Our Favorite Sins: The Sins We Commit and How You Can Quit [NOOK Book]

Overview

The Essential Guide for Beating Temptation

Falling for temptation isn’t inevitable. We don’t have to lose the fight. In fact, we can win if we understand the root of the problem and what Christians have done from the beginning to beat it. Our Favorite Sins shines a much-needed light in our lives’ dark ...

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Our Favorite Sins: The Sins We Commit and How You Can Quit

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Overview

The Essential Guide for Beating Temptation

Falling for temptation isn’t inevitable. We don’t have to lose the fight. In fact, we can win if we understand the root of the problem and what Christians have done from the beginning to beat it. Our Favorite Sins shines a much-needed light in our lives’ dark corners and reveals the time-tested methods for getting victory over sin. 

Are you tyrannized by your own desires?

If you are breathing, your answer is probably yes.

The question is: What are you going to do about it?

With more than thirty years of pastoral experience, Todd D. Hunter knows that most people—himself included—struggle every day with temptation. All too often, we fail and fall, and some of us are at our wit’s end, utterly defeated. What do we do to get a grip on the sin in our life and live like God wants? 

There’s good news: despite all our failures and shameful “moments after,” there really is a way out, a way forward, and a way that draws us closer to the life that God desires for us. 

In Our Favorite Sins, Hunter cracks open the problem of temptation and points to practical, biblically based, time-tested solutions. First revealing the role played by our disordered desires, Hunter shows how different temptations trip us up and how we can resist and overcome them, even if we’ve fallen prey to them for decades. Victory starts with reordering our desires, and the church has given us the tools for the job. Hunter shows us how to use them and start beating the temptations that so often beat us. 

Informed by exclusive research from the Barna Group, Our Favorite Sins offers a view that works for any believer wherever they are and no matter how big the battle they’re fighting.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher

“The most deceptive part of sin is its ability to blind us to its reality in our lives. Todd Hunter offers sane and helpful guidance about the way out.” —John Ortberg, senior pastor, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church; author of The Me I Want to Be

“It is so easy to miss our potential in life due to getting caught up in our weaknesses and temptations. Todd helps us understand not only how to recognize the subtle sins that can distract us, but how to be like Jesus when facing them.” ?Dan Kimball, author of They Like Jesus But Not the Church

“Todd Hunter draws on ancient practices in order to provide insight and strategy to face temptations in our lives. This book will help you think about how you can not just ask God to deliver you from temptation but be intentional about finding a way of escape.” —Margaret Feinberg, www.margaretfeinberg.com, author of Scouting the Divine and The Sacred

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595554451
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/6/2012
  • Sold by: THOMAS NELSON
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 272
  • File size: 652 KB

Meet the Author

Todd Hunter is a bishop for The Anglican Mission in the Americas andthe founding pastor of Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Costa Mesa, CA. He is an adjunct professor at several seminaries and the author of Christianity Beyond Belief, Giving Churcha Second Chance, The Outsider Interviews, and The Accidental Anglican. Todd is the founder ofThree Is Enough, a small-group movement that makes spiritual formation doable.
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Read an Excerpt

OUR FAVORITE SINS

The Sins We Commit & How You Can Quit
By TODD D. HUNTER

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2012 Todd Hunter
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-59555-444-4


Chapter One

THE TYRANNY OF WHAT YOU WANT

O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? —ROMANS 7:24 NKJV

Over the year that I worked on this book, I encountered friends and family members who asked what I was working on. When I told them about the content of Our Favorite Sins, they often raised an eyebrow while lowering their gaze and said things like, "Why? Are you an authority?" Or, "I always had my suspicions about you!" Or, "I didn't even know what sin was till I met you!"

Maybe, like me, you've had a long-standing fear of being exposed as less than superspiritual. One thought, one fear, has been nagging like a demon in the back of my mind while writing this book. It is this: WikiLeak of the books in heaven and now everyone knows Todd Hunter is an expert on temptation.

