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Night Driving: Notes from a Prodigal Soul

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  255 ratings  ·  53 reviews
Journeys that begin in brokenness rarely follow a straight road to healing. There are twists and turns—and setbacks—on the path of repentance.

Night Driving tells the story of a pastor and seminary professor whose moral failures destroyed his marriage and career, left his life in ruins, and sent him spiraling into a decade-long struggle against God. Forced to fight the demo
Paperback, 160 pages
Published October 11th 2017 by Eerdmans
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Average rating 4.49  · 
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John F.
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I met Chad when I arrived at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana in December of 2003. I didn't have Chad as a Professor until the Summer of 2005 when I took Hebrew I & II. I talked with Chad on various occasions. He was, is, and always will be my friend, my brother, and my teacher.

Night Driving: Notes from a Prodigal Soul is an outstanding book. I cried throughout most of it. I did not know my brother's pain until now. I still have questions about the whole ordeal which will pr
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I've ever read. I can't recommend this enough. The author uses a clear message of the gospel, his personal history (mostly of failure), and beautiful language (it feels poetic at times) to discuss topics such as repentance, the church, doubt and vulnerability. I can't wait to read his next book coming out in January. ...more
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Thought provoking book. Difficult to read more than a chapter at a time because of the necessity to reflect on what he says.
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a brutal, devastating, and honest account of the author's personal, far-reaching sins and failures. Ultimately, however, it a beautiful, Gospel-soaked, and spiritually refreshing account of the limitless grace of God in Christ. It's a brief book, and well worth the time for anyone who struggles with sin and a seemingly less than "victorious" spiritual life. It is medicine for the stricken soul, applied by one sinner to another. ...more
Chock full of gospel. Only complaint I have is that it’s too short. I also would have liked to hear more details about the timeline of Chad Bird’s life, but that’s no cause for complaint. This is not a tell-all testimonial book used to make readers feel guilty. It’s gospel.

Bought at the 2018 Here We Still Stand conference in San Diego, CA.
Zachary Cole
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If this book by Chad Bird is not in your top 10 "Want to Read" list you are wrong. ...more
Ann Gemmel
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Profound and brutally honest book on Chad Bird’s life/spiritual journey. One of the strongest gospel books I have read in a long time. At times so painful to read and other ways glorious as Chad clearly lands so firmly in the unrelenting grace of God. Chad’s unfiltered confession and honesty reminds me much of Brennan Manning. Yes - it’s that good of a book. Just might order me a case to pass out to others needing a reminder of just how deep and wide and relentless is the love of the Father to H ...more
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

In Night Driving, Bird writes about his own moral failure and his journey back to God. Wow. I was blown away by this book. The writing is so raw and real, to a point of making you uncomfortable at times. Bird takes you into the heart and mind of a prodigal. All of the dark corners that we like to ignore. If you are in ministry, you need to read this book. I cannot recommend it enough.
Short read but packs a punch. It seems this book came to me at the perfect moment in my life and I'm grateful for Chad Bird's realness. He had made a mess of his life and it's clear from reading his story that there's no way he would have been able to pull himself out by his own strength. I'm grateful the Lord worked in his life the way He did so I could read about it, be encouraged, and be pointed to Christ.

These are some of my favorite lines:

...great paradoxes of the gospel. It's all about us
Boundless Book Reviews
I appreciate that Chad Bird shared all the stories from his personal life. His mistakes were lessons we can benefit from. However, it didn’t read as such. The personal stories were all over the place in no particular order. The presentation of each lesson understood as just that, a lesson. I wasn’t able to feel with, or for the writer. Chad shared a little emotion, but just not enough to make him relatable to me, as a reader. The scriptures read were relevant to each lesson, but there were too m ...more
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book and cannot recommend it enough.
With class and wisdom Chad Bird transparently shares how success, well-meaning work for God, and chasing ‘the dream’ brought him face to face with pride, adultery, and the fragility of having it all together. What I loved the most is that Chad doesn’t use himself as a standard for the reader to measure themselves by. He doesn’t advertise false humility, nor is Chad marketing a way to turn one’s life around.

