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A Contrarian's Guide to Knowing God: Spirituality for the Rest of Us Paperback – April 17, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"What a great, fun book! Larry Osborne’s A Contrarian’s Guide made me cringe at certain intersections; at other times I felt the thrill of someone putting into words what I’ve always felt. He takes the cookies off the top shelf and puts them where we all can enjoy them, as he finishes our incomplete sentences and makes us feel like geniuses.
It’s a quick read that’s filled with brilliant, disturbing insights. He may not change stodgy theologians, but he may just annoy them closer to Jesus."

-WAYNE CORDEIRO, Coauthor of Culture Shift, Senior Pastor, New Hope Christian Fellowship, O’ahu Honolulu

"Larry Osborne hits it out of the park with A Contrarian’s Guide to Knowing God. Practical and engaging, this book calls each of us to a new way of thinking about what it means to build a great relationship with God. It does what every great book has always done: It causes some of us relief, it causes some of us great consternation, and it causes all of us to stop and think about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. The concepts Larry shares have blessed and encouraged me as a follower of Christ and a leader in His church. I will definitely move this book to the top of my must-read list for our church family."

-TOBY SLOUGH, Author of Living the Dream and The Great Adventure, Senior Pastor, Cross Timbers Community Church, Argyle, Texas

"This is a refreshingly helpful book for everyone who loves Jesus but has struggled with tidy formulas for spiritual growth."

-MARK DRISCOLL, Author of The Radical Reformission, Cofounder and President, Acts 29 Church Planting Network, Founder, Mars Hill Church, Seattle

"Rich wisdom brilliantly communicated by a very talented writer. Takes the blinders off and opens your eyes to some strange and unique ways God works."

-STEPHEN ARTERBURN, Author of The Secrets Men Keep, Founder and Chairman, New Life Ministries, Radio Cohost of New Life Live

"This book will speak to everyone who has ever felt “left out” spiritually. Larry’s insights cut through the commonly accepted, guilt-induced world of religion as he captures the raw essence of New Testament relationship. Reading this book feels like a conversation with Jesus over coffee— simple, profound, biblical, yet completely opposite of what I’ve learned from America’s polluted version of Christianity. Every year, one book grabs my attention and speaks to my soul. A Contrarian’s Guide to Knowing God is this year’s book."

-CRAIG GROESCHEL, Author of Chazown and Confessions of a Pastor, Senior Pastor of LifeChurch.tv, Oklahoma City

"Larry Osborne puts into words what many of us have wondered about for years but never had the courage to voice publicly. This book affirms us as individuals with unique personalities, learning styles, and gifts while offering sound counsel on the importance of deepening our relationships with God and with each other. A Contrarian’s Guide to Knowing God gives us permission to trade our feelings of spiritual inferiority for the confidence to pursue a life with God at the very center of who we are and how we choose to live each day."

-LINDA STANLEY, Director of Next Generation Pastors Leadership Community, Leadership Network

"I’ve heard all my life that God created each of us uniquely. Larry opened my eyes to the truth that God desires us to know and follow Him as an expression of that uniqueness. With a keen mixture of wit, wisdom, and God’s word, A Contrarian’s Guide to Knowing God provides a refreshing and insightful look at how the “average guy” can enjoy a meaningful, guilt-free relationship with God."

-CHIP HENDERSON, Senior Pastor of Pinelake Church Brandon, Mississippi

"As a pastor of a church where the average age is twenty-six, I am always looking for down-to-earth resources that will encourage spiritual growth for the “normal people” who come to our church. This book will be at the top of our resource list! Whether you are a seasoned believer or a seeker, A Contrarian’s Guide to Knowing God: Spirituality for the Rest of Us will challenge, encourage, and move you to follow Jesus."

-DARRIN PATRICK, Founding Pastor of The Journey, St. Louis

"Larry Osborne has mapped out a brand-new path for spiritual formation in A Contrarian’s Guide to Knowing God. This is one of the only books I know that takes you on the path to God without insisting that you be more disciplined and more structured, and that you read a lot more. Finally, a book for the rest of us!"

-DAVE FERGUSON, Coauthor of The Big Idea, Lead Pastor and Spiritual Entrepreneur and Community Christian Church and NewThing Network, Chicago

"If you’ve ever thought you were the only one challenging a cookie-cutter approach to faith, you need to read this book. Thank God! Osborne shows us how our relationship with God is not a one-size-fits-all approach."

-BILL EASUM, Easum-Bandy Associates, Coauthor of Go Big and Beyond the Box

"Larry Osborne has always seen things a little differently. His fresh look at the church has led to a multisite revolution; now Larry gives us a fresh look at spiritual life that is just as helpful and thought provoking. I highly recommend it."

-ROBERT LEWIS, Coauthor of Culture Shift and The Church of Irresistible Influence, Founder of Men’s Fraternity and Pastor-at-large at Fellowship Bible Church, Little Rock

"Larry challenges current notions of spiritual development in a healthy and thoughtful way. Whether you are beginning your journey with God or have been at it a long time, this book will be a powerful blessing and guide."

-BOB ROBERTS JR., Founder of Glocalnet, Senior Pastor of NorthWood Church, Fort Worth, Texas

About the Author

Larry Osborne has served as the senior pastor and directional leader of North Coast Church since 1980. Under his leadership, the church has grown from 128 to 6,500 in weekend attendance and has been recognized as one of the 10 Most Influential Churches in America.

