Very highly recommended
This may be it folks. It’s the last book I read in 2015, and it may be the best book I read in 2015. The End of Me by Kyle Idleman is an outstanding look at the teaching of Jesus, the Sermon on the Mount specifically, and the “inside-out, upside down” way of life it presents.
This book contains many stories of people coming to the end of themselves through brokenness and mourning, helplessness and disqualification. These people come to the end of themselves and find the “Jesus life” they were really looking for and didn’t even realize it. Everything that is shocking about things Jesus said like, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” and “But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” is faithfully restored by Idleman.
What makes this book so brilliant is how unassuming Idleman is. He is never expresses a desire to challenge the American dream or stick up for the little guy. He is more subversive than that. He allows the revolutionary message of Jesus speak for itself, and of course the American dream is challenged and the little guys is stuck up for as a result. Nothing is forced on the reader by the author, but I can’t imagine anyone walking away from this book unchallenged.
While I was in the middle of reading this book, I found myself quoting from it and telling people about certain sections. Idleman is the master of the sticky illustration and the apt analogy. He describes profound sorrow and pain with poetically simple prose. This is a well-written and very approachable book.
The End of Me isn’t a commentary on Matthew 5-7, but instead serves the purpose of having the reader take a second look at the teachings of Jesus, realizing how counter-cultural they really are. In short, this this the best book I’ve read on the Sermon on the Mount since Dallas Willard’s The Divine Conspiracy. To top it off, Kirby Heyborne does a great job on the narration. Very highly recommended.
Please Note: This audiobook was gifted as a part of the Christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. This has in no way influenced my opinion or review of this work.
I received this book courtesy of Christian Audio
Narrator Thoughts: This Narrator was very good. He was clear and calm. A good listen. While he doesn't have the same passion in his voice as some narrators I've listened to, I thought he did a good job of reading the book.
Book Thoughts: Once again, Kyle challenged me in my faith. I think this book, more then any of his others challenged me.
Coming to the end of me has never been easy, but I can agree with him and say that when I come to the end of me, that is when Jesus' power can begin. It reminded me of the good that comes from coming to the end.
By following in His footsteps we die to ourselves and our way of doing things. The chapter on humility especially hit home. It challenged my pride and reminded me of what I needed to be doing.
This is definitely a worthwhile listen.
Don't Read This Book Unless You Want to Reach the End of Yourself
Kyle Idleman gets to the heart of mankind’s rebellion against God in his book, The End of Me. Using powerful illustrations from real life stories as well as stories from his own life, Idleman examines the Beatitudes of Jesus in Matthew 5, some of the most difficult and uncomfortable teachings of Jesus, and communicates their significance to people today. Though they all center on the core teachings of the Bible, one message ties them all together: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Idleman communicates how this lesson applies to every area of our lives and how we can truly come to the end of ourselves that we may experience the life for which God intended us to live. The narrator was engaging and able to keep the listener’s attention,though he did read very slowly. I received this audio book as part of a reviewing program and was not obligated to write a positive review.
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Another Good Read from Idleman
If you're looking for a good book to teach you how to live in the upside down kingdom of Heaven, this is a great one to check out. I always appreciate how much Scripture Idleman uses in his books and his ability to take us deeper into those passages and present us with the cultural context in which they take place. I also enjoy the many stories he incorporates into his writings.
It's also worth stating that Kirby Heyborne did a great job in reading this audiobook. I didn't find him distracting or dull at all.
The only reason I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5 is that I felt pretty familiar with a lot of the material presented in this book. It didn't exactly tread a lot of new ground or thought for me as I have read several books that have spent a lot of time on the same passages and made similar statements. I don't feel that will be the case with everyone though so it's definitely worth the read.
I will also mention that I wasn't quite as compelled by this book as I was by Idleman's book, "Not a Fan." I'm not sure why. I sense that the personal stories in that book grabbed my attention a bit more than the ones here.
It remains a great book regardless of any criticism and is worth the read. Check it out for yourself, especially if you haven't read up much on the Beatitudes or the Sermon on the Mount.
A copy of the book was generously offered to me by christianaudio.com in exchange for this unbiased review.
Kyle Idleman has yet another literary success
In his normal casual, approachable manner, Kyle Idleman has yet another literary success. End of Me combines real life examples, applicable interpretation, and clear analogies to help Christians overcome their own limitations, so they can have a better relationship with Jesus Christ.
