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.


HOPE IN THE DARK – by Craig Groeschel

Hope in the Dark: Believing God is Good When Life is Not addresses those questions we have when life is not going as well as we think it should. Craig Groeschel asks many of the questions that we have all asked from time to time, questions like: “Where are you God?” and “Why aren’t you doing something?” He draws on the book of Habakkuk where the prophet asks some of the same questions. Let me give you one quote that I thought was very helpful. He writes, “Habakkuk urges us to draw on our long-term memories of God rather than being so shortsighted that we choose to keep replaying only our immediate, distressing circumstances.” That is so good! As we take our eyes off of our present situation we can remind ourselves of God’s goodness in the past and know that that same God is still walking with us in the difficulties we face. This is a very encouraging book for anyone asking the questions about where God is in our pain.

9 Reasons To Quit

In my last article I gave nine reasons not to quit your present role or position. I think those are important reasons to be aware of. On the other hand, sometimes it is the perfect time to quit. My daughter, who edits my blogs for me, reminded me of the times I have quit and suggested I approach this issue from the opposite side. Great idea! So here it is. Nine reasons to quit.

1. God has clearly called you somewhere else.

I believe that God has the authority to redirect me if he so chooses. You may have experienced that in your own life. Sometimes it is clear that God is asking you to take on a new role elsewhere. One pastor suggested that every time you quit to take on a new role, look for both the push and the pull. Look at the reasons you feel like quitting and the reasons the next role seems so appealing. It may be that God is pulling you to a new opportunity elsewhere.

2. You believe you have done all you can in your current role.

Sometimes we take on roles with great excitement. It seems like such a great fit. You work hard and do a good job, but then you come to the point where you feel you have done all you can. Church planters are a good example of this. They start a church and get it to a certain size or place of stability and then hand it off to another pastor so they can start another new church.

3. You have lost the confidence of your team.

There are times, whether it is your fault or not, where you know that you have lost the confidence of your team. Your board may no longer trust you or believe that you are capable of leading into the next chapter of your church or organization, and you realize that you will no longer be able to lead in your current role. I experienced this when someone misread my actions, and I knew that no matter what I did, I would not be able to change their opinion of me. It would be hard to gain the team’s trust back. It was time to move on.

4. Outside factors indicate a need to move.

Sometimes we need to leave a position because of external factors. These factors could be related to medical care, family care needs, or education. For example, one move my wife and I decided to make was influenced in a large part by the fact that both our daughters were entering High School and a move later would be much harder to manage.

5. You are pursuing further training.

You may recognize that in order to grow in areas you are called to and to continue to be effective, you need to pursue further education or training. That may be a meaningful reason to quit.

6. Your present role is taking too much of a toll on you.

There are times when we find ourselves in a role that is wearing on us to the point that we are emotionally and physically becoming ill. We need to recognize when we are no longer able to endure the pain or difficulty of our present role.

7. When your vision and the church’s vision are too different.

I left a pastoral role at a church after only being there a short time, when I finally realized that the church’s vision was too different from mine.

This had not been clarified before taking the position. It is impossible to maintain your integrity when you have to work in a role that does not align with your own values and goals. It is better for you, and the organization you are working for, to find a better fit elsewhere.

8. You are being asked to do more than you are capable of.

Sometimes our roles change. We may have been a great fit in the beginning, but things have changed to the point where you no longer fit. It could be that you have done a great job as a pastor so your church has grown, but you recognize that it is now bigger than you are capable of leading and someone else is needed. Alternatively, you may be in a situation where your job description is changed, and you need to evaluate the situation to see if you are still in the right role or need to move on.

9. If you can’t afford the role anymore.

Sometimes, you need to make a decision to quit and find a new role because you are not being paid well enough. Some churches are small, and are limited in what they can offer as a salary. If the wage is no longer enough to meet the climbing expenses of you and your family, there may come a time when you need to resign and look for a better paying role.

If you think it is time to quit, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons, and then do it with confidence.

