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Forever change the way you look at the Bible . . . and your own life
Have you ever read the Bible only to come away confused? Ever wondered if God actually had you in mind when He began telling His story?
Though life may not be going according to your plan, God has another one, far better than you can imagine. From Genesis to Revelation, experience His invitation to get you dancing with joy.
In 66 Love Letters Larry Crabb offers a fresh, relational look at Scripture:
“When you finish reading my first love letter to you, I want you to realize that I never underestimated how thoroughly you’d mess up your life or how painfully you would struggle and suffer, and I don’t want you to underestimate your failures or struggles either. They’re all part of the story I’m telling. “But neither have I underestimated my determination or ability to enter both the mess you’ve made and the pain you feel, then turn everything around. I can, and I will, make everything good again. Never underestimate me.”
Larry’s intimate conversation with God asks deeply honest questions such as:
- “God, what is it you wanted me to see in Obadiah?”
- “And what’s up with Leviticus? Is there anything there for me?”
- “This one verse in Galatians has always frustrated me. Why is that?”
- “The way you wrote Revelation makes it difficult to understandwhy didn’t you just describe what will happen in a straightforward way?”
Listen to the story of God unfold through these chapters, and you’ll fi nd not only His redeeming love but His plan and provision designed especially for you.
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.60(d)|
About the Author
Dr. Larry Crabb is a well-known psychologist, conference and seminary speaker, Bible teacher, popular author, and founder/director of NewWay Ministries. He is currently Scholar in Residence at Colorado Christian University in Denver and Visiting Professor of Spiritual Formation for Richmont Graduate University in Atlanta. Dr. Crabb and his wife of forty-six years, Rachael, live in the Denver, Colorado area. For additional information please visit www.newwayministries.org
Read an Excerpt
66 Love LettersA Conversation with God That Invites You into His Story
By LARRY CRABB
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2009 Larry Crabb
All right reserved.
Chapter OneLove Letter One: Genesis
I Have a Plan: You Are Invited to My Party
God, what are You saying to me in Your first love letter, Genesis?"
"What I'm saying and what I want you to hear is this:
You've made a mess, but I have a plan! "In Genesis, I begin telling the story of how everyone fails and I succeed. I want you to know how much of a mess you've made out of all the beauty I created. Nothing works as it should anymore. But I have a plan that your failures cannot destroy. There is a capacity for beauty in your soul that I will restore. That's a promise. I give you a glimpse into how I will carry out My plan in this first love letter."
"God, could You say a little more? How do You make that message clear in Genesis?"
"I don't want you to be afraid of failure, or you will live for success. And I don't want you to be afraid that things in your life will go wrong-they will-or that you will feel empty-you will. If you fear problems or emptiness, you will live for comfort and fulfillment. And that will just complicate the mess you've already made. "Did you ever stop to ask why I made everything; why My Spirit, My Son, and I created the stars, moon, planets; and why Wemade paradise on earth? The three of Us were making preparations to throw a party, to invite others to a dance, to the dance We've been enjoying since before time began. But there were no 'others' to invite. "So at a family council, We decided to create people, human beings just like you whom We could enjoy as they enjoyed Us and all the beauty We had made. That's why We created Adam and Eve with desires that only We could satisfy. Plans for the party were under way. "But the story got off track. We knew, of course, that it would. Adam and Eve foolishly decided they could be happier looking out for themselves than trusting Us. They did exactly what you would have done had you been there. They chose to throw their own party, without Us. That's as foolish as trying to breathe in a room without air or trying to sing when you have no vocal cords. It can't be done. There is no party without Us, only the prison of loneliness. "Adam and Eve made the same choice you've been making since you were a kid, to protect yourself from pain and to be in control of your own pleasure, to negotiate with Me to get what you want out of life. That decision messed up everything in Eden, just as it still is messing up your life. Adam and Eve felt insecure and began to fight. Their son Cain experienced jealousy-an emotion that earned Lucifer a place in hell-and killed Abel. "A few generations later, things got so bad, so out of sync with Our design, that I felt nothing but pain as I watched what was happening. So I drowned everyone, except Noah and his family. I wasn't about to let My plans for a party degenerate into a violent orgy that would only get worse, where people would use each other for their own pleasure and never love anyone. That would be hell. My plan was heaven. I spared those people from descending even deeper into hell on earth. "But I wasn't about to give up on My great plan. I knew that one day I would look down on a community of people that I would recreate and feel deep pleasure, and again be able to say, 'This is good. This is very good!' "Then Noah got drunk, his kids got in trouble, and their descendants-a capable bunch who developed civilization with the arts, industry, and agriculture-became proud. Drawing from the same energy with which Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they set about to build their lives into a satisfying, organized existence without Me in the center. "So they erected this silly tower to rally everyone together. Their goal was unity with each other without union with Me. They thought they could become friends with each other before first becoming friends with Me. It can't be done. To make the point, I ruined their plans by making them speak different languages; I interfered with a plan that would never work. "Once again, things were a mess. Everyone was living to succeed, to make their lives comfortable and fulfilling. No one was paying