The truth is I do have great experience fighting temptation. I have always been radically tempted by selfishness, though I doubt many would suspect it. I am widely known among my friends and colleagues as a loving, kind, and generous person. People think of me as modest, humble, and soft-spoken. But these qualities do not come to me naturally. If I have any of these qualities, they come from decades of battling radical, deeply rooted pride. What's the disconnect between what I experience inwardly and what others observe outwardly? In a word, struggle. Fighting the good fight. An inward resistance and journey not visible to anyone but God.

I think anyone who is conscious of temptation and sin intuitively knows this. We are all familiar with not only the words but also the feeling expressed by the apostle Paul in Romans: "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" (7:24 NKJV).

Before Paul there was Samson, the famous leader of Israel. Though he was given miraculous power to carry out the will of God, Samson fell headlong for Delilah. Israel's enemies immediately used their knowledge of Samson's desire to their benefit. They bribed and manipulated Delilah so that, while Samson lay in her lap, she coaxed the secret of his supernatural strength from him. It was just that easy. He was undone, captured.

You've probably had the experience of being utterly enthralled by a story. It's like you're present in the scene. You can smell the aromas. You can touch the people. The story of Samson has that effect on me. As his weakness is revealed, his bloody eye sockets oozing at the end of a Philistine spear, I can hear him saying, "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?"

Then there's David and Bathsheba. David, while walking on his roof, saw Bathsheba bathing. Bathsheba was the wife of another man. But when the moment was on, that little detail did not seem to bother David. Dazzled, David desired Bathsheba. Then he had her and impregnated her. To cover his sin, David called home Bathsheba's husband, one of his loyal soldiers, for a conjugal visit with Bathsheba. But the man refused to abandon his comrades. Desperate and without options, David arranged to have the man killed in battle. With her husband out of the way, David then married Bathsheba. She eventually delivered the child of their adultery, but the boy soon died; his death, as the prophet Nathan foretold, was the consequence of David's sin. I can almost hear David's anguished cry as he watched his son die: "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me ...?"

It's a Struggle

Beating temptation requires struggle because it always involves sorting out rightly ordered desires for good and godly things from our disordered desires for wrong things. We often experience these disordered desires as our most powerful and deeply rooted desires. Uprooting disordered desires involves personal, psychological, and spiritual suffering. But this death produces life, life, and more life—life more abundant. However, a journey of focused, grace-enabled struggle is required to get there. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, an honored saint, explains why: "In [the parts of our bodies] there is a slumbering inclination towards desire that is both sudden and fierce. With irresistible power desire seizes mastery over the flesh. All at once a secret, smoldering fire is kindled ... [and] the lust thus aroused envelops the mind and will of man in the deepest darkness. The powers of clear discrimination and of decision are taken from us."

We've all had our particular Delilahs, our individual Bathshebas. They're not all sexual temptations, either. Not by a long shot. There are innumerable ways to gratify our desires that are contrary to God's will for our lives. We all give in to temptation, don't we? In strolls our Delilah, up charges our desire, and out comes a string of rationalizations to justify our sin. It is sad and bizarre that we indulge our flesh even for a moment, after which we're sure to feel guilty and ashamed. The Holy Spirit in us says one thing, and our conscience echoes it. But everything else in us fights and argues and rationalizes.

It goes something like this: I, in this case, with this set of facts, am the exception. Given the totality of my circumstances and experiences, this isn't really a sin, not actually, not in this way, not if you really look at it from the right angle. I can fulfill this one particular desire. It's not really a Big Sin, Major Sin, or Bad Sin.

You know how it goes. And it makes sense in the moment. But like a friend of mine used to say, "Sin makes you stupid."

Then the trouble starts. Problems at work, at school, with the kids, or with a spouse. That muted conscience raises its voice. Then you find that the guy, the gal, the substance, the experience is really not all that after all. Not too far down the path, if God is still with you, if he has not given you over to your sin (Romans 1:24–28), you realize that somewhere you really did lose coherent and good judgment, the ability to make clearheaded decisions. Sin robs us of our clarity.

