Monday, September 30, 2013

Anchored in Light: Understanding and Overcoming the Five Deadliest Threats to Your Faith by Carl Prude, Jr.

Tour Date: October 2nd

When the tour date arrives, copy and paste the HTML Provided in the box. Don't forget to add your honest review if you wish! PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS POST WHEN THE TOUR COMES AROUND!

Grab the HTML for the entire post (will look like the post below):



***************************************************************************

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Leafwood Publishers (September 10, 2013)

***Special thanks to Ryan Self for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Carl Prude, Jr. is a former pastor, a popular conference and workshop speaker, and a personal development specialist. He founded and directs Centermark, an organization that helps people reach new levels of personal and professional growth through discovering and developing their core strengths. He currently serves in several leadership roles at the Rock Church & World Outreach (a 23,000-member congregation in San Bernardino, California) and as part of the Riverside County Sheri’s Dept. Chaplain Corp. He lives with his family in Moreno Valley, California.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

In Anchored in Light, former pastor Carl Prude Jr. takes an honest look at the shifting trends in today’s faith community and tackles some of the difficult questions about faith and society. You’ll be surprised at some of the answers. This book addresses five of the deadliest threats confronting the faith community today, and presents the keys to vibrant spiritual living in the face of unique twenty-first century challenges.



Product Details:
List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Leafwood Publishers (September 10, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0891123474
ISBN-13: 978-0891123477


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

LOST IN FAITH

Paradox in Paradise





Faith.

Faith is God’s watermark on the universe. It’s his thumbprint. It quietly maps his movements with unmistaken accuracy. Where he’s been, where he is, and where he’s going.

By faith we press our faces against the clouded window of the supernatural realm—fogged over on one side from our anxious intercessions…misted on the other by God’s reassuring breath from what he’s spoken.

By faith our eternal destination is re-assigned. With it we overcome life’s obstacles and possess life’s promises. The broken parts of our lives are made whole by faith. Faith is a prized seed that has to be cultivated diligently, because all seekers ultimately must learn to live by faith intimately.

But I have a question for those of us who belong to the community of faith…is our faith failing us today?

Consider recent statistics show that certain social behaviors (once reliable indicators of the distinctions between believers and nonbelievers) now point to lifestyles running at a virtual dead heat.  For instance, in the United States the divorce rate for first marriages among non-churchgoers is about 44%.  How does that compare to the divorce rate for first marriages among church attendees?  About 42%—too close for comfort.

Other studies show that some of the highest divorce rates in the country aren’t found in liberal states like California or New York, but in Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma—the heart of America's conservative “Bible Belt.”1  Most of us would have thought the opposite to be the case.

Similarly, regarding other bellwether social practices ranging from premarital sex to drinking to lying, polls show the gap closing fast between the conduct of believers and non-believers.2

Of course moral fidelity isn't the only yardstick for spiritual fitness; still, these trends are saying something we can’t afford to ignore. In fact, they should disturb us enough to cause us to drop our hymnals, cough up our communion wafer, and wonder out loud, “What in hell is going on in our churches?”

Take a moment and answer the following question honestly: which bothers you most; the razor-thin margin between the lifestyles of believers and non-believers, or the phrase, “What in hell is going on in our churches?”

Remember, these statistics aren’t just faceless numbers on a piece of paper—they represent millions of real people whose spiritual experiences just aren’t fully working for them.  On the other hand, the undeniable sway of modern culture in the faith community is much more an indication of where we're headed based on where they’re headed, than where we should be going based on where we’ve come from. Whatever your answer is, there’s clearly something wrong, but what?

Perhaps Rick Warren’s runaway best seller, The Purpose Driven Life, gives us a clue. It exposed a surprising hunger for identity and purpose among people of faith—surprising because for thousands of years neither our purpose nor our identity has changed.  As people of faith our purpose has always been simple: to honor God by allowing his light to shine in and through us to every internal and external place where darkness still has influence.  Our identity is equally clear; we all share an unmistakable birthmark—a logo so unnatural that the Romans who first observed it had to develop a word just to describe it—agapao.3

We need to look deeper to understand exactly what people in today’s faith community are really hungering for. What do we see as our actual purpose, identity and priorities?

