Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Updated Review for Sarah Young's "Jesus Calling"

I initially gave Sarah Young's "Jesus Calling" a great review, mostly because I had never encountered a devotional that had Jesus speak directly to the reader. At first, this concept was intriguing to me. As a born again Christian, however, I have become increasingly convicted when I pick up this book. Why? Because the words written on each page are not Jesus' words, but are portrayed that way. The only words that I trust as Jesus spoken words are directly from the Bible. I don't feel comfortable reading this book anymore. It feels like heresy. I feel the same way about the final "Left Behind" books that write in dialogue from Jesus. I don't think anyone should put words into our Savior's mouth.

59 comments:

Kristi said...

here, here!!! I thought about reviewing that book with Thomas Nelson and declined for that very reason... it's a tricky thing.

I appreciate you thoughtfully responding to this!

Anonymous said...

All of her words are inspired directly from scripture...it has ministered to my friend dying from cancer, other friends and me who are convicted by how God is nailing just the issue we are dealing with...If you are praying for the Holy Spirit to guide you in all you read, and especially when the verses are there that back up Sara Young's message, I think you may be ruling out a lot of common sense that Jesus would agree with.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Anonymous (Oct. 11, 2009). Well put.

jude said...

Hi Angela - I understand your reasoning but I haven't found any of Sarah's content to twist or bring in false teaching. I have also had similar converstations with the Lord and I can't discount them and say sorry God - only the Bible is what I will listen to. Many of the disciples would have had a very hard time since it wasn't all put together yet. Same with the prophets. God is bigger than even His book in my viewpoint. Blessings to you and I'm glad to see you being diligent about seeking His truth!

Anonymous said...

This devotional is the best one I have ever witnessed. The words leap off the page into the chambers of my heart and the scriptures readings correspond with the devotion for the day. I was so impressed that I have required this devotional as the 2010 Devotional reading for my women's group. I can't wait until tomorrow to pick it up again and as my spirit can bare witness with the words on the page that each writing has been inspired by the Holy Spirit. BTW... If God is the same God, yesterday, today and forevermore then He can still use people to write His words on paper.
Shalom to you...

Karen said...

I agree with Anonymous' and Jude's comments. While we all must search our hearts and rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us when it comes to discerning what we should spend our time reading, to imply that her book is heretical is very harsh and unfair(see definition below).

You might want to read the introduction to this devotional again. Her heart, intentions and purpose for writing this book are clearly laid out.

Heresy (Easton's Bible Dictionary)

From a Greek word signifying (1) a choice, (2) the opinion chosen, and (3) the sect holding the opinion. In the Acts of the Apostles (5:17; 15:5; 24:5,14; 26:5) it denotes a sect, without reference to its character. Elsewhere, however, in the New Testament it has a different meaning attached to it. Paul ranks "heresies" with crimes and seditions (Galatians 5:20). This word also denotes divisions or schisms in the church (1 Corinthians 11:19). In Titus 3:10 a "heretical person" is one who follows his own self-willed "questions," and who is to be avoided. Heresies thus came to signify self-chosen doctrines not emanating from God (2 Peter 2:1).

Anonymous said...

Angela, Thank you for your thoughtful review. I had the opportunity to receive this book free of charge and was looking for reviews before I accepted. I have now decided not to receive nor read this book. As we know, all scripture is God-breathed and is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, for training in righteousness (II Tim 3:16) and has the Holy Spirit as its author instead of being a personal interpretation or that produced by the will of man (II Pet 1:20-21). However, no other writing holds this same position. If we want to hear the words of Jesus, we can easily read through the four gospels. I would not feel comfortable reading another person's interpretation of God's speaking to her and attempt to apply it to myself when God has already spoken to us all we need in the Old and New Testaments. God chooses not use people today to write His words. If the author had exposited the scriptures she references instead of attemping to add to scripture or to the words of Christ, I would have accepted it readily! However, even if no false teaching has been identified yet, how can we keep a right and true view of God when we allow ourselves to read human (fallible) words that are supposed to be those of God (infallible).

Patricia Everett said...

Thank you so much for your review of this book. The Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God...Jesus speaks to us through the scriptures, not through Sarah Young. We are very quick to affirm things because of our feelings, however our feelings are subject to our flesh... We cannot trust our feelings, but we CAN trust the Word of God, the Bible.

Diane's Thoughts said...

Just 2 days ago I too, decided that this book was not something I should be reading. To me it caused me to expect difficulties in my life instead of blessings. I am glad to see some others have put this book down. Though I gave it away to others, now I'd like to get it back from them. Thank you for your honesty. Diane

Lisa said...

If you read the forward of her book, Ms. Young very clearly addresses the issue of speaking extra biblically and that she in no way sees these conversations as divine revelation given in addition to the Word of God. She believes in the inerrant Word of God and only seeks to share what He has shown her from it. As one commentator noted, she is not proclaiming heresy, but is in keeping with the Word.

Anonymous said...

I love the Lord and the Word of God and agree with others that say this devotional is not heresy. It is a tool just like any other devotional available today at any book store. I personally know friends who are reading Jesus Calling that are being drawn back to a relationship with the Lord because of it. It is raw, real and speaks to where some of us live and that is in the midst of struggle. The Bible is and always should be the first and most trusted way to hear from the Holy Spirit! But He also gives gifts and talents to people for a reason to comfort and encourage others right where they are in their walk with Him. I personally will continue to give this awesome little book to who ever the Lord lays on my heart.

CHARLIE said...

