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Empty Promises: The Truth About You, Your Desires, and the Lies You're Believing

Empty Promises: The Truth About You, Your Desires, and the Lies You're Believing

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by Pete Wilson, Rick Warren (Foreword by)

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We all long for more of something in our lives. In our endless pursuit to feel worth and acceptance we find ourselves sacrificing everything for the promise to be a little more beautiful, a little richer, a little more powerful and successful, a little more loved.

How do we break free from these empty pursuits and start chasing the only Promise that will ever


We all long for more of something in our lives. In our endless pursuit to feel worth and acceptance we find ourselves sacrificing everything for the promise to be a little more beautiful, a little richer, a little more powerful and successful, a little more loved.

How do we break free from these empty pursuits and start chasing the only Promise that will ever satisfy? How do we uncover the hidden idols that are driving us and turn our devotion toward the one true God?

Join Pastor and best-selling author Pete Wilson in discovering the joy and freedom that comes with seeking after God with your whole life. Learn how to replace, and not just relinquish, life's empty promises by turning your focus and worship toward Him. It is the only thing that will set you absolutely free from the endless pursuit of everything else.

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The Truth About You, Your Desires, and the Lies You're Believing
By Pete Wilson

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2012 Pete Wilson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8499-4651-6

Chapter One


I've been given an incredible gift.

In fact, I've actually been given 13,790 gifts. That's how many days of life I've been given to date.

Out of these thirteen-thousand-plus days I've been given, some have been challenging, some depressing, some adventurous. A few I wouldn't mind living over and over and over. I'm not sure I can actually pick an all-time favorite, but I sure have had some memorable ones.

There was the day I was born. That was a good day (I'm told).

The day I learned to walk was pretty good too.

The day I fell in love for the first time—who could ever forget that one?

The day I got my driver's license was definitely good for me. (I bet it was a scary day for my parents.)

The day I got married was a big one, and the days my wife, Brandi, gave birth to each of our three sons and I held them in my arms for the first time—unforgettable.

Then there are the days like one I experienced recently while on vacation with my family in Florida. Brandi and I sat on the beach with our feet in the sand, discussing our dreams for the future. With every word that came out of our mouths, we realized just how blessed we are. As we talked and dreamed together in the sun, we watched our three boys, who are now nine, six, and four, leaping over the ocean waves without a care in the world. A few hours later, we all sat on the beach together and watched that golden sun seem to drop into the ocean.

That day will be etched into my mind for a lifetime, not necessarily for what we did, but for how I felt. So many of my deep desires for purpose, worth, significance, acceptance, security, love, and beauty were met. For a brief few hours, it seemed like the perfect day.

Sadly, it didn't last.

Because right in there with those wonderful, good, blessed days, there have been plenty of days when I struggled with a nagging or even painful sense of wanting ... more. When who I am and what I have just didn't seem like enough.

Do you ever feel that way? I believe we all do at one time or another. Some things just seem to be consistent among most people I encounter on this earth.

We enjoy how it feels when the wind blows across our faces.

We root for the underdog.

We love how it feels to win, and we don't like being told what to do.

We're awestruck when we see sights like the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, or a bright red tree in the middle of autumn.

We love hearing the laughter of a small child.

We are disgusted by the contents of a chicken nugget, but we still eat them once in a while. (Well, maybe that one is just me.)

And beyond that, I believe most of us have a deep longing to feel certain things.

Twenty-one days after you were conceived, a tiny little electrical impulse stimulated your heart muscle. It was so faint it could hardly be detected, but it was in fact the very first beat of your heart. From that moment, you've been on a journey, and there are certain things your soul longs for on this journey. Whether you've realized it or not, your life is shaped by your search for them. You're designed to throw your energy and your respect toward whatever you believe can provide you with what you desire:

• purpose

• worth

• significance

• acceptance

• security

• love

• beauty

This is true for every one of us. We all long for more of something in our lives. We all treasure something or someone above our everyday experience. We all give our devotion to somebody or something. These impulses are a part of our DNAs, etched in our natures, as normal and natural as breathing. I believe they have been placed inside our souls by our Creator God.

Simply put, we are a people wired to worship. The question isn't, "Do we worship?" The question is, "Who (or what) do we worship?"

