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Comment: This item is in good condition. All pages and covers are readable. There are no stains or tears. Dust jacket is present if applicable. May contain small amounts of writing and/or highlighting. Spine and cover may show signs of wear. May not contain supplementary items. We ship within 1 business day. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
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When God Interrupts: Finding New Life Through Unwanted Change Paperback – March 7, 1996

4.3 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

When God Interrupts is for men and women who are not living the life they had planned. It is for those who have faced significant loss, loss that has forced them to make a frightening choice. Will they clutch at something else for their salvation? Or can they leave their hands open long enough to receive the life Jesus was dying to give them? Spouses die or depart. Friendships wither. Health fades. Children grow up and leave home. We move to new jobs and new towns. The dreams and securities of the past are shattered, hopes for the future disappointed. Nothing stays the way it was or turns out exactly as we had expected. Life, it seems, is necessarily dotted with loss, marked by abandonment. But all this should come as no surprise to Christians, those who are called to lose their lives in order to find them. So if we try to follow Jesus, we can count on a great deal of abandonment. The good - but hard - news of the gospel is that abandonment can be embraced as the opportunity to receive new life.

About the Author

M. Craig Barnes (PhD, University of Chicago) is Meneilly Professor of Leadership and Ministry at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and senior pastor at Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a former senior pastor of the National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. His books include Searching for Home: Spirituality for Restless Souls, An Extravagant Mercy: Reflections on Ordinary Things, Sacred Thirst: Finding God in the Desert of Our Longings and Hustling God: Why We Work So Hard for What God Wants to Give . Barnes is also the author of numerous published articles and is a speaker at seminary and church events.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (March 7, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830819797
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830819799
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #419,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Several years ago as I was in the midst of meticulously charting the expected course of a job change, a wise friend told me: "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." "When God Interrupts" by M. Craig Barnes, pastor of the National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., is the book to turn to in those disquieting moments when it becomes clear the plans we have made -- perhaps staked our futures upon -- have become finally so much dust. In accessible and at times deeply-moving prose it helps the sympathetic reader get beyond the question "Why me, Lord?" that inevitably accompanies such disappointment to a deeper understanding of what it means to worship a God whose ineffable grace is often to refuse us what we insist we want most.

"When God Interrupts" is book of hard contemporary wisdom set firmly within the Christian tradition. It is only secondarily a work of inspiration, although it contains passages that will invariably draws tears of recognition, and it will bring absolutely no comfort to those used to browsing the self-help literature for answers to their problems. It is a book for those who may have labored for years under the illusion that they have somehow taken the measure of God, at last understood His will, and are now ready to accept His reward for all their faith and righteousness. God's silence at the other end of this "deal" can be overwhelming, but for Barnes such moments, and he refers to them here and in other contexts as abandonments, are an invitation, a challenge to finally give to God what He wants most from us: ourselves.
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A little over six years ago I started to experience as series of very disturbing "interruptions" in a life that I thought had progressed nicely up until that point. Little did I know that M. Craig Barnes had just published a book that would help me greatly in making some sense of it all. I'm glad to have found it.
Any Christian who has suffered a huge interruption in the life that he or she has expected to live will benefit from this book. Like it or not, most of us will be abandoned by many things we value in this life. Even the best things we have our only ours for a time. We stand to lose our material wealth, our health, our livelihood, people we love, and finally our very lives as such. Dealing with this grim reality requires a choice of perspective. We can devote our life's energies to trying to preserve our lives as we want, or hope, them to be. The fear of losing our self-made lives will rule our lives. Inevitably, loss will come. How will you take that loss? If the meaning you find in your life depends on your ability to keep it the way you want it, then the loss may come pretty hard. Alternatively, M. Craig Barnes presents a perspective based on Bible lessons and people's stories which can help us to see and appreciate the sum of our lives as an unearned gift from God.
Gaining this perspective requires a conversion process that goes beyond mental assent to certain doctrines or simple belief. It is when we are abandoned by things we hold most dear that the test of faith comes. Is it real, or is it mostly dependent on our having our lives the way we want them to be? Most of us will have more than one opportunity in our lives to find out. The good news is that, even if we can't have the life we wanted, God can show us a way to want the life we have.
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Format: Paperback
I thought after I read Sacred Thirst (which mysteriously appeared in the back of my car and remained there for over a year) that there was no point in reading any of the other books by Craig Barnes becasue they would never measure up to this one. I was wrong. I have read 3, bought 6 and am on my fourth. This one is beautifully written, as are all his books. Maybe this one goes even deeper to the heart of the matter, which I would say is Barnes' specialty. He tells more truth, the deep, hard truth, and somehow leaves you changed and deeply grateful for having heard it. The way I use these books is this: I read a small section (all Barnes' books are organized into smaller sections within each chapter) as part of my morning devotion. This and his other books have made an enormous impact on me and the people I've shared them with.
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One of the best books I've read this year! Some authors attempt to "write in stories" to extend their point. Barnes extracts stories from his ministry. Nothing contrived or embellished, simply how life is lived out by people of faith. This is my first experience with this author, but will definitely read more. I highly recommend this book if sometimes your life doesn't make sense. If you've got life all figured out, then the book won't make sense.
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I have read and enjoyed many "help" type books but this one really impacted me. It doesn't focus on how to fix your problem -- it focuses on how God shows Himself to you during those hard times.
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I've loved to read Barnes down through the years, and he's not ever disappointed me. He seems to know right where you live and how you feel, and then so very thoroughly connect this to how God' enables us to live the Christian life without false expections.
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