Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Review: Through the Eyes of a Lion: Facing Impossible Pain, Finding Incredible Power by Levi Lusko

Synopsis: What will you do when the unthinkable happens in your life?
Her parents called her Lenya Lion because of her ferocious personality and hair that had been wild and mane-like since birth. But they never expected that, five days before Christmas, their five-year-old daughter would suddenly go to heaven after an asthma attack. How do you walk out of an emergency room without your daughter?
In Through the Eyes of a Lion, Pastor Levi Lusko shares the eye-opening truth of the power of hope in a world that is often filled with pain, suffering, and loss. He says, "This book isn't a manual for grieving, but a manifesto for high-octane living, and through it I want you to see that God made you for a purpose. There is a wild and wonderful calling on your life, a microphone in your hands. Jesus wants you to look at the adventure of your life through His eyes, the eyes of a Lion."
Part memoir but all overtly instructive and deeply inspirational, Through the Eyes of a Lion gives readers the tools they need to face their fears and turn their journey into a roar story.
Chapter themes include:
  • Don't rely on the naked eye
  • Run towards the roar
  • There's no such thing as a wireless anchor
  • Let God use your pain
  • Cue the eagle
What we do in life really does echo in eternity. You are destined for impact, and there's not a moment to lose! (from the back of the book)

Review: This book cause more conflict then I've encountered in a while. Initially, I felt this was pop culture dribble mixed with borderline heretical statements. But my brother highly recommended it, and I wanted to read the works that spoke to him. After finishing the Lusko book, I have modified my original thoughts. His book has merit. My original assertion that he used more pop culture references than the name of Jesus was incorrect and judgmental. It’s about even, actually. He offers sound instructions about family, obedience to God, and eternity.
The part most worthy is the section where he speaks about pain. He borrows from C. S. Lewis and called pain a “megaphone”. He says that pain can often take us places to witness about God that we won’t get to otherwise. Pain allows us to connect to others in pain, to meet them there, to stand with them – as he has for others who have lost children. He warns us about using our pain as an excuse for selfishness (p112). I found this excellent advice.
In addition to Lewis, he also quotes A. W. Tozer and E. M. Bounds – both of whom are well-respected theologians.
But I am still troubled by his connection with Steve Furtick.  As this is the second book in the last few weeks where I have encountered him, I have done diligent study of his theology. And the more I read about Furtick, the more convinced I am of the heretical, arrogant, and erroneous qualities of his teachings.
I also realized that I react with automatic suspicion to the type of church Levi Lusko leads. It’s very….hipster. And I automatically associate anything hipster with fake, emotions over logic, and desperate pursuit of what’s “cool”. Hipster is more about image than substance and that is what I feel about Lusko and his church, Fresh Life. It’s hard to say these things about his words about his daughter’s death. He seems honest about his pain.
When you listen to his teachings, it’s very positive. Rarely does he mention dying to self, eradicating pride, or sin, as in, we are sinful people. It concerns me when a church looks so much like the things of the world, when it becomes cool to go to it. When our walk with Christ makes us more popular with the world, I worry.
And yet, in Acts 2:47, the early Christians enjoyed “favor with all the people.” I tend to be harsh and critical of anything hipster as well, beyond what is normal.  I can’t argue with the fruit. Hundreds of people (maybe even thousands) know Jesus because of Fresh Life Church. People are seeking God who never had otherwise. So if one stands up and says “this teaching is wrong” you must also explain why so much good is coming out of it. And I can’t. So it is very possible I am being critical and derisive of his ministry out of some sinful motive, jealous or self-righteousness or pride in my own knowledge.
Perhaps it is because of the Dallas Willard book I am reading at the moment – he was been speaking in the Divine Conspiracy about Consumer Christianity verses True Discipleship.  Consumer Christianity is concerned with appearance and numbers, while True Discipleship is concerned with the eternal life of the believer’s soul. Consumer Christians abound, but True Disciples are extremely rare. To be honest, I don’t know if I consider myself one. Lusko and Fresh Life Church feel very much like Consumer Christianity. They have all the appearance of good fruit and good works (and some of it is real and true) but most – I’m not sure if it’s really how the church should look. But again, who am I to judge another’s relationship with God?
Lusko’s writing is easy to read, accessible in language, and mixed with anecdotes about his life with his daughters. He’s funny and engaging.
But I’m not sure I would recommend his book. There is something off about his teachings that gives me pause, even if I can’t name it. 

Bookmarks: 6 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-0-7180-3214-2
Year Published: 2015
Date Finished: 4-7-2016
Pages: 192

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