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: Healing is a Choice, by Stephen Arterburn

Despite my misgivings of the title, Healing is a Choice  is not a quick-fix manual, in the style of certain tele-evangelists.  Stephen Arterburn writes his most current tome in a conversational manner, workbook style.  I was pleased to find a wealth of thoughtful material, presented for normal, hurting Christians, about topics that the mainstream Christian church typically shies away from.

Presented in a 10-chapter format, where healing choices contrast with the lies that have been sold to us, Mr. Arterburn does not avoid the painful elements of life when discussing either his own story or those of others he has counseled on his daily radio show.  The version I reviewed contained workbook pages with each chapter – an essential part of this book.  Not for gift-giving, (unless you are a counselor), but personal growth in subjects like “The Choice to Feel Your Life,” in chapter 2, contrasted with the lie that “Real Christians should have a real peace in all circumstances.”  This hit home: while going through my own painful journey, I heard this lie – usually from smiling people without the depth of a healing process.  In contrast, the knowledge that my emotional pain was valid became liberating, and brought me (slowly) to peace and forgiveness.  With every chapter, I sensed a need for deeper study, which is why this review has taken so long (I am still not finished, but I hope you get the gist: excellent stuff here!).

In Mr. Arterburn’s words: “Your healing may be physical or it may be emotional and it could be spiritual.  I don’t know what God has for you. I am confident, however, that if you make the healing choices presented here and counter the lies you need to stop living, you will experience some level of healing to a new degree.” (intro,p.15)  In every page, every chapter and especially in the workbook pages, you are encouraged to make this a spiritual healing, by interacting with our grace-filled Saviour.

My hope is that this book is the fuel for your joyful living!

I was given a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review, as part of the Booksneeze review blogger group.  You can join also!  Just click on the button at your right.

Resources:

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

Christianbook.com’s listing of his written works

Amazon’s page: Stephen Arterburn