Thursday, December 15, 2011

Awakening by Stovall Weems

Stovall Weems is the pastor of Celebration Church and leads his church through a 21-day fast each January called Awakening.  He says "when it comes to my devotional time or certain areas of my life, if I start to not feel like obeying God, I know it is time for a fast...burdensome obedience should be the rare exception, not the norm." His desire is to see people move from a stale "have to" attitude toward God to an alive "want to" relationship.

This book is divided into three sections.  The first section contains 124 pages which talk about topics such as surrender, passion, God's goodness, prayer, and fasting.  The conclusion of each chapter has a testimony from a member of Pastor Stovall's church who has gone through the Awakening fast.  I have to admit that I struggled through this reading.  There were many points that I agreed with, but there were also things that alerted me to read with caution.  I'm not sure that the author truly takes all personality types into consideration when presenting what a relationship with God "should be like".  The chapter I most enjoyed was entitled Fasting For Your Health.  I had no idea all the health benefits that come from fasting!  But since there are many types of fasts, I was a little disappointed that the author didn't mean what type of fast these benefits were resulting from.

The next 18 pages detail The Awakening 21-Day Plan.  Information about different types of fasts are given, along with a sample menu.  Since I have never fasted, I would have liked to see more content in this area.  Most of the book talks about the "why" of fasting but not the "how", both of which are important.

And finally there is a Daily Plan to use each day during the fast.  Each day contains a devotion, bible reading plan, prayer focus, optional book reading plan, and a space for journaling.  There are also three small group discussion guides for those going through the fast as a small group.  I did not personally go through this fast so I cannot give an opinion on how beneficial the plan is.  I feel the need to consult more sources before embarking on this journey.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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