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Living Close to God (When You're Not Good at It): A Spiritual Life That Takes You Deeper Than Daily Devotions [Kindle Edition]

Gene Edwards
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Have you tried harder to have a consistent time with the Lord—but failed?
Does your mind wander during prayer, and do you run out of things to say?
Do you question why it is so
hard to fellowship with the Lord?

Stop feeling like a failure at daily devotions and start walking every day with the Lord who loves you.

Gene Edwards faced these same questions and struggles. And he found a better way to walk with the Lord than merely trying harder to pray and read the Bible.

In Living Close to God (When You're Not Good at It) you will discover that loving God means much more than doing your best to serve Him. You will find ways to start your day with Christ, beginning with your first conscious thought in the morning. You will learn how to fellowship with Him during even the most demanding days. And when you go to the Scriptures, you will talk with Him in a two-way conversation—just as His first followers did.

Includes a small-group discussion guide and a guide
for your own relationship with God.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gene Edwards is one of the most influential Christian authors of our time. Three of his books are considered modern classics: A Tale of Three Kings, The Divine Romance, and The Prisoner in the Third Cell. His books have been published in more than seventy foreign editions and in twenty-two languages. He and his wife, Helen, live in Florida.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Spiritually Handicapped

      I consider myself to be spiritually handicapped.
      Christians who know the Lord well seem to have a natural spiritual bent. I am not so endowed. As to things spiritual, I have always thought of myself as being some kind of rare case because of my nonspiritual nature. If you happen to fall into this same “rare case,” then join me in this journey in search of a spiritual life for Christians who are not naturally spiritually inclined.
      I did not grow up in a devout family. I was raised in the home of a laboring man—a “doer” by nature. So was his father before him: like father, like son. I am a natural doer.
      I broke horses, played football, and began working in the oil fields as a roughneck at age fourteen. Roughnecks are plain-spoken, practical, tough, down-to-earth men. That was my world. Being a doer was, and is, my nature.
      No, I am not a spiritual person. The only thing I had in my favor, spiritually, was a spectacular conversion to Christ. I was converted while in college. I graduated from college, was called to the ministry, and entered seminary all in the same week.
      What was instilled in me by my denomination was the imperative of winning others to Christ. That fit the doer in me perfectly. Evangelism was my consuming passion. Further, I was still an oilfield roughneck at heart. A public display of piety was beyond me. It still is. I also found that I was a most unlikely candidate for being a pastor. (My parishioners soon made the same discovery!) My sole interest was to turn the world upside down and win everyone on earth to the Lord Jesus Christ.
      Then came…

A Rise Too Soon

      No young believer should ever rise quickly in the ministry. I became a pastor at age twenty-one, a seminary graduate at twenty-two, and by age twenty-four, I had written a book on personal evangelism. That book became a bestseller, and not only was the book well received, but so was its author. In a skyrocketing ascent, I was soon conducting citywide campaigns sending Christians out to knock on every door in the city, in an effort to lead people to Christ. This much notoriety, this much leadership, this furious pace could have easily been a stew for disaster. 
      My zeal for Christ never faltered, but I gradually came face to face with the reality of emptiness. In the midst of a national, many-layered ministry, my spiritual desperation grew. I reached the point where I had to choose between two paths: either continue in my ministry or come to know Christ better. I could not do both.
      One day I wrote myself a note: “It is far more important to me that I come to know my Lord in living reality than it is to be in ministry without it.” Finally, I sat with my family and shared my desperation. I then cancelled all my campaigns. I had become a pilgrim traveling in uncharted lands. But just where would I begin this pilgrimage? I began by searching for books that might help provide answers, something that would show me how to have some kind of a spiritual life. I could find no such helps. Nor did I find any Christian who could help this desperate beggar. As noted already, I was convinced that I was a special case.
      I know the evangelical world. (I have spoken in hundreds of churches and worked with thousands of ministers while conducting citywide campaigns.) In the evangelical world I knew I would find much being said about prayer. I knew a few men who spent an hour or more in prayer every day. Some of them evidenced some spiritual touch; in others, no such evidence was apparent. Few of them testified of a practical relationship with the Lord Jesus. As for me, I could not see myself praying for an hour every day.