attention to My design for the truly good life. "But I had a plan. I always do. I chose Abraham, just one ordinary, God-dishonoring man, to begin a whole new civilization, a new kingdom, to become a new kind of person to form a new kind of community-a listening community made up of people who would know Me, people who would hear Me and relate to others in order to love, both to receive and to give. "Of course Abraham failed, like everyone, like you. That's why I told you not to fear failure. If you do, you'll live for a success you can never achieve. But I succeeded. I gave Abraham the kind of faith that you must want, that you need, to join My story. That's what I want you to hear as you read about My friend Abraham. "Isaac comes next. I saw to it that he be born to Abraham and Sarah when, according to natural law, they could not bear children. And I did that to make one point: no one joins My story in his or her own power. I want you to know that. "And then comes Jacob. He was a self-centered, manipulative, insecure mess from day one. Oh, he was resourceful, clever, and full of ambition, the kind of man who would have made it big in your world. But those talents were not what it takes to make it big in My story. So I went to work on him. I revealed Myself seven times to Jacob, to let him know he needed Me if his life was to amount to anything. He's a good picture of how I change people, slowly, through problems in their lives and failures on their part and an infinite amount of patience and grace on My part. "Read the story of Jacob and take heart: I can transform anyone into the likeness of My Son. But the process is never easy or short. It took nearly 150 years filled with terrible family problems to change Jacob into Israel, into a man who learned to trust Me in the struggles of life. But I got the job done. I always do. "I close My first love letter talking about Joseph. As you read what happened in his life, I want you to hear that even people who serve Me well struggle greatly. But never without purpose though the specific purpose will often remain obscure until you're dancing with Me at the eternal party-and you really won't care then. Every moment of suffering you endure is part of the good story I am telling. I don't want you to be surprised when after years of following Me closely, you still run into trouble. "When you finish reading My first love letter to you, I want you to realize that I never underestimated how thoroughly you'd mess up your life or how painfully you would struggle and suffer, and I don't want you to underestimate your failures or struggles either. They're all part of the story I'm telling. "But neither have I underestimated My determination or ability to enter the mess you've made and the pain you feel and turn everything around. I can, and I will, make everything good again. Never, never underestimate Me. I have a plan, a very good one, and it will move ahead to completion. Guaranteed! Trust Me. Why? Because I love you even when you're messing up badly. I love you in the middle of your pain even though I don't relieve it as quickly as you wish. I am worthy of your trust, no matter what happens in your life. I have a good plan, and nothing will stop Me from carrying it to completion. You must live now in the tension between anguish and hope. "That's what I want you to hear when you read Genesis."
"God, may I tell You my honest reaction to Your first love letter?"
"Of course! I always want you to be honest with Me. I already know all that is happening inside you, but you will experience My love more deeply when you share your heart with Me."
"Okay, then, here goes! Genesis leaves me confused and frustrated. I really don't get why You killed everyone in the Flood. Did they all go to hell? And weren't the people after the Flood just as bad as those before?
"You tell me not to be afraid of failure or of pain and emptiness. Well, I am afraid, more afraid of my life going badly than of anything else. You tell me that You made me with desires only You can satisfy. Then why aren't You satisfying them?
"I don't think I'm wrong to want satisfaction. You put the craving in me. Are You telling me that my deepest longing is for You, and that I'm to wait until heaven for that desire to be fully satisfied? And in the meantime, I'm to obey and trust You? That's hard!
"I don't think I have the kind of faith Abraham had. I can't bear the thought of losing either of my sons, let alone plunging a knife into one of them because You told me to.
"I do believe I'm a child of promise, like Isaac. I know it's a miracle that I've been born again. But my identity is wrapped up in so many other things than my status as Your son.
"Jacob's life does give me hope. Maybe I will become the person I long to be, but why does it take so long? That frustrates me.
"And Joseph! So much trouble before blessing. Does it have to be like that? And I don't think You even guarantee the blessings I want, at least not in this life. Joseph made it to a throne in Egypt and became a hero to his restored family. I don't think You promised me anything similar.
"God, I don't want to underestimate either my sin and struggle or Your power and love. But I so naturally deny the evil in me and the pain I feel just to emotionally survive, and I have a really hard time seeing Your power and love when so many things go wrong.
"You told me to be honest. God, I'm not really all that warmed by Your first love letter though the promise of restored beauty does stir something deep. I think I need to read more. Thanks for listening."
"I always listen. And I'll never turn away from you. Yes, keep reading."
Chapter TwoLove Letter Two: Exodus
You Must Know Me to Trust Me
God, what do You want me to hear as I read Exodus?"
"Hear this above all:
I will do whatever it takes to carry out My plan!
"I didn't create you to be miserable or empty. My plan was, is, and always will be that you would share My joy. But you got yourself in such bad shape, so far away from Me, that you had no hope of real happiness. I couldn't bear to leave you in that condition. "So I revealed My power by setting you free, My holiness by letting you know how you must live to stay close to Me, and My passionate love by moving in with you. All of that is in Exodus."
"You've got to help me here, God. If that's what Exodus is all about, why didn't You just say that simply and clearly as You just did, rather than write such a long letter?"
