Book Reviews

Book Review: “I Am Second” (Thomas Nelson)

ias-bookThe Bible is more than a bunch of stories gathered over time. It is a historical record of people from the beginning of time to the end of the first century or so. It talks about how people related with God and how He intervened in their lives. There are success stories and there are failures.

At times we pick up the Scriptures and wonder if the stories of lives that are thousands of years removed from our own will be able to speak to us. If only we could see how God relates to us in our time, with our problems. Maybe we can finally believe that He is real and that He wants to be part of our lives.

Some days we might look in the mirror and wonder if God is really interested in our problems or issues. We want more than just the “right” answer from Christians or we need more than we have been able to find on our own.

  • What can really happen in the midst of an affair and divorce?
  • My life is in pieces and I don’t want it to happen to my kids.
  • Is God really interested in me?
  • Where is He when my relationships are a mess?
  • I grew up in the church buy have fallen into a way of life that I thought I never could be trapped in.
  • I finally have everything I ever dreamed of, and now that it’s in jeopardy, what do I do?

“I Am Second: Real Stories. Changing Lives.” (from Thomas Nelson Publishers) is a collection of real-life stories of encounters with God from real people in our own time. Business people, musicians, husbands and wives, mothers and daughters, sports icons, former pastors, people well-known and people you have never heard of.

What they have discovered is that there is One who is always first. We try to push Him back a place or two as we put ourselves or dreams in the number one seat. We may even try to cut Him out of the picture altogether. But, “God is first. Whether we decide to put him first or not. God makes the rules. God does not need us, but out of his love, he wants us” (229).To take our true place as “seconds” is to live with the understanding that “God is first and others are before ourselves” (xii).

Between the definition and possibility of being a “second” and learning what it means to make God first and dedicate ourselves to being second, the book is filled with these stories. Each one is personal and powerful as men and women tell their own story in their own words.

As you read, even if you’ve known God for a long time, your heart yearns for what is possible in your own life. Freedom. Grace. Mercy. Love for others. Restored relationships. Renewed callings. True, deep and intimate relationship with the God who made everything. From the stoner to the adulterer, the man who cares about money to the man created by God to play baseball. And the promise, the truth of these real stories, is that it is possible for each and every one of us, even you and me.

At the end of each chapter is a web address to hear the individual personally tell you his or her story, along with links to hear about others who went through similar circumstances. Hear the pauses, see the tears, join in the smiles, and be touched by the power of God in each story.

In some ways, “I Am Second” is for those who have hit bottom. Their lives look meaningless and empty and worthless. For them, there is hope. If you already serve God, learn about what is possible in the lives of others. Maybe you never considered the pain and anguish that is out in this world. Let your eyes and heart be opened to help you minister in ways that surpass the cliché and shallow words the Church is often known for. And be encouraged to deepen your relationship with God, wherever you are in your walk, as you open yourself to Him.

Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Thomas Nelson