I love the book, "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young. Her interpretation of Jesus' words is perfect for me and I see no contradiction between Scripture and the insights she is sharing. However, if you feel she is guilty of heresy, I suggest, that to avoid being a hypocrite, do not ever listen to a sermon, never read a commentary, never read a paraphrase like "The Message" and be sure never to attend a Bible study, because God help anyone who shares what God seems to be saying to them! That's all that Sarah is doing. Perhaps you Pharisees should all write devotionals! But look out! Someone might throw the word "heresy" your way!

Anonymous said...

Very well stated CHARLIE! My wife and I use this wonderful little book as part of our morning devotional time together while using the supporting scripture verses. To each his own I guess. Go with God...

Kristine said...

I certainly appreciate what your saying and agree you should follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in this matter. I would say, however, that each of the daily readings is indeed Biblical and I've read nothing that would indicate anything other than sound, Christian doctrine. Blessings to you. :)

Anonymous said...

Sarah's books have been a blessing to my sister, who was widowed suddenly 8 months ago. She was given a copy of God Calling. The words of her book always seem to mesh with what she had just read in her devotional Bible reading. She sent me a copy, I am mom to a son with Aspeger's Syndrom. Again, it compliments what I have read in my devotional scripture reading.

I have read the introduction to her books and they are very important to understanding her writings. I believe Sarah's writing come from a very nearness to the heart of God.

Anonymous said...

if you limit your devotional reading to the bible and the bible only, that's at least consistent. if you're really hung up on the ipsissima verba (the actual words and not someone else's choice of wording) i'd stick with the parts of the hebrew and chaldean tanach and the greek new testament that were actually spoken in hebrew, chaldean, and greek, since all translation is in its very essence paraphrase--putting thoughts into different words.

sadly, since jesus was speaking in hebrew and aramaic, most of his reported speech was translated into greek by the writers of the gospels, rendering it heretical by your definition. this leaves you with a very manageable logia (a collection of the sayings of Christ): "talitha kum", "ephphatha", "abba", "raca", "mammon", and "elei elei lema sabachthani". not much to build a daily devotional around, but you have the smug satisfaction of knowing nothing is being twisted, interpreted, amended, condensed, translated, paraphrased or otherwise humanly manipulated or influenced. you'll have pretty successfully eliminated the role of any earthly messengers and their (heretically) human testimonies.

isn't it interesting that you wouldn't consider it heresy to think to yourself that jesus loves you, and yet not only did he never say those words, but neither does the brit hadasha. there's john 3:16 in reference to God, but the closest Jesus comes to saying the words 'i love you' is in john 13:34 and john 15:12, which refer to his disciples, and is in the past tense (that is, if you can get past the translation/paraphrase, which you've already rejected as heresy). heresy, as you understand it, is seemingly everywhere.

Anonymous said...

I found this blog because of something that happened to me today. This afternoon I had called a ministry for prayer concerning a very tough situation my family has been going through. This was not a prayer ministry, so I got someone's voice mail. I left a message stating my prayer request, and a little while later they called me back.

The young woman who called me had been told about my prayer request. Her morning devotional was from Jesus Calling. She told me that when she read it, it really didn't apply to her life today. But when she heard about my situation, she knew why she had read it. It was perfect for my situation, and what she read to me really blessed me when I was feeling hopeless.

Some of you seem to be questioning whether Jesus would speak to someone as Young claims that He has spoken to her. Consider what Jesus said in John 14:15. He said that his sheep hear his voice and know his voice.

While I believe that Jesus still speaks to his followers today, I also believe that the Bible is the ONLY standard for truth given to God's people. I would not use Young's book or any other extra-biblical writing (no matter how "sacred" someone thinks it is) as a standard. We must measure everything we read or hear against the written word.

In other words, I don't have a problem with Jesus speaking to Sarah Young and her writing it down. If what she says is unscriptural, then it wasn't Jesus speaking, period. I have to say that what the woman read to me on the phone today was much more scriptural than some passages I've read in The Message paraphrase as well as passages from some very popular Christian books!

I'm not plugging Jesus Calling as a whole because I haven't read the whole book. I would encourage each of you to ask for wisdom as to whether this book is from the Lord or not.

In case you're wondering what all this has to do with this blog, I found this blog after doing a search for Jesus Calling. I wanted to know what others were saying about it....

God Bless,
Deborah Douglass

Anonymous said...

I dont get your point?

My name is Loretta. Im a female, 21yrs old. I live in a small town in a small country NZ.

Excuse and Pardon my poor vocabulary. I was very limited academically growing up. :)

Ive just recently became a christian. It feels like im a child again. Learning a new language, culture and lifestyle I ask so many questions beyond belief and am curious about almost everything about God.I understand the term 'born again' now lol

Ive started going to church, ive been attending church for 4 weeks now.

I just finished reading a non-christian book and thought i'd give a christian book a go. I searched google for a book/novel that interested me and this blog came up.

Is it okay for me to be confused??? I thought christians were brothers,sisters daughters and sons of God??? please correct me if im wrong.

But why does it feel like in here there are 2 different families? Why are books or testimony things considered false because it isnt word for word out of the bible???

I never got saved by someone reading scriptures out of the bible but by other peoples experiences and them overcoming it. I wanted what they had so bad because they were free of the things that i struggled to break from in years.

This has put me off reading books about God.
Should i fear what i read? should i be concerned about it being wrong? because seriously the sh*t i read before i was deciding to read would not be what God wants me to read hahaha.

Jason A. Van Bemmel said...

This book is not a devotional book. It is not a series of reflections on Scripture or applications of Scripture to the lives of contemporary Christians. This is something completely different: Sarah Young claims that she wrote down what she thought God was whispering to her soul. So, is this a book of revealed prophecy? No, Sarah Young denies that explicitly. So, what is this "whispering" of God to your sould and how exactly does one "listen to God with your pen in hand" unless you're copying Bible verses/passages?

