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Jesus, Continued…: Why the Spirit Inside You is Better than Jesus Beside You

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Why does God often feel more like a doctrine we know about than a Person we know? Why do so many of us think of Christianity as a lifestyle to which we conform, rather than a God with whom we commune? Jesus gave his disciples the audacious promise that it was to their advantage he go back to heaven because the Holy Spirit could then come to live inside of them. How many of Why does God often feel more like a doctrine we know about than a Person we know? Why do so many of us think of Christianity as a lifestyle to which we conform, rather than a God with whom we commune? Jesus gave his disciples the audacious promise that it was to their advantage he go back to heaven because the Holy Spirit could then come to live inside of them. How many of us consider our connection to the Holy Spirit so strong and so real that we would call his presence in us better than Jesus beside us? Author J.D. Greear asks those questions because throughout his Christian life he felt disconnected to God and unsure about how to interact with him. Although he had learned a lot of truths about God, he sensed very little relationship with him—at least, not the dynamic, two-way relationship he really wanted. He tried to have such a relationship, but all of God’s work seemed stockpiled in the past: he created the world, died on a cross, and left a Bible. God seemed like a busy teacher who had given an assignment and then stepped out of the room, leaving students to get the work done on their own. But Greear discovered it doesn’t have to be like that. Not at all. In clear and practical language, he explains how any follower of Jesus can have a satisfying, powerful relationship with God through the Holy Spirit. While many books about the Holy Spirit get stuck in secondary questions that divide believers, The God Factor focuses on a central, truth that unites us: God wants to be vitally present in and through his people. This truth, though central, is sadly neglected. This generation of Christians—mission-driven but burned out, weary, and longing for joy—desperately needs to recover the dynamic presence of God. And the good news is that God wants us to have exactly that.


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Why does God often feel more like a doctrine we know about than a Person we know? Why do so many of us think of Christianity as a lifestyle to which we conform, rather than a God with whom we commune? Jesus gave his disciples the audacious promise that it was to their advantage he go back to heaven because the Holy Spirit could then come to live inside of them. How many of Why does God often feel more like a doctrine we know about than a Person we know? Why do so many of us think of Christianity as a lifestyle to which we conform, rather than a God with whom we commune? Jesus gave his disciples the audacious promise that it was to their advantage he go back to heaven because the Holy Spirit could then come to live inside of them. How many of us consider our connection to the Holy Spirit so strong and so real that we would call his presence in us better than Jesus beside us? Author J.D. Greear asks those questions because throughout his Christian life he felt disconnected to God and unsure about how to interact with him. Although he had learned a lot of truths about God, he sensed very little relationship with him—at least, not the dynamic, two-way relationship he really wanted. He tried to have such a relationship, but all of God’s work seemed stockpiled in the past: he created the world, died on a cross, and left a Bible. God seemed like a busy teacher who had given an assignment and then stepped out of the room, leaving students to get the work done on their own. But Greear discovered it doesn’t have to be like that. Not at all. In clear and practical language, he explains how any follower of Jesus can have a satisfying, powerful relationship with God through the Holy Spirit. While many books about the Holy Spirit get stuck in secondary questions that divide believers, The God Factor focuses on a central, truth that unites us: God wants to be vitally present in and through his people. This truth, though central, is sadly neglected. This generation of Christians—mission-driven but burned out, weary, and longing for joy—desperately needs to recover the dynamic presence of God. And the good news is that God wants us to have exactly that.

30 review for Jesus, Continued…: Why the Spirit Inside You is Better than Jesus Beside You

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Schneider

    A very accessible read, Jesus Continued makes sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit in believers. Greear begins by highlighting the problems of underemphasizing and overemphasizing (over Jesus) the work of the Spirit. Then, he looks at the design of God for Spirit-controlled followers of Jesus. All of this is grounded in the gospel. Throughout the book, Greear walks through both Scripture and church history to point out the reality of the Spirit's working for the glory of God and the spread o A very accessible read, Jesus Continued makes sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit in believers. Greear begins by highlighting the problems of underemphasizing and overemphasizing (over Jesus) the work of the Spirit. Then, he looks at the design of God for Spirit-controlled followers of Jesus. All of this is grounded in the gospel. Throughout the book, Greear walks through both Scripture and church history to point out the reality of the Spirit's working for the glory of God and the spread of His gospel. This was an easy read with convicting application.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    A biblical, personal, practical look at the how and the why of the Holy Spirit's work in the lives of individuals and the Church. It is well written and sound. Greear has struck a healthy balance here that rings true to me. I want to buy several copies of this and pass them out!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jeanie