I believe the yearning for more that haunts us all exists to ultimately lead us to the person of Jesus Christ. That drive to worship is designed to impel us into proper relationship with the One who can fulfill our deepest desires.

This is showing my cards a bit early, but I'm convinced that only through Jesus will we ultimately discover our souls' contentment. Yes, we may encounter good days or even the occasional perfect day. But our longing souls will never discover true satisfaction until we turn to him. And whenever we attempt to find fulfillment elsewhere, we open ourselves up to a world of futility and frustration.


On my first trip to Kolkata, India, I visited a temple called the Kali Temple. Thousands of Hindus in Kolkata line up every day to pray to the goddess Kali. They worship her, hoping to gain power, victory, and healing in certain areas of their lives.

Some of the ways they worship astounded me. Not that many years ago, child sacrifices were common. Today, a hundred to a hundred fifty goats are sacrificed daily at the Kali Temple. A pool just outside the temple is believed to have healing powers. People pay to have their families and friends lowered into the murky, stagnant waters. There is also a tree with red ribbons hanging all over it. When I asked about the tree, I learned that women pay money to buy these red strings and then tie them to the tree, praying that Kali will allow them to have children.

I walked away with a supreme sense of sadness and darkness. How could a group of people be lured into such a ridiculous lie? How could they not see that this was just an elaborate moneymaking scheme for a handful of greedy priests?

But do you know what is equally ridiculous? You and I believing that a little more money is going to make us happy. You and I believing that moving up one more position at work is going to give us value. You and I believing that if we could just get a particular person to love us, we would have security.

Idols, in other words, aren't found just in pagan temples.

You see, I'm not really concerned that we are going to worship a tree. The real problem in our culture is not the making of physical idols—what some call external idolatry. What we have to guard against in our culture is internal idolatry. Ezekiel 14:3 describes this: "These men have set up idols in their hearts."

What is an idol? Traditionally we define it as anything that is more important to us than God. But I find that people shrug that definition off too readily. It's easy to fool ourselves into thinking that nothing is more important to us than God.

So let's define it like this: idolatry is when I look to something that does not have God's power to give me what only God has the power and authority to give.

It's when we take good things like a successful career, love, material possessions, even family, and turn to them in the hope that they'll provide what only God can provide.

It's when we buy into the empty promise that such things can give us the significance, security, safety, and fulfillment we crave.

It's when we feel a God-given appetite and try to fill it with something that isn't God.

John Calvin famously said, "The human heart is a perpetual factory of idols." I agree. When I look back on my own life, I see a distinct pattern of depending on trivial things to give me what only God can give me. And the results aren't pretty.

If I'm really honest with you, there are nights after the lights go out and the noise in my life dissipates that I lie there in bed acutely aware of an inner emptiness. And while I have moments and even days of what seem to be deep satisfaction or soothing peace, those feelings evaporate quickly. I run and run after them, but they seem as fleeting as a disappearing sun, and then once again that gnawing inner emptiness is back.

Have you felt it too—that unquenchable longing that tempts you to sacrifice everything you have and everything you are to be a little more beautiful, a little richer, a little more powerful and successful, a little more secure or in control, a little more loved—all in this futile attempt to heal the inner emptiness? It's so easy to fall into the trap of "if only":

• If I owned this, I would feel worthy.

• If I achieved that, I would feel significant.

• If I had what they have, I would be content.

• If I made a little more money, I would finally be satisfied.

• If I got that promotion, I would feel valued.

• If I could only get that person to love me, I would have security.

But sooner or later we discover the heartbreaking truth that no matter how beautiful or rich or powerful we become, it's never enough.

C. S. Lewis wrote,

Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise.

We can sacrifice everything for these promises, but they will just leave us wanting, longing, used, and empty. We'll never find what we need in an idol.

Unfortunately, that doesn't stop us from trying.


Scripture is full of examples of our constant need to grab at almost anything to try and fill our deep, built-in longings for worth, significance, acceptance, love, and beauty. One of the first and greatest examples is found in Exodus 32.

At this point, God had just set his chosen people, the Israelites, free from over four hundred years of captivity to the Egyptians. They were finally on their way to living the life God had designed for them to live. But there was a problem. Things weren't moving as fast as they would've liked, and they were getting restless. Their leader, Moses, was absent, and their impatience drove them to take things into their own hands.

