Give me an Andy Stanley book - and I'll read it. !! Andy always hits the nail on the head when he writes on a subject - his books are those kind of books you just have to read more than once. A. J. Diener
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I really enjoyed the book and it gave me a new perspective on the issues of anger, guilt, greed and jealousy. of course I like the Christian perspective of it too. It has helped me to look at myself in a slightly different way so I have gained more understanding about why I react the way I do in certain situations. Thank you for writing the book.
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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Vintage Stanley - Biblical, Practical, Life Transforming!June 21 2011
David P. Craig
- Published on Amazon.com
I think Andy Stanley has hit it out of the park with this book. He is so good at bringing God's truth from the Scriptures to bear on the big issues of the day. I think that along with Pete Scazzero's books Emotionally Healthy Spirituality and the Emotionally Healthy Church - that this book is must reading for pastors, leaders, and anyone who is a part of the body of Christ. Most Bible teachers, often neglect the soulish matters of the heart, - but Stanley calls a spade a spade and writes a convicting, challenging, and much needed corrective for us to address our blind spots.
In Part 1 he addresses the fact that sin comes from the heart as Jeremiah says and is incredibly deceptive. He talks about the damage that sin does, and how to identify it, and the importance of correcting it.
In Part 2 he addresses the dynamics of the debts that result from our sin. The four biggies are: Guilt - "I owe you"; Anger - "You owe me"; Greed - "I owe me"; and Jealousy - "God owes me." Andy handles each of these brilliantly and gives excellent examples that we can all relate to, so that we can confess them and start working in a positive direction to overcome them with the help of God the Holy Spirit.
In Part 3 he focuses in on how to confront each of these sins, with their righteous (happy) counterparts: from anger to forgiveness; from greed to generosity; and reasons to celebrate the joy that we have in receiving Christ's blessing and the Holy Spirit's power at work in our lives.
In Part 4 he helps us focus on what we are modeling and the legacy we are leaving behind (especially parents for their children) and how to deal with lust.
The book includes a helpful discussion guide, which is excellent for personal application, and small group discussion. This book is vintage Stanley: full of Scripture, great examples and illustrations, and motivates you toward wanting to live the abundant life that Jesus came to give us. I can't recommend it highly enough - life transforming!
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Enemies that attack us ALLJune 23 2011
Aaron K. Potratz
- Published on Amazon.com
I was fortunate to receive this book prior to its release in exchange for reviewing it for WaterBrook Multnomah. It just released on Tuesday, and let me simply introduce it by saying that it's a book I recommend with confidence.
Who's It For: This book is definitely for Christians, as Stanley frequently quotes Scripture passages and explains what they mean to the Christian's heart. That said, the book's reach may be broad enough because it is clinical but comes across as "self-help from a biblical perspective."
What It's About: Enemies of the Heart is about four destructive emotions that control us and what to do about them. The emotions are guilt, anger, greed, and jealousy. If you're like me, I initially thought that only one or two of those applied. However, after reading this book I realized how incorrect my impressions were and how they could still apply to me - or anyone, for that matter - even if they weren't primary.
Stanley puts these emotions in a debt-to-debtor context, which really helped me understand and remember them more clearly. Guilt says "I owe you;" anger says "you owe me;" greed says "I owe me;" and jealousy says "God owes me." The premise is that whatever your situation, there is something that was (actually or perceived) taken and thus something owed (or believed to be owed). The solutions: confess, forgive, give, and celebrate, respectively.
Some Highlights: I really enjoyed this book, both for personal and professional reasons. As a professional counselor, I found myself agreeing with Stanley's assessments of the four enemies of the heart as well as how they tend to evidence themselves in people's lives. I especially appreciated that he made a point to say that a person's heart is where problems lie and how certain actions (or habits) will work to change the heart, from the inside out. Effectively, this seeks to treat the underlying cause of problems rather than simply symptoms.
Enemies is written in plain, easy-to-read language that both professionals and lay persons should be able to follow it very easily. I appreciated this. However, even though it's a quick read it's not without substance. There were often places in the book where I had to put it down and reflect for myself because Stanley's representation of the heart vices were so convicting. His approach genuinely encouraged me to desire change in areas that were illuminated as needing change.
There's also a study guide in the back, which is pretty straight forward and geared towards small group discussions. I always appreciate that option with books, because it makes them more appealing if readers choose to use it in that setting.
Some Lowlights: One criticism I have of Stanley is that he comes across as slightly self-righteous or sarcastic at times. Particularly when he's describing the destructive nature of one of the four enemies, it felt to me as though he toed the line between admonishing and insulting. Don't get me wrong, this was very slight and definitely not intentional - in fact, at times I could tell he was using humor to make a point, and it was often effective. That said, Stanley's heart was quick to come through and repair any accidental error - especially when he moved into how to confront the enemy of the heart.
A critique I have of the book is that it can be too general in places where some explanation or caution are needed. For example, when talking about forgiving in order to overcome anger, Stanley is completely silent about situations where abuse or unrepentance exist. Even if he had no intention of applying his concepts to these circumstances, I found myself wishing he'd at least made a statement to reflect as much. There are so many questions I wished he asked and answered, such as what to do once forgiveness has been given.
Summary: Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it. It's easy to read, applicable to probably anyone, biblically referenced, and a great tool to help Christians break free of these four enemies of the heart. Keep in mind that it's not intended as a complete resource nor should it replace professional therapy or pastoral guidance, though it would be an excellent supplement for these.
