Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Review SECONDHAND JESUS : Trading rumors of God for a firsthand faith ~ Glenn Packiam

As you know but now, I love Glenn Packiam’s music and his books. Go and check out my thoughts on BUTTERFLY IN BRAZIL. Glenn's second book, SECONDHAND JESUS – TRADING RUMORS OF GOD FOR A FIRSTHAND FAITH. Secondhand Jesus was published by David C. Cook in 2009 and is a must read for every one that’s wondering if there’s shortcuts to God, struggling with that personal relationship with God, thinking that they cannot hear from God, living through the grapevine and whose life is falling apart …

Mark Buchanan writes in the foreword:
“It’s a clear-eyed and unflinching look at how Christians, pastors included, miss Jesus and misrepresent Him. It’s ruthless and yet loving critique of how often we, with all the best intentions, redefine what it means to know Jesus and worship Him alone.”
“But this book is not a tirade; it’s no self-righteous harangue against modern innovations followed by a stern call to return to that ‘old time’ religion. It’s more a confession and a plea. It’s bone-deep admissions of personal failure, a heartfelt repentance for that failure, and a soul-stirring call to put aside childish things and to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. It’s honest and forthright. It’s inspiring and convicting. It confronts, and it invites.”

And that’s exactly what this book did for me within the first few pages. Glenn once again shared on a very personal level, which opened up a lot of issues I’ve been experiencing. Ever experience a “what the heck” moment? That moment when you feel and see your life falling apart, everything comes to a halt and you wonder what the heck is going on … A loved one dies, you are in the middle of an ugly divorce, you’ve lost your job, your house, your car, diagnosed with a deadly illness …

I was there in 2003 when I was involved in a serious head-on collision where my best friend died, as well as the driver of the other vehicle. A week before the accident I was diagnosed with burn-out and compassion fatigue and my relationship was not what it was suppose to be. Believe me, my world was falling apart - everything, all at once! And the words of C.S Lewis became a reality:

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”


Now, I had a relationship with God. I knew Him well. I spoke to Him daily. But it was obvious that I’ve missed some pretty important things …

Glenn says in Chapter One, “But every once in awhile, our hands are pried off our faces, our eyes are almost forcibly opened, our ears are unplugged. We catch a glimpse for ourselves, a glimpse that will be our undoing. And our salvation. In that moment, we are ruined and redeemed by that little glimpse.”

I remember, when the oncoming vehicle was coming for us, I was praying like never before … but I also knew that no matter what, God’s Will will be done. And I’ve experienced peace like never before. I knew where I will be going should I die and at that moment I also knew that all will be well … But I also knew that a lot of things will be falling apart …And fall apart they did :-)

But I also realized, as Glenn states in SECONDHAND JESUS, that I have believed rumors about God that have kept me from Him, kept me from really knowing Him. I have relied so much on the church … the do’s and don’ts … ensnared in religion … counselors … We get so comfortable with it all that we don’t go to the Source and check, yes check.

I have learned that God will not always give me what I want … I have to know His Will, His plan … seek Him and He will give me what I need. There’s a huge difference between what I want and what I need! I have learned that full surrender and obedience leads to God Himself – the greatest blessing of all, and Kingdom living. God is not an add-on to my life … I cannot just “add” Him to my doings, my plans, my everyday life … my life is God. Ha ha ha, God is not pleased with me just because I’m good! Glenn says, “But grace is not just a second chance. If it were, it would not be that amazing, because no matter how hard we try or how many times we try, we cannot fully please God. We simply do not have the ability. The truth-and it’s painful to admit-is that no matter how good we are, we will never be good enough to satisfy God’s holiness.” The only way is humility … such a difficult concept in today’s world where we want to be someone, something … pride can be the greatest and most difficult struggling blocks.

One of the statements that Glenn made that really shook my world is:
“God’s justice is not simply philosophical; it’s personal. Every time I sin, I am spitting in God’s face, insulting Him b my insistence on living apart from Him. I am saying He is not enough-not good enough, not powerful enough, not worthy enough-to have my devotion, dependence, and obedience. When I sin, I am in essence saying that God is not God. And if God is to be God, He cannot tolerate such mutiny and insult. It is an affront to His character. And I am the offender.”  Wow! I did not know what to make of this … then Glenn wrote, “Our response to God is not to try and repay or try to filter our behavior enough to become better. It is to surrender, completely and fully, out of love for Him. The only way to respond to such lavish love from God is love in return-the kind of love that makes us give ourselves fully to Him.”

Since 2003 I have come a long way. I have grown so much. God have shared so many secrets with me. Gave me many many promises. I have experienced that intimate and personal relationship with Him, I know now more than ever that He IS alive … because He speaks to me every day. I see and experience Him in my life, daily … I can see His hand everywhere. I can do the most stupid of stupid things and I know He is there, watching and guiding. I know He's smiling at me right now. I know that I make Him laugh. He enjoys my questions and challenges. I know that I love Him more than life itself … and that I will sacrifice my own life for Him. I cannot and don't want to forsake Him. I want to know Him more and more ...

Today I can say what Job have said:
“I admit I once lived by rumors of you; now I have it all firsthand-from my own eyes and ears! I’m sorry-forgive me. I’ll never do that again. I promise! I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.” (Job 42:5-6 MSG)

I realize that this is more a testimony than a book review, but I needed a lot of these things opened up for me, again – Glenn managed to do that for me. Thank you Glenn for a brutally honest and hard-hitting book!
Read it for yourself, it will change your world. You will realize that you’ve relied on rumors … and I pray that Jesus Himself will reveal the truth to you.

Be blessed!

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