When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain [Moses was on Mt. Sinai for nearly six weeks], they gathered around Aaron and said, "Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don't know what has happened to him." (v. 1)

I think it's important to point out the catalyst for what happened next. The instigating factor was having to wait.

Don't you hate waiting? Most of us do. Waiting has never been a popular pastime, and our culture makes it worse. We live in a day of fast this and instant that, and having to wait for anything is a big frustration. We've started to believe that faster is always better. We've become seduced by such words as instant and easy. We've become quickaholics, dependent on getting what we want when we want it.

Why do we hate waiting so much? There are many reasons, but I think one of the biggest is that waiting makes us feel helpless and powerless. Lewis Smedes described it like this: "As creatures who cannot by themselves bring about what they hope for, we wait in darkness for a flame we cannot light. We wait in fear for a happy ending that we cannot write. We wait for a 'not yet' that feels like a 'not ever.'"

As you probably know, Moses was away receiving the Ten Commandments from God. Apparently, he was away much longer than the children of Israel expected him to be. They were feeling frustrated, vulnerable, and helpless in the wilderness. So in his absence, they decided they wanted a different god to worship.

When you think about it, it's amazing how quickly this idol response set in. Just three months before, God had delivered them from four hundred years of captivity. He had provided

• freedom when they were captive;

• deliverance when they were pursued;

• food (manna) when they were hungry;

• water (from a rock) when they were thirsty;

• guidance from a cloud during the day;

• guidance from a pillar of fire at night.

And it wasn't enough. None of it was enough for them to continue worshipping the God who had done all this. Instead, they decided to build an idol, a golden calf, and worship the calf instead.

Why did they do this? I suspect it was because God was making them wait, and the children of Israel couldn't stand the waiting. This is important to note because, apparently, when the need for hurry meets the desire for control, it becomes really easy to start worshipping someone and something other than our Creator God.

Aaron answered them, "Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me." So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, "These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt." (vv. 2–4)

When Moses walked down from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments and saw what was happening, he became so furious that he tossed the two tablets that God had just etched on his behalf off the side of the mountain.

As I'm sure you can remember, the very first commandment was, "You shall have no other gods before me" (Ex. 20:3).

The very first law of the most famous moral code in the history of the world has to do with the trap of idolatry. God warns his people not to worship other gods. Don't expect anything other than God to give what only God can give.

Why such prominence for this command? I think it's because God knew something not only about the children of Israel but about me and about you.

He knows about the inner emptiness inside of us. He knows about that ache that haunts every one of us. He knows this longing for purpose, worth, significance, acceptance, security, love, and beauty pulsates through our veins, and we will stop at nothing (including building our own golden calves) to fulfill those longings.

He knows, remember, because he put those longings there to direct us to him. And he gave us that commandment to spare us from the heartache of empty promises.

Furthermore, I think this commandment had prominence because it's almost impossible for us to follow and obey the other nine if we break this first one.

"You shall have no other gods before me."

Just think about it: your response to those eight words influences every facet of your life. Idolatry isn't simply a sin. It's what is fundamentally wrong with the human heart.


I've made it a practice to look into others' eyes. The person who passes me in the grocery story aisle, the person behind the counter at the gas station, the person who rushes by me on the street.

Do you know what I see most often? Is it life, joy, love, vibrancy?

No, most often what I see is exhaustion.

Just look at the people around you, the people you live with, work with, or do life with. You'll see it too. They're exhausted, depleted, lacking. They may look like they have it all together, but under it all they're falling apart.

The church I've been blessed to pastor for the past nine years includes plenty of singles. I was never really a single adult. I started dating Brandi when I was nineteen, and we were married at twenty-one. So I basically transitioned from being a teenager to being married. But having spent a lot of time with single adults, I know they face a tremendous amount of pressure.

I recently began meeting with a young woman by the name of Kara who is fairly involved with our church. I don't know her exact age, but I would guess she's about twenty-seven. And when she showed up for our first appointment, it was instantly clear to me that she had been through some kind of hell. You could see the pain on her face.