Scripture says that God has given us the power of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). The New International Version calls this sound mind "self-discipline." The idea is that God gives to those who ask and seek for it the ability to be conscious of and sensible about our desires. Any clarity we have is a foot- hold given by God to begin the fight, to begin the resistance that leads to life. Giving in to disordered desire has only one outcome: death.

That's why the apostle Paul counseled so often and so strongly that we flee from sin and temptation (see, for instance, 1 Corinthians 6:18; 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22). And James, the brother of Jesus himself, said that if we resist the devil, the tempter, he'll flee from us (James 4:7). Sin always brings struggle. But rather than struggling against the Spirit and our conscience, we need to strive with them, recruiting them as all-purpose foot soldiers in the fight against sin and temptation.

I know this battle firsthand. Any good that others see in me comes from an intense inner struggle over several decades. This is not a struggle against God but a struggle with God against my disordered desires, my default position of radical selfishness. God is with me in this struggle because he wants my transformation more than I want it. I simply cooperate with him. Together we reorder my desires.

Disordered Desire

There are a few thoughts we'll want to keep in mind as we move forward.

First, there is a condition that each of us lives with and from which we struggle to be freed. Think of it as a person's system of desires, thoughts, feelings, will, and heart in a state of disorder. We live in a posture of misalignment with the purposes of God for humanity. The Bible calls this condition spiritual death. Spiritual life, on the other hand, is most simply described as God's spirit and our spirit in alignment and in harmony, made one by the atoning, forgiving, regenerating power of God in Christ Jesus.

Second, we've seen the stories of two men who acted, behaved, and made choices from the place of spiritual death within them. But you should note: Samson and David were not merely spiritually dead. Both had a real spiritual life and walked with God. Both show up in the New Testament hall of fame. Though flawed, they are celebrated as persons of commendable faith (Hebrews 11). That is the lesson for us: we all have within us two natures, what Paul calls the old and new man. The old is the one whose desires are misaligned. These disordered desires, as we'll see, give birth to sin.

Third, temptation is always produced by desire. Samson desired something so much that he tossed aside his desire to live in obedient partnership with God. Delilah had something he wanted so badly that his desire for her caused his desire for God and God's purposes to fade into the background.

Similar observations could be made about David and his desire for Bathsheba. He crossed numerous moral, religious, spiritual, professional, and military lines in order to have what he desired. As David's life went on he discovered that, in actual surprising fact, his desires also had him. They had him in their clutches. Disordered desires are a tyrant. This is why we struggle against them, striving to overthrow them in our hearts like the little despots they are.

Unfortunately, many of us don't even know what we're up against. In researching temptation I had David Kinnaman and the Barna Group conduct a survey to help me get a gauge for how we think and act when faced with life's various enticements. I will be referring to these exclusive findings as we make our way through the book, and you can refer to the summary of this study in the appendix.

Here's one startling finding up front: 50 percent of Americans simply don't know what to do about temptation. Picture it: I'm standing in line at the store with nine other people; five of us have no idea what to do should the clerk give us too much change or verbalize an inappropriate come-on. Or I'm sitting at the movies or at a concert, nine others in my row; five of us don't have a productive, effective thought or positive design for handling what we may see or hear. Is it any wonder we find it difficult to control ourselves, to stop sinning? Our disordered desires are ruling our hearts and minds, and we don't know what to do about it.

My experience as a pastor for over thirty years tells me that most people cannot win a victory over many things that matter in their lives, whether these things are spousal relations, child rearing, dance, golf, their favorite art, their favorite hobby, or sin. My decades as a pastor and leader in various capacities in sports, at work, at schools, in nonprofits, and in churches tell me that many Christians are at their wits' end. Casting themselves on the love and forgiveness of God, but forgetting his call to discipleship, many have decided to "just keep it real" and to "just be who they are" and to "not worry about what others think or how others might judge them." "Wretched man that I am," you can almost hear them saying, and maybe you've said with them, "I give up."

