5 Stars: Stuck by Jennie Allen

I believe a reader's time and money is very valuable and my purpose in reviewing books is to be as critically honest as possible so that others will be able to fairly determine whether a book is worth reading or not. Last I counted, I had given 9 1-and-2-star reviews for books, while giving 9 4-and-5 star reviews. I can't stand all the 4-5 star reviews on Amazon for feel-good books. To me, a book better have some meat. Something that will add to your life and change it for the better. Knowing I am a picky reviewer, know that I fully believe in this DVD/book combo. It is one of my favorite books of the whole year - and I'm pretty tough to please.

Jennie Allen's DVD is about rediscovering the purpose in your life and not wasting your life on silly useless day-to-day tasks. This is truly about losing your life to God, so that you may find it. Jennie does an outstanding job communicating this to the reader/watcher - with real life examples. This is 100% for men and women. This is NOT a women's only book. If men don't watch/read this, they will be making a huge mistake. Although the book/DVD is easy to follow and understand, the topic is deep. It's YOUR LIFE after all! Jennie quotes St. Augustine and John Piper, so you know she's not a girl of fluff.

The only criticism I have is that the material isn't always given in a direct straight-forward manner and this leads to confusion - BUT STICK IT OUT! You won't be sorry! You need to listen CAREFULLY. Sometimes rewind twice. Because, just when you think she is teaching something not quite true, she'll come around to the truth right afterwards. Give this a chance - at first, as I started to watch, I thought "This girl is so off base" because she explains the human emotion-feely side first, then explains the TRUE Bible based truth afterwards. So sometimes you will go "oh, no, she's off base and just like those other preachers" but if you listen carefully (sometimes you have to really follow closely), you will realize she pulls the story back around and hits you with the truth! Bam! And you go "WOW..." I've never heard ANY female Christian ever speak so accurately about her beliefs before. In fact, I would rate her up there with only about a dozen serious men in terms of Biblical accuracy and their idea of how to live the Christian life.

I'm sure I'm not really doing the book/DVD justice, but let me try to summarize a bit: Jennie gets into that as humans, we mess up and sin a lot. We then are burdened with guilt and feel a big separation from God. But God is a god of grace - he has forgiven us and doesn't demand perfection in works. The Christian life isn't about performance to get our salvation. Jesus died for imperfect people. Just when I thought she was going off the wrong path, Jennie comes around and shows me she DOES understand the Bible - and she encourages us to seek a RELATIONSHIP with God. She explains that if we will allow God into our lives (and stop hiding from him because of our shame and imperfection) and fall upon God, that God will take care of us. People expect God wants something from us - perfection - but he is more concerned with relationship. Jennie helps us deal with out emotions correctly and not get caught up in keeping a distance from God. She says "Stop pretending we aren’t screwed up. Realize the need for God. We are afraid if we ask God for help, he might not be there, but he will be there. Trust God." We are that ugly lump of clay. We need to put ourselves in the potters hands and let him mold us into something beautiful.

We are all discontent and seeking for things that aren't important - clothes, shoes, status - Solomon chased women, Adam and Eve chose "the apple" or forbidden fruit. We are choosing and chasing the world. Paul tells us to be content in all circumstances. If we chase the world's things (including fabric to decorate our home), we are giving importance to something of no importance in the greater perspective of the world and our lives. "God, you alone fill me."

When we get scared and anxious, we are telling God that we don't trust him. "There is some drug in life that say to be busy is to matter." John Piper says “It is possible to waste your life.” We are spending our life on errands and our to-do-list, while God has written this beautiful story - a plan for the entire world from start to finish. And we are choosing to not be apart of it by busying ourselves with daily tasks. "We are wasting our minutes. And these minutes turn into hours. That equals the sum of our life." Errands. What if we are missing everything God wants for us because our calendar is too full.

Jennie says she thought she was living right for a while. "So I go to God “What am I doing wrong?” Maybe I didn’t believe those things about God THAT deeply. I wasn’t really trusting God. I was trying to control my life." Her life, just like ours, didn't reflect that she believed the Bible ALL THAT much - at least not enough to be living by it DOWN TO THE CORE - Give God control of your life. Trust him. "You don’t have to try to impress God anymore because God wasn’t impressed anyway. So go run the race. Run your guts out… because you are just here for a minute in this world. Display God’s glory on this planet."

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher free of charge but I always give honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.

1 comment:

  1. Would you say this study is appropriate from ages 14+? I am looking at setting up a Bible study of substance for a group in my area.