Tuesday, September 20, 2011

‘Mirror Ball: Living Boldly and Shining Brightly for the Glory of God’ by Matt Redman – Book Review

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One of my favorite Christian singer/songwriters is Matt Redman. I had the pleasure of reading his wife, Beth’s, book ‘God Knows My Name: Never Forgotten, Forever Loved’ last year (you can read my review here). So when I was presented the opportunity to read his latest book, ‘Mirror Ball,’ I knew I wanted to take advantage!

Here is the synopsis of this book:

Passion is more than a song or a feeling. It’s a story of guts and glory, perseverance and purpose. For anyone who follows Jesus, passion is a way of life. But how do we live out this grand calling?
In Mirror Ball, worship leader and songwriter Matt Redman reminds us it’s never too late to live a big life. We are wide-eyed worshippers, stunned by a glorious God and living life with high expectations of all we can become in Him.
When the wonder of God really takes hold on the inside, a life of worship explodes out in every possible direction. Mirror Ball is a call to get a great big view of Jesus and then live as boldly and brightly as we can for His honor.
You may never be the same….

Here is the biography of this author:

Matt Redman is married to Beth and they have five children: Maisey, Noah, Rocco, Jackson, and Levi. Based in Brighton, England, they are part of St. Peter’s, a new church planted out of Holy Trinity Brompton in London. They are excited about the challenge of working in a city that is currently one of the most unchurched in the UK. Previously they were a part of Passion City Church in Atlanta with pastors Louie and Shelley Giglio, and they continue to work alongside the Passion movement.
Matt has been leading worship full-time since the age of twenty, and this journey has taken him to countries such as South Africa, Japan, India, Australia, Germany, Uganda, Croatia, and the Czech Republic.
His early compositions include such songs as “The Heart of Worship,” “Better is One Day,” and “Once Again.” More recent songs have included “Blessed Be Your Name” and “You Never Let Go,” both written with his wife, Beth, to encourage Christians to worship God through the storms of life. As Matt explained, “’Blessed Be Your Name’ is a declaration of something that we’ve both found to be true in the tough seasons of life – that to worship God and trust Him no matter what is always the best path to take. The song ‘You Never Let Go’ takes up the same theme – it starts off with some thoughts from Psalm 23 and reminds us that no matter what we come across in life, there is a God who is in control, closer than we could ever know, and holding us.” Most recently, Matt has written songs such as “You Alone Can Rescue” with regular cowriter Jonas Myrin and “Our God” with Myrin, Chris Tomlin, and Jesse Reeves.  
Matt is also the author of several books, which all center around the theme of worship. The Unquenchable Worshipper unpacks what a healthy heart of worship might look like and how that translates into the lives we lead. Facedown explores how we can paint a big picture of God through both our songs and actions. The third book, Blessed Be Your Name, coauthored with Beth, is an encouragement to trust in the sovereignty and goodness of God, even when doing so seems costly. Matt has also compiled two other books – The Heart of Worship Files and Inside-Out Worship – both of which contain practical worship-leading advice from many experienced leaders from around the globe.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of hearing one of Matt’s powerful songs, here is one of my favorites, ‘Nothing But the Blood:’

Matt is very passionate about taking action in our faith. He explains that that is also what Jesus expected:

After the events of the cross and resurrection, Jesus meets with Peter, and the lessons in love continue. Following the disciple’s failure to acknowledge Jesus on the day of His death, the risen Savior has a question for Him: “Do you truly love me?” (John 21:15).
He goes on to ask the same question two more times. And then after each time Peter answers, “You know that I love you,” Jesus urges him, “Feed my sheep” (vv. 15-17). There are many themes and ideas implied in His words here, but one of them surely is a call to action. For we can tell Christ we love Him again and again and again – we can whisper it, shout it, or sing it. But in the end, only a life of devotion will breathe meaning into these words. Jesus tells Peter how he can put his spoken declarations of love into action – “Feed my sheep.” And from that moment on we witness Peter doing just that – faithfully ministering to the people of God as his act of worship. He completes the integrity of his spoken responses with an obedient and consistent life. (p. 36)