I have often copied out by hand key Bible passages, especially ones I'm memorizing and I've often kept a prayer journal. This is something different. This is a claim that God has spoken to Sarah Young in these words and sentences. This is not a subjective feeling of assurance or peace or even guidance, but rather a claim to verbal revelation, though in an inaudible voice.

In Reformed theological circles (Sarah Young is a PCA missionary with MTW), this is not generally accepted, as we are cessationist in our theology. My conviction, based on Scripture, is that when someone writes down that they "hear from God," their writing is really just their own thoughts and reflections. Sometimes these thoughts may be more Biblical (like JesusCalling) and sometimes they are more explicitly un-Biblical (Convservations with God). In both cases, the books are really just products of the author's own imaginations, an exercise in mental creativity and not the voice of God in any way.

I think Sarah Young intends to help people grow closer to Jesus in this book, but she has deceived herself and her readers into mistaking the voice of Sarah Young for the voice of Jesus. Jesus speaks to us in the Scriptures. If you want to hear His voice, open your Bible and pray.

dg said...

I was just given the book, "Dear Jesus," by my daughter and have enjoyed reading it for the past few days.

I admit that at first I felt a little uncomfortable at times as well. However, I do believe God speaks to believers through the Holy Spirit. All she's doing is sharing with the reader what she feels He has said to her.

This book has brought me closer to God in a way no other devotional has.

CR said...

All of these comments are very interesting and I have had the same thoughts Angela and most of you. The fact remains that this woman's writing speaks to my heart and inspires me to abide in Christ, with a focus on Him instead of my worries. I like what Jason said about it being a series of personal reflections. She has probably taken some artistic license, but if you think the book is helping your walk with the Lord, just be sure to take every thought captive to Christ. I read her words, then look up the Scriptures and write my own thoughts. On rare occasion, I think "well that's a stretch", but I take what is Scriptural and keep it in my heart.

Anonymous said...

to Angela-in response to your comment on June 17, 2009, 12:04

Heresy! That is a strong word to judge someone who has helped a lot of people to 'walk stronger' in the Lord through this wonderful devotional! I beg to differ with you! Just today God showed me all these Scriptures that back up today's devotional, May 14th.

I AM A MIGHTY GOD, Nothing is too difficult for Me. I have chosen to us weak ones like you to accomplish My purposes. (2 Cor 12:7-10) Your weakness is designed to open you up to MY POWER. Therefore, do not fear your limitations or measure the day’s demands against you strength. (Phil 4:13) What I require of you is to stay connected to Me, living in trusting dependence on My limitless resources.(John 15:5) When you face unexpected demands, there is no need to panic. Remember that I am with you. (Matt 28:20)Talk with Me, and listen while I talk you through each challenging situation. (John 10:27)
I am not a careless God. (Isaiah 59:1)When I allow difficulties to come into your life, I equip you fully to handle them. (I Cor 10:13) Relax in My Presence, trusting in My Strength.(Prov 3:5)(Luke 1:37)
LUKE 1:37; 2 CORINTHIANS 12:9

backcheck said...

I have to agree with Jason. This book is definitely unorthodox and Sarah Young claims it is not revealed prophecy yet she says they're the words of God. That makes absolutely no sense. This book isn't Jesus' words because if you wanted that, you could go get it right now...in Scripture (which is the only place you should be reading the words of Jesus).

The fact that it has "helped" and "moved" some people is irrelevant. And while it has a biblical construct, to say that these are the words of Jesus but then claim no innate prophecy is either foolishness or it's an outright lie. This is Sarah Young's words in that book, not Jesus'. Like I said, if you want to know what Jesus has to say, read it in red in your Bible.

I won't say that this book is heretical but it sure sounds like it has the attributes of something that is. I got through a third of it and couldn't finish it because I started feeling uneasy. That's called discernment. Just remember, at the end of the day, the way you live your life is benchmarked not against what Sarah Young has to say but in what Scripture has said.

Shana said...

Well said, backcheck. it makes me uneasy to read this style of writing as a devotional, because it's written as received from the "still, small voice" in the words of Jesus, and just requires more work for me to be careful that everything written is biblical. Too much work for me.

I'll stick to the Bible and other books in which writers make a clear distinction between their thoughts and the words of Christ.

Anonymous said...

In searching for information on this book, which some of the leaders in my church are reading/using, I came accross this blog, so thank you for addressing this. I first heard about the book when a young woman described her mother's experiencing a vision of Jesus on the pages of the book. That raised an alarm in my mind. In looking at the introduction Sarah Young has written, it is clear she is engaged in the contemplative spirituality practices that are becoming rampant in the church. She is meditating not in the biblical sense of using your mind to think about scripture,but the new age(TM)sense of emptying your mind. She is engaging in AUTOMATIC WRITING which is occultic. I wouldn't touch this book with a ten foot pole. It is like using the bible as a fortune telling device.

crosssolja said...

I commend you for being careful of what you read. I do indeed believe we must be careful of what we let into our minds. However, I want to point out that refusing to read this book, clearly identified as being Sarah's words, would be the same as refusing to hear any preaching. A minister does not simply step behind a pulpit and read the Bible verbatim to his congregation. He delivers a word from God - usually in ways normal people can understand and relate to. So, if God can put words into a minister's mouth to speak audibly, why could He not put words into a woman's heart to write to reach readers? Good question - and one I believe makes a clear point. Also, to refuse to read this book on the implications that it is against God also implies that one would definitely not be watching television, movies, listening to the radio station, or having any contact with the world we live in today - because, well, one look at society will tell you why. Personally, in the messages I have read from Sarah's book, I know God has spoken to me. If you have doubt, make sure you do your part and reference the scriptures to make sure they align with the word of God. I believe it is just that simple.