It makes a certain sort of sense. Who could or would want to argue against "keeping it real" and the amazing love and forgiveness of God? What else are we going to do? After all, the reasoning goes, we are only human. Those sentiments are popular and seemingly reasonable. But in truth, giving up and "keeping it real" versus trying and failing is actually a false dualism of the worst kind. Yet the vast majority of people who think this way are not in fact trying to live a lie. They feel defeated and they just don't see any other choice.

I've got good news: despite all our failures and shameful "moments after," we are not stuck between a life that makes us hate ourselves on the one hand and feel the love of God on the other. There is a third way. A whole new approach—which is actually old, tested, and true in practice—awaits.

Temptation Is a Fact

This book is about all of us. It is about how we struggle with desire, how we resist temptation and sin. In the pages that follow I try to leverage a long life of working with myself and others in order to shine a revealing light on temptation for contemporary readers. While the Barna data takes all Americans into account, Our Favorite Sins is lovingly written to encourage those who have decided to resist those favorite sins, those of us looking for ways to "win" against temptation. Someone who has lost the category of sin, someone who does not believe that something like sin exists, is not likely to appreciate the exploration of desire and temptation that is found in the pages ahead.

People don't slip up and, looking back, find that they were following Jesus and growing in their ability to make godly discernments and sound moral judgments. But every day hundreds of millions of people drift into choices, decisions, and habits that destroy their lives, families, social networks, classrooms, workplaces, and more. Achieving victory over temptation and sin, even with all God does and supplies to ensure our success, requires intentionality and purpose on our part. It also requires that we know what we're really fighting.

The times change, and temptation changes with them. Christians struggle with challenges today that are unique to our culture and decade. And as times change, beliefs and assumptions do as well. God's purposes don't change, but the ways we are beguiled into deviating from his purposes surely do. Because the things that tempt or test us change, followers of Jesus are often caught by surprise.

Once all the societal changes are sifted, one rock of truth is left lying on the bottom of the sieve: temptation is a fact. It just is: in all times and all places. The fact of temptation is one of the rare truths that do not change with the times. The story of Adam and Eve, who wanted more than what they had been given, is our story today, just as it was for generations in the centuries past. But the Serpent keeps up with technological change, and the apple evolves in a million different ways from one generation to the next, one decade to the next. Eve never coveted Adam's smartphone, and Adam never heard of a centerfold, let alone a downloadable digital one.

Cultures change, and the species of temptation change with them. Americans struggle with things today that are unique to our culture, time, and place. No book on temptation written fifty years ago would have dealt with possible addiction to video games. No sermon or article on temptation from ten years ago would have mentioned addiction to social media such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

As times and temptations change, beliefs and assumptions about them shift as well. What one generation of Americans considers a virtue another generation considers a vice. The hard work of my generation (the baby boomers) has largely been rejected by the next generation in favor of a more balanced life that makes space for friends, family, and recreation. The same pattern holds true for churchgoers who, in the space of one generation, have come to tolerate sins that a previous generation would not have condoned. For instance, few people seem to wring their hands anymore about divorce. Except for the most notorious cases involving abuse or sexual scandal, it is for the most part accepted, even in the church.

More Like Joseph

Paul, in a moment of self-reflection, once observed that he was "a wretched man." We all know and feel his exasperation. But it need not defeat us or play out in a David-like or Samson-like way in our life. There is a better way. Once you make one major, inner move, you can find the exit door from temptation most of the time. Joseph, the son of the patriarch Jacob, shows us how. Famous for his coat of many colors, his dreams, and his jealous siblings, Joseph had something much more critical: rightly ordered desires.

Joseph's life is a picture of the good, the beautiful, and the true. Inviting readers into such a life through rightly ordered desires is the goal of this book. There is a larger discussion of Joseph in the conclusion, but for now let's trace the large outlines of his life.

