Saturday, September 9, 2017
Book Review: 'The Cause within You' by Matthew Barnett
"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples." (John 15:1-8, NKJV)
This may be the most important book you'll ever read other than the Bible. Let me explain.
I was carrying this book with me the other day, filled with little bookmarks.
The man seated beside me asked me about the book. I said, "It's the story of how a church with five people in the congregation ended up providing social services to 30,000 people just a few years later."
He stared and asked, "What did you just say?"
I repeated my answer.
He responded in a quivering voice, "You are doing a great service by reading books and telling others about which ones to read."
I've never had a nicer compliment as a book reviewer, and I've been so excited to share my comments with you since then. But it's clear that our Heavenly Father, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit deserve the glory. Praise God!
When Matthew Barnett (the son and grandson of pastors) went to Los Angeles to lead a church in a rough neighborhood when he was just out of his teens, he had no idea what was coming next. It was all different from what he expected, and God taught him what to do. Pastor Barnett achieved a Godly breakthrough when he just began serving hurting people . . . as our Lord did when He was on the Earth 2,000 years ago.
In this book, he recounts many powerful spiritual experiences including a night spent on the streets as a temporarily "homeless" person, a miraculous healing worth over a million dollars for God's work within a few hours, and fearfully consoling grieving gang members who decided to turn their lives to the Lord. You'll feel the Holy Spirit's presence as you are emotionally, soulfully, and spiritually grabbed by such experiences.
It's also a book about what the reader should do. While the book lacks the typical list of seven things to do, I think that was a wise choice. Each person's calling to serve a cause is different and we all have different gifts to apply. We need to be led by the Holy Spirit, not by a "one size fits all" book of self improvement.
Nevertheless, the book's words will speak powerfully to your heart:
"Think of your cause as a holy gift from God. It is, after all, the cause of Christ. When you are absorbed by that cause, you are in the sweet spot of your life, intent upon honoring Christ by loving others into greater well-being."
"Your share of the cause of Christ catapults you beyond success to eternal significance."
I urge you to choose this book, to read this book, to pray about this book, to begin serving those with the greatest needs, and to follow God where He leads you . . . in the name of Jesus!
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