Better: How Jesus Satisfies the Search for Meaning Paperback – 9 Jan 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
Would have given it 5* but found the reading a bit awkward ... There appear to be no gaps between paragraphs - at least on the ipad Kindle app ... If the formatting were adjusted it would be 5* all the way
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Tim Chaddick, who is one of the pastors at Reality L.A., a rapidly growing church in the heart of Hollywood, California, aims to show in his debut book, 'Better: How Jesus Satisfies the Search for Meaning,' how the questions of the heart find their answer in the person of Jesus.
As a pastor and resident of Los Angeles, he is no stranger to the "constant anxiety that stems from unmet expectations in a culture that promises much." He regularly encounters budding actors and actresses who have invested so much time and money in their career, only to find out they'll never make it because all the others stand out more. Or the musician, who was promised success, but is now in danger of losing his record deal. Or the many who have tasted success, but have soon discovered there is no satisfaction in it, and are deeply feeling that there has to be more to life.
For the many who experience unmet expectations in a culture that promises so much, he reminds them that "life may not work out the way you hope," but it is also possible to experience peace and joy in this world. The only condition is, "Are you willing to have your script reworked?"
After being rescued from a life marred with drug abuse and promiscuity, the book of Ecclesiastes was one of the first books Chaddick read when he became a Christian. He states that this book helps us ask the right questions, the ones we often avoid, and thereby sets us up for something better.
'Better' explores the wisdom shared in the book of Ecclesiastes, and applies them to life today. Using the wisdom of Solomon "The Preacher" (author of Ecclesiastes), He takes us on a journey with Solomon to "expose the myths that often form our thinking in life and discover an alternative that is actually much better." He establishes early on that if there is "vanity" in what we live for, then we should be living for something better. Throughout the book Chaddick reminds us that Ecclesiastes helps us ask hard questions, and thereby sets us up for the hope that is found in the ultimate "Preacher-King," Jesus Christ, who is the grand subject of the entire Bible, and the Savior of humanity.
In light of this, from the outset, Chaddick poses thought-provoking questions that we often ignore but intrigue us, like "What choices will we make today, tomorrow, and when our breath leaks from our lungs for the last time?" and "How will we live, and how will we die?"
The structure of the book is straightforward and effective. The book is made up of sixteen chapters. In the middle of the introduction and conclusion, the book is divided into three main categories of life: Aspirations, Assets and Attitudes. Within these are chapters that deal specifically with facets of each.
He has written a much-needed book. It is for the Christian and non-Christian, the professional and amateur, the old and the young. And it contains a message people from all walks of life need to hear. Chaddick, a preacher himself, delivers it well with wit, passion, shrewdness and prudence. He has had "had the privilege of seeing so many people's lives changed from the inside out, brought from fear to fearlessness, from despair to hope as they discover that God is the great author of hope for their individual stories, and this is his prayer and hope for the readers of his book.
The message of this book is loud and clear: "to know Jesus, be made more like Him, live as He calls you to live, and be with Him forever. Until we understand that nothing matters without Him, we won't understand that everything matters because of Him."
While there are probably many excellent books on this topic, this is a book that brings a fresh and much-needed perspective. Chaddick models how to expose the futility of life dictated by our consumer culture, and why life in Jesus is better. And he is able to do this effectively not just because this book is based on Ecclesiastes, but because of personal and ministerial experience.
I highly recommend this book. Not just for you, but for your loved ones. Oh, and also grab a few extra copies for some of the many strangers you brush shoulders with, because they think they know what's best, but this book will help them see that Jesus is better, and He satisfies their search for meaning.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who feels they're at a dead end and needs wisdom on what the next step ought to be. It's Jesus. It's always Jesus. He is better!
I'm also really excited to give a copy to my dad for Christmas!
If I have any reservations about the book, I would have liked each chapter to be fleshed out more. I know Better is intended to be more of a thematic study of Ecclesiastes than a verse-by-verse commentary, but after having heard Chaddick preach through Ecclesiastes in its entirety at Reality LA (where I attend church), I was eager to go even deeper into this profound book of the Bible, and thus I felt like each chapter of Better ended a little too soon for my tastes. Still, for anyone who is studying Ecclesiastes for the first time, I would not hesitate to recommend Better as a good starting point, as I believe it will help the reader more easily detect the themes that hold all of The Preacher's seemingly disjointed sayings together.