Keep looking up,

Andy Wiebe

How to Set Plans that Work

“The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry,” goes the saying. I like dreaming and planning. I like looking ahead and doing strategic planning with churches. I get excited about the possibilities of what could happen if things worked out right. The problem is, many good plans do not bear the fruit we had hoped. So how can you set plans that will not fail?

“The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry.”

John Steinbeck

In James 4:14-15 it says, “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, ‘If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.’” 

James reminds his readers that no one knows what tomorrow brings. We can do all kinds of planning and scheming and base it all on good research, but in the end, no one knows what will really happen. There are always many unknowns that we cannot prepare for. We can do our best, and often plans work out, but not always. The only one who knows what tomorrow will bring is the Lord God.

God is not bound by time, so He knows what will happen tomorrow and the next day, and the next year. So as events happen, He is not surprised. Maybe we need to ask Him to help us make plans that match His for us.

In Jeremiah 1: 4-5, we read:

The Lord gave me this message:

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.
    Before you were born I set you apart
    and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”

God told Jeremiah that He knew him before he was born, even before he was conceived. That is quite the theological issue to work through at another time, but the point is that God knows us and has plans for us. He had a plan for Jeremiah. He appointed him to be a “prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah didn’t need a career counselor or an aptitude test of some kind to help him discover what he wanted to do with his life. God told him exactly what he should be “when he grew up.”

This morning I was reading in Psalm 138 when I came across a line in verse 8: “The Lord will work out his plans for my life.” The psalmist believes that God has a plan for his life. He trusts that to be true. I felt comforted as I read that verse. My life and my plans are not dependent on my own abilities or lack thereof. If King David is right, and I believe other scriptures agree, then God has a plan for MY life, and a plan for YOUR life.

I don’t think God has every detail of your life planned out in such a way that you need to be constantly afraid that you are making the wrong decision. I don’t think God was disappointed that I chose the Mexican Bean soup at lunch instead of the Butternut Squash soup. And honestly, I don’t know if there is one specific girl for each guy or if God leaves that up to us. What I do know is that God is intimately aware of who you are and who I am. He has plans for us as one person of humanity and plans unique to each of us as an individual.

God’s plan for all humans is that they would come to faith in Jesus and a relationship with God the Father through Him. God wants all people to join him in living in His kingdom here on earth. God desires for all people to join him in the afterlife, in His new kingdom. But I believe he also has plans unique to us. These plans are more like the plans of a coach for each individual player. He puts the player in goal who has been playing that position all his life and is best equipped and prepared for that role. He will probably put the fastest skater and best player on the first line, maybe even at centre. God knows each of us, after all, He created us. Like Jeremiah, God knew you and me before we were even born. He has observed us all our lives. He knows how we are equipped to handle situations we will face in life. And I believe that he has certain roles He wants us to be in.

If I want to make plans that will work out, I had better talk with God about those plans. Whatever the plans, we can talk to God about them as we make them. There is generally good value in involving others on our team in plans we make for organizations we are part of. We can benefit from the input of good friends. Yet the best input is to ask God to help you in the dreaming and planning. Ask Him to guide your thinking. Ask Him to help you get the best research and information to base your planning on. Ask Him to tell you what He wants done. After all, if God has plans for me, I will be better off doing what he has planned.

There are many different steps that experts could suggest as you desire to make plans that work, but if you believe in God, your first step needs to be to check in with Him. Sometimes it takes hard work and effort to accomplish meaningful plans. Again, God is the one who can help you persevere to the end.

You want to make plans that work? Then ask God to guide you in making your plans.

Keep looking up,

Andy Wiebe

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.


PATHWAYS TO THE KING – by Dr. Rob Reimer

Pathways to the King: Living a Life of Spiritual Renewal and Power, is another on the Spiritual life by Dr. Rob Reimer. If you want to live a live of Spiritual Renewal and Power, then this book will help you as you move toward that. He uses a number of personal examples to show that it has been quite a journey for him. You will be able to identify with him, no matter where you are at in the journey right now. He helps the reader to get a better understanding of who we are in light of our relationship with God and his Spirit at work within us. Each chapter walks through a way to open ourselves up more to the filling and empowering of the Holy Spirit for personal growth and kingdom effectiveness. Learn to live with a fresh and deepening relationship with the Spirit.