One of the strengths of all of Idleman’s books is his ability to mix personal and real life examples to help the audience have well-developed understanding of the topic. These examples range from Idleman’s own life, to the lives of his friends, to examples that he has been given through social media and his web site. The advantage that this approach offers is that it both makes it easier to understand the position of the book and its relevance on the listeners’ lives. For instance, when Idleman talks about what we fill our lives with, he gives an array of situations that people frequently find themselves in, an explanation how they might arrive at that situation, and the dangers connected with that situation.
A unique quality of much of Idleman’s writing is that he gives a narrative interpretation of traditional stories and parables that helps his audience see both the characters and their circumstances in the light of the book’s topic. He does a great job of walking the listeners through a story so that they can see both the application on the social relevance of what he is saying. For example, his interpretation of the woman cleaning the feet of Jesus, while going well beyond the actual story, offers several important insights into first century Jewish life, customs, and values. Idleman is clear, and regularly reminds the audience, that these interpretations are just his own creation and that he uses them to help give greater clarity and context.
Perhaps the most pervasive element of this book, and Idleman’s writing as a whole, is how he can connect the common place and biblical truths through his use of analogy. He offers his listeners new perspectives in a way that is both accessible and comprehensive. For instance he analogizes the example of the potter’s hand (seen both in Jeremiah and Isaiah) not only to the remaking of our lives, but to actual pottery that gains value only after it is broken. The author’s analogies put the stories in stark contrast with traditional social values which allows the audience to see well known verses in a new light.
Idleman is quickly establishing himself as one of the premiere Christian writers not simply through his unerring depth of study, but because of his ability to break down complex ideas into digestible bites for today’s questioning (and sometimes stubborn) society.
Dr. Nicholson reviews academic, Christian living, and fiction books for a variety of publishers in an array of formats. He is never paid for any of his reviews. He writes these strictly as a courtesy to his students at Desert bible Institute and for any other readers that might find his insights valuable. For more reviews or information, visit Dr. Nicholson’s blog at drtnicholson.wordpress.com.
A copy of the book was generously offered to Dr. Nicholson by christianaudio.com in exchange for this unbiased review.
End of Me is a great take on the importance and power of the beatitudes in transforming a Christian life.
At the heart of the nine beatitudes is a simple message of redemption. The story of redemption is counter-intuitive. People deny the Deity of Christ because it seems mathematically impossible. An infinite being cannot exist in a finite system, but Christ did that exactly. He came and took away the sins of the world, by dying on the cross.
A few weeks ago, I began reading a book by Kyle Idleman called The End of Me: Where Real Life in the Upside-Down Ways of Jesus Begins. My life was already upside-down, and I was not sure there was anything that could begin there. Hopelessly, I read the book.
In The End of Me, Kyle Idleman reminds the reader the first beatitude, “Blessed are those who mourn.” There is a blessing in weeping, although it does not make sense. David even sang God collects the tears of the righteous not as a memento of His wrath, but a reminder of His loving-kindness and righteousness. Quoting William Barclay, He wrote,
The Greek word for to mourn, used here, is the strongest word for mourning in the Greek language . . . It is defined as the kind of grief that takes such a hold that it cannot be hidden. It is not only the sorrow which brings an ache to the heart; it is the sorrow which brings the unrestrainable tears to the eyes.
Recently, my studies and finances pushed me to the edge of the cliff. Each day, I starred at the abysmal prospects of failure and a fast mounting colossal debt. I am just a student and an author of a book on prayer that sold 33 copies in 33 days. So, I prayed and cried before the Lord. At the end of the day, I joined Jimmy Cliff singing, “I can see clearly now ‘cause the rain is gone.” It seems my tears removed the scales on my eyes.
The funny thing about tears is that when they fill our eyes, that’s when we see most clearly.
In The End of Me, Kyle Idleman explores the counterintuitivity of the redemptive story. Using the Sermon on the Mount as foundational text, Kyle Idleman describes how each beatitude was counter-intuitive. For example, he succinctly distilled the first beatitude to a seemingly ludicrous statement, “Happy are the sad.”
If exposing counterintuitiveness of the Sermon on the Mount was his goal, then Kyle Idleman delivered well. However, he went an extra mile and dwelt on how reaching wits end was critical for experiencing the joy of the Lord. Thus, The End of Me is not a book to merely blow your mind by revealing the paradoxes in the most popular sermon, but a sobering look at the cost of true discipleship.
I am glad ChristianAudio honored me with a copy of Kyle Idleman’s book in exchange of an honest review. It was my pleasure to read this book and I have learned a lot