It’s not such a simple answer, mainly because today's faith community is as complicated as it is wonderful. For example, some see their priority as their family.  For others, it’s their set of religious beliefs.  For still others, it’s their particular church community.

One assembly regards healing and miracles as the benchmark for their spiritual validation, another looks at community service and missions, while still another sees it as rising social status or material gain.

One group’s meetings center on the worship and praise experience, another’s emphasizes evangelism, while still another group focuses on spectacular, supernatural demonstrations.

From our pulpits we’re presented with as much variety as a Skittles factory; sermon styles ranging from mono-droning lectures that force us to dig our fingernails deep into our thigh just to stay alert, to caffeinated screaming about something so abstract the speaker doesn’t even bother to connect it to a scriptural text.

All these expressions flow from the handiwork of a God who loves minutes and millenniums, the ordinary and the extraordinary, and silence as much as noise.

To the casual observer, today’s faith community is all over the place—but in a sense that’s okay, because at times life really is all over the place.  Still, so much convergence within the faith community has added to a gradual erosion of the believers’ once clear spiritual identity.  Our efforts to keep pace with each new spiritual movement has left many of our spiritual identities so smudged that they’re nearly unrecognizable—like a homework assignment that’s been crumpled, tossed out the window, run over by a muddy tire and left in a wet drain ditch.

Some try to dismiss these developments with clichés like, “the church is just getting worldlier and the world is getting churchier.”  On the surface there appears to be some truth to this, but a closer look shows this to be just an excuse that sidesteps the real issue.  After all, people in “the world” aren’t expected to have it together in the first place—the same can’t be said for people who've been called “the light of the world.”

As children of eternal hope, we all want to finish our races strongly, anticipating the words that will make our efforts all worth it: “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”  But too many believers today are closer to throwing up their hands in frustration and saying, “that’s it, I’m done!”, than they are to hearing, “well done.” It’s a problem that’s simply gotten too big and too ugly to ignore.

In an effort to regain their lost spiritual equilibrium, people of faith change churches, change worship habits, change devotional routines and even change faiths. These tactics don’t work because they don’t get to the root of the problem.

This book pierces through all the religious formality and temple smoke, and uncovers the guilty parties responsible for the current spiritual crisis.  More importantly, it provides a clear pathway forward for people of faith everywhere.

What’s Really Troubling the Waters?

Exactly what has doused the flame on the altar for so many people in today’s faith community?  The simple answer is things that they’ve experienced—unsuccessfully. Hardships and complexities that don’t fit neatly into a doctrinal box or philosophical slot. Here are some examples:

 “My doctor just diagnosed me with cancer, but before I could tell my wife, she announced that she’s leaving me for someone else…how do I handle this?”
“It seems like I’ve achieved everything I set out to do in life…so how come I feel more like killing myself instead of celebrating?”
“I went through some terrible things as a child…now that I’m an adult how can I keep these memories from robbing me of the joys of life?”
“Our church meetings feel more like a Multi-Level-Marketing rally than a worship service.  The focus used to clearly be the cross and the lost…lately I feel like I’m lost. I’m not sure where we’re going or what we’re doing!”
“Everybody I'm around really tries to push me to do my best, EXCEPT my family.  They’re so unsupportive and negative...and we're all supposed to be Christians! They throw a wet blanket on anything I try to do!”
 “I don’t seem to enjoy our church services or women’s group activities as much as the other women around me…I feel like I just don't fit in, is there something wrong with me?”
“Why are there so many ups and downs to life…when will things settle down for me?”
“I’ve made some poor choices in life…I’ve owned up to them, and, in some cases paid a dear price. I really want to move on, but there are people close to me who just won’t let me get beyond my past mistakes. I really care for them, but I wonder if it's time for me to just cut the ties with them and get a fresh start somewhere else?”
“Our pastor divorced his wife and married another woman in the congregation. He taught so strongly about making marriage work...and now this! I feel bad about staying at this church, and even worse about leaving. How can I trust his leadership? I'm just confused!”
“My three-year old child died of heart disease.  He suffered all of his short life, and although we prayed and fasted it seemed like God just looked the other way. What was the point of all the pain this has caused for our family?”
“It seems that only certain people at our church get “blessed” all the time.  New houses, new cars, raises on their jobs…the list just doesn't stop!  I can’t even pay my utility bills, and my car is about to be repossessed.  I tithe and I'm a faithful volunteer in the children's ministry. Does God show favorites or is there just something wrong with my faith?”
“One of our youth pastors was recently arrested and convicted for molesting young boys. I was horrified to discover my grandson was one of his victims! To rub salt in the wound, our church tried to cover it up for over a year. It was a major chore getting his parents to let him go to church with me in the first place. Now, not only has this destroyed my relationship with my daughter and son-in-law, but how can I forgive myself for what’s happened to my own grandson?”
“My older brother’s been diagnosed with mental illness, but our church leaders insist that he’s possessed by an evil spirit! They say he’s brought it all on himself because he’s never belonged to a church.  They seem to have no idea what our family is really going through. Now—when we need them the most—they’re treating us as if they wish we’d just go away. I’m starting to hate these people!”
I’ve served as a leader in the church for over two decades. I have strained relationships with my family, my children don’t want anything to do with church, and all the people I’ve tried to help over the years have run after the newest Christian fad. In all my years no one has ever come up to me and asked, “Pastor, are you okay?” I know my reward is in heaven, but why do I feel so empty now?


