Friday, July 22, 2011

True North~ Book Review

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I recently had the opportunity to review True North by Gary and Lisa Heim.

From the Publisher

Flat tires, wounding words, a troubled marriage . . . We all struggle, but few people have learned to struggle well. When trouble comes, how do you respond? Do you turn north to God or south to the people and things of this world?

Learning to live for God through all the daily troubles and difficulties of life isn’t something we can take or leave. Our worship, walk, and witness depend upon how we handle the daily chaos of trouble and hardship. This is where the rubber meets the road in living out our Christianity. Whether our groaning comes from frustrating circumstances like losing our job or from dealing with difficult people who criticize, offend, and annoy us, it’s possible to have an inner security in Christ that enables us to experience the joy of responding with gentle and healing words. Jesus invites us to live for him by learning to “live a life of love” (Eph. 5:1–2).

Combining biblical insight with personal stories, practical help, and compelling examples, the Heims encourage readers to turn their self-centered attitude (my desires) to a Christ-centered appreciation (God’s desires for me). As they read stories of hardships and trials, success and profits, readers will see how frustrations can actually help them grow in their personal lives, in their marriages, in their parenting, and in their ministries. Practical application in the form of discussion questions and downloadable leader’s guide materials (available on truenorthministries.net) make the message of True North a popular teaching topic in churches.

My Thoughts

“In this world you will have trouble. John 16:33 NIV

True North opens with this verse. These words ring true for all of us it seems. No matter our place in life. Rich, poor, successful, organized, enjoying a great career or struggling to get by, trouble in one form or another seems to come our way.

There is more to that verse though. The rest of it reads:

But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

It gives the verse a whole new meaning. Knowing that Jesus has overcome the world. That He did that for each and every one of us who choose to follow Him.

True North is a very insightful book. The Heim’s draw from their own life experiences and show us how our every day struggles and frustrations can actually draw us closer in our walk with God.

The authors show us that we can “head south” under our own power which leads to emptiness, failure and that feeling of wanting more. Ever experienced that feeling? I know I have.  We could instead choose to “head north” our true north to God. People will disappoint us, life brings us down, we wonder if there is really any purpose or meaning to our lives. We fail ourselves so many times trying to do it our way, but God never fails. He wants a relationship with us. He wants us to walk with him though every struggle not just the big ones. He wants us to abide in Him always.  If we head North to God for everything He will never fail us.

True North is a great book for individual study and it would make a wonderful teaching tool for church groups. At the end of each chapter you will find questions for self-examination and discussion.

You can download an excerpt from the book here.

About the Authors

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Gary Heim is pastor of Small Groups and Discipleship at Blythefield Hills Church in Rockford, Michigan; an adjunct professor at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary; and a retreat and seminar speaker. He is a limited licensed psychologist in Michigan where he had a private counseling practice for over ten years and was a staff counselor for RBC Ministries.


Lisa Heim is a licensed professional counselor in the state of Michigan where she has had a private practice for the last twenty years. Lisa has been married to Gary for over twenty-five years and together they are the proud parents of two college-age children.

disclosure: I received a copy of True North from Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received. All opinions in this post and on this blog are my own.

 

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