Anonymous said...

Preachers should leave the speaking *for God up to the Holy Spirit. They preach the gospel as 'faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the Word' (ROM 10:17) and usually they are reading directly from the Word...of which *all 'is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness...' (2 TIM 3:16).
He speaks through *His *Word.

Yes, they are human channels capable of error, but as they directly quote scripture, it is the scripture that is doing the revealing and discerning and preaching as 'the Word of God is quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.' (HEB 4:12)

The Bible is very clear that God is against those that say "God says this" if it is not something that He has reveled to us in His Word...

It is not what *you feel...
It is not what *you think...
It is not what *you hear...
...If it's not consistent with *His Word...

Discernment takes relationship...

Leah said...

I agree with the OP.

To those who said to be consistent stop listening to preaching, the problem with you saying that is that you are CONTRADICTING scripture in your haste to defend this book. God has ordained the "foolishness of preaching" to be His means of declaring the truth of Christ. He did not ordain Sarah Young to be chaotic (it is not infallible or on level with scripture, but Jesus is speaking?!) and reveal Himself again through her meditations.

A lot of those wishing to defend the book from seemingly harsh *warnings* against this book are basing a lot off feelings or experiences; I would add my own warning and say if this book is "helping" you more than your scriptural reading that is a red flag in and of itself.

But in any event, I read through some of this book (was given this as a gift a year ago) and I really liked it initially. But I couldn't stay engaged and found myself missing a lot of days and just putting it off after a while. Well, I just found it on my shelf again. Ha. I think it produces a spiritual laziness... must we depend on her experiences with her charismatic relation to God, or ought we be like Bereans and search out the scriptures ourselves?

A most unworthy saint saved by grace-in Christ,
Leah

Anonymous said...

This book is PRINTED IN CHINA!!!
My wife is immigrant asian... so I am not a racist...
I want to trash it... not sure if I can though.
This Christian book publisher (Thomas Nelson) sends potential American jobs to Communist China who forces abortion among many more horrific human rights. Its companies like this this are pushing America the free DOWN and lifting China UP.
I will persoanlly BOYCOTT all Thomas Nelson books.

Save a Princess said...

Very often Jesus speaks to me in this way too. Having been given her devotional, I recognize the same spirit that is in her is in me. I love the bible, I read it, I believe it, I quote it to myself constantly. It is my life line. But in the midst of my life, God also speaks directly to me. He is alive today and he is not quiet. I can easily see how someone could write down their conversations with God since he is a LIVING God who is not mute or deaf. I live in the scripture Jeremiah 33:3 "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." That is God speaking. So I've been calling to him and he's been answering. The devotional is great. But if you REALLY want great - every believer should call out to God and he will tell you the same kind of things directly!

Anonymous said...

Obviously, there are a lot of people on "both sides" ... and here are my thoughts after reading about half of the responses posted here:

1. If you are willing to go so far as to say that Sarah Young's writings are heresy... that you will receive nothing as "from God" except the written word of God... then I would have to assume that you don't believe that any pastor or teacher has anything to say to you either. Really... stop and think about what you are saying! God gives insight to many different people - He uses people in our lives to bring His messages, too. We are to test them against the Bible and be sure that they align with truth, but to say that a human person can't possibly be sharing something of truth with you?

2. Prideful arrogance. You are judging the heart of another and stating that you know better than she what the Lord could or could not have spoken to her.

3. Here we are again where many of the early church people found themselves - and were rebuked by Paul... taking ourselves too seriously, thinking we can judge another and know for certain their heart, and decide who is "connected to God" and who isn't. What if the early Christians had your same attitude (look at the Pharisees!)... Paul's letters to them weren't considered "the Holy Scriptures" when they received them as a letter. We know now that they are... but they were receiving teaching simply from another human being who professed & lived out faith in Jesus Christ. I'm not suggesting that Sarah Young's words are to be considered scripture - but calling it heresy is going WAY too far!!

4. This devotional has been a lifeline for me. I begin by reading the words that Sarah has written - followed by looking up and soaking in the scriptures from which she has taken the thoughts. Many, many times this has led me to deeper study of God's Word. It has given me a "starting block" on days when I otherwise would have looked at my Bible and wondered where to begin.

5. God often confirms things He is telling us through scripture, the words of others, sermons, the lives of others... and sometimes when conviction begins to strike really "close to home" - the words we are hearing become uncomfortable and the response is to lash out and try to point out how the messenger is wrong instead of continuing to listen. I'm not assuming that is what you are doing... just posing a thought to consider.

A lot of thoughts - and rather random to some degree... but hopefully food for thought.

Anonymous said...