25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Has Some Wise Advice but Ultimately Man-CenteredApril 13 2013
- Published on Amazon.com
Disclaimer (and thanksgiving!): I received the audio for free from ChristianAudio.com. This review is a re-posting of my review there (after all, I always go to Amazon, not ChristianAudio for reviews :) ).
The book has some wise and (largely) biblically-grounded advice about dealing with guilt, anger, greed, and jealousy. Don't let the rest of my review detract from the sincerity with which I make that statement.
However, the book and its approach is ultimately man-centered. Other reviewers both here and at ChristianAudio have mentioned that the book is missing the role that the gospel and the Holy Spirit play in fighting sin--and this is a significant oversight on Andy Stanley's part (Rom 8:13). Yet its presentation of sin, God's response to sin, and our response to sin is missing far more -- it's missing a biblical understanding of God's holiness.
In dealing with *sin* (not just our foolishness but our wickedness), the book comes across as merely a Christianized self-help book -- that is, it seems that its ultimate aim is to help us help ourselves to deal with our "heart problems" so that we can have better relationships with other people, avoid the embarrassment that sin brings, and generally feel better about ourselves.
Sin is, however, first and most importantly *against God* and something which we need to repent of. The most significant impact it has on our happiness is its damage to our relationship with God, not the strain that it puts on our relationships with others. Yes, we do need to "break free from the four emotions that control us" but we *first* need to understand that this sin is ultimately against God and that true freedom is not found in the mere absence of guilt/anger/greed/jealousy but in reconciliation with and fellowship with God. Until we confess our sin to God as the egregious rebellion against His perfect will that it truly is, we cannot enjoy that relationship with God and thus will never enjoy true freedom. In fact, we will become like the person in Matthew 12:43-45 who swept the house and put it in order once the demon left, but, since Jesus did not enter the house, the demon returned with seven others "and the last state of that person is worse than the first." But when we confess our sins, seeking reconciliation through the advocacy of Jesus Christ the propitiation for our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from unrighteousness (1 John 1:5-2:6) -- and then, after we have a right view of our sin and have sought reconciliation with God, we can benefit from Andy's and other people's good advice on how to recognize and avoid sin and temptation, keeping His word.
Perhaps Andy Stanley's preaching every Sunday puts a biblical emphasis on confession and repentance as well as Christ's cross-work and the Holy Spirit's role in our sanctification (I don't know -- I'm not a member of the church he preaches for) and thus the sermons on guilt/anger/greed/jealousy and such a book would be valuable to his congregation (valuable because of its relationship to that context). Without such context, however, the book is worse than useless -- it miscommunicates the seriousness of our sin and thus dishonors God in failing to acknowledge His holiness, besides failing to serve its stated purpose of giving us freedom from the sins proceeding from our hearts (see again Matthew 12:43-45).
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Enemies Of The Heart by Andy Stanley - Book ReviewJune 22 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
Enemies Of The Heart by Andy Stanley is a reissue of the book It Came From Within. Stanley has repackaged the book with the edition of some new illustrations and a small group study guide in the back. I have a feeling this was packaged to more of a small group audience.
I read It Came From Within a long time ago. Reading Enemies Of The Heart almost feels like I'm reading a completely different book. The illustrations have more to do with "the heart" (thank goodness for North Point simple models) and are geared more toward specific topics. Overall the book is better constructed and streamlined.
This is one of the best books I've ever read on authenticity. That's what it calls us to. The premise is that what we say, do, think, feel - begins in our hearts. That our heart is deceitful above all else. This book challenges the reader to do a heart check and really make sure our lives line up with our hearts.
Great book. Read it for sure! I received this book from Waterbrook Press for free in exchange for a book review.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Preventing heart diseaseJuly 2 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
The difficult circumstances we face in our lives, whether they be divorce, job loss, alienation, broken friendships, conflict, etc., can all be traced to four powerful emotions. Each of these destructive forces--guilt, anger, greed, and jealousy--threaten to take control and destroy our lives. But they can be controlled and overcome through biblical, practical solutions.
This is the main idea of Andy Stanley's short book, Enemies of the Heart. The author provides insight into understanding the dynamic power of each emotion and how to get them under control.
To be honest, I did not enjoy this book as much as other volumes by the author. My skepticism kicked in when I learned the book was published five years previously under a different title. This fact made me wonder if it had not sold well and why it was retitled, but not revised.
I think one weakness of the book is that the author mixes his metaphors. His begins and ends by using a medical metaphor, that of heart disease. Just as we need exercise and diet to guard our physical hearts from cholesterol and blockages, so we need spiritual habits to keep our hearts pure and healthy. A powerful, clear metaphor. But in discussing the four emotions, he changes to a banking metaphor. He refers to each one as a debt owed by us or to us. Switching between disease and debt made it a bit confusing and difficult to follow.
The strength of the book is in part three where Stanley discusses how to pursue true life change. Instead of merely saying don't practice guilt, anger, greed, or jealousy, he gives an alternative of what to do instead. The solution to guilt is confession. The antidote for anger is forgiveness. The balancing agent of greed is generosity. The way to overcome jealousy is through celebration. He provides helpful, biblical, practical solutions in this section. His discussion of confession alone is worth the price of the book. However, I think he understates the challenge by saying that we can deal with our anger and guilt once and for all. It makes it sound like we can achieve sinless perfection, rather than explaining that these strategies are ones we need to use every day to deal with these issues.
Stanley includes a chapter for parents which gives practical suggestions and questions to ask your children that will aid in protecting their hearts from developing problems with the four emotions. I wished I had this section when my kids were younger.
Taking all this into consideration, I conclude that the book is good, but not great. While it has helpful portions, its weaknesses keep it from becoming one of my favorites.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.