Friday, December 10, 2010

The Gift of Church

I was excited when I found out that I had the opportunity to do my first official book review.  Then I faced a difficult decision:  What book would I choose that would be pertinent to my own life, as well as to the life of you, my blog reader?

I chose Jim Samra's The Gift of Church.  I do believe the local church is a gift to Christians, and I am saddened when I hear loved ones express the frustrations and difficulties they have experienced within their own local church.  I read in anticipation, eager to find some truths that I could share with these loved ones to encourage them to persevere in their trials.

In his introduction, Samra acknowledges that the church has been hypocritical, among other things, "and worst of all has been these things while claiming to represent God".  With all the failures of the church, why is it so important for Christians to be involved?  Simply put, "God designed and created the church for our benefit and for his glory".  The church is God's idea!

Samra walks the reader through the different parts of Scripture, showing what God designed the church to be and how He designed it to function.  Samra clearly points out the difference between churches and parachurch organizations and shows the benefits that can only truly be found in churches.  He also candidly discusses possible hindrances to the community that should be found in the church.  His conclusion brings the reader back to the fact that the church is the place where "God's infinite grace is highlighted".  What a great reminder that the church is God's design, and it is intended for His glory.

I would encourage any of you who are questioning the importance of being involved in a local church to read this book.  Although the writing is somewhat difficult to follow at times, the content is excellent.  Samra does not attempt to ignore or sugar-coat the problems that are all too often found in our churches, but addresses them with candor.  Perhaps the problems in our churches actually stem from the heart attitudes of you and me.  Or perhaps the answer to the problems in our churches is actually the involvement and dedication of you and me.

* This book was given to me for review purposes, and I do not have to return the book to the publisher. All opinions expressed in this post are mine.

No comments: