Wednesday, February 5, 2014

God's Game Plan: A Book Review

Honor, courage and commitment.  What do these words remind you of?  Soldiers? Settlers? Police Officers? Football players?  Men.  

We write a blog for women and about women. Sometimes we deal with "girl" stuff like submission, managing your household and being a great wife, but just as often we deal with prayer, grace and looking like Jesus from a woman's point of view.  Every post is aimed at what it means to be a female walking with God.

I don't know anything about being a man, but Aubrey Johnson does.  In his book, God's Game Plan: Strategies for Abundant Living he delivers an introduction to Christian living that in no way excludes women, yet from its metaphor, through its word choice and on to its vigorous view of Christian virtue it's thoroughly masculine.

Johnson's metaphor is that life is like football.  God's our coach; he's laid out a game plan; we're a team and we're on the way to victory.  The metaphor provides not only a backbone for the book's structure but it allows him more subtle comparisons. For example:

"Service carries us deep into the territory of people's lives.  Here you will wrestle with your priorities, bump into human pride, and tackle procrastination."

Writers (especially amateur blog writers like yours truly) struggle with appealing to their audience.  Word choice is a crucial tool.  Johnson spends the book using vibrant verbs like wrestle, bump and tackle. Advice like "Have your say, but do not demand your way" and "Always put unity above strategy and love before logistics" could have as easily been given in a boardroom as a locker room. His choice of words makes the book naturally appealing not only to football fans (who seem positively ubiquitous in America) but to men of all stripes. 

Most importantly though, Johnson deals with Christian virtues in a robust and positive fashion.  Although he keeps his language simple and direct, he deals with difficult spiritual topics like the Holy Spirit and church unity. With an eye on the abundant life he wants his reader to have, he pulls no punches.  Although the book is clearly introductory, Johnson calls his readers to regular disciplines such as a prayer and Bible study and pulls them forward into sacrificial service and giving.

As I finished "God's Game Plan" I was intrigued by the thought of who might benefit from the book. It could be a part of a football themed gift basket.  It would be a great gift for a teenage or college aged young man at his baptism.  It would be an excellent book for a men's bible study, a high school young men's class or even a small group who happened to like football.  More importantly though, I think it could be a nice introduction to Christian living for someone who might not be a Christian.  For example, it could be a gift to all the boys on a local football team.  Or a party favor at a SuperBowl party. Because it was focused so strongly on all the joys and benefits of living out life as a man in Christ, I think it would be an intriguing read for an interested non-believer.

I hate the idea that our entire culture seems to have lost the vision of all the benefits of being a "man."  Our modern world seems to have no place for sweat and muscles, for hunter-gathers and warriors, for strength and honor.  There remains a feeling that church is for the women and children that spirituality is the opposite of being a man.  This book (for all that it's metaphor is light-hearted) is solid proof that being a man following Christ is an honorable thing indeed. 


Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. 
God's Game Plan was sent to us by the publisher for the purpose or reviewing.  No compensation was provided, and the opinions are entirely my own.  You can buy it from the Gospel Advocate for that football gift basket.  

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