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Messy by [Swoboda, A.J.]
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Messy Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Length: 184 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Swoboda reveals a Bible...filled with God's presence but fraught with blunder, betrayal, and frustration...but in the midst of all this messiness, which the author details with humor and charm, Swoboda shows how a Divine Messenger breaks through with messages of hope, massages of beauty, and safe passages of peace." --Leonard Sweet

"A.J. Swoboda made me laugh so hard I forgot we were talking about the Bible. I want to say this book is a 'breath of fresh air' but it's more than that: this book is a reminder to breathe. Every chapter is another glorious gulp of pure oxygen."
--Matt Mikalatos, author of My Imaginary Jesus and Night of the Living Dead Christian

"Swoboda describes what we rarely discuss--that the journey of becoming a Christlike community, a church, is not a pretty line from A to Z but a dizzying mess of contradictions and struggles....This book is a must-read for any Christian who wonders about the church today."
--MaryKate Morse, author of Making Room for Leadership

"We desperately need a major revision of how we see ourselves from God's perspective. Swoboda brilliantly portrays the picture of God wading deep into the mess of our reality, eager to embrace us fully. Messy is...inspiring, compelling, authentic, and funny."
--Mike Tatlock, Lead Pastor of Grace Chapel and author of Faith in Real Life

"At a time when young people are leaving the church in droves, Messy comes as a glimmer of hope on the horizon. It's a must-read for anybody who wants to recapture the beauty of Jesus and his messy church."
--John Mark Comer, pastor of Solid Rock Church

From the Back Cover

"Swoboda reveals a Bible...filled with God's presence but fraught with blunder, betrayal, and frustration...but in the midst of all this messiness, which the author details with humor and charm, Swoboda shows how a Divine Messenger breaks through with messages of hope, massages of beauty, and safe passages of peace." --Leonard Sweet

"Swoboda describes what we rarely discuss--that the journey of becoming a Christlike community, a church, is not a pretty line from A to Z but a dizzying mess of contradictions and struggles....This book is a must-read for any Christian who wonders about the church today." --MaryKate Morse, author of Making Room for Leadership 

"At a time when young people are leaving the church in droves, Messy comes as a glimmer of hope on the horizon. It's a must-read for anybody who wants to recapture the beauty of Jesus and his messy church." --John Mark Comer, Pastor, A Jesus Church

"A.J. Swoboda made me laugh so hard I forgot we were talking about the Bible. I want to say this book is a 'breath of fresh air' but it's more than that: this book is a reminder to breathe. Every chapter is another glorious gulp of pure oxygen." --Matt Mikalatos, author of My Imaginary Jesus and Night of the Living Dead Christian 

"We desperately need a major revision of how we see ourselves from God's perspective. Swoboda brilliantly portrays the picture of God wading deep into the mess of our reality, eager to embrace us fully. Messy is...inspiring, compelling, authentic, and funny." --Mike Tatlock, Lead Pastor of Grace Chapel and author of Faith in Real Life

