Using the style of extemporaneous sermons, Cymbala, longtime pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle and author of Fresh Faith, brings a message of inspiration to readers. God, Cymbala says, wants more for Christians than rote religion or an empty life. The book is dotted with anecdotes of real people who overcame obstacles of poverty and drug addiction by a newfound commitment to Jesus; used their money and skills to support the church; or gave up the security of good jobs to serve others. As such, it will likely encourage some Christians facing life challenges. Although the associations often seem forced and the book's trajectory is unclear, Cymbala's use of biblical texts (particularly from Joshua, Judges and Ruth) serve their contemporary purpose. What the book lacks in unity, it makes up for in passion. Cymbala's confidence about defining the nature and wishes of God will not suit every reader, but his commitment to promoting generosity and well-being through the church yields gems of encouragement for people seeking stability and direction. (Aug. 31)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
You Were Made for More: The Life You Have, the Life God Wants You to Haveby Jim Cymbala (Read by), Dean Merrill (With)
Whether life seems good or not right now, Jim Cymbala believes that God has more for you. In this new book, he’ll help you find out how to access the
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Jim Cymbala knows something a lot of us miss--that a comfortable, secure life won’t produce the satisfaction we long for. How could we feel fulfilled by missing out on the life God has for us?
Whether life seems good or not right now, Jim Cymbala believes that God has more for you. In this new book, he’ll help you find out how to access the “more” God intendsmore peace, real joy, and a deep sense of purpose. As you open yourself to the “more” of God, you will also discover your unique work assignmentthe one thing God is calling you--and no one else--to accomplish for the sake of his work in the world.
You Were Made for More draws a compelling picture of people just like you who are finding that “more of God” means more influence, more energy, and ultimately more happiness. It will help you picture what your own “land of milk and honey” might look likethe fuller, richer spiritual place you long to be.
Using examples from the Bible, contemporary stories, and experiences from his own life, Jim Cymbala points the way to a richer, deeper life, helping you take hold of everything God wants to give.
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You Were Made for More
The Life You Have, the Life God Wants You to Have
By Jim Cymbala, Dean Merrill
ZONDERVANCopyright © 2008 Jim Cymbala
All rights reserved.
If you come to visit us here in New York City, you will have a wonderful time—as long as you avoid one thing. You can go shopping along Fifth Avenue, take in a Broadway play, climb the Statue of Liberty, see a Mets or Yankees baseball game, do the tour at the New York Stock Exchange, go up to the top of the Empire State Building, take a carriage ride through Central Park—and of course be sure to come see us at the Brooklyn Tabernacle for one of our three Sunday services or the Tuesday night prayer meeting. Just don't look at our housing costs.
Two-bedroom condos and co-ops in nice areas of Man- hattan usually start around $2,000,000. Then, of course, you will pay an extra $700 a month or more for "common charges" in the building: trash removal, the doorman at the front, maintenance of the entryway, the elevator, etc. If you would rather just rent, a normal one-bedroom apartment goes for $3,000 a month; a small "studio" apartment (where your bed is part of your living area) rents in the $2,000 range.
One young woman in our church told me she was living in two tiny rooms in a building that was "falling apart," where she had a bathtub in the kitchen, but the toilet was down the hall—and she was paying $800 a month in rent. That was a bargain, thanks to what New Yorkers know as rent stabilization. This is a complicated city regulation that tries to hold the lid on costs. "But as soon as I move out," she added, "they're going to do a bit of remodeling—replace the tub with a small shower, do some plastering. Then for a new lease they can jack it up to $1,800 a month!"
Here at the other end of the Brooklyn Bridge where our church is, a new condominium building is going up around the corner. The smallest studio unit will sell for $1,500,000. And you probably wouldn't call this a "good neighborhood." Your sleep would be punctuated by sirens in the night. There is no place to park your car for less than $250 a month. As many as 5,000 people will reside in the confines of one city block.
So what are the alternatives? Every week in our church I meet people who are wishing and yearning for something more spacious that's still affordable. A newly married couple wants to start a family—but where would they even put a crib? Should they pull up stakes and move to the Long Island suburbs? At least they'd have some breathing room, maybe even a little grass out front. But things aren't cheap there, either.
