Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Start Where You Are by Rashawn Copeland

Copeland was anticipating a career in the NFL when getting shot by a gang member shattered his dreams. Falling into despair and contemplating suicide, he was brought to salvation by the social media post of a friend, a Christian. He encourages us to know that God loves us in our messiness. God invites us up to new life, in to commune with Him, and out to share His love.

Copeland shares wisdom he has learned from his experiences. Don't follow your heart, he writes. Follow God's desire for your heart, reminding us of Prov. 19:21, that man plans what's in his heart but it is God's purposes that prevail. Another good lesson from his experiences is that in our faith walk we will always have questions. Every biblical character who knew, loved and obeyed God, Copeland writes, had questions. Some received answers but some did not. We must trust God because we will never have all the answers.

He also provides some wise suggestions for life, such as, “Yield to the Holy Spirit before you yell at a person.” (75) Yes, there is righteous anger but there is also the command to turn the other cheek. Direction from the Spirit is needed before one acts. And my favorite, “Self control is not about managing ourselves but allowing God to manage us.” (115) Wow. That made me stop and think for quite a while.

Copeland includes a good section at the end of each chapter to help incorporate that chapter's truth. He includes a statement to think about, a suggestion for prayer, and a practical suggestion to live out the truth. Copeland's writing style is great. He uses good stories to illustrate his teaching.

I really appreciate the teaching in this encouraging book. It's a good one for Christians who think they are so messed up God does not love them and will not use them. “God doesn't look for perfection,” Copeland writes, “only a willingness to follow Him.” (102) I highly recommend this book.

You can read an excerpt here.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

Rashawn Copeland is the founder of I'm So Blessed Daily and Without Walls Ministries. He is a writer for several ministries and the host of the Scripture and Stories podcast on the Converge Podcast Network. He also serves on the Life Church (YouVersion) Bible app team with Pastor Craig Groeschel, assisting with global digital outreach. He is a graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma and is currently earning his MDiv at Liberty University. He lives in Oklahoma City with his wife and their three children. Photo Credit: Kailee Delcour Photography

Baker Books, 208 pages.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the author. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

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