Just the Facts: by Stephen Altrogge. 144 p. Published April 2011 by Crossway Books. Advanced review copy received in electronic format courtesy of the publisher, through NetGalley.
Who Cares? Adult Christian Non-Fiction (Spiritual Growth)
Short Bio: Stephen Altrogge delves into our society’s most commonly found malady: discontentment. How could residents of the richest nation in the world, of whom most are in the world’s top 1% wealthiest, be so discontent? Altrogge examines what this discontentment looks like in our lives, what’s at the root of it, and how we combat it.
Eyewitness Account: Moment of truth: I expected this book to bore me. It had “yeah, yeah, I know all that” written all over the blurb. If you looked at the five-star rating above, you can imagine just how surprised I was to find these short 144 pages a down-and-dirty, “in the trenches” look at the battle for contentment. Altrogge examines the nature of discontentment (which is ultimately a form of idolatry – finding or believing that true satisfaction is in something God created rather than in God himself), the lies we believe when we’re not content (“God owes me”, “God is holding out on me”, “If I could just get this one thing then I’d be truly happy”, and finally, “I know what’s best for me”), what we truly deserve from God (punishment for being the rebellious idolaters that we are), what we actually get from God (not only forgiveness for our death-causing sins, but also a place in God’s family as his children and inheritors of his kingdom), and the root of what we are truly longing for – the Heaven we were created to enjoy.
When I read books on my Kindle, I like highlighting good quotes so that I can peruse them later when I write my book reviews or when I want to share good parts with my friends. I went back into my highlighted quotes for this review and found FIFTY-THREE PASSAGES that I had marked (my average for a really good book is about 20)! With just the right mix of personal anecdotes, too-true illustrations, and scriptural backing for each of his chapters, I found this book enjoyable, humorous, well-paced, deeply thought-provoking, and extremely practical to apply. Two thumbs up and a big gold star sticker for Stephen Altrogge!
Notable Quotes: (remember, I had FIFTY-THREE quotes to pick from!)
“He displays his glory in some people by allowing them to suffer and then gives them incredible amounts of grace in the midst of that suffering. He shows his glory in others by abundantly blessing them and then giving them a heart that overflows with generosity. To some he gives a large family, so that they might raise their children to the glory of God. To others he gives the gift of singleness, so that they might pour all their energies into serving Jesus. God is God, and he will display his glory in us as he chooses.”
“Discontentment is the result of misplaced worship. It’s the result of giving our heart to someone or something that should never have it. When we stake our happiness on anything other than God, we’re going to be miserable. Why? Because we were made to worship God and find all our joy in him.”
“The world is full of good things, wonderful things, all made by a generous and good God. Deep friendships are wonderful. A day to ourselves is refreshing. Good health is a blessing. But God has designed these gifts to be windows through which we see him. The gifts are meant to point us to the Giver, not to be an end in and of themselves. And so God has made us in such a way that we can’t be satisfied in anything other than himself.”
“Marriage isn’t the ultimate. Deep friendships aren’t the source of eternal joy. Being in heaven in the presence of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the ultimate. Being face-to-face with and talking with, feasting with, and serving Jesus is the end-all. Throw away your ideas of a boring heaven with nothing to do. We’re going to be with our Creator, the one who invented gladness and created fun. Heaven is going to be ringing with joy and laughter and excitement.”
Other Books Read by This Author: None.
★★★★☆ Writing Style
★★★★★ Original Idea
★★★★★ Page Turner