- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Crossway (March 4, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1433512319
- ISBN-13: 978-1433512315
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 81 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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You Can Change: God's Transforming Power for Our Sinful Behavior and Negative Emotions Paperback – March 4, 2010
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“We are called to be salt and light. Yet often the church fails to live differently. In our busy culture, we rarely spend time dealing with sinful areas of our lives; instead we try to sweep them under the carpet. Tim’s book is a biblical and practical challenge to the very root causes of ungodly patterns of behavior. Read it and allow God to change you!”
—Andy Frost, Director, Share Jesus International
“A wonderful book for those who are serious about personal change. For so many Christians the gulf between our aspirations and the reality of our daily Christian walk is very large. Here is very helpful material to help us bridge this gap and become the whole people God intended us to be.”
—Stephen Gaukroger, Senior Minister, Gold Hill Baptist Church
“A book about Christian growth that is neither quietistic nor moralistic is rare. A book that is truly practical is even rarer. Tim Chester’s new volume falls into both categories and therefore fills a gap.”
—Timothy J. Keller, Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City; best-selling author, The Reason for God
“There are few books that are shockingly honest, carefully theological, and gloriously hopeful all at the same time. Tim Chester’s book You Can Change is all of these and more. He skillfully uses the deepest insights of the theology of the Word as a lens to help you understand yourself and the way of change and, in so doing, helps you to experience practically what you thought you already knew. The carefully crafted personal ‘reflection’ and ‘change project’ sections are worth the price of the book by themselves. It is wonderful to be reminded that you and I are not stuck, and it’s comforting to be guided by someone who knows well the road from where we are to where we need to be.”
—Paul David Tripp, President, Paul Tripp Ministries; author, What Did You Expect?
About the Author
Tim Chester (PhD, University of Wales) is a pastor of Grace Church, Boroughbridge, and curriculum director of the Acts 29-Oak Hill Academy, which provides integrated theological and missional training for church leaders. He is the coauthor of Total Church and is the author of over thirty books, including You Can Change, A Meal with Jesus, and Good News to the Poor.
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Chester is a Calvinist. However, not even a fastidious Arminian like me could raise a fair complaint against Chester's handling of the Word. In fact, there's almost nothing annoying about this book. Almost. If the repeated use of the phrase "change project" seemed to trivialize sanctification, it was a departure from the consistently serious tone of the book.
We are reminded that growth and holiness are generally not achieved outside the context of a local community of believers, and they were never meant to be. God sanctifies us as we become to one another what He prescribes in the New Testament. In chapter 9, ecclesiology and sanctification are shown to be inseparably linked. The author makes the bold (but I believe accurate) assertion, "The church is a better place for change than a therapy group, a counselor's office, or a retreat center" (153). Equally valuable is the author's explanation of how the gospel is essential for true change. Gospel understanding, as the author notes, entails "an inevitable and resolute rejection of all self-confidence and self-righteousness" (127). To miss the gospel and its implications is to miss sanctification.
This is a worthwhile book for any Christian who is discouraged with besetting sins. Chester gives practical counsel from a pastor's heart. His illustrations are invariably apropos and helpful. He hits on the most important questions concerning the believer's lifelong quest to put away the sinful flesh and walk in obedience. I highly recommend this book.
How is it BIBLICAL? Not only does it argue from scriptural principles, it does so using lengthy quotations. Look hard, but you won't find any proof texting or goofy moralism here. No simple legalism. I have found that it builds each argument biblically but in a way that someone who is relatively young in the faith can understand.
How is it PRACTICAL? First, the layout of the book is so helpful. Each chapter is based on a question (Why do you want to change? What truths do you need to remember? etc.) This frames each discussion in a practical, 'I get how this affects my life' kind of way. Secondly, the change projects and reflection sections at the end of each chapter are ... get this ... actually worth your time! The questions dig beneath surfacy platitudes and actually dissect the heart of the problem. The homework exercises are meaningful methods of reflection. Third, Chester uses a number of examples and illustrations which help to 'put flesh' on discussions that may feel abstract. For example, when he discusses idols of the heart, he lists a number of examples which likely came from personal pastoral experience.
Are there any weaknesses? I don't think so, but I would say that there is a limit of scope. This book should not be expected to give detailed solutions to highly specific problems or pathologies. For example, a Christian suffering with PTSD after a deployment will find much to gain from this book. However, there are specific challenges with PTSD (like intrusive memories, flashbacks, bodily responses etc) which may benefit from more specific responses. Remember that Chester says that he is addressing our "Sinful Behaviors and Negative Emotions."
Five stars. Highly recommended.