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You Can Change: God's Transforming Power for Our Sinful Behavior and Negative Emotions
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You Can Change: God's Transforming Power for Our Sinful Behavior and Negative Emotions

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  1,271 ratings  ·  102 reviews
It's about heart change, not behavior change. That's the conviction of Tim Chester as he seeks to help everyday Christians "connect the truth about God with our Monday-morning struggles." This interactive book, laid out in workbook fashion, is for newer Christians struggling with sin and for more mature Christians who have plateaued in their faith as they seek to find vict ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published March 31st 2010 by Crossway Books (first published June 20th 2008)
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4.29  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,271 ratings  ·  102 reviews

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J.S. Park
Sep 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian
The danger in Christian books about change is the bogeyman of legalism. Some of the "classic" Christian literature is nothing more than a manifesto of Do's and Don't's that have nothing to do with the Bible, much less Jesus. Tim Chester does not avoid these familiar pitfalls: half of his work is a brilliant call to holiness while the other half is counterintuitive to his own goals. It makes for a frustrating read that at times connects deeply but often succumbs to being another screaming manifes ...more
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
First sentence: What would you like to change?

Premise/plot: Is Tim Chester's book your typical self-help book? Far from it. It approaches change not from a self empowerment perspective but from a Spirit empowered one! In other words while he encourages you to focus on where you personally want to change, it is very much a book about the sanctification process. It explores essential Christian ideas: sin, temptation, repentance, holiness, etc.

My thoughts: I really thought this was well written. I
Nathan Moore
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I think this is my favorite book on Gospel change. Better than Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change, and even better than How People Change. Chester is a wonderful writer and balances clarity, brevity, and the inclusion of biblical detail well. This is now my go-to book on the subject.
Jonathan Penn
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is practical without being legalistic. A must read for Christians as we battle sin daily and seek to sow in the Spirit. One day we will reap what we sow.

I believe more of who God is after reading this book. He is good, great, gracious, and glorious.
May 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Generally helpful book. Appreciated the emphasis on the power available through God's means of grace. The discussion of "legalism" was inconsistent and self-contradictory when compared with the larger context of the book. For this reason, I gave it 3 instead of 4 stars.
John Neil
Apr 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Don't judge a book by its cover/cheesy title. This book was biblically grounded and a great read. heyoo.
Nov 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
I find the title to Tim Chester's book to be obnoxious and cheesy. In fact, I felt embarrassed reading it at Starbucks.

Yes, I'm a snob.

I find Chester's writing lacking, as he is prone to make sweeping generalizations and statements about absolute truth that are not absolute. Example: Chapter 5 begins with the statement that "Behind every sin and negative emotion is a lie." That is a sub-heading for the chapter and something to which Chester returns throughout the chapter and the book.

Had he not
May 04, 2013 added it
Shelves: nonfiction
I finished this book last week with my pastor and his wife, and have been, frankly, avoiding my review. Why?

Because I didn't like it, but I don't have any real reason for why I didn't like it beyond it was hopeful, and I was not.

As a general rule I do not like spiritual self-help books. I don't like books that talk to me, and try to "counsel" me. I'd rather read a book that's directed at the third person, and feels less personal. One that doesn't feel like it's trying to preach to me personall
Rev Ricky
Jan 01, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a good book about gospel powered sanctification. We sin because we desire other things more than we desire God, or because we do not want the hope that is offered to us in the Gospel.

Chester explains that Holiness is what would truly complete us as humans. God wants our ultimate happiness, and we must trust him for how to find it. Therefore, the path to change means we must turn away (repent) from the false things we believe about God, and from the idols we pursue instead of God, and tu
Tim Woody
Apr 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
At first I thought this book was going to be cheesy Christian self help. The first few chapters could even be summarized by the catch phrase WWJD. But then it took a turn, and focused on where change really starts. The free gift of salvation and grace changes our hearts and redirects our desires. Life in Christ is a life of competing desires, and we should desire Christ. In turn our behaviors change. That is overs simplified and the book gives practical advice as well but the meditations were so ...more
Matt Moran
Jul 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great book on fighting sin through faith and repentance. I would recommend this to anyone in any type of small group leadership.
Micah Hester
Sep 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
One of my favorite books of truth. I go back to the principles in here often.
Aidan Magill
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent and practical book, that I plan to re-read.
Joshua Moran
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading most of Tim Chester’s book and found it to be both thorough and convicting. He walks us through how to step into one of the great paradoxes of the Christian faith, that of grace and holiness.