Take Levittown as one example—which is remembered as the first mass-produced suburb in America. Right after World War II, developer Abraham Levitt and his two sons created something called the "ranch" design—for just $7,990. (But you did get a General Electric stove and refrigerator for that price, plus the latest Bendix washing machine!) Block upon block of these modest houses went up, drawing national attention. Critics scorned them as "ticky-tacky" and "cookie cutter." Sales to returning GIs and their growing families, nevertheless, were brisk.
Well ... today a two- or three-bedroom single-family home in Levittown starts at $350,000 and goes up past half a million. And you're not even next to the water. If you work in Manhattan, your commute on the Long Island Rail Road will chew up forty-five minutes each way, plus what- ever time you will then spend getting from Penn Station to your workplace. (Assuming the trains are running on time, that is.) If you would rather drive your car to the city, don't even think about it; the Long Island Expressway is known as the world's largest parking lot.
The desire for a place to breathe, to grow, to be safe runs deep within us all, of whatever century. And not just in the physical realm. Emotionally and spiritually as well, we hate being cramped. We want to spread our wings. We want to stretch out. Didn't Jesus say, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10)? That is what we crave. We sense somehow that we were made for more—more than the constricted, self-limiting lives we currently endure.
Wouldn't it be wonderful, for example, if we could have victory over some of the negative habits and sins that tie us down?
Wouldn't it be great if we were emotionally and spiritually free to find a place to serve God, a ministry of some kind that would let us make a difference in other people's lives?
What if our relationships with our family members—and others, too—were healthy and loving instead of caustic and full of conflict?
What if we learned to pray more often—and actually saw answers to our prayers?
Wouldn't it be wonderful to live each day with a spirit of confidence instead of anxiety and fear?
Here are just a few examples of the "more" that awaits the children of God: A deeper understanding of his Word ... insight into his unique plan for our lives ... an abiding joy in the face of life's setbacks ... power and courage to witness for Christ ... freedom from all the psychological and emotional issues that hold us back ... peace on the inside regardless of external circumstances. The abundant life that God plans for his own children includes all of these.
Stop right now and consider these questions: Do you have similar yearnings for a spiritual life that is fuller and richer in every way? If God brought you into the spiritual counterpart of "a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey" (Exod. 3:8), what would that look like?
The theme of this book is realizing the fullness of what God has for each one of us as his followers. His Word is packed with exciting promises of blessing. He means to do good for us, not evil. His plans for us are greater than we can ever imagine. The only question is how we get from here to there. What does it take for us to cross the Jordan River to enter into our land flowing with milk and honey—his chosen future for us?
God will make the way. The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir once recorded an up-tempo Percy Gray song entitled "Keep on Making a Way." It is addressed to God, thanking him for his willingness to take us further and higher than we've ever gone. The chorus says:
Keep on making a way for me,
Opening doors for me,
Taking care of me....
I will ever sing your praise,
Glory to your name,
Keep on making a way for me.
On the Move
The Bible account of Joshua taking the people of Israel across the Jordan has much to teach us about the way we get into our Promised Land. So do the two Old Testament books that immediately follow: Judges and Ruth. Together, this trio of books shows God's people stepping up to the "more" they had wanted so earnestly back in the desert. God's provision for them is an illustration of his provision for us today.
Be aware that the conquest of the Promised Land—known as Canaan—was not a walk in the park, however. Realizing God's promises did not come easy for the Israelites. Yes, some of the old gospel songs and spirituals speak about heaven in terms of "Canaan's fair and happy land" and "sweet Beulah land." Well, guess what? The Israelites arrived not in heaven, but in enemy territory! To claim the land God had promised them meant facing and defeating all kinds of hostile forces. Canaanite armies were entrenched in the very land Israel had been told would be theirs.
