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Soul Custody: Choosing to Care for the One and Only You Paperback – Bargain Price, August 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


“Soul Custody is a clarion call – a prophetic call to do something significant with your life before it’s too late. This book points the way to real life as God intended. No one is better qualified to write on this topic than Stephen W. Smith. I highly recommend it.”

Gary Chapman, Ph.D. Author of The Five Love Languages and Love as a Way of Life

A great, refreshing read! Soul Custody gives us the permission to live intentional lives, where we let God care for us even as we care for others. I wish I’d had it in my hands years ago. Motivating, thoughtful, really do-able, this book could set you on the life course you really long for. “

Paula Rinehart Author of Strong Women, Soft Hearts and Better Than My Dreams

Soul Custody is more than a book title—it’s a clear, specific, and direct appeal for us to care for the part of us that’s most lasting and real. With strong, yet gentle guidance, Steve shows us how to make soul-caring choices, anchored in the vastness of God’s limitless love, that will provide strength, direction, and equilibrium to every other aspect of our life. This is a must-read for anyone convinced that there’s nothing worth more than their soul.”

Fil Anderson Author of Running on Empty and Breaking the Rules

The God who redeemed our souls has given us the responsibility to become custodians of their care. Our souls are constantly under siege by the culture, they need to be restored and nurtured. But sadly, most of us take better care of our cars than our souls!

Steve Smith has listened to the Word and to his own needy soul and though he confesses he has come late to the process, he provides priceless counsel for taking custody of our own souls.”

Michael Card Author/Musician

“Soul Custody is filled with powerful invitations that will encourage your pursuit of an abundant life in Christ. Steve Smith brings to life the many benefits of soul guardianship and offers practical suggestions that are within-reach-realities for all who hunger for a deeper faith journey…not just for the holier-than-normal soul care experts!”

Stephen A. Macchia, D.Min. Founder and President, Leadership Transformations, Inc. Author of several books, including Becoming A Healthy Church

Steve Smith knows what he’s talking about when he writes of Soul Custody. For many years, the ministry he and his wife lead, Potter’s Inn, has helped people care for their soul. There are few things more important than Christians, especially those who are leaders, than caring for their soul in the constant battle against burnout. This book can enhance your spiritual health.”

Bryant Wright Sr. Pastor, Johnson Ferry Baptist Church Marietta, GA

Soul Custody gave me hope for my relationship with God. Steve reminded me that I get to make choices that take me closer to God. I not only get to make those decisions, but I already am. And Soul Custody helped me to see and think through so many them. Maybe things really can change in my relationship with Him.”

Palmer Trice Director, The Barnabas Center Charlotte, NC

We live in a world where most of us react and let life ‘happen’ to us. Stephen Smith, in his book Soul Custody: Choosing to Care for the One and Only You, makes us take hold of our lives and stop making excuses. Powerful and painfully pointed, it reaches to the heart. It reached to my heart.”

Jim Kallam Senior Pastor, Church of Charlotte Charlotte, NC

I am very enthusiastic about Steve Smith’s latest book, Soul Custody: Choosing to Care for the One and Only You. I am grateful that he has given many years to get in touch with the souls of so many, by walking with them compassionately and listening to them well. He sounds an alarm and makes a passionate, persuasive appeal to us. He diagnosis and describes accurately and convincingly the forces in our contemporary culture that war against the health of our souls, and therefore, of our whole being. From this experience, gained firsthand in his life and that of many others, he also has learned the ways we need to become proactive in caring for our souls, that we might become the persons God created us and Christ redeemed us to be. I heartily recommend this book, both for individual use and for use in groups of those who want to walk and work together to care for the health of their souls. Thank you, Steve, for giving us this fruit of your life and ministry!!”

Douglas Stewart Director of Spiritual Formation InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

Steve Smith has written a book that we need. Amidst the noise of Twitter, Facebook, reality television, and our drive for muchness Soul Custody calls us to a daily union with God which actually seems reachable. The good, good news that God longs for our presence and is always present for us is the message that can set us free!”

Sharon A. Hersh, M.A. Licensed Professional Counselor Author of Bravehearts, The Last Addiction, and Begin Again, Believe Again

A must-read for worn-out Christians, Soul Custody provides the critical bridge between ‘boundaries’ and the Beatitudes. Building upon a solid foundation of Scripture and church history, the reader receives not only a blueprint for the spiritual life, but the tools to get building.”

Rev. Sara Singleton Pastor of Spiritual Formation, First Presbyterian Church Colorado Springs, CO

Soul Custody will show you how to diagnose the state of your own soul and make some mid-course corrections. It is about learning how to live your life a different way, a “with-God” way. It is written with care, creativity and the authority of experience.”

Gary W. Moon, Ph.D. Vice President and Chair of Integration, Richmont Graduate University Author of Apprenticeship with Jesus


About the Author

Stephen W. Smith is a spiritual director and the co-founder (with his wife, Gwen) of The Potter’s Inn ministry. Steve’s books, such as The Lazarus Life, are an integral part of The Potter’s Inn, along with ministry retreats and one-on-one counseling. In 2006, the Smiths founded Potter’s Inn at Aspen Ridge, a retreat center in Divide, Colorado.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (August 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1434764729
  • ASIN: B0057DBK7W
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,171,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen W. Smith is the Founder of Potter's Inn, a Christian ministry devoted to the work of spiritual formation and the care of the soul. Stephen has pastored and planted churches in the United States and Europe.

He's the author of several books and small group guides.

Potter's Inn does four things: guides retreats; provides soul care for leaders; develops resources on spiritual formation and the care of the soul and operates a small, intimate retreat in Divide, CO, "Potter's Inn at Aspen Ridge."

