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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2010
How does life change actually happen? This is a question I get asked as a pastor all the time. The best place to go to answer this question is, of course, the Bible. But then you need to walk through and synthesize a fairly wide range of passages in order to develop a coherent understanding of how real life change actually occurs. This is what Tim Chester attempts in his book YOU CAN CHANGE. And he does it extremely well.

Chester takes a gospel and heart centered approach to life change. Chester is indebted to the work of Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp (HOW PEOPLE CHANGE), but in many ways his book is superior to theirs. It is more concise, more clear, and the application exercises at the end of each chapter are extremely helpful. It's jargon free and accessible to people in pretty much any stage in the Christian life. This is a book I'd gladly hand out to people in my church. It works really good in study groups. This book would also be useful in teaching people to counsel others.

Highly recommended.

I am thinking too how one could build a teaching series on the themes in this book. This is my first stab at coming up with a topical-exegetical series:

1 - Be Transformed - 2 Cor. 3:13-18
2 - How Change Happens - Luke 18:9-14
3 - You Need a New Heart - Ezekiel 36:25-27
4 - Where Does Sin Come From? - Luke 6:43-45
5 - Replacing Lies With Truth - Eph 4:17-19
6 - Repentance - Colossians 3:5-11
7 - Godly Grief - 2 Corinthians 7:8-13
8 - The Harvest of Holiness - Galatians 6:7-8
9 - Community of Change - Ephesians 4:1-16
10 - The Long Haul - 1 Peter 2:11, Gal 5:17
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on April 21, 2010
Have you been looking for a book that does an amazing job of explaining clearly from the Bible about how we transform into becoming more like Jesus? Than stop and buy this one.

Many book on change, even if labeled Christian, can largely be filled with self-help content that fails to root our purpose, problem and solution in the Bible. This book does not do that. Tim Chester sets out to tell us exactly what this life is for and how God is in the business through the power of the Holy Spirit of transforming us more into the image of Jesus. He provides wonderful analogies and illustrations along they way of unpacking how people change and the good work that God is doing in us.

This is a book that anyone could read and profit from. From a pastor thinking about how to teach on the subject to their church, or a new believer trying to figure out what it means to leave their old sinful life behind. I cannot recommend this book highly enough and I am sure I will be buying many copies in the future and handing them out to friends.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2010
This is another book to be added to your library if you are looking for a gospel-centered, God-empowered, application-friendly resource to help you and others. I highly recommend this book. The author rightly teaches that change is beyond and deeper than external behavior. It begins deep into our hearts to affect our thinking, behavior, and even our desires. Be challenged and encouraged by reading this book. Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book: "A renewed affection for God is the only thing that will expel sinful desires...Tell someone to stop sinning and at best they may do so relunctantly and partially. But give them a vision of knowing God and his glory, and they'll gladly root out all that gets in the way of their relationship with God (Hebrews 12:1-3)" (p. 139).
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2012
I was looking forward to reading Tim Chester's book, but I was quite disappointed with one aspect of the book - namely, the suggestion that anxiety and other forms of mental illness are a product of sin. I believe that this view is without Biblical foundation and also a very dangerous view to be advocating in a Christian self-help book. While I agree that Christian's who suffer from anxiety and other forms of mental illness need to rely on God to help them deal with their problem, this does not mean that Christians are not able to seek assistance from medical professionals as well. I think Chester would benefit from reading some of Archibald Hart's books in which he discusses the relationship between anxiety and sin in a Christian's life. While Hart makes it clear that the Bible condemns what Hart describes as "worry anxiety", the Bible does not condemn all forms of anxiety as being the product of sin or a lack of faith in God. Hart also makes it clear that it is appropriate in some cases for Christians to seek professional therapy and even use mediations to try to deal with their mental illnesses.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2010
How many times have we "turned over a new leaf" only to find that we are just as rotten on the other side as we were on the front side. The author makes it clear that deep and meaningful change is beyond our human efforts. This book teaches that real change must be Gospel centered and God empowered. Real change begins deep in our hearts and works its way into our thinking, and then manifests in our behavior. One way that we know real change has occurred is when even our desires have changed. Buy two copies of this book, one for yourself and one to give away to someone who wants to change but has not yet been able to.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2011
A short time ago I was at my son's baseball game. In between innings I would pick up my book and continue reading. People would walk by and I caught them looking at my book. I usually really like this as it has been a convienent opportunity to talk about the gospel. In this case however, I was embarrassed. As I sat there reading "You Can Change" I was certain that the people thought I was reading some sort of self-help book. "No!" I thought. "I'm reading about the power of the gospel in the life of a believer."

