BOOK REVIEW: The Exceptional Life, by Stephen Arterburn

In sync with my glowing review of Stephen Arterbur’s previous work, Healing is a Choice, his current book  The Exceptional Life felt like a natural extension of the message: change is possible for anyone.

I was anticipating a continuation of healing principles thoroughly explained, and was not disappointed.  Stephen asks “Want to upgrade to the Exceptional Life?” and it would be a moldy person who did not answer in the affirmative.  In each of his 8 chapters, he gives practical help for recovery from guilt, shame, resentment, fear, anger, instant gratification, learned helplessness, isolation, and addiction, in order to gain the exceptional life, of God’s design.

Stephen doesn’t candy-coat our issues, nor the work needed to regain God’s best for us.  In each chapter, stories are woven to bring into focus each trait – of need for change, and the steps that will accomplish it.  In stark contrast to the superficial life advertised everywhere we look, Arterburn’s book will delve into the pain of alcoholism, overeating, adultery, and less-notable traits like shame and anger.  Few Christian authors dare to say clearly that there is more work to living the life of Christ after reading and praying, but Arterburn is one, and I thank him for his continual stand for growth and change.  Still fewer will stud their theories with personal stories and humility, but Stephen is also of this camp.

If you are looking for change, but do not want the hubris of an Oprah book, I encourage this read – it will become a journey into life!

This review was written for Bethany House Publishers, in return for my advance copy.  You are welcome to join also!

Resources:

Stephen Arterburn’s online radio presence : New Life Live Show

Christianbook.com’s listing of his written works

Amazon’s page: Stephen Arterburn

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Book Review: Walls by Ryan Rush

Taking the visual cue of the Berlin Wall, Ryan Rush writes Walls: Why Everyone Is Stuck And Nobody Has To Be, arguing that we are all blocked in some spiritual ways.  “Walls block us from living, giving and experiencing God’s best in our lives.” His examples include anger, fear, doubt, shame…with room to personalize.  Ryan also clearly states that circumstances are not our walls, though they might tempt us to be distracted into believing so.  He proposes several godly steps toward breaking those walls down (there are often more than one) for your optimal growth in Christ.  Ryan’s style is easy, conversational and simply put – I finished the book in an afternoon.  I would not recommend that speed, however,  as this book may require several perusals for progress on said walls.  Anyone with stubborn mental blocks or spiritual strongholds (his provoking example is Mother Theresa) would be strengthened by simply considering Ryan’s method.  The book includes discussion questions to spark comprehension and conversation, spaces to record your thoughts, and begin naming your walls.

Personally I found this resonated with several internal struggles I have faced, with compassion and healing support, and an emphasis on the promises of God, with examples both thought-provoking and encouraging.

I was grateful to have the privilege of reviewing this book for Tyndale Blog Network, of Tyndale House Publishers and received a complimentary advance copy to complete my review.