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O2: Breathing New Life into Faith (®) Paperback – July 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Dahlstrom, a Seattle pastor and international speaker, is an original and welcome evangelical voice of reason who offers skeptics and Christians alike compelling advice on living out their faith, Jesus-style. Where, he asks, is Christians' passion for Christ? Do their beliefs make any substantive difference in their daily lives? In 1984, Dahlstrom realized that his own spiritual well was dry, so he moved with his wife to an island where he learned to breathe again—effectively balancing inhalation (prayer, solitude, Sabbath rest, Scripture study and contemplation) with exhalation (service, outreach, hospitality and generous giving). In this book, he gives Christians tools to achieve spiritual balance by integrating these inwardly and outwardly focused spiritual practices. Dahlstrom's tenderness is deeply stirring, as is his tough stance in confronting modern believers' unwillingness to follow in Jesus' stead by serving sacrificially, reaching forth in love and spilling out their lives for others. Dahlstrom's approach balances gentle compassion with fierce assessments of problems in the church today, making this an excellent guide to soul renovation. (July)
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Product Details

  • Series:®
  • Paperback: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (July 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0736922148
  • ISBN-13: 978-0736922142
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,242,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

As Pastor of Bethany Community Church in Seattle, Richard teaches with vision of "making the invisible God visible" by calling people to acts of service and blessing. It's working, as a wilderness ministry, homeless shelter, and community meals that serve those living on the margins are all pieces of Bethany's life. "We're being the presence of Christ" he says, "and inviting everyone to join the adventure." Many have, making Bethany one of the fastest growing churches in America in 2009 according to Outreach Magazine.

As International Bible Teacher with Torchbearers Fellowship, Richard is passionate about helping people live their lives fully, as the beautiful adventure it's intended to be. He teaches in Europe, North American, Central America, and Asia, pouring his life into students from dozens of nations.

His first book "o2: Breathing New Life into Faith", is a study in the classic spiritual disciplines which enable vibrancy, health, and the capacity to live with grace and beauty. It was selected by Publisher's Weekly as one of the 10 best religious books of 2008. His next book, due for publication in 2011, will invite readers to awaken to their calling as "artisans of hope", uniquely endowed to bless the world by offering splashes of color in the midst of so much that is grey.

In the early hours of the morning, you'll find Richard having 'coffee with God', either outside amidst the fir trees, or in his home office, which contains a climbing wall. In the off hours, you'll mostly find him climbing, skiing, reading, or writing, either alone or with his wife.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Robert Zurinsky on July 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
As a university minister and as a person seeking to live some good news, I have been waiting for a book like this. Richard Dahlstrom has done something remarkable: he's given us a vision for a vibrant personal spirituality that is deeply connected to something much larger than ourselves. What we've got here is a theological worldview that includes us, too. Many authors have neglected one or the other.

Other books I've read on the spiritual disciplines have offered wonderful methods for living a balanced life, rooted in Christ. But sometimes they stop there, and leave us wondering if there's anything bigger--a purpose and a mission beyond our own individual healing and personal salvation. On the other hand, some of the great scholars of the Christian faith have recently pointed out that the Kingdom message that Jesus and Paul preached was a revolutionary one, dealing with issues of power and justice and government. And sometimes we wonder how our own small lives fit into that global enterprise.

In an uncommon way, Dahlstrom holds these things together. He calls for us to be a people of hope, with our eyes fixed on the Kingdom of God that is coming. He reminds us that God intends to redeem the earth, to make all things new. We're waiting for God's promises to be realized--a new Kingdom in this place that looks like reconciliation, justice, peace, and love. We are part of a redemption story much bigger than our own lives. Dahlstrom reminds us that ever since God's promise to Abraham ("through you all the families of the earth will be blessed"), the mission of God's people has been a mission of blessing. And this is precisely why the spiritual disciplines matter...because God is calling us to be a people marked by a new Kingdom, a new world order.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sandra Tudor on October 11, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"O2: Breathing New Life Into Faith," what a perfect analogy for a faith that is alive and energized with promise at every new breath. Breathing, it is something we all must do, and is so essential that it an involuntary act controlled by our autonomic nervous system. However, breathing can be done in shallow breaths that give us just enough oxygen to live banally, or it can be done in full, deep breaths that fill our lungs to capacity and provide the rich oxygen needed to live vibrantly. This is the life Christ offers us and the kind of faith Pastor Dahlstrom encourages us to practice. Full breaths of life giving faith not only nourish our soul and spirit, but also allow us to exhale needed sustenance into the lives of others.

I have read several books on the spiritual disciplines, but none that truly inspired me to practice them. This book however gave me some fresh ways to think about practicing them that didn't become legalistic. In this busy world, most of us don't need anymore check off lists. Pastor Dahlstrom relies of the freedoms given by God which allow us, in our individual and unique way, to worship and obey God through the act of exhaling and inhaling the disciplines. Certainly, there are things that are common to all of us to fill our lives with the O2 of faith, but Pastor Dahlstrom shows us with theological evidence, humor, examples from his life, examples from the lives of faithful Saints, and from the life of Christ, that there is a multitude of ways to practice these disciplines. Additionally, he writes that there are times and seasons where certain disciplines are practiced more diligently than at other times; and what I found so remarkable about this fact, is that it is okay!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Christina Lockstein on October 21, 2009
Format: Paperback
O2 by Richard Dahlstrom is a blessing in book form. Dahlstrom demonstrates that faith comes in two forms: inward (prayer, praise, reading the Bible, etc) and outward (charity, social justice, hospitality, etc), and only by finding a balance between the two do we find our way to live out faith. He decisively indicts both sides for not pursuing all that Jesus taught and only doing what comes easily. He divides the chapters into inhaling and exhaling and then delves deeply into practices of each. The chapter on how to live in good stewardship of the earth and rebalance your budget is mind-blowing and definitely a must read. I'm definitely hearing God's call to hospitality after hearing Dahlstrom's description of how he and his family have exercised it over the years and it has changed their lives. I am more of an inhaler, so disciplines like solitude and prayer come more naturally to me, but every chapter is a wonderful read and has something for everyone whether it is a strength or weakness of the reader. It's going on my shelf next to Blue Like Jazz.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
I will say this is a MUST read of 2008. As someone who struggles with where I fit into the scheme of life and Christianity, it really did help breath new life into my faith! If you want to buy one book this year to improve your walk with God I strongly encourage you to pick this up and read ALL THE WAY THROUGH IT.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. Michaelsen on November 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is an inspirational read that helps us make the connection between the Truths of life and the reality of living it daily. The personal stories of the author give it an intimate and genuine feel throughout. It brought me to tears as I reflected on my own walk in the Faith.
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