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How to stay positive

The previous editor of en, Bob Horn, would tell me that whenever he was asked to preach away at a church he did not know, he would seek to preach a sermon which encouraged Christians. His philosophy was that there is so much in everyday life in a fallen world to depress God’s people that he felt it his duty to try to lift them up.


Figure Image

Learning to live a grace governed life of
optimism about God
By C. L. Chase
Christian Focus. 246 pages. £7.99
ISBN 978 1 527 100 428
Buy online from Amazon

This book has the same outlook. If God’s people are to be the joyful examples of what God can do in a person’s life they need to continually feed their souls on the grace of God. The book is divided into three sections, related to what the author sees as three necessary paradigm shifts. Shift 1 happens when you realise that God wants you to choose to live with a grace-governed attitude of optimism about him. Shift 2, which undergirds the previous one, is to understand that God is always concerned for our good. Shift 3 is the change from using grace now and then to using it all the time in our lives. The chapters are founded firmly in Scripture and are full of biblical argument. They are liberally sprinkled with arresting phrases and stories to speed you along in your reading.

It is a good book and should be used widely. However, it needs balancing. The author is from the US and I am a little concerned that in places it simply baptises natural American optimism into a Christian context. I am also concerned that in the hands of a spiritual bully it could be used harmfully to beat over the head those who are experiencing sadness and dark times in their Christian lives and tell them they ought to be joyful. We rely totally on God’s grace, but it’s okay to be broken-hearted, to lament our sins and to shed tears sometimes as Christians. Even Jesus wept.