"Listen carefully: until you hear My message wrapped up in the stories of real people, you won't trust that My power could enter your story. And until you imagine what it was like to begin life in the desert by hearing Me lay down laws nobody could keep, you won't feel the crushing weight of My holiness. But you must feel that weight to understand all that's involved in letting unholy people get close to Me. And what's involved is pictured carefully and powerfully in the tabernacle. "The drama of the first eighteen chapters of My second love letter shows the lengths I must go in order to free weak and helpless people from bondage to an evil power greater than themselves. Ask any sex addict what I'm talking about. Or consider it this way: I can and I will detach you from everything that numbs your sacred hunger for Me and makes you feel hungrier for something other than Me. "But you will never on this earth depend fully enough on My power to live exactly as I want you to live. That's why I had Moses write out the Ten Commandments and all those other rules, not to beat you down into self-hatred over never getting it right, but rather to lift you up into the liberating experience of looking bad in the presence of love. When you read Exodus 19-24 and see how particular I am about all the rules you should obey but never do, let the weight of My holiness draw you into the delights of My love. I still want to be with you. "Don't ever forget: I do have a plan, a plan to make you deliriously happy in the circle of My love. As you read Exodus 25-40 where I record all those architectural details about the tabernacle, realize the lengths I'm willing to go to be with you. Imagine Me, the God of the universe, clothed in splendor and arrayed in glory, living in, by My standards, a simple tent set up in a barren wilderness. Sure, it was fancy, but compare it to what you imagine heaven to be. But that's where I lived, just to be near people like you. "As you read about the Exodus from Egypt that I made happen, as you consider all the laws I gave that you've never kept, and as you see My willingness to go camping to be with My people, know this: I will do whatever it takes to fully restore My family and to be with them forever."
"God, as You tell me all this, here's what I'm thinking.
"First, I can't get my mind off problems in my life that You aren't doing anything about. And You won't promise to deal with them to make my life better. I think I understand that the Exodus from Egypt is a picture of my being rescued from the kingdom of darkness, but I'm more interested in being rescued from my pain and problems. Maybe that's why I'm not really all that impressed by how You're using Your power.
"Second, I think I've lowered Your standards so I can reach them. Reading all those laws You gave through Moses helps me see how holy and strict You are, but it arouses in me a feeling that I don't like, the feeling that I might as well do what I want since I can't do what I should. I teach about brokenness a lot, but I must not experience it much because I still think I'm entitled to things going well for me or, at least, better than they are.
"And third, I'm having trouble connecting what You're saying in the tabernacle to the pressures and problems I face every day. You tell me that You're with me, but if You know what I'm going through, then why don't You help more? I think I need to keep reading. Right now, I wish the plan You're committed to carrying out were a little different. What am I missing?"
"A great deal. Be patient with how little you know and how slowly you learn. I am. I've written sixty-six love letters. You've read only two. The third reveals what's most wrong with you that blocks your joy. You have more to read, much more to learn."
Chapter ThreeLove Letter Three: Leviticus
Holiness Comes Before Happiness: Holiness Is Happiness
God, Your first two love letters were at least interesting. You're going to need to really help me with this third one. Why on earth did You write Leviticus when You could have written something more useful, more practical-like how I can get closer to my wife or how I can build up my self-esteem so I don't wrestle with as much insecurity and fear?"
"You must not try to fit Me into your plans. Your plans are too small. You must fit yourself into Mine. Remember, I do have a plan. And it's a good one! I've written Leviticus to tell you one thing: The toughest part of My plan, the part that's costliest to Me, is to make you holy. "You want Me to solve your problems, but you don't know what your worst problem is, the one responsible for all the others. You don't yet realize that distance from Me is the most lethal problem you have. "You assume we're doing just fine together while you run off trying to make life work for you. And you expect Me to cooperate. When you read Leviticus, notice that I never solve anyone's secondary problems. In all those verses about skin infection, for example, I never prescribed ointment or simply cured the disease, which I easily could have done. I simply told people they couldn't enter My Presence with an oozing sore. The issue was worship and intimacy with Me, not health, wealth, or personal comfort. "All twenty-seven chapters of Leviticus are written to let you know that relationship with Me is always the issue that trumps every other concern, and that relating to Me will always, always, be on My terms. So many people miss that-they identify their needs, then view Me as a God who wants them satisfied and happy before I deal with their unholiness. "But because I love them-and you-I've made a way for you to revolve your life around Me as your first thing. Everything else-your marriage, your checkbook, your self-esteem, your cancer-is a second thing. When the first thing (namely, Me) is in first place in your life, every second thing will be yours to enjoy. And that will be when you're home, not until.
Excerpted from 66 Love Letters by LARRY CRABB Copyright © 2009 by Larry Crabb. Excerpted by permission.
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.
