This is from the July Leader’s Edge Book Summary of Missio Nexus. These are the best book summaries on the web. Leader’s Edge monthly book summaries and insightful interviews connect you with today’s leading writers in the Great Commission community. You can visit their website here. Access for individuals starts at under $30. The services include:

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Accessing their services just for the book summaries is well worth the cost. Below is a sample from the July edition of Leader’s Edge Book Summary of John Ortberg’s book Soul Keeping. Each book summary includes the content of the book by category of:

  • Best chapter
  • Best quotes
  • Best illustration
  • Best idea
  • Best take away
  • Recommendation


Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You

Author: John Ortberg

Publisher: Zondervan, 2014, Hardcover 208 pages (ISBN: 978-0310275961).

Also available in Kindle format (B00GRZDCAW).


John Ortberg helps Christians rediscover their soul and find out why neglecting it has set so many believers back spiritually. Ortberg shows that when you nurture your soul, your life in this world will come to make sense again; you can find your way back to God from hopelessness, depression, relationship struggles, and a lack of fulfillment. Your soul’s resting place is in God. The book comes with a six-session, video-based small group Bible study.

 Best chapter

Chapter 4 – Lost Souls

“The soul integrates the will and mind and body. Sin disintegrates them. In sin, my appetite for lust or anger or superiority dominates my will. My will, which was made to rule my body, becomes enslaved to what my body wants.” Kindle location 860

“Sin ultimately makes long-term gratitude or friendship or meaning impossible. Sin eventually destroys my capacity even for enjoyment, let alone meaning. It distorts my perceptions, alienates my relationships, inflames my desires, and enslaves my will.” Kindle location 864

“When my will is consistently, freely, joyfully aligned with what I most deeply value, my soul finds rest. That is wholeness. When I live with half-hearted devotion, my soul is always strained.” Kindle location953

Best quotes

“Your eternal destiny is not cosmic retirement; it is to be part of a tremendously creative project, under unimaginably splendid leadership, on an inconceivably vast scale, with ever-increasing cycles of fruitfulness and enjoyment — that is the prophetic vision which ‘eye has not seen and ear has not heard.’” Kindle location 263

“’The most important thing in your life,’ Dallas said, ‘is not what you do; it’s who you become. That’s what you will take into eternity. You are an unceasing spiritual being with an eternal destiny in God’s great universe.’” Kindle location 271

“You’re a soul made by God, made for God, and made to need God, which means you were not made to be self-sufficient.” Kindle location 491

“In one of his books, Dallas has further explained what is running your life at any given moment is your soul. Not external circumstances, not your thoughts, not your intentions, not even your feelings, but your soul. The soul is that aspect of your whole being that correlates, integrates, and enlivens everything going on in the various dimensions of the self. The soul is the life center of human beings.” Kindle location 493

“If your soul is healthy, no external circumstance can destroy your life. If your soul is unhealthy, no external circumstance can redeem your life.” Kindle location 507

“Your soul is what integrates your will (your intentions), your mind (your thoughts and feelings, your values and conscience), and your body (your face, body language, and actions) into a single life. A soul is healthy — well-ordered — when there is harmony between these three entities and God’s intent for all creation. When you are connected with God and other people in life, you have a healthy soul.” Kindle location 546

“The soul is the deepest part of you. It is so deep that there are parts to my soul I cannot seem to understand or control. This is why writers in the ancient world, not just in the Bible, would often address the soul in the third person, in a way they would never do with the will or the mind or the body. There is a depth to your soul that is beyond words.” Kindle location 772

“Conviction is not just the pain of getting caught or pain over consequences. It means a God-given, really sober sense of remorse over what I ought to feel remorseful about. It’s a God-given ache for goodness.” Kindle location 1108

“Anytime I sin, I am allowing some competing desire to have higher priority than God and God’s will for my life. That means that in that moment I have put something on a pedestal higher than God. That something is my idol. All sin involves idolatry.” Kindle location 1156

“The soul needs a future. God planted eternity in our hearts so that we would not stop seeking life beyond ourselves. Jesus tried to speak of this to his disciples not long before he died: ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.’”Kindle location 1629

