As the daughter of the world renowned evangelist Billy Graham, author and speaker Anne Graham Lotz frequently shares in her auspicious father's spotlight --- not on his shirt-tails as it were, but because of her own skilled ability to speak and write in a similarly compelling manner. Lotz has written a number of titles entreating fellow Christians to draw closer to Jesus Christ as the meaning maker to all of life's quandaries and as the final answer to discovering true inner-satisfaction and peace amidst a troubled, war-ravaged world.
In her newest text, Lotz continues in a similar vein, challenging evangelicals to "wake-up" to the call that time is speeding by and countless individuals pass into eternity unprepared spiritually. Citing 9/11 as her own personal "wake-up call," Lotz recounts her invitation to speak on "The Early Show" mere days after the 9/11 attacks. Revisiting her thoughts and feelings from that time, Lotz reports on her on-air conversation with co-host Jane Clayson, in which she shared that it is America's moment to decide whether "we're going to implode and disintegrate emotionally and spiritually or whether we're going to make the choice to be stronger." In response to Clayson's assertion that many people were expressing indignation and anger at God, Lotz replied with an honest observation that, for the most part, Americans have been shaking their fist at God and telling Him to get out of the schools, out of the government, out of businesses, and out of the marketplace. "And God, who is a gentleman, has quietly backed out of our national and political life, our public life, removing His hand of blessing and protection."
On the heels of such a pronouncement, Lotz then begins her text in earnest as she lays the foundation for the practicalities of re-awakening a believer's heart who outwardly appears to be in tune with Christ because such said Christian quotes Scripture, prays out loud, sings hymns from memory, and has a cursory understanding of historical Christianity. Yet this person lacks the heart passion for God's Word, for intercessory prayer, for sharing the gospel, for saving a lost and dying world, and for Him alone. Pointedly, Lotz goes straight for the jugular and aims to either incite fresh passion or see complacent Christians cringing at the truthfulness of her words.
With the prophet Isaiah as her model, Lotz explores this biblical character's journey to greatness by detailing his life struggles, which she successfully pairs with modern-day life events so as to further demonstrate how alike today's believers are with historical figures and how God works in similar fashion throughout the ages with His people. Lotz urges Christians to recognize their sleeping state, wake up, open their eyes, rend their hearts, bend their knees, heed the call, move their feet to action, and stay awake for the duration. One of Lotz's strong suits is the ability to balance difficult calls to change with hope for lasting inner-transformation. She understands that Christians, on their own steam, cannot achieve (or succeed over the long haul) what the Bible calls them to do without the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit.
Fans of and newcomers to Lotz will be admonished, chastised and revived. And due to Lotz's gentle boldness, they will thank her for the upbraiding.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on November 13, 2011