Night Driving: Notes From A Prodigal So
Ryan Gray
Dec 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Raw and readable. Some beautiful writing, with some poignant and pointed insights into temptation, sin and self justification. Also a good reminder that Grace is not based on anything we have done, and that the gospel really is good news no matter how far we have fallen. This book reminded me of the beauty of the grace of God in Christ Jesus, and for that I am grateful.
I do, however, have some reservations about his statements regarding repentance, and bits of the book could be interpreted as a
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Exactly the book I needed to read - particularly the chapter "The Community of the Broken" - after a rocky decade within my very broken (but very loved) congregation and spending too much time following the social media infighting within my denomination. I especially loved the beautiful and apt description of Holy Communion on pp 124-25. I checked this out of my library, but will purchase it. ...more
Dec 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were some good parts in this book - passages that I highlighted and reread several times because they spoke so much truth. Or maybe just what I needed to hear at that moment. Other parts not so much. The whole of the book wasn't as good as the sum of the parts could have been.

Chad's story is raw and vulnerable and will certainly speak to some.
Scott Carter
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Chad Bird, Night Driving: Notes From a Prodigal Soul. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2017). $16.99.

In Night Driving: Notes From a Prodigal Soul, Chad Bird tells his own story as a husband, father, pastor, and seminary professor as his moral failures tore apart his life. Without going into great detail, he explains his struggles against God and ties his own story to that of the prodigal son. If you want to see what it is like to open up and peel back layers of denial, anger, addiction, and grief, then
David Haynes
Nov 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

Night Driving: Notes from a Prodigal Soul is a spiritual self-help book written by Chad Bird. It provides a short look into Chad's troubled past, and it reveals how the Father draws His children back to Him. Trevor Thompson provides the narration, and he delivers a touching, emotional performance. Anyone with a past full of brokenness and pain (so everyone) will find something to appreciate in this work.

Chad Bird was a pastor and semina
Tony Villatoro
Apr 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed being refreshed with the picture that God does not require "perfect repentance" from us. The insights on Jacob and his limp close to the end of the book is gold. Here are a few quotes I highlighted:

There comes a time in almost everyone's life when they feel like Adam must have felt the first time he watched the sun set. -1

One of the ironies in life is that the things we want most are often the very things that destroy us. -6

Rituals of regret are pervaded by the "I." I will do this, I wil
Doug Dale
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian
As I've recently been reading through Genesis, I've been struck by how the lives of people we paint as biblical 'heroes' in Sunday School stories lived lives full of sin: drunkenness, deceit, sexual immorality, and more. Their lives are not recorded there as examples of "upright living", they are instead examples of failures that we all face, to show us the grace of God, who works in the middle of the muck and mire we get ourselves into for his glory and for the good of those who trust him throu ...more
Warren Benton
Chad Bird went from having everything perfect in his life, being a pastor, a professor at a seminary, a husband, and father. But he was pushing himself too hard. His perfect exterior started to crumble.

This book is post-fall. He had two failed marriages and many reasons to give up faith. But as he says the nice thing about becoming a truck driver is you have lots of time to your thoughts.
Liberation is often difficult for the captive. It is hard for them to break with the world they know. Bird
Aug 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is Chad's story. It's his story of a shipwrecked life. A life ruined by his own hands as he would admit many times over in the book. but in the shipwrecked life, as much as he tried to claw away from God, grasping and holding on to anything but God, he found a God that would not let him go.

