LOSERS AND WINNERS, SAINTS AND SINNERS: How to Finish Strong in the Spiritual Race
What does it mean to be a winner? Not the kind of winner who twists off a bottle cap to discover they just won a free iTunes download, but the kind of person whose life demonstrates a remarkable sense of spiritual victory.
In LOSERS AND WINNERS, SAINTS AND SINNERS, pastor Greg Laurie asks some rather deep questions about what it means to live a truly successful life.
What are the secrets to spiritual longevity?
How can you ensure you will cross the finish line?
How can you know if you will hear the Lord say, "Well done, good and faithful servant"?
Laurie writes, "We should all be asking these questions because one day every one of us will complete this race we are running. And each of us will be either a winner or a loser. One day, we all are going to die."
To answer such deep, life-reflective questions, Laurie examines the lives of key figures from the Bible. In many ways, this book reads more like a series of sermons --- often complete with two, three, and four point messages --- than a typical nonfiction book, but the project is organized well enough to pull off the sometimes bumpy transitions between chapters.
One of the title's greatest strengths is its focus on Biblical characters. Laurie takes a look at the life of King Saul and Samson, people who started well in their spiritual race only to stumble and never fully recover. It follows the lives of such men as David, Elijah and Elisha to demonstrate that just because you fall doesn't mean you have to stay down. And it takes a look at Joseph as one who stayed strong throughout his life journey
The story of Paul demonstrates that even the most unlikely of candidates can make a significant change in their spiritual life, while the life of Peter teaches us that even our blunders are not above redemption. Meanwhile, Moses teaches us that it's never too late for God to do something miraculous. Stories of Caleb, Enoch and Ananias also fill the text.
As Laurie follows each character's journey, he adds in anecdotes, stories and quotes from a variety of modern day and historical believers to tie the text together. The result is an enjoyable read. One of the strengths of highlighting the lives of so many Biblical people is that the book at times works as a kind of overview of the Bible --- making scriptural principles accessible through memorable stories.
If the title of the book seems familiar, it's because it's taken from the popular worship song, "And We All Bow Down" by Lenny LeBlanc and recorded by Integrity's Hosanna! Music. It's a nice tie-in and reminder of the worship tune, even if you don't "win" a free download the next time you buy a soda that's having a sweepstakes.
Whether you're starting out in life or looking to finish strong, LOSERS AND WINNERS, SAINTS AND SINNERS is a helpful, biblically-based book worth reading. Recommended.
--- Reviewed by Margaret Feinberg (www.margaretfeinberg.com)
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