Prayer, or Fellowship with the Lord?

      I knew by instinct there was a great distinction between praying and fellowship with the Lord. The difference is vast. (It is entirely possible to be fully devoted to prayer and never actually fellowship with the Lord.) As to the many books I read, virtually every one was centered on the subject of prayer. Sadly, those teachings did nothing to address my desperation to know the Lord better. Their advice led to the very thing I was trying to escape. (Remember, I am naturally a doer.)
      Some people reading this may think I lack some kind of special experience—one that would cure my spiritual longings. My response is this: I have had the Pentecostal experience, the Easter experience, the Christmas experience, the Passover experience, and the “exchanged life” experience. I have even had the Fourth of July experience and many other such experiences.
      Herein lies the problem. I was not looking for an experience; I was seeking a walk. Here was a Christian who had spent ten years in the ministry, yet who had become a desperate, hungry, rapacious seeker—seeking to know his Lord better. I was a beggar looking for bread. I also was beginning to wonder if I was such a rare case that I might never be able to have a meaningful walk with Christ.
      Was there hope for this woefully ill-equipped believer? Knowing Christ in living reality and in simplicity had become the first pursuit of my life. I was desperate, yet not even remotely qualified for such a spiritual quest.
      So it was, the search began.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2175 KB
  • Print Length: 192 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press (October 4, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004KPM25W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #311,830 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, but needs more October 8, 2011
The first chapter of Living Close to God had me hooked. The author writes in a personable and relevant way, and his admission that he is not a "spiritual person" connects. He shares a brief testimony and talks about his great desire to have a meaningful walk with Christ. Gene, we the readers are ready to take that walk with you. But then the next seventeen chapters give only a few simple suggestions: remember God in the morning, turn Psalm 23 into a prayer, speak God's name when you pray instead of bringing requests all the time, and build in little moments into your day to turn to Him. These are great suggestions - that could've been covered in one chapter. The final chapter is excellent, warning the reader that a closer walk with Christ conflicts with church as it is practiced today. But it's still worth the danger. I appreciate the thoughts expressed in this book, and there are a few takeaways. I appreciate seeing a man open up about his relationship with Christ and what works for him. But I was hoping for a little more from the man who wrote the fantastic A Tale of Three Kings.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Living close to God October 8, 2011
I started off a little skeptical on this one. I have read books before on getting closer to God. They usually are full of legalistic ideas that you can do to achieve this. It was refreshing when right out of the gate Gene admits that he is not a spiritual person. It came across that this guys has been where I am and understands. It wasn't a bunch of things that we can do to achieve the closeness we are supposed to have, it was a way to create a longing or a passion to spend time with Him.

The chapters are really short. Which helps with my short attention span. It is a very easy read that you look forward to reading. It starts off really simple and then progresses deeper. So don't stop reading it if it seems to simple. Keep going and it will catch you where you are at. There is also a group study guide and a personal study guide in the back of the book.

This is a book I am going to recommend to a few people I know. We all long to walk a little closer with God. Get started by picking up a copy of this book.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Still Not Good At It November 14, 2011
By D. Gold
Living Close To God When You're Not Good At It follows the journey author Gene Edwards took in searching the face of God. A young Edwards rose quickly to fame as a well-known author and pastor, only to turn around one day and realize he didn't know God himself. It was in this moment that he knew he had to pursue a personal relationship with the Creator or risk loosing his passion for the kingdom. But where to begin?

Edwards begins to seek out God beyond the basics of Bible reading and prayer, and desires to move his search into the moment by moment of his life. Although he values reading and prayer, he makes mention several times that it just wasn't enough. It left him dry and restless. There had to be more for a common man.

While the book does go on to offer several practical tips in searching out God, I found it be very repetitive. Edwards mentions repeatedly what a common man he is, almost as if the convince the reader of the practically of his methods. He also notes repeatedly that the information he sought out before was written by people who were more spiritual than him and that he's writing this book for the spiritually inept. But the sad truth is that he gets so caught up in sweeping statements that he lost this reader.

Certainly there were nuggets of truth in this book. Suggestions that offered some redeeming take away. However, the book as a whole was full of generalizations and repetition. I quickly lost interest. Sorry, Edwards. You're going to have to go back to the drafts on this one.

*Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this book for review. All opinions are mine.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Close to God October 14, 2011
Gene Edwards does a solid job in discussing ways not to get jaded in a relationship with God. Bible reading, devotionals, and prayer may all seem routine, yet Edwards gives great suggestions on how to make such practices not merely practices, but fresh, daily, and inspired personal meetings with God.

I would recommend this book for individual Christians as well as small group leaders. It's practical in many ways. People these days do need deep, personal, and truth-based relationships with God.

Note: I received this book free from Waterbrook. I was not required to write a good review.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Review for Living Close to God January 12, 2012
I wasn't sure how this book was going to help me become closer to God. I had tried many time before and had failed. I never quite understood why. As I read this particular book, I enjoyed the authors story about his journey, but I didn't feel he gave a ton of practical advice for others. That it just my opinion though. I did find some practical advice, but just not much. But read it and find out for yourself!!
"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Guide to a Growing Relationship with God August 5, 2012
"Living Close to God When You're Not Good At It" offers the promise to help you experience a "spiritual life that takes you deeper than daily devotions". Through several best practices, Edwards offers a handful of basic steps to encounter God on a daily basis.

Edwards begins by sharing about his own frustrating search for a deeper Christian life. He begins in the second chapter saying that he did not find help by reading of the lives of great Christian leaders (John Wesley, Adoniram Judson, Charles Finney, Hudson Taylor, etc). I have to question how deeply he read of their lives because there are wonderful spiritual disciplines to learn from men such as these. Anyway, he decided that the search did not end there.
So still on a quest, he shares that he struggled to maintain a consistent quiet time, to keep his mind from wandering when he came before the Lord, of not having anything to say to God, experiencing one-way conversations with God, and also forgetting about God through the day. And so Edwards seeks to establish himself as "one of us" who has struggled with a deeper Christian life.

But as Edwards closes "The Search" chapter, he suggests that the reason our devotional lives ought to be simple is because "God is simple". While the premise that we do not have to come before the Lord with programmed and difficult times of Bible study and prayer, I do not believe most would agree with the idea that the God of the Universe is "simple". In fact, one can study about Him for a lifetime and just begin to grasp the great God of Scripture!
That being said, Edwards uses this idea of a "simple God" to pitch the idea that a deeper Christian life is as simple as reading the Bible.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Looking forward to reading this book.
Published 9 days ago by Arielah Leah
5.0 out of 5 stars Very insightful and helpful on how to live close to ...
Very insightful and helpful on how to live close to God on a minute to minute basis by communicating thoughts and scripture with Him in a nontraditional manner. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sylvia Baker
4.0 out of 5 stars Great getting started book
The part I liked most was that the author Gene Edwards admits right from the start that he was not a spiritual person. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Stacy Tilton
2.0 out of 5 stars Meh
I have read many books about drawing closer to God. Some have been good - Search For Significance, others, not so much. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Kerri R. Helsel
5.0 out of 5 stars You will love it!
If walking with Jesus is an experience you desire and yet has failed in countless attempts, this is the book for you. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Ruth Kwok
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book to keep on your bedside table and refresh yourself by
I am someone who rarely trawls the local Christian bookshop - mainly because there are so many 'self help' books there, all offering a special gimmick or new 'revelation' on the... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Jenny
4.0 out of 5 stars spiritual closeness to God
Gene Edwards keeps it real about the spiritual experiences of God. Some of use do not feel or experience that deep relationship others feel no matter what our station or status in... Read more
Published 20 months ago by JJs
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book
I was given this book by a colleague of mine who is part of a weekly prayer group.
I had heard of Gene Edwards but had never read any of this books (they've been on my "to... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Sharon B. Leavitt
4.0 out of 5 stars Getting Closer Is Possible
I was excited to get this book as I loved "Tale of Three Kings" by Gene Edwards. When I got this book I jumped right in. The book is an easy read as the chapters are small. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Patrickringler
4.0 out of 5 stars Encouraging an helpful
Gene Edwards book Living Close to God when you're not good at it, is an interesting read. It's got to be the most brutally honest approach to the subject. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Paul Dare
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