This book came to me at a low period in my faith. It contains really valuable truths, including this reminder of God’s grandness:

If we live our lives with low expectations in God, we will rob ourselves of a fulfilled life and massively dilute the honor that is due Him. If instead we can step into the realm of faith, we will bring pleasure to the heart of God and enjoy the wonder of adventuring in His purposes. When God has spoken to us, we can be sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not yet see. (p. 57)

Here is another important reminder:

In a world where all others may falter or fail, Jesus remains constant. When we are inconsistent, still He remains utterly dependable and steadfast. Life is ever fragile and changeable, but He alone stands solid and secure. Our God is unshakeable, unchanging, unwavering, unfading, unfaltering, unswerving, and unending. He announces His faithfulness and is never found to be lacking. He is the spotless and unfailing King of glory. He is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. He illuminates situations. He beautifies lives. He exposes and expels darkness. He brightens the path of those who seek Him. Whenever He radiates His glory, nothing stays the same. For now and all eternity, our God is everything He says He is. (pp. 72-73)

Only a person who truly knows the Lord would be able to write a passage like that!

I love this convicting paragraph:

If you meet a Christian whose story is dull, reserved, and devoid of action, then there’s something seriously wrong. God designed us to be fascinated with life, never bored with it. We are called to take great delight in looking outwardly and not simply living inwardly. We are to be characterized by hope and joy, not dragged down by cynicism and apathy. The kingdom life should flow with surprises and mark us with freedom and adventure. (p. 89)

Here is one more amazing revelation:

There is more going on around us than we could ever realize. God is at work. He is not distant, dormant, or docile. He never sleeps and never grows tired or weary. He is the powerful, promise-keeping and change-breathing God. The doors He opens no one can close, and the doors He closes cannot be opened. His words never return to him empty. He is always at work in you and all around you. The one who wove together the intricacies of this universe gets up close and personal and cares about the details of your situation. He is powerful and present; He is interested and involved. We must not exist merely on a diet of what we see reported on TV, what Internet blogs say, or what local conversations tell us. We must look up and see His bigger picture. (p. 99)

Often in this fallen world, we need a reminder that God is always near. We also need to remember that our actions here have an impact on eternity:

We soon begin to see that our everyday moments can count for something eternally. We walk this earth with one eye on the horizon – aware of all that’s going on around us in this world and in our individual situations – but knowing that God is working out His everlasting purposes. We will not become spiritual mystics unable to connect those heavenly scenes with our earthly existences – actually, quite the opposite. We will get a grip on the greatest reality of all, seeing destiny at work in the daily, and the eternal injected into the everyday. We will then walk in the knowledge that the sovereign One is unveiling His marvelous plans all around us and that even one act of compassion, one gospel-centered conversation, or one prayer of intercession could have eternal consequences in the life of someone we meet. In faith we start to believe that the salvation, hope, healing, and rescue of Jesus can break into the lives of our friends, families, or colleagues at any moment. (p. 103)    

This book is a quick read – but it’s rich, as are his songs. The book includes a Discussion Guide at the end. The Discussion Guide is explained this way:

This guide uses each chapter of Mirror Ball and many of Matt’s songs – including some of the very newest songs from his album, 10,000 Reasons – as a launching pad into honest discussion of the ideas, challenges, and biblical themes raised. If you’re going through this guide with a group, your spouse, or a friend, try to remain open, honest, and compassionate in your discussion, and if you feel comfortable, pray through each session before your begin. (p. 109)

I really appreciate Matt’s heart for the Lord, and how he shares it with all of us!

You can order this book here.

This book was published by David C. Cook and provided by the B & B Media Group for review purposes.

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