Monday, March 15, 2010

Book Review: Crave

book cover

by Chris Tomlinson

Trade Paperback: 221 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
First Released: 2010

Author Website

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Back Cover Description (highly modified):
There's so much more to life and faith than this. And we know it.

We all crave something. Many people try to fill this craving with sex, money, work, service, or religion, but satisfaction from these things are fleeting at best. Join Chris Tomlinson in his journey of seeking more of God and his realization that a close, day-to-day relationship with Him is what lastingly satisfies our cravings.

...knowing and being known by Jesus is the only way we can satisfy [our cravings]....He was there, waiting...ready to give me more of Himself as I gave Him more of myself. He was the source of my cravings, sending them up through my soul and into my body, because He knew they would lead me on a search for satisfaction that would point me back to the joy of being with Him.

Crave is both a Spiritual Growth book and an open, honest memoir of Chris Tomlinson's often-humorous journey of spiritual discovery. He used experiences from his life as parables to teach solidly Bible-based principles in an easy-to-grasp fashion.

He came across as encouraging rather than judgmental, and his focus was on drawing closer to God by focusing on building our relationship with Him. It's written for regular Christians who aren't entirely satisfied with their Christian walk, and it helps them get their focus back where it ought to be rather than the mechanics of doing prayer, service, etc, "right."

I appreciated that he acknowledged the tensions of God's character (like "God is love, but He's also just") rather than focusing exclusively on one trait. I also liked that he referred to all three members of the Trinity.

The chapters built progressively on each other, and some of the topics covered were: praying as a conversation (which involves listening), purity (what we let in our minds might be hard to get rid of), being different (in a good way), getting out of your comfort zone and following God's leading when reaching out to others, loving others, God is God and we're not Him, who sets the standards of right and wrong, trusting God like a child, spiritual nourishment, how God uses suffering, and finding the joy of the LORD and in the LORD.

I enjoyed this book quite a lot. Overall, I thought it was well-written and easy-to-understand, and I'd highly recommend it.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from pages 60-61
But being a light is difficult. I just don't have the wattage, and I tend toward the darkness more often than the light. I face the teachings of Jesus and realize my natural inclination is to step away from the glow rather than toward it.

Deny myself? Why would I do that? I like myself a lot, and I like to do what I feel like doing.

Turn the other cheek? What? If someone hits me, I want to level him.

Give to those who ask? Are you kidding me? You don't know how hard I have worked for this money, and you expect me to give it away to someone else?

With every choice in my day--spending time with God or blowing Him off, serving Anna or waiting to be served, getting upset with the guy who cut me off or letting it pass, showing respect to an undeserving coworker or talking trash behind his back, helping a friend move or sitting on my couch, offering my hand to the guy with the sign by the highway or turning my head away--I decide to step toward or away from the light of Christ. And these decisions mean everything to my faith. They either harden my heart...or they soften my spirit....

Something about these choices is powerful; they can draw me nearer to God. Coming close to a roaring campfire makes you warm. Coming close to the brilliant light of God makes you a light as well. We are wicks, and the only way we can burn bright for Christ is to come close enough to catch His fire.

So as I stand in the glow of Christ in this great, dark room, I want to move toward Him. I want to delight myself in His Word and spend time in conversation with Him, allowing His light to illuminate all the spiritual trash in my home. My cravings for Him have to overcome my fear of exposure, and they compel me to do silly things like pick up my neighbors' [physical] trash.

But the great part about drawing close to God is that He draws close to us. We may not always feel like that's true, but we have to keep taking small steps toward His light, knowing and believing that He will shine through us to the rest of this world.

Read chapter one.

No comments: