Ron Carpenter, Jr. is the senior pastor of Redemption World Outreach Center in Greenville, SC. He started the church with his wife and three members in 1991 and today the church numbers over 16,000 and includes 150 community outreaches, television and web programming, and a worldwide network of over 1,500 affiliated churches, ministers, and leaders.
The main premise behind the book is in this quote:
“The arrival of an enemy in your life is a sign to you that this present season you’re in is finally coming to an end. God often assigns an enemy as a catalyst for you to exit one season and enter another” (p. 10).
The book is not about a “prosperity gospel,” or a way to see that God wants you to be free from problems. It’s a way to see how and why your life is in need of an enemy. It’s an odd way to view life, but it’s the radical thinking Jesus introduced. It’s a way for us to understand by faith why Jesus says “blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). This book is about strengthening your faith in God and giving you to tools to let it happen.
“Most people think the opposite of faith is doubt. Not true. The opposite of faith is sight” (p. 65).
It’s about what we see and how we interpret, or make meaning, of the things we see.
“Most people think that when they are going through a test in life, God is trying to teach them something. I disagree, because a good teacher does not use a test to teach you something…a test measures what you already know” (p. 45).
The chapters in this book are extremely short, normally a couple of pages. In fact, the book is rather broken down into 8 parts with several readings for each section. It seems to me that the book is a creation of blog posts put together with a systematic attempt. This was a disadvantage. I found myself highlighting many ideas and statements in the readings, but felt tossed around from one reading to the next. I really do recommend the book, but encourage anyone to read it as a devotional. There is much to chew on throughout the book, but to simply sit down and read a part isn’t as beneficial. The book does include a small group guide in the back that does help for reviewing and further thinking and prayer.
Going through a transition of seasons for myself, I welcomed this book eagerly. As a pastor, I see many people (including pastors, missionaries, and spiritual leaders) who are discouraged, beat down, and disoriented to what God is doing in, through, with, and for them. I did appreciate Ron sharing some of his and his family’s struggles throughout his life. This isn’t just a pie-in-the-sky theory discussion. It came about out of real life searching.
I received this book for free for this review from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers. However, the review is completely of my own.