...and that is my story too. It's also your story as well. If you come to this review running from God, or trying to, or maybe finding God trying to get your attention in the utter mess of your life
Sara Gorman
After hearing Chad speak at a conference, I knew I had to read more of his work, and follow him as a speaker and author. While this is the first book of his I picked up, it certainly didn't disappoint. Not only does Bird translate difficult Bible texts into the vernacular of today, but he also frames the stories in a way that makes them more relatable to our 21st century. While this is more of a reflection of his life, and what he learned along the way, there were a number of places that I could ...more
Aug 22, 2021 rated it liked it
When I first started this book I thought it was for sure going to be a 5 star book. However the way the author ends up telling his story over the course of the book makes it confusing to understand what actually happened to bring him back to his faith. As the reader I wanted to be able to see his journey more clearly, to be able to connect the dots but it seemed like after the first few chapters only the dots were visible (end result) but the connections were unclear. That being said there is mu ...more
Joshua Vallejos
Dec 24, 2019 rated it really liked it

Probably the best book I read this year.

Chad Bird writes raw reflections on his failures, suffering and wrestlings. It is refreshingly honest, harkening the tone and tenure of the psalms.

Transparent and relatable, and he points the reader to sustainable and humbling hope.

Had he elaborated on a few points for clarities sake, I would have awarded it 5 gold ones. Perhaps I’m being a little extra critical because I enjoyed it so much.

Chris Francik
Aug 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Outside of the Bible, I have not had an author’s words hit me with so much impact. Chad has known the depths of self-created despair yet the grace and love of God was always present with him. I’ve never had an author so clearly put into words specific thoughts and beliefs I’ve had about myself. If you’ve ever stumbled and fallen so badly that you think God no longer loves you or wants to be with you, this is the book for you.
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great book about God's forgiveness told through the voice of a husband, father, pastor, and professor who is thrown into guilt and despair when his sins come to light. Although he doesn't realize it at first, God is always reaching out to us, running to us like the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son so we can see that He loves us and that we are forgiven no matter what we have done. ...more
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-grace
Well written - compelling - grace-giving - Christ our substitute and redeemer who reaches to his straying sheep with compassion - himself choosing to meet us in the darkness. It might seem to good to be true - but this is a needed antidote to the treadmill of religious performance much of the church offers.
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One man’s journey through darkness

Chad Bird was set for a career in academia. Then his life took one bad turn after another. God was there through it all, walking with him even though Chad didn’t want to believe it. This book is Chad’s story, but it is your story and mine as well. Gods grace covers the greatest of sinners.
cindy townley
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Book Club book. A short read. Chad's story how he his life fell apart. But is it everyone's story. How Jesus is there for us always, no matter what our sins are. How the Bible is full of sinners like us.
Very raw and real. Just wish there would have been more on his life after he found his way back to Jesus.
Dec 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I was attracted to this book because I thought that it was a memoir . . . And it is, to some extent, but it is so much more. . .I was able to identify with his journey, much more than I expected. The book helped me to reside my complete helplessness and dependence on God. Thought provoking book.
Josh Cromley
May 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joy comes in the morning

Despite the struggles and sin discussed in the book, it is wrapped up in the fact that God’s grace is revealed in the “morning” after a night full of wrestling. Recommended for anyone struggling with their sin or for people interacting with those struggling.
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Chad is an author and speaker devoted to honest Christianity that addresses the raw realities of life with the gospel of Jesus Christ. He has served as an assistant professor of OT theology, contributed hymns to the Lutheran Service Book, and cohosts the popular podcast “40 Minutes in the OT.” He holds Master's degrees from Concordia Theological Seminary and Hebrew Union College. In addition to wr ...more

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“In every instance, forgiveness morphs into a self-serving tool of manipulation we use to control other people. Inside our clouded minds, we convince ourselves we’re doing what’s ultimately best for us.” 1 likes
“The forgiveness of the Father doesn’t wait for us to demonstrate adequate, sincere repentance. It doesn’t let us humbly accept a servant position in the household, or a chance gradually to earn our Father’s favor again through a life of obedience. Christ’s forgiveness precedes our repentance—and calls it forth.” 1 likes
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