Absolutely Surrendering: A Review

I’ll be honest here, cause well, I can. I don’t read alot of Biblical scholars. I just don’t. C.S. Lewis is about as far back as I go in reading some who are pillars of the faith. So when I decided to dig into an Andrew Murray that was re-released by B&H recently, I was challenging myself, my faith, and really struggling to pull through it.

But here’s the thing. This was perfect timing to read this. I got the very short book, running around 140 pages and thought, “Oh I’ll have this done in just a week or two. Six weeks later and I am digging back into it over and over.

B&H Publishing has gone through some classics in Christian writings and added reflections to the chapters, observations and applicable questions to reflect back on each chapter. I find that really valuable and strengthening in my own faith. Lore Ferguson Wilbert is the general editor on Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray.

This book format is in the same structure of Murray’s original, written from sermons given throughout his time and published in 1897. The chapters are short, but very dense, often causing me to sit and ruminate for days on one before coming back into reading. You walk through what surrender is, an absolute surrender and what that life defined by surrender will be. Murray talks about being a living sacrifice, and to be alive but fully dead to self.

The deeper I dug into this book to read and review, I found myself connecting to the reflections and observations, praying the prayers at the end of each chapter as I began wrestling with absolutely surrendering to God as well. Murray helps one who struggles with giving up all of oneself to God and those that didn’t realize just how tight they had gripped that sliver of self for so long.

I highly recommend this new collection of classics re-released by B&H for anyone seeking to delve deeper into the pillars of faith as they provide challenges to faith that are still applicable today, while giving questions to further ponder and dig into individually or as a group. This book would be a great small group study or to read on your own. Warning though, your surrender is at stake…and not just some of it. But absolutely all of it.

 


B&H sent this book to me for free in exchange for an honest review of this book.

An Ordinary Review

“But mission usually doesn’t involve doing sensational acts; it involves simple, ordinary acts done with a heart of love.” (P.52)

That is much of the position of Tony Merida in his book, Ordinary, out now from B&H Publishers. 

You find Merida’s writing straight to the point and grounded in Biblical foundations throughout the first half of the book. He doesn’t mince words about loving your neighbor as a missionary life, how to support and engage the orphaned and widow is our responsibility in the church, and how ordinary life should reflect the image of Christ always.

With it being under 150 pages, one may ascertain its more devotional and fluff than call to a mission-filled life of “ordinary.” However this book provides depth to what life in the suburbs or apartment building looks like, what missionaries living can be in a corner office or in the streets. He points to hospitality as a means of speaking the gospel to people.

It falls directly in the path of Christ’s journey here on earth, at the table having meals with non-believers, entertaining the outcast and lesser of society, seeking conversations with the prostitutes and adulterers. Merida lays out beautifully the life of ordinary, of daily loving others just as Christ loves, and the impact it makes in extraordinary ways in the journey of serving God.

The latter half of the book dives more into advocacy and ways to practically serve the marginalized of society. While many will enjoy this turn into practicality I felt it wasn’t a fluid move from one chapter to another. It felt very choppy and forced, as if these were add-ones for page counts. While advocacy is important and vital to our lives as image bearers it just didn’t seem to fit where it was placed in the book.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone doubting their life is missional, to anyone who thinks they have to do some big mission journey or that is skeptical of an ordinary life as one of mission as well. So basically, anyone can and should read this. It’s a great look and convicting message of how much more ordinary we need in our lives, rather than extraordinary. Let’s leave that business to God and live out the missional life He’s called us to live.


I received this book from B&H Publishing in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. Want to be a B&H/LifeWay blogger too? Apply at B&H Bloggers.

Steadfast Love: Review and Giveaway!

Confession time around these parts…

I love books.

You all probably knew that by now, but I seriously get anxiety over all the great books I have yet to read. I keep a shelf in my bedroom of books I read each year, and those I plan to read. I got the idea a couple of years ago from my friend Jon Acuff. It was this whole “empty shelf” challenge, and one I have kept to for the last three years. My goal each year is to match the number of books I read with the age I will be turning. That’s the only stipulation. So I read professional development, fiction and Christian living books. Every once in a while I share those on here with you all, as you’ve seen from Choose Joy, Fervent and Dancing Through Life.

This month I got a jump on my book challenge with the new release from Lauren Chandler called Steadfast Love (You can pick it up at your local LifeWay which now does price matching!). You may or may not be familiar with Lauren or her family. I have been what you’d call a “follower fan” of Matt Chandler for a while, as he pastors in Texas. Several years ago Matt fell ill and captivated alot of Christians for how he and his family navigated the diagnosis and subsequent journey under the “new normal.”

Let me say I started this book off slow, as I was finding it hard to get into personally. But I had to deal with that as this book is beautifully written on a Psalm which is personal to Lauren, but is one to be learned from by us all.

We deep dive into Psalm 107 section by section, verse by verse throughout this book. She pinpoints anchors we choose to use, instead of the the everlasting, eternal one in Christ. One such quote found in the early pages digs right at the heart of where we need to start when seeking/living in steadfast love:

What we choose to use as our anchor determines how well we will weather the seasons of life. (pg 19)

God’s steadfast love is our anchor, in the midst of any storm or seas of life, when we need rest, to enjoy the perspective, or when we need refuge.

Lauren walks you through each of those areas, from the heavy and hard to the folly of our own hands. You see her worship of Psalm 107 and it ignites within you the desire to look at the steadfast love in your own life, the anchors you fashion out of your own hands, and begin to examine the Psalm with eyes on Him. She gets to the crux of her book with the synopsis of “Sometimes he wrings the worship from our hearts.”

In truth, He does. We get wrung out through praise, but it has to be from a heart filled with steadfast love in Him from Him.

As we enter the month of love awareness (I’ll save you all my soap box on that), I wanted to encourage you to check out this book from Lauren Chandler and examine the Psalm a bit deeper as we look at steadfast love in a time where love seems to be bought and traded far too cheaply. See how His steadfast love grabbed Lauren to prepare her for a time when she needed the anchor which holds stronger than any one she could’ve fashioned for herself.


To celebrate Lauren’s release and to get this book into the hand of a reader, I am giving away a copy of Steadfast Love RIGHT HERE! All you have to do is tell us what Psalm you love in the comments and a winner will be picked at random. Deadline to enter is Tuesday, February 2nd!