These issues all come from real situations involving real people, and they aren’t that uncommon in today’s society. However, within the sanitized church community, where our expectations are different, they strike us with surprising force—like a vicious Mike Tyson blow that cracks the sternum.   They leave us desperately gasping for air, even in a faith environment where others are breathing just fine.  Inevitably, it’s these types of experiences that can cause us to lose our grip on our faith—especially if our pastors, priests, ministers or spiritual leaders aren’t well enough equipped to help us work through them.

These kinds of incidents jostle the hopes and derail the lives of millions of believers, leaving them feeling that their faith amounts to little more than a handful of dried-out, crumbling Play-Doh.

Lost In Faith

What I’ve described in the previous paragraphs is a condition I call the Lost in Faith Experience.  Here’s a list of the most common symptoms:

a sense of spiritual disillusionment
a growing sense of spiritual frustration
despondency about spiritual truths and realities
new-founded doubts about scriptural authenticity
apathy towards church-related activities that once provided joy and satisfaction
trending towards choosing to substitute faith-centered activities with other activities
an agitated attitude regarding spiritual topics
a reluctance to participate in anything new in the faith community
fragmented spiritual focus
a diminished prayer life
a general attitude of disappointment towards God
detachment from friends within the faith community
boredom with matters of spirituality


But here’s one of the most compelling traits of the Lost in Faith Experience—these believers, though adrift, still love God, and don’t want to abandon their faith altogether.  Although discontent in their faith, they’re not disconnecting from their faith. They’re trying to hold on and gut it out, even though their spiritual lives aren't satisfying,.

If you can identify with any of what I’ve described, don’t feel discouraged—you’re not alone. This Lost in Faith Experience is more prevalent among people of faith than those within the faith community understand—or are willing to admit.

For example, recent polls show that as many as 70% of all members of Christian-related churches say they're not satisfied with their spiritual lives. 70% of anything is high, and in this case it's alarming. This number represents a surge that sweeps past the borders of denomination, race, gender and age.  Scores of believers, caught in its wake, are stranded with unsure footing and an unclear pathway forward.

Finally, here’s help.

The Five Furies

For nearly two decades it's been my privilege to serve in different leadership roles within this wondrous faith community. I've served as a church planter, founded two non-profit religious community organizations, held the offices of Senior Pastor, Associate Pastor, Assistant Pastor, as well as several regional and local positions as Director of this or that.

But for me, it's never been about the office or the title; it's always been about the people. I’ve shared many moments of public joy with people from all walks of life, and just as many moments of private sorrow.  I've seen the sacred as well as the strange. I’ve sat in church business meetings with other pastors who had loaded pistols in their briefcases (in case the meeting didn’t go the way they wanted), and I’ve sat at somber bedsides with families as a loved one closed their eyes for the last time and slipped into eternity.

No matter the situation or who was involved, I've always been driven by one thing: the possibility of helping one more person improve the quality of their life by improving the quality of their faith.