I have never commented on a blog before in my life.......
I was given the Jesus Calling Kids book yesterday. My brother said that he quickly looked up Sarah Young & did not like what he read about her comments on a question & answer session. I did not want to be reading a devotional to my kids that was not biblically sound. I was hoping to do a little research on the book and read it to my kids.....I have decided not to. ONLY the Lord knows exactly what is going on in Sarah's heart, but I am finding too many statement of HERS that contradict a mature understanding of Scripture.
We have to be soooo careful. I'm sure her intentions are good ones, but I truly feel there are too many red flags. I too, feel uneasy reading HER words like they are HIS words. The foreword of her book states exactly that. If she is a student of Scripture, she should know better. You DO NOT say that His WORDS are yours. She says she is speaking for Jesus. End of story. End of my reading her devotion. Simple.
I will pray for her & hope she gains understanding on her foolish statements. I really had hoped to love her book.
I love the gty.org website & will continue to read the Bible & read John MacArthur's books. He is a solid teacher of God's Word. John's life has been devoted to the study of Scripture & he helps me understand what is says. He is someone I can trust, and I know that he is a pastor because of his love for Christ & his love for others.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what alot of different views. I have been given this book just hours ago and I decided to do some research on Sarah Young and was drawn to this blog. I have read all of the comments and I really can relate to the recent comment by ANONYMOUS on December 28, 2011 10:46 AM. So thank you for your inspiration - see you inspired me to continue on my journey tohave a closer relationship with God, and that was also through your words, I thought that was what this was all about.
So thanks to both you and Sarah Young I am going to continue with finding my relationship with God, by reading this book along with the noted scriptures. I am sure God would be happier with this decision rather than me being all confused about how to strengthen my journey with Him, and laying this book on a shelf to collect dust. I was given this book and this blog to read for a reason, and for that I am greatful :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, what alot of different views. I have been given this book just hours ago and I decided to do some research on Sarah Young and was drawn to this blog. I have read all of the comments and I really can relate to the recent comment by ANONYMOUS on December 28, 2011 10:46 AM. So thank you for your inspiration - see you inspired me to continue on my journey tohave a closer relationship with God, and that was also through your words, I thought that was what this was all about.
So thanks to both you and Sarah Young I am going to continue with finding my relationship with God, by reading this book along with the noted scriptures. I am sure God would be happier with this decision rather than me being all confused about how to strengthen my journey with Him, and laying this book on a shelf to collect dust. I was given this book and this blog to read for a reason, and for that I am greatful :)

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous Dec.29 4:45- All Christians are given the privilege of sharing what God has done in our lives & how we are learning to become more like Him. It helps all of us to learn from each other.
The danger is when we say "I am sure God would be_________ ....." and fill in what WE think, instead of what God says.
We do have Him in us as Christians, but we still fight the flesh of our own understanding everyday. The ONLY place to read HIS WORDS are in HIS BOOK. The Bible is a Lamp unto our feet & a Light unto our path. We must seek the Truth & be able to tell the difference.
We must learn from teachers who know the Bible. It truly is difficult to find teachers of God's Word that know it,teach it & live it. I agree with you.... it is confusing. Satan works night & day causing confusion & frustration. We all need to trust God and pray for His guidance....
He is the only One to provide the peace we need to make it through all the difficulties of life.

After reading about Sarah (in her own words...) it seems to me that she knows & loves the Lord. I do have concerns about her understanding of what she should say & what she shouldn't. I just wished she never said that she sits at a desk with a pen & paper in hand waiting for God to whisper what to write, AND then tell everyone that its from Him.
She should have said , "this is a journal of what God has taught me & I want to share it with you.....NOT that God has picked me to speak for Him.....
I think she has gotten caught up in the "special signs & special revelation garbage..."
Again, lets all just pray and ask God to help us to have His wisdom. I know that God uses flawed people, because thats all there is!
But, we have to be discerning & spend our time wisely.....Search the Scriptures!

ECCLESIASTES 12:12
BUT BEYOND THIS, MY SON, BE WARNED;
THE WRITING OF MANY BOOKS IS ENDLESS,AND EXCESSIVE DEVOTION TO BOOKS IS WEARYING TO THE BODY.

Anonymous said...

Interesting comments. I received this book as a Christmas gift. So far, I have been very touched by reading it.
I've also wondered about it being portrayed as Christ's words.
However, we all listen to preachers and teachers who speak their interpretation of God's word, do we not? Is there a difference?

Anonymous said...

As long as the preachers & teachers words agree with Scripture....

Grant said...

This devotional has been a blessing to me. Thank you Sarah for sharing your heart as touched by your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in a very personal and direct way. 
With regard to a Berrian search of scripture and your application / interpretation of Jesus clearly speaking life and love to your heart, I see a harmony and agreement with His Word. I believe what you clearly say in your introduction with regard to your writings "not inspired as Scripture is", but they help you grow closer to God. It appears to me that 'writing in the first person' as Jesus touched your heart, soul, and mind through being still and meditating on His Word in your quite time is what most of the 'concern' is about. When we share Jesus Christ His Life, His Word, His Love, we are walking on Holy ground. 
Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the grave for us and is alive and very personal to His sheep He rescued and they know His voice. Sarah, I take your sweet devotional simply for what it is: sharing with us your very personal walk with your personal Savior, Lord, and Lover of your soul, Jesus Christ as you intimately experienced Him.....'in the first person'....in your devotions. Perhaps the intimacy is too foreign to me and others...I am encouraged to a closer walk. Thanks for sharing your intimate walk with Him.
Sarah's last two sentences in her introduction: ..."Remember that Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. May He bless you with His Presence and Peace in ever-increasing measure."

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled upon this blog today in Jan of 2012. Interesting conversation & opinions. But I feel sad that no one ever addressed Loretta from New Zealand's comments/questions way back in Nov of 2010. As a new believer, she seemed to be looking for some answers & encouragement ... and what I mostly read on this blog is a bunch of people sounding off and just wanting to be heard. (yes, I know this this blog is a discussion about a book & not a support group ...)If she didn't post as "annonymous", I would personally contact her. I just expected to see more compassion and love for a new sister in Christ from fellow believers.
~ Sad in California

Anonymous said...

I am responding to dj ... 12-25-2010
You said you admitted to "feeling uncomfortable reading her book at first" ......
Do you realize that is your conscience? It has been given to everyone by God. It gives us that "uneasy feeling" as a warning system... Don't ignore it & try to rationalize it. It is a very dangerous thing to do. As Christians, the Holy Spirit that is placed in us as our Helper, guides us & really lets us know true wisdom. Please listen. Look to the Bible to gain understanding & discernment. If you get that "uncomfortable" feeling, know that it usually is there for a reason.
I am glad that her devotion has brought you closer to God. Make sure you study His Word as well.
I am not trying to sound harsh towards you,or Sarah. Just pointing out some things...
Look to the Lord for strength. He will provide. :):)

Anonymous said...