    In J.D. Greear conversational study on the Holy Spirit, you learn and appreciate that the Holy Spirit is better alongside you than Jesus beside you. If you read Frances Chan the Forgotten God, the part of the trinity that is neglected which was a great, however, I find this study of Greear’s more in-depth in application for the believer. The Holy Spirit is how God is present with his people, to do his work (the work of revealing the Gospel and pointing to Jesus), and to know him. In saying that, In J.D. Greear conversational study on the Holy Spirit, you learn and appreciate that the Holy Spirit is better alongside you than Jesus beside you. If you read Frances Chan the Forgotten God, the part of the trinity that is neglected which was a great, however, I find this study of Greear’s more in-depth in application for the believer. The Holy Spirit is how God is present with his people, to do his work (the work of revealing the Gospel and pointing to Jesus), and to know him. In saying that, the Holy Spirit will never contradict the word of God, or go against God’s character. This is what I liked most about this book, the importance of the relationship of the trinity. And just like how God cannot be explained and we may not know his ways, and his ways are greater, the Spirit is the same. It is ok that we do not understand because that is where faith comes in. In light of that, we cannot seek God apart from his word and that is true of the Holy Spirt. We are to seek him in the word. If we leave church saying what a great teacher, he is so funny, he is so charismatic, but do not know Jesus better, then the Holy Spirit was not at work. Where the whole gospel is not cherished (our brokenness and sin, the holiness of God, the cross and our response) the Spirit cannot be experienced. It is also important to realize that it is in the wilderness the broken times in our lives is where the spirit maybe working the most. These times are the humbling times that we are being sanctified. It is where in our circumstances, we must hold our interpretation of what the spirit is doing and always subject to scripture. There is a renewing of knowing the Holy Spirit…it’s almost like finding your long lost love. A special thank you Zondervan , and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    John

    The subtitle might give one pause. What could be better than Jesus beside me? But as J.D. Greear points out in this readable and practical book, Jesus himself said we would be better off with the Spirit inside of us than with Him literally walking beside us (John 16:7). Greear is a preacher in the Southern Baptist denomination, a tradition that hasn't always stressed the work of the Holy Spirit. Through Scripture, he clearly documents that nothing happens apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. T The subtitle might give one pause. What could be better than Jesus beside me? But as J.D. Greear points out in this readable and practical book, Jesus himself said we would be better off with the Spirit inside of us than with Him literally walking beside us (John 16:7). Greear is a preacher in the Southern Baptist denomination, a tradition that hasn't always stressed the work of the Holy Spirit. Through Scripture, he clearly documents that nothing happens apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. This work, he writes, isn't intended to help our churches operate as spiritual country clubs. We're called to mission. The Holy Spirit leads the way. "Jesus Continued" is written in simple, plain language, but never dumbed-down. It's seasoned with touches of humor and illustrative stories, but that's never the main course. It's an excellent book for Jesus followers who feel like there might be something missing in the way they follow Jesus. The chapter "When you can't feel God," was probably my favorite. Props to Zondervan for selecting a provocative cover design.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lawson Hembree

