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on July 9, 2008
This book is for the depressed. This book is for those who feel they are trapped in the mundane. This book is for those who feel they are just slogging through life, not really experiencing, not really living. McManus inspires, pushes, compels, and challenges you to dream, explore, create, adapt, and live your life.

In Wide Awake, McManus connects living life to the fullest to the teachings of Christ. So often we think that our Christian lives should muted, reverent, holy, and that we should just step back and let God control our lives. McManus reminds us that Christ came to bring life, and life more abundant, and that we could be living our life to the fullest.

The author does challenge some commonly held ideas in mainstream Christianity. Even if you don't agree with everything McManus says, Wide Awake will challenge you to rethink your philosophy of life and your purpose for living.

A must-read for every Christian!
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on July 14, 2008
Erwin McManus was a special guest professor in the very first course I took at Bethel University - Seminary in St Paul, MN. He set a very high standard for all who followed. I have quoted from and recommended his book "Seizing Your Divine Moment" for many years.

In "Wide Awake" McManus calls Biblical Christians (not mere religious church attenders but genuine followers of Jesus of the Bible) to seize the challenge of a life of purpose in partnership with the God of creation and the One who loves and values them like no other.

He is no mere motivational speaker, no puffed-up politician spewing platitudes and promises they have no ability (let alone intent) to keep, and no legalist or televangelist who has lost sight of the true message of the Bible. McManus is the real deal; humble, humorous, and transparently human.

Our church is filled with broken people; divorced, recovering from addictions, survivors of abuse and neglect, unemployed and underemployed, orphans and castaways, struggling with their relationships with others and with God. This book speaks the hope of God into their lives as no government program or rah-rah political rally or secular motivational pep talk could ever do - it is the pure truth of God!

God sees every man, woman, and child as filled with opportunities to make a positive difference out of the abundance of love He wants to pour into (and through) them - no matter their temporary circumstances.

The change that matters will never come from a politicians campaign rhetoric or some musicians magical-thinking song or a manipulative commercial - the change that matters comes one heart at a time as we turn away from "chasing the wind" and live the intentionally inspiring "Wide Awake" dream that God longs to place in each of our hearts.

Thank you Irwin for another great book - it is a word from God through your writing.
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on November 3, 2013
This is one of my favorite books. I re-read it every once in a while, to remind myself where I fall short of "dreaming wide awake." His analogies and writing style are impeccable, and serve to uphold an incredibly underused message.
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on October 19, 2008
I am probably one of the few young, evangelical ministers in the United States to have never read a book by Erwin McManus. Having heard good things about McManus from a wide spectrum of people, I happily agreed to read the advanced preview copy of his forthcoming book, Wide Awake: The Future is Waiting Within You. On the back cover of the preview copy, McManus is described as a "husband, father, writer, futurist, activist, artist, and spiritual and cultural leader." After reading such a flattering litany of titles, I dove into the content of his new book with high hopes. Unfortunately, I was sorely disappointed.

If you could sum up Wide Awake in two words, it would be something like this: "Wake up!" People are going through life with unfulfilled dreams, experiencing a "little bit of sadness" every morning (xii). McManus wants to "awaken humanity." He believes that in every person there is a hero "waiting to be awakened." He looks at every human as "pre-great" (xiii). The little bit of sadness we face in the morning is our "soul searching for its hero (xv)."

How can people be awakened? McManus turns to eight essential attributes that characterize people who live their dreams (Dream, Discover, Adapt, Expect, Focus, Create, Enjoy, Invest) and every one of the attributes is something that people must discover from within. Each chapter unpacks one of the eight attributes, usually with illustrations that help readers picture the kind of life that McManus is describing.

Wide Awake contains some helpful advice. McManus doesn't sacrifice character in order to emphasize the principle of adaptability. He emphasizes the importance of integrity and the necessity of living according to firm principles. Occasionally, he offers good insight into certain stories from Scripture. For example, in the story of Peter walking on water, McManus points out the fact that Peter was distracted by something he couldn't see (the wind) instead of firm in his belief in Someone he could see (Jesus) (128). Preachers will benefit from some of his memorable illustrations, like this one that compares coconuts and peaches:

"Some of us are more like coconuts - hard on the outside and hollow on the center. But we need to be more like peaches - soft and fuzzy on the outside but solid as a rock in the middle." (77)

But even McManus' good insights are often mixed with theological affirmations that leave the reader perplexed. In the space of just two paragraphs, McManus can say something terrific (like "The way God changes your life is by changing you") and then something out in left field ("The only future you will give yourself to is the one you believe can happen") (95).

