works_of_the_devil (1)

     Recently I learned of two books which were published over five years ago and which I think could be of interest to members of The #ReimagineFORUM. (The administrator of the forum, Phil Miglioratti, also thinks they could be of interest to members of it.)
     The first one is The Dangerous Kind, by Graeme Sellers, which was published in 2012. At present it has ten reviews on Amazon, and all of them give it five stars. One can read a preview of it there. I have read parts of its first chapter, which is entitled "Living Dangerously in a Perilous Time", wherein the author argues that the followers of Christ should continue His works of destroying the works of the devil. As I John 3:8b states:
AV/KJV: For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
NIV: The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work.
ESV: The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
     Here are four excerpts from its first chapter:
Clearly this is a departure from an understanding of Christianity that spends itself on keeping the local church going. In fact, the kingdom ministry of destroying Satan's works may have very little to do with the typical activities of the traditional church. For years most of our Christian activity has been church-centered, and our service to God was weighed by how much we did on behalf of our local fellowship. We've contented ourselves with being somewhat moral, going to church, and helping our church become more successful. This is a far cry from being dangerous. Our understanding of God's activity and call must expand beyond the walls of the local church. Becoming dangerous entails moving from church to kingdom in our thinking and acting.
     In these days having excellent ministry skills is not enough. Attending conferences, reading books, and holding 24-hour prayer meetings are insufficient. All of these can be helpful, but none are adequate for the task at hand. The task is dangerous living, existing from the radical missionary call of Christ, risking everything for the sake of the King who called us out of the darkness into his marvelous light. It is a hazardous enterprise because we do not go forward unopposed.
     As the time of Christ's return draws nearer, the efforts of our adversary are redoubled. And yet, so many behave as if it's business as usual, as if strengthening the institutional church by increasing the ABCs—attendance, buildings, cash—is the highest thing we can give ourselves to. Though the times are perilous, we conduct ourselves as though we live in a time of peace and consider Satan, if he exists at all, a toothless gremlin not meriting serious response. [. . .]
     Our interest is not in the enemy and his ilk, but in the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ. He alone commands our fascination. Knowing Christ requires us both to embrace his mission as our own and to understand our identity as warriors in a dark time who have been called to noble and high purposes.
     The second book I learned of is Being a Safe Place for the Dangerous Kind, by Michael Bradley, which was published in 2015. At present it has six reviews on Amazon, and all of them give it five stars. Its publisher says the following about it:
We live in a world full of broken people. And all too often, the Christian church is not a safe place for them to find emotional, relational, and spiritual wholeness. But it should be.
In Being a Safe Place for the Dangerous Kind, author Mike Bradley offers a book to help followers of Jesus live more effective lives of witness and develop healthy disciples and leaders. It is not a book that simply points out everything the body of Christ and its leaders are doing wrong. This is a book about a person’s “being”—who that person is as opposed to what he or she does.
Broken into four parts entitled “Introducing the Safe Place Vision,” “Experientially Rooted in God’s Grace,” “Rooted in God’s Truth,” and “Creating an Atmosphere of Freedom for Authentic Living,” Bradley uses Scripture to show how Jesus was a safe place and modeled for us how to best relate to others so they could be impacted by the love and power of God.
For pastors, leaders, and laypeople alike, this is an essential resource for anyone interested in learning how to help others find restoration in Christ.
   I learned of both books from the website of the Alliance of Renewal Churches, which is here:
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