4 out of 4 stars
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What does it mean to be a Christian? What is the Christian life supposed to look like? For some people, it's to follow a plethora of divine rules and regulations, and for others, it's unchaperoned freedom and liberty to do anything and everything.
In this book, Becoming A Joy Fulfilled Christian in the Twenty-First Century and Beyond, Franklin D. R. Jackson paints a beautiful but authentic tapestry of how the Christian life came to be and what it is meant to do for us, in us, and through us. The author takes the time to espouse the mind-blowing nature of God's love in light of Jesus's sacrifice. Then he goes on to show how accepting this gift of salvation bestows on us certain benefits, challenges, and responsibilities. As the title suggests, this book is a treatise on how any Christian can attain the highest joys of their existence today, in their mortal bodies, just the way God intended it. The purpose of the book is clear from the title, but it is the way Jackson unpacks the heart behind it that makes it worth the read. There are a lot of nuggets of scriptural wisdom to gain from reading this one. Unfortunately, you won't be able to experience this fully unless you read this book yourself.
This book was good for my soul. I'm a Christian, so I was glad to read a lot of the things that Jackson had to say. A lot of it wasn't news to me, but it was the way he addressed the critical issues and tenets of the Christian faith that left me in awe. He didn't come off as preachy or as an authority on any subject matter, even though he has decades of experience in ministry and as a Christian.
He approached sensitive issues with warmth and empathy. His perspective on God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Christian walk were portrayed clearly, so there was no confusion or second-guessing on my part. One such example was his assertion that Christians could lose their salvation. He was not forceful with it; instead, he deferred to scripture to explain his stance. I found this assertion to be comforting because I also hold the same view. Jackson did well to insert a few stories from his personal experiences to buttress his points where necessary. These stories came from his time as a child, working adult, and retiree. He never overdid it, though, so the main focus of the book was never in question. It was thoughtful the way the author dedicated a bulk of Chapter 4 to speaking empathetically to non-believers and people struggling to accept Jesus and all it entails. Throughout the book, I noticed that there were points where the author reiterated some things he had written about earlier in the book. This would have come off as redundant; however, Jackson made it a point to apologize whenever this happened. Beyond the apology, he also gave cogent and satisfactory reasons for each reiteration.
I was especially pleased with the book's format. All the chapter titles and subheadings were linked individually to the table of contents. This connection meant that I never lost my way while reading. I could travel from the table of contents to any portion of the book and vice versa with a single click. Also, the author used short paragraphs, subheadings, and bullet points to significant effect. It ensured a seamless flow in my reading journey.
There was absolutely nothing I disliked about Becoming A Joy Fulfilled Christian in the Twenty-First Century and Beyond. I did find a few errors, but they were less than a handful and didn't hurt the meaning of any sentence where they appeared. Consequently, I firmly believe that the book was professionally edited. Owing to the book's message, Jackson's empathetic style of writing, and the infusion of his personal experiences, I gladly rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I would strongly recommend this book to Christians who want to fully understand how they can walk out their faith to the fullest, and how they can attain the joy fulfilled life that Jesus purchased on the cross.
Becoming A Joy Fulfilled Christian in the Twenty-First Century and Beyond
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