Long before I knew who Brian Houston was, I was a fan of Hillsong United, his church's music group. In high school, their song "Shout To The Lord" got me through the rough parts of my dealing with my parents' already crumbled marriage and other family issues. There was so much I wanted to shout to God during those years. I ended up writing it all out in my prayer journals instead. When I heard "Shout To The Lord" for the first it gave me a feeling of peace that I desperately craved.
It was a reminder that no matter what was falling apart on around me, I could take refuge and find comfort in Jesus. Years later and their song "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)" is a song that has not only moved me to tears (on more than one occasion), but one that I listen to daily because there are still times when my feet (faith) may fail. During, before and after these trying times I need this reminder to "keep my eyes above the waves" because I am God's and He is mine. Just like this song, Pastor Houston's book, Live Love Lead: Your Best Is Yet To Come!" will serve as a reminder to keep your head above the water because our best days are in the making.
Being a Christian is hard. Definitely not for the lazy. Seriously, Jesus (and his disciples) left behind some enormous footprints for us to walk in/follow. And there have been and will be times when I struggle with wondering if I can overcome certain things to in my faith walk. Divided into four parts- A Big Life, A Difficult Path, A Narrow Gate and A Glorious Future- Pastor Houston shows us through personal accounts that it is possible to overcome issues like doubt, family tragedy, outside judgement, shame and other things that can interrupt our faith walk by using our unique God given talents and tools to carry out our God given purpose.
What I loved most about reading Live Love Lead was Pastor Houston's openness and honesty about his Christian journey. From wanting to be a preacher, but being terrified of public speaking to finding out his father, a former pastor, was a child molester, he is nothing short of honest about the trials and struggles he, his family and congregation have endured. I found his honesty to be very refreshing and a reminder that no matter our background or past mistakes, God can turn any negative situation into a positive. He can heal even the deepest of hurts.
The Bible never promises us sunshine and rainbows 24/7. After all not even Jesus' life was always a series of ups. In fact, he died on NAILED to a cross between two thieves while many of the very people he was dying to save mocked, spit on and did worst to him. Talk about lack of appreciation!
Also, I loved the fact that Pastor Houston touched on the fact that despite the modern times we live in, we don't need to rewrite the Bible to fit the current standards of our society. Instead, we can use elements from our current society to help further spread the Word. For example, making more movies with a faith based theme/focus, gospel artists not being afraid to create and try new sounds to better appeal to their target audience or even using Facebook to host Bible study groups. Sure times have changed, but God's Word has not.
One of the most important points I think Pastor Houston made in Live Love Lead is that as Christians we often confuse our roles with God's and Jesus. As carriers and current day disciples it's our job to spread the word through loving our neighbors as ourselves and as Christ loved the church. We have to leave the soul saving to Jesus (that's why he died on the cross after all) and the judging to God. Because we're not always going to agree with the beliefs and lifestyles of everyone we meet (Christian or not), it's important that we remember our role so that we don't unintentionally hurt others or turn them against Christ.
Live Love Lead is definitely one of my must-reads. It was wonderful to get a first account and background on how Hillsong and all of its ministries came to be. Pastor Houston's story is inspiring, riveting and touching.
About The Author
Brian Houston is the senior pastor of Hillsong Church Australia. He hosts one of the fastest growing daily international broadcasts in the world. He is also the Executive Director for Hillsong Music, one of the world's largest producers of Christian music. He and his wife, Bobbie, have three grown children and live in Sydney, Australia.
To find out where you can order your copy of Live Love Lead: Your Best Is Yet To Come! check out his official website or visit Hillsong.com.