Book Review: 40 Ways to Get Closer to God
By: Jerry MacGregor Publisher:Bethany House
I really enjoy devotional books and always keep an eye out for new and challenging titles to add to my library. There are several things that I look for in these devotional collections, with each having specific purposes for the style. I also appreciate classic Christian writings as well as collections that span the history of the church and I favor devotionals that present a challenge to the reader, especially those which engage the disciplines that promote spiritual formation. 40 Ways to Get Closer to God by Jerry MacGregor in many ways, touches almost everything I like in a spiritual devotional collection. The title itself is an invitation to a challenge… and I like a challenge.
The book is organized into forty days of readings with each day presenting a specific task designed to help the reader-participant get/grow closer to God. These tasks aren’t the type of activities that are all “warm and fuzzy,” but are seriously challenging activities that will push and press the most seasoned spiritual journeyman. Each day’s challenge requires a check-off in order to proceed and there is a very small area to record a few notes from your experience. If there is any fault that I found with the book, it would be this area to leave notes. It is not nearly big enough to share or journal one’s experience, but this can be rectified by keeping notes in a separate journal.
The quotes and excerpted contributions to the writings for each day’s activities are well known in the circles of contemporary spiritual formation. I consider them highly respected although this is my personal and biased opinion. Contributors include the following: John Ortberg, Henri Nouwen, Philip Yancy, Adele Calhoun, Francis Chan, Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, David Benner, C.S. Lewis, Rob Bell, A.W. Tozer, John Piper, Jonathon Edwards, Shane Claiborne, Soren Kierkegaard, Brennan Manning, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and many, many more! This listing I mention above is very diverse and theologically deep. As I mentioned, this isn’t a “fluff” work…
I don’t really see this book as just a 40-day exercise regardless of how it is set up, it will probably take the person who is serious about completing each assignment a longer time than forty days to complete. Some of the assignments require thought, planning, and some may involve “spiritual wrestling matches” where surrender on our part may not come easy. I plan to include these assignments as part of my 2012 Lenten experience this coming year.
I’m thankful for this book and count it a very worthy addition to my collection and library. If you’re looking for a challenging devotional book full of exercises that will indeed help you Get Closer to God, look no further… Jerry MacGregor has produced another nice work for the community.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from BethanyHouse Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”