After about a inning or so of this type of false thinking and fear of man I realized this is the type of thing that needs to change. I cannot be so concerned about other people's thoughts. Since I have God's approval through Christ I do not need to be so concerned with these types of things. Instead, I should be thankful for the opportunity to talk to people.

This was my first experience with Tim Chester's writings. I must say, I am greatly encouraged. He writes with a very clear, succinct, gospel-dripping style. He seems to simultaneously attack legalism and promote grace. The book is sneaky good.

As the title indicates the premise of the book is a statement of fact: You Can Change. That is, because of the work of Christ and the continued work of the Holy Spirit, people can truly change. This is good and refreshing to hear.

The author does a terrific job teaching and reminding about who God is and what he has done. This puts sin in perspective. It has that `how to' type feel but without neglecting what God has done in Christ and continues to do through the Holy Spirit. In other words, the book connects doctrine to life in a refreshing way.

The chapters then, pivoting out of this fact, are as follows:

(1) What would you like to change?

(2) Why would you like to change?

(3) How are you going to change?

(4) When do you struggle?

(5) What truths do you need to turn to?

(6) What desires do you need to turn from?

(7) What stops you from changing?

(8) What strategies will reinforce your faith and repentance?

(9) How can we support one another in changing?

(10) Are you ready for a lifetime of daily change?

Each chapter ends with application questions and review. This, in addition to the simple and straightforward writing style, makes the book ideal of a discipleship study for a small group of new or mature Christians. As a pastor I am always looking for resources that are clear and gospel-saturated. There are many books that advocate change but there are a precious few that advocate change because of the work of the Holy Spirit as a consequence to the work of Christ. I am thankful that You Can Change by Tim Chester answers the bell.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2014
Chester accomplishes the impossible by delivering a book that is heavy on doctrine, not overladen with anecdotes like many in this genre, and will hold the average reader's interest. His thesis is simple: we are not changed through sheer will power, nor are we changed by passive waiting on God; change is the product of God's work in us insofar as our desires are transformed.
Chester is a Calvinist. However, not even a fastidious Arminian like me could raise a fair complaint against Chester's handling of the Word. In fact, there's almost nothing annoying about this book. Almost. If the repeated use of the phrase "change project" seemed to trivialize sanctification, it was a departure from the consistently serious tone of the book.

We are reminded that growth and holiness are generally not achieved outside the context of a local community of believers, and they were never meant to be. God sanctifies us as we become to one another what He prescribes in the New Testament. In chapter 9, ecclesiology and sanctification are shown to be inseparably linked. The author makes the bold (but I believe accurate) assertion, "The church is a better place for change than a therapy group, a counselor's office, or a retreat center" (153). Equally valuable is the author's explanation of how the gospel is essential for true change. Gospel understanding, as the author notes, entails "an inevitable and resolute rejection of all self-confidence and self-righteousness" (127). To miss the gospel and its implications is to miss sanctification.

This is a worthwhile book for any Christian who is discouraged with besetting sins. Chester gives practical counsel from a pastor's heart. His illustrations are invariably apropos and helpful. He hits on the most important questions concerning the believer's lifelong quest to put away the sinful flesh and walk in obedience. I highly recommend this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2011
I picked up a copy of You Can Change: God's Transforming Power for Our Sinful Behavior and Negative Emotions as part of a package deal when it first came out in 2010. However, it sat on my bookshelf until this July. It never seemed to interest me. I was skeptical that it was another book on making myself better. The title seemed to me like a self-help book. Yet hearing nothing but good things about the book, I decided to start reading it.