Kara started telling me that a guy she had been dating for the past few months had just called things off with her. She was distraught about their breakup. Through her tears she just kept saying, "I'm so tired of this. I'm so tired of this. Why can't I find someone to care for me? Why can't I find a relationship like everyone else? Why do I keep making the same mistakes over and over? I'm so tired of this."

Over several appointments together, we started to talk a little more in depth about why Kara felt she needed a man. It wasn't just that she was lonely. To her, having a boyfriend gave her not only a sense of worth but also a certain status. It made her feel like somebody. The trouble was, Kara couldn't seem to find what she wanted so desperately.

Over the past two years, she had been through no fewer than a dozen guys. None of these relationships had worked out the way she desired, despite her attempts to become everything those men wanted her to become. She dressed to please them, arranged her schedule around them, deferred to their wishes. She also had sex with most of these men, which only made her feel more used, guilty, and betrayed.

I remember looking at her at one point and saying, "Kara, I don't think you were designed to give yourself away the way you do. And while you were designed for community and companionship—we all are—I don't think you were designed to find your purpose and worth in some guy. There may be numerous reasons you don't feel like you're thriving right now in your life, but have you considered your real problem might be idolatry—that you're looking to a man to give you what only God can give you?"

It's no surprise that Kara was feeling exhausted. Because that's the thing about idolatry—it will plumb wear you out. Idols don't have the capacity to breathe life back into you, so all they do is take and take and take.

In the same way the women in India were giving what little money they had in hope of getting pregnant, only to be left feeling robbed, you're going to give of your money, your time and your energies, your heart and your passions, hoping one of your idols may finally deliver.

But since idolatry is expecting something other than God to give you what only God can give, you end up having to depend on yourself and your own efforts to produce something only God can produce. In essence, you're playing God, and that's exhausting.

To further complicate the issue, so many of the idols—the empty promises—in our culture today involve performance. Performance is also very exhausting. Think about your own life. Are you tired of

• trying to keep the perfect house?

• striving to have the perfect marriage?

• looking like you have it all together?

• feeling the pressure to look like you just walked out of a magazine?

• struggling to raise perfect kids who excel academically and socially and can crush a T-ball over the fence?

• working to make more money than everyone else in your circle?

• attempting to climb the ladder faster than the guy who's right on your heels?

Are you weary of all the empty promises that leave you longing and aching for more? This performance-driven lifestyle is just another form of idolatry, and it will eventually leave you exhausted, bitter, and ready to give up.

But I want you to read these powerful and healing words of Jesus. As your eyes scan them, I pray your heart will absorb them. Jesus said,

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matt. 11:28–30)


Excerpted from EMPTY PROMISES by Pete Wilson Copyright © 2012 by Pete Wilson. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Pete Wilson is the founding and senior pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tennessee. Pete desires to see churches become radically devoted to Christ, irrevocably committed to one another, and relentlessly dedicated to reaching those outside of God’s family. Pete and his wife, Brandi, have three boys.

As founding pastor of Saddleback Church with his wife, Kay, Dr. Rick Warren leads a 30,000-member congregation in California with campuses in major cities around the world. As an author, his book The Purpose Driven Life has been called the bestselling non-fiction hardback in publishing history by Publishers Weekly, having sold more than 33 million copies. As a theologian, he has lectured at Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, University of Judaism, and dozens of universities and seminaries. As a global strategist he advises world leaders and has spoken to the United Nations, US Congress, Davos Economic Forum, TED, Aspen Institute, and numerous parliaments. Rick has also founded the Global PEACE Plan, which Plants churches of reconciliation, Equips leaders, Assists the poor, Cares for the sick, and Educates the next generation in 196 countries. You can listen to Pastor Rick’s Daily Hope, his daily 25-minute audio teaching, or sign up for his free daily devotionals at PastorRick.com.

