Friday, December 26, 2008

Honorable Mention for Most Life Changing Book of 2008...

Honorable Mention for
Most Life Changing Book of 2008
"Bringing Home The Prodigals"
by Rob Parsons

*******A giveaway of this book has been added at the bottom!!!******

This book is easy to read and full of true life stories, but it just gripped me and contrary to a lot of non-fiction books (where I usually have to digest in small portions as opposed to fiction that I will sometimes indulge in the entire book at one sitting) I had trouble putting this book down. It was wonderful - touching, sincere and with a deep feeling of being very personal to Rob and making it personal to us. The irony is that I don't really have any major prodigals in my life... my parents and in-laws are all saved as are my siblings and their spouses and even my children are all on the right path and loving Jesus right now. I know I am blessed in that aspect, but I also know that there are prodigals all around me and this book even helps to deal with that.
I am blown away by the heart of this book and Rob Parsons for the lost, even the lost who never left home. This book is timely and relevant to where the church is right now.

Rob mentions how we are leading people to Jesus and they are coming in the front door even as prodigals are leaving out the back door because of the older brother's critical spirit.

On page 105 he says... If your prodigals do come home, pray with all your hearts that they meet the father first and not the elder brother. Oh that elder brother! The one who did his sinning without ever leaving. The one who needed to "come home" every bit as much as his brother but who could never grasp what the heart of real love is - both to give and to receive it. For a non-fiction book, it is a very easy read but it will blow your mind!

This interview will give you an insight into Rob's heart for prodigals and why he wrote the book, but I was not able to contact him personally. I would strongly suggest reading this book if there is anyone in your life that is a prodigal right now (including yourself). For more info on Rob and to read the first chapter of this book check out my original post about this amazing book here...

Q: You have presented the message of this book to heartbroken people around the world. Was their suffering the driving force behind the writing of this book?

A: Well, it’s true that I have never been able to get some of those people out of my mind. But this message is not just for those whose hearts are breaking for their prodigals. In fact, Bringing Home the Prodigals is not just about praying for our prodigals to come home. It is about asking us to consider the characters of our local churches. Is it possible that by our attitudes, our concern with rules and regulations that are not on God’s heart, or by our ingrained spirit of the elder brother (or sister!) from Christ’s parable of the prodigal son, we have made it easy for some to leave? Perhaps we have kept them out of mind while they are gone and, tragically, made it harder for them to return. Could it be that we have inadvertently “created” prodigals?

Q: How does this message apply to Christians who may not personally be dealing with a prodigal situation in their family?

A: The message of Bringing Home the Prodigals should catch the imagination of all who care about evangelism. The truth is, most of us know ten people who may never have been to a church whom we’d like to invite to an evangelistic service—but we all know a hundred prodigals. The numbers are enormous. When the prodigals come home, we are going to have to pull down our old church buildings and use aircraft hangars. If you care about church growth, then care about His message. There is nothing as frustrating as seeing people come to Christ through the front door of the church and losing others in almost the same proportion out the door at the back.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in the lives of those who will read this book?

A: This book is not written principally to give advice, although I will share the lessons I have learned from many whose hearts have cried out to God for those they love. My hope is that it will be a book that will release readers from false guilt stemming from their prodigal’s choices, bring them hope of their cherished one’s eventual return, and, above all, lead them to prayer. At the end of every chapter is a prayer and reflection; each one is written by someone who has cried for a prodigal and who has come to believe that, ultimately, God is our only hope. At the very end of the book, we will each bring our prodigals to the cross of Christ, just as thousands of people have done in Bringing Home the Prodigals events around the world.

Q: How do churches “create” prodigals?

A: It is a great tragedy that in the modern church so often we judge each other by rules and regulations we have devised ourselves, which have nothing to do with following Christ. So often, it is with this unwritten code that we “create” our prodigals. Each of us is tied more closely to our culture than we can possibly imagine. Sometimes this cultural perspective allows a person to be written off as a prodigal for something that is completely acceptable in another cultural setting. My American friend Dr. R.T. Kendall summed it up for me. He told me that when a group of German Christians saw some American Christians with all their gold and diamonds on, they were so shocked they dropped their cigars in their beer.

Q: In the context of this book, what does it really mean for a prodigal to “come home”?

A: I believe that church attendance is important—almost every Sunday of my life I am in my own church—but church attendance is not the only way to decide whether someone is a prodigal or not. In Christian circles, we tend to assume that following Christ and being a church attendee are essentially the same thing. But there are other important factors to consider. Does this person love Christ? Does he care for the poor? Does she stand up for injustice when she sees it? Can he forgive, or does he harbor grudges? Is there any evidence that slowly she is becoming a little more like the One she follows?
We desperately need God’s wisdom in dealing with this. We dare not get it wrong, for if we do, we not only allow some in deep spiritual need to remain in their complacency, but we also drive away those who never did turn their back on God at all. I fear there are many children who hear regularly from their parents that they are praying for them to return to God but who really need to hear their encouragement for the things they are doing that please God.

Q: Who, if anyone, is really to blame for a prodigal child’s rebellion? Why do you feel it is so crucial for parents to release the false guilt they feel over the children’s choices?

