I like to read. I like to read a lot. Over the years, I have found a few authors that I have tried to read everything they write. They have become heroes of the faith to me. Some of them are John MacArthur, Randy Alcorn, Bruce Marchiano, John Piper, Tony Evans, Mark Driscoll, Mark Buchanan, Max Lucado & Joseph Stowell...just to name a few.
This last year I have added a new name to the list: Daniel Henderson
While he has not written a lot of books, the two I have previously read, "Fresh Encounters" and "Pray-zing!" have impacted my life in ways that I cannot describe. All I can say is that I have not been the same after reading them. I have also attended a "Prayer Summit" that Daniel facilitated, and believe that it has been a defining moment in my ministry.
Because of that, when I found out that Daniel had a new book out, I jumped at the chance to get a copy and read it. I was not disapointed, and I don't think you will be either.
The title of the new book is: "Defying Gravity-How to Survive the Storms of Pastoral Ministry".
It is a book that I wish was available to read when I first began pastoring. Of course, that would not have been possible, because the book is new, but the information is extremely valuable and will benefit not only pastors, but anyone in any leadership position, in ministry or in the business world, although I think those in ministry will benefit the most.
Daniel compares the person in leadership or pastoral ministry with a pilot flying a plane. The analogy works very well, and it brings a perspective to the subject matter that is missing in other books on the same subject.
What Daniel writes about has been written about before, but I don’t think I have ever enjoyed reading about it as much as I did reading this book. Much of what he covers would fall under the category of “common sense”. However, since the list of fallen leaders in the church is long, and sadly, growing longer it seems every day, the information presented is vital and needs to be read, absorbed and become a part of the life of pastors and leaders today.
Daniel is often known as the “prayer guy”, and if you have read any of his other books (which I highly recommend), or have been to one of the many Prayer Summits that he facilitates, you know why. This book though is not about prayer, although it is touched upon in the book. This book is about making sure you end the journey intact.
The length of the book is just right. At 179 pages it makes for a fairly quick read, and yet it is long enough to tackle a subject that I have gotten bogged down in while reading lengthier books on the subject. Throughout the book I found myself smiling, nodding in agreement and feeling the need to correct the current course of my ministry. I feel that I am not only a better pastor after having read “Defying Gravity” and putting the information inside to practice, but I am also a better husband, father, friend and brother.
Here are just a few of my favorite quotes from the book:
“…the Enemy does not have to destroy us but simply distract us. Little distractions tolerated over a long period of time result in big disasters.”
“The issue of intimacy with God is core to spiritual health and leadership survival.”
“Our identify should rest securely on the unchanging truth of who we are in Christ.”
“Accountability is not always safe, but it is always worth it.”
The book is filled with facts, but also life stories, including that of the author, who have lived out and experienced the subject matter of the book. This is not a dry academic read, but one that engages you with personal stories, real life anecdotes and quotes from others who have gone before. A few of those quotes reached out and grabbed me, like these from E.M. Bounds:
“To give prayer the secondary place is to make God secondary in life’s affairs.”
“It is better to let the work go by default than to let the praying go by neglect.”
I am not a professional book reviewer by any stretch of the imagination, however I am a pastor, and a fellow brother who is doing his best to follow Jesus. The writings of Daniel Henderson have enabled me to not only continue on this journey in a way that has enhanced my relationship with the Lord, with “Defying Gravity” he has shown me how I can complete the journey in a way that will enable me to hear “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”. And in the end, that I what it is all about.
Thank you Daniel, for being obedient to what God has called you to do, for writing this book, and for being a brother....and a friend. I think I need to go check the instrument panel now.