I can’t count the counseling and prayer sessions I've had over the years with people who’ve lost their spiritual traction and fallen prey to this Lost in Faith Experience. Sometimes these meetings were formal appointments, but in many cases they were impromptu encounters that happened in a parking lot, in the bleachers at a high school football game, or on an early morning jogging track.

In my prayerful, continual search for answers, I began to notice five distinct, harmful patterns emerge...five murky, unmistakable recurring syndromes. In every instance where people had fallen victim to the Lost in Faith Experience, at least one of these patterns was a factor.  In many cases, two or more were present.

In time, it became clear that the frequent appearance of these patterns wasn’t just coincidental, nor was it merely symptomatic. These patterns were at the very root of the Lost in Faith Experience. The Lost in Faith Experience flowed out of them—not the other way around. I call these five troubling syndromes the Five Furies.

The "Fury" label comes from a reference found in the last book of the Bible:



But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you!

He is filled with fury [italics added], because he knows that his time is short (Rev. 12:12).



The word “fury” in this passage is translated from the original Greek word, thumos. Thumos is commonly used in classical Greek language to describe the violent movement of nature; air (i.e., a violent tornado), water (i.e. a devastating tsunami), or land (i.e. a powerful earthquake).  It’s an unavoidable, destructive force that damages anything in its path.

In his epic work, the Iliad, Homer uses the word thumos to describe the uncontrollable wrath of Achilles, the poem’s ruthless main character.  When applied to living beings, thumos portrays a deep, driving rage that consumes its host, often taking them over the edge of insanity.  Thumos is the worst kind of uncontrollable boiling rage. It’s the kind of bad happening we can feel and see coming from miles away.

The Five Furies represent Satan’s rage, and they carry all the destructive force that the word thumos implies. They ruin lives and destroy the things around us that we hold dear. However, unlike a hurricane or a tidal wave, we hardly ever see them coming. They don’t register on spiritual Richter scale like a violent earthquake. No, they’re unassuming and deceptively quiet—their danger smolders beneath a non-threatening appearance.

Part of their genius is in their design. Remember, they come from the heart of Satan, and it’s important to understand that above everything else, Satan is a lying deceiver. From his introduction in the Garden of Eden, Satan’s nature has been deceptive; “the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness” (see 2 Cor. 11:3). The very last time he’s mentioned in the Bible he’s still described as a deceiver; “The devil, who deceived them” (see Rev. 20:10). His deceptive personality is changeless and unredeemable. These Furies represent his nature well.

He sends these destructive Furies into the faith community in unmarked packages. They don’t look like something we’d typically guard against (i.e., adultery, domestic violence, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idol worship, witchcraft, etc.). In fact, they don’t necessarily look like…anything.

They have all the appearance of normal everyday life; nothing out of the ordinary, nothing to cause a raised eyebrow. Once they arrive we allow them to stay because we didn’t see them coming.

When left undetected, each Fury goes to work with deadly patience. Systematically, they produce microscopic punctures in our spiritual makeup. Unholy pinholes. These punctures become spiritual leak-points through which the virtue God gives us to overcome life's challenges all slowly leaks out. Like a flattened tire with no visible signs of damage, we lose our ability to retain our inspiration.

When one of these furies is working in our lives, no matter how much time we spend praying, studying, or pouring out our hearts in worship services—the benefits of these activities don’t last long enough to positively impact our lives.  When we find ourselves in need, we turn to draw from these wells of virtue, only to find that our buckets are leaking.

The Five Furies convert stable believers into leaky people—people who look godly, but respond to situations in a worldly manner. These Furies are unassuming as they are lethal.  I consider them five of the deadliest threats facing the twenty-first Century faith community. Let’s take a look at each one briefly.

Fury #1: Processing without Progressing
Each day comes with a buffet of circumstances, choices and challenges. Blessings as well as misfortunes. Things we anticipate as well as things out of the clear blue. Good as well as bad.  Each of these occurrences needs to be addressed properly, and when we don’t handle them properly they tend to collect into cluttered piles stuffed into the corners of our souls. These piles undermine our sense of peace, wear away at our ability to fully enjoy our accomplishments and blessings, and make it difficult for us to find stability in our walk of faith.  The Processing without Progressing Fury leaves the believer feeling lost, inept and despondent.  