Because of the calling and blessing of God, everything Joseph did prospered. His various supervisors at work respected, valued, and admired him. He was handsome and well built. When his boss's wife took notice of him and asked him to go to bed with her, he refused. Why? Here is Joseph's answer: I am doing work for God. He is prospering my work. This prosperous work is necessary for the well-being of many people. I cannot injure this relationship and thwart this task. That was Joseph's mind-set. Not that it slowed his boss's wife down.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from OUR FAVORITE SINS by TODD D. HUNTER Copyright © 2012 by Todd Hunter. 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.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Dallas Willard xi

1 The Tyranny of What You Want 1

2 Disordered Desires 17

3 The Insider Report 33

4 Anxious Annie 53

5 Procrastinating Preston 69

6 Eating Eddie 83

7 Media Mary 95

8 Lazy Larry 105

9 Modern and Futile 117

10 Ancient and Fruitful, Part 1 137

11 Ancient and Fruitful, Part 2 153

12 Liturgical Prayers and Offices 165

13 Sacrament: God Is with Us 183

14 The Lectionary: Seeing Sin in Context 199

Conclusion: A New Beginning 217

Appendix: Temptation by the Numbers: The Barna Survey 237

Notes 247

Acknowledgments and Special Thanks 257

About the Author 259

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2012

    Great for a book study

    While the publisher did not give me a free copy, I did enjoy reading this for free at the local store. It is so good and such a helpful resource I plan to purchase a copy on my nook and recommend it to all my friends.

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  • Posted May 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Stop Committing, Start Quitting!

    Description:

    Our Favorite Sins is the sinner's guide to beating temptation using practical bible-based tools. Anglican bishop and founding pastor of Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Todd D. Hunter, uses his 30+ years of experience to teach valuable skills for decreasing daily temptation, as well as for prioritizing whats really important in life.

    Review:

    Let's face it, we are all guilty of something. We have all been tempted in some way or another, and many of us choose to break God's rules; knowing of the consequences, but still compelled to commit - like an addiction. How many times have we done something we regretted, hurt ourselves and the ones we love, and casually forgotten - just to do it again? Are we inept at taking cues and learning lessons? Have we fallen so far that our faith and fear in God no longer stand as a deterrent? Or are these just excuses to keep our desires in charge?
    These are some of the thoughts I had while reading Our Favorite Sins: The Sins We Commit & How You Can Quit. We have all heard of the seven deadly sins: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony, but how seriously do we take them? Todd D. Hunter takes readers through the modern world of temptations including: anxiety, procrastination, pornography, over-indulgence (food, electronics, alcohol, drugs, sex...), and adultery, to expose readers to the truth - we are all guilty of sin, but there are ways to beat it. I was skeptical at first, unsure of how to approach the book - everybody sins, but that doesn't mean we all want to face it. Who likes to be told that what they are doing is wrong? However, once I started reading, I was surprised to find that it is not a book that blames the sinners, but one that allows them to judge themselves and admit their own flaws, leading to realization and ultimate "recovery" from temptation and sin. The author's methods are clear, concise, and backed-up by the Book of God - The Bible. The 259 page guide is written as a discussion of sorts with around fifteen chapters and room for the reader's own contemplation. I equate it to a spiritual therapy session; a couple pages a day, as well as the completion of a few interactive exercises, and the reader, (in this case - me), begins to feel lighter, more in touch with God, and strong enough to say "NO" when it comes to temptation and the devil's influence. I like how the author set up each chapter, the prayers, and the methodology behind his approach. There were a lot of points made that I have never thought of, and I will definitely be referring to this book again in the future. Highly recommended for all readers interested in Christian-based spiritual growth and the ability to shut-out sin.

    Rating: On the Run (4.5/5)

    * I received this book from the author (Thomas Nelson, Inc.) in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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  • Posted April 16, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Our Favorite Sins by Todd D. Hunter is a book that will challeng

    Our Favorite Sins by Todd D. Hunter is a book that will challenge your way of thinking as it relates to the lesson of temptation. Mr. Hunter does an amazing job of getting the reader to look beyond the surface of the typical and into the deeper layers of the atypical. He talks about some of man’s internal desire issues and how to go about addressing them from a Biblical perspective. He also provides an encouraging voice, giving helpful strategies on how to persevere and overcome. I love how he speaks as one who continues to grow beyond his disordered self.