Sometimes they won battles in spectacular fashion; at other times they made serious mistakes that set them back. God had to straighten them out more than once. As the Irish author and Bible teacher J. B. Stoney said back in the 1800s, "It was easier to get Israel out of Egypt than to get them into Canaan." In other words, even though God had delivered his people from slavery in Egypt, they still struggled to follow his lead into the Promised Land. So it is with us today. If we claim Christ as Savior, we are no longer slaves to sin; yet we still seem to struggle when it comes to claiming God's promise of more. Unfortunately, just like the Israelites, we don't always get it right the first time. We wander off from God's purposes for us, even though they are perfect. He has to urge us on, sometimes forcefully, to do things his way.
These three Bible books teach us as much what not to do as what to do.
Joshua was the handpicked successor to Moses, who had led the Israelites out of Egypt and into the desert, where they journeyed for forty years. The book that bears his name re- lates how Joshua guided the people across the Jordan River, conquered cities like Jericho and tribes like the Amorites, and settled into the land, which was then divided up among the twelve Israelite tribes.
Some Bible readers cringe at the mere mention of the book of Joshua because of its military violence. It is probably the bloodiest book in the Bible. That is because a particularly wicked civilization—known for its idolatry, religious prostitution, sorcery, and even child sacrifice at times—was now coming under divine judgment. Centuries earlier, in the time of Abraham, God was not yet ready to do anything about this wicked civilization; "the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure," he said (Gen. 15:16). Now, a longsuffering God was finally ready to excise a moral cancer located in Canaan.
Right from the start, God warned his people to remain separate from the Canaanite tribes. He commanded the Israelites not to intermarry or make other alliances. He was saying in essence to his chosen nation, "If you're careless, you will not change them; instead, they will change you. Your worship of the one true God will get diluted, and then polluted."
The book of Judges tells about good times and awful times, faithfulness and relapse. The people repeatedly gave in to the very things God had warned against. They began to forget the promise that God had more for them, instead becoming content with what they already had. Because of this, God had to get tough with his own people.
There is actually more gloom than sunshine in Judges, especially near the end. This is perhaps the most depressing book in the Bible. It serves to warn us about straying from God's instructions. But we also gain hope from seeing a series of courageous leaders—both men and women—whom God raised up whenever the people repented and cried out for his help: Deborah, Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson, to name just a few.
In the midst of this same time period, a wonderful cameo shows up: the story of Ruth. She never expected to be any- thing great. She wasn't even of Israelite descent. And yet God's "more" reached all the way to her, lifting her to an honored place in messianic history. Here is what we might call the most inspiring book in the Bible, at least in terms of human drama. It shows God's amazing care for a simple person who cast her allegiance in his direction.
These three books, covering 300 years or so of time, will be our anchor points as we explore how God made us for more. I will also share with you the inspiring stories of people here in our own time who have trusted God to do amazing things in their lives. Vanessa Holland and Bonite Affriany and Kumiko Nakamura and Mark Hill and his wife, Georgina, along with others, will lift your sights and your spirit toward the One for whom nothing is impossible.
Not Just Anywhere
What should we expect in the Promised Land? The future is not of our own choosing, nor is it vague. God has very specific plans in mind. The Promised Land had clear parameters. The Israelites could not just go to Greece or Syria or Arabia and expect that God would give it to them. He wasn't sending them to possess the entire world; he had a definite parcel with definite borders in mind.
Similarly, we cannot go anywhere we like and assume that God will supply the resources of our fantasies. Yes, ours is a spacious and wonderful land. It will be exciting to get there. But it is limited to his specific plan for our lives, and we are assured of God's help if we stay within the boundaries of what he has marked out for us.
I sometimes wonder how many Christians today have missed out on God's beautiful purpose and have hurt them- selves because they strayed outside the edges of God's will for them. They sometimes quote the familiar sentence of Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," but forget that this is not a license for doing our own thing whenever we feel like it. We must follow God's leading the way the Israelites followed the divine cloud through the desert, knowing that it will take us where we need to go. As long as the cloud is determining the route, we can be sure that God will fight on our behalf. Otherwise, we are on our own in enemy territory.