    Have you ever wondered why Jesus said it would be better for His followers if He left and sent the Holy Spirit (John 16:7)? When I first read that verse, I was taken aback. Like Thomas in John 20, many of us would much rather have a physical human being that we can touch and see than an unseen Spirit that, like the wind, "blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes" (John 3:8). Often as Christians, we feel disconnected from God. We look Have you ever wondered why Jesus said it would be better for His followers if He left and sent the Holy Spirit (John 16:7)? When I first read that verse, I was taken aback. Like Thomas in John 20, many of us would much rather have a physical human being that we can touch and see than an unseen Spirit that, like the wind, "blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes" (John 3:8). Often as Christians, we feel disconnected from God. We look at God speaking to His people in the Old Testament, Jesus teaching the disciples in the Gospels, and the Holy Spirit moving mightily in Acts, but we have a hard time connecting that with our lives today. This difficulty that even seasoned Christians have relating to God the Holy Spirit has led to Him being referred to as "the forgotten God" (to borrow Francis Chan's term). In his book Jesus Continued...: Why the Spirit Inside You is Better Than Jesus Beside You, J.D. Greear wants to help Christians personally relate to God through the Holy Spirit. Greear opens by asking, "Do you ever feel like God is someone you know about more than someone you know-like He's more of a doctrine than a person?" He goes on to describe the two extremes that often result from the misconstrued relationship with God. The first extreme is for Christians to seek an experience of the Holy Spirit apart from the Bible. The other, equally problematic, extreme is to seek to know and obey the Word of God without any interaction with or dependence on the Holy Spirit. As J.D. puts it: "Where the gospel is not cherished, the Spirit will not be experienced. On the flip side, where the Spirit is not sought, there will be no deep, experiential knowledge of the gospel. The two always go hand in hand." The first extreme leads to empty frenzy and shallow people; the latter results in dead orthodoxy and artificial admirers. Greear corrects this false dilemma: "God's Word and God's Spirit operate together in one powerful dynamic. While pursuing one without the other leads to spiritual ruin, pursuing one in the other leads to power and life." The rest of the book goes on to show the importance of seeking the Holy Spirit and the truth of God's Word together in order to deepen our relationship with God. Jesus Continued... is divided into three parts. Part One acknowledges that "a certain mystery enshrouds the Spirit's leadership", but goes into a thorough overview of who the Bible says the Holy Spirit is and what He does. Greear continually emphasizes that "you won't know the Spirit any more than you know the Word of God. So if you want to walk with the Spirit of God, get on your knees and open your Bible." Also in Part One, we are reminded of the Spirit's role in our lives and what a life "lived in the Spirit" looks like, especially as it relates to finding God's will for our lives (see Chapters 6 and 8). After defining the Holy Spirit in Part One, Greear makes the doctrine of the Holy Spirit more personal in Part Two. In it, he outlines six areas of life in which we experience the Holy Spirit: the gospel, the Bible, our giftings, the church, our spirit, and our circumstances. While there were some of Greear's thoughts that I didn't fully agree with, this is definitely the part of the book that sets it apart from other recent works on the Holy Spirit. I appreciate J.D.'s passion for all believers to take full advantage of the Holy Spirit we've been given by experiencing Him in all areas of our lives as He empowers us to fulfill the Great Commission. Unlike other authors, Greear avoids the temptation to chase the rabbit trails like speaking in tongues and sticks to practical application of the clear biblical text to the daily Christian life. Part Three of Jesus Continued... ties everything together by showing what a life lived in the Spirit looks like. He begins with honesty: there will be times in your Christian walk where you can't "feel" God. What's the reason for this? "Sometimes God withholds everything from us except His promises in order to make us ask ourselves, 'Is this --His promise -- enough for me?' You can never know that Jesus is all that you need until He's all that you have." The rest of Part Three discusses revival on both a personal and community level. He is quick to point out that there are many "normal means" of ministry that lead to revival: repenting of sin, preaching the gospel faithfully, saturating yourself in the gospel continually, and persisting in prayer. In the last chapter of his book, J. D. Greear says: "The Holy Spirit is given in the gospel, for the purposes of the gospel. Thus, those who want more of the Holy Spirit's presence should press more deeply into the gospel; those who want to know the gospel more deeply should seek the help of the Holy Spirit; and we should expect those most filled with the Spirit to be the ones most passionate about the spread of the gospel." This book is great for those Christians seeking to grow deeper in their understanding of and relationship with the Holy Spirit. It is especially encouraging and challenging for us in those "Thomas moments" to remember that it really is better for us to have this Spirit within us to transform us, convict us, and empower us as we seek to accomplish Jesus's disciple-making, world-changing mission. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers® book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ho Christopher

