DECEPTIVE, BUT FRUITFUL
I chose to read and review Kenny Luck’s book because the title, “Soar,” intrigued me and the question on the cover grabbed me: “Are you ready to accept God’s power?” I want to soar and I want to be filled with God’s power – so reading this book made sense.
Reading the book has been fruitful. Luck does an outstanding job of thoroughly dissecting and presenting the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit in fresh ways. I consider it a unique theological work and a solid Biblical study. What keeps it fresh and stimulating is his creative approach and contemporary illustrations. Each chapter begins with an image or story and that theme is always perfectly related to whatever aspect of the Holy Spirit he’s discussing. For example his stories of flying an airplane, receiving a special Christmas gift, and his son’s broken arm are all outstanding images for understanding certain aspects of the Holy Spirit. Some chapters clarified my understanding, in some I learned something new, and in some I discovered a new, refreshing way to present an old concept.
Luck divides the book into three sections, which I found helpful. Part 1, “Transitions” deals with changes in the way we normally think about the Holy Spirit. Part 2, “Transformations” discusses how the Holy Spirit impacts and changes us. Part 3, “Transactions” points to how the Spirit impacts others through us. This is a nice summary of the purpose and ministry of the Holy Spirit, but it also allows readers to focus on each aspect of the Holy Spirit’s ministry for an extended period of time.
And when I say an extended period, that’s what it really needs to be. “Soar” cannot be a quick read – nor is it intended to be. Since I was reading it with the intent of writing a review, I tried to read through it somewhat quickly. But I would have benefited even more if I had really taken the time to utilize the great study guide, either alone or in a group setting. A group setting would, I believe, bring about the most beneficial study. Luck has put great thought into how to apply what the reader learns along the way. While my reading was fruitful, it could have been abundantly fruitful if done within a group.
I do have two criticisms or concerns. One is Luck’s repeated references to his earlier books. I found his repeated parenthetical comments referring to something he covered in one of his previous books as intrusive to the flow. A comment in the Introduction or in a footnote along the way mentioning that reading his previous books would be helpful could suffice. By weaving the repeated references into the book itself I found myself asking “Should I stop and read that book before continuing? Is he trying to sell me his previous book? Is he saying I can’t understand this without reading his previous book?” I kept wondering what it would be like if, during my sermons, I repeatedly said “I covered this last week, last month, etc.)”
My second concern is that the book is billed as part of the “God’s Man Series,” which means it’s written for men. That’s where the deception comes in. While Luck does, at times, try to draw some application to men, I found those applications fitting for women as well. Nothing he said screamed at me “This is for men only.” Since it’s billed as for men, I wonder how many women will ignore it and thereby miss what could be a vital study and life-transforming experience.
Neither of these concerns keeps from recommending this outstanding book. God blessed me – or should I say the Spirit blessed me as I read, studied, and prayed. In fact, I was deeply moved be Luck’s repeated use of passages from John, Romans, and Acts. Perhaps our Lord knew I was planning on preaching from John during Lent, from Romans next summer, and Acts next fall! For me, it was God’s sign that the book was meant for me. Read “Soar” and you will find it meant for you as well.
(“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group fopr this review.”)