We need more books on holiness that aren’t legalistic. This is one of those. He helped me to see the emotions behind our sin and what our deep motivations are when we find ourselves in sin.

I found the book to be a great compilation of a lot of things I’ve heard (and Tim even quotes
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book on the Reformed view of sanctification and how to practice it for true personal change.

Some helpful quotes:
(1) Chapter 1: What would you like to change?
-pg. 18: The secret of gospel change is being convinced that Jesus is the good life and the fountain of all joy.
-pg. 23: The message of this book is that change takes place in our lives as we turn to see the glory of God in Jesus. We 'see' the glory of Christ as we 'hear' the gospel of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4-6). Moral effort, fea
Andrew Ivester
This is one of the more impactful books that I have read, not only in 2018, but in the whole of my Christian walk. This book is challenging, as well as grace-filled. Chester's writing always drips with clarity and application. This is a must read, not just for church leaders, but for every Christian.
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This could be the best book on sanctification that has ever been written. Theologically sound and in the tradition of the Puritans, yet profoundly practical and down to earth. Well-written and engaging. It ticks all the boxes and, alongside Walter Marshall's volume on Sanctification, should be read by everyone - especially Christians. Really good.
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
Meh. While I loved the scriptures he chose to reference, I really struggled with getting through this book. The organization was often difficult for me to follow; in fact, I liked the book much better when I stopped trying to follow the flow and read each chapter as a stand-alone. I feel like a better editor might have really helped this book.
Rick Walton
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Must Read for Every Christian

Biblically sound, rich in wise counsel, and believes in the gospel of Jesus to change lives! You will be presented with Scripture and Christians, who over the centuries sought for real change in their lives.
Taylor Belt
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I highly highly highly highly recommend this book to anyone who truly believes that there's "no hope of changing through Christ". Tim is a GREAT author and this is the first book of his that I have read.
Kevin Larson
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best

It’s at least the second time that I’ve read this book. Such a terrific book about hope for change. It is an excellent beginning counseling book. It is great for discipleship. Highly recommended.
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Helpful book. Good emphasis on both the need for actively fighting daily the small battles and yet aware that we live in the grace of God. Interesting that Tim Chester highlights the distinction between wesleyan and Keswick holiness which is rarely noted.
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Don't know exact dates but read it on England in 2013. I believe I thought it was good at the time, but I was also unknowingly struggling with legalism, fear and a lack of freedom a lot then so I don't know if I'd say the same now.
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful summary of several different sanctification approaches. It is a practical, theological and accessible read.
Ben Adkison
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Unbelievably good and helpful book.
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
another book that's a must read! If you are struggling in sin, which we all are.... this is the book for you.
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book on the dynamics of personal change in the context of the Christian life. Very practical without being legalistic. I'll be reading this book from time to time.
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sean Fuentes
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great resource for Christians struggling with particular sins or any hindrance to sanctification.
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Encouraging and challenging. Will do a second read at a slower pace as there’s so much to think through for each chapter.
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  • Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy
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  • What is the Mission of the Church?: Making sense of social justice, Shalom and the Great Commission
  • How People Change
  • Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself
  • Keep in Step with the Spirit: Finding Fullness in Our Walk with God
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  • Call to Spiritual Reformation
Dr Tim Chester is involved in The Crowded House, a church planting initiative in Sheffield, UK. He was previously Research & Policy Director for Tearfund UK, and has been published widely on prayer, mission, social issues and theology. He is married to Helen and has two daughters.
“Tell someone to stop sinning and at best they may do so reluctantly and partially. But give them a vision of knowing God and his glory, and they’ll gladly root out all that gets in the way of their relationship with God (Hebrews 12:1–3).” 2 likes
“External activities can’t change us, says Jesus, because sin comes from within, from our hearts. Our rituals might change our behavior for a while, but they can’t change our hearts. And so they can’t bring true and lasting holiness. We need heart change.” 0 likes
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