Product Details

  • File Size: 672 KB
  • Print Length: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Kregel Publications (March 30, 2012)
  • Publication Date: March 30, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007Q3LVW0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #375,255 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Messy: God Likes it That Way is easily one of the most worth-while and helpful books I have read in quite some time. Swoboda's witty wisdom is easy to read but demands serious rumination. The book is accessible, relevant, simultaneously convicting about how to make positive life-changes and comforting in that I'm not the only messed-up one, and (bonus!) hilariously written. Each chapter addresses a different aspect of faith and walking with God; I found myself easily identifying with moments from each chapter even upon the first reading. However, having read it once, I fully anticipate referring back to Messy as my life continues to present its varying conundrums and seasons. I suggest reading it with a pen because I enjoyed using my copy like a journal- it's really that good.
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Format: Paperback
Many people are witty. Many people are wise. Too few people are both. AJ Swoboda's book was really humorous and profound at the same time. I really appreciated his thoughts on Christianity. I couldn't put the book down.
A really liked his chapter on theology. Coming from a guy who has a PhD in theology, it was refreshing to read him say that theology is only beneficial when it leads us to Christ.
The overall message of Swoboda's book is that life is full of imperfect, hurting, broken people. And, that he believes in a God who is at work in their pain. Many people have provided many attempts to answer the questions of life's ills in the world. Some of the answers feel better than others. This book felt like an authentic way of looking at the pain in people's life. When I put this book down, I felt I had read some really fair approaches to many of life's biggest questions.
If you take the time to read this book, I think you will find it thought provoking and interesting. Definitely funny. Which I always appreciate.
TNice
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Musings of a post-modern pastor. Swoboda had a lot of excellent insight on various topics ranging from church, prayer, family, sex, suffering, and theology, just to name a few. Drawing from both Scripture and real life experiences, Swoboda does an excellent job in achieving his point. Namely, that many aspects of our lives are messy and God works through these messes to make us more into the person He wants us to be. Not sure God would have it any other way. Easy and quick to read, entertaining, many times comical, and definitely not academic. I highly recommend this refreshing read for all of us who have messy lives... one way or another.

Some of my favorite quotes include:

"Preaching a beautiful message of grace, we so rarely, if ever, practice it on each other. Let alone ourselves."

"Frankly, I sometimes worry that people sell Christianity because they've conjured it up in their mind as this solution that'll fix the mess of our life like some kind of drug with the long commercials. Jesus becomes almost therapeutic; like a vapor rub. With few to no side effects (that we know of)... But, honestly, my life is way messier after I started following the Jesus I met that it was before."

"Jesus asks people to be past tense people in the present for the future."

"We begin to see the Spirit at work in the church when we choose to take our idealized views of what church should be, with all of its holy trappings, out into the backyard and shoot them between the eyes."

"Paul could have started one church, stayed, grown it to be a megachurch, and been invited to speak at all the best pastor's conferences. But he didn't. He started a church, brought people to faith, then left... But, he had to be gone.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Swoboda keeps it real, without getting the least bit preachy. His writing style is very conversational, as if you are just sitting there with him in a coffee shop as he talks about his faith and the everyday things ghat challenge each of us in our own walks of faith. Do i agree with everything he says? No. But he gets me thinking about many aspects of my faith and why i do much of what i do. He got me to think hard about my own walk, which i think is all he could ask for in writing this book.

I made a lot of notes and highlighted a lot of lines in this book. Just a few of my favorites from the book are:
- Stop looking for your church to give you a mission. Start practicing the things Jesus did at church. Probably no one will follow. That's okay. You aren't called to have disciples. Jesus is.
- You don't even have to talk about God to talk about God. When i read the book of Esther in the bible, i found out that God's name isn't even mentioned. Not once.
- Theology is only as good as it gets us to God. So too, Christianity is only as good as it gets us to Christ.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Don't read Messy if you are looking for answers.

Or do read it if you are looking for answers -- as many will, as I did to an extent -- but don't be disappointed when you don't find them, or when they're incomplete, or when they're different than what you expected. Instead, revel in Messy's overarching theme: that following Jesus is often both difficult and confusing. If that statement comforts you, you should read this book. If it upsets you, read the book. Because it's true: church is messed up, the Bible is confusing, relationships are difficult, Christians are hypocritical. It's all a lot messier than most of us were led to believe. But there's good news, and it's news that this book shouts: that God gave up his deity and sacrificed himself to rescue the messed up, the confused, the difficult, the hypocrite. Maybe once we realize how transient everything else is -- how our theology is always changing, how Christian fads grow and then wilt with the seasons, how we don't have adequate enough words or brains to even begin to comprehend our God -- we can focus on the significance of God's love for us. The questions remain important, but they no longer hinder us.

With that in mind I'll rescind my opening statement: Go ahead and read Messy if you are looking to answers. You'll find some, but I think you'll find something even better: a renewed desire to focus on the important stuff -- love God, and love the people he made (see also: everyone). Get that right and the mess starts to matter less. That's what Messy argues, and it's a cogent argument. Read it!
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