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Publisher's Summary

"God wants me to try harder." "God blesses me when I'm good and punishes me when I'm bad." "God is angry with me."

We all have ideas that we tell ourselves about God and how he works in our lives. Some are true--but many are false. James Bryan Smith believes those thoughts determine not only who we are, but how we live. In fact, Smith declares, the most important thing about a person is what they think about God. The path to spiritual transformation begins here.

Turning to the Gospels, Smith invites you to put your ideas to the test to see if they match up with what Jesus himself reveals about God. Once you've discovered the truth in Scripture, Smith leads you through a process of spiritual formation that includes specific activities aimed at making these new narratives real in your body and soul as well as your mind.

At the end of each chapter you'll find an opportunity for soul training, engaging in spiritual practices that reinforce the biblical messages on your mind and heart. Because the best way to make a complete and lasting change is to go through the material in community, small group discussion questions also accompany each chapter. Those who are leading apprentice groups will also find additional help and opportunities to interact with other leaders at the Apprentice website.

This deep, loving and transformative book will help you discover the narratives that Jesus lived by--to know the Lord he knew and the kingdom he proclaimed--and to practice spiritual exercises that will help you grow in the knowledge of our good and beautiful God.

©2009 James Bryan Smith (P)2010 christianaudio.com

What members say

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  • Overall
  • Leslie
  • Doral, Fl, United States
  • 12-30-10

Off Kilter

When my mind starts to replay narratives about Jesus that are not true causing me to act in all sorts of strange ways in self contempt. Just a few words from this book set me right in the love of God once again.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Matthew
  • Littleton, CO, United States
  • 11-26-12

A must for Christ followers

Would you listen to The Good and Beautiful God again? Why?

Get the right naratives in your life...so many are put there by people other than God. This book helps bridge many gaps of understanding who God really is.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

I will read this again.

This is intended as a group study, although written in a book form. I read it by myself and really enjoyed it, but I can see that it would be better as a group. Smith walks us through a number of false beliefs about God and why they are wrong and then tries to show us God the Father as Jesus knows him. Interspersed throughout are 'soul training' exercises. If you read a chapter a week (as intended) then they are introductory look at spiritual disciplines. It is the first book in a three book series. I have all three and plan on reading the next soon. This will be a book I read again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Love this book!

The narrator's voice took a little getting used to in the beginning but soon the content really brought me in deeper. This book dispelled the lies or misunderstandings people tell each other and really solidified my idea of God, the Trinity, and I even teared up a few times. In my healing journey with God from PTSD, He has been teaching me much and His Love is one of the lessons. True Love is what we all desperately need but often are stand-off - ish because of past experiences with people. Trust God to let Him teach you what true love feels like and what it does for our souls. God is Love and "Love never fails." I Corinthians 13:8

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Dry narration

The content was great, however the narration was nearly robotic. This book would benifit from a pdf of the chapter questions, as listening to questions leave very little time to search your heart for response.

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Spiritual formation

Well written and great book for those who have been in the faith a while. It's a reset to a new beginning. One of the best books written.

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Simple

This writing simplifies the complexities of biblical writings; clear, concise in example and story form.

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beautiful book

quite refreshing as he covers the truth of God's love - practical disciplines worth living!

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Great Book

Thank you for the gift of this book. It has put some fresh language to some old practices as well as give lots of new thoughts about deepening your relationship with God. I love it and so does my small group. I talk about your book all the time.

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Scripturally sound, transformative and joyful

If you could sum up The Good and Beautiful God in three words, what would they be?

Working from Jesus' point of view as found in scripture, Smith presents religious narratives that we are all too familiar with, and measures them against what Jesus actually said and did. This book is for groups and individuals who want to not only follow Jesus but want to see themselves and others as people "in whom Christ dwells." The "soul training" exercises challenge and help the readers become more Christ-like. I cannot imagine anyone not desiring to continue the journey with the next two books: The Good and Beautiful Life, and The Good and Beautiful Community. This Apprentice Series trio could transform our churches into Kingdom-of-Heaven disciple-making beacons of hope, love and light for the world.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Good and Beautiful God?

Smith's explanation of the cross and salvation finally helped me understand why the cross is necessary.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

What the Bible REALLY says about God.

Any additional comments?

Smith's mentors, Richard Foster and Dallas Willard along with the other influences in his life make Smith the perfect author for this book. I believe that this book is God-inspired, and it is relevant to today's North American Christians who have received a skewed view of God through centuries of traditions that have moved us away from what scripture really says about God.

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  • David Brown
  • 01-14-18

I thought provoking, holy spirit filled, gem of a book!

This is wonderfully well paced book that not only highlights many of the false narratives we hold about God, but through clear and practical exercises and thought-provoking questions helps us to see past them and to grow in Christ like faith. I loved it. I'll be using it in a discipleship group over the coming year. I think you'll love it too.