    Christians have often either overemphasize or deemphasize on the Holy Spirit. Those in the reformed camp generally deemphasize it (yes, I know that Calvin was a theologian of the Holy Spirit) , while those who are on the more charismatic or pentecostal camp generally overemphasize it. It is rare to see someone teach this topic with a delicate balance. Furthermore, most who talk about it generally focus on the spiritual gifts that the Spirit gives (Sinclair Ferguson is a good exception to this). Christians have often either overemphasize or deemphasize on the Holy Spirit. Those in the reformed camp generally deemphasize it (yes, I know that Calvin was a theologian of the Holy Spirit) , while those who are on the more charismatic or pentecostal camp generally overemphasize it. It is rare to see someone teach this topic with a delicate balance. Furthermore, most who talk about it generally focus on the spiritual gifts that the Spirit gives (Sinclair Ferguson is a good exception to this). J. D. Greear however has written a balanced book that aims to talk much more about the Holy Spirit than the spiritual gifts. The main idea Greear wants to bring across to help the readers understand why Jesus wants to go away, so He can send the Holy Spirit to His disciples and to us. In the first section, he explores the “who” the Holy Spirit and “what” the Holy Spirit does. Greear first tackles a common notion that christians often think about, the “If only I was around when Jesus was on the earth”. Greear then explains to us that, that was not what Jesus thought when He wants to send the Holy Spirit. Jesus thought that it was precisely better for the Holy Spirit to be with us than for Him to be around, that was why He sent the Holy Spirit! Following which, Greear emphasises in the fifth chapter an extremely important point: God doesn't need us (you). This, I thought, was a great inclusion within this book, as opposed to the majority of the books which puffs people up, this book does the direct opposite, it truly humbles the readers to know that God is the one who’s really doing all the work, we are but instruments which He uses. Greear lets the readers understand that though God may have put many burdens on the hearts of some christians, God does not call us to be the “messiahs” of this world, we are to do what we can, and trust in God for the rest. In the next section, Greear talks about how the christians experiences the Holy Spirit. I find this section a mixed-bag. On some of the chapters i find myself agreeing completely with what he raised, but on others I find myself disagree with what he has raised, and sometimes evening questioning what he has raised. On the one hand, I find the first two chapters in this section very helpful, yet at the same time cannot help to differ on some things he raises. Let me give an example to show both sides. Greear first sows the readers the necessity for the Holy Spirit to be in us for us to long for and to desire for God, this then moves to how we need to have a good gasp of the bible. These two chapters were excellent. Next, he moves on to the spiritual gifts where he mentions “In three primary passages (1 Cor. 12–14, Rom. 12, and Eph. 4) Paul lists out various spiritual gifts. None of the lists are identical, and each contains a few the others leave out. This shows us that spiritual gifts are not so much a defined set of functions as much as they are various manifestations of God using us in the lives of others. We are not to list out these gifts on a spreadsheet and assume these comprise the full scope of all that God empowers his people to do. Each list simply gives examples of how God works through his people. There are likely a few others not mentioned in any of Paul’s lists.” (p.120). This is a rather bewildering statement as I did not find any support for such an assumption. Next, he moves on to propose a model that the readers can use to find their spiritual gifts. Similarly, in the next chapter he talks about prophecy, he says “God, of course, can never be wrong, and when he revealed himself in the Scriptures he guaranteed that the writers would get his revelation exactly right. But evidently, when he speaks through his church in the gift of prophecy, he does not guarantee that we will get all his movements, impressions, and instructions exactly right. So we have to use wise judgment.” (p. 141). This is troubling, it seems that the same Spirit can give us the inerrant word, but not ensure that we have an inerrant prophecy. In the third section, Greear finished on a high by giving the readers very well written and helpful chapters to end off the book. For example, he talks about how Christians always find it hardest to deal with the “white spaces” in their lives. These are times where God is apparently not working or missing, like how Joseph was first sold, then imprisoned before he finally is made to be Pharoah’s right hand man. Greear handles this very pastorally, helping the readers to see that even if we do not know why things are happening this way, God knows, and we can walk by faith in God’s promises even when we cannot feel it. He also adds a chapter on revival, something you don’t find in books nowadays. This chapter is a good reminder that one of the work of the Spirit is that he sometimes miraculously causes spiritual new-birth to happen on a massive scale! Lastly, Greear writes about the importance of praying in the christian life. This chapter is also very well written, highlighting to the readers that Jesus himself wants us to implore to God with our prayers constantly. I find this book helpful and practical on many topics, about some of the things raised in the 2nd section does raise some concern. This book is good for those who wants to have a light introduction to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, yet cessationists might want to supplement their diet with books that follow their tradition. I have no qualms about recommending the first and last section to anyone. Rating: 3.75 / 5 Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Austin Wright

    I love Greear’s writing style. This book is very conversational with relatable feelings regarding the Holy Spirit.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    The Holy Spirit is the one part of the Trinity that I understand the least about, but after reading this book I have a better understanding of who he is and how to experience his guidance and empowerment. J.D. has written a very accessible book and reading it is like hearing him preaching a sermon in my head. It is very conversational and easy to read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Michele Morin

