I rarely do book reviews because frankly, I don’t enjoy doing them. I love reading and am actually a very fast reader, but I just don’t like having to read a book one someone else’s time schedule. So, like Nancy Reagan told me, I just say no. Although I’m not sure she was talking about books. So what would possess a blogger who hates to do book reviews, beg to do a book review? When her pastor writes a book.
A little backstory, if you will indulge me. My hubby and I met at a church in Chicago that we loved. Like big puffy heart loved. One of the reasons I resisted moving away from Chicago for so long was that I just knew we would never find a church we loved as much. I seriously wondered if a 3 1/2 hour weekly commute was an option.
Where we live now is the land of churches. There was no shortage of churches to choose from and some “celebrity” pastors to go along with them. Ada Bible Church was the third church we visited and honestly the reason we kept coming back was the teaching pastor, Jeff Manion. You know when you hear a sermon and feel like it was spoken just for you and just what you needed that day? That happens week after week. The fact that the church has grown by the thousands in the five years that we have been there indicates I must not be the only one who feels that way.
The Land Between is based on a sermon series Jeff did a few years back comparing the journey the Israelites took through the desert to our lives when we are in that transitional place in life we just don’t want to be in. Job loss, illness, break ups, wayward children….the list could go on and on. Sometimes life just isn’t going the way we think it should go. I think I can confidently say that all of us will be in “The Land Between” at some point or another. Maybe you are in it right now.
I think if you have ever studied the Israelites’ journey, there is a tendency to judge them as whiny brats who can’t get their act together or learn from their mistakes. I mean how often can you whine about “the good ole days” in Egypt BACK WHEN THEY WERE SLAVES? But Jeff helps me see myself in their story and shows us how to avoid their pitfalls. Pretty important for a girl prone to some impressive bouts of whining. God wants to meet us in these seasons, grow us and teach us to trust him. If we don’t use “the land between” as a place to be spiritually transformed, we are missing an opportunity to draw closer to God. Or as Jeff puts it:
While the Land Between is prime real estate for faith transformation, it is also the space where we can grow resentful, bitter, and caustic if our responses are unguarded. The wilderness where faith can thrive is the very desert where it can dry up and die if we are not watchful.”
I am in a season of blessing right now. But I am surrounded by people going through all sorts of life’s difficulties. And I am not one to shove books in people’s hands when they are suffering, but this book would be what I would recommend to anyone in “the land between.” Because this isn’t some fairy tale how to on how to get out of the place you are in. Life doesn’t always wrap itself up perfectly with a pretty bow. Sometimes the promise land, is frankly, the one we are promised when we leave this earth. This is a real life guide to getting through those times with your faith intact.
I would to give this book to someone who needs it right now. And although I was given a book to review, I will be buying the giveaway book with my very own money. That is how much I want you to have this book. All you have to do to enter is leave me a comment. No special hoops to jump through. Winner will be chosen next Sunday Oct.3rd at random. Good luck!