Thursday, September 6, 2012

Review of SPARK by Jason Jaggard

Rating: 4 out of 5

SPARK by Jason Jaggard is a battle cry for people embrace the risks it will take to make a positive impact on the world and in our individual lives. Even more than that, it is a call to embrace community, to change the world while realizing that God is about creating a community of people who will deeply care about and transform their world.

I picked up SPARK because I knew that Jaggard had once served alongside Erwin Mcmanus at Mosaic in LA. McManus is one of my favorite authors and speakers. What I loved about this book, that I also love about McManus’ teaching is the focus on helping people to reach their God-given potential. God created people to do great things, but in our fallen nature, we often settle for mediocre living. Jaggard refers to us as sleeping giants in need of awakening. SPARK is very much a motivational book, and Jaggard calls people to embrace life.

The common thinking is that to make a truly transformational impact on the world we must do something big and spectacular. We may not believe we have what it takes. However, Jaggard shows us that a large fire starts with a small spark. For us, it’s the small risks that we take that compound to create transformational change.

One of my favorite chapters of the book was about the perceptions and ideas that we have ingrained in our minds that might cause us to not see new patterns and new ways of doing things. We become blinded by our own learning capacity, or as Jaggard puts it, “learning ourselves to death.” We have to learn to think differently, and we have to learn to let others into our lives. We weren’t meant to live life alone. Jaggard prescribes Spark Groups in which the people involved are the content, and the whole point is to challenge each other to take small risks that will make a big impact on their individual lives and in their world, then discuss these risks after they’re taken.

If I were to change anything about the book, it would be to add a bit of clarification. Jaggard encourages readers to embrace life, and he defines this life as life in Jesus Christ. Readers of this book may be Christian or non-Christian. In fact, I think the ideas would be appeal greatly to a non-Christian audience. But a clearer explanation of what Jesus came to do through the gospel would have been well-placed. Not that it was completely missing, just a bit vague.

I loved the format of the book. Short paragraphs and interesting stories throughout make the reading very easy. SPARK is full of very practical wisdom on leading a great life. Jaggard makes you want to live a great life, and that’s a mark of a great communicator.

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