Listen to the detail of God's opening promise to Joshua: "Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country — to the Mediterranean Sea in the west" (Josh. 1:4). That is an impressive tract of land. In fact, nations and peoples are still fighting over it today, because they want it so badly. But it is not everything and everywhere. It is a precise allotment for a specific recipient.
And it would not come easily. In the very same conversation God said to Joshua three times, "Be strong and courageous" (v. 6). "Be strong and very courageous" (v. 7). "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you" (v. 9).
This new leader no longer had his beloved mentor, Moses, to lean on. In a sense, it might be said that his "prop" was gone now. The great pioneer of the Exodus from Egypt was no longer around to advise him. Joshua would have to lean on the Lord for the courage and boldness that upcoming battles would require.
Likewise, the "more" that God has for you and me will require courage—no doubt about it. We cannot always depend on those who have supported us in the past. Inevitably, our godly parents die, our Christian friends move away, our situations change. But God's power and faithfulness continue. When we remember that our strength and help come from the Lord, we can stand firm to face the challenges arrayed against us.
Moving into the land God has waiting for us is not something for the timid or fearful. It is for people who know that God would not bring us this far in life only to drop us into some black hole. After giving his Son for us on the cross, will he now abandon his own children? No, he is a faith- ful God. As he said through his prophet Isaiah, "I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed" (Isa. 49:23). The battles ahead are real and often intense. But if we fight the way God tells us to, and we call upon his name for resources at every turn, we will overcome. His promises, when met with our simple faith, cannot be frustrated.
A spacious place is waiting. It's time to step up.CHAPTER 2
AN ASSIGNMENT JUST FOR YOU
One of the first things to understand about the Promised Land is that it is not simply a place of material blessing. Money, tropical vacations, stock portfolios, good-looking kids who make the honor roll ... none of these does justice to the picture God has in mind. Far too many of us get side- tracked because we only focus on what we might get from God to make us more comfortable.
Nor is the Promised Land a place of getting to relax and do nothing. Yes, many people today are stressed and over-scheduled, wishing for some time off. But if that is your definition of realizing God's favor in your life, you will be disappointed.
Think about this: If I were to spend three days sitting and watching TV for eight hours a day, eating cookies and cheese doodles, I should be well rested, right? I've saved all kinds of energy, since I've hardly budged from my favorite chair.
Actually, the opposite is true. I will get tired just heading up the stairs to go to bed. My life of total leisure has actually sapped me of my strength.
Excerpted from You Were Made for More by Jim Cymbala, Dean Merrill. Copyright © 2008 Jim Cymbala. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
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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Meet the Author
Jim Cymbala has served as pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle for more than thirty-five years. He is the author of many bestselling titles, including Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire; Fresh Faith; and Fresh Power; and curriculum, including When God’s People Pray and When God’s Spirit Moves, which is linked to his book Spirit Rising. He lives in New York City with his wife, Carol, who directs the Grammy Award-winning Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.
Dean Merrill, former publishing executive with Focus on the Family and International Bible Society, is author or coauthor of 31 books, including The God Who Won't Let Go and Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Church. He and his wife live in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
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I would call Jim Cymbala's books more of "encouragement" than anything else. His books speak with a clear voice about Christianity 101, what really matters; in this case, finding one's purpose in God's master plan and doing it; whatever it may be. Mr. Cymbala does something particularly well, and that is summing up Bible concepts into clear work-a-day guidlines that are easily understood and assimilated into actual life. You don't need all of Jim Cymbala's books, you need one or two that focus on the areas you might struggle with. I would recommend Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, and if you know someone who is struggling with finding their place in the kingdom or perhaps with bitterness, then this would be a good gift to help clear the air of confusion. After reading Jim's books I always feel encouraged and ready to listen for that "still, small voice" that will refocus my walk with God.
This book was made for money. There is a story in this book that is purposely altared to decieve the reader for the purpose of dramatic effects. The woman who was sick and dying in the hospital has been potrayed in a false light. The author knew that she was not well yet still put her in the book. She struggled for some time with drugs and depression yet was still portrayed as an overcomer and spiritual rock. A Book about God should be honest and not filled with hype and drama for the purpose of book sales. Why the drama? I cannot recommend this book to anyone who is hungry for God's Truth. You Were Made for More is simply not a very good book.