Table of Contents
Prologue: Finding Your Place in God's Story....................XIV
How this Book Can Speak to You....................XXIII
Part One: A Fall, a Promise, and the Story Begins....................1
Love Letter One: Genesis I Have a Plan: You Are Invited to My Party....................2
Love Letter Two: Exodus You Must Know Me to Trust Me....................7
Love Letter Three: Leviticus Holiness Comes Before Happiness: Holiness Is Happiness....................10
Love Letter Four: Numbers Making You Holy Is Hard Work for Both of Us....................14
Love Letter Five: Deuteronomy You Fail Me, but I Never Fail You....................18
Part Two: History Gives Away the Plot....................23
Love Letter Six: Joshua Learn to Hate Sin More Than Suffering....................24
Love Letter Seven: Judges Sin Is in You, Lodged Deep....................28
Love Letter Eight: Ruth I Have the Cure....................33
Love Letter Nine: 1 Samuel The Cure Will Hurt....................37
Love Letter Ten: 2 Samuel The Cure Will Make You Great....................42
Love Letter Eleven: 1 Kings Do Not Make Solomon's Mistake: Success Is Not Greatness....................47
Love Letter Twelve: 2 Kings Failure Is an Opportunity, Not a Defeat....................52
Love Letter Thirteen: 1 Chronicles Emptiness Now, Fullness Later; That Is a Promise....................57
Love Letter Fourteen: 2 Chronicles Real Trust Develops in the Dark....................63
Love Letter Fifteen: Ezra I Am Here: I Will Make You Holyand Whole....................68
Love Letter Sixteen: Nehemiah Remember, Small Obedience Is a Great Work....................73
Love Letter Seventeen: Esther No One, No One, Can Thwart My Plan....................77
Part Three: Living in Mystery with Wisdom and Hope....................83
Love Letter Eighteen: Job To Rest in Hope, You Must Writhe in Pain....................85
Love Letter Nineteen: Psalms Ask Your Hardest Questions and Sing Your Loudest Praise....................89
Love Letter Twenty: Proverbs You Must Fear Me to Follow Me....................94
Love Letter Twenty-One: Ecclesiastes The Way Up Is the Way Down....................99
Love Letter Twenty-Two: Song of Songs I Will Teach You How to Dance....................103
Part Four: A Word to the Foolish....................109
Love Letter Twenty-Three: Isaiah Prepare to Be Slapped, Then Hugged....................115
Love Letter Twenty-Four: Jeremiah There Is Water in the Well....................120
Love Letter Twenty-Five: Lamentations Painful Thirst Creates Joyful Hope....................125
Love Letter Twenty-Six: Ezekiel Face Your Evil, Then See My Glory....................130
Love Letter Twenty-Seven: Daniel Your Life Is Off Course; My Plan Is Not....................135
Love Letter Twenty-Eight: Hosea Love Is Deeper Than Hate....................140
Love Letter Twenty-Nine: Joel Wake Up to Desire, Lose Hope in Yourself, and Pray Right for Life....................144
Love Letter Thirty: Amos Real Worship Produces Real Change....................148
Love Letter Thirty-One: Obadiah Celebrate! I Will Defeat Evil....................153
Love Letter Thirty-Two: Jonah Yield to My Plan; I Will Not Yield to Yours....................157
Love Letter Thirty-Three: Micah You Are Guilty! You Are Pardoned!....................161
Love Letter Thirty-Four: Nahum Your Relationships Will Work; I Will See to It....................165
Love Letter Thirty-Five: Habakkuk When Nothing Works, Wait! My Plan Is Good....................169
Love Letter Thirty-Six: Zephaniah Do Not Settle for Cosmetic Change; That Is Not My Plan....................173
Love Letter Thirty-Seven: Haggai I Have the Power; You Will Be Holy....................177
Love Letter Thirty-Eight: Zechariah Believe What You Cannot See....................182
Love Letter Thirty-Nine: Malachi Soon You Will See: The Light of the World Is Coming....................!187 Part Five: The Hero Takes Center Stage....................193
Love Letter Forty: Matthew Jesus Takes Over....................200
Love Letter Forty-One: Mark Jesus Will Take You Back Then Forward....................211
Love Letter Forty-Two: Luke Let Jesus Lead the Way....................217
Love Letter Forty-Three: John Heaven's Reality Has Moved into Yours....................223
Part Six: Clumsy People Take Dance Lessons....................229
Love Letter Forty-Four: Acts Tell the People the Full Message of this New Life....................230
Love Letter Forty-Five: Romans Think Hard and, at the Same Time, Let Your Imagination Soar....................236
Love Letter Forty-Six: 1 Corinthians I Never Give Up on My People; My Plan Will Succeed....................243
Love Letter Forty-Seven: 2 Corinthians You Will Be Immersed in Tears yet Filled with Deep Joy....................248
Love Letter Forty-Eight: Galatians Do Not Misunderstand Freedom; Your Fruitfulness Depends on It....................!254 Love Letter Forty-Nine: Ephesians The Power to Descend Will Lift You Up....................261
Love Letter Fifty: Philippians Give Me Everything, and You Will Lose Nothing....................266
Love Letter Fifty-One: Colossians Do Not Expect Today What I Have Promised for Tomorrow: Live in Hope!....................272
Love Letter Fifty-Two: 1 Thessalonians Turn! Serve! Wait!....................277
Love Letter Fifty-Three: 2 Thessalonians Let Then Interpret Now....................283
Love Letter Fifty-Four: 1 Timothy Guard the Truth; It Is Your Lifeline to Real Church....................289
Love Letter Fifty-Five: 2 Timothy A Soon-to-Die Saint Looks Back at Life-and Ahead to Life!....................295
Love Letter Fifty-Six: Titus How You Relate Makes My Story Attractive-or Not....................301
Love Letter Fifty-Seven: Philemon Real Life Changes Every Relationship....................307
Love Letter Fifty-Eight: Hebrews Believe! Wait! Love! Do Not Quit on My Son!....................312
Love Letter Fifty-Nine: James Save Your Soul by Living Well....................320
Love Letter Sixty: 1 Peter Soon! In a Little While. Soon!....................326
Love Letter Sixty-One: 2 Peter I Know How to Rescue My Children from Their Worst Problem....................333