Don’t Let Satan Give You a Time-Out!

Many children are familiar with a “time out” This is used as a punishment to remove the person from something they would like to do and, help them see the behavior results in negative consequences such as missing out.

As a follower of Jesus, I want to do what is right and good. I read the Bible and talk with God. I make decisions to do right and work at being self-disciplined. I work at training myself to be whom God wants me to be. But like you, and everyone else around us, I sin. There are times when I allow the sinful nature in me to take over, where I do something that is clearly against God’s best for us.

Spring brings us to the holiday of Easter. This is much more than bunnies and eggs. This is the annual celebration of Jesus’ death and resurrection for all people. Because of our sin, we deserved to die. That was how God created things. And then He arranged for a way out. God sent His own son to die in our place – to take our penalty for us. Good Friday is the reminder that Jesus, the only perfect human, died in our place. Easter is the celebration that when His friends went to the tomb, Jesus wasn’t there. He was alive! This resurrection gave Him the right to offer forgiveness and new life to all who believe in Him.

When we put our faith in Jesus, when we acknowledge our sin and repent of it, confessing it to God, Jesus forgives us. And we enter into a relationship with God! God now sees Jesus’ righteousness in us!

So, yes, we sin from time to time. Now what?

Often, we have this feeling that we need to put ourselves in a time-out. We feel need to wallow in our guilt for awhile before we can be in right relationship with God again. I don’t think I’m the only one who has felt this way. We think that to be sorry for our sin means we have to show it by spending time in our sorrowful guilt-ridden state.

But that is straight from the devil!

God does not want us to live in a state of guilt. Jesus has paid for our sin. God arranged this plan because He did not want us to live in guilt but to live in the joy of freedom. If Jesus already died on the cross, He already paid for that sin. The sin you are wallowing in is already paid for, already forgiven!

When we sin, we can immediately come to Jesus with it. As soon as the Holy Spirit reminds you that what you did was wrong, you can use that conviction to repent. The Holy Spirit is not pointing out your sin in order for you to feel bad, but in order for you to repent. So confess your sin, stop doing it, and get back on your feet.

Some of you might remember that old commercial that had this one iconic line: “Help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” Well we may have fallen, but the Holy Spirit is already showing us we can get back up. Jesus is already reaching out a hand to lift us to our feet.

1 John 1: 9 tells us, “But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins an to cleanse us from all wickedness”.

This does not tell us we have to take a time-out. It says, confess and receive forgiveness. Receive the cleansing from Jesus, and get back on your feet. Serve Jesus again!

Yes, we sin, but we can confess and receive forgiveness immediately. We are then cleansed and ready to be of use to God again. This is the only way that I, and any other pastor, can stand up every Sunday and preach a sermon. It is because Jesus forgives all my sin of that week and that morning. He cleanses immediately so I can preach with confidence.

Do not allow Satan to put you in a time-out. Receive Christ Jesus’ cleansing forgiveness and get on your feet immediately, serving God again.

Keep looking up,

Andy Wiebe

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.

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.


BAPTIZED IN THE SPIRIT – by Randy Clark

I enjoyed this book for a couple of reasons:

  1. I am growing and learning in my relationship with the Holy Spirit and this book brought some goo foundations to that learning.
  2. Randy Clark does a good job of explaining the historical understandings of different denominations and theological traditions.
  3. Randy does a great job walking through the many historical revivals where the Spirit showed up in power – with similar displays of God’s power as many are experiencing today when the Spirit shows up.

If you are looking to grow in knowledge and experience of the power of the Holy Spirit in your life, this book is a great foundation to that. It helps you to see that some of the unusual experiences of recent revivals are not that unusual when compared to previous outbreaks of the Spirit. And it helps give a balanced understanding of what we might expect if we are filled or baptized with the Spirit.

This book leaves you longing for more of the Spirit – His presence and His power.