Saturday, August 10, 2013

A review of "Heaven’s Star"

By Jim Woodell
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012
ISBN-10: 1478281006
ISBN-13: 978-1478281009

Why do need another book on soul-winning?  
There are a lot of books written on the subject of sharing the Gospel; many that can leave you with the impression the author is only sharing untested theories.  There are other books on this subject that are filled with impractical methods, which are really just fluff.  Woodell has a different book for us; an authentic one that is straightforward and saturated in commonsense.  In fact, the tone of this books reminds me of when I questioned Bob Russell about his simple-preaching style.  Bob’s response was, “From the pulpit, sometimes people just want ‘meat and potatoes.’”

Readers will find themselves confronted with several healthy-personal challenges throughout the book.  For example, if lost people aren’t asking you how to be saved -- what is missing in your lifestyle?  And, readers will be reminded of the reality of Hell and that people we know, who are apart from Jesus, are going to Hell.

Woodell writes to equip the average, mature believer who would like to add a few tools to their evangelism toolbox.  Preachers, small group leaders or anyone in leadership would find the book worthwhile -- but this book isn’t restricted in any measure to any one segment of the congregation.  If you have a table to sit around (and coffee to drink) and a lost soul who will hear you out, this book is for you.

Don’t be deceived by the simplicity or lack of “sophisticated” complexities you are used to in books on evangelism.   Woodell demystifies the process of sharing the Good news; he simply wants to help instill confidence and competency in the typical believer.  There is an assumed proposition in the book that many of our past evangelistic methods are either flawed or tainted with empty dogmatics.  Basically, Woodell is delivering a timeless plan, method and message that you can easily outline in your favorite Bible to take with you, to be ready at a moment’s notice to make an eternal impact in the life of those who are lost.  

You will find an abundance of Scriptural references all throughout, but the heart & soul of the book is a survey of Romans chapters 4-8.  The book is broken down into two parts, Section 1 on Preparation, section 2 on A Plan, and then the Addendum which is the actual outline of study the author references throughout the book.  The reader would probably do well to read the included study first, so that you can better follow along with the author’s intentions along the way.

No book is perfect, and this is no exception.  If you have a copy, there are a few typos in chapter 10 on Scripture references that Woodell will have corrected in future printings.  Beyond these few very minor mechanical errors, it’s worth asking of this book if Woodell isn’t taking a risk in disappointing some of us who read it.  Woodell is obviously a gifted evangelist and let me be clear, he is not overselling, manipulating, nor is he deceiving anyone -- but to the point I’m trying to politely raise -- Woodell states many people have responded to his approach after just one study.  In a couple of hours, he has repeatedly walked various people through the study and after just one session he leads them directly to the baptistery.  I mean no disrespect, and I hold Jim in the highest regard, I simply want to point out not everyone will see such fruition, so soon.  One other observation here, Woodell assumes a certain level of Biblical-literacy with the lost people being studied with; a depth that we might not enjoy with all of the people we are trying to reach.  Not everyone we study with will know who Abraham or who Paul or was.

With personal vignettes, several testimonies from others, and passages of Scripture thoroughly woven in, Woodell is a gentle coach who walks alongside the eager evangelist, blessing the Kingdom as he writes this much needed book.  I am honored to review Heaven’s Star -- in chapter 13, Woodell shares a personal story of baptizing a Midwesterner named Gary.  It just so happens, about 15 years later in Gary’s life as a byproduct of Jim’s ministry, Gary baptized me.  And so I have to ask myself, where would I be if Jim hadn't put into practice the principles of this book... and who do I need to be sharing these truths with.

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