    I enjoyed this book very much. While I would very definitely recommend it to others, I would carefully consider the audience I recommended it too.

    Rating: 4/5 Stars ****

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  • Posted April 10, 2012

    The subtitle “The Sins We Commit & How You Can Quit&rd

    The subtitle “The Sins We Commit & How You Can Quit” tells us both what we do not want to talk about as well as what we have all given thought to often. It’s uncomfortable to think about the sins that we not only commit, but actually fail in regularly. Fortunately, since Mr. Hunter stirs up such subjects for us to face, he goes on to tackle what we should do to overcome these temptations that follow us all through our lives.

    In launching into his subject, Mr. Hunter admits the battle that we all face with temptation. He never hides the fact that the battle has been as fierce in his own life as he knows it is for we readers. Quickly he establishes that our wrong desires, springing from pride, are deep inside us and are the ultimate problem in the sins we commit. He makes an understandable and strong case here. I was convinced.

    He explains how well we rationalize our sins. His description is really uncanny as I know I have rationalized the way he describes. Then he describes the all too common situation of living years as a Christian and never quite getting victory. In that many of my failures are similar to what they were years ago, I too well know what he means. Add to that the fact that temptation is here to stay, and we are discussing one of the biggest issues of the Christian life.

    In probing this issue for us he recognizes that what tempts me probably is not what tempts you. Based on those deep “disordered desires” He ties it together in a clear way the process of desire, rationalization, and then failure. We become creatures who live to feed our desires. We feel helpless and only fail more. He analyzes survey respondents on how they handled temptation and shows that if we even try at all, our pathetic responses are doomed from the beginning.

    Then he takes us on an expose of the most common temptations of our times. There’s worry, procrastinating, over-indulgence, social media addiction (Let’s look out as I write on here as you read on here), and laziness. In chapters 9 and 10 he takes these common temptations and brings us back to his premise that our desires must be re-ordered though the power of Christ. It’s helpful stuff.

    He has 2 chapters on Sacraments and the Lectionary that I found of little use. He’s an Anglican who uses these things though you would never know it outside these 2 chapters.

    This is a great read that highlights the need of a transformational approach rather than the pitiful failing attempts we have used for years. This book can help us.

    I received this book free from the publisher. 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 .

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  • Posted March 24, 2012

    All who are thirsty...

    In “Our Favorite Sins”, Todd Hunter has done an excellent job of assessing the human condition. Through great research by the Barna Group, he pinpoints the sins that have become strongholds. Knowing deeply that what the heart desires, the will chooses, and the mind justifies, and the desperate condition of our hearts, Hunter pastorally leads the sinner to Christ. As with the woman at the well, offering true living drink that can quench the thirst. It is enriched by liturgical meditations, which he makes very evident are not ends in themselves, but act as tools for transformative communion with God. He goes on to encourage morning and evening prayer as a historical means of bringing our brokenness before God, allowing him to give us the desires of our hearts, rather than a means of self-righteousness. There is no legalism in this book, so as to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. There is no room for self-righteousness. But at the same time, we are not left stuck in our sins. The grace of God is not only a justifying work that clears us from guilt, shame and the powers of death. It brings kingdom resurrection, sanctifying life that transforms the heart of the believer, giving them a new heart and helping them to crucify the flesh. He is certainly not legalistic, but neither does he lead us into license. Justification and Sanctification are not merged into one. There is freedom from the sin as well as the law, although this is not completed until Christ comes again. Todd Hunter has clearly been immersed in the writings of the spiritual greats. He gets it right by getting to the heart of the human problem, which is the problem of the human heart. He not only exposes sins, but walks us through how to come before God and allow him to change us in these areas. So many books are very good at pinpointing the problem, but are dreadful at walking through the solution. Todd Hunter is deeply scriptural, traditional, liturgical, historical and theological. This book is written in clear language that high school students can access, with a depth that leaves none out of its convicting scope. The strength of this book is in the way Hunter directs the reader away from self-centered desires and opens us their relationship with God in a way that is transformational. The real hope is in Christ. He doesn’t leave anyone thirsty, but is the one who can meet our deepest desires and needs.