Fury #2: Running When You Should Be Walking And Walking When You Should Be Running
This occurs when people of faith don’t have a sense of peace about the use of their time, resources and talents. They constantly anguish over projects and activities—always glancing over their shoulders for the better choice.  They persistently second guess themselves while agonizing over whether their activities harmonize with God’s will for them.

Am I running ahead of God or lagging behind him ?  Am I in step or out of step with his timing for me? Have I missed my “season?” The Running When You Should Be Walking And Walking When You Should Be Running Fury leaves the believer feeling anxious, out-of-step with God’s perfect will for them, and prodigal. They worry about running out of time before they’ve done what they were put on the earth to do.

Fury #3: Entrenched in Stench
This Fury involves mental or emotional baggage firmly lodged in a person’s life, leaving them spiritually crippled. This baggage comes in two main flavors: unhealed wounds from the past, and new toxic experiences. Old junk and new garbage; either of which can be devastating to the life of faith.

While believers try to hide behind painted-on smiles and upbeat religious clichés, the betraying stench of this intangible garbage still leaks through.  The Entrenched in Stench Fury leaves the believer with a broad range of unhealthy perspectives—from bitterness, to anger, to low self esteem, to hatred, to blaming others for their own chronic dissatisfactions...the list is virtually endless.  People suffering from this Fury often have a sense of unresolved pain that offsets any other achievement in life, no matter how impressive. They often feel pessimistic and mentally paralyzed.

Fury #4: The Assimilation Mutation
This Fury represents the typical but harmful one-size-fits-all approach to service within the faith community.  As members look to become more involved, they’re often squeezed into old molds. Their spiritual identity and individuality is often shoved out of sight in the process.  True, they’re busy. Yes, they’re productive.  But they’re also stifled, which leads to disheartenment—and they can’t figure out why.

The Assimilation Mutation isn’t typically part of a malicious plot, which makes it even more difficult to identify and resolve.  For many believers, the eagerness to make themselves available for service within the faith community is the first step into a world in which they end up feeling used, manipulated, downgraded and disregarded. The Assimilation Mutation leaves believers looking vogue on the outside, but feeling vague on the inside.

Fury #5: Are We There Yet?
This Fury represents the challenges associated with the gap between actual spiritual growth and our expectations for spiritual growth.  People of faith spend thousands of hours in prayer, studying the scriptures, participating in worship services, and listening to sermons—only to discover that instead of actually “running” their races like well trained athletes, their running style would more accurately be described as a stumble-thon towards the finish line—with plenty of scraped-up knees, banged elbows and a few displaced teeth along the way.

Beset with recurring characters flaws, bound to certain bad habits, surprised at how easily they still react negatively when certain buttons are pushed, unable to consistently walk in certain disciplines of faith, demonstrating a lack of spiritual maturity in specific areas of life.  The Are We There Yet? Fury leaves the believer feeling frustrated, unworthy and discouraged about their spiritual progress.  While others are soaring, they only seem to inch along at less than a snail’s pace.

Anchors in the Storm

The scriptures teach that God provides a pathway to victory for every trial or temptation we face. Just as there are five Furies that cause the Lost in Faith Experience, there are five key anchor tenets that help us overcome them (a different anchor tenet for each Fury).  These anchor tenets are firmly secured to the bedrock of eternal truth. They hold fast to the unchanging light of truth, even in times of thickest darkness. Let me briefly introduce each one.

Space Yourself
The Space Yourself anchor tenet addresses the Processing without Progressing Fury, showing the spiritual keys to effectively managing each occurrence or circumstance as they come. Spacing Yourself strengthens the bond of trust in our relationship with God, and provides a clear guide to keeping life refreshing and moving forward vibrantly, fruitfully and decisively—regardless of what we have to deal with.  By the way, if you think this has anything to do with time management—think again.



Pace Yourself
The Pace Yourself anchor tenet addresses the Running When You Should Be Walking and Walking When You Should Be Running Fury, teaching the keys to insure that we maximize ourselves from moment to moment.  It shows us how to understand God’s timepiece for our lives and more importantly, how to guarantee we’re synchronized with him .