A: Just like the prodigal son in Jesus’ story, our children are capable of making a decision—and they do sometimes decide to turn their backs on the Father and His house. Yet in spite of the fact that our children make their own choices, we often feel the guilt ourselves. So many parents are carrying a heavy load of guilt they have no need to bear. That’s not to say they have been perfect parents. They have just been parents—parents who have given this task their very best efforts. Even if they had the chance to go back and start over, the truth is they’d probably just make different mistakes. And what if they could have been perfect parents? Adam and Eve had the perfect father and lived in the perfect environment, but they chose a way their father didn’t want them to go. It’s time for parents to lay that guilt down. They have carried it long enough. By all means, they should ask forgiveness for those things they know they have done wrong as a parent. Then they can join the rest of us who have loved and guided our children as much as we could, but who, in the end, have to watch as they make their own decisions.

Q: What role does forgiveness play in a prodigal’s homecoming?

A: Although we love them, we sometimes still have to forgive our prodigals, for they may have treated us badly. They may have thrown our love, care, and most fervent desire for their good straight back in our faces. And we must forgive even while they are still hurting us. We may want to say, “If only he would stop that lifestyle, or give up drinking or the drugs,” or “If only she would get rid of the man who seems to be draining her of life, then we would forgive,” but we must forgive even when there is no evidence that they may change.

What is the alternative to forgiveness? It is rejection. And rejection often brings with it isolation, bitterness, and a pushing even further away of those we are trying to draw back. Forgiveness allows us to go on loving. But it is not Disney World. Forgiveness finds itself in the real world of deep hurts, dashed hopes, and broken promises. But there is no hope for our prodigals without it. And there may be another who needs forgiveness, for there are moments when we may have wronged our children. It may be hard to ask forgiveness of someone who is hurting you so much, but it is such a powerful thing to do. Sometimes it robs our prodigals of the very reason for their rebellion.

Okay, readers you have a chance to win this great book! Here is what you do... leave me a comment (with your email address or way to reach you) telling me if you have a prodigal in your life and you will have 1 entry in the drawing! If you tell someone else about this interview with Rob and they enter and put your name in the comment then you will have 3 extra entries, if you link to this interview from your own blog then you will get 2 extra entries - Good luck!


bigguysmama said...

This sounds like a fantastic book. Thanks for the interview. It's a book I'll be keeping my eye out for.

Mimi B

Alyce said...

I don't have a prodigal in my life, but I think this is a book that my mother-in-law could use (one of her sons is having a hard time). I would love to pass it on to her.

I blogged about it here:

Lora Lease said...

The prodigal in my life is my uncle Jim, a "good witch" (his words, not mine) who is heavily into black magic, drugs and alcohol. Our family is all believing for his salvation. :)

Stacie said...

I don't believe I have a proidigal in my life one that I can think of off hand right now anyways.

Kristi said...

I have a prodigal daughter - she is 16 and has decided that she would rather live with her father (she does not like our rules - he is a lot more lenient than we are)- we let her go a year ago.. We still see her, but she seems to be holding a grudge against us - she does go with us to church and is continuing to attend youth group - but there is still a wall up there. She has ADHD and this clouds a lot of her actions and memories. I hope someday that we can be close again.


windycindy said...

I like the analogy about the older son doing his sinning without ever leaving home! I have never thought about the parable in such a way. Please enter me in your book drawing. Many thanks, Cindi

windycindy said...

Sorry that I forgot to answer your
question about a prodigal in my life!
In a small way, I sometimes see myself as one. Always asking questions, trying to seek the truth, etc. Thanks, Cindi

Anonymous said...

I'm was thinking of the same person my cousin Lora Lease mentioned. Someday we know our Uncle Jim will be praising Jesus with us.
Sarah Catlett

darbyscloset said...

This is now a must read!!! I hope I win this book! I so agree with what he is saying in his interview.
Thanks for the intro to this great book!
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

darbyscloset said...

Whoops, I got so excited about the book I forgot to answer your question! My brother is the prodigal in my life.
Thanks again,
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

Fortunately, I don't have any prodigals in my immediate family, but hurt for my friends whose children have not made wise choices.
I have read this book and highly recommend it. Enter me in the drawing, I would like to have a copy to give to my pastor and leaders at church.


valerie2350 said...

nope - but please enter me

Anonymous said...

this sounds like a great Non-fiction book to read!
My aunt is the prodigal in my life

rebornbutterfly(at)sbcglobal (dot) net

Sarah said...

I have a whole extended family of prodigals.
Please enter me in this draw.

terry said...

Sounds like a good book. Please enter me in the drawing. My daughter, who I pray for continually, is my prodigal

Valorie said...

A prodigal... oh, my mother. I love her more than anything, though.


Valorie said...

Blogged here:


ReadingRobin said...

I am looking for a good Non-fiction book for my book club, maybe this would be it!
cmrobin at bellsout net

MJ said...

My youngest son...

Carolynn W. said...

I have a lot of prodigals in mt life. Thank God that we can always come to him in prayer for our loved ones!
Thanks for the chance to win this book!
carolynnwald at hotmail dot com

Kristi said...

I have a praise about the post that I left at the end of December about my prodigal daughter who had chosen to live with her dad - she has not been to our house since Christmas. Yesterday morning I received an email from her telling me that she was sorry for the way she behaved the last time she was here, and that she would like to come over this weekend and try again. I am picking her up tomorrow for the weekend!

Janna said...

I am so glad you let us know about what is going on with your daughter - that is wonderful! I pray all goes well this weekend!

Donna said...

I don't have a prodigal at this time.

JamericanSpice said...

I don't have a prodigal in my immediate family, but extended would be my sister.

Janna said...

And the winner is...

Jamerican Spice