In the interest of posting a timely review, I cheated. Instead of reading a chapter a day as suggested, I read the book in one sitting. I’m sure I missed out on the experience of using this book as a daily devotional, but it is powerful stuff, and as I read, I was blessed with all sorts of sermon ideas and illustrations. I also want to go through the book again, slowly this time, savoring each moment, and letting God's presence strengthen me for the day ahead.
Empowered by His Presence: Receiving the Strength You Need Each Day (Kevin G. Harney, Baker Books, 2014) is designed as a 4 week study – one that can be done by yourself or with a small group. It’s for “ordinary people who long to be empowered so they can live an extraordinary life for the glory of God.”
Each week has a different focus, 1) God's presence in times of suffering, 2) encountering God in community, 3) empowered for the journey through Sabbath, and 4) propelled onward by God's call and mission. Each day Harney uses a familiar Bible story (Esther, Joseph, Timothy, Paul and Peter among others, and especially some of Jesus’ major moments) as the setting to talk about how ordinary people, like you and me, can respond to the inconsistencies of life.
We read about responding to suffering like that of Job, of the need to have a mentor and be one, of how important it is for us to engage with others, in our family, in our church, in our community. And as we read we are asked to confront ourselves and ask what would we have done, what have we done, what could we do better.
There is a set of study questions for each section, questions that allow us, if we answer honestly, to realize that God's presence is what sustains us, God's Word nourishes us, Jesus strengthens us, and if we think we’re doing it all on our own, we’re really fooling ourselves.
Looking for a small group study? This is one that will take your group on an incredible journey.
Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers www.bakerbooks.com/bakerbooksbloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.