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The Gospel of Yes: We Have Missed the Most Important Thing About God. Finding It Changes Everything Paperback – June 5, 2012
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Q & A with Author Mike Glenn
Q. How would you explain the title, The Gospel of Yes?
A. The scandalous good news of the gospel is "God is for us." That's the message Jesus brought to us. God's word to us is a resounding yes. The great yes of God echoes back to us in creation, in the call of Abraham, the Exodus, the missionary work of the early church--and ultimately and supremely in Jesus Christ. God's word to humanity is Yes! Yes to life and life more abundant; Yes to restoration and healing and Yes to eternity with Him.
Q. When did you realize there was a need to help people understand what it meant to live in Yes?
A. We have a Tuesday night worship experience called Kairos that focuses on young adults. In a lot of my conversation with these young adults, they would begin to tell me all of the things they had done wrong in their lives. They felt bad about their mistakes, but were failing in their efforts to simply avoid doing wrong. When I asked them what they were for, they had no idea what I was talking about. We started talking and preaching about the Yes we have Christ Jesus and when you know your yes (the person you are in Christ and the purpose for which you were created), then the No's of your life take care of themselves.
Q. How is your view of God shaped by living in Yes instead of No?
A. I have found it makes all the difference in how you live when you understand the grace of the Father is for your benefit as a person. God is committed to your success as any good father is. To understand that God is working for your good instead of sitting way up in heaven with a fist full of lightning bolts waiting for us to make a mistake, allows us to live in a joyful freedom I haven't been able to find anywhere else.
Q. Your book talks about how Christianity and the culture have built into our lives a message of No. How would you describe that?
A. We love to keep score. Everything we do or have done or value. That's a problem in authentic Christianity. How do you measure mercy? How do you quantify love? This is frustrating to us as humans, so the church developed a way to keep points (attendance, giving, etc.) that we could measure. We also developed a lot of things that cause us to lose points (not attending church, etc.) By adding and subtracting points, we could tell what kind of Christian each of us was. I am being a little facetious, but not much. Christianity as a point system is a very small and bitter way to live. It's not the gospel Jesus preached.
Q. How did you find your Yes?
A. I had always been looking for my yes, but I didn't know what I was looking for. I knew I was called, but I was a different kind of kid. .I didn't fit "pastoral expectations." Through the insight of several good friends, I began to understand the way I was put together and understood my own gifts. When I began to live out of my Yes, my life changed completely.
Q. Is there only one Yes found in life?
A. As you follow Christ, there are lots of moments of awakening and new understanding. I would say there is one big Yes--to follow Christ and become like Him. But there are lots of little yeses. Our God is full of surprises.
Q. You wrote about biblical characters who found their Yes. Can you tell us about a favorite of yours?
A. Most of the biblical characters we know about lived out their Yes in one way or another. Abraham, Moses, David, Joseph, Peter, Mary, Lydia--the list goes on and on of course. But for me, I wish I could live out my yes the way Paul did. Paul knew he was called to preach the gospel and he used every opportunity--even his own trial and imprisonment--to preach the gospel. I wish I could get to the point in my life where no matter what question life was throwing at me, I would answer out of my Yes in Christ and to Christ.
Praise for The Gospel of Yes
“Christians are often known by what they are against rather than what they are for. This stance results from seeing God as a cosmic naysayer, out to coerce our compliance and punish us when we get off track. In The Gospel of Yes, Mike Glenn offers a bold and inspiring corrective. When we start living in the truth of God’s ‘yes’ it changes everything—our view of God, our view of ourselves, and our view of the world. Read it. Embrace it. Share it.”
—Michael Hyatt, chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World
“I talk to people every day who have racked up a huge pile of debt and put their families at risk just so they can live someone else's definition of the good life. But there's a better way to live. In The Gospel of Yes, Mike Glenn shows you God's way of living life from the ‘yes’. Now you can say ‘yes’ to destiny, ‘yes’ to forgiveness, ‘yes’ to God!”