Stephen is married to Gwen and has four sons and two daughters in law. Their dog Laz provides lots of laughs and love.

A long walk and a strong cup of coffee make it all worth it!

"There are only two things that pierce the soul. One is pain. The other is beauty." Simone Weil

The website for Potter's Inn is

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer on August 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by your schedule, your possessions, or your responsibilities? If so, this book is a must read. Soul Custody will not only encourage you to care for yourself: the physical, psychological, and spiritual you, but it will also show you how. Taking time-tested lessons from hundreds of years before even Jesus walked this earth, Stephen W. Smith will help you to make choices that enable you to take control and live the life "Jesus has wanted for us from the beginning."

Soul Custody is an easy to read book, full of difficult to implement recommendations. It does not promise to reveal the path to happiness on earth or the easy life. The steps toward reclaiming your soul will require you to make difficult choices and to give up some of the things you have become accustomedto, but the end result promises to give so much more than our fast-paced, materialistic, earth-bound lives are giving us.

I would recommend this book as a devotional. Each chapter begins with a verse from the Bible and ends with questions for reflection, lending itself beautifully to a daily devotion time. This is a book that will command time and thought; it will demand change; and the time, thought and change you put into it will directly influence what you take from it.

I received this book from B&B Media in exchange for my honest review. The thoughts printed in this review are entirely my own.
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By Penny Watkins on December 18, 2010
Format: Paperback
What, exactly, is a "soul." Airline pilots and ship's captains seem to know; they can tell you at any time how many "souls" are entrusted to their care. For the rest of us, the soul is a bit difficult to pin down. That's where Soul Custody begins.

Steven Smith defines the soul as, "the real you, the whole shebang--your heart, mind, emotions, desires and longings..." The real, entire person created in God's image and deeply loved by God. Our souls are created b y God, shaped and sustained and well-loved by God. Living in a world that is owned by sin, however, has done violence to our souls.

Smith's premise is that God has given custody of our souls to us. According to the Free Dictionary, the definition of "custody" is "The care, possession, and control of a thing or person." We each have the charge and responsibility to care for, possess (own) and control our own souls. If we accept this charge, we grow into the fully human persons God created us to be. If we do not accept the charge, we risk losing our souls, our very selves.

As Cofounder and Spiritual Director at The Potter's Inn, Steven Smith and his wife, Gwen, provide resources, spiritual direction and ministry to Christian believers who are seeking a closer relationship with God and a transformational spirituality. Smith's conclusions arise from years of listening to stories and helping people heal and grow. He has seen the deadly toll American culture takes on souls. He has heard of the violence done to souls, the weariness, the pain and disconnect and hopelessness that many
Christians endure. In this book, Soul Care, Smith gives us back our hope and shows us how to find peace and healing.

It all begins by taking responsibility.
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Format: Paperback
As stated, "This not a book of easy steps to a happy life." Stephen W. Smith, in Soul Custody, meddles (in a good way) in your life as a believer to awaken you to the direction of your life, to bring you to the place God has intended, out of the fast-paced, `accomplishment' world. He has broken it down into eight sections to help you understand the different concepts he is addressing. It's clear and concise information, with questions to jolt you awake from the rat-race of your fast-paced world, to slow you down and listen to that "still, small voice of the Holy Spirit."

The encouraging word is that "...for it is God that works in you to will and do of His good pleasure," (Philippians 2:13), but we must be willing to slow down, listen, and obey.

I love his closing Scripture, "Today, I have give you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!" (Deuteronomy 30:19 NLT)

Soul Custody offers eleven life-giving choices that everyone can make to free their souls from the world's demand and release them to live meaningful and satisfying lives:

1. Soul Care: Healing the Violence Done to Your Soul
2. Soul Choices: Turning your Life Around
3. Soul Solace: Choosing Stillness
4. Soul Focus: Choosing a Simplicity of Faith and Life
5. Soul Serenity: Choosing to Detox from Stress
6. Soul Sabbath: Choosing to Cease the Insanity
7. Soul Identity: Choosing to Become the Real You (In Christ)
8. Soul Vocation: Choosing What to Do in Life
9. Soul Address: Choosing to Honor the Body-Soul Connection
10. Soul Companions: Choosing Your Friends
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Format: Paperback
I received Soul Care: Choosing To Care For The One And Only You by Stephen W. Smith from Audra at B&B Media Group in exchange for my honest review.

Mr. Smith begins Soul Care by describing a kind of violence that has been unleashed upon our souls and states how for many of us "life is not working as we think it should". And the culprit according to Mr. Smith is busyness:

"Every single person who feels more dead than alive, more tired tan energized, more burned-out than motivated, more unfulfilled than thriving is a soul in need - a soul who needs to be cared for. The Chinese have two characters for the English word busyness, which they define as 'heart annihilation'. We're killing ourselves with all of our busy, busy, busy."

Mr. Smith spends the rest of the book helping the reader to understand how to "take back what you might have lost along the way while living your life". He does this by laying out the concept of soul custody which he describes as "taking back what we've almost lost in order to gain what we should never want to lose". He says this is our "sacred privilege".

Mr. Smith quotes Eugene Peterson in the first chapter and the quote is so good I have to share it here:

"Man people think that what's written in the Bible has mostly to do with getting people into heaven - getting right with God and saving their eternal souls. It does have to do with that, of course, but not mostly. It is equally concerned with living on this earth - living well and living in a robust sanity."

I don't know about you, but I'd love to discover this robust sanity!

To be honest, the subtitle to this book, Choosing To Care For The One And Only You, is what peaked my interest in reading this book.
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