Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Review: Simply Jesus

By Joseph M. Stowell
Simply Jesus, by Dr. Joseph M. Stowell, is exactly what the title implies -- a simple, easy-to-read, meditative or devotional style book that points the reader to Jesus.  Dr. Stowell writes:  "You can be satisfied to just know about Him, or you can enter into an experience with Jesus.  Only you can make the choice.  And this choice determines the difference between religion as usual or the satisfaction of connecting with Jesus, the One we were created to enjoy."
Simply Jesus. What would it mean to fix our attention fully on the Person of Christ? To approach Him apart from systems, formulas, religion, and well-meaning Christian culture? To see Jesus Himself? And how would that change us? Simply Jesus identifies experiences that can awaken the realization of our basic need to focus on Him ... like temptation, trouble, and surrender. A book intended for both spiritual seekers and Christians who are ready for a fresh, personal encounter with the Savior their heart searches for.

Numerous books have been written on the topic of having a personal relationship with Jesus, and I doubt that there's any new insight here.  But Dr. Stowell has a gift for communicating and teaching biblical truths in a clear, easily understood way that cuts straight to the heart.  It is a fairly short read at 96 pages, nine chapters, and would make an excellent resource for daily devotions or times of meditation.

Two questions asked by Dr. Stowell get to the heart of this book:  "Paul said that it was the throbbing ambition of his life to experience Jesus . . . Is it yours?" and "If you had to choose between Jesus and something precious to you . . . I wonder, would you choose Him?"

I enjoyed Simply Jesus and plan to go back over it slowly.  This book will mean different things to different people, depending on where they are in their spiritual journey.  But I think it would speak to anyone - from seeker, to new Christian, to those more mature in their faith.  I can definitely recommend this book.

While I've not read other books by Dr. Stowell, I have enjoyed his teaching on Proclaim! in the past.  His current web ministry, Strength for the Journey, offers several free resources, such as daily devotionals and messages.  The website is:  http://getmorestrength.org/

I'll close with one of my favorite quotations:

"I never get tired of Jesus.  After all these years, I still find Him more compelling, more engaging, more awesome, more surprising, more fulfilling, and more attractive than ever before.  I never get tired of singing His praises or of watching Him perform.  I find Him to be gripping.  Absorbing.  Beyond comprehension.  And that's why . . . I find myself longing to know Him better."

This book was provided by WaterBrook/Multnomah through the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review.

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