Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Too Many Lovers: book and study guide

Too Many Lovers by Paul Taylor
AuthorHouse: 9/23/2010
Trade Paperback, 248 pages
ISBN-13: 9781452037059

This book is a wake-up call for Christians who are suffering from the rampant - yet unrecognized - effects caused by the deception of idolatry. Idolatry is not an outdated practice of extinct religions; it is very much alive and flourishing today. Most Christians who practice idolatry aren't even aware of it. They are suffering spiritually, emotionally, and even physically but can't connect the dot between their misery and their practice of idolatry.
How does it happen? Instead of giving the best of our love to the God who deserves it, many Christians have gradually fallen more and more in love with what God created, instead of the Creator himself. With our lips we tell God we love Him, but our everyday thoughts and actions may be revealing that we have other "lovers." These so called lovers seem innocent enough because they offer to give us what we want. But in the end, they betray us by taking the best of what God has given, only to leave us poor, empty, and dead inside.

My Thoughts:

Too Many Lovers: Uncovering the Deception of Idolatry by Paul Taylor is a very highly recommended book that challenges Christians to examine who or what they are truly devoted to and serving.  
"An idol can be anything or anyone other than God who we believe will give us happiness, fulfillment, security, destiny, power, love, comfort, or pleasure instead of finding those same things in God. We make the idol a false 'god' by giving it our devotion, attention, affection, and resources in exchange for what it gives us." (page 9) Looking at that reality alone immediately puts up red flags on things that any of us can make into idols:  money, alcohol, a job, sports teams, food, drugs... the list could go on and on. Taylor points out that one of the most perilous idols is self-love. "We can become consumed with OUR needs, wishes, desires, pleasures, and rights ; and we act aggressively if anyone or anything stands in our way." (page 11)  

But the treachery of having idols in our lives is much more insidious. "The most dangerous idol is the one you don't want to give up. The second most dangerous idol... is the one you don't see." (page 119) Taylor goes on to give a long list of things that may be idols to people - and chances are more than one item will hit home and make you question your devotion to these idols in your life.  

What is extremely helpful though is working through the study guide along with reading the book. 

Too Many Lovers a Guide to Freedom from Idolatry by Paul Taylor
AuthorHouse: 1/19/2012
Trade Paperback, 129 pages
ISBN-13: 9781468539882

Me? Have a problem with idols? You've got to be kidding! That's just something that was practiced by people in ancient religions who weren't as well educated as we are today . . . right? If this was your first thought, you couldn't be more wrong! The problem of idols and idolatry is not an outdated practice of extinct religions; it's actually alive and flourishing today in our "modern" society. True, our current idols aren't typically made of wood, stone, or gold. That's because idolatry is simply the act of loving and worshipping something or someone more than the one person who actually deserves it - God Himself. So by this definition, we can turn anything or anyone into our personal idol -and we will suffer for it! Most people, even Christians, who practice idolatry aren't even aware of it, but here they are suffering spiritually, emotionally, and even physically but can't seem to connect the dots between misery and the practice of idolatry. This study guide was developed to help people find out if idolatry is a bigger problem than you realized. It was put together to help you - and maybe a group of your friends - get real and get honest with each other and with God. This guide was designed to complement the book, Too Many Lovers and to go deeper into God's truth together.
My Thoughts:  

Too Many Lovers: a Guide to Freedom from Idolatry by Paul Taylor is a very highly recommended study guide that will challenge you weed out the things you may be making into idols in your own life.  

This study guide to Too Many Lovers is an excellent resource to help small groups identify what idols they may have in their own lives that need to be removed. The study guide can be used independently from the book or as a supplement. Certainly the study guide will help you focus in on what you may be making into an idol and what God's Word says. The study guide is organized into 4 units that encompass a total of 10 lessons.  Each lesson includes scripture and a memory verse. At the end of the lesson is a summary box with key points from the lesson and reflection questions to help bring the key points home and guide the course of a group study. At the end of each of the four units there are life application questions to assist group members to privately reflect on what is being revealed to them personally. The guide ends with lessons on how to live an idol free life.
This was actually one of the best and most helpful small group studies I have done.


Contents include:

Unit 1. Idolatry Then and Now
Session 1. Becoming Aware of Idols
Session 2. Uncovering the Idolatrous Heart

Unit 2. God, Our Faithful Partner
Session 3. God is a Lover
Session 4. Idolatry from God's Perspective

Unit 3. The Cost of Idolatry
Session 5. On Our Lives
Session 6. On the Church
Session 7. On Our Nation & the Environment

Unit 4. Releasing the grip of Idols.
Session 8. Recognition and Repentance
Session 9. Removing Idols
Session 10. Idol-free Living

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