My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The night Chad Norris and his friends held their first healing service, this Baptist pastor, who had become dissatisfied with his ministry and how little it resembled the ministry of Jesus, was as nervous as anyone. When a blind woman came up for prayer and left seeing, they were all thrilled—and not a little shocked. Norris writes about that night:
“Until that moment I had never thought I could pray and see someone get better …. But then I began to consider, why don’t we see more things like this?” (Kindle Location 169).
Signs, Wonders and a Baptist Preacher—How Jesus Flipped My World Upside Down is Norris’s first-person account of how he went from that tentative prayer service to regularly seeing people touched by God in miraculous ways. His hope is that others will be challenged by his experience, reassured by his regular-guy image, and inspired to step out in faith to do the things Jesus told us we could do:
“I simply want to explore whether or not it is possible to operate on this planet in the way Jesus commanded His disciples to operate …. Actions we consider abnormal are really quite normal to the One who spoke the world out of nothing. I want my normal to match Jesus’ normal” – (Kindle Location 143).
There is much to like in this book. Norris’s enthusiasm and love for Jesus are on every page. He gives God, not himself, the credit for the miraculous phenomenon he reports, and stresses it’s not the eloquent prayers or showy actions of the messenger but the power of God that performs these miracles.
As a story it takes him a while to get into it. It isn’t until about a third of the way through the book that he stops preaching and begins to deliver on the promise of the promotional blurb: “recounting his own history of depression and panic attacks …” That story is delivered piecemeal, along with more explanation and defense.
His writing style is folksy. He often anticipates the objections readers will throw at him and meets those with humor and hyperbole.
One idea he brings up often though, troubles me. It is the thought that God is not glorified in our sicknesses and therefore we are justified in insisting on and expecting healing. He acknowledges that healing doesn’t always follow our requests, though, and offers this (to me unsatisfactory) response: “… they (the person doing the praying) empathize with the person, acknowledging that though Jesus never caused any physical, mental or emotional pain, this situation is still not yet changing. Sometimes the deepest thing you can do is weep with someone and say, ‘I am so sorry’” (Kindle Location 550). Perhaps he is not familiar with 2 Corinthians 12:7-10?
All in all, though, Norris’s is an inspiring story—one that challenges leaders and lay folks alike to pray: “Jesus, I’m all yours. Show me what You want me to see—even if it ruins my life” – (Kindle Location 203) and then to hang on for what will happen next.
I received this book as a gift from the publisher for the purpose of writing a review.