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  • Posted March 17, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    great book, a well written resource

    Todd Hunter is the founding pastor of Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Costa Mesa, CA. and the author of Our Favorite Sins. Todd is also the founding director of Churches for the Sake of Others, the West Coast church planting initiative for The Anglican Mission in the Americas. Todd also foundedThree is Enough, a small group movement that enables spiritual formation in one’s everyday life. Dr. Hunter is an adjunct professor of evangelism and contemporary culture at George Fox University, Fuller Seminary, Western Seminary, Vanguard University and Wheaton College.

    1 Peter 2:11 (CEB) Dear friends, since you are immigrants and strangers in the world, I urge that you avoid worldly desires that wage war against your lives.

    At first, the title is a little misleading, the book isn’t really about your worst sins, or even the ones that you knowingly struggle with, rather these sins are more subtle. ”The sin that results from desire and temptation is like a major earthquake in deep ocean waters. We think we can hide it because it’s underwater, but this strategy never works.”

    Hunter spends several chapters addressing the top five temptations according to Barna.

    1. Worry

    2. Procrastination

    3. Eating

    4. Media

    5. Laziness

    So right away, just note that this book centers more on temptation, the struggle and the tools to do with temptation. Hunter heavily drops scripture where it’s needed for support and does not shy away from using biblical examples. Hunter has been a Bishop for over 30 years and certainly has the authority to speak on this topic and his writing voice is easy to listen to.

    Matthew 6:24 (CEB) No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be loyal to the one and have contempt for the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

    Because of Hunter’s Anglican background his solution to temptation centers on the Ancient and Fruitful practices that include the disciplines of silence, abstention and solitude. Hunter suggests retraining your temptations to seek the Kingdom first by observing liturgical prayer and the daily office, the sacraments of Baptism and Communion.

    So while this book may not directly address your sins, I think it adds volume to the discussion to how we deal with temptation. Highly recommended. I received this book from Booksneeze for a fair and honest review.

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  • Posted March 10, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    How many of us have had an experience where we know we need to d

    How many of us have had an experience where we know we need to do one thing, but end up foolishly doing exactly the opposite? Or similarly, not done the right thing at the right time?

    This book provides an analysis of why all people behave in this way.

    In short, the author claims that disordered desire leads us to poor behavior. If we reorient our desires appropriately, it becomes more natural to do the right thing.

    This conclusion is based upon the findings of a comprehensive survey by the Barna Group, well-known for its high-quality surveys on a variety of current topics in the church.

    Most surprisingly, about 50% of respondents say that they really don’t know why they sometimes give in to temptation and do the wrong thing.

    Although I really enjoyed reading this book and found its conclusions valuable, it did not feel like a coherent whole. The author starts with some relevant passages from the Bible and personal stories, transitions into the details of the Barna study, and then abruptly shifts to his experiences with liturgy as an Anglican bishop.

    But other than this one flaw in structure, I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about how to respond to our natural tendency to do the wrong thing, even when we know that we ought to do the right thing.

    Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my unbiased review.

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  • Posted February 28, 2012

    Loved this book! Biblical Wisdom for Temptation

    "Our Favorite Sins" by Todd D. Hunter is an honest and revealing book about sin. I really enjoyed this book, and found it to be a practical approach to learning how to avoid the sins that we most commonly commit. Hunter isn't accusing everyone of being sinful, but he understands that so many of us struggle with things like jealousy, selfishness, and greed. Hunter uses this book as a vehicle for helping us through our struggle, and develop the tools necessary to change our own behavior, and our way of thinking so that we can be freed from those temptations.