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Empty Promises: The Truth About You, Your Desires, and the Lies You're Believing 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
kd11 More than 1 year ago
I should probably just admit up front I'm a fan of Pete Wilson's writing style. I like his delivery in his first book, "Plan B" and I like it in this one. He weaves Scripture with real life examples and mixes thoroughly with his thoughts, expertise, and experiences. I find it all to be inspiring, incredibly practical, and immediately applicable. At various points it's helped me process the past, in others it's added insight and endurance to the present, and still others have helped prepare me for the future. "Empty Promises" covers a wide range of false promises that plaque us all. Everything from power and money to approval, religion, and even our own dreams and aspirations - 12 empty promises in all. He does such a good job of covering all the angles. if you haven't been lead astray by one of these promises i can almost guarantee that someone close to you has. Here's an insight from the chapter on power: While discussing the surrender that is necessary and citing the scriptural examples of Daniel and Jesus Psalm 46:10 is referenced - "Be still and know that I am God." We learn that the Hebrew word for "be still" has a literal meaning of "let go". The verse is really telling us to be still and let go. Let go of our desires to control, gain power, and control outcomes. Be still. And let go. We are not God. "Empty Promises" is one of those books that can help you process, heal, prepare, inspire, learn, and grow.
slvrmoongirl More than 1 year ago
On the cover of Pete Wilson's latest book, Empty Promises, features a fortune cookie. For most people, the fortune cookie uncovers a small slip of paper that "promises" great things in our future. The same is true for horoscopes and dreams - we reach for a brighter future filled with promises of wealth, status, success, true love, and our every desire. However, those are only empty promises compared to the one true Promise, God. Wilson's book is twelve short chapters with titles like: "The Seduction of Achievement," "Addicted to Approval," and "Chasing a Dream." Empty Promises was an enjoyable, informative book that encouraged me to look deeper into what gives me joy and purpose in this journey called life. I also found myself guiltily looking into a mirror through several of the chapters. However, the greatest thing is that even though I found myself seduced, addicted, and in a chase, I also found the truth about what promise was real and long-lasting. In Luke 10:41-42 Jesus said, "'Martha, Martha,' the Lord answered, 'you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed - or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'" The only promise needed and able to fulfill is the One who is truly able to promise joy, peace, and satisfaction. I received this book free for review from Booksneeze. I would encourage anyone who is struggling with life to get a copy and settle in for some soul-searching time with the greatest Promise you will ever find or need!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walks in and sits on his bed
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lays in his room
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staceb More than 1 year ago
I'm currently reading "Empty Promises- The Truth About You, Your desires, and the Lies You're Believing" by Pete Wilson. The book takes a look at the idols in our life.  Wanting to be accepted by others and doing whatever it takes to gain approval only to find yourself destined to be disappointed.  Desiring power and chasing it like it is a drug. These are all ways that we can end up worship idols in our lives according to the book. The bottom line?  We all have a God-sized hole inside of us that only he can fill.  Everything else is fleeting and only temporary.  If you are hungry for more of God and want to turn your focus more towards Him, I would suggest reading this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KC2010 More than 1 year ago
Empty Promises is the second book by Pastor Pete Wilson. This book delves into the places we look for fulfillment in life and the promises they make to us. Approval, Money, Relationships...none of these things will fulfill us because we were made to be fulfilled by Jesus alone. Pete Wilson goes tells many relatable stories and shows how we are looking to all the wrong things. This is a definite must read. And, if you haven't read his first book, Plan B, you must check that out. * I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review.
smithk_poet More than 1 year ago
Useless and No Value Empty Promises dispels many truths about the meaning and value of promises. In the course of our daily journey, we often make promises that we oftentimes have to break. However, the author uses Scriptures to explain the word promises, and even how God’s promises are fulfilled in our lives. The author clarify that God’s promises to us are to mature us and not harm us, with God there is no stipulation for receiving the promises that was told to you. This book also deals with the value of words, we are to hold true to our words that we speak and never speak useless words with no value. According to the author, we have been led to believe that we can use our beauty and intellect to get what we want. Don’t be lead astray, we are to follow the Creator and hold his words as truth. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
Obi-Wan-L More than 1 year ago
