Rise of the Servant Kings

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Member Reviews

In the world and even in the church today, there is a huge misunderstanding about what it means to be a man. There is talk everywhere of “toxic masculinity” and everyone takes sides. But maybe we need to define our terms. What is masculinity in the first place?

For the Christian, it should be easier. It all comes down to the source of our admiration. Who or what do we see as being the quintessential masculine character? Do we get these ideas from culture? The opposite of what we see on the news? John Wayne? Some composite of every admirable man we’ve met or encountered in our lives? No. The Bible can tell us what it means to be a man, through both direct instruction and the life of Jesus. In Ken Harrison’s new book, Rise of the Servant Kings (available everywhere now), the biblical example of manhood is relayed through an exploration of Scripture.

Harrison approaches the subject of manhood through personal stories (many of them from his experiences in the LAPD) that elicit main points for each chapter. Sometimes the stories are about himself, but more often they are about someone he has met who embodied a biblical truth. The stories are touching, and they always set up a major point. The only downside I found to this structure is that it reads like a collection of points instead of a flow of argument. But this allows the reader to focus in on a particular chapter and not necessarily have to remember all that came before. For application purposes, it’s a helpful structure.

What is a servant king? Harrison does not provide a deep discussion into what this means, but I don’t think one is necessary. We are servants as Jesus was a servant. We are kings because through Jesus’ sacrifice we are adopted by the King of Kings. And we don’t attain any of this through our own power. This is best illustrated in the first chapter as Harrison describes the fingerprinting process at the LAPD.

Often the prisoner would try to help and smudge the print. The jailer would get angry and order him to relax every muscle and trust the jailer to do all the work. Some prisoners were unable to simply yield, and the process took a long time compared with those who yielded and completed the process easily.
That’s a picture of how God wants to work in us — life goes better when we relax and let Him work through us. He’s patient, willing to work on us throughout our entire lives, teaching us to yield to Him. But we have to let Him do it. Self wants to help; self wants to get credit. It chafes at the idea that God will do all and self can do nothing — except yield.
Harrison’s theology in this book is especially spot-on. I made a couple of notes about things that sounded a little off when I read them the first time, but going back and reading them now it is obvious that he took his time studying and praying through each passage. The chapter entitled “The Fall” explaining mankind’s fall into sin, is especially poignant in this regard.

Why is there a chapter on the fall in a book about manhood? Because a total biblical worldview is necessary in order to break down our cultural associations with masculinity and describe in its place true biblical manhood. Part of that is the knowledge that the visible world is not all that is there. There is an unseen war going on. One that the King has already won, but of which we get to claim the spoils. And we don’t do that in a Leonidas sort of way or a John Wayne sort of way. We do it in a Jesus sort of way. With humility and strength, neither of which come from ourselves, we defeat the devil. And we do it every day.

Harrison turns the cultural notion of masculinity on its head, almost on every page. Especially in the chapter on marriage, he speaks of a man’s leadership in a way I hadn’t quite heard before, and it is powerful. He writes:

The world often tells us that leadership and authority are the same thing, but this is not so. Authority is that influence that the law gives to a police officer or a military commander. Authority says, “Sir, please exit the vehicle,” or “Grab your backpack and sit down.” Authority offers no reward for obedience, only punishment for disobedience.
We are not called to be in authority over our wives; rather, we are called to lead them. Leadership creates the space for a person to choose whether or not to follow. Notice that a woman is commanded to submit to her husband, not to obey him. I obey the commands of a police officer out of fear of punishment, but I don’t submit to him. This is because submission involves equality and choice. Obedience involves a hierarchy and offers no choice. A slave obeys his master, and a child obeys his parents. But an equal chooses to submit or not, based on the value in the relationship.
Jesus always offers us a choice when it comes to submitting our lives to Him. Submitting to the perfect Leader maximizes our fellowship with Him and gives us ultimate joy as a result. In the same way, a wife chooses to submit to her husband or not. As husbands, it is not for us to judge her willingness to submit. It is for us to be the kind of leader to whom she can gladly submit.
We are not a perfect leader like Jesus. Therefore, it is incumbent on us to be as much like Him as we can be so that her choice is an easy one.
That is a servant king. I yearn to be like that. And guess what the only way to being a servant king is? To submit to God. If we can’t submit to God’s leadership, it cannot go any further.

If you want to know more about the Bible’s message on being a man, pick up Ken Harrison’s book. Buy it for Father’s Day if you want. You should come away changed.

I received this book as an eARC and a physical review copy courtesy of Waterbrook & Multnomah and NetGalley, but my opinions are my own.
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As the back of the book says, "Ken Harrison weaves together his experiences as a police officer in one of the deadliest areas of the country, with many years as a business executive and ministry leader, to share deep truths for men direct from God's Word." But I found even though this book was written for men, I as a female, learned much from Ken's life experiences and his time with God. I enjoyed reading how God had His hand in Kens life, even when Ken didn't realize it. And how God, through these ups and down experiences, influenced Ken's inner image of himself, to be more like God.  I will let you know, I received a complimentary copy of this book and my review is of my own opinion.
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"We're not called to worry about the war; we're called to win the battle in front of us." Those words, in a nutshell, are what Rise of the Servant Kings is about. Ken Harrison calls men to fight for their families first, and once all of them are saved, widen the circle to encompass bigger and bigger battles.

