FOLLOW THE CLOUD by pastor and first-time author John Stickl takes a relatively brief, yet fulfilling and encouraging look at the desire that God has to lead His children on a continual basis, and that this type of intimate and relational expression of life with God is available to all Christians now. Using the Old Testament example of how the Lord led the Israelites through the wilderness to the Promised Land through a cloud by day (and fire by night) to lead the people exactly where they needed to go when they needed to go. Stickl challenges readers to “follow the cloud —- courageously taking next steps when we see God move. The author breaks his explanation of following God more closely into four sections. Section 1 — Awaken to Life — makes the case that believers today have more access to God than the Israelites did in the Old Testament, and that the Lord means for us to follow Him in a dependent and trusting daily walk. Section 2 — Receive His Grace — builds a foundation for this intimate walk by demonstrating the love and grace of God, and believers’ identity as sons and daughters rather than servants or sinners. Section 3 — Experience His Presence — goes into detail to describe what “following the cloud” entails, and all the various ways that God communicates with us. Finally, Section 4 — Release His Kingdom — lays out a vision of what a willingness to trust and obey God can mean in the individual believers’ lives, as well as in the lives of their family, friends, coworkers, church members, communities and society at large. Stickl writes in an honest, self-effacing manner as someone who has only recently learned more about the love of God and His desire to lead him and all believers in all things; so that striving and despair can cease, and Christians can live in the joy and freedom that Christ desires and delivered to us through His sacrifice and obedience to the Father. This aspect of Stickl’s writing reminds me in a good way of other authors like Craig Groeschel who write not as “super Christians” who have had very extraordinary experiences and blessings with God that would make readers feel guilty and self-conscious; but rather as a follow struggler who has had to learn some difficult lessons, but now wants to share his joyful discoveries with others. This book is extremely encouraging and uplifting, and as a believer who has had many ongoing struggles in learning to trust God and totally depend on Him, this book was like a breath of fresh air to me. I would highly recommend this book for all believers.

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