Read Cymbala's new book and was very disappointed. It is almost like a bunch of excerpts from all of his other books. He really has nothing new to say and is basically saying the same things over and over. But this book fits in perfectly with all of the other shallow Christian books that are filling Christian Bookstore shelves. It seems that the church is incapable of digesting solid food and it shows by these types of authors writing very shallow books.
This book creates a deep hunger in believers to go for the gusto in Christ. To leave the mundane life behind and do GREAT THINGS for God, then leaves them with a sense of despair and worthlessness for those who realize that this is not the case for every believer. This teaching focuses on what we can do for Christ and what Great things we can do for the Kingdom, big names, big ministries, big choirs, big churches, but says nothing of what Christ did for us. I am not so sure that God is necessarily interested in us doing BIG things for him. I believe He is more interested in the majority of us to start doing the little things like, wash the dishes, take out the trash, treat your wife or husband with he same mercy God shows you, spend time with your children, spend time getting to know your neighbor, be faithful on your job. So many are so caught up in numbers and BIGNESS they forget to live in the NOW and act like Christ.
People are hungry for MORE OF JESUS not MORE WORK FOR JESUS. People are tired of the BIG TESTIMONIES, the Parading of Christians on Stage and DVD's as some sort of Celebrity Christian Club. Those who get caught up in being propped up as a "TROPHY OF GRACE" are in for a big disappointment. They are promised GREAT THINGS! GOD HAS GREAT THINGS FOR YOU. Then they have to go home and wash the dishes and take out the trash and change diapers. Many have struggled after the lights dim down and are left with their normal life. Some have fallen into great depression and even questioned their faith. This type of ministry is very dangerous because it produces unrealistic expectations for the believer.
Most of the world is not affected by BIG MINISTRY, but by loving neighbors and coworkers. The book fails in that it creates a false hunger to get MORE FROM GOD and never teaches the believer what he already has. The dramatic stories are sadly just that, dramatic. Most of those who stories have been told in this BIG fashion have struggled afterwards to maintain their Super Christian status that this has created and feel depressed. Instead of being taught at a young age in their walk that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in CHRIST and we already have all that we need. We are teaching them to do GREAT THINGS FOR GOD. Most do not even understand what Christ has really done and what blessings they already have and are pushed to go for the GUSTO. To quote the words of Jeremiah and I paraphrase ¿If you cannot walk with the foot soldiers, how will you run with the horses?¿ But that is what we are doing, creating people who are learning to run before they can walk spiritually. They base their worth on their BIGNESS and BUSINESS for God and not on God¿s love and Christ¿s work that he completed. It is not the leadership¿s goal, but nevertheless, this creates a class system in the church. Those who are work-a-holics are considered "godly" and "the real deal" and those who take time out to spend with their family and children, or have other responsibilities outside the four walls of the church are questioned about their commitment and are outside the "circle of the faithful". You were made for Christ. Are you loving your neighbors, or are you stepping over them to get a POSITION OF BIGNESS in the Kingdom. The greatest in the Kingdom will be servant of all.
Forgive me for my Rating, they did not have anything lower than a 1. What a waste of paper. This book has no substance. Just another 'how can I Get more from God' self help book. It is this self centered, self serving, Christianity that is thriving in our country and Cymbala has jumped on the wagon. Not to mention the fact that some of the stories in this book are well known and documented as a being completely false. He used a life of one of his members who has been struggling for years with drugs and depression. In the book he makes her out be a Spiritual Giant when infact she has consistenly stuggled with drugs and depression. What a disgrace. So you can waste your money purchasing this book. Suggestion: Do not buy this book but instead give that money to missions. It will go much farther and serve a much grater need like filling the stomachs of hungry children instead of filling the pockets of hungry preachers.
After reading this book I came to the conclusion that the author missed it big time. Mr. Cymbala has fallen far from his first book Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire. This book sounds like a broken record of the previous books by Cymbala. I guess when you have nothing new to say you keep saying the same old thing.