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Jesus Calling didn't seem destined to sell millions. And then, quite unexpectedly, it did.

During the first three years after its 2004 publication, Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence sold a total of only 59,000 copies, a modest success ...

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Displaying 1–11 of 11 comments

audrey ruth

November 16, 2013  3:28am

Elizabeth, those "two listeners" believed their "inner voices" trumped Scripture? That is serious business, scary stuff. Yes, it bothered me greatly that SY claims that Jesus is speaking in her books. This is why I could not read the one which was given to me. This is a bit OT, but it also seemed that "Jesus" was always saying nice, sweet, positive things - never a word of correction. Does anyone know if that is accurate? If so, that would be troubling indeed.

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Elizabeth Allie

October 24, 2013  7:03pm

It would have been wise to delve more into the history of the "Two Listeners" who wrote, God Calling, that so inspired Ms. Young. A.J. Russel is just the beginning. Understanding where the Two Listeners got their practice brings great clarity to the subject of "listening prayer." They were involved with the Oxford Group which began by Frank Buchman, from the Keswick movement. The Oxford Group became the Moral ReArmament in 1938, then in 2001 they became the Initiative of Change. Currently in the USA the group is Hope for the Cities. The Oxford Group was very strong on morality, they would meet in homes. Their meetings were to confess sin to one another, the practice of listening to God (what they called quiet time) was also a part of their meetings. They decided among themselves if it was God speaking to their hearts, they wrote down every thought that came to mind. They believed the "inner voice" trumped Scripture. Discern SY's claim that Jesus is speaking. Research it.

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Rick Dalbey

October 24, 2013  6:53pm

I have always regarded Jesus Calling as someone's personal devotional. It is a mistake to think of it as any more than that. And because it is a personal devotional it is imperfect. I've never been attracted to the book perhaps because it is not a message to me. In truth, the Holy Spirit speaks to everyone of his children every day. And of course He revealed himself perfectly in His living word for all Christians to read. Certainly God speaks to our spirits today. Some of us listen better than others. I think those that are unfamiliar with the idea of Jesus speaking to us today are fascinated by Sarah's journal just because it seems exotic, she seems like a rare evangelical saint. I keep personal journals of what the Holy Spirit says to me on a daily or weekly basis (as we all should) but I rarely share them, they are personal. Sometimes the Lord speaks to us in thoughts, sometimes in full sentences, sometimes in visions or dreams, sometimes by highlighting a Biblical passage.

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audrey ruth

October 21, 2013  6:00pm

While I agree with Rick's points, I also have these concerns: 1) Young's books can't be compared to “My Utmost for His Highest”, which did not present devotionals as Jesus speaking in the first person; 2) Richard Foster is not a good advertisement for anything Christian, based on all I've read and learned about him (and other Christian "mystics"); 3) I was given one of Sarah Young's books as a gift. I do hear from God in my spirit, not audibly, during my times of prayer and Bible reading/study, but I was not comfortable reading Young's purported words as being from the Lord Himself; 4) A relative lives in a town which had regular (monthly, IIRC) "visitations" from the Virgin Mary for several years - people came from all over, including foreign countries, to attend. In these "visitations", a woman who lived in that town was the purported mouthpiece for the Virgin Mary's proclamations. Young's messages "from Jesus" remind me of those "visitations". I don't doubt her sincerity.

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Mike Whitesell

October 21, 2013  10:45am

Other than My Utmost for His Highest I have never consistently used a devotional. Jesus Calling was given to me nearly five years ago and I have used it regularly ever since. I serve as men's pastor in a large church and have seen scores, perhaps hundreds of men begin using it as well. Young makes no pretense to be speaking for Jesus but instead shares her thoughts as to how he is speaking to her. I am amazed how frequently those thoughts touch my soul and minister to me in the moment. The scriptures added to each day's devotion guide my thoughts for the day. I am also amazed at how she shares those thoughts in a way that men "get." I wonder if that might be part of the problem with some detractors. Can it be that a woman can so experience the presence of Jesus in her life that men can be impacted when she shares it?

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Nathan Unseth

October 18, 2013  4:43pm

Sarah Young's writing is soothing, pleasant, even seductive with its aura of a divine voice. I am disturbed by this, though I am not of the Reformed persuasion, nor a Fundamentalist. More worrisome, however, is that many people likely are using the book as their main devotional source rather than Scripture. To do so is a sure path toward diluting orthodoxy. I thus think our use of Jesus Calling should be done with a vigorous diligence and discernment.

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Dane Gressett

October 18, 2013  1:56pm

hearing from God is what creates a Christian. The dead hear His voice and live. He speaks primarily through the inspired Scriptures - and ultimately in His Son. I have no problem with the Holy Spirit speaking to people's hearts...if it is subject to the authority and confirmation of the Scripture. What worries me about Jesus Calling, is that many people are substituting Mrs Young's voice for Jesus' voice. A LOT of people substitute Sunday preaching for personally meditating on the Scriptures. A lot of people never cultivate a deep relationship with Jesus through the Scriptures as taught by the Spirit. Mrs. Young has obviously cultivated a very real and personal relationship with the Lord. Sadly, American Christians prefer to pay others to hear from God for them. They (we) prefer the convenience of processed food. And our sickly spiritual state proves it.

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Paul Reidpath

October 14, 2013  3:12pm

When I read this book, I am simply reminded of His unfailing Love and Presence in my life. I always read the scriptures that are referenced and am blessed through them. Praise and Glory to "Jesus the author and finisher of our faith"!!!

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Morgan Trotter

October 13, 2013  4:30pm

My first exposure to this book was when a member of the charismatic church I attend shared some excerpts from it in a meeting of our church small group. So you can imagine how surprised--and pleased--I was to learn that the author is not a charismatic but instead a PCA missionary. As a former Presbyterian (PCUSA) pastor turned charismatic, I found the furor this book has created in conservative Reformed circles amusing and sad. The idea that God speaks, which Horton et al. find so controversial, is considered standard operating procedure in charismatic churches. For that reason I was disappointed there were no charismatic church leaders included among those whom Ms. Steffan consulted for a response to the book. I felt this created a skewed understanding as to how the book has been received across the church at large. Charismatics constitute a large and growing segment of evangelicalism, and it would've been nice to hear from them, too.

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Rick Dalbey

October 05, 2013  2:39pm

Yes, listening to the voice of Jesus or the voice of the Holy Spirit is dangerous. We wouldn’t want Christians doing that now would we, Screwtape? Michael Horton: “God has not promised to speak to Christians individually.” WHAT? “Frankly, I find this to be outrageous," Crump says. "I'm sure she is a very devout, pious woman, but I'm tempted to call this blasphemy." BLASPHEMY? The real blasphemy is Crump and Horton’s claim that Jesus does not speak to believers today. “my sheep hear my voice”, “He (the Holy Spirit) will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak.” “the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work.” “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.” “One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: "Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.” And on and on and on.

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Kathy Allen

October 02, 2013  12:45pm

I am going to purchase the book after reading this article. I have seen it but never knew the author so I did not invest in it. Thanks for publishing this.

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Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence
Thomas Nelson
400 pp., $7.67
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