Waste Yourself
The Waste Yourself anchor tenet addresses the Entrenched in Stench Fury. It shows how to effectively resolve and rid ourselves of the bondage from emotional or mental scars—past or present

Place Yourself
The Place Yourself anchor tenet addresses The Assimilation Mutation Fury. This anchor tenet provides key insights into understanding, cultivating and protecting your personal and spiritual identity, even amidst pressure to conform to standards that everyone else accepts.

Grace Yourself
Finally, the Grace Yourself anchor tenet addresses the Are We There Yet? Fury, breaking down the four stages of spiritual growth and demystifying the spiritual transformation process—from the beginning wretch-undone starting point all the way to soaring-on-wings-of-eagles stage.

Space Yourself.

Pace Yourself.

Waste Yourself.

Place Yourself.

Grace Yourself.

Not only do these five anchor tenets lay the foundation for recovery from the Lost in Faith Experience, they also help the believer reestablish a pathway forward—a pathway that’s both fruitful and rewarding.  Learning how to apply any one of these anchor tenets effectively will make a tremendous difference in your life. If you’re able to develop all five of them you’ll change your life forever (and have a tremendous positive impact on those around you).

Silent but Deadly

Earlier in this chapter, I said these Furies are five of the deadliest threats to the twenty-first century faith community. I understand that some feel that other more serious problems are pounding harder on the faith community’s door. Problems like world hunger, economic collapse, human trafficking, drugs and drug wars, incurable diseases, pornography, the rise in number of non-essential abortions…the list goes on and on.

I agree that these are serious problems, and we should be concerned with them, but none of them (of themselves) present a lethal threat to the faith community. In fact, the faith community has answers for all the problems mentioned above. The message of faith, and the power of mercy and grace working through the life of the believer can bring relief and healing to people affected by these social ills.  What’s more, dealing with these kinds of problems has always been part of our mission—to be salt and light to the world.

Others may point to specific enemies of the faith community as bigger threats. Enemies like post-modernism, or legislation aimed at stripping the faith community of its influence, its civic privileges, and even its right to exist.

While serious, this kind of persecution isn’t new, and it tends to produce growth in the faith community—not decline.  Historically, this kind of pressure has strengthened the faith community’s resolve and solidified its will to exist.  It forces believers to rely on God with greater intensity, laying aside distractions as they, with one accord, seek God’s help in time of trouble.

The furies listed in this book have earned the label of the five deadliest threats to the twenty-first century faith community for two reasons—the sinister ways they enter our lives, and the quiet, unrelenting devastation they cause once they’re there.

These threats appear without notice, like the dust that quietly settles on the floor just beneath the headboard. They find an unguarded place in our soul and blend in with all the other safe material we store.

They are spiritual parasitic infections. Like most parasites, they thrive and throb beneath the surface, becoming disgustingly fat at the expense of their unwitting hosts. We (the faith community) provide housing for these deadly Furies. We nourish and feed them. We even unknowingly infect each other. As Walt Kelly said in his well-known Pogo comic strip, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

These Five Furies pose a serious threat to every member of the twenty-first century faith community—without exception. Not only do they infect those we see as fickle and spiritually uncommitted, but they also infect people who’ve held strong spiritual belief; the ones we consider stalwarts and mainstays of the faith community.

Once established, they methodically work to create millions of tiny leak-points in our souls. They don’t use spiritual explosives to blast a gaping hole in our belief systems—no, that would attract our attention and we’d respond to it immediately. They don’t even try to remove anything important from our spiritual inventory.  They just make these tiny, tiny holes that leak ever so slowly, but ever so consistently.

In the meantime we maintain our normal spiritual routines.  We keep leading worship and distributing food to the poor. We help with the youth ministry and serve as ushers. We preach on Sundays and teach the midweek Bible classes. We give to missions programs and visit local prisons.

One day, we shake ourselves to rally to some spiritual need, and discover, like Samson, that the familiar river of spiritual power has become a dusty, dried-out riverbed.

These Furies are poured into the molds of endurance and cast in the furnaces of patience. They are in no hurry. The leaks they cause can go undetected for years, even decades—until it’s too late. They work little by little until our virtue tanks can no longer retain what God pours into us.

In the end, they don’t cause us to plunge headlong into blatant transgression against God. Instead, they simply deflate us, stealing the bite first, knowing that the bark will die later. They leave us inept and lukewarm…fit to be spewed out of the mouth.

