Prodigal Son.  Bankrupt.  Sick.  Hungry.  Eating pig food. Envying his Father’s servants.

Why student ministry?  Students will face pig troughs in life. 

“When he came to his senses . . . he got up and went to his father” (Luke 15:17-20).

Why student ministry?  Students need memories of adults acting for their Father to help them find their way back.

Sunday afternoon cookouts at Jack’s house.  Leon, our smiling Sunday School teacher.  Curt’s basement, where I devoted my life to full time Christian ministry.  My youth sponsors’ actions when I was young helped pave a road for me with memories of my Father.

Why student ministry? There is no magic number of memories which guarantee a student will return.

This is why it is so important to take that student out for a Coke, or teach that Sunday School class week after week, or go to that wrestling match (even though watching two sweaty teenage boys in spandex flopping around on a mat is not your idea of fun). With every bit of asphalt we lay for a student, we help make the Father easier to come back to.

Have you faced any pig troughs?  Which people helped pave your road back to the Father?

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Let me start this review by saying that I am not an avid biography reader, so I picked Washington: A Legacy of Leadership by Paul Vickery and Stephen Mansfield up for a change of pace.

The bright side of this book was to see some of the mistakes Washington made (especially in his early military career) and how he prevailed when he was presented with similar situations in the future because of his lessons learned.  It was also interesting to see how he drew his strength from his calling from God, and how he perceived himself to be singularly qualified to do what he was able to do.  I did walk away with a greater respect for this man who sacrificed much for his country.

I am not sure if it was how a biography writing style differed from my regular reading fare, but I never found myself in a groove while reading this work.  It seemed to drag along with infinitesimal details about Washington’s life at times and it was a bit like being hit with a birage of information with little reflection as to the significance of what the information meant.

If you are a history buff or a biography lover, you will no doubt love this book, but if not, be prepared for a long and, at times, laborious, read.  Writing styles aside, however, this man was an amazing character from American History.

Thank you to Book Sneeze for giving me a chance to review this book.  These opinons are my own.

In true Erwin McManus style, his book Unleashed, paints a beautiful, all be it incomplete, picture of what life as a Christian is supposed to be.  Namely, this:

. . . a life lived in the simple belief that all we are meant to do is the outflow of faith, hope, and love (pg. 12).

He relies heavily on his ethos that,

“. . .  the life you long to live is not waiting in the future; it is waiting in the inner recesses of your soul.  You don’t need to go find faith you need to unleash it.  You don’t need to go find life; you need to unleash it.  In fact, everything that is good or beautiful and true that you will spend your entire life searching for is simply waiting to be set free through a life that follows Christ with reckless abandon” (pg. 18).

If I have one criticism of the book (and, having heard McManus speak on many occasions, I would say it is not an accurate portrait of his beliefs), it would be that he seems to find this “unleashed” life in simply taking huge risks with your life in Christ; risks which take place largely outside of the community that is the Church.  In fact, I would go so far, at times, to call his deconstruction and treatment of the Church, harsh.

Aside from his individualistic approach (again, which I have only found in this book) to a faith meant to be lived out in a community, I would say his words are extremely motivational and many of them resounded in my Spirit as truths to live by (see the two quotes above for examples).

Tempered with an attitude of love towards the Bride of Christ, I recommend this book heartily to someone seeking to grow in their Christian walk.

Thank you to Book Sneeze for giving me a chance to review this book.  These opinons are my own.