25 September, 2022

The Stories and the Strength

by | 15 March, 2006

By Mark A. Taylor

LeRoy Lawson told a Standard Publishing Christian Writers Clinic audience more than 25 years ago, “Dynamic writing follows dynamic living.”

Brian Jones was just a boy then, but without hearing Lawson’s advice, he has followed it. His new book is the testimony of someone who has embraced life with all the energy a young man can muster.

Second Guessing God, just released by Standard Publishing, reveals some of what Jones’s life has taught him. He tells us story after story about oddballs and everyday people who have given him hope, shed light on his own personal pain or doubt, or forced him to reconsider what he believes about God.

It’s the characters in Brian’s true stories that will keep readers reading:

“¢ a hollow-eyed woman Brian tried to rescue as she stood unmovable in the path of 18-wheelers barreling down an interstate highway.

“¢ a resolute 60-something church member who told Brian she believed she was in the hospital with pneumonia so she could help the single-mother nurse on her floor.

“¢ the Buchenwald survivor struggling with despair whose wife also attended Brian”s church.

“¢ the “prostitutes, gangbangers, and heroin addicts” who confronted him in a low-income housing neighborhood where he went to deliver food and share God”s love.

“¢ “Tattoo Man,” a resident of that neighborhood “covered with tattoos from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet,” who took Brian”s groceries and finally let him pray for him.

“¢ the leather-clad, beer-swilling crowd at a biker wedding Brian performed.

I found myself chuckling out loud at some of these stories and then, within pages, hiding tears. I predict every reader will laugh and cry as they identify with the unvarnished truth Brian exposes.

Preachers and teachers will tell these stories. Small group leaders will start discussions with them. (A discussion guide will be published this summer.) Every reader will relate to the questions and the quandaries Brian admits he has faced. He offers hope as he unflinchingly admits his own weaknesses and then takes us to God”s Word for help.

This is no pop-culture, pat-answer panacea for every ill. Brian looks to a wide range of literature and Christian classics for illustrations and insight. He readily admits his only response to some questions is “I don”t know.” He confesses his struggles and encourages his readers with theirs.

As I read, I made a mental list of friends who will be helped by Second Guessing God: A longtime elder who, late in life, has lost his wife. A Christian minister who never admits his own struggles with doubt and disease. A minister”s daughter who has served God faithfully all of her life, and now her second husband is facing death.

All of these could find courage to carry on from this highly readable book. But I know one person it has already helped. I will be stronger because I”ve read this book. I believe that will be true for everyone who reads it.

<a href="https://christianstandard.com/author/admin/" target="_self">Christian Standard</a>

Christian Standard

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