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How People Grow: What the Bible Reveals About Personal Growth Paperback – May 10, 2004

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Editorial Reviews Review

Whether you're hoping to achieve personal and spiritual growth or are looking for guidance to help others, you'll find practical and proven wisdom in Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend's How People Grow: What the Bible Reveals About Personal Growth. Starting with the premise that all growth is spiritual growth, the authors then expound on the concept. Cloud postulates that we spend too much time focusing on problems, rather than on root issues. "We are not just to help others 'feel better' or relate better or perform better," writes Cloud. Rather, he says, people must get back into a relationship with God. With this in mind, there's a brief lesson in theology ("the 'Big Picture'"), then a look at topics such as acceptance, forgiveness, obedience, and suffering. The authors have impressive credentials: they are cofounders of Cloud-Townsend Clinic, cohosts of the nationally broadcast New Life Live radio program, and Gold Medallion winners for the bestselling Boundaries. Boxed summaries of important concepts for growth facilitators, charts, counseling anecdotes, and lots of bullet-pointed text make the content accessible. Professional and lay readers will both find biblically based tools here for personal growth and guiding others. --Cindy Crosby --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Cloud and Townsend, clinical psychologists who are the Gold Medallion Award-winning authors of Boundaries, attempt in this book to chart personal growth from a biblical perspective. Rather than suggesting that real growth happens only to Christians, they argue that most effective therapeutic methods, even those that are ostensibly secular, use biblical concepts. As such, they look to Scripture for the very best strategies for spiritual and emotional growth. While they are critical of a one-size-fits-all approach to human suffering, they do prescribe a combination of prayer, Bible study and regular contact with a "growth group" for virtually every problem they address. The growth groups they describe are populated by healthy, vulnerable people who are willing to confront each other lovingly and own up to mistakes and failures. Cloud and Townsend argue persuasively that such groups facilitate dramatic changes in individuals' lives, but leave the logistical problem of finding such evolved folks to the reader. Perhaps the most radical message of the book is that failure is the norm, even for the most devout. Not only do the authors repeatedly give examples of the best Christians committing the worst sins, but they also insist that such wrongdoing never warrants condemnation from God or other believers. Instead, they argue, sinners must experience total acceptance and love before true repentance and change can occur. This solid, Bible-based argument against guilt and for grace is a powerful elixir for evangelicals who all too often hear the opposite message.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; 4.10.2004 edition (May 10, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310257379
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310257370
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Cloud is a leadership consultant, best-selling author, and speaker whose books have sold well over 5 million copies. He consults and speaks for companies and organizations in the area of leadership and performance, and is highly regarded for his ability to connect personal and interpersonal development with the needs of business.
He is a clinical psychologist and leadership consultant with a unique ability to connect with audiences. Drawing upon his broad range of experiences in private practice, leadership consulting, and media, he simplifies life's issues and gives easy to understand, practical advice. It's Dr. Cloud's humor, compassion and "in the moment" confrontation that make his approach to psychology, business and spirituality such a success.
Dr. Cloud has written, or co-written, more than twenty books, including the two-million-seller Boundaries and his most recent books, Necessary Endings, Integrity, The One Life Solution, The Law of Happiness and 9 Things You Simply Must Do. His books have sold over five million copies. His works have been reviewed and featured by such publications as The New York Times, The Wall St. Journal, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times and many others. Dr. Cloud co-hosts the nationally syndicated radio program New Life Live, which is heard in over 180 markets.
As a speaker, he is a favorite at corporate events, conventions, and public arena events on a variety of topics, speaking regularly through the U.S. and internationally.
In his consulting practice, he works with leaders in a wide range of organizations and corporations, from family help firms to Fortune 25 and Fortune 500 companies. He has an extensive executive coaching background and experience as an organizational and leadership consultant, spending the majority of his hands-on time with CEOs and executive teams.
Dr. Cloud founded and built a health care company which operated treatment centers in forty markets in the Western U.S. for which he served as Clinical Director for ten years. In that context of hands-on clinical experience, he developed and researched many of the treatment principles and methods that he communicates to audiences now. After selling the company, he devoted his time to consulting and coaching, spreading principles of hope and life-change through speaking, writing and media.
He is a graduate of Southern Methodist University, earning a B.S. in psychology with honors. He completed his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Biola University, and his clinical internship at Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. His philanthropic interests lie in the area of homelessness and the inner city, as well as missions in the developing world. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Tori, and their two daughters, Olivia and Lucy.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Michael Taylor TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
While "How People Grow" concentrates on a small group setting, the book is also valuable for the individual person struggling with spiritual growth.