Love Letter Sixty-Two: 1 John I Want You to Know the Real Truth About Who You Are....................339
Love Letter Sixty-Three: 2 John Watch Out! The Deepest Truth Is the Most Easily Missed....................345
Love Letter Sixty-Four: 3 John Release Love Before You Judge Sin in Another....................352
Love Letter Sixty-Five: Jude Keep Yourself in My Love as You Wait for My Party....................357
Part Seven: The Promise Is Kept: Happiness Forever....................365
Love Letter Sixty-Six: Revelation Reign with the Lamb Now, and You Will Sing When the Lion Roars!....................371
Epilogue: The Story Everyone Needs to Hear (in Sixty-Six Paragraphs)....................380
About the Author....................399
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
There comes a time in one's life when a decision must be made about who God is and what the Bible says. It is difficult, if not impossible, to approach these questions with an open mind. Our experiences, beliefs, and education influence (if not predetermine) the result. I respect Crabb for being a beacon of authenticity in the field of Christian psychology, against the "just-do-the-right-thing" legalism of modern Pharisees like John MacArthur. In 66 Love Letters, Crabb uses the literary device of a conversation in which God reveals to him the primary message of each book in the Bible. And, sadly, the overall message is that God doesn't care enough to intervene in this life. Suffering exists. Religions have different views to explain why. Some say that God is good, but is powerless to stop evil. Crabb argues that suffering not only just exists; suffering is the point of it all. In this world we will suffer. Just get used to it. God isn't going to help make it better - although He really does love you! In fact, your desire for a better life is your biggest problem. You weren't meant to be happy now, you were meant to be miserable, because that is what makes you more holy. Focus instead on how horrible and worthless you are, because you are only a bit player anyway. Happiness is only for the next life. This defeatist trend is growing in evangelical Christianity. They see that Christianity is not working like it should. Churches are full of people who are actually worse than those outside them. Better to just lower our expectations, give up on this life, and wait it out until the next. God uses suffering to grow us. But maybe God doesn't want us to remain suffering? Jesus was criticized for partying, for enjoying fine food and wine. He actually healed and fed people! Yes, Jesus suffered a horrible death, but Jesus did not stay there! Maybe we suffer because we made mistakes, but we are only meant to stay there until we learn the lessons and get out of it. And when God gives us principles for living a better life, maybe He wants us to use them to improve our life, not to realize that we are wrong for wanting a better life? And if suffering was the point, and we can't depend on God to do anything, why didn't God just leave the Hebrews in Egyptian slavery? Why promise a land of milk and honey, when we are not supposed to want it anyway? Why did Jesus slip away from the crowd that wanted to kill Him? Why did Jesus heal anyone? Why did Jesus even come? Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Booksneeze 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."
66 Love Letters is an amazing book about finding our own place in God's story. There are 66 chapters, one for each book of the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments. In each chapter, Dr. Crabb presents a dialogue between man and God. He asks God a lot of questions, and God has such relevant and timely responses, very applicable to how we feel and the things we are going through. It makes the scriptures come alive in a very personal way. Dr. Crabb recommends that the reader does not attempt to read this book straight through in a week or two, like a novel. He suggests instead to read one chapter per week, then read the corresponding "love letter" itself from the Bible. This is exactly what I have been doing, and I am savoring each chapter as I go, taking time to read the scriptures before moving on to the next chapter in the book. I don't want to rush through this book. I want to take my time, and slowly digest each portion on the way. Even though I want to take my time with reading my copy of this book, just as the author suggests, I don't want to postpone my review until I am finished. I am in a hurry to encourage others to get this book ... now! Start reading this book, and follow the format that Dr. Crabb suggests, and get into studying the Bible just the way God intended. As written in the inside cover flap, "When you hear the master Storyteller tell His story - and your part in it - a shift happens in the center of your heart. You pause in the middle of terrific blessings or terrible trials or maybe just everyday life, and you say, "So that's what it's all about!" I am a member of the Book Sneeze Book Review Blogger Program at www.booksneeze.com.
This book is one of the most unique books and profound books I have come across. I loved it! I found myself underlining something in just about every chapter. It is like a summary and commentary on the Bible but is written in such a way that held my attention and made me eager to read more. The writing is incredible because the whole book is written as a conversation between God and a man who has questions about each of the books of the Bible while reading it as a love letter from God. So often, the man is asking the same questions I have about the different books. Through "God's" part of the conversation, the author shows how all the books come together to point to Jesus and God's plan to get people to His "big party (heaven)." I took my time reading this one since there is so much to comprehend and chew on. It is very thought provoking and will be treasured as a great reference book in my library. I plan to re-read the chapters that relate to the book of the Bible I am currently reading. I recommend this to anyone who is interested in spiritual things or who has questions concerning things in the Bible.