I just found out about this book. A friend pointed me to Tim Challies' blog where he does an educated and insightful review of the book. I would suggest to anybody who has questions about this book to read the review.
http://www.challies.com/book-reviews/jesus-calling

Anonymous said...

I believe as Followers and not Fans of Christ, we need to edify each other in any way we can. Sarah Young is doing just that. We all have our own interpretation of scripture. Obviously some of you think that yours is better than others. I read through these entries and came across many that were against this book, and unfortunately, the comments showed a lack of love. If we can all go about our day loving each other, instead of figuring out ways to make ourselves look better than others, we would be much more in line with Jesus. I read Jesus Calling each morning and the children's each night to my 6 year old son. WE have become much closer to God through this. If I read the Bible to him, he would fall asleep. A children's bible would be no different than this book. They have some interpretation as well. Brothers and sisters, don't get caught up in these blogs of opinions. Allow God to speak to you. He will tell you right from wrong. Don't put blog entries in front of the power of the Holy Spirit that is given to you. I read the bible as well and am studying in Theology now for my second year. Don't take any readings as "the gospel truth" except the Bible. But please don't limit yourself only to it. God works through many authors. Just be conscious of what you are injesting. Some needs to be chewed and swallowed and much chewed and spit out. So far in this book, I have spit very little out. It has been a tool for many of my new to faith, friends, that brings them closet to God, along with a healthy dose of the bible and great messages from our pastor.

Julie said...

AMEN CHARLIE! If this book is 'heretical' then you better not EVER listen to a sermon on a scripture, read a commentary or other devotional or listen to your own friends' testimonies of their faith journey and what the Lord is teaching them.

I have been a born again Christian for 39 years. I have been to so many denominational churches I cannot tell you. I graduated from Jerry Falwell's high school Lynchburg Christian Academy.

I start every day in the Bible. Then I read devotionals by Charles Spurgeon, Max Lucado, and now this book.

This book has PROFOUNDLY affected my walk with Jesus. It is incredibly POWERFUL and BEAUTIFUL, and CORRELATES completely with scripture. I haven't read a devotion of hers yet that hasn't had my eyes full of tears by the end. Thank you God for using Sarah Young's faith journey to encourage others, just as one Christian friend would to another.

I bought SEVEN copies of this book to give to my children and others. I will continue to share it as God directs for the rest of my life.

Thank you for allowing me to share my heart.
Love in Christ,
Julie Sir

I'm Not Jesus said...

Ok listening to a Pastor who gives you information is different than speaking in 1st tense as if they were Jesus. Two different things. I can't or propose to give you her thoughts nor do I listen to others who speak to you as if they are Jesus. I had serious illness and wanted a hear from God, but I felt when I first read Sarah Young Jesus Calling book given to me by a friend. I thought the words were great, but I felt uncomfortable reading words that were for me (the reader) coming from Jesus by someone else. It haunted me not because it says things that are unscriptural but coming to us like it was Jesus.  If God gives each of us a word after we read scripture how wonderful but a famous pastor I heard recently said some times people come up to give him a word that God gave them for him he thought a better thing was to read the Bible instead of relying on others word for us. Some call her book a tool and it would be if she didn't 't write as it came directly from Jesus.  I knew my first thought of concern was a signal of something wrong in this premise no matter how much she admits she is not doing that but my feeling is we are getting Sarah Young's thoughts.  For many of you her words seem compelling and good, but she could write the devotion to say Jesus is training you instead of I am training you as she wrote on date April 17th for example. This discussion will continue as long as discernment about God's word is alive.

Shirley said...

Haven't read the book but I just love reading Jesus' words ... in His own words. There is always a red flag for me when ANY book becomes wildly popular. Jesus' words are hard words, spoken lovingly, but hard. I want to hear His thoughts, His words, His truth and He says the road will be narrow when we are following Him which means it won't be the popular route. I blog about the urgency in learning to learn from Jesus only because I believe that is what all true believers' message should be.

Anonymous said...

There are many books written by Christians that explicitly refer to scripture as the foundation from which they are writing. Sarah Young has done this. Her style is more conversational than expository. Which leads me to ask a few questions regarding any writings based on scripture that have been written throughout the year. Which other writings exist, other than the Bible, that are read and accepted that are solely just the scriptures? None. If you apply the statement that her writings are not just scripture, you might as well throw out works like all of Matthew Henry's Commentaries, C.S. Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Henri Nouwen, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther, Thomas Nelson Commentary Bible, Kay Arthur, F.B. Meyer, L. B. Cowman (Streams in the Desert)....I could go on. These are just random but reasonable choices here. Another question, are we to say that all other writings by Christians except the authors of the scriptures, are not inspired by the Holy Spirit? What does the truth given to us in the scriptures that claims "the Holy Spirit shall lead us into all truth" mean? Are we then to support a dispensation's view that God spoke to only the disciples and only at that time and at no other time He did/does not speak to the children of God? I believe that discernment of what God wants us to know and accept comes from our growth in our relationship with Jesus, growing from milk to meat. Discernment definitely will come if we but ask in faith. There are so many other things I could say here but believe these few points are important. And lastly, which ones out of all these comments about Sarah Young's writings are the truth? Are any of our comments on this blog inspired by God?

Diane said...