Among the many interesting points the authors describe include:
1. We have to give up our self-sufficiency and submit to God's rule in our lives.
2. Humility is an essential trait for bearing pain and we are created to be dependent on God and others.
3. We are responsible for submitting our will to God's will.
4. Guilt is inwardly focused while godly sorrow is focused on how we have hurt others.
5. Grief is an essential part of spiritual growth.
6. Psychology is to used only to support, not supplant, the Bible.
7. We need to show people that change is not just for religious reasons, but as the way to a better life.
8. God has a special tenderness towards those who are needy and brokenhearted.
9. Life works much better when we surrender lordship to Jesus.
10. Excellent points on dealing with rebellion and overcoming temptation.
Additionally, the book stresses the importance of being accountable to safe people who are interested in our spiritual growth and are not out to just judge others.
The book is highly recommended for either the individual or small group leader interested in facilitating the spiritual growth of others.
I believe the book would have been even more valuable if more text had been dedicated to developing strategies for finding safe people to confide in and some specific steps to facilitating growth. In other words, many principles were stated but fewer strategies were mentioned. For example, the tips for growers and facilitators at the end of every chapter could have been more specific (what questions to ask, what specific steps can you step to help those hurt by distorted Bible teachings, how can you teach the value of godly sorrow, etc.).
The complaint aside, I highly recommend the book!
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By M. Holt on February 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
In the short time I have seen this book pass through several hands, I have seen it change lives. My wife has used it to understand and overcome a stalled relationship with her mom. My Salvation Army friend says it is essentally the same approach used by them to treat addictions and alcohol abuse. In short, it is an excellent presentation of two basic truths:
- A personal relationship with God, through Christ, is the necessary first step for spiritual growth...which is the only real growth.
- All growth after that first step is in relationship with others.
If anyone is looking for an in-depth understanding of why they can or cannot overcome personal limits, this is the best resource I've seen. And if you follow John Townsend or Henry Cloud's work, this is a decent summary of all they have been teaching over the years.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By book lover on July 20, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
How People Grow is an easily accessible, Biblically-centered, psychologically-deep, and thorough overview of the growth process. I have read through this book twice and refer to it sporadically to refresh my memory on various parts of the growth process and, in my work with college students, urge them to read the book. I have found that living out and sharing its insights has helped me in every area of life, from becoming a more effective evangelist to developing stronger work habits. My main challenge in reading it is owning up to how misguided my understanding of the growth process has been, how I have subsequently misled others, repenting of these mistakes, and seeking to think and live differently in the future. It is a book that speaks to deep issues in a grace-filled but challenging way.
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Dawes on September 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The authors may have influenced my thinking and life profoundly in the 5 years I have come to listen to and read them, but there was no way I would let anyone get away with clunky spiritual assertions if there were any.
But I didn't have to as there weren't any in 'How People Grow'.
Now this is difficult for me. Cloud and Townsend have themselves suggested and promoted that if we agree with someone about nearly everything, then there is probably something wrong.
I would in an instant be flame them, but 'How People Grow' just keeps getting me to appreciate and honour God more and more as well as walk in truth and grace that all I can do is thank God it was written. (I will the flak to the so-called heresy-hunters.)
From the first day 2 years ago, this book has always managed to to point me back to a God of loving and truthful holiness, grace, acceptance, unconditional love and majesty.
They write about the same Christian God who has been misrepresented in the legalistic and 'holier-than-thou' evangelical and Charismatic circles, and the One skewed beyond recognition by the liberal camp.
Much of what I read in their books and listen in their messages hark to the works of Henri Nouwen and Philip Yancey in the spirit and tenor of the themes.
'How People Grow' is ultimately about accepting that we desperately need God and His resources and His ways to accomplish life as He has planned it for us. People play an integral part in God's plan for us.
Also, without humbly asking each other for help and support, we negate and cut-off a crucial resource of God to our detriment.
'How People Grow' is already the best devotional in my room among an impressive array of old trusted standards and it has spoiled me. I won't be able to read anymore "you-better-comply-or-God-will-be-mad-at-you" books. Neither the "look-at-me,aint-i-great-and-blessed, it-was -just- God- and-me-all-the-way" offerings.
Thank God for tender mercies
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