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Among life's uncomfortable situations, God provides incredible blessings—if we are willing to step out from the ledge and trust in Him.
Just as a mother eagle stirs her nest to encourage her eagles to fly, God “stirs our nest,” allowing us to grow in new ways toward spiritual maturity. This book will motivate unfulfilled Christians to respond to God's stirrings and to step out into abundant living.
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Learning to Soar
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I was thoroughly surprised by this book, thinking that the eagle symbolism has been used to exhaustion. I learned quite a bit. The way this book was laid out with the contributions of both generations was quite refreshing.
There are many ways this book can be used. You can simply read it and find much in the correlation of the life span of eagles and Israel’s maturation. You can use it to map out your own growth with the visual they provide in the introduction. Or, you can make it a personal study and journal your answers and applications from the personal application at the end of each chapter. As a bonus for an already complete work, there is a small group guide in the back to bring others along on your journey. The intimate look into the life of a young eagle juxtaposed along side the Israelites faltering steps is mixed with Avery’s personal stories of faith building experiences and Matt’s more current growth observations.
Having spent the time with these authors speaking to me through the book, it was sad to hear of Avery’s passing. I plan on picking up more of his works to glean from his years of maturing in Christ until his “graduation.”
10/5/2010 9:30:08 PM
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
10/5/2010 9:29:07 PM
A Great Book
Learning to Soar is appropiate for every step of your life. As a teenager, the book has helped me prepare for change. As I enter college in a couple of years the information discussed in the book will help me prepare for a different and possibly stressful life. The book is very easy to read and the scripture passages reinforce the information presented. The questions at the end of the chapters helped me to think about my life and how I can improve it.
2/10/2010 8:33:05 PM
Learning to Soar
BOOK REVIEW: Learning to Soar.
Authored by Avery T. Willis Jr. & Matt Willis;
Published by NavPress.
Synopsis: How to grow through Transition and Trials. A constant reminder for today’s Christian living, from the relationship between an eaglet and its parent.
I quite enjoyed reading the book as it leaves one with that "tantalizing” after-taste” derived from an exotic dish.
Co-authored with a blend of generational views the result of which is plausible; as the younger Willis, (who understands the ideology of any growing Christian) explored the harsh realities in the school of discipline as the eaglet had to encounter in the hands of its parent; while the elder Willis’s metaphors stressed the essence of such lessons as it affects us today.
But on page 98, lies the crux of God’s reason for wanting all His Children learn to soar, there it states:
“ As you try out your own spiritual wings, how do you progress beyond disappointment and mistakes? Let me suggest some guidelines for spreading your wings of faith so that God can accomplish His purpose for you:
How to Build a Dynamic Faith.
1. Scriptural Authority.
2. Holy Spirit’s verification
3. Alignment with God’s purposes
I’d better stop here as there's a few more. You’d better fetch yourself a copy so you’d learn how to soar higher and better unto the Divine heights God ordained for you.
At such zenith, you will eventually experience what it means to soar high up there majestically like the Great eagle on the Wings of the Holy Spirit: and in retrospect, smirking that “Why have I never done this before? What I have missed”!
This book was received as a review copy from NAVPRESS. The summations are entirely mine.
2/7/2010 8:33:18 AM
Learning to Soar
Probably one of the most impacting Discipleship studies I've ever done was one called Masterlife. The author was Avery T. Willis. His humility and depth was apparent in the Masterlife material and I continued to read other projects he released. That latest project is Learning to Soar.
Learning to Soar uses Deuteronomy 32:11 as the basis for the entire book:
Like an eagle that rouses her chicks and hovers over her young, so he spread his wings to take them up and carried them safely on his pinions.(Deuteronomy 32:11, NLT).
Willis takes this verse describing God's work in the Hebrew people during their exodus and brings it to bear on God's work in our lives today. The analogy is used throughout the book to show how God may allow some trouble or hardship in our lives to move us out of our comfortable "nest."
The book is co-authored by Matt Willis, the grandson of Avery Willis. Matt wrote quite a few "aside" sections intertwined with the book text. These sections are included to put a present-day context to the writings of his grandfather.
Since Learning to Soar was published, Willis has been diagnosed with leukemia. I feel quite confident that he will soar through this time of problems in his own personal life.
As with all of Avery Willis' writings, Learning to Soar is a great tool for discipleship. If you are facing some hard times in your life right now, this book may help add a new perspective to those troubles. You may just find that God is using these times to move you from where you are to where He wants you to be.
2/5/2010 2:32:39 PM
Learning to Live Like an Eagle
Eagles have long been a symbol of power and strength. It is easy to understand why our forefathers chose the eagle as a symbol of our great nation. We find many comparisons of eagles and their characteristics to the life of God’s people throughout the Old Testament.
I have heard many such accounts used in sermons and have read even more in articles and other books. Still I was intrigued by the title of the book co-authored by Avery T. Willis Jr. and his grandson, Matt Willis, “Learning to Soar: How to Grow Through Transitions and Trials”. The book did not disappoint. While most of my previous encounters with eagle comparisons focused on their power and related it to the power of the Holy Spirit or the strength of God, the Willis grandfather/grandson team begins where many of us have the hardest struggle – in our hardships, the trying circumstances of life, the times when we simply can’t understand why God is allowed something to happen or is allowing it to continue.