I received this book from a friend several months ago and, like many of you, I initially had a problem with the fact that it was in first person But, I began to enjoy how it seemed to speak directly to me. As a I continued to read, I began to feel uncomfortable and noticed that the scriptures I had memorized from the BIble along with what Sarah Young listed at the bottom of a daily devotional page -- these verses were not the same principles as she was giving as Jesus in first person-- it was a subtle misuse of the scripture. Some messages were way, way off.

I went back and reread her introduction just to see what she said again about the intent and purpose of this devotional. Page 12 (XII) of her introduction was confusing to me. She writes, "...writing down whatever I believed He was saying. I felt awkward the first time I tried this, but I received a message. It was short, biblical, and appropriate." Lower down on that same page she writes, "This new way of communicating with God became the high point of my day. I knew these writings were not inspired as Scripture is..." Huh? I thought you said you received a message that was "biblical and appropriate." But now you say they are not inspired messages?

On the last page of her introduction (XIV) Sarah says,"As I listened to God, Bible verses or fragments of verses often came to mind. I have interwoven these into my messages." Your messages? I just felt uneasy as I finished the introduction. Something seemed amiss...

I have carefully gone back and outlined HUGE inconsistencies in her attempt to give God's Word to us on a personal level as Jesus would be speaking to the reader. Please, please read this devotional carefully. Here is one example: January 7 entry says: "Sometimes your adoration is a spontaneous overflow of Joy, in response to radiant beauty or rich blessings. At other times your praise is more disciplined and measured--an act of your will."

I'm not going to address the possible meaning of a "disciplined and measured praise," and I can't find that in scripture. What bothers me is "...an act of your will." The scripture to go along with January 7 reading is 1 Thess.5:18 which says, "...give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." My will is flawed, often wrong, and does not give God any glory. Why is she saying that Jesus would ever want us to use "our will?" (Isn't it thy will be done...?)

Here's a challenge...you can stay on the same page of the devotional and read January 8. Does that not sound mystical to you? (tapping at your consciousness, seeking entrance; the weaker you are the more gently I approach you; hope is like a golden cord connecting you to heaven) None of that is scriptural. Try to find any of those messages in the scripture readings at the bottom of the page.

There are so many more daily entries that are not scriptural...

Forever His,
Diane

Michele said...

I have just started this book about a month ago. It was a gift. I have been in a dark place in my Christian walk and it's been the light of truth found in her style of writing that is drawing me back to Christ. I had misplaced it for a few days and it showed in my attitude and my heart. I need to hear an intimate savior, I know He is, but to have this conversational manner in a book is highly effective for me, in my walk, right now.

I don't see her as a heretic. She is using her gifts for God.

Anyone who encourages us to embrace the love of God more deeply and richly in our lives is certainly worth spending more time with.

Anonymous said...

Revelations 22:18-19

Anonymous said...

Anyone who encourages us to embrace the love of God more deeply and richly in our lives is certainly worth spending more time with.


Even if what they say can be possibly in error of the scriptures and what was taught through the scriptures about being careful of false teachers?

Anonymous said...

wow. And here we are in 2013.
Discernment is lost in the church.
One only needs a tad of experience in new age mysticism to see how this book is so flavored with its words and dogma.

I would suggest if you want to experience God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, Read his written word, the full revelation. All else is subjective to interpretation by the one receiving these "messages". This may not bring a warm fuzzy, which most are looking for today, but it is truth.

Be careful little eyes what you read.

Anonymous said...

A friend quoted a daily from this book in bible study and I thought it sounded interesting. So I got it and started reading. After a few days of reading the devotions I was reminded of the meditative steps I would take when I was practicing transcendental meditation. The talk is somewhat the same. The goal of TM is to put you in a alpha state her statements like "let my presence...sit quietly in my presence....in the light of my presence...etc...." were terms we used, with breathing techniques, to cause this state. Being in alpha is not bad, it's very healing. How you get there is what is important, Is God taking you there through His word or is your conscience and self meditative practices. I think her first misstep was when she asks "whether being a Christian made much difference in the quality of my life." It is ok to ask that, it's the steps she took after that makes a difference. It seems through her introduction and through her devotionals that she's trying to achieve an experience through feeling, "warm mist envelope me...aware of lovely presence...felt an overwhelming presence." Feeling is not faith, feeling is sight and the Christian walks by faith not by sight. Feeling is as far from faith as the east is from the west. Feeling can never lead you to faith. Satan uses feeling. God uses faith. In fact, God uses faith to get you to experience emotion, not the other way around. Many have commented how this book has helped them, I don't doubt it. Like I said alpha state is healing. Just remember our counsel in Mathew 24:24 and Ephesians 5:6.

Truth Seeker said...

Jesus had 2 missions in the book of Revelations: 1. To make God known. 2. To restore us back to God's image. As a PRACTICING VS. PROFESSING CHRISTIAN, God sent Jesus to teach the disciples to be "fishers of men". They were to teach, all, how to be disciples and followers of Jesus Christ, our soon coming King. God says we are made in His image, are to learn His ways/image, and to be restored BACK to His image ----the same message given to the Apostles over a couple thousand years via the same Holy Spirit still applies to us today. Sarah Young is a disciple sharing the messages God has given her through the same Holy Spirit in order to be a "fisher of men" in leading the saved and lost to Christ. These are, all, biblical commands of God and apply to all who want to know God and be restored back to His image before He sends His Son, Jesus, at the 2nd coming. If you are not living by His commands now, just know that God has instructed the angels "to hold back the winds of the 4 corners" in order to give the lost more time to "be restored back to His image". Also remember, everything is in place for His return at anytime----are you ready to receive your judgment---HEAVEN OR HELL---do you know which one you will receive? Only you and God know that answer. "In all things seek the Truth". Do you know the Truth? God says He is the Way, the TRUTH, and the Life.

