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Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Book Review

Title: Spirit Rising: Tapping into the Power of the Holy Spirit
Author: Jim Cymbala
Publisher: Zondervan, 2012
Genre: Non-fiction, Christian Living 

First Lines:
I wasn't expecting the Holy Spirit to join me for lunch, yet that's exactly what happened.
My wife, Carol, was out of town, so I went to a little cafe that I like on Long Island. I found a quiet table against the wall, ordered my usual salad, and while I was enjoying my healthy food, I caught up on some reading...
Goodreads Decription:

For some of us being a Christian is harder than it should be. Discouraged, anxious, worn down, we wonder what happened to the power and the joy that Jesus promised.

Jim Cymbala believes that many of us are missing something vital. Christianity, he says, for even the best-intentioned person or church, is impossible without the Holy Spirit. You can have regular devotions, great preaching, a strong emphasis on the Bible, a great worship team, and a congregation that is trying, but if you aren’t vitally in touch with God’s Spirit, you are missing out on the life God has for you.

The Holy Spirit, he points out, is God’s agent on earth. Yet he is the least understood, least preached about, and least discussed member of the Trinity. That is sad, because without him, our spiritual lives will always become dry, mechanical, and a struggle.

Too often, the body of Christ is divided into two sides. One side stresses the Word of God, separating itself from what it views as the emotional fanaticism often linked to those emphasizing the Holy Spirit. The other side is sometimes known for drifting into unbiblical manifestations and unorthodox teaching while attributing it all to the Spirit of God. But the Christianity we see in Scripture is both grounded in the Word and full of the Spirit.

With stunning stories of how God is working in the lives of people and churches today and biblical teaching about the Holy Spirit, Jim Cymbala invites you to experience God in a fresh and vital way. Nothing else will change our prayer life, our study of God’s word, and our worship more than opening our hearts to the Spirit. If we want power, confidence, joy, peace, and more love in our lives, then we need a better understanding of how and why the Spirit moves so we can join him there.

My Review:

I'm a huge fan of Jim Cymbala's body of work and have read several of his books, including Fresh Faith, Fresh Power, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, and The Life God Blesses. Several others are still on my to-read list. Cymbala writes in a conversational style that is engaging and relatable. While he never went to Bible college or seminary, he has been taught by the greatest authority (the Holy Spirit through His Word) and read secondary sources by the most cogent and spiritually-reliable theologians. 

It doesn't take much for Cymbala to convince the reader that the Holy Spirit is lacking in Christians and in Christian circles today. The evidence is all around us if we look. And if we know our Bibles at all, we'll know that the Holy Spirit is the essential component of effective Christian living and discipleship. Cymbala gives story after story of the change(s) people experience once the Holy Spirit becomes active in their lives. These were some of the best parts of the book for me because it's one thing to know a fact intellectually, and another to see it enacted in real life. 

If you're a Christian, this book has the information you need to change your life. As always, it's in the implementation. Spirit Rising is a book I'll return to again and again as I seek the Holy Spirit's presence and power in my own life. What can I say? In this area at least, I'm a slow learner...
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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