UK Christian Bookshops Directory: Christian Book Reviews: The God Who Changes Lives
The God Who Changes Lives The God Who Changes Lives
Vol 3: Remarkable Stories of God at Work Today

Mark Elsdon-Dew (editor)
ISBN 1902750624 (9781902750620)

Category: Christian Life & Discipleship

This book, the third in The God Who Changes Lives series, is not so much a good read — not even a fantastic read — as an experience in which the reader is given the opportunity to hear God speak through its pages. I haven't read the two prior to this one, but now perhaps I will.

Brought together in one volume are several personal stories by a variety of people whose lives have been transformed by Christ. Among the personalities we hear from are David Kenny, a City banker whose former alcoholism threatened his job, his family, and his marriage, Helene Murphy, a lady from South London whose search for meaning included a 'Feng Shui' D.I.Y bedroom makeover, and Ben Hume-Right, a university student of 22, whose hardcore clubbing lifestyle spun out of control with drug usage. In all its variety, this book of stories is testament to a common truth: God is interested in people. Real people. People like you and me, the streetwise and the country bumpkin. The high flyer and the down-and-out.

I have to admit, when asked to review this book I wasn't absolutely convinced I would enjoy it, or even that it would contribute anything fresh and new to the 'Christian book world catalogue'. Books called things like The God Who Changes Lives, I thought, normally contained impersonal stories about people who lived on the opposite side of the world, who went through mind-blowing, miraculous experiences. Second or even third-hand accounts, written by a friend of a friend of a friend. Nothing-to-do-with-me stories. I'm not belittling the fact that God is a God of the miraculous, it's just that the miraculous is, by definition, unusual. What would be really good, I thought, would be to have a book which balanced the miraculous with the mundane areas of life. How does God affect our every day lives? Our marriages? Our behaviour? Our motivations? Addictions? Maybe even our career choices? This book was an emotional reminder that He does; written by people who are sometimes shockingly similar to myself, some of whom live only twenty minutes away from my parents' house.

On one level an advertisement for the Alpha Course (which, by the way, is not a criticism; the Alpha Course has been remarkably effective across the country as an introduction to the Christian faith, as evidenced by several voices in this book), The God Who Changes Lives is a profound joy to read. For me it was painful, surprising, sad, joyous and hopeful, all in one sitting. A book which asks the question 'What's God got to do with my life the way I live it?', The God Who Changes Lives is a book, and indeed a series, to be read by Christians, and those who wouldn't call themselves Christians, alike.

Mark Burnhope, January 2004

Mark Burnhope is a graduate of London School of Theology. He is a 'trying' novelist and poet with a Masters Degree in Creative and Transactional Writing from Brunel University, and an alternative worship/emerging church obsessive.

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