The main problem with Wide Awake is that it bounces back and forth between pastoral counseling and motivational lingo that borders on Gnosticism (your power is within, etc.). The problem McManus' readers are dealing with is not sin and depravity. In fact, McManus thinks the church talks too much about sin and guilt (143). The main problem is unfulfillment and sadness (22, 28). Salvation and satisfaction are found in your living out your story (160).

McManus' writes much about the importance of dreams, but he leaves them undefined. Wide Awake needs more eschatology. The "dreams" that McManus wants to awaken within us are not grounded in anything other than our own minds. The dreams we have are of "a life, a world, a future so beautiful that it takes your breath away" (116). Yes. Our vision of the coming Kingdom should inform our dreams for today, but McManus never links our dreams to the Kingdom of God. Readers will pour whatever meaning they want into his vague category of "dreams" and "a beautiful future."

My advice to pastors and church leaders? Skip Wide Awake. If you're looking for motivational thoughts to push you ahead in the direction you already want to go, then Wide Awake will do the trick. If you're looking for challenging biblical teaching that will ground your dreams in Kingdom reality, you'll have to look elsewhere.
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on June 4, 2011
I decided a long time ago I would stretch my mind by reading things other people write that I am unfamiliar with, and Erwin McManus is one of those guys. I enjoy his material because he takes me in directions I have not thought of before, and reveals things to me that I had not seen. In Wide Awake, he will do that for you, and make you re-think how you view other people.
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on November 3, 2008
Wide Awake is not one of McManus's best books. I found it a bit of a self-help book. I really think that his premise is a good one though that we far too easily give up on our dreams in hopes of living a better Christian life. Whereas the Bible is clear that to follow Christ is to dream big and to live Wide Awake. I was inspired by the book as I am with all of McManus's books but I left the book wanting something different from this very talented author.

One other very annoying trait of the book was all the misspellings and bad grammar. I would put the occurrences at about 40 for the number of these errors. This is far too many for this caliber of book and author.
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on December 4, 2009
The great strength of Erwin McManus is his ability to present issues in an unexpected and compelling manner. Unfortunately, this strength is in fairly short supply in this book. The book does contain some creative and helpful content, but it has the appearance of a book written in a hurry. There are plenty of typographical errors, and I found the subject matter somewhat rambling and at times dull.

The book has ten key themes, each covered in a chapter. Awaken encourages us to find the hero inside us waiting to be awakened. Dream encourages us to dream with our eyes open. Discover encourages us to become an explorer. Adapt encourages us to get ready for change. Expect encourages us to see because we believe. Focus encourages us to see what others are missing. Create encourages us to become proactive. Enjoy encourages us to treat life as a gift. Invest encourages us to give our lives away to others. Imagine encourages us to live out the life of our dreams.

The ideas contained in the book are good ones, and I did not encounter any significant difficulties with the author's theology or philosophy. With some tighter editing, the contents could perhaps have been turned into quite a compelling book. As it is, though, I would recommend skipping this book and instead reading McManus's previous work, "Soul Cravings".
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on December 24, 2012
This book is amazing. I was already a fan of Irwin McManus, but this book sealed the deal. You couldn't ask for a better book to get you focused on getting your life on track to fulfill God's will in your life. Just buy it!
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on June 1, 2012
This book contains a very positive message about God's intentions for us, and how we should live our lives. The author is very uplifting, and reminds us that being creative and thinking "outside-the-box" are not a sin. He also tells us that being successful in living our dreams is not a passive activity that we can expect God to deliver to us. We must actively work to find and achieve our life's purpose with unfailing faith and belief and God will be with us in our journey.
Michael Travis Jasper, Author of the Novel "To Be Chosen"
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on August 1, 2011
In this book Erwin McManus seeks to motivate his readers to dream wide awake by encouraging them to see their potential and step outside their comfort zones. In the comforts of our culture it's easy to slip into daily routines that have a numbing effect and can cause us to become complacent. Big dreams are sometimes put aside in favor of what is more familiar. In one chapter he compares life to a blank canvas to be painted by you-the artist. Each chapter offers a different but motivational viewpoint on the subject. Instead of being a society of voyers, McManus hopes to open our eyes wide to the fact that the future needs us and we can make a valuable difference. My copy had some editing errors, but I still enjoyed the book.
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