—Dave Ramsey, New York Times best-selling author and nationally syndicated radio host
“God’s ‘yes’ in Jesus Christ leads to our discovering who God made each of us to be. Mike Glenn opens our eyes to the truth that God has said ‘yes’ over us, and it is our simple calling to do God’s ‘yes’ and to be that ‘yes’.”
—Scot McKnight, author of The King Jesus Gospel and One.Life
“This is not a ‘prosperity gospel, name-it-and-claim-it’ book. This is a ‘glorious God, love Him and praise Him’ book. All Christ-followers will be challenged and encouraged by it. Mike Glenn provides a solid biblical foundation for building authentic relationships with God, with others, and with ourselves.”
—Sandra D. Wilson, PhD, seminary professor, spiritual director, and author of Into Abba's Arms and Released from Shame
“Mike Glenn is my pastor, friend, and counselor. He is the right person to author a book about a positive approach to the power and purpose of Jesus Christ. Mike’s emphasis on changing our negative views to those things positive was evident back when I first met him. Now, in The Gospel of Yes, he has given all of us the ‘yes’ that he instilled in me.”
—Brad Paisley, Grammy Award Winning recording artist and Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year
“Too many Christians are living a smaller life than the one God designed for them. They accept unnecessary limitations because they fail to trust God’s ‘yes’. When you listen to God’s ‘yes’, you find your identity and discover your calling. Let Mike Glenn point you toward your destiny as you hear the most powerful word God will ever speak to you.”
—Mark Batterson, author of The Circle Maker, Soulprint, and In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day
“Mike Glenn is that rare incisive, profound thinker who knows how to put the cookies on the lower shelf where the rest of us can enjoy them. The Gospel of Yes is filled with chewy delights you can easily reach. Don’t miss these treats.”
—Jerry B. Jenkins, New York Times best-selling author; owner of the Christian Writers Guild
“Soon after I started The Gospel of Yes, I was no longer reading the message, I was savoring the message. I heard afresh how much God loves me. I heard anew how much He cares for the plans of my life. I heard that God is more interested in telling me ‘yes’ than ‘no’. This book is remarkable. And my reaction at the conclusion of my reading surprised me. I wanted to read it again.”
—Thom S. Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources
”When we want to accomplish something, we start with a clear destination. We don’t think about the places we don’t want to go, just the place we have determined to reach. The Gospel of Yes is all about living in line with that purpose, with our own ‘yes’. Having watched Mike live out his ‘yes’, and seeing the explosive growth of his church, I am glad he took the time to share his blueprint with the rest of us.”
—Skip Prichard, president and CEO of Ingram Content Group
“This was one of those books where my highlighter wore out before I even finished the introduction. I can't wait to see what will happen to a culture that, up to this point, has believed that God's favorite word is ‘no’. They will be changed by The Gospel of Yes.”
—Jon Acuff, Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Quitter and Stuff Christians Like
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Top Customer Reviews
As I read, I felt hope. I'm coming off the roughest three years of my life. I feel battle-worn and tired. I need healing, I need to forgive others and myself, I need to feel valuable. Over and over again, the author emphasized God's presence, purpose, healing, promise, redemption, and ultimate heart for each of us. He also emphasizes that "we are a mess" and that "failure is part of the journey"--and God still says yes over and over again.
"Our confidence and hope are not based on having the courage to do the right thing; they are based on God and his character. If we had to depend on our own courage to always do the right thing, we'd fall into despair. No one is that consistent or dependable. But God is always strong and good, and he will not be defeated in his redemptive work. Ever."
The chapters addressing our own God-given uniqueness especially resonated with me. God says "Yes" to me...my being. His yes for me is revealed in my gifts, talents, personality...every detail of me. "Our world demands standardization"...God doesn't. I am significant. We constantly compare and fight against the feeling that we are not enough. We battle expectations from secular culture and American Christian culture more than we think. It's so wearying and draining. But God knows every detail of our crazy chaotic lives and says yes. Amazing. Encouraging.
