Thursday, May 6, 2010

Present Perfect: Finding God in the Now

A "Holy Habit" That Will Change Your Life!

Experience true spiritual transformation: invite God's presence into your life! Popular author, theologian, and pastor Gregory Boyd shows you how-simply, practically, and effectively-in this thoughtful and accessible book.

Discover: · How to pray continually · What it means to "take every thought captive" · How to wake up to God's ever-present love

God is closer to you than the air you breathe. He is present in every given moment. Wake up to his presence! Turn off the mental chatter that keeps you from seeing his glory. Embrace the holy habit of inviting God's presence into your life, and be transformed!

Wake Up to God's Presence!

We long to be transformed. Yet our minds are filled with endless trivia and self-centered chatter. To-do lists. Worries about the past. Speculation about the future. We forget to live in the present moment ... and to invite God to be with us there.

After reading classic contemplative authors Brother Lawrence, Jean-Pierre de Caussade, and Frank Laubach, theologian and pastor Gregory Boyd longed to experience the presence of God for himself. For two decades, he's attempted to implement the "practice of the presence of God" in his own life ... sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing. What he's learned as a fellow pilgrim on his spiritual journey can help you find true spiritual transformation as you begin to practice the discipline of inviting God into every moment.

"I've become absolutely convinced that remaining aware of God's presence moment-by-moment is the single most important task in the life of every follower of Jesus," Boyd writes. "I'm convinced this challenge is implied in our commitment to surrender our life to Christ, for the only real life we have to surrender to him is the one we live moment-by-moment."

Present Perfect
By Gregory A. Boyd
176 Pages
PUB DATE: May 2010

Gregory A. Boyd is the founder and senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minn., and founder and president of Christus Victor Ministries. He was a professor of theology at Bethel College (St. Paul, Minn.) for sixteen years where he continues to serve as an Adjunct Professor. Greg is a graduate of the University of Minnesota (BA), Yale Divinity School (M.Div), and Princeton Theological Seminary (PhD). Greg is a national and international speaker at churches, colleges, conferences, and retreats, and has appeared on numerous radio and television shows. He has also authored and coauthored eighteen books prior to Present Perfect, including The Myth of a Christian Religion, The Myth of a Christian Nation, The Jesus Legend (with Paul Eddy), Seeing Is Believing, Repenting of Religion, and his international bestseller Letters from a Skeptic.

My review:
Dr. Boyd’s major premise is that, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and heirs to the kingdom of God, we are “missing out” on the one thing that is going to get us through each day; the practice of the presence of God in every moment, every aspect, every fiber of every day that we exist. He claims that the majority of the members of the body of Christ (especially in Western Christianity) are still “asleep” when it comes to a relationship with God, and his book is sprinkled throughout with “Post-It Notes,” asking, “Are you awake?”

I feel the tension that he is expounding; I recognize that my relationship with God desperately needs attention; it needs strengthening, it needs nurturing, and by God’s grace I’m going to grow closer to him every day. But it will not happen as a result of this book.

Dr. Boyd mentions several Biblical principles which it would behoove us to pay very close attention to, and give time and attention to practicing in our lives. Principles such as the Principle of the Vine (we need to recognize the importance of remaining attached to the root; we are called upon to bear fruit, more fruit and much fruit; we can expect some pruning, which is never a pleasant experience), the Principle of the Body (we are all members one of another, and Christ is the head; we cannot exist as a separate part of the body, that is called amputation in medical terms). I commend him upon bringing these principles to the attention of his readers.

But the majority of the text is given over to psychological head-games and what is tantamount (in my opinion) to New-Age mysticism. Dr. Boyd feels that “Despite our sin, our creator thinks we are worth experiencing a hellish death for. In fact, it was for the joy of spending eternity with us that Jesus endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2). In other words, Calvary reveals our unsurpassable worth and significance” (p. 45).

Yet Psalm 40:6-8 reveals a different story: “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” Psalms 40:6-8 (KJV)

And while John 3:16 DOES express God’s love for all humanity, THAT is precisely where the emphasis ought to stay; on God’s love. That verse ought not to be extrapolated into a polemic upon the “unsurpassable worth and significance” of those who pierced his hands, feet and side, and placed a crown of thorns on his head.

If you truly believe that you can improve your relationship with God, all by yourself, Dr. Boyd’s book just might be what you are looking for. Otherwise, I would humbly suggest that you spend your money buying a good concordance that you can study God’s Word with. The time spent in God’s Word alone will produce infinitely better, and lasting, results. 166 pages. $14.99 softcover

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