Harrison, a veteran of one of the LA Police Department in one of the worst crime areas, uses stories from his time as a cop to illustrate his book chapters. As chairman of the board for Promise Keepers, he knows something about calling men to be the men God calls to do his work in the world. 

With chapters titled: Servant Kings, The Fall, The Liar, Hurt, Loneliness, Humility, Courage, Masculinity, Marriage, etc., Harrison exhorts men to stand strong for their families, and to lead them toward a faith of their own.

As a woman, I could definitely appreciate Harrison's sentiments. Our world needs strong men who are willing to spit in evil's face, and take their "rock" for Jesus. I also liked that the chapters were short, and could be read almost like a daily devotional. (Maybe a bit longer than devotional length, but most of them read very quickly.) Harrison's stories were gripping, and gave me a lot of food for thought. I definitely recommend this to every man who wants to know how he can be a leader in his own home first, then step out to stand in the gap for the cause of Christ. 

I received this book from the publisher, but the opinions expressed are my own.
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Ken Harrison - president and chairman of Promise Keepers - has entered the somewhat over crowded genre of men's spiritual self help books. That may not be the specific area this book is set to but this is where I find the writing best sits.

As someone who is always looking for a book to further my growth as a man of God, husband and father, I often find the offerings before me very shallow on the spiritual side or so intellectual and self focused as a reader the points are lost on me.

Not so with Rise of the Servant Kings. Ken gives his readers an enjoyable ride-along through some of his time as an officer with the LAPD. The events he encountered and seasons of life he walked through bring the reader into the point he is making with interest and some intensity. From there he turns directly to the need of a godly man to rise up in the specific area, but not only that we need to rise up, he offers scriptural help and points of growth in many of the areas.

One of the positives I found in this book was that Ken did not back down on his convictions. He delivered truth with great passion and specifics, something many authors in this genre walk away from, opting for casual approaches.

I admit this book may not be for everyone, as some may find the stories shared hard to swallow. If you read it, know you will encounter real life and you will discover a path to areas we are called as men.

*I received this book from the publisher through netgalley in exchange for an honest review. These are my personal thoughts.
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A great book for men who wonder is there still a place for them.  In a world where hating men is the new in thing, Ken offers Biblical counsel on not just taking your rightful place, but being righteous in that place!  Lots of information and an enjoyable read.  Thank you NG
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The Rise of the Servant Kings was a mixed bag for me. There are some very timely and needed points to be made to help men be all that they are intended to be in the kingdom of heaven. In some other areas it just missed for me. I didn't see the way the chapters connected to complete the picture of the real man that Harrison set out to portray. Each chapter had some merit in themselves but I didn't see the way some of the them connected to the theme of men becoming Servant Kings. Perhaps it was just me and others will make a clear connection in their reading. While I might disagree with some parts of the book, I found it to be a good challenge to develop into the kind of man God wants me to become. So from that angle, the book clearly is successful. And that may be all that needs to be learned from the work. I recommend others read the book for themselves and glean from it's pages the wisdom the Lord would send to each of you.
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A straight-talking LA cop talks faith in practical terms. His use of scripture is clear, the chapters short and straight to the point building on what came before. I am so impressed and am hoping to find something else this man wrote. I can't stop reading and look forward to getting to the end. Best book for christian men I have read in a while.
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After I requested this book from NetGalley, I noticed that the author was the chairman of the board of Promise Keepers.  I didn't know that PK was still around.  I thought that the organization had ceased to exist around 2000.  A man taking on the duty of leading an organization from obscurity must have something to say.

Mr. Harrison wrote an excellent book of encouragement to men.  In keeping with PK philosophy and theology, the book encourages men to step forward and not be passive.  He tells numerous stories of his time with the LAPD and the truths he learned there.  Bringing these truths forward, he encourages men to live lives on purpose.
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With all the turmoil in the public eye of things a small percentage of men have done, being a man has turned into a bad thing. Men have been told that there is no place for masculinity, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Men need to rise to the standard set for them by Christ, and Ken Harrison writes about what that means in Rise of the Servant Kings.

Harrison shows what the Bible says starting with where things went wrong and how men have to fully submit to God and His will. He shares experiences from his life, and from people he has met to give real life examples.

His writing style is easily understood and engaging. I found myself making time to keep reading a little more. There is a lot of information in the book, but he does a good job of making it accessible to many different ages.

Masculinity has been maligned, and people have tried to redefine what it means, but the Bible is clear on the role men play. Men are to love and care for those around them. They are to lead them to Christ and in following Christ. Men don't need to be afraid of who they are, or hide from their calling. Rise of the Servant Kings would be a good book for men to read and learn about how to serve God in the way He called them to.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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