Glenn is senior pastor of a mega-church in Tennessee and for what I can tell, he really loves and wants to help people. But of course, zeal alone is not helpful. The first thing I would say is that when a book has "gospel" in the title, then the reader is left to assume that the material covered will be gospel-saturated. Sadly, this is not the case. The majority of the book deals with how our lives can become better. This of course is in contrast with a gospel-centered book which would state that as believers, because of the gospel, our lives already are better. What could be better than spending eternity with God, our maker, redeemer and savior? In my view, the premise of the book is distorted.
Like I said, there are many good things in the book. Glenn does dedicate a section in one of the chapters to explain the gospel to an unbeliever who approached him, but again, this is one section in a 200 page book that is supposed to talk about the gospel of yes. I hope I don't come off as nitpicking, but I expected more gospel in a book with the word gospel in the title. Continuing with the title, then we get to the "yes" part. I understand that this is the entire premise of the book, how God said yes to us in Christ, and I agree with that, however, I believe that Glenn takes it to the extreme.
Glenn admits, thankfully, that when we say yes to God, then by default we say no to other things, like sin, Satan, etc. However, later in the book, this idea that by saying yes to God means saying no to other things is discarded completely. Glenn makes it seem that Christians shouldn't focus on opposing anything. In fact, he says about the apostle Paul and his preaching, that he "wasn't waging war against the pagan religion that held sway in the Roman Empire." Obviously he was because it got him imprisoned. Obviously when we say yes to God, we wage war against the empires of our world. The Christian life is one of warfare, hence we are supposed to put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).
In the opening pages of the book, Glenn shares about one traumatic experience in his life when he was mad at God and felt disillusioned. I appreciate the honesty of the pastor. However, later in the story, we see that Glenn becomes angry because God didn't do things according to his expectations and even defies God. Glenn gives God an ultimatum. God better show up at the lake house or else. Of course, according to Glenn, the next day God showed up and spoke to him in apparently an audible way. Now, I'm always careful when I hear a story about someone saying the heard from God directly. I'm not denying this possibility entirely, God is sovereign and can do as He pleases, but one must be careful, especially when the "revelation" came after giving the Sovereign God of the universe an ultimatum. There was no mention of repentance or a hint of humility for this approach.
Furthermore, Glenn makes the case that Christians are known more for what they are against, than for what they are for. Looking at our culture, this may be true, but is this Christianity's fault? Does this means that "we have missed the most important thing about God" as the subtitle suggests? As believers, redeemed by the sacrifice of Jesus, we ought to love others as He commanded us. Of course, we are not perfect and we don't always succeed. And going back to the yes and no premise, when we say yes to something, then we are saying no to something else. If we say yes to life, then we say no to abortion. Notice that we are saying yes to something good; to life. However, if the world paints us as "pro-life radicals" then that's their judgment on us, not because we are negative or seem to be against everything, but because the world hates the light (John 3:20). In other words, if Christians are known by those in the world as "being against" is because we are indeed against what is evil (Romans 12:9)
There are many other things I could say about the book, but I think these aspects are enough to give you a picture as to why I don't recommend it. It had a lot of potential, but in the end, while reading the pages from "The Gospel of Yes," I found myself saying "no" too often.
This book was furnished by the publisher in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion.
The book asked the reader to answer four basic questions to begin their journey of `yes'. 1) Who am I? 2) Why am I here? 3) Do I have a purpose, and if so, how do I find it? 4) Is there meaning in life, or is all of this just some kind of cosmic crapshoot? Nothing profound there. All life's direction and the assessment thereof begin at that point.
Glenn tells this story as he believes it unfolded. An example is the story when he gave God an ultimatum and says that God's voice was audible. I believe that he believes it happened just that way. However, I don't believe that God responds to ultimatums. I think we have to be careful when we share these stories - particularly to non-mature believers.
Overall, it is a good book. The discussion questions at the back make it easy for small group, Bible study, or individual devotion time.