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Divine Intention: How God's Work in the Early Church Empowers Us Today [Kindle Edition]

Larry Shallenberger
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

 When a group of people practice something for two thousand years, the expectation is that they'd eventually get whatever it was they were committed to doing right. But the fact is that we as individuals and as a corporate community are still struggling with many of the issues that plagued the early church. 

Larry Shallenberger takes a fresh look at the book of Acts to help you gain a deeper understanding of how God moved in the early church and what that means for you today.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Larry Shallenberger is the Pastor of Children's and Student Ministries at Grace Baptist Church. He oversees ministries that touch the lives of churchgoers ages 0 to 25.

Larry also is the author of Lead the Way God Made You and a monthly columnist on Most important, Larry is passionate for the future of the church and is eager to enter his thoughts into the conversation.

Product Details

  • File Size: 627 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (January 1, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005MT8TGQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #743,992 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book September 9, 2007
By K. Snow
I found Divine Intention to be a very well-written, insightful and challenging book. Larry presents a realistic perspective of the church based on personal experience and observation alongside Scripture references from the book of Acts which detail God's "divine intentions" for His body here on earth. Questions at the end of each chapter challenge readers to make personal application of the material. I think that thoughtful, active responses to the questions have potential for changing lives...and churches. At one point in the book the author poses the the question,"So why is the church...worth it?" and gives this reply--"The church is worth it because the Holy Spirit is constantly working to transform it, though we may not always see it."
If you desire to be used of the Lord in His ongoing transformation of the church, I would recommend you read Larry Shallenberger's book--Divine Intention.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
It's no secret we're living in the greatest time of change the secular world and Christianity has ever seen. Technology has rendered many things obsolete, cultural values are spilling over borders everywhere, mixing with thoughts, ideas, and perspectives previously thought incompatible, and the Church - the representative body of Christ - is likewise convulsing in the throes of growth and change.

On one side contemporary, cultural, perhaps even post-modern Christianity clamors to be heard over the din of programs, three-point sermons and Legalism - calling for a more feeling, experiential, relevant and out-reach oriented Christian life - and on the other side stands the fundamental, orthodox vanguard of the "old school", preaching loudly against heresy, liberalism, and weak Scriptural founding. What should the church be? Should it be for Christians only and the edification of the saints; should it be an instrument of evangelism, executing the Great Commission, or can it be both?

In the middle are people such as you and I; perhaps raised in quiet, happy, harmonious churches, now disillusioned with fallen pastors, rigid congregations, and the didactic struggle that tugs at all sides of the church.

Is it worth it? Is the church worth saving?

Larry Shallenberger's Divine Intention takes aim at this particular quandary. Part fictional, part devotional, it looks at the state of the church today - where we are, and where we have to go from here. It examines the early Christian church of Acts, and holds it up as a mirror to contemporary churches.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Expecting a "what's wrong with church" book in opening up Divine Intention, I was surprised by Shallenberger's discussion of church, personal piety, and how Christians engage a culture that is increasingly more post-Christian every day.

The form was a little too much like a sermon for my taste, but I did find myself getting caught up in the parallel stories unfolding in each chapter. He quotes Blue Like Jazz and uses the Message paraphrase of the Bible, but it still begins with a scripture passage, an anecdote (albeit fictional), and finishes with a theological discourse on the topic of the chapter. The majority of the book has this kind of "old church," modernist appeal to it, dressed up in postmodern lingo. You eventually get used to it, but the mixed genres really threw me off at first.

Shallenberger's treatment of the Book of Acts, especially concerning the history of the early Church, is the strongest part of the book. As he recreates what life was like for early Christ-followers, the reader is caught up in another time and place. I found myself saying at times, "I didn't know that!"

Moreover, I appreciated the author's humility in sharing how he discerns God's voice, makes faith-based decisions, and doesn't always get it right. I admired his defense of the Christian life as one that is not based on formulas or rules, but on a relationship with Jesus. He paints a picture of the church as a wonderfully flawed vehicle that demonstrates God's relational character on earth.

