Deb’s Dozen: To know God, we must understand the Trinity and know His Word.
In these days of feel good Christianity and many churches’ desires to ensure the people in the pews are “comfortable,” James Goll’s book, Passionate Pursuit: Getting to Know God and His Word is as a fresh breeze. Goll wrote the book because he believes the fundamental teachings of the faith are not emphasized enough by the Church today. He feels we greatly underappreciate God, the Great I AM; the Son, the human incarnation of God; and the Spirit, the active part of God who brings us to Him. The book is divided into two sections—the first about the Trinity—and how we know God by our understanding of the Trinity. The second section show us how to know God through His Word, the Holy Bible.
The first section, about the Trinity, shows us how deeply God desires a relationship with us and that in turn, our greatest blessings come the more we know about God and His nature. Only if we truly understand God can we truly understand the relationship we have with Him through Jesus Christ and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We have to be intentional about seeking to know Him more deeply. “After all, God said, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ He didn’t say, I am the God who ‘was’ or I am the God who ‘will be.'” The more we study and learn, the more we can experience His love. Topics Goll covers in Section One are those such as “God as Our Personal Father,” “God’s Amazing Attributes,” “The Messiah Has Come!” and “Holy Spirit, You are Welcome Here.” James’ desire is to show us “Here is the God who created the universe, and yet He is relational. He already knows you inside and out, and He wants you to know Him. He wants us all to know His heart.”
Section Two covers “Knowing the Master Builder,” “Hungry for His Every Word,” and “The Uniqueness of God’s Word” among others. He begins this section with this statement:
If you want to know God’s heart, then you must know His Word, where His nature and character are revealed. The Word speaks to you directly with His voice … and “God’s words, as revealed in the Scriptures, are trustworthy. God’s authoritative Word is inspired by the Holy Spirit. This Word takes the ‘warp’ out of our lives and sets us on the straight path. The Word is consistent and powerful, pulling down negative strongholds and making us complete in Him.
He states that “knowing God is not automatic; it is a lifelong process that required dedication to the task. It is a lost art, and I have dedicated my life to bring it back to the people of God.” He encourages us to be more like Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus and less like Martha—we’re to “get out of the kitchen” and into the life and love He has for us.
If you are interested in growing deeper in your Christian walk, you’ll want to read Passionate Pursuit. James Goll brings to our remembrance or, perhaps, first knowledge, the Awesomeness of Almighty God and the power and privilege of His Word. Although you may find the Scriptures quoted within familiar, I trust they will also positively impact your desire to grow closer to God. I would rate this book five stars due to the importance of the Christian’s knowing intimately the material contained within.
Passionate Pursuit consists of teachings about God backed up by the appropriate Scriptures. Goll told me the book came into being over twelve years of discovering God and His nature—he taught these things in a class. He is concerned the plethora of writings today are all about helping people and not about teaching them to grow in knowledge of the supernatural—they’re more about today’s culture. He feels they teach God “stuff” but are not about teaching God.
In an effort to reaffirm his beliefs, he went back to look at the “classics” of Christian literature to see what had been said. He came under conviction that we need to center on God the Father, Jesus Christ the Messiah, and the Holy Spirit. He wants us to remember and deeply know “The Father, the Son, and the Spirit are love personified. This is the Godhead.”
I asked James what he learned about himself during the writing of this book. He said he started with the goal of “helping people think” He says as he began to teach this class (and write the book), he had to go back and ask, “What do I really believe myself?” He told me the writing helped him truly anchor his own soul to the truths of God and Scripture.
He studied at Central Missouri State and was valedictorian in 1970. He was on scholarship and enjoyed singing (bass and baritone). After a Bachelor’s in Social Work at Wesley Catholic Center in St, Joseph, he thought he’d work in biological research. However, his uncle, a Methodist minister spent much time conversing with him. His uncle was a church person who had “died to credentials before me.” James said, “I got saved from living a successful sinning life.
James has written more than thirty books—largely because books were his mentors and he wanted to be a mentor to others. He has a doctorate in Practical Ministry (2007) from and has worked for the Wagner Leadership Institute. He is the founder of the God Encounters Training E-School of the Heart—“where faith and life meet.” After serving in the pastorate in the Midwest, “he was thrust into the role of international itinerant teacher and trainer and has traveled extensively in over fifty nations.”
What did I learn about James from our interview? He has a great sense of humor, a wonderful speaking voice, and considers himself a “hipster.” He was a singer before he was a preacher and still sings every morning and evening.
He says his greatest quest is to leave a shadow. One can only cast a shadow when standing in the light. Believe me, James Goll is standing in the light! For more information about James and his ministry, go to www.jamesgoll.com