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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2012
Book Review

Dr. Gary Tyra, Christ's Empowering Presence: The Pursuit of God Through The Ages. (Colorado Springs, CO: Biblica Publishing, 2011) 196 pages.

Dr. Gary Tyra, an Associate Professor of Biblical and Practical Theology at Vanguard University, has written a scholarly yet very readable, practical, and enjoyable book that should appeal both to mature Christians, and also those just beginning a life of faith and trust.

In the opening pages, Tyra refers to a "Colossians 3 kind of life," by which he specifically refers to verses 5-17, a listing of behavioral norms for which believers should strive. But according to Tyra, the "secret" for accomplishing these norms is found in verses 1-2, where readers are admonished to "set your hearts...and minds...on things above." The rest of the book deals with the subject of this "pursuit" of the Presence of God, the desire to commune with God in a personal, vital, and daily way.

A key part of the book consists of Tyra's cataloguing for the reader what various writers have written about this "pursuit." We are exposed to synopses of writings by Nicholas Herman (Brother Lawrence), St. Francis of Assisi, Thomas a Kempis, Jeremy Taylor, and A.W. Tozer, among others, plus contemporaries such as Dallas Willard, Richard Foster, and John Ortberg. In addition, Tyra adds to his premise by citing numerous Scriptural passages which support the concept of Christians desiring the presence of God.

Lest one think this book was only about theory, the last third of the book deals with practical strategies that various authors have encouraged throughout the history of the Church regarding the "pursuit." In addition, Tyra shares a very transparent look at his own journey in "the pursuit of God's presence." This last part of the book is not a braggadocios attempt at exalting himself, but rather shows a vulnerability with which the average reader should relate.

I loved the way the author was scholarly, with many comprehensive endnotes available, but also was very personal in his writing style. In fact, he intentionally, almost strikingly, attempts to engage the reader with such questions as, "You know you want this! Right? Let's get started." It almost seemed at times that Tyra was an actor in a play sharing a personal aside to the audience.

I recommend this book highly to anyone striving to mature in their Christian faith. I also believe this book would make an excellent textbook for any class dealing with Christian spirituality or formation. But it would also be an excellent read for someone who had followed Jesus for many years, but for whatever reason found their own "pursuit of God" growing somewhat stale. This is fresh bread.

Reviewed by G. Robert Cook, Jr.
President - The Alliance for Assemblies of God Higher Education
Springfield, Missouri
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2011
Is God alive and working today? You would think that the answer would be simply YES! But just how the `presence' of God has shown up in history and today is often debated at the cost of losing sight of God's basic intention for man.

Tyra has done us a great favor in producing a book that is both `wonderful journey' and `get-your-feet- in the-mud' walk with the empowering presence of God. The book adds one more volume to the growing perspective of `historical narrative' (Biblical) as revealing God's intended purpose for a fallen world. God IS at work and revealing Himself, if we would but take the time to listen. Tyra's review of the many ways in which believers throughout history have sought the power and presence of God is a study of the heart of man pursuing a loving God.

As an academic book it delivers! As a guidebook to the power and presence of God for today: it delivers. If you want to be `engaged' in God's power and presence in your life: Read this book.
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