Chazown {A Book Review}

In my early 20s, I spent a lot of time taking personality tests in an attempt to discover who I am and what my purpose is. Trolling through a list of 100 questions, which really was just the same 20 questions asked five different ways, I hoped to find a flashing, neon sign at the end telling me what to do.

This never happened.

In fact, much like my recent situation with my iPhone, God challenged me that I was putting something before Him. I was looking to the wisdom of the world and formulas to tell me who I was. He wanted me to turn to Him for that answer.

I’m thirty now, and much wiser {snort}.

I have learned that regardless of what I see as the logical answer, God likes to choose His own way and not be forced into my formulas and pathways. As much as I would like to be able to quickly and simply discover my vision and purpose, with me and God it’s more of a step-by-step leading.

::

Craig Groeschel, the founding and senior pastor of LifeChurch.tv, wrote a book, Chazown.

Chazown (pronounced khaw-ZONE) from the Hebrew, meaning a dream, revelation, or vision. – Groeschel

The book promises to help you “define your vision, pursue your passion, live your life on purpose.” Sounds really cool, huh?!

I was definitely intrigued.

And it’s an interesting book! Groeschel’s energy is apparent, even in the black and white print pages of a book. He’s a go-getter, a visionary, a mover-and-shaker.

He also says some crazy things…

There were moments that reminded me of being in a church service and someone let the crazy old associate pastor have the mike for announcements. You had no idea what was going to come out of his mouth, but you knew it would be inappropriate and unexpected!

Numerous times I would stop reading, mid-sentence, and shake my head wondering if he had really just said what I thought he had. For instance, at one point Groeschel is telling a story about a bird that gets its wings frozen during a snowstorm, falls to the ground, gets dumped on (literally) by a cow, and then is pulled out of the manure by a cat, only to get eaten by the cat. Um…ok.

His point was: “1) Not everyone who drops manure on you is your enemy; 2) Not everyone who digs you out of manure is your friend.” (p 58)

::

I’m still trying to decide if I liked this book or not.

{I liked}

  • The easy writing style.
  • Groeschel provides definite steps, check points and instructions after each section to walk you through the process of discovering your Chazown.
  • The website that they built to accompany the book, filled with tools and videos to help you.

{I disliked}

  • The oversimplification of things. Life is not as black & white as the examples seemed to make out.
  • I felt like this book was yet another of those in a long line of leadership/self-help books that rely on core values, spiritual gifts and past experience to foresee your future. I frequently felt like God’s plan was not sought directly. I guess my problem is that you could have taken the Christian aspect out and had pretty much the same book.
  • If I believed that Groeschel’s directions really revealed my purpose, I would now be discontent as a stay-at-home mom. This is where God has me, this is my current vision, purpose and passion. It’s not my only one, but for now this is where I am called to be.

After all’s said and done, I would recommend this book as a good jumping-off point; not a place to land.

I’m looking for some good books to read through the next year.

What are you reading right now, or want to read?

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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18 thoughts on “Chazown {A Book Review}

    • I read my first Donald Miller book this year. It was “Searching for God Knows What.” I loved it. I’ve been meaning to check out “Blue Like Jazz.” I’ve never read that book by Alan Chambers, I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for the recommendation.

  1. Sounds like an interesting book. Your post has started me thinking about my life. I took years trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. (not sure I’m there yet), but I think all along I was doing God’s will even if I didn’t realize it. I think our attitude should be something like, “Hold on tight!” because God will definitely take us somewhere. :) He can make a roller coaster ride out of our boredom.

  2. Ha! I could have written parts of this about myself. I remember when God told me to quit praying for my grand purpose and do the job He’d set in front of me, which was parenting my (one, at the time) child. Ten years later, I am still working on that job, just with more children and a co-worker now.

    Oh, and I never found those personality tests helpful either. I always seemed to be a tie between at least two categories. Mom told me it’s like that for her too. Must be a hereditary thing, this inability to be put in a box. :)

  3. Hmmm…I wouldn’t pick this book up based on your review here. The fact you could take the Christian aspect out and still have essentially the same book concerns me. Thanks for the honest review. :)

    • I had the same problem. The book gave a step-by-step approach for using your values, giftings and past to discover what your passion and vision is. My tension came when I thought about whether or not that was what God wants us to do. I think it’s just my obsession (I guess I have an addictive personality) with personality tests in the past that made me a little leery about this approach. However, when I was in college one of my professors challenged us by suggesting that Christians sometimes reject secular ideas or ways of doing things just because they’re secular. There’s nothing wrong with the approach, but I just felt like it was too much self-evaluation and not enough reliance on God’s daily promptings. :) Obviously I’m still torn about my opinion. Haha!

  4. I’ve only read one of Groeschel’s books, The Christian Atheist. I felt the same way. Lots of good things to say, but it’s a starting place and covering such a broad range of topics in short little bursts can’t possibly get everything. You gave a helpful review here. God is personal and step-by-step is discovered in relationship with Him every single day. Thanks Melissa!

    • I remember when you guys did The Christian Atheist for your book club. I wanted to read it along with you, but fell behind. You all seemed to get a lot from it, but I think his books are maybe best read in a small group setting. That way you can take a chapter and discuss it, look for other resources and take it more in depth than he did in the book. Still a good book, but needs some more meat — at least for me. :) Haha!

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  6. Melissa! Um, don’t ask me for book recommendations because I’ll never stop. Enough said about that.

    As for your review, it definitely had me LOL’ing because before I even got to your “dislike” section, I was thinking, “not everything is black and white!” and “not everyone can be put in a box!” What’s interesting is that from a psych perspective, we like to categorize and manipulate things. We like to say that all things have a name, because for some reason that means it’s “treatable” or worthy of doing something about. But, God just really doesn’t work that way! Even Jesus never performed the same miracle in the same way.

    Another side note that got me thinking…I read an awesome little book by Henry Blackaby entitled “Experiencing the Spirit”. It was soooo good and insightful. Anyway, the biggest takeway I got from it was the idea that we think that God wants to use our “gifts” and our “talents”. And while He definitely can and will use those for His glory, it’s not where His glory is most known. His glory is most shown in my weakness-when He can take something that I’m obviously not qualified to do, and make me good at it-only because of Him. (Does this even relate to what you’re talking about? Idk, but you can take it or leave it!).
    Have I told you how quickly I’ve grown to treasure your heart?!? I can’t wait to meet you in person someday. :)

    • I can’t wait to meet you in person either! It will be great fun to talk about books, blogging and all of those friends we already have in common. :) I will be adding the Henry Blackaby book to my wish list. Thanks for the recommendation! :)

  7. i would HIGHLY recommend ‘sun stand still’ by steven furtick. i’m pretty sure it would change your life. i am on my third read through since i got it in october and i reference chapters nightly. it is absolutely phenomenal. . .

    . . .and i recommend like 30 more, but i’ll just give you my current fav :)

  8. Right now I have a stack of books on my desk. Snow Day by Billy Coffey, Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman, Plan B by Pete Wilson, The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard, Beyond Opinion by Ravi Zacharias, and The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer.

    I have a lot of reading to do…

    • I won Billy Coffey’s book on Bonnie Gray’s blog! I’m so excited to check it out! :) He’s a great writer. I’ve heard great things about Plan B, too. And of course, Tozer…need I say more! :) I’ll have to check out the others you mentioned. Thanks, Larry!

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