I am always happy to recommend Larry Crabb to others. He is well educated and does not shrink back from disclosing his own struggles. He is honest about the tough questions that remain unanswered for many of us concerning the Bible and the nature of God Himself. I gave this book to a very old friend who has struggled for years with many aspects of the Bible-- especially the Old Testament. I read each chapter of the book after I completed each Bible book. It brought me insight, encouragement, and great joy to know that God accepts me even when I find it hard to understand who He is and what His word means to me. Larry Crabb is a good representative of a man who is genuinely humble and speaks as a fellow struggler. I find this to be refreshing and it brings me great joy and inspires my own personal hope and ongoing confidence that I can continue to grow in grace in spite of my doubts, fears, and struggles along the way.
As a book reviewer for booksneeze.com I recently read 66 Love Letters by Dr. Larry Crabb. I must say that I really enjoyed this book. It is written in a conversational style of a dialogue between God and the author. Dr. Crabb does an excellent job at helping people see God's intention for each of the 66 books of the Bible. It is a written in a very personal style and helps the reader to understand some hard topics throughout the Bible. While this should not be taken as a commentary of the Bible, it is a valuable tool for understanding each of the books of the Bible. The personal style of writing makes this book a very easy read. One would want to take their time through this book to get the fullest effect of the book. I find Dr. Crabb's honesty very appealing and enlightening. Given his national status it would have been easy to not have put this honesty within the book. However, he lays himself out before his readers as he dialogues with God concerning the hardships of life and how to apply the Bible to our lives. Instead of approaching all the doctrinal issues and complexities of the Bible, Dr. Crabb writes this book from a love letter status. He boils each book down to a one or two sentence synopsis of what God is trying to convey to us. The Bible is God's love letter to us and Dr. Crabb helps us to understand this love letter. This book would be good for the new believer in helping them to understand that God loves them and how to see that throughout the Bible. It is also good for the mature believer as they study the Word of God. Well done, Dr. Crabb!
I really wanted to enjoy this book slowly as it is one of those that you need to dwell on and meditate over along with reading God's Word. Each chapter focuses on one of the books of the Bible. It examines what God was trying to say and what our response should be. Since studying at Bible college and having to read many of Dr. Larry Crabb's books, I have become a bit of a fan. This book was no surprise to me in it's beautifully written content and well researched scriptures. I raced through this book, but will definitely read it again, along with the Bible, to see the line that is woven through the Word. I would definitely recommend this book to someone that find reading the Bible to be too boring yet would like to know what it is about! This is one of those books that you will never part with. Or lend out!
I've finished reading "66 Love Letters" by Dr. Larry Crabb and is was fantastic! His approach on the book was different and refreshing! This book has real depth to it, and should be read over time to get the most enjoyment and meaning from it. The book is written as if God and Dr. Larry Crabb are having a conversation. Dr.Crabb wrote this book after reading the bible and wrote what he felt god was trying to say in each book of the bible! At first I thought it was a little weird that Dr. Crabb and God were having a conversation, but it grew on me and now I have to say that was one of my favorite parts! I also did not like how he was speaking for God, but then I realized that he was making God say what Dr. Crabb thought the books of the bible meant, and loved it! I felt more understanding and this book has tremendously helped me! This book is amazing and would be great to read or give as a gift! Just remember this is what Dr. Crabb thought that God was trying to say, so it might not be the absolute truth, but great book nonetheless!
Gives new and fresh insight to each book of the Bible. After reading this, it made me take each book of the Bible, re-read them and then look back again at the author's take on what each book of the Bible is showing us. I strongly recommend this book, and most anything else by this author.
Have you ever wondered how the 66 books of the Bible all fit together? Is there a common thread that runs through from Genesis to Revelation? In his book 66 Love Letters, Dr. Crabb gives a brief summary of each of the 66 books of the Bible, the general theme of each book, and how each book builds on one another with the message of God's love for humanity. What I found most interesting about this book is the unique approach it takes. Rather than using a didactic teaching style, the book is written as a personal conversation between Crabb and God. I have to admit, at first I was a bit leery of the first person use of God speaking in casual modern day English. I can understand that some people would be turned off by this. But after reading the first few chapters, I got used to the style and tone, and I began to enjoy the book. It made clear some very profound truths in books such as Obadiah, that are hard to understand. Just keep in mind that Dr. Crabb's words are not the words of God. It's merely Dr. Crabb's interpretation. This book made me look at the Bible in a different way, and I am more motivated to dig deeper into what the Bible says, in a personal way to me as He did with Dr. Crabb. Thomas Nelson provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for this review. Opinions are entirely my own.