We all have idols in our lives–things we give more priority to than God. Maybe not all the time, but sometimes, at least, they exist. In Empty Promises: The Truth about You, Your Desires, and the lies You’re Believing, Pete Wilson takes an up-close look at some of the more common things we put faith in instead of God. Most of these are seemingly harmless things: achievement, approval, power, money, beauty, dreams, and even religion. The problem for most of us comes when we prioritize these desires over God. And when we do so, we feel empty. None of these other desires can vill us the way God can. They just leave us wanting more. Pete Wilson reminds us to seek God before all us. We were created in His image. When we fill the void in our hearts with things like power or money, we miss out on becoming who God created us to be. Wilson tells us that “we are what we worship.” If we worship empty promises, we become empty. If we worship God, we become who we were created to be. Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 [...] “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Morgie More than 1 year ago
Pete Wilson, the senior pastor of Cross Point Church and the author of Plan B is back with another book. Empty Promises, The Truth About You, Your Desire, and the Lies You're Believing is designed to help the reader recognize and appreciate all that life blesses us with on those perfect, memorable days.... ... and how to recognize and appreciate the dangers of the idols we create on our journey. Our life, counsels Pastor Wilson is shaped by the desires we energetically pursue. To give ourselves and our lives meaning and purpose we want the perfect family, the perfect career, the best house, and the right car in the driveway. We crave money, love, acceptance and an audience to notice our success. We desire power, we seek security, we value a smart business plan and hard work. And at the end of the week we demand the expected reward. These things are not necessarily wrong. Who among us doesn't want to love and be loved, to find satisfaction in a job well done and collect the paycheck to keep it all going. As a society we say we value honesty and the latest technology, we justify the means if the end results is the desired achievement. We want what we pay for. But what about what Jesus paid for? A well-lived life has a different meaning for Christians. We may say that nothing is more important to us than God. But do we really mean that all day and everyday? Is this belief the driving force in our life? If at the end of the day if "Chasing A Dream" (Chapter 9) and "The Seduction of Achievement" (Chapter 3) is leaving you restless and unfulfilled you it may be time to examine your practices. Pete Wilson has given us a practical and useful book for those seeking a true relationship with God. Although this book seems a bit hurried there is still much to be gained by asking and answering the questions posed in the "5 Traps" and "Living Close To Truth"(Chapter 11). I am a fan of Pastor Wilson's books, and strongly recommend you read this one. This book was supplied by the publisher, Thomas Nelson, for review purposes. The words contained in this review are my own.
wcorym More than 1 year ago
In the book Empty Promises by Pete Wilson the problem of the deceptive power of idolatry is put into a modern day reality. Wilson unpacks how Christians today fall for the empty misconception that achievement, approval, power, money, religion, beauty, or even chasing one’s dreams will bring us the happiness that only God can give. The reader is made aware of the fact that a daily walk with Christ is a daily recognition and denial of the idols that want to pull our heart away from Him. As a pastor myself, I would recommend this book to any believer that wants to become more aware of the true power of idols in everyday life. Wilson does a great job conveying the biblical truth of God’s desire to be our only object of worship and the emptiness that comes from replacing Him for other things. The reader will be intrigued by the personal stories and applications the Wilson incorporates throughout the book. Overall, I think this book will help any Christian learn how to grow deeper with the Lord by making them aware of the subtle attraction of things and the power of Christ to overcome.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just finished Empty Promises by Pete Wilson, author of Plan B, as part of the Thomas Nelson Booksneeze program. I still have yet to read his first book, but if Empty Promises is any indication of his style of writing and usual content, then you can expect a fairly quick read and lots of stories to illustrate points in the book. The basis thesis of this book is nothing new (can anyone really write anything new that hasn’t been written about in the past?). Empty promises have to deal with those things that we worship, those things that we idolize, those things that we turn to to provide only that which the only true God could provide. Everyone worships something, so it’s not a matter of why, but what that idol is and how we can go about not just overcoming it, but removing it and replacing it with the true God of our lives. If you have read Counterfeit Gods, by Dr. Timothy Keller, however, you will probably find this book to repeat a lot of the same core insights. Yet, it is an easier read and a book that can be easily shared with others that might not be acquainted with a lot of theology or Bible knowledge. I still like Dr. Keller’s book more, but I can’t complain about a free book. But, I can imagine how some people might consider Counterfeit Gods more distant (because it is a little more heady), while this book appeals to a more general audience while still remaining Christ centered in its approach. Overall, it’s a good read with great chapter divisions that makes it easy to digest the points and make them memorable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked this book, but it was basically a copy of "Counterfeit Gods" by Tim Keller, and Keller's book is deeper. This might be a good study for a younger audience (like teens).
