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LIVING IN HIS PRESENCE: The Immanuel Factor
Dave Earley
Bethany House Publishers
Christian Living/Spiritual Growth
ISBN: 0764200704

LIVING IN HIS PRESENCE answers a simple question: How can a follower of Christ recognize, cultivate and increase the life-changing presence of God in everyday life? For centuries, men of God, mystics and monks have searched for the answer. Dave Earley, who is the founding pastor of New Life Church in Columbus, Ohio, has also sought an answer and discovered something he calls the Immanuel Factor. Immanuel means "God with us" or "a heightened experience with the manifest presence of God."

From key stories in the Bible, Earley explains how people like Moses, Esther, David and Joseph tapped into this spiritual resource, or the Immanuel Factor. He describes it as "an increased capacity to be in step with the Almighty and move in the sphere of His activity."

Earley's book examines fourteen keys to discovering more of God in your life, such as courageous loyalty, humble service, passionate pursuit, wholehearted commitment and dependent prayer.

While I've read the Bible many times, I was fascinated with Earley's teaching and unique insight about the spiritual resources of these Bible characters. For example, when you read the Christmas story about the birth of Jesus in Luke's Gospel, it's easy to gloss over the spiritual life of Mary, mother of Jesus. Earley breathes new life into this story and highlights Mary's deep relationship with and big view of God. I had never thought of Mary as a God pleaser because of her response to God and her deep sense of thankfulness for God's presence.

In each chapter, Earley combines his own personal experience of seeking God with the Bible in a thought-provoking, gentle and deep manner. Many chapters end with a series of personal questions for the reader. For example, in the chapter about passionately pursuing God, four keys are drawn from the life of David: center your life in God, train your mind on God, take your problems to God, and thirst after God. Or when it comes to courageous obedience, Earley encourages the reader with questions to evaluate not their intelligence quotient (IQ) but their courageous quotient (CQ).

While Earley has a long-term relationship with Christ, he doesn't write as someone with the ultimate answer but as a fellow seeker who is constantly growing and learning about his relationship with God. When you gain a greater presence of God in your life, it doesn't mean everything will be easy for you. Earley points out some cautions when we increase God's presence in our life. "As we will see again and again in the rest of this book, people are said to have experienced success, protection, victory, strength, testimony, fame, prosperity and promotion because God was with them. It is rather seductive. But we also live in a world that lives in opposition to God…The Immanuel Factor guarantees God, but not ease or comfort. It can produce big blessings and big trouble. Joseph got both."

Whether you are a new Christian or have followed Christ for many years, you will find a fresh voice and poignant insight from the pen of Dave Earley. This book is ideal for any small group or individual who wants to find a greater intimacy with God.

   --- Reviewed by W. Terry Whalin, writer and editor in Scottsdale, Arizona. His latest book is BOOK PROPOSALS THAT $ELL, 21 SECRETS TO SPEED YOUR SUCCESS (Write Now Publications). http://www.bookproposals.ws.

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