    As soon as he started talking about guidance, J.D. had my ear. You see, I am THAT Christian — the one who becomes paralyzed whenever there’s a big decision on the table, and even though I know that God is not interested in mindless robots (and truly, I’m not interested in becoming one), I still perseverate about making the RIGHT decision, and I want God to tell me what that is. Basically, I want sky-writing: “Buy the Ford!” in big puffy letters against a blue heaven. At the other end of the spec As soon as he started talking about guidance, J.D. had my ear. You see, I am THAT Christian — the one who becomes paralyzed whenever there’s a big decision on the table, and even though I know that God is not interested in mindless robots (and truly, I’m not interested in becoming one), I still perseverate about making the RIGHT decision, and I want God to tell me what that is. Basically, I want sky-writing: “Buy the Ford!” in big puffy letters against a blue heaven. At the other end of the spectrum of error are those who, “function[ing] as deists, act as if God rules from the heavens and has spoken in his Word, but does not act on earth or move in their souls.” Clearly, the truth about guidance and the Holy Spirit lies somewhere between these two erroneous approaches, and in his reassuring and stimulating book, J.D. Greear digs into the Word of God to debunk the myths, set the perfectionist free, and empower the body of Christ to begin functioning as confident, Spirit-led, Christ-exalting children of God. Part 1: The Missing Spirit – Christians have a tendency to gravitate toward extremes in their thinking about the Holy Spirit. Either they over-emphasize the work of the Spirit apart from the Word of God (e.g. hearing voices and finding direction from God in their cereal bowl); or they have no real interaction with Him at all. The author’s thesis in part one is that the Spirit and the Word work in partnership to guide the believer into truth. The pattern Jesus gave with the Great Commission is this: “Do nothing until the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” THIS is dependence, and Greear transparently and most helpfully shares his own frustrations with the ambivalence and lack of clarity this sometimes creates in the seeking heart. It is encouraging to know that even the Apostle Paul experienced ambiguity from time to time (see I Corinthians 16). At the same time, the Spirit is described as a mighty, rushing wind and God’s presence came at Pentecost in the form of a flame. This is NOT subtle, and the Spirit’s presence in the life of a believer is meant to empower for ministry and to inspire confidence that “the Spirit inside you” is the One who does the work. Unfortunately, believers fail to realize their identity as “burning bushes” who are called to serve and who are equipped with the ability to do even greater works than those chronicled in the New Testament. (Yes, it’s true — see Matthew 11:11 and John 14:12.) Our ordinary obedience can be translated into extraordinary results when we realize that God doesn’t need us, but chooses to work in concert with us, graciously multiplying our efforts as we cooperate with Him. Part 2: Experiencing the Holy Spirit — Christians can be a superstitious lot, making major decisions on the basis of goose bumps or the mysterious juxtaposition of multiple coincidences. While it is true that the sky-writing I long for is not forthcoming, there are six distinct ways in which the believer does experience the Spirit’s presence: 1.The Gospel – As an invitation to relationship, the truth of the gospel is the doorway to intimacy with God and a changed view of the world. 2.The Word of God – Ninety-percent of the will of God is in the Word. Given that, J.D. Greear invites us to ask ourselves how much of God’s revealed will we are already following in the shaping of our moral character. Awareness of the Holy Spirit is a matter of “acknowledging Him in all our ways,” and if we do, He promises to “direct our paths,” (Proverbs 3:6). Much of this is going on behind the scenes in ways that we see only in retrospect, if at all. 3.Our giftings – Becoming aware of one’s spiritual gifts (Great definition: “unusual effectiveness in a responsibility given to all believers”) is a great push in the right direction for working in tandem with the Spirit who gives the gifts. This does not give the believer permission to put God in a box (“Nope, sorry, I can’t share the gospel with that person who is right under my nose, because I don’t have the gift of evangelism.”), but it should inspire confidence and enthusiasm for taking on the assignments that God gives. 4.The church – In the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit appears fifty-nine times. In thirty-six of those appearances, He is speaking through a person who is part of the early church. The Spirit continues to empower prophetic speech today — not “woo-wooey God-told-me-you’re-supposed-to-marry-me” kind of prophecy, but, primarily proclaiming and applying God’s Word to particular situations. Any strong impression that the believer is tempted to attribute to the working of the Holy Spirit should first be lined up beside Scripture. With that in mind, the Spirit may use a believer to be His mouthpiece to build up the church or guide in mission. Refreshingly honest, Greear urges a level of skepticism on the part of the hearer, and presents the challenge of knowing the Word of God well enough to recognize truth (and error) when it is spoken. 5.Our spirit – Here it becomes evident that the Holy Spirit is indeed a Person, not an algebraic formula or a Ouija board. His leading, therefore, is not an exact science and our receptors are not flawless. Greear’s oft-repeated wise counsel is to hold loosely what you think God is saying to you through prayer, through special insights, holy ambitions, or through dreams and visions. 6.Our circumstances – Again, the word here is, “hold your interpretations [of circumstances] loosely.” God does use our circumstances to guide us, but we are given to much superstition, flawed interpretation of events, and just plain confusion. “Hearing from God means balancing what God puts in your heart with how He guides you through other means, and trusting Him all the way.” Part 3: Seeking the Holy Spirit — Inexplicably, believers, at times, experience the silence of God which J.D. Greear terms “white space.” These wilderness days are further evidence that God the Holy Spirit will not be “managed” by humans, but in retrospect, it may become apparent that God was at work during the white spaces to write something into the seeker’s soul. At other times the Holy Spirit moves in power and the results are like a flood of repentance and prayer and great response to the gospel. Jesus, Continued . . . is an important book for the believer who wants to make an impact on his world for the glory of God, because Greear is walking that path himself and is collecting resources, making mistakes, and correcting them along the way. His sources in writing the book read like a who’s who of Spirit-led followers of Christ from the past (e.g. Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, Martin Lloyd Jones, C.S. Lewis, John Newton) and the present (e.g. Tim Keller, John Piper, R.C. Sproul, Vern Poythress, Henry Blackaby). A new believer who wants to develop a reading list for fast-track growth in the faith should use Greear’s footnotes as a beginning point. The huge and inescapable truth is that God wants a relationship with His people and has made every provision for it. If I find myself wishing that He would communicate in ways that are not part of His nature, I must be wanting something I shouldn’t have. In my case, I want a guarantee of smooth-sailing and efficiency in a world where one of Jesus’ most verifiably true statements is, “In this world, you will have tribulation.” Part of God’s provision is the uncertainty and ambivalence surrounding our interactions with the Holy Spirit. He has provided power, but we want visible results. He promises his presence, but we want answers. I am coming away from Jesus, Continued . . . with an increased and focused thoughtfulness about the ways in which God the Holy Spirit is waiting for me to notice what He values and to allow Him to show off His power in my work, my relationships, my failings, and my availability. Disclosure: This book was provided by BookLookBloggers in exchange for my unbiased review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Pearlie

