Book Notice: Clayton King’s “Amazing Encounters with God”

Clayton King is a machine. He has been a good friend of mine for 17 years now, and I’ve watched him preach 200-300 times per year, start Crossroads Summer Camps and Crossroads International, and at the same time manage to publish numerous books, the most recent of which is Amazing Encounters with God: Stories to Open Your Eyes to His Power (Harvest House, 2011). This book encapsulates much of what I have admired about him over the years. I met Clayton when we were both college students. I was just learning to preach the gospel, but Clayton had been preaching since he was 14, and he was a thrilla of a preacher already. I learned a lot from him, even though he is only a year older.

One of the unique things about Clayton was his ability to take any situation or any topic of conversation and, in Spurgeon’s words, “plow a trough back to the gospel.” As an itinerant evangelist and preacher, Clayton often would do just that. He had a knack for standing in front of mixed audiences (composed of believers and unbelievers), able to tear down the intellectual and emotional barriers that often exist between an audience and a preacher, and deliver the gospel with power and precision. And usually his opening salvo was a story of some sort which he used to launch the audience into the Scriptures for his gospel message.

In Amazing Encounters, he presents 28 stories from his life to argue that Christians are constantly in the presence of God. Alongside this main point, King also argues that “ordinary, regular, run-of-the-mill people can have some life changing encounters with God in the most random and mundane places” (11). The conviction that there is no division in God’s creation between the sacred and the secular and that “all truth is God’s truth” underlies these arguments.

For example, in chapter 21 he tells about the moment in his car when his young son recognized, through the song “Jesus Loves the Little Children,” that God loved him. As King recalls, this brought him immense joy that his child had grasped God’s love and it reminded King the depth of God’s love for his people. As he states, “it takes the faith of a child to trust that this is true” (138). This is only one example of the many stories King shares to illumine God’s working in his own life.

Clayton King’s Amazing Encounters with God is recommended, especially for student ministers and student ministries, and for those who are interested in how the ordinary events and everyday conversations in one’s life can lead one back to God and his gospel.

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