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Divine Intention: How God's Work in the Early Church Empowers Us Today [Paperback]

By Larry Shallenberger (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   224
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.48" Width: 6.62" Height: 0.59"
Weight:   0.61 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2007
Publisher   David C. Cook
ISBN  078144389X  
EAN  9780781443890  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
When a group of people practice something for 2,000 years, the expectation is they'd eventually get whatever it was they were committed to doing right. But as individuals and a corporate community, we are still sruggling with many of the issues that plagued the early church. The author takes a fresh look at the book of Acts to help the reader gain a deeper understanding of how God addressed some of these issues in the early church and what that means for us today.

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More About Larry Shallenberger

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Larry Shallenberger was born in 1968.

Larry Shallenberger has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Fearless Conversation

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General   [31520  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Ecclesiology   [1097  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Great book  Sep 9, 2007
I found Divine Intention to be a very well-written, insightful and challenging book. Larry presents a realistic perspective of the church based on personal experience and observation alongside Scripture references from the book of Acts which detail God's "divine intentions" for His body here on earth. Questions at the end of each chapter challenge readers to make personal application of the material. I think that thoughtful, active responses to the questions have potential for changing lives...and churches. At one point in the book the author poses the the question,"So why is the church...worth it?" and gives this reply--"The church is worth it because the Holy Spirit is constantly working to transform it, though we may not always see it."
If you desire to be used of the Lord in His ongoing transformation of the church, I would recommend you read Larry Shallenberger's book--Divine Intention.
Practical Conversation About the State of the Church Today  Jul 4, 2007
It's no secret we're living in the greatest time of change the secular world and Christianity has ever seen. Technology has rendered many things obsolete, cultural values are spilling over borders everywhere, mixing with thoughts, ideas, and perspectives previously thought incompatible, and the Church - the representative body of Christ - is likewise convulsing in the throes of growth and change.

On one side contemporary, cultural, perhaps even post-modern Christianity clamors to be heard over the din of programs, three-point sermons and Legalism - calling for a more feeling, experiential, relevant and out-reach oriented Christian life - and on the other side stands the fundamental, orthodox vanguard of the "old school", preaching loudly against heresy, liberalism, and weak Scriptural founding. What should the church be? Should it be for Christians only and the edification of the saints; should it be an instrument of evangelism, executing the Great Commission, or can it be both?

In the middle are people such as you and I; perhaps raised in quiet, happy, harmonious churches, now disillusioned with fallen pastors, rigid congregations, and the didactic struggle that tugs at all sides of the church.

Is it worth it? Is the church worth saving?

Larry Shallenberger's Divine Intention takes aim at this particular quandary. Part fictional, part devotional, it looks at the state of the church today - where we are, and where we have to go from here. It examines the early Christian church of Acts, and holds it up as a mirror to contemporary churches. It studies the controversial figures of Paul and other apostles, and muses - are we as Christians and churches worthy of being compared to those early Christians, or have we strayed too far into structures and forms that are function oriented only, and not God-breathed and God-filled?

Perhaps the best strength of Divine Intention is its conversational nature, which touches on a true weakness in Christianity today - because we are so fragmented along denominational, ideological, and traditional lines, there is no thoughtful, intellectual, spiritual give and take conversation taking place among Christians. Divine Intention doesn't pretend to have all the answers, but it's not designed that way; it's crafted as a mirror to expose what's on the inside - denominational hang-ups, preferences, and presumptions all - and see how it matches up with those first people Christ commanded to "go forth". It's designed to start the conversation, as well as point in the direction of what such a "Godly" conversation should look like.

Divine Intention also has a lot to say about discovering God's will in our lives, and how this too is a conversation: not a bullet-point list of "What God Wants On Your Itinerary this Year". He directs us instead to conversing with God on an intimate, prayerful level, living a life of obedience as we should to discover what God's will holds for us.

Larry Shallenberger doesn't have all the answers, but he proposes the usefulness of thoughtful, spiritual, divine conversation. For this, seek out the Divine Intention today., and visit
Excellent  Jun 28, 2007
Shallenberger's personal style captivates the reader from page one. Finally an Acts II book without a judgmental or know-it-all attitude that shows the Father's love for His people, no matter who they are. Thank you Larry for giving me a smooth read that reminded me of the love of Christ.
Divine Intention addresses real church issues but fails to answer deeper questions  Jun 20, 2007
Expecting a "what's wrong with church" book in opening up Divine Intention, I was surprised by Shallenberger's discussion of church, personal piety, and how Christians engage a culture that is increasingly more post-Christian every day.

The form was a little too much like a sermon for my taste, but I did find myself getting caught up in the parallel stories unfolding in each chapter. He quotes Blue Like Jazz and uses the Message paraphrase of the Bible, but it still begins with a scripture passage, an anecdote (albeit fictional), and finishes with a theological discourse on the topic of the chapter. The majority of the book has this kind of "old church," modernist appeal to it, dressed up in postmodern lingo. You eventually get used to it, but the mixed genres really threw me off at first.

Shallenberger's treatment of the Book of Acts, especially concerning the history of the early Church, is the strongest part of the book. As he recreates what life was like for early Christ-followers, the reader is caught up in another time and place. I found myself saying at times, "I didn't know that!"

Moreover, I appreciated the author's humility in sharing how he discerns God's voice, makes faith-based decisions, and doesn't always get it right. I admired his defense of the Christian life as one that is not based on formulas or rules, but on a relationship with Jesus. He paints a picture of the church as a wonderfully flawed vehicle that demonstrates God's relational character on earth.

However, Shallenberger writes under the general assumption that we have gotten church right in America. He delves very little into the contrasts between the early and modern churches and seems to suggest that the current model is adequate and effective. He gives us plenty of gracious reasons to hope in the modern church, but doesn't satisfy the curious question: "Couldn't it be different?"

Lastly, I wasn't sure of the intention of Divine Intention. The phrase seems to have multiple meanings in the book. Shallenberger tells great personal stories, reveals incredible socio-historical insights, and unravels interesting melodrama between his three allegorical Christian characters, but I was left wondering what the purpose was.

All in all, its intentions are pure in addressing some real concerns about Christianity in America and places the burden for redemption of the church where it should be - on the shoulders of the individual believer.
Unifying the posts with everyone else  Jun 20, 2007
What can we say about 'Divine Intention'? How about that it's awesome! Within this Larry does an amazing job of bringing us crazy post liberals and our conservative brothers together and reminds us that we're all on the same page. We all have a different part in this global mission, and that's okay. I must say that within this book is one of the best quotes I've read all year, "Presenting Jesus to someone should feel more like dying than conquering." - A challenge for all of us, everyday.

As far as his writing goes, he starts off every chapter with a bit of fiction, and then goes on to discuss situations we've all been in day after day. A great way to bring the two mediums together.
Great read

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