samcivy More than 1 year ago
Empty Promises The Truth about You, You Desires and the Lies You’re Believing Pete Wilson ©2012 Thomas Nelson Publishers ISBN 978-0-8499-4651-4 (trade paper) 205 pp. plus notes We’re created with certain desires but don’t always follow these longings for their intended purpose. We humans easily allow a subtle misdirection in seeking the satisfaction these desires were meant to offer. The author, a pastor; writes about times that even he was waylaid by the seduction of unfulfilling ways. These out of whack desires include an addiction to approval, seeking achievements that won’t satisfy, living for money, power, beauty, our own dreams for the future and even some religious behaviors. The enemy of our souls whispers lies about these God-given and good aspects of humanity. He easily detracts us into chasing warped ways to feel good about our lives. Pastor Wilson shows how to recognize traps from the devil and then offers several effective spiritual disciplines to help us follow the true purpose of our desires—to bring us to God. He urges us to believe that God is always with us, always loving us and always willing to give strength and mercy and goodness to us. God will meet the desires He planted with in us in the right way, as only He can do. This book says what many other authors have written, but presents excellent information with a new approach.
Reverend_Cody More than 1 year ago
This is a book review of Empty Promises by Pete Wilson Being a former proponent of the Prosperity Gospel, I was instantly attracted to this book, from the moment that I read its description. The fact that the author, Pastor Pete Wilson, was bold enough to right a book like this, in a society where people judge everything by materialism, is commendable in itself. The book gives the reader practical and applicable ways to break away from empty pursuits and start seeking God instead of materialism. This book was well written when it comes to story-telling and it challenged me in many areas. It also reaffirmed that materialism isn’t everything and that almost everyone deals with idol worship in some area. But along with the book’s strengths comes weaknesses. The author seemed to have had mixed feelings about some of the issues and his theology seemed to either be unstable or very diverse. It also appeared that the author often quoted more theologians than verses and wrote about more stories than doctrines. Nonetheless, I believe the book's strengths outweigh weaknesses. Overall, the book was good and I commend the author’s boldness when it comes to addressing materialism and worshiping idols. I truly enjoyed this read and would recommend this book to anyone, especially those who feel consumed with a constant want of material possessions. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Paula_Greene More than 1 year ago
Most of us are wired to want to make a difference, to count for something great, and to feel valued. Our culture tells us we can fulfill these desires through external things such as attractiveness, achievement, approval, power, wealth, etc. If you are like me and quick to say, “oh no, that’s not me, my identity is in Christ and those things don’t define me,” Pete Wilson will challenge you to realize the large capacity we have for self-deception and help unpeel those layers of hidden idolatry in his book Empty Promises. “Gathering your self-worth externally is like trying to fill up a lake with a Dixie cup. It’s just never enough. That’s why it’s so addictive.” It is SO easy for us to fall into the trap that what we do determines who we are, but Pete Wilson shows how we can exchange achievement addiction/success-based identity for a position-based identity. He shows how power at its worst is the sin of comparison and why wielding it somehow makes us think we matter more. In a nutshell, when we try to fill a God-given appetite with something that isn’t God, it’s idolatry. Pete Wilson will walk you through the traps and list out questions that will help you identify which idols or empty promises you have fallen for and not even realized it. Then he offers up biblical answers on how to transition out of those traps by not just showing how to turn away from them but what to replace them with. I highly recommend this practical book to any believer who wants to chase hard after the only promise that will satisfy – Jesus Christ. Disclaimer: BookSneeze® provided me a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.
SavedXgrace More than 1 year ago
