Last year I had the opportunity to review a book written by John Croyle. John Croyle was an All American college football player who declined an NFL football career and went on to found the Big Oak Ranch for boys who had been abused and been in dangerous situations and then a home for girls as well. He and his wife have been a part of raising hundreds of kids through the Ranch homes. The book I reviewed last year was Raising a Princess, a book about teaching your daughter virtues to help her become a real princess.
I've recently had the opportunity to read for review Who You Are, the story of how John came to open Big Oak Ranch. Throughout the book, though, he doesn't just share his story. He wants readers to know that God has a plan for them as well. And the book isn't as much about who John is and who the kids are who have been impacted by Big Oak Ranch but about who the reader is in God' scheme of things.
From the book's description:
“Tell them who you are!” This is the immediate request from child advocate John Croyle to any one of the Big Oak kids when they are introduced to someone. It’s a declaration that who they are carries value. Value that is not defined by the circumstances that led them to be in at the Big Oak Ranch. Value that is also not defined by what you believe God can or can’t do through you.
This is a lesson that John Croyle, his family, and the team of Big Oak Ranch have learned well. Faced with one of the most important decisions of his life — whether to play professional football or to start a children’s home — John followed the Lord’s leadership. In the decades since that decision, they’ve seen his dream of helping hurting kids grow into a ministry that has shaped the lives of more than 2,000 children.
Surely we, too, would be changed to experience a ministry with this kind of legacy. This isn't a dream and a hope or the seed of a ministry. This is well scarred, deep rooted ministry that grows strong, oak tree kind of faith. It's faith-building for the kids reached through the ministry and now for those of us who can hear the story of it.
Who You Are tells this story of the life shaping, Kingdom transforming ministry that God used one man to begin. Yet, the bigger story is in who you are and what God can do to use you in the lives of others. Come along for one incredible and improbable story of how God has worked and in doing so, truly discover how He can work through you.
Throughout the book, John shares personal stories about how Big Oak Ranch was started and about the kids who have been impacted by it. But he also encourages and motivates readers throughout the book. In eleven chapters (with an Introduction and an Epilogue), John directs readers to focus on the task God gives them, trust that God will supply their needs, care for others and stand firm.
I love John's personal style of writing. It feels as if you're having a face to face conversation instead of reading a book. His writing style is simple and straightforward. Even if you aren't an avid reader, you can find yourself enjoying Who You Are and really getting something out of the message John delivers.The book isn't at all preachy. It's just an encouragement to think about the things John is writing about and what God wants to do in your life.
This is a book that you'll want to keep reading and reading because of the easy writing style and the encouraging message. It's a book that will inspire you to be what God made you to be- no matter where or who you are now.
You can find Who You Are on Amazon here:
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own, and I was not compensated in any other way.
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