From there, they discuss the ways we learn patience (waiting rooms, anyone?!) and then progress to how our faith grows through stepping out, risking failure but dependent upon God. And then finally, they conclude with a refreshing challenge to live our lives in the power of the Holy Spirit, thereby fulfilling God’s plan and purpose for our life.
By comparing the process of the eagle’s growth from birth to maturity to our own spiritual growth, the authors have captured well the reality that our own maturity comes through various transitions, trials, and steps of obedience. I highly recommend this book, no matter where you currently are in your faith journey with God. You will be challenged and comforted, convicted and set free. As Avery said at the end of the book, “Catch the wind of His Spirit and soar.”
2/2/2010 7:09:04 PM
Make Discomort and Adversity Work For You!
You have likely heard of department heads, pastors, CEOs, and other leaders that were “born to lead.” True, their leadership may be preordained, but you would be hard-pressed to find a great leader who has not encountered great difficulties and periods of self-doubt at one time or another on the path to leadership. The difference between people who let those circumstances get the best of them and those people who use the outcomes born from adversity to propel them on toward something greater is precisely the difference Avery T. Willis, Jr. and Matt Willis are trying to illustrate.
"Learning to Soar: How to Grow Through Transitions and Trials" uses the Biblical metaphor of an eagle and her young in Deuteronomy 32:11 to explain how God grows us into leaders. “Like an eagle that rouses her chicks and hovers over her young, so he spread his wings to take them up and carried them safely on his pinions.” (NLT, ©2007).
The eagle stirs her nest to make her young uncomfortable, hovers to make them want to venture out, and finally pushes them out of the nest, which allows them to soar. At first it seems to be an overly simplistic metaphor, but Willis and Willis blend leadership motivation with real-world experiences to illustrate the potential that exists in every setback. We “fledglings” are encouraged to embrace how we feel and reconcile that to our spiritual direction in order to bring about a positive consequence.
"Learning to Soar" allowed me to put voice to my fears and accept that I can choose to remain in fear or to trust in something higher than myself to use any given circumstance to grow who I am. I may not always be in a leadership role, but I can use my setbacks and triumphs to be a role model for others. The questions after each chapter allowed time for contemplative journaling and the additional resources (group study guide, resource appendix, etc.) were helpful in fleshing out to the fullest degree what I originally thought would be a fleeting metaphor. Regardless of your religious background, "Learning to Soar" will be an excellent resource for someone who wishes to see their leadership skills soar to the next level.
1/13/2010 8:10:07 AM
This is a great encouragement for new, mature, world-weary Christians and those desiring a stronger spiritual growth.
It was enjoyable and uplifting to read and a highly recommended book to share with others, particularly as a reminder of God's providence in our lives and a reminder that He is in control.
Reading the book really challenges the reader to leave life beyond the nominal and instead show how each of the reader can strive to the maxiumn in their lives, in and through our Heavenly Father and by taking up our cross and following Him, to better understand what the Christian journey is about.
The book makes a wonderful gift, if you are in the mood for just an encouraging book about the Christian journey or if you are looking for that next bible study to do with friends or your church and is sure by the end of the study to give the reader more encouragement on what our Father in Heaven can do in our lives.
Well written, the first 142 pages are devoted to focusing on the book and what the author(s) have to share, with the rest of the book, devoted to chapter study questions, for people who feel led in their hearts to use this for small group studies.
With delightful ancedotes throughout each chapter, Learning to Soar, provides an intimate look at how our Father seeks to challenge and encourages us to take up our crosses and follow Him and in the process grow in our personal relationships with Him.
Learning to Soar brings understanding that the circumstances that are thrown our way, are not to cause us to stumble or stop us, but is His way of growing us, refining and reshaping us and bringing us closer to Him. Using timeless principles and biblical based encouragment, Learning to Soar has something for everyone.
12/27/2009 11:53:24 AM
Eagles, Israel & Christians
This book is a joint effort between grandfather and grandson, which is quite a unique perspective. Using the lives of eagles in nature and the example of Israel given to us in the Bible, Avery and Matt set about painting us a picture of how God is at work in our lives.
The main content of the book is written by Avery. Inserted periodically throughout the book are additional insights by Matt. Both authors share stories of God's work in their individual lives as well as in the lives of other Christians. They also give examples of how God works through the recorded dealings of God given to us in the Bible. Many parallels are drawn between the lives of eagles and God's dealing with Israel in the past and also between both of those aspects and God's dealing with us in the present.
Three-quarters of this book is the actual book, with personal and thought-provoking questions at the end of each chapter. The remaining quarter of the book is a guide to using it for a small group study. The guide includes a suggested meeting layout as well as discussion topics and suggested timeframes.
11/15/2009 1:24:01 PM
Living Among the Eagles
In Learning to Soar Avery T. Willis, Jr. and his grandson Matt Willis compare the transitions of life and the trials we encounter with eaglets and their growing patterns. This is an excellent book with many examples of how God uses trials to move us out of the patterns of life in which we so often tend to become stuck. The style of the book is very easy to read with Avery writing the main dialogue and Matt using examples from his experience as a young adult. Matt and Avery write well together taking their cues from each other and expanding on the topic in ways that broaden the scope of their readership and better define ways to live through trials. One of the features I especially like are the questions at the end of the chapters. They helped me to stop and consider what I had read and how it applied to my life. In Chapter two the authors include an excellent list of ways to discern whether God is stirring your nest. All in all this is a very encouraging and easy read. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is experiencing trials of any kind.
Dana K. Qualls
10/29/2009 2:42:57 PM