In 1998 North Coast Church pioneered the use of Video Worship Venues as an intentional ministry strategy offering a variety of worship styles and locations. These venues expanded the demographic and geographic outreach of the church to the point that it now offers 23 worship options on five different local campuses each weekend.

Known for its innovative approach to ministry, North Coast also pioneered the use of sermon-based small groups (a lecture/lab model that delves deeper into the weekend message). For 21 years the church has maintained a participation level of over 80% of the weekend adult attendance.

In addition, Larry serves as an adjunct professor for the doctoral and graduate programs at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Simpson College. He has traveled around the country speaking to business and church leaders about building healthy teams and innovative leadership.

Larry’s down-to-earth teaching style brings God’s word alive with insightful real-world application sprinkled with humor. His deep love for the local church and his passion to help pastors and leaders succeed is always evident.

He is the founder and president of the North Coast Training Network and has been a frequent contributor to LEADERSHIP JOURNAL. His book, THE UNITY FACTOR is now in its fourth edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Multnomah Books; 1St Edition edition (April 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590527941
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590527948
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A wise, articulate book that points us to serving God with gladness!

Larry Osborne is back with fresh insight about how all of us--not just the scholarly, introverted, monastic personalities among us--can move forward in our spiritual journeys. As always, Osborne is readable, engaging, and right on the mark.

It's no surprise that survey after survey identifies Dr. Larry Osborne as one of the "most influential pastors" in North America. Osborne has been at the forefront of the church's most successful recent adaptations to contemporary culture--and he's still out in front, leading the way, this time about personal spiritual formation.

A seeming counterpoint to contemporary classics such as "Celebration of Discipline" (Richard Foster) and "The Spirit of the Disciplines" (Dallas Willard), this book explores how anyone with a heart for God can develop and grow spiritually, without having to take on an exhaustive regimen of structured habits and practices.

Here is Osborne's take on the role that faith plays in our daily lives: "It's not how much or how little (faith) we have that matters. It's whether we're willing to act upon the mustard seed (i.e., tiny amount) that we've got." Osborne applies this same practical, clear-minded thinking to nearly two dozen topics, writing succinctly in essay style.

Well-written, well-organized and easy to read, this book provides fertile ground for pastors and teachers, for everyone interested in spiritual growth and for anyone who wants to discover God's ideas about who we are as His children.

(Together with wife Lisa, Dr. David Frisbie serves as executive director of The Center for Marriage & Family Studies in Del Mar, California. David and Lisa have authored eight books and numerous articles about family life.)

Armchair Interviews says: Very enlightening.
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I recently completed Larry Osborne's book, A Contrarian's Guide to Knowing God. I first heard about Osborne about a year ago. He pastors North Coast Church in Southern California. I like the way he thinks and I would highly recommend this new book.

For years, I've often wondered how Christians grew spiritually without access to a Bible, study course, Sunday School class, or small group. We place so much emphasis on reading. In fact, to the Christian in the Western hemisphere, spiritual growth is not possible without books. But the Gutenberg press wasn't invented until the 1500's. Only in the past couple of centuries have Bibles and Christian books been available. How did Christ-followers grow in their faith without their own personal copy of the Bible? How did they survive without Christian publishers?

Osborne talks about this briefly to make the case that the Church has designed conventional paths to spiritual growth for certain types of people, i.e., people who like to read and study. Now, you have to understand that this is descriptive of me. I love books. I have three stacks of books that I'm wading through now! So this is not an indictment on readers. Instead, it is a concern that we have made the path to spiritual growth too narrow.

Like new cars on the showroom floor, we've developed two types of Christians: the basic model including only the necessities and the super-deluxe package with all the extras. The basic model Christian attends Sunday services and might sit in on a Bible study once a week but he doesn't read all of the latest books on the Christian best seller list or study the Bible with a highlighter in his hand.
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Format: Paperback
Lead pastor of North Coast Church in northern San Diego County Larry Osborne presents Contrarian's Guide to Knowing God: Spirituality for the Rest of Us, an examination of spirituality and The Big Questions for anyone jaded by or distrustful of the dogma of established religions. Chapters explore such themes as "What does it mean to know God?", "How does spiritual growth happen?" or "What does God want?". Contrarian's Guide to Knowing God does not purport to have all the answers, but makes an extraordinarily strong case for the answers it does provide. "Great relationships don't just happen. They take hard work and significant mid-course corrections to stay healthy over the long haul. A relationship with God is no different. While God never needs to grow, makes a mistake, never misunderstands, and never chooses the selfish route, we do. And whenever we get off course, it usually takes some significant changes on our part to get the relationship back on track." An inspirational testimony of "common-sense" Christian spirituality drawing from real-world wisdom as well as the study of scripture.
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Everyone has their own way of learning, understanding "every day things and task". It is no different than understanding the Bible. We have all been taught the rules, the discipline, the important stuff and some times it gets a little confusing in our spirituality or understanding of God. What Larry does in his book, is to let one know that "you are OK" in the way you understand and learn cause we don't all do it the same way. It is a simple read and quite enlightening. Want to approach your ministry to reach more people, get some ideas from the book.
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