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Living Close to God (When You're Not Good at It): A Spiritual Life That Takes You Deeper Than Daily Devotions by [Edwards, Gene]
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Living Close to God (When You're Not Good at It): A Spiritual Life That Takes You Deeper Than Daily Devotions Kindle Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 88 customer reviews

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Length: 192 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gene Edwards is one of the most influential Christian authors of our time. Three of his books are considered modern classics: A Tale of Three Kings, The Divine Romance, and The Prisoner in the Third Cell. His books have been published in more than seventy foreign editions and in twenty-two languages. He and his wife, Helen, live in Florida.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Spiritually Handicapped

      I consider myself to be spiritually handicapped.
      Christians who know the Lord well seem to have a natural spiritual bent. I am not so endowed. As to things spiritual, I have always thought of myself as being some kind of rare case because of my nonspiritual nature. If you happen to fall into this same “rare case,” then join me in this journey in search of a spiritual life for Christians who are not naturally spiritually inclined.
      I did not grow up in a devout family. I was raised in the home of a laboring man—a “doer” by nature. So was his father before him: like father, like son. I am a natural doer.
      I broke horses, played football, and began working in the oil fields as a roughneck at age fourteen. Roughnecks are plain-spoken, practical, tough, down-to-earth men. That was my world. Being a doer was, and is, my nature.
      No, I am not a spiritual person. The only thing I had in my favor, spiritually, was a spectacular conversion to Christ. I was converted while in college. I graduated from college, was called to the ministry, and entered seminary all in the same week.
      What was instilled in me by my denomination was the imperative of winning others to Christ. That fit the doer in me perfectly. Evangelism was my consuming passion. Further, I was still an oilfield roughneck at heart. A public display of piety was beyond me. It still is. I also found that I was a most unlikely candidate for being a pastor. (My parishioners soon made the same discovery!) My sole interest was to turn the world upside down and win everyone on earth to the Lord Jesus Christ.
      Then came…

A Rise Too Soon

      No young believer should ever rise quickly in the ministry. I became a pastor at age twenty-one, a seminary graduate at twenty-two, and by age twenty-four, I had written a book on personal evangelism. That book became a bestseller, and not only was the book well received, but so was its author. In a skyrocketing ascent, I was soon conducting citywide campaigns sending Christians out to knock on every door in the city, in an effort to lead people to Christ. This much notoriety, this much leadership, this furious pace could have easily been a stew for disaster. 
      My zeal for Christ never faltered, but I gradually came face to face with the reality of emptiness. In the midst of a national, many-layered ministry, my spiritual desperation grew. I reached the point where I had to choose between two paths: either continue in my ministry or come to know Christ better. I could not do both.
      One day I wrote myself a note: “It is far more important to me that I come to know my Lord in living reality than it is to be in ministry without it.” Finally, I sat with my family and shared my desperation. I then cancelled all my campaigns. I had become a pilgrim traveling in uncharted lands. But just where would I begin this pilgrimage? I began by searching for books that might help provide answers, something that would show me how to have some kind of a spiritual life. I could find no such helps. Nor did I find any Christian who could help this desperate beggar. As noted already, I was convinced that I was a special case.
      I know the evangelical world. (I have spoken in hundreds of churches and worked with thousands of ministers while conducting citywide campaigns.) In the evangelical world I knew I would find much being said about prayer. I knew a few men who spent an hour or more in prayer every day. Some of them evidenced some spiritual touch; in others, no such evidence was apparent. Few of them testified of a practical relationship with the Lord Jesus. As for me, I could not see myself praying for an hour every day.

Prayer, or Fellowship with the Lord?