Sarah Young is no one's Holy Spirit and she does not claim to be. However, she is a disciple for Jesus Christ our King and has come out of her comfort zone to be an obedient servant for our Lord.

Whoever reads these blogs, just know none of us are your Holy Spirit. Listen to your own Holy Spirit and be obedient. God says the church has to have 5 things: An Apostle, a Disciple, an Evangelist, a Pastor, and a Teacher. Sarah Young is a Disciple----fisher of men/the lost. We are, all, called to be disciples. So, are you a disciple or a STUMBLING BLOCK?

I've learned that most things bad/negative are of satan and All things positive/good are of God. God has given us the free will to choose----right/wrong, good/bad, righteous/evil, God/satan. CHOOSE.

Anonymous said...

How do you define 'heresy'?
Please remember this is a book, not a replacement for Scripture. As one of you talked about Left Behind as heresy, it is a fictional book. What I believe Sarah offers a way to look at things, perhaps ways none of us have ever discussed. It seems to me that these are things that Sarah has experienced from God and is sharing them to bring encouragement and provoke thought. While everything must be tested against Scripture, given the fact that Jesus is alive, He does continue to speak. I hear Him tell me things all the time. Some of which I feel compelled to share with others (because any message He gives is usually for more people than ourselves, in one form or another.)
Perhaps we can have grace and allow His truth to penetrate our hearts, through whatever means He chooses to use.
Just like it isn't heresy to find God in a sunset, or a baby's face, or the love we feel between friends or family, it isn't heresy to find Him in a book meant to bring us closer to the One True God.

Anonymous said...

I have actually been blessed by the Jesus Calling devotional. I was on another site that said it was of the occult and Sara Young was blasphemous. Isn't that exactly what satan wants- to try and discredit anything we do for Christ. The King James Version of the Bible which most read was a translation. In 1604, King James I of England authorized that a new translation of the Bible into English be started. It was finished in 1611, just 85 years after the first translation of the New Testament into English appeared (Tyndale, 1526). The Authorized Version, or King James Version, quickly became the standard for English-speaking Protestants. Its flowing language and prose rhythm has had a profound influence on the literature of the past 400 years. The King James Version present on the Bible Gateway matches the 1987 printing. The KJV is public domain in the United States. In the same manner Jesus Calling is a translation of the words the Spirit of God spoke to Sara Young. The books of the Bible were inspired by the Holy Spirit to the authors of each book. 2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction for instruction in righteousness. This devotional is her experience with God she did not write this as a rule book of living, but a recount of God speaking to her spirit. This devotional has blessed me and many who I have shared the devotions with. To me it is no different than those who make different translations of the Bible. We have to have our own direct connection and communication with God no matter what we read because He will speak His truths to us and guide us throughout our lives. When I read anything I always pray and ask God to help me retain only what is nurturing to my spiritual life in Him. I pray we all grow closer to God and shine His light so those who are lost will come to know Him as their Savior too.

Anonymous said...

One of my daughters gave me a copy 3 years ago, and I, in turn, gave three copies to friends. Then, 2 years ago I got a huge check in my spirit that I should not be reading it...much less giving it to others. I threw my copy away and asked my friends to please consider doing the same, and I apologized for having given it to them. BTW..my daughter agreed it must go. I just received another copy yesterday as a birthday gift. Yikes! Garbage can again. Why would I want to waste my time reading something Sarah Young claims to have "interpreted" from Scripture when the Precious Holy Spirit speaks to me and every born again child of God each day through His Word? To Him be all glory, honor and praise!!! Hebrews 1:1-3

Anonymous said...

The Book of Mormon has certain my led tens of thousands of Mormons astray and many of them undoubtedly felt inspired. Jesus tells us in the end times many shall be deceived. So the litmus test for ANYTHING claiming to be an extra biblical communication for The Most High should NOT be a court of popular public opinion. In particular of people who are so biblically illiterate that they seek out God speaking through others.

Tony Griffin said...

To the writer of this article, you hit the nail on the head. Stay away from this heretic. She claims to speak for God. She said herself that the Bible was not enough for her. That's where the red flags should come up. If she speaks for God to us and that means the words she speaks are completely perfectly divinely inspired by the Lord God himself which means that is scripture. Which means what she says should be equal to scripture. Of course that is complete nonsense. If you ask her if it's equal to scripture she will likely say no. And my question would be then rhetorically speaking, So is now God giving substandard revelation? Of course we know he's not. Stay away from this heretic. She says she's a Believer but she's a new age person who believes in another Jesus not found in the scriptures and believes another gospel. In her own words she says that she knows she is saved because it's something she felt. That's not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is another gospel. This woman uses Christian words with new age Gnostic philosophies and calls herself a Believer. She's on her way to hell and leading those who believe and read her words in the same path.

Tony Griffin said...

To the writer of this article, you hit the nail on the head. Stay away from this heretic. She claims to speak for God. She said herself that the Bible was not enough for her. That's where the red flags should come up. If she speaks for God to us and that means the words she speaks are completely perfectly divinely inspired by the Lord God himself which means that is scripture. Which means what she says should be equal to scripture. Of course that is complete nonsense. If you ask her if it's equal to scripture she will likely say no. And my question would be then rhetorically speaking, So is now God giving substandard revelation? Of course we know he's not. Stay away from this heretic. She says she's a Believer but she's a new age person who believes in another Jesus not found in the scriptures and believes another gospel. In her own words she says that she knows she is saved because it's something she felt. That's not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is another gospel. This woman uses Christian words with new age Gnostic philosophies and calls herself a Believer. She's on her way to hell and leading those who believe and read her words in the same path.