“God wants to make every moment of my life glorious with his presence. This is the core of the ‘with God’ life. It’s not just that he wants to be with us, but that he desires to make our lives ‘glorious.’ That’s not a word we use often, but it’s a great word when we think of the effect being with God can have on our souls. It means basically that he wants to fill our souls with beauty, splendor, wonder, and magnificence.” Kindle location 1778

“Your soul will never find rest unless it finds its home. We find it in the simple daily discipline of asking ourselves, ‘Is God here in this moment?’ If he is not, he can be. Acknowledge that you have tried once again to live life alone and then welcome him back. Go back to the last scene where you were so joyfully filled with his presence, and then continue the journey. God invites you to let your soul rest in him.” Kindle location 1846

“Your soul is at rest. Whether with an entire day, or periods of time set aside every day, your soul needs rest. Not a change of scenery or a spiritual retreat — those are fine and may contribute to rest. But to remain healthy, our souls need solitude with no agenda, no distractions, no noise. If someone asks you what you did in your ‘time apart,’ the correct response should be, ‘Nothing.’ Doing nothing does wonders for the soul.” Kindle location 2096

“The old masters of the life of the soul used to warn about the dangers of dis-ordered attachment. Desire is good, but when you want something too much, it threatens to take God’s place in your life. It will lead you to make bad decisions. It will put you on an emotional roller coaster. The ability to have anything you want actually can cost you your freedom.” Kindle location 2107

“Remember that the soul is what integrates our parts. If our will is enslaved to our appetites, if our thoughts are obsessed with unfulfilled desires, if our emotions are slaves to our circumstances, if our bodily habits contradict our professed values, the soul is not free. The only way for the soul to be free is for all the parts of our personhood to be rightly ordered.” Kindle location 2194

“If you ask people who don’t believe in God why they don’t, the number one reason will be suffering. If you ask people who believe in God when they grew most spiritually, the number one answer will be suffering.” Kindle location 2660

“The gospel, Dallas said once, means that this universe is a perfectly safe place for you to be. Huh? It means that the soul is simply not at risk. Not even from cancer. What else could Paul have meant when he said nothing can separate us from the love of God? Why else would Jesus have advised us not to worry?” Kindle location 2858

Best illustration

“I had always thought that a lost soul referred to the soul’s destination, not its condition. But it’s the condition that is the real problem. If a car no longer works, it doesn’t matter much whether it ends up in a junkyard or the valet parking section of the Ritz-Carlton. We are not lost because we are going to wind up in the wrong place. We are going to wind up in the wrong place because we are lost.” Kindle location 856

“The soul is a little like the king on a chessboard. The king is the most limited of chess pieces; it can only move one square at a time. But if you lose the king, game over. Your soul is vulnerable because it is needy. If you meet those needs with the wrong things, game over. Or at least, game not going well.” Kindle location 1139

 Best idea

 “While there are no magic formulas for being with God, lately I have been conducting a little self-test that I call The Soul Experiment. It’s a simple way of focusing my soul on God throughout the day. I begin each day by challenging myself: How many moments of my life today can I fill with conscious awareness of and surrender to God’s presence? Then I try to deliberately imagine myself doing that at home, at work, in my car, when I’m online, when I’m watching the news, when I’m with others. Can I do the ‘with God’ life all the time? I’ve been trying to make this the goal of my day as opposed to a list of things I have to get done. Can I just keep God in my mind today, regardless of what I’m doing?” Kindle location 1750

 Best take away

“The soul seeks God with its whole being. Because it is desperate to be whole, the soul is God-smitten and God-crazy and God-obsessed. My mind may be obsessed with idols; my will may be enslaved to habits; my body may be consumed with appetites. But my soul will never find rest until it rests in God.” Kindle location 1691


If you are feeling spiritually dry and ineffective in your walk with God, by all means read this book. It will guide you in the necessary focus of your most important part of your being – your soul. Ortberg is practical, with enough of a tinge of the mystical to make you ponder your true spiritual condition.

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