Book Reviews: Andy’s 2022 Reading Experience

I will be sharing a brief review of every book I read this year. Hope you enjoy and hope it encourages you to keep reading.

LIGHT UP THE DARK – by Douglas A. Balzer

Light Up The Dark is an encouragement to restore healing and deliverance to disciple making. Doug walks through the historical decline of healing and deliverance from its prominence in the ministry of Jesus and the Early Church to its eventual relegation to history and the occasional miracle. He shows how something that was central to the ministry of Jesus has been allowed to fade into the background as if God doesn’t want to work in that way anymore. This book wakes us up to the fact that healing and deliverance should be part of making disciples and what the average disciple would practice. He is calling for a restoration of healing and deliverance to its prominent place in evangelism and discipleship in the way that Jesus and the Apostles practiced. A great read for anyone who wants to truly bring the church back to its role of bringing healing to the hurting.

Healing – What the Church Can Offer

I recently heard two statements by two different people that I believe are prophetic words for the church. In my experience, there have been shifts in how the church functions or what church leaders think is important in reaching people for Christ. When I was a young youth pastor, it seemed the emphasis was on finding ways to make church fun and cool. As I got a little older, books and seminars seemed to focus on the church being relevant and relatable to unbelievers. What is the next emphasis of the church as we reach out to people who have not yet met Jesus personally?

On January 24, 2022, I heard Adam Browett of Glad Tidings Church in Victoria, B.C., make a profound statement in his sermon: The church moving forward “looks more like a healing center than a rec center.” He pointed out that if we were to be following Jesus’ example, we would be surrounding ourselves with hurting people and healing their hurts.

Our world offers all kinds of entertainment. The church does not need to provide entertainment. The church needs to find ways of helping the hurting and lonely. Our church buildings should be places where people find healing. Those of us who have a relationship with Jesus, the Healer, should be people in whom others can find healing as we point them to Jesus.

Dr. Rob Reimer writes in Spiritual Authority, “I think more people are going to come to faith in Christ in this generation because they know they are broken and in need of a Healer than because they know they are sinners in need of a Savior.” Our emphasis when we share the gospel has so often been about showing people how sinful they were so they would recognize they need a Saviour. Instead, if we focus on brokenness and healing, people don’t need us to point out how hurt and lonely they are. And we have an answer to that hurt and loneliness. We have a Healer.

In his book, Reimer points out that almost every time Jesus mentioned the kingdom of God he also mentioned healing from diseases and casting out of demons and restoring what is good and right in people. The church has been too focused on the “getting out of here” aspect of the Kingdom of God, where our goal is to gain eternal life and then just wait for that to be fulfilled. The kingdom of God is where what is bad is made right. The kingdom of God must be evident in displays of God’s power, as can be seen in demons cast out and people healed and relationships restored.

Our world is full of conflict. Countries are at odds with each other. People are at mad at each other. Large demonstrations and protests are rising up out of people’s frustrations. Violence is not uncommon. Disputes and arguments dominate social media. People are mad at the government and frustrated with the pandemic and all its fallout. Marriages and families are struggling and breaking apart. Many people are struggling with depression. Suicide is a way out for many. People are hurting.

If we truly love our world, if we as Christians want to truly love the hurting as Jesus did, then we need to be people offering healing, and our churches need to be places of healing. We need to believe God can still do miracles and bring healing and restoration. We need to speak and act with His authority and power to bring healing to our world.

This will not be just up to the pastors or church leaders. This is the role of every believer. We have the Holy Spirit in us. We have his power at work in and through us. We need to learn how to bring his healing to the hurting people around us. This will take much prayer, some in depth reading, and practice, as well as a continual filling of the Holy Spirit.

This is the need of the church today, but it is really just going back to what Jesus did when he was on earth, and what the apostles did as they established churches, and what New Testament church leaders did in their communities. We need to come back to inviting God to display his power and to bring healing to our hurting world again.

Let’s pray that the church will become the healing center it is meant to be.

Keep looking up