&quot;Empty Promises&quot; is about how we create idols in our own lives and how we fail to ever meet what these idols promise. It is also about how we can stop centering our lives around these idols and instead focus on the ONE who deserves our worship, God alone. The book is an easy to understand, frank discussion on looking for ways to expose our heart and the truth about the human condition. The first commandment says, Thou shalt not have any other Gods before me, but we often find ourselves convinced that if we were only a little more beautiful/handsome, a little richer, more successful, had a better home ect we would be &quot;truly happy&quot; and thus we create these things as idols in our life, often without even realizing it. This book really opened my eyes to what I was doing in my own life. It made me realize that if I spent half the time focusing on God's will for me than I do I these empty promises, I would finmd the true happiness I am looking for. I love Pete Wilson's style of writing. He is open, frank and loving. This is an excellent book for new and more seasoned Christians alike. From the moment I picked up this book I knew I was in for a ride. I got into it right away ans started examining my own idols. I really could relate to what he was saying about having the perfect home. I am a stay at home wife/mom and I often feel like I really fall short on that because I try so hard to be submissive and the kind of wife God wants me to be and I am so overly critical about things that do not even matter to God. It made me realize what matters to God is my <i>willingness</i> to do his will and my time I spend asking for his guidance as well as my using my gifts to do his will are far more important to Him than how perfect my home looks and how dust free it is. I think just about any Christian, at any point in their relationship, could get something wonderful from this book. There is always room for improvement.
mkaske1 More than 1 year ago
In this book, Pete Wilson tackles something that every one of us faces, that feeling that what we have been chasing in life is just hollow. The sinking feeling that what we thought mattered most really doesn&rsquo;t. This book also is a resource to peel back the blindfold and really examine our lives and make sure that we are actually targeting the right things. The book is divided up into two parts. The first really lays the groundwork to understand that much of our lives lived with our priorities out of whack. Rather then having God be the number one, front and center of our lives, we have instead bought into the lie that says something else should be first. With chapters that provide easy examples as well as some gut wrenching questions, the topics covered are things like approval of others, power and even religion. The second part of the book really helps in the area of calibrating your life and really works towards helping your determine if your life is one that is prioritized correctly. While this book is easy to read, it is challenging. I sometimes have the illusion that my life is somewhat together, chapter by chapter, Pete peeled back the layers and showed how many lies I am currently chasing in my life and how out of order I am. And while there is a hunger that will never be filled because &lsquo;we are not home yet&rsquo;, Empty Promises helps to guide you back to where you should have been all along. This book should be considered a must-read. Full discloser: BookSneeze&reg; did provide me with a complimentary copy of this book to review.
kamebear More than 1 year ago
Sadly, Pete Wilson's book Empty Promises is full of empty promises and filled with mixed and confused theology and questionable teachings that are not grounded in scripture. Anyone who seeks solid doctrine and theology will have trouble with a book that quotes authors from many conflicting theologies and denominations. Wilson's book is full of conflicting theologies as he quotes from Calvinists and Arminians alike, seemingly not noticing or being aware of the fact that these guys teach opposite core theologies (something all pastors with any formal training should know). He quotes Calvinists like John Calvin, Timothy &quot;Tim&quot; Keller and John Piper VERSUS C.S. Lewis (Anglican/Catholic/mystic), Lewis Smedes (who reaches man deserves salvation and isn't such a bad sinner), Dallas Willard, Henry Nouwen (Anglican), Max Lucado (Church of Christ), John Ortberg, A.W. Tozer, N.T. Wright (Anglican), and Richard J. Foster (Quaker). How do you have 3 guys who teach the opposite of all the other guys and who would say the other guys are not biblical? How do you have quotes from at least 5 different denominations: Reformed, Anglicans, Catholics, Church of Christ and Quakers? Rick Warren's forward. 1st sentence of the book: &quot;Mother Teresa once observed that in India people are starving physically, but in American people are starving spiritually&quot; (But people in India are more lost spiritually under the Hindu religion than America because at least we have Christianity.) The good parts are: Wilson writes, &quot;The question isn't &quot;Do we worship&quot; but &quot;Who or what do we worship?&quot; &quot;Idolatry is when I look to something that does not have God's power to give me what only God has the power to give.&quot; He also touches on the fact that while some people claim that God is #1 in their lives, their lives prove that He really is not. As you might expect from an author who doesn't hold to a solid core theology, this book is shallow and unbiblical and full of self-help. This entire book is 9 chapters full of examples of people who seek happiness in material and emotional things and only 2 chapters about instead putting God first. And the solution? Solitude, fasting and prayer. I hope most readers will realize the emptiness in such a works-based religion. On pg 19, Wilson teaches that we are to &quot;invite God to help me know me.&quot; What happened to us humans knowing God? God's purpose is not to teach us about ourselves! How self-centered can we get? Who are we humans to insist that the almighty God is to serve us? Disclaimer: I gave my honest review. I received this book from the publisher but a positive review was not required