    I read JD Greear's Not God Enough, Why Your Small God Lead to Big Problems and I like his writing so much I am looking forward to reading this one and he did not disappoint. It is an excellent book about how one can and should work with God, not for God, through the Holy Spirit. He captured me right from the very beginning: "A few years ago a young man sat in my office feeling deeply frustrated with his faith. Although he knew a lot of truths about God, he sensed very little relationship with Go I read JD Greear's Not God Enough, Why Your Small God Lead to Big Problems and I like his writing so much I am looking forward to reading this one and he did not disappoint. It is an excellent book about how one can and should work with God, not for God, through the Holy Spirit. He captured me right from the very beginning: "A few years ago a young man sat in my office feeling deeply frustrated with his faith. Although he knew a lot of truths about God, he sensed very little relationship with God--at least, not the dynamic relationship he wanted. God seemed distant. It seemed that everything God had done, he had done in the past: he created the world, died on the cross, and then inspired a Bible to tell us about it. then he gave us a mission and left through the clouds. God seemed like a busy teacher who had given an assignment and then stepped out of the room, leaving his students to get it done on their own. So this guy busy at work, trying faithfully to learn the lessons, follow the instructions, and complete the assignments. He had a "relationship with God" in the sense that he prayed about his problems and tried hard to trust that God was working somewhere, somehow, to help him. Yet he lacked any vibrant interaction with that God." This was exactly what I felt myself. The trying, the doing, and the striving to obey God seemed distant and as much as I wanted to build a relationship with God, I find it difficult to relate to him in a closer and more meaningful way. Yes, I read the Bible, I pray, I believe, but I knew it had to be more real than what I am feeling then. Greear reminds us that Jesus told his disciples that he had to go: "Nevertheless, I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you." John 16:7 ESV Greear said, "Do you consider your connection to the Holy Spirit so strong and real that you regard his presence in you to be a better advantage than even Jesus himself beside you?" And that I found is the "best kept secret" though it is never a secret. The Holy Spirit is already in us when we received Jesus into our lives, and we have the power of the Almighty God in us to do the things he commissioned us to do. And we have the Spirit already in us to enable us to build the very relationship that we yearn to have with him. There is also a chapter in there about prayer that I really appreciate. Greear reminded me that God wants me to seek him through persistent, faith-filled prayer. And that is one thing I lacked. I was not persistent enough. I thought I shouldn't need to "remind" God all the time, but that is exactly what God is asking us to do! Remember the parable about the person who knocked on his neighbour's door for supplies at midnight until the neighbour had to open the door and attend to him? So from now on, I am going to keep asking until God opens the door, but of course if it is in his will and desire to do so... ...but I am gonna to keep on knockin'!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bob Deangelo