A book, or as some may call it a bible, that was captivating. This book is practically a Bible written in a simpler version that is easier to understand. It conveys the message God intends in each of the 66 books of the Bible, written in a letter format from God to us, his children. It helps one to understand the main message God wants us to understand from each book of the Bible, but much simpler and way easier to understand. It is also much shorter than reading a Bible, so you do not get tired of it. I personally enjoyed this book very much. I did not tire of it, because the letter format of the book kept it interesting. It was like I was having a personal conversation with God himself. This book answered a lot of personal questions I had concerning my faith, and helped me to better understand many things about Christianity that I perhaps was previously confused about. I would recommend this book to anyone. http://booksneeze.com/blogger/resources/9780849919664 Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com <http://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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
66 Love Letters - A Conversation with God That Invites You into His Story reads as a two-way conversation with the author (who represents us with all our shortcomings and questions) and God. Using the conversation as a backdrop, Dr. Crabb explains the emphasis in each book (love letter) of the Bible, and unfolds the unifying and underlying theme-the common thread that pulls each letter together and makes it practical to our lives. Crabb highlights the human dilemma-our thirst to understand and resulting anxiety when we do not, our craving for emotional comfort and consequential confusion when there is none. His insight blows the fluff off of feel-good messages and exposes the core problem-our selfishness. He persistently points us to the only solution, the one seen in every book of the Bible, God's Son. My criticism of this work is that Dr. Crabb interjects some controversial viewpoints that are confusing and unnecessary. (For example, stating that Heaven is this earth remade-that would need a book to explain). But overall, I recommend this book for believers wanting to unpack the truths of the Bible in a simple way and to see the bigger picture beyond the nitty-gritty hard-stuff we often don't "get". Janey L. DeMeo M.A. Copyright © April 2010 www.orphansfirst.org www.JaneyDeMeo.com www.twitter.com/JaneyDeMeo http://janey-demeo.blogspot.com Janey DeMeo is founder and director of Orphans First. She is also an author and speaker. Her husband, Louis, is a church-planter and pastor. They were formerly missionaries for 22 years in France, and are now based in Southern California where they continue their ministry. They both taught at the Calvary Chapel Bible College.
"From God To You, 66 Love Letters" by Dr. Larry Crabb, is truly just that, a collection of Love Letters from God to you. Dr. Larry Crabb has taken each of the 66 Books of the Bible, and broken them down into easily understandable text, so that the lay person can fully understand exactly what God is saying to us through His story. Starting with Genesis and continuing on through Revelation, each book in broken down into a Love Letter as though God is speaking directly to you as you read it. In fact, I'm sure God is right there with you and me, as we read and realize what is meant in each and every letter. If you have ever taken on the right to read the Bible, as I have and do, this wonderful collection is a great study tool that will enhance and should be in every Christen library. I am currently re-reading the Bible in chronological order, and when I find something I haven't or don't understand, "66 Love Letters", makes it clear. An excerpt from the book states "Learn To Hate Sin More Than Suffering." This comes from Love Letter Six: Joshua. In this letter God is explaining the battles we must fight within ourselves so that we conquer everything that opposes God within us. The entire book gives the reader the opportunity to get things right with God. The previous statement is just one example of what you'll find when reading "66 Love Letter." Are you someone who has accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior? By reading these Love Letters you can gain the understanding of each of the 66 Books of the Bible, and that can only mean that each of us can get closer to God. This collection could also be a tool for helping to bring someone else closer to God and possibly allow them to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. Now wouldn't that be wonderful? Dr. Larry Crabb has done a spectacular job of breaking things down and I for one applaud his efforts. Bravo Dr. Crabb, and thank you.
I didn't enjoy this book. I don't have any problem with the fact that God has written the Bible to us out of His love ~ or that we should be able to talk to Him in a personal, approachable way. What makes me uncomfortable is when someone decides to take on the other side of that conversation and writes what they think God is saying ~ and they aren't staying strictly with the Bible. Plus he seems to believe that the Bible is too difficult for people to understand. With so many new good translations out there, the really important things aren't that hard to grasp. I am not one of those that thinks we need all the thee(s) and thou(s) in order to be holy, but that pendulum can swing too far in the other direction too. For example, in this book God supposedly says of Genesis that, "The three of Us were making preparations to throw a party, to invite others to a dance, to a dance We've been enjoying since before time began. But there were no 'others' to invite. So at a family council, We decided to create people, human beings just like you whom We could enjoy as they enjoyed Us and all the beauty We had made." Or "The drama of the first eighteen chapters of My second love letter shows the lengths I must go in order to free weak and helpless people from bondage to an evil power greater than themselves. Ask any sex addict what I'm talking about." Okaaay ... So that's the first example that would pop into God's head? Or is it Dr. Larry Crabb's idea? Now again, I do think we need to relate but we're back to my pendulum problem. It applies to the idea of respecting God too. Some people were too strict with this: flailed themselves, and thought to please God you had to be perfect and go out and do a bunch of good works. Others think all you need to do is be born because God loves everyone. That's a pendulum swinging too far in both directions. The truth is in the middle. Same with this whole familiarity thing. I think we should be able to talk to God like a friend and approach him without fear ~ but we still need to respect who He is and not rewrite His words and being like this. I think if it was a book about anyone else who had written a bestselling book and their words were being taken out of context ... someone wouldn't be happy. Of course, the author can always argue God told him to do it. :o) My only point is that there are tons of books about the Bible on the market. They manage to help make the point without trying to "portray" God for the people. There is only one God and I think He does that job just fine by Himself. This is designed so that you read the chapter and then the book in the Bible. The book is of good quality and it is well written.