I was shocked at how wrong I was about this book. It is not another self-help book that encourages you to change a behavior or emotion in order to make your life better. Rather it takes you through a "change project". During this project, Tim Chester takes us through a biblical counseling session. He begins by asking what you would change followed by why you want it to change. All the while, Tim is constantly pointing you back to Christ as the source and reason for change.

"God's agenda for change is for us to become like Jesus", says Chester. And that is exactly the agenda that Chester continually points us to. Each chapter is full of truth that penetrates the heart and exposes our sin and idols. At the end of each chapter, questions are presented in order to help the reader become more Christ like.

Chester does an excellent job of exposing legalism while presenting a practical and theological approach to change. At the end of the project, you won't be left struggling to obey a set a rules. Rather you will be rejoicing in Christ and celebrating the cross.

If you are interested in becoming more like Christ, READ THIS BOOK. If you are interesting in killing sin, READ THIS BOOK. It's practical application and theology make it a must read for any christian seeking to grow and mature.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2010
The questions at the end of each chapter and reflection notes really help what was read sink in. This book gives you something to do along with reading so you don't forget as you go through it. It gives scripturally sound advice and challenges you to actually change. While this book cannot stop you from sinning, it points you to the Source over and over again giving you the attitude to consider Christ. He is the much better alternative.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2011
The title is quite cliche. Pardon me! The book is not. I had read quite a number of Christian books but this still gives me something new to contemplate. Excellent spiritual food for Christians. Recommended!

p.s. Below please find some of my favorite passages for your reference.

After each day of creation God declares what he has made to be good. But on the sixth day God's verdict on a world that now includes humanity is very good. God's work wasn't finished until there was something in the world to reflect his glory in the world. We often excuse our actions by saying "I'm only human." There's nothing "only" about being human: we're truly human as we reflect God's glory......As the image of God, man was created to reflect, express and participate in the glory of God, in miniature, creaturely form. We've failed to be the images of God we were made to be. We cant be the people we want to be, let alone the people we ought to be. pg15

The glory of God is the sum of all that he is: his love, goodness, beauty, purity, judgment, splendor, power, wisdom and majesty. The earthly life of Jesus reflected the glory of God in the goodness of his actions, the beauty of his attitudes and the purity of his thoughts. He reflected the power of God in what appears to us a quite topsy-turvy way. Pg16

I want to be like Jesus, I can observe him in action as I read the Gospels. I can study the life he lived and the love he showed. I could try very hard to imitate him. But, at best, that would lead only to a small, short-lived improvement, and indeed even that small improvement would probably make me proud. I need more than an example. I need help. I need someone to change me. Trying to imitate Jesus on its own only leave me feeling a failure. I cant be like him. I cant match up. I need sorting out. I need rescuing. I need forgiveness. The great news is that Jesus is not only my example, but also my Redeemer. "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Cor 5:17) pg20

The message of this book is that change takes place in our lives as we turn to see the glory of God in Jesus. We "see" the glory of God in Jesus. We "see" the glory of Christ as we "hear" the gospel of Christ. Moral effort, fear of judgment and sets of rules cant bring lasting change. But amazing things happen when we "turn to the Lord". Pg23

Legalism is appealing for two reasons. First, it makes holiness manageable. A heart wholly devoted to God is a tough demand, but a list of ten rules I can cope with....Second, legalism makes holiness an achievement on our part.....No one thinks of themselves as a legalist. The just think of themselves as someone who takes holiness seriously. After all, it has the appearance of wisdom. Pg50

People who pray more don't have 25 hour days. Our problem is that we decide other things are more important. But when we realize God is the great change-agent in our lives, prayer will inevitably move up the priority list. For some this will require planned neglect - deciding to neglect other activities. Pg156

When we worship God we're reminding ourselves that God is bigger and better than anything sin offers....To worship God is to retune our hearts. Pg157
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