A Contrarian's Guide to Knowing God: Spirituality for the Rest of Us (Paperback)
An updated edition with two all-new chapters, a new introduction, and a fresh look, this book challenges widely accepted ideas about what it means to know God and offers fresh paths for pursuing genuine spirituality.
This practical guide speaks to those who are weary of formulaic faith or who are haunted by nagging doubts about the church, as well as those who find the traditional spiritual disciplines impractical or even agonizing because of their personal wiring. Easy to read but filled with challenging ideas, this book provides a spiritual foundation for pastors and teachers, committed Christians, and anyone interested in discovering God for themselves but wary of predictable paths.
About the Author
Larry Osborne is a pastor, author and leadership consultant. He has a passion for helping Christian leaders in both the secular and church world succeed and fulfill their God-given calling. Since 1980, he has served as a senior pastor at North Coast Church in Vista, CA. During that time, North Coast has grown from a fledging group of 128 meeting in a high school cafeteria to a multi-site church with over 12,000 in weekend attendance. Larry has a passion for leadership, spiritual formation, and discipleship. As a nationally recognized trainer of pastors, leaders, and church planters, he travels extensively, speaking at conferences and mentoring events.
His books include: Thriving in Babylon, Accidental Pharisees, A Contrarian’s Guide to Knowing God, 10 Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe, Sticky Teams, Sticky Church, Sticky Leaders, Lead Like a Shepherd, Mission Creep, and The Unity Factor. Larry holds both a Master of Divinity and Doctorate degree from Talbot Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Nancy, live in Oceanside, CA. They have three married children and an increasing number of grandchildren.
“This book will speak to everyone who has ever felt ‘left out’ spiritually. Larry’s insights cut through the commonly accepted, guilt-induced world of religion as he captures the raw essence of New Testament relationship.
Reading this book feels like a conversation with Jesus over coffee—simple, profound, biblical, yet completely opposite of what I’ve learned from America’s polluted version of Christianity.
Every year one book grabs my attention and speaks to my soul. A Contrarian’s Guide to Knowing God was one of those books.”
—Craig Groeschel, senior pastor of Life.Church in Oklahoma City
“What a great, fun book! Larry Osborne’s A Contrarian’s Guide to Knowing God made me cringe at certain intersections; at other times I felt the thrill of someone putting into words what I’ve always felt. He takes the cookies off the top shelf and puts them where we all can enjoy them, as he finishes our incomplete sentences and makes us feel like geniuses.
It’s a quick read that’s filled with brilliant, disturbing insights. He may not change stodgy theologians, but he may just annoy them closer to Jesus.”
—Wayne Cordeiro, senior pastor of New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii
“Larry Osborne has mapped out a brand-new path for spiritual formation in A Contrarian’s Guide to Knowing God. This is one of the only books I know that takes you on the path to God without insisting that you be more disciplined and more structured and that you read a lot more. Finally, a book for the rest of us!”
—Dave Ferguson, lead pastor of Community Christian Church and visionary for NewThing Network in Chicago
“Rich wisdom brilliantly communicated by a very talented writer. Takes the blinders off and opens your eyes to some strange and unique ways God works.”
—Steve Arterburn, founder and chairman of New Life Ministries and radio host of New Life Live!
“Larry Osborne hits it out of the park with A Contrarian’s Guide to Knowing God. Practical and engaging, this book calls each of us to a new way of thinking about what it means to build a great relationship with God.
It does what every great book has always done: it causes some of us relief, it causes some of us great consternation, and it causes all of us to stop and think about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.
The concepts Larry shares have blessed and encouraged me as a follower of Christ and a leader in his church. I will definitely move this book to the top of my must-read list for our church family.”
—Toby Slough, lead pastor of Cross Timbers Church in Argyle, Texas
“I’ve known Larry for years, and he always mentors me personally with his insights into following Jesus. For the first time, he’s captured those simple lessons in this great book.
A Contrarian’s Guide to Knowing God brings fresh insights from the Bible to help us conquer the nagging fears and doubts we have about our walk with Christ. This confident work, clearly illustrated by Scripture and life stories, helps leaders and believers realize that the key essentials in a growing relationship are not what we think.”
—Dave Travis, CEO of Leadership Network in Dallas, Texas
“I’ve heard all my life that God created each of us uniquely. Larry opened my eyes to the truth that God desires us to know and follow him as an expression of that uniqueness.
With a keen mixture of wit, wisdom, and God’s Word, A Contrarian’s Guide to Knowing God provides a refreshing and insightful look at how the ‘average guy’ can enjoy a meaningful, guilt-free relationship with God.”
—Chip Henderson, senior pastor of Pinelake Church in Brandon, Mississippi
“This is another amazing book by my favorite author. I have no idea how he does it. One classic right after another. It must be a result of his stellar upbringing.”
—Carolyn Osborne, Larry’s mom
“Finally! In the midst of all the left-brained spiritual growth strategies available, Larry has written a guide for the rest of us. If your soul is yearning for practical, real-time help that works on Monday as well as Sunday, this book is for you.”
—Jim Denison, founding president of the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture
“Larry Osborne puts into words what many of us have wondered about for years but never had the courage to voice publicly. This book affirms us as individuals with unique personalities, learning styles, and gifts while offering sound counsel on the importance of deepening our relationships with God and with each other.
A Contrarian’s Guide to Knowing God gives us permission to trade our feelings of spiritual inferiority for the confidence to pursue a life with God at the very center of who we are and how we choose to live each day.”
—Linda Stanley, vice president and team leader of Leadership Network in Dallas, Texas
“I read the book in one sitting. It is engaging, convicting, maddening, and encouraging. I hope it is widely read to correct spiritual abuses and encourage the majority of everyday Christians (whom Osborne calls “cobblers in Corinth”).
When I finished A Contrarian’s Guide to Knowing God, I felt free and relieved. Osborne took off weight after weight of spiritual ‘churchy’ expectations for someone who sincerely wants to be godly. I felt like singing ‘Trust and obey, for there’s no other way…’
Larry’s book opened my eyes to ways I have distorted the simple New Testament picture of godliness because of my zeal to motivate. My congregation should thank Larry for saving them from me.”
—Bruce Miller, senior pastor of Christ Fellowship in McKinney, Texas
“This is a refreshingly helpful book for everyone who loves Jesus but has struggled with tidy formulas for spiritual growth.”
—Mark Driscoll, pastor of Trinity Church in Scottsdale, Arizona
“If you’ve ever thought you were the only one challenging a cookie-cutter approach to faith, you need to read this book. Thank God! Osborne shows us how our relationship with God is not a one-size-fits-all approach.”
—Bill Easum, founder and president of the Effective Church Group
“Larry challenges current notions of spiritual development in a healthy and thoughtful way. Whether you are beginning your journey with God or have been at it a long time, this book will be a powerful blessing and guide.”
—Bob Roberts Jr., senior pastor of NorthWood Church in Keller, Texas, and founder of Glocal.net