Monday, March 18, 2013

Book Review Monday - "Soul Detox" by Craig Groeschel

Hi, Reader!  Thanks for joining me here in the nest for another book review on this bright and snowy morning.  When God provides nasty weather ... read!  Today, I've got another wonderful Christian non-fiction by Craig Groeschel - Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World (Zondervan).

This was a recommendation from my husband, and I'm so thankful he found it for me.  Pastor Craig is the Lead pastor of Life Church in Oklahoma, and a dynamic speaker and writer.  He did a sermon series along with the book, which you can find here. I listened to them and wanted to also read the book. I'm so glad I did.  

Because my soul has been poisoned.

This book was deeply personal, as intended - a deep-reaching mirror.  The author begins with an introduction of his past with what contaminated his life, detailing how easily we all can be deceived and unaware of just how permeating the toxins have been.  He continues the book in three parts : Toxic Behaviors (self-lies, skeptical thoughts, lethal language, and hidden sin); Toxic Emotions (bitterness, envy, rage, and fear); and Toxic Influences (materialism, culture infection, unhealthy relationships, and bad religion).  What all of these topics have in common is a poisonous effect on our lives and our relationship with God, but Pastor Craig effectively dissects each in unique thoroughness.  I found myself laughing at his light satire of heavy and serious subject matter, as well as stopping mid-page to ponder for long moments in my own soul.  In addition to exploring the problems of these poisons all of humankind has been exposed to, the author successfully spells out the solutions to each and every one- all found in the gracious love of Jesus Christ.  The message repeatedly demonstrates the Gospel lived out in our culture, which is probably why I appreciated it so much.  This book is not just pointing at the contaminates, but it truly illustrates Jesus's power to cleanse and purify all of us.  

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

"One of the greatest stumbling blocks to spiritual growth emerges when we get stuck in our negative, untrue, and impure thoughts instead of making the translation to God's Word."

"Any one of these thoughts can be deadly, and cumulatively they can imprison us in a hellish well of toxic waste. If we want to break free into the exhilarating freedom of God's truth, then we much begin by accurately diagnosing our problem."

"As Christians, we have stronger weapons than knives, guns, and grenades. We have faith, prayer, and God's Word. God wants us to use His weapons to win the battle of the mind. God's truth releases us from the prison of lies."

"If you choose to continue hiding, your sin may take you farther than you wanted to go and cost you more than you ever thought you'd pay. If you're willing to seek God's mercy and face the consequences with the people affected by your sin, you will experience more liberating joy than you ever thought imaginable. It's time to stop hiding and start seeking." 

"The big deal is that allowing envy into your heart is like planting nuclear waste in your flowerbed."

"When we look at other people comparatively and competitively, we're not seeing them as our brothers and sisters. We're not loving them more than we love ourselves, and we're definitely not seeing them as God sees them."

"The "bad" kind of anger, on the other hand, usually results when we lose control of our emotions and take matters into our own hands. Sinful anger is getting angry at something - maybe even something legitimate, something angers God - but then allowing that anger to lead us to do the wrong thing. ... If you open the door to the devil though your anger, you're offering him a guest room inside your heart. Talk about sleeping with the enemy!"

"The way I see it, fear actually relies on faith - it's simply faith in the wrong things. Fear is placing your faith in "what-ifs" rather than in "God is." It's allowing your imagination to wander down a long and dark alley of possibilities and get mugged every couple of steps. Almost everyone who allows themselves to be taken hostage by what-ifs discovers that the only thing binding them is their own imagination."

... I have plenty more, but you'll have to get it for yourself, because I've run out of time today.

I like how the author of Hebrews states: 

"Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many." (12:15 -NLT)

When we look after ourselves and one another, we will be able to receive God's grace and stop every poisonous root - in our hearts, in our churches, and in our communities.

After reading Soul Detox, I have a new vision and useful tools so that I can reach for the pure holiness of God in my life and for the lives of others around me.  I pray that as you read it also, you will find the same.

Happy reading, Friends!

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