      I knew by instinct there was a great distinction between praying and fellowship with the Lord. The difference is vast. (It is entirely possible to be fully devoted to prayer and never actually fellowship with the Lord.) As to the many books I read, virtually every one was centered on the subject of prayer. Sadly, those teachings did nothing to address my desperation to know the Lord better. Their advice led to the very thing I was trying to escape. (Remember, I am naturally a doer.)
      Some people reading this may think I lack some kind of special experience—one that would cure my spiritual longings. My response is this: I have had the Pentecostal experience, the Easter experience, the Christmas experience, the Passover experience, and the “exchanged life” experience. I have even had the Fourth of July experience and many other such experiences.
      Herein lies the problem. I was not looking for an experience; I was seeking a walk. Here was a Christian who had spent ten years in the ministry, yet who had become a desperate, hungry, rapacious seeker—seeking to know his Lord better. I was a beggar looking for bread. I also was beginning to wonder if I was such a rare case that I might never be able to have a meaningful walk with Christ.
      Was there hope for this woefully ill-equipped believer? Knowing Christ in living reality and in simplicity had become the first pursuit of my life. I was desperate, yet not even remotely qualified for such a spiritual quest.
      So it was, the search began.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3832 KB
  • Print Length: 192 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook (October 4, 2011)
  • Publication Date: October 4, 2011
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004KPM25W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #405,547 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The first chapter of Living Close to God had me hooked. The author writes in a personable and relevant way, and his admission that he is not a "spiritual person" connects. He shares a brief testimony and talks about his great desire to have a meaningful walk with Christ. Gene, we the readers are ready to take that walk with you. But then the next seventeen chapters give only a few simple suggestions: remember God in the morning, turn Psalm 23 into a prayer, speak God's name when you pray instead of bringing requests all the time, and build in little moments into your day to turn to Him. These are great suggestions - that could've been covered in one chapter. The final chapter is excellent, warning the reader that a closer walk with Christ conflicts with church as it is practiced today. But it's still worth the danger. I appreciate the thoughts expressed in this book, and there are a few takeaways. I appreciate seeing a man open up about his relationship with Christ and what works for him. But I was hoping for a little more from the man who wrote the fantastic A Tale of Three Kings.
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Format: Paperback
I started off a little skeptical on this one. I have read books before on getting closer to God. They usually are full of legalistic ideas that you can do to achieve this. It was refreshing when right out of the gate Gene admits that he is not a spiritual person. It came across that this guys has been where I am and understands. It wasn't a bunch of things that we can do to achieve the closeness we are supposed to have, it was a way to create a longing or a passion to spend time with Him.

The chapters are really short. Which helps with my short attention span. It is a very easy read that you look forward to reading. It starts off really simple and then progresses deeper. So don't stop reading it if it seems to simple. Keep going and it will catch you where you are at. There is also a group study guide and a personal study guide in the back of the book.

This is a book I am going to recommend to a few people I know. We all long to walk a little closer with God. Get started by picking up a copy of this book.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review".
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
awesome read. The author writes clear, simple yet paints a picture in a beautiful way. The 23rd Psalm I saw through different eyes. If you want to really know and understand this Psalm as it is not a Psalm of death but of life and our relationship with the Lord this is a must read. Have read another of his books and he writes them so well and before you know it you are done and saying I want more.
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Format: Paperback
Living Close To God When You're Not Good At It follows the journey author Gene Edwards took in searching the face of God. A young Edwards rose quickly to fame as a well-known author and pastor, only to turn around one day and realize he didn't know God himself. It was in this moment that he knew he had to pursue a personal relationship with the Creator or risk loosing his passion for the kingdom. But where to begin?

Edwards begins to seek out God beyond the basics of Bible reading and prayer, and desires to move his search into the moment by moment of his life. Although he values reading and prayer, he makes mention several times that it just wasn't enough. It left him dry and restless. There had to be more for a common man.

While the book does go on to offer several practical tips in searching out God, I found it be very repetitive. Edwards mentions repeatedly what a common man he is, almost as if the convince the reader of the practically of his methods. He also notes repeatedly that the information he sought out before was written by people who were more spiritual than him and that he's writing this book for the spiritually inept. But the sad truth is that he gets so caught up in sweeping statements that he lost this reader.

Certainly there were nuggets of truth in this book. Suggestions that offered some redeeming take away. However, the book as a whole was full of generalizations and repetition. I quickly lost interest. Sorry, Edwards. You're going to have to go back to the drafts on this one.

*Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this book for review. All opinions are mine.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Enlightening read for those of us Christians who are, as Edwards puts it, "spiritually handicapped." His journey to discover how to achieve a close relationship with God gives us practical ideas to accomplish this in the hectic pace of modern living. I have started the personal study guide at the end of the book and am finding it life-changing.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was given this book by a colleague of mine who is part of a weekly prayer group.
I had heard of Gene Edwards but had never read any of this books (they've been on my "to read" list for some time).
I loved this book because I see it as a help for those overwhelmed with trying to live the ideal "Christian" life, i.e. reading a chapter of Scripture a day, or the Bible through a whole year, being involved in the church through serving, or Bible studies, etc.
The author makes it clear that he is not disparaging those fine activities, but makes a very good case that in doing so, many can miss the simple joy of fellowship and relationship with the Trinity.
Living Close to God cuts through all the "to do's" that can push out the most important thing for a follower of Jesus, which is to know him, enjoy him, be filled with him. It is through the relationship's enriching our souls that one can serve, participate, and "do" the other good Christian activities.
I just bought 3 copies of this, and plan to give them to my "younger in the faith" Christian friends.
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