    Greear is easy to read (for me at least!) - he weaves in Scriptural truth with real life honest perspective and parallels. If there was one word that I would use to describe this book, it would be challenging. The Holy Spirit is obviously an in-depth subject; this book is not necessarily an exposition of the subject, but what it does do is connect what the Bible teaches with your own real life and mindset. Again, I was challenged to rethink and refocus on something (really Someone) who is easy t Greear is easy to read (for me at least!) - he weaves in Scriptural truth with real life honest perspective and parallels. If there was one word that I would use to describe this book, it would be challenging. The Holy Spirit is obviously an in-depth subject; this book is not necessarily an exposition of the subject, but what it does do is connect what the Bible teaches with your own real life and mindset. Again, I was challenged to rethink and refocus on something (really Someone) who is easy to forget. The last few chapters of this book were the most exciting to me, and as a believer, I was seriously challenged about how much attention I give to the Holy Spirit in my life. I recommend - not a hard read, some good meat, and a tremendous challenge.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    This was my first read by J. D. Greear. It won't be the last. With clarity, wit, and carefully considered Scripture, the author zeros in on the definition, mission, and only reason for the existence of the Church: fulfilling the Commission by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Also how can you not have total respect for a theologian who can intelligently discuss both profound Scripture AND "The Princess Bride" (page 196) in the same conversation?!) The Person of the Holy Spirit, rooted in the Gospel a This was my first read by J. D. Greear. It won't be the last. With clarity, wit, and carefully considered Scripture, the author zeros in on the definition, mission, and only reason for the existence of the Church: fulfilling the Commission by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Also how can you not have total respect for a theologian who can intelligently discuss both profound Scripture AND "The Princess Bride" (page 196) in the same conversation?!) The Person of the Holy Spirit, rooted in the Gospel and powerfully present today, is a subject worth reading about alone, yet the chapters on the beginning of the church, "white space" - when God seems distant -, and prayer are themselves worth the price of the entire book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alan B

    Reinvigorating for me I am very grateful to God for inspiring J.D.Grear to write this passionate, eminently readable book. Through it I have been given renewed hunger for the Spirit of God in me and my fellow Christians. He has also given clear directions by which we may encounter God in the ways He intends. Each chapter is filled with thoughtful and personal teaching, calling us to rediscover or discover what God wants to do in our lives by His power, and where we may find it. The gospel is at t Reinvigorating for me I am very grateful to God for inspiring J.D.Grear to write this passionate, eminently readable book. Through it I have been given renewed hunger for the Spirit of God in me and my fellow Christians. He has also given clear directions by which we may encounter God in the ways He intends. Each chapter is filled with thoughtful and personal teaching, calling us to rediscover or discover what God wants to do in our lives by His power, and where we may find it. The gospel is at the centre as the Father sends Jesus and Jesus sends the Spirit to ensure that the gospel gets out. Don’t just read it...act on it...even if the action is to wait. A great post-Pentecost read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Devon

    I'll be curious to see what (if anything) stands out to me from this book even a week from now. I didn't have any significant aha moments but it did motivate me to remember the best lessons are to be found in the bible itself and that I'd be well served to invest more time there. Perhaps the author would be happy to hear that. It's perfectly readable, I found very little to disagree with, and it complemented much of the sermons I've most enjoyed in my time as a church-goer. It won't make my Chri I'll be curious to see what (if anything) stands out to me from this book even a week from now. I didn't have any significant aha moments but it did motivate me to remember the best lessons are to be found in the bible itself and that I'd be well served to invest more time there. Perhaps the author would be happy to hear that. It's perfectly readable, I found very little to disagree with, and it complemented much of the sermons I've most enjoyed in my time as a church-goer. It won't make my Christian re-read list like the books I've loved by CS Lewis and Max Lucado but I think it was a good book at the right time for me.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Caleb

    The most balanced book on the Holy Spirit I've read. I have to admit, I bought this book to better understand my pastor's pneumatology. I think he likes to appeal to everyone, yet his views were quite balanced and conservative. This book, like JD's sermons, was filled to the brim with memorable illustrations. He gently mentioned some of the abuses of Pentecostal practices, but with the state of things today, he could have gone a bit farther in warning. That's probably the only thing I think this The most balanced book on the Holy Spirit I've read. I have to admit, I bought this book to better understand my pastor's pneumatology. I think he likes to appeal to everyone, yet his views were quite balanced and conservative. This book, like JD's sermons, was filled to the brim with memorable illustrations. He gently mentioned some of the abuses of Pentecostal practices, but with the state of things today, he could have gone a bit farther in warning. That's probably the only thing I think this lacked. While I didn't find this book especially insightful for myself, I do see this book as a great handout for new believers looking for help to better understand the HS.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Audrey

    "Just as the gospel is a gift of righteousness for those who know they are unrighteous, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the gospel, is power for those who know they are powerless. Thus, it is the strengths in our lives that are our greatest liabilities, because they keep us deluded into thinking that we are capable apart from God. This is why Paul said, 'Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 2 Cor 12:9'. " "Dependence, not strength, "Just as the gospel is a gift of righteousness for those who know they are unrighteous, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the gospel, is power for those who know they are powerless. Thus, it is the strengths in our lives that are our greatest liabilities, because they keep us deluded into thinking that we are capable apart from God. This is why Paul said, 'Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 2 Cor 12:9'. " "Dependence, not strength, is God's objective for you."

