Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Dynamic Heart In Daily Life - Book Review

Let me say from the outset this book was not what I expected when I asked for a copy for review. Yet, the Lord has a way of giving us what we need even when we don't know we need it. You see, I didn't realize The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life: Connecting Christ to Human Experience is actually written for use by counselors, pastors, and others who deal with people in ministry. However, though I am not officially in ministry, I still found it important for understanding how to truly be helpful when people come to me for advice and counsel. Most of those are people who read my blog or interact with me on social media, and, of course, our own grown children. Another reason it was valuable was in how it has helped me see more clearly how God works in my own heart to effect outward change.

While Dr. Jeremy Pierre is Associate Professor of Biblical Counseling at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, he has a wonderfully clear way of explaining what could be considered deep spiritual truths in concepts easy to grasp even for the layman. I appreciate how he shows where he is going before he begins a new section and brings the reader back to the main focus. He keeps your head above water, so to speak, while teaching you to swim.

One of the most important things he teaches is that helping others is not simply about looking at surface issues and prescribing a plan of action. He shows how to go deeper to the root issues of the heart, how the heart informs the mind, the emotions, and the actions. In Section 1, Dr. Pierre explores how the heart responds dynamically in human experience. Then in Section 2, he moves into how the heart responds to God, to self, to others, and to circumstances. The third section gives practical questions in how to guide counselees by hearing their hearts, helping them understand their responses, and pointing them to Christ for strength to make new responses based on faith.

The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life is one of those books you will want to read more than once and study for better understanding both of your own walk with Christ and how to guide others in your sphere of influence. I would suggest it for pastors, counselors, women's ministry leaders, older women who mentor younger women, and parents.

I believe it would be especially helpful for parents of children just entering the teen years as they seek to guide them from the heart and point them to Christ as the dynamic of all their life choices. Even if maturing children do not yet know Christ, Dr. Pierre has a very wise perspective on why dealing with them from this angle is so important:

Note for unbelievers: Jesus Christ remains the fulfillment of humanity, regardless of whether an individual believes this or not. So the active behavioral strategies you propose should still be in line with how Christ would act. Life will work better for unbelievers the more closely their actions conform to Christ's. You need to be clear with them that, without faith, the best they can do is spotty, self-motivated mimicry, not genuine imitation of heart. God, in his common grace, often lends this kind of success to those who do not believe, but it is at best temporary. Yet, counselors pray this common grace would be preparatory for salvation.[1]

I have never heard it explained that way before, but it certainly answers a lot of questions about why it is important to guide our children to obey God before they are converted while guarding against making Pharisees out of them. This is only one example of the wisdom Dr. Pierre shares all throughout The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life: Connecting Christ to Human Experience . I highly recommend it.

[1] Jeremy Pierre, The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life: Connecting Christ to Human Experience (Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, 2016), 233.