, many of their products are clearly imitations. They produced cars that were virtually exact replicas of well-known European models. The Koreans are not embarrassed by modelling their Daewoo cars after Opel, and the Ssangyong after Mercedes Benz and the Hyundai after Toyota. Through their shameless copying, they quickly caught up and surged forward to become leading carmakers.
In almost every field of technology and endeavour, they have caught up and surged forward, creating wealth that others could only dream of. Those who were ashamed to copy could only stand by as the masters of copying surged ahead to become millionaires and billionaires.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Used the Art of Following
Jesus, too, used the art of following to transform illiterate fishermen into leaders and managers of a worldwide movement. If the Son of God would use the art of following as His method of training, it must be the highest and most superior method of learning, training and teaching.
The art of following is the art of imitating and copying someone. The art of following is the art of becoming like the person you admire. The art of following is the art of becoming a replica of a person that is ahead of you. Through the careful and thoughtful use of the art of following, you will be able to catch up and surge forward in your life and your ministry. Even more importantly, you will become a wiser, more mature, more passion- ate, and more effective disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.
**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**