Restoration Story: Why Jesus Matters in a Broken World is a Christian nonfiction book by Robert K. Cheong that just came out today. I had the honor of being asked to write a book review in exchange for an advance copy, so here I am.
We’ll start with a bit of background information, and then I share my actual review.
What unanswered questions do you have about your life? Some of us struggle to find meaning, others wonder about identity, and all of us want to be loved. Your story—the events and relationships that define you—will guide how you answer those questions. But God has a story too. His story is about sending Jesus to this broken world to mend all that is broken. Author Robert Cheong, a pastor and counselor, helps readers connect their story to God’s story which will transform how they live and love.
We all have our own back story—our sometimes unconscious beliefs—that have been shaped by our families, relationships, and life experiences. Our stories shape the personal narratives we live out: “I am not loved.” “No one cares for me.” “I have to be better than everyone around me.” “How I look is the most important thing about me.” Our back story guides us in how we relate to God and others. But are these beliefs true? And how are they affecting our lives today? Cheong helps readers unpack their story and learn to live out of God’s new story. Readers will discover how to retell their story out of who God is, what he’s done, and the call to love him and others.
Learn how the dynamics of creation, fall, redemption, and consummation shape our present struggles, confirm our future hope, and ensure our ability to live in God’s power today. At the intersection of God’s story and your own, you’ll find that his love sustains you in your weariness, guides you in your confusion, and comforts you in your suffering. The story of his love will compel you to live for him.
Robert K. Cheong, PhD, serves as the Pastor of Care at Sojourn Church Midtown in Louisville, KY. He has a passion for helping the church to be confident in Jesus, and he is the executive director of Gospel Care Ministries, which trains leaders in churches, networks, and mission organizations. He is the author of God Redeeming His Bride: A Handbook for Church Discipline, Restore: Changing How We Live and Love, and Restoration Story: Why Jesus Matters in a Broken World. He enjoys life with his wife, Karen, their grown children, and their adorable grandchildren.
Overall, I really enjoyed Restoration Story. I had been going through some apathy in my relationship with God a few weeks ago, but I snapped out of it, and this book is in part to thank. It was a refreshing supplement to my quiet time and pointed me to passages in Scripture that helped add clarity to my faith each morning. I recommend this book to anyone who would like to re-center the gospel in their lives or discover the gospel for the first time.
The main goal of the book is to help you discover where your story fits into God’s story. With how dynamic our lives are and all the different aspects of how the gospel changes our lives, it’s no wonder that this is a book and not a short devotional. To really find the answer to the question How does my life fit in God’s story? we have to refresh our understanding of the gospel. We have to take a look at each puzzle piece one at a time.
The book starts with a few chapters about your story, what people share in common, and why it is important to use a gospel lens when you look at your life. But then it transitions into chapters that explore each part of the gospel: creation, the fall, redemption, and consummation. That’s when you really start to get to the meat of the book. 😋
One of the highlights for me was the way the author described temptation as “a merciful reminder that we desperately need Jesus” and that we experience guilt because “God loves us too much to allow us to live in ways that are contrary to how he designed us.” I found this approach mind-blowing!
The stories of people named Emma, Steve, Mark, and Nikki are used as illustrations throughout the book, and their experiences help capture what the main points of Restoration Story look like in real life. These stories are really helpful, encouraging, and well-written. Some books have illustrations that fail to capture the complexity of human life, and leave you on your own to figure out the applications. But in Restoration Story, the illustrations come to life and build on the truths we learn along the way. I have no idea whether the examples are based on real people, but given the way the stories are told, they seem like real people.
However, these stories deal with heavy topics: adultery, sexual assault, pornography. These topics are handled biblically, and the focus is on the individuals and how their relationships with God play a part in their messy lives. But that said, this book may not be the best choice for a family read-aloud.
Restoration Story explores the beautiful already-and-not-yet realities of the restoration Christ is bringing to His people. It was a refreshing read for me, and I hope it will be for you too if you take it on. Five stars. =)
What Do You Think?
Have you had any Christian nonfiction books encourage you lately? Let’s talk in the comments!