    I really loved the reality that Hunter brings to this book. It is an honest approach to dealing with everyday struggles that we face, and I think that it offers up ancient wisdoms to help us face and defeat our temptations. I would highly recommend this book to anyone - after all, we all face temptation in one way or another! 5/5!

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  • Posted February 27, 2012

    Dealing with the problem, not the symptom

    I recently finished reading the book Our Favorite Sins: The Sins We Commit & How You Can Quit by Todd Hunter. It's a book about dealing with Temptation. More specifically, it's a book about dealing with Desires. A lot of people (myself included prior to this book) have tried to deal with Temptation by treating it as a problem. Most of the time that fails because Temptation isn't a problem, it's a symptom. It's like trying to heal a broken arm by taking Tylenol for the pain. The underlying problem we need to deal with is what Todd refers to as 'disordered desires.'

    He makes a good point that the desires we have are God-given, but they have been tainted by the effects of Sin. Through the power of Christ, those disordered desires can become organized once again, and we won't be as likely to suffer from the symptoms of Temptation any longer. "The goal of Our Favorite Sins is to cause you to want a real experience of the real God so much that your other disordered desires and wants are put in second place."

    I really liked this book. It was written using words which were very easy to understand and in a format which made me want to keep reading it. As he poured personal stories, statistics, and Biblical insight into this well-written book, I felt like I was sitting across a table from Todd and we were having an in-depth conversation about this struggle. All in all, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who feels like they are fighting a losing battle with Temptation.

    ~~~~~~~~~
    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2012

    Excellent Read

    I received a copy of OUR FAVORITE SINS: THE SINS WE COMMIT & HOW YOU CAN QUIT by Todd D. Hunter, from Thomas Nelson via BookSneeze. It seemed like the perfect book to share with my friend during Lent, and indeed, we both enjoyed reading through it. The book is very easy to read. I started on chapter one, and suddenly I was in the middle of chapter three. The pages just flew by.

    The book centers on different forms of sin, such as laziness and procrastination. The chapters explain to us what the sin means, how it affects our lives, and how we can overcome it, but none of the words are incriminating. While reading, it is an easy transaction to put yourself into the book and realize how to better yourself.

    My favorite line occurred on page 34: “Thus some people actually put themselves in the position to be tempted on purpose. It is fun to them.” These words ring so true when I look at many of the people around me. They enjoy flirting with many different guys, seeing how drunk they can get at a bar, and driving carelessly, all for that “rush” they love. I have always found that kind of behavior ridiculous.

    This is an excellent self-help book, and highly recommended for anyone wishing to better understand, and improve, his or her life.

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  • Posted February 17, 2012

    A comforting book that could change your life

    Don't let the title turn you off because this book is full of comfort and encouragement for beginning or older followers of Jesus Christ. Basing his writing on results of a Barna survey Todd Hunter discusses common sins faced by Christians (and non-believers, too.) He especially deals with anxiety, procrastination, over-eating, media addictions and laziness. He shows that our innermost desires lead us into temptation if they are not given to God for control. The long-term result of giving in to temptation is disaster. Hunter, an Anglican bishop, gives us beautiful, powerful prayers from ancient liturgies as one remedy for dealing with our disordered desires. He also discusses baptism, communion (he calls it Eucharist), Bible study, prayer and Christian fellowship. He suggests these disciplines as a means toward eventual victory over our desires that mess up our lives in ways we really don't want. Clearly written and applicable, Our Favorite Sins could become your favorite book. The volume makes a helpful gift, too.

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  • Posted February 17, 2012

    Do you have a socially accepted sin issue?

    "Our Favorite Sins" by Todd Hunter is an interesting and original way of addressing sin. Hunter focuses on showing us how much of our behavior is in fact sin and getting to the root of these sin issues. This book isn't written to condemn but rather to help us overcome and defeat these sins once and for all. Most of the sins addressed in this book are things considered "socially acceptable," for example, procrastination, over-eating, and media addiction. I recommend everyone reads this books....and especially those who don't think they have a sin issue.

    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."

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