I mentioned earlier that 70% of people in today’s faith community are dissatisfied with their current spiritual experience.  Of this group, 90% say they have no intention to abandon their faith.  The sad reality, however, is that over 45% of this at-risk crowd will, in fact, become casualties of this crisis. Statistics show that they’re simply not going to survive.

Let's not deceive ourselves; the demands on the believer in the twenty-first Century are more challenging than any preceding age. According to scripture, as the clock for this age winds down we’ll see a number of noticeable changes in the world. One such change will be a phenomenon called The Great Falling Away (see 2 Thess. 2:3).

The Great Falling Away refers to a sweeping abandonment of faith in God. This defection will be on an unprecedented scale, diminishing the ranks of the faith community throughout the earth. The Five Furies are the exact kind of threat that can weaken the faith community and lay the groundwork for such a catastrophic event.

In spite of the tremendous damage caused by these Five Furies, the good news is the five anchor tenets presented in this book are even more resilient. They are reversing the effects of the Five Furies and bringing relief, recovery and spiritual freedom to believers at an encouraging rate.  These tenets are true anchors in light, holding the believer firmly in place against the thumos forces that rage against the twenty-first century faith community.

My approach in writing this book is no different than my approach to personal one-on-one ministry.  I realize that people today demand instant answers and even faster results.  However, I’ve learned that when it comes to matters of authentic spiritual health, hasty solutions rarely last.  While I appreciate speedy service as much as anyone, I’m much more interested in being effective over the long term than efficient in the short run.

Because of this, my aim isn’t in writing the shortest book or providing the quickest answer. In some cases, I'm not rushing to get right to the point, because there are simply too many important stones that need turning over along the way. I’m writing this book because I’ve seen firsthand how its message stops the spiritual bleeding, reverses the trends, and rescues lives from further devastation.

I assure you that there's reason and reward to my methods. The model has been proven effective.  With nothing less than your spiritual wellbeing at stake, the risk is too high to take a lesser approach. I’m concerned with seeing the goals accomplished, not merely the tasks completed.  I’m interested and invested in your long-term spiritual success, health and welfare—not just in giving you a breather from life’s troubles.

One of the ancient books of wisdom instructs us to make gaining an understanding a high priority (see Prov. 4:7).   It’s almost impossible for us to overcome what we don’t understand. That’s why in each chapter I take the time to analyze these Furies; where do they come from, how they become established in our lives, why are they flourishing now?

After that, I present the solutions—and that’s not a drive-thru presentation either. God not only wants us to finish our races, but finish them gloriously. When we don’t prepare properly we run well, but don’t finish strongly…if we finish.

If you’re suffering from any form of the Lost in Faith Experience, here are a set of tools to help you regain vitality and energy in your walk of faith, and move your life forward fruitfully and purposefully.  The pathway forward for each person reading this book is just that—personal, but it always begins with the very next step.  So, let’s turn the page and begin the journey back to wholeness.





1 Elliott, Diana and Simmons, Tavia. Marital Events of Americans: 2009. Washington DC: U S Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2009.

2 A New Generation of Adults Bends Moral and Sexual Rules to Their Liking. Barna Group, accessed November 11, 2012, http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/13-culture/144-a-new-generation-of-adults-bends-moral-and-sexual-rules-to-their-liking.

3 Swanson, James A. Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament) (electronic ed.) (DBLG 26, #3). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997.

3 comments:

SueFitz said...

book promo posted and scheduled

http://booksbooksthemagicalfruit.blogspot.com/2013/10/book-promo-anchored-in-light.html

Vic said...

Even though I was not part of this tour I posted anyway
http://vicsmediaroom.wordpress.com/2013/10/05/anchored-in-light-understanding-and-overcoming-the-five-deadliest-threats-to-your-faith-by-carl-prude-jr/

radha mohan said...

This blog is amazing and helpful, I really like this information. If anyone find to cheap flights to Mumbai from New York and New York to Mumbai flights in lowest price then call our travel experts. We provides many other New York to Mumbai flights as like-

Low price flights to Mumbai from New York

Best fare flights to Mumbai from New York

Cheap fares flights to Mumbai from New York