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lee Button

    The most inspirational book this year. Greear does a great job demonstrating the personal relevance of Scripture. His writing style is transparent and simple. Here is an example. "The book of Acts tells the mind-blowing story of how a group of underqualified, mostly blue-collar workers filled with the Holy Spirit can turn the world upside down. We're still reeling today from that first Christian century." I do not hold his view on a 'word of wisdom' but in other areas I found encouragement. Part The most inspirational book this year. Greear does a great job demonstrating the personal relevance of Scripture. His writing style is transparent and simple. Here is an example. "The book of Acts tells the mind-blowing story of how a group of underqualified, mostly blue-collar workers filled with the Holy Spirit can turn the world upside down. We're still reeling today from that first Christian century." I do not hold his view on a 'word of wisdom' but in other areas I found encouragement. Part 3 was especially helpful.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Tony

    To be honest, I started reading this book just because it was a cheap Kindle deal. Thought there might be a few good thoughts along the way. But I really, really enjoyed it, and it stirred me and inspired me at many different points. I highlighted lots of stuff. If you have been a Christian for a long time, this won't provide you with tons of new insight, but it's still informative and thought-provoking. I'd still recommend it to every Christian and believe it'll be a good kick in the pants in p To be honest, I started reading this book just because it was a cheap Kindle deal. Thought there might be a few good thoughts along the way. But I really, really enjoyed it, and it stirred me and inspired me at many different points. I highlighted lots of stuff. If you have been a Christian for a long time, this won't provide you with tons of new insight, but it's still informative and thought-provoking. I'd still recommend it to every Christian and believe it'll be a good kick in the pants in parts. It was challenging to me, and it made me think a lot.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ben Cook

    I love me some J.D. Greear, don't get me wrong. His best book was "Gospel", and this book speaks truth as well. However, if you have any knowledge of theology or doctrine of the Holy Spirit, skip on this one. It is more of a layman book. If you are new to Christianity or following Christ, then this might be a good book for you to understand who the Holy Spirit is and how He works in your life and those around you who likewise believe.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Appreciate this pastoral and personal walk through Acts and the work of Spirit. Greear’s challenge to Pastors to conclude the book is timely. May we see churches, and Christians, empowered by the Spirit, awakened by the gospel, and mobilized for ministry. All around worthwhile continuationist perspective for the church here.

  21. 4 out of 5

    David W Sanders

    Accessible, inspirational, and Biblical The author shows care in exegeting the Scriptures in order to understand the work of God’s Spirit in the lives of Jesus’ followers. JD shows an allegiance to the Bible, rather than a denomination or “camp”, that makes this a must-read book for all who want to experience the real, and wild, work of the Spirit in their lives.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Davis

    This is an outstanding book. I have more to say about it than I can correctly articulate, probably, so suffice it to say I’ll forever be recommending it to the people I love. Chapters 13-16, especially, were reassuring, convicting, but also unsettling in the best way. There’s a shortlist of books I try to read at least once a year, and this one is definitely going to be among them from now on!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Rohlwing

    Makes understanding the spirit clear Amazing way of putting a difficult concept to understand into plain language. I loved reading this book and am praying to see God's spirit move through me.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

    The Spirit is the "floodlight" ministry, quietly turning everyone's attention away from himself and to the Savior. The Spirit inside of us is better than Jesus beside us. When you don't feel anything, remember that the righteous live by faith.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kaiwin Su

    Best book on the Holy Spirit for laypeople to read. Clear, accessible, straight-forward, and encouraging. Definitely a must-read for those in the Reformed world where the Holy Spirit is the forgotten third person.

  26. 4 out of 5

    ed chumley

    Thought provoking Really enjoyed this book. Never really thought about the Holy Spirit being a replacement for Christ. But when you read this book it makes perfect sense. Really it does

  27. 4 out of 5

    Noah Adams

    Really enjoyed this book! Tons of practical and doctrinally sound insight into the person and work of the Holy Spirit. Great for everyone from pastors to new believers. Highly recommend to anyone seeking to better understand the Spirit.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Reynolds Spellerberg

    Well written and easy to read. Makes you think.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mathew Rajan

    Very balanced teaching and scriptural Truly well written with revelation of the word of god. I would like to read more books by the same author

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gina Omilon

    Great read!! Informative, but relatable.

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