This book took me a while to get through because of its depth. It was a very good read, and I really enjoyed reading it. It was like eavesdropping on a private conversation with the author and God. It was very informative and very refreshing to read. Sometimes the Bible can be hard to understand, or hard to figure out what we are supposed to be getting out of a certain passage, and this book did a wonderful job of making you feel like every part of the Bible is written for you. Although it took me a while to get through, I really enjoyed the book. You have to take your time reading it -- it's not a fiction book that you can just read through in a few days. Each chapter covers an entire book of the Bible, so you need to take time to absorb each chapter. Overall I really liked this book and will be passing it along to friends and family to read as well!
This book drew me in. I sometimes get lost in the language of the bible, as beautiful as it is, and miss the meaning. This book takes these lessons and puts them in a letter just for me from my beloved heavenly father. It made me feel closer to him and isn't that what we are all supposed to be searching for?
The 39 books that make up the Old Testament and the 27 that make up the New Testament of the bible are condensed and put together in this piece by Dr. Crabb entitled 66 Love Letters: A Conversation With God that Invites You Into His Story. With most of the chapters no longer than three or four pages Dr. Crabb's book is a smooth and easy read for such a long and large book. It came as a great surprise that I enjoyed reading it. As a person who strictly reads fiction, I have to admit my first experience with a spiritual growth book was indeed enjoyable. Although, as I progressed into the book, it explains each of the 66 books in the bible as if it were written directly from God, but I couldn't keep myself from visualizing this book written in a journal or some sort of diary kept by Dr.Crabb. However, as I said earlier I am a fiction reader always in search of a good story and I found one that was also encouraging. It also made the bible seem a lot more understandable. On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is the least enjoyable and ten being the most enjoyable, I give 66 Love Letters a nice solid 7, so listen up you die hard fiction readers, just like myself, if you are brave enough to step out of your comfort zone of fiction works this book will definitely blow your mind and make it all worthwhile.
The publisher's description: The story of God written in intimate love letters just for you. Dr. Larry Crabb knows that if we could see the larger story of God and humanity, our world would never be the same. That story is found in large part in the sixty-six letters of the Bible. Written in a conversational first person, as if God is speaking directly to us, Dr. Crabb looks at each individual book in scripture and boils it down to a one- or two-sentence message to us from that particular book. He then unpacks each sentence in a short chapter answering the question, What does God want me to hear from this love letter? The book's epilogue then fits all sixty-six pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together into one coherent paragraph and reveals the beautiful picture of what God has been about since the creation of the world. Far from being comprehensive, this is a personal approach to helping readers know God and his great love for them, his message for all mankind, and how their lives fit into His larger story. My thoughts: I really just could not get into this book. I was really excited with what Dr. Crabb was doing with this book, but as I read it I just could not feel myself in his place. It honestly felt very much like I was eavesdropping on a private conversation between a child of God and his King. It was refreshingly honest, and I saw the Word of God relate in ways I have never imagined it could. But it still just seemed a bit distant and detached for me. I truly wish I could relate better to this book, as I think it was a wonderful idea. However, I struggled to get through it as if I was reading an assignment from a literature class that I was not interested in, yet had to read for the test material. Summary: I would not definitely tell you not to read this one. I can see its potential. I would pray that it would touch you in your time of need-when you need to hear a word from God. Dr. Crabb is a gifted writer and obviously very close with God through much study and meditation on His Word. I hope you find within this work a Word from God directly to your heart.
This book is not meant to be read alone. I think it should be read with the Bible, each chapter is based on the 66 Books of the Bible in order. I do think that the book is meant to be from the authors' perspective and that one can agree or develop their own perspective. It is very organized and clear. Written in first person, the author asks God and conversates about what God wants him to learn from each chapter. He questions God sometimes, and writes what his perspective of how God is answering from his knowledge and experience with the Bible and God. I do recommend this book for all, especially those like me who may read the Bible and not understand what just happened! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com blogger review 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."
Disclaimer: I like Larry Crabb. And I like Larry Crabb's books. His writings on marriage, men and women, counseling, and community have been some of the most helpful things I've read over the years. Needless to say I was very excited when 66 Love Letters was released. 66 Love Letters, however, is quite a departure from most (all) of Crabb's earlier writings. Basically, he devotes a chapter to each book of the Bible, each resembling a unique love letter from God to people. At 400 pages, it is not a short, quick read. In fact, I found it difficult to read through as one might read a novel or typical nonfiction work. However, length and depth notwithstanding, I enjoyed Crabb's perspective on Scripture. Though not technically so, I believe the book works more as devotional or research and would probably lend itself more to 66 short interactions rather than one lengthy read. I appreciated Crabb's challenge to find your place in God's story. While certainly not on par with Scripture, we can all learn from God's working in, through, and in spite of us if we will take the time and energy to reflect and grow from how our stories intersect (or fail to intersect) with God's overall kingdom program. While the book seems to be aimed at those who do not understand the Scriptures, I would most likely recommend this book to those who already have a working theology and understanding of Scripture.