Saturday, June 15, 2013

Review: The Lifestyle of a Prophet by James Goll

The Lifestyle of a Prophet: A 21-Day Journey to Embracing Your Calling by James W. Goll
"If your heart says, 'Not my will, but Yours be done,'
you will receive much as you read these pages."
--James W. Goll
Join respected prophetic leader James W. Goll for an incredible journey into the heart of the prophetic calling. This unique, hands-on 21-day guide will help you develop the intimacy with God essential to hearing His voice clearly. Reflection questions, devotional prayers and practical applications will help you proclaim His words faithfully--and step boldly into your calling.
 The Church is rapidly embracing the current presence of ministry gifts or Ephesians 4:11 callings, and more books on the subject are arriving from many different theological backgrounds. James W. Goll has been writing on the subject of Prophets and the prophetic for over a decade and the content of his newest book The Lifestyle of a Prophet echoes with a depth of experience. The book itself is an update of one of his earliest books The Coming Prophetic Revolution rewritten in a devotional format and expanded with new stories and wisdom. By keeping character and relationship with God at the forefront, James Goll has written an effective, biblical, and thorough description of a prophetic life and function, keeping the revelation applicable to believers from all backgrounds and callings.

Goll succeeds in crafting a deep, but accessible and inspirational guide to the prophetic for every believer. While the word "Prophet" is in the title, virtually none of the information in the book applies only to those who believe themselves to be called as prophets. The book is divided into thirds, with each section moving deeper into the specific callings and functions of Prophets. Section One, "A Lifestyle of Intimacy," makes a clear call to relationship with Christ that remains essential for every believer. The section could easily stand as a book on its own and remain relevant and inspirational for believers from every walk and most theological persuasions. The second section "The Lifestyle of Wisdom" eases into more charismatic theology moving from lifestyle to walking in the gifts of the Spirit, and maturity. The third section "The Lifestyle of Revelation" most directly deals with the function and calling of the prophet and also features the most narrative as the author describes his own interaction and experiences. Within each of these sections are seven chapters to fit the "21-day Journey to Embracing your Calling"; however, the book reads as if the devotional format is an afterthought. The chapters are lengthy for a devotional and the reflection questions are fairly general. For those who are looking for a devotional, this book will probably be meatier than what they were looking for. For those who simply wish to read a book about Prophets and the prophetic, the devotional content simply adds flavor to a thorough book.

For many The Lifestyle of a Prophet will provide an excellent introduction to the prophetic as well as the function of a prophet. I greatly appreciate Goll's emphasis on character and maturity, which runs as a steady theme through the whole book. The information rarely becomes mechanical and always connects to a personal relationship with Jesus, making this book an excellent field guide for those developing in their relationship with Christ as well as those seasoned in their gifts and callings.

As a devotional this book is probably too much to chew, but as a field guide to the prophetic and an introduction to the prophetic life, this book stands as a classic. I would easily recommend this work to all who are interested in the topic, and the way Goll eases into more Charismatic theology makes this a good introduction for those who aren't familiar with the practice of the gifts of the Spirit as well. I am greatly appreciative that the publisher included a general index as well as a scripture index as I am already making plans to revisit this work and pull from it for meditation and application in my own life.

My thanks to Chosen Books for providing a complimentary review copy. I have provided an honest review.

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