Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sifted: A Book Review

About The Book:

Worn down by the troubles in your life?  Overwhelmed by piled-up problems?  Worried about others who are hurting?  In his book, Sifted: God’s Scandalous Response to Satan’s Outrageous Demand, Rick Lawrence offers fresh biblical perspective on pain, based on a single Scripture snapshot: Luke 22:31-32. 

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.  And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”  These two simple verses from Luke’s account of the Last Supper launch a profound exploration of the meaning of trouble in a Christian’s life.  Suffering is inevitable, and if we’re honest, the explanations commonly offered often just don’t hold up or help very much.  But Jesus’ perfect metaphor of sifting provides fresh perspective on why we suffer and what the sifting process can reveal in our lives.

Peter was to be “sifted like wheat”—shaken hard, beaten, and finally separated from his false identity.  Satan was the one causing it, but Jesus would allow it.  Lawrence’s verse-by-verse exploration offers insight, comfort, challenge, and a call to greater intimacy with the God who allows our pain because He wants us to know who we really are and what we can become.

If we believe that Christians are still sifted today, why do we so often judge those who are experiencing hardships?  They must have done something wrong.  God must be punishing them.  But suffering is inevitable, whether it comes in the form of life-shifting catastrophe or the drip-drip-dripping of daily troubles.  Sifted will encourage those who are facing trouble now and those who will face it in the future.  It will encourage us to see our pain as a means to greater knowledge and intimacy with Christ.  Lawrence offers a rigorously honest, deeply challenging, yet powerfully comforting exploration of the trials that beat us down, the good God who allows our troubles, and the incredible beauty the process of sifting can reveal in us.

About The Author:

Rick Lawrence has been editor of GROUP Magazine, the world’s most widely read resource for Christian youth leaders, for 23 years and is the co-leader of The Simply Youth Ministry Conference.  In his role as “Youth Ministry Champion” at Group Publishing, he leads the organization’s expeditionary efforts to challenge, encourage, and equip youth pastors.  Lawrence has authored hundreds of magazine articles and is the author, co-author, or editor of 31 books, including JCQ’s: 150 Jesus-Centered Discussion Questions, Jesus-Centered Youth Ministry, and the adult/teenager small-group curricula Make Their Day and Ten Tough Things.  He’s a consultant to national research organizations and a frequent conference and workshop speaker.  Lawrence and his wife, Beverly Rose, live with their two daughters in Denver, CO

My Review:

If you have ever asked "why?" when something hard or bad has happened to you or someone you love, then you need to read Sifted. It is a great look at Luke 22:31-32, and the encouragement that Christ is to us and why we need to cling to Him, even when the hard times tempt us to turn and run from Him. Reading Sifted was a wonderful reminder that God doesn't say He won't stop bad from happening but He will help us through whatever situation we find ourselves in. Fantastic read that is very easy to read and on theologically! I believe every Christian should read this, particularly if you find yourself wondering why more often than not (as we all have at one time or another).

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up.

BUY IT: You can purchase Sifted by Rick Lawrence at your favorite bookseller from David C. Cook

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of The B and B Media Group and David C. Cook, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

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