Book Review: Good News For Those Trying Harder

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” 
C.S. Lewis

Good News For Those Trying Harder

Author: Alan Kraft - the lead pastor of Christ Community Church in Greeley, Colorado

Review by Charlotte McBride

Kraft contrasts the prevailing wisdom of western culture of as long as you stay busy with spiritual activities you will grow spiritually and as long as you work hard to please God you will mature with looking more closely at God’s spiritual growth plan for us. The book is set out as a pathway, a journey as it were to changing the way you think. 

Each chapter challenges our thinking on topics ranging from the struggle to make it work to gazing upon Jesus to looking at when the Gospel comes home. Ten chapters in all that one needs to read and then look at one’s own life and perhaps re-read. It’s a book that perhaps is best owned rather than borrowed. 

I bought the book on sale at Cum books. The hamster running in the hamster wheel appealed to me as it was a picture of the year I had just experienced. I did not know the author but the buy line by Dr. Jack W Hayford of “a pathway of hope and help for Christians who are tired of the treadmill …” encouraged me to buy the book.

I found it an easy read with the content around knowing Jesus. Re-looking at the Gospel account of Jesus again was the focus but applying it to my life in the here and now. Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of this theme with questions at the end to check one’s own personal reflections and responses. This would make the book a good read for a Bible study group or to share with a friend so that you can take the journey together and hold each other accountable. There is also a prayer at the end of each chapter which is helpful as one talks to God about what He may be showing one as you read the book.

In the book the first chapter highlights our deeply held need for approval, a conviction that our worth is in what we do – how we perform and succeed. This means that our obedience is often rooted in guilt and fear and not freedom. The good news in this book is that it does not need to be this way.

One of the questions that spoke to me was “As you think about your spiritual life at this moment in time, would you say there was a greater sense of your need for Jesus than a year ago? This really got me thinking and wanting to finish the book. 

The book has opened me up to a different way of looking at the Gospels and to appreciate the impact these have as I continue on my journey through life.

The first part of the book is hard to face when one is asked to look at the sin in one’s own life through the teachings of Jesus. The second half is good news and does try and focus one on lifting the burden of being a good Christian to replacing this with God’s truth. 

This book is not a recommended holiday read but is more for times when one wants to get serious with God about your condition without having to read complicated dry material. It’s a book best read a chapter at a time rather than to be finished in one sitting. I would recommend it for students and adults, who want a book to have a lasting impact on how they live, think and experience God. 

I give it an 8 out of 10.