However, Shallenberger writes under the general assumption that we have gotten church right in America. He delves very little into the contrasts between the early and modern churches and seems to suggest that the current model is adequate and effective.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Larry Shallenberger's Divine Intention has wonderfully challenged me in my personal journey. I believe that God works in a way similar to the proverb:"when the student is ready the teacher will appear."
I was the student and I was so ready for this book. In his introduction Larry says, "Christian character seems little more than a veneer of politeness used to lubricate the social exchanges that occur before and after services." He had caught my attention and interest, though I wondered if this would be another of "what's wrong with" books about the church. As Larry continued in his introduction relating his background, my heart was pricked. I too related as one who grew up in the church and still retained good memories and the hope that what I have experienced as an adult "full-time ministry" person was not all God had intended.
Further on I read, "This book you are holding is for those who love the church but have been deeply disappointed by it." I have not been disappointed by the practical insights presented in the historical context of the first century Larry brings from the Book of Acts. Each chapter, able to stand alone, built a renewed desire to hear from God anew and continue my journey.
The conversation tone allowed me to imagine that I was in a dialogue with Larry. Often the very question that arose in my mind was addressed in the following paragraphs. I appreciated the non-formulaic approach and the pointing out a path to progress on rather than pushing a particular agenda.
At the end of the introduction Larry wrote, "My prayer is that this book will be evaluated not on the number of interesting facts unearthed regarding the first century church, but on its ability to spark small personal reformation in the quality of our love for God and our love for others." Larry in my heart your prayer has been answered.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Enjoyed this, some very good comparisons. thoughtful.
Published 3 months ago by Elmer M. Speer III
4.0 out of 5 stars open
It opens my eyes and strengthens and renew my believe
Thank you Larry.
God loves you and so do I
Published 6 months ago by leo tan
2.0 out of 5 stars Less than Hoped for
OK, but doesn't deliver the hoped for content that might empower us today. I wasn't impressed. I don't recommend the expense.
Published 9 months ago by Frank R. Davis
5.0 out of 5 stars Very encouraging!
I really liked how the author affirmed the reliability of God to lead us even when we do not know what is going on. Very easy to follow and apply to every day life.
Published 9 months ago by Michael Skelton
4.0 out of 5 stars Challenging!!!
A good book to relate to church history and challenges us to live life which only glorifies Christ! Nice read.
Published 9 months ago by Navin
5.0 out of 5 stars Challenging
I am presently teaching on the Acts of Holy Spirit in my condo Bible Study. This was an awesome time for this book to be offered. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Doris E Hack
5.0 out of 5 stars Divine Intention
Great confirmation of the intention GOD has for us believers while on earth.I will recommend that others read this book.
Published 9 months ago by Chris M Hibbard
4.0 out of 5 stars For the Stubborn and Discouraged
Larry Shallenberger understands many Christians' love/hate relationship with the church. What makes this book unique and worth a read is that, using the book of Acts for new... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Rebecca Older
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Shallenberger's personal style captivates the reader from page one. Finally an Acts II book without a judgmental or know-it-all attitude that shows the Father's love for His... Read more
Published on June 28, 2007 by Sue Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Unifying the posts with everyone else
What can we say about 'Divine Intention'? How about that it's awesome! Within this Larry does an amazing job of bringing us crazy post liberals and our conservative brothers... Read more
Published on June 20, 2007 by David A. Tonn
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More About the Author

Larry is an associate pastor in Erie, PA.

Larry spent several years working in the field of children's mental health before becoming a pastor.

Larry has contributed to over twenty books related to the spiritual development of children and adults, including the Gold Medallion winning "HandsOn Bible." Larry is a frequent contributor to Children's Ministry Magazine. His pastoral work currently has him engaged in family ministry and adult education.

He holds two black belts, loves jazz, and his currently writing a novel about spiritual abuse.

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