Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Deeper Life by Daniel Henderson with Brenda Brown

How long has it been since you've thought deeply about who God is, who you are, your purpose in life, your priorities, and the legacy you will leave? If it has been a while, or never, you need this book.

Henderson says we have been created to think deeply and that is what he asks you to do in this book. In the process you will write your personal theology statement, a biblical identity statement and a life purpose statement. He has created a process where you think seriously about the deep longings of the soul, helping you clarify truths about yourself, your purpose, values, etc. The longings he has identified are:
Who is God?               (my theology)
Who am I?                 (my identity)
Why am I here?          (my purpose)
What really matters?   (my values)
What shall I do?         (my priorities)
How shall I do it?        (my goals)
When shall I do it?      (my time)
How will I finish?         (my legacy)

The book is divided into two parts. The first 166 pages are teaching on the longings with some directed questions and ideas for thinking deeply. The second half of the book contains the Discovery Exercises, taking you through the actual process of writing out your statements of theology, identity, purpose, values, priorities, goals, time, and legacy. Once written, he suggests you memorize it so you have it within you when you face a crucial event. Having strong convictions of who God is, who you are, your purpose, etc., helps you make hard decisions.

I am really impressed with this book. I remember going through this kind of intense thinking when I was in college. But that's been decades ago. As Henderson says, one should go through this thinking process periodically. God doesn't change nor would the personal theology statement, but our life situations do change. We need to think deeply about our purpose, priorities, goals, etc. about once a year. Another great time to go through this process would be when facing a career change, anticipating marriage, retirement or other major change in life.

This is an excellent book for Christians willing to think deeply about who God is and who they are. This is not a book you just “read,” however. The exercises will take time and effort. The idea is to read a chapter in the first half of the book and then do the corresponding exercise in the latter half of the book. You could do it alone or with a group. There are discussion questions at the end of the book for group use. Henderson has included samples of his own statements so you get an idea of the end result.

You have been created to think deeply, Henderson says. If you are willing to turn off the TV and do some serious life inventory exercises, this book just might be life changing.

Daniel Henderson is President of Strategic Renewal, existing to ignite personal renewal, congregational revival, and leadership restoration. He has spent 26 years in pastoral ministry, including associate positions and as senior pastor. In addition to his work at Strategic Renewal, he serves part-time as the Pastor of Prayer at Mission Hills Church in Littleton, Colorado and is an adjunct professor at Liberty University. He and his wife have been married for over 30 years. They have three children and two grandchildren. You can find out more at http://www.strategicrenewal.com.

Bethany House Publishers, 272 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this independent and honest review.
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