Table of Contents:
1. Call of the Heart—becoming a follower
2. Heart of a Champion—overcoming giants
3. Heart on the Lam—going to wilderness school
4. Heart of a Leader—inspiration and influence
5. King of Hearts—discovering who rules
6. Heart of a Shepherd—providing quality care
7. Heart of a Worshipper—wholehearted devotion
8. Heart Attack—avoiding the pitfalls
9. Heart Resuscitation—restoring a broken heart
10. Heart of a Man—being a good lover
11. Heart of a Father—expanding our legacy
12. Heart at Rest—preparing for the final chapter
David, one of the beloved and colourful characters of the Bible is the most famous ancestor of Jesus Christ, and a prominent figure in world history. David’s life was a strange mixture of good and evil, and probably no Bible character more fully illustrates the moral range of human nature. His life was marked by noble deeds, fine aspirations, and incredible accomplishments. He was an athlete and warrior, a fine musician, a poetic genius, a successful military leader, an able administrator, and considered the greatest king of Israel. He was a Wayne Gretzky and Muhammad Ali, Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill, a Field Marshal Montgomery, a Mozart and Lloyd Webber, a Keats and Byron, all rolled into one man. Yet, his life was stained with gross personal sin. He was also the man who committed adultery and murder and then tried to cover up his crime. He fell short as a father, and as a result of a wrong decision, was responsible for God’s judgment on his nation.
But this is much more than an historical study. It is an examination of the heart, where we shall see qualities of faith and courage, teachability and humility, openness and honesty, as well as weaknesses and failures, complexities and inconsistencies. The heart of this book includes vignettes of the struggles, disappointments and failures before finding success, fulfillment and hope. God is in the restoration business and can resuscitate and resurrect that which seems lost. David is known as “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). To know more about what God considers in a man’s heart, and to learn from these experiences, are reasons enough to study this fascinating character.
And there is more. It is a spiritual excursion, as King David points us towards the advent of Messiah, the “Son of David,” fulfilled in the person of Jesus, the Christ and Saviour, who truly is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. As God seems to place a high premium on the condition of the heart, this forms the basis of our reflection. It is the message of this book, that as we discover the rule of the Kingship of Jesus in our hearts, we begin to discover and experience God’s purpose for our lives. It is my hope that our lives can be transformed so that we can be known as people — men, women and children — after God’s own heart. It is making this prayer of David, our own.
Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23,24).
Rod deftly weaves many threads – deep insight, pastoral wisdom, biblical depth, rich experience – on the loom of David’s story and Jesus’ story, and comes up with a majestic tapestry. For anyone wanting to lead better – actually, for anyone just wanting to live better – dwell a while in this wise book.
Pastor Mark Buchanan
(Author of Your Church is Too Safe and Senior Pastor, New life Community Baptist Church, Duncan, BC)
Continually focusing on the life of King David in a study of first and second Samuel, Rod Ellis, in his new book, King of Hearts, meditates on 12 themes of life all centered on King David’s heart…Everything from learning to be a good leader, learning to be a good father, learning to foster a good marriage, learning to grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, learning to live well and to die well are all covered very wonderfully in this very fruitful study…I will be encouraging everyone I know to get a copy of this wonderful manual for healthy heart in Jesus.
The Right Reverend Charlie Masters
(Bishop, Anglican Network in Canada, Ontario)
This book examines the human heart with all its success, hopes, dreams and failures. Rod does this by contrasting for us the first two Kings of Israel-King Saul and King David. However, the main focus of the book is on the life of a shepherd boy who became a ‘man after God’s own heart.’ In spite of this lofty title, Rod does not hesitate to share with us David’s weaknesses as a leader, husband and father. Rod does justice to David by sharing snippets from his own life as a man, husband, father and pastor.
There is much to be commended in this writing and I take joy in recommending it to you to use in your private reading or with others in a study group.
The Venerable Ron Corcoran
(Author of Jesus Remember Me, and The Bishop or the King and Rector, Christ the King, Victoria, BC)
To place King David alongside the King of Kings is a unique juxtaposition that sheds fresh light on both. Dr. Ellis is not afraid to bear his own failures spiced with sufficient successes to demonstrate how the King of Hearts has healed his own heart. The text is both illuminating theologically as well as inspiring at the level of the human condition. If you have any aspiration to leadership, this book offers many insights to the character of the leader that will be able to achieve greatness for God. If you enjoy a good character study that explores the complexity of the human heart as it seeks after God and yet cannot at times fail to self-destruct, this book is a must read…This book is food for the soul and balm for the heart.
The Right Reverend Doctor Trevor Walters
(Bishop, Anglican Network in Canada, BC)
Rod Ellis shares his heart openly in the book with many winsome stories about his journey from South Africa to reside in Canada. As a mature Christian leader, Rod Ellis has much wisdom to share in his book that is well worth listening to. His love for the bible and the life of King David shines through clearly.”
The Reverend Ed Hird
(Best selling author and Rector of St. Simon’s Church, North Vancouver, BC)
This is a really good ‘read’ – smooth and easy on the eyes and mind, and uplifting to the soul… I have seldom read a Christian book that is so self-revelatory, yet always open and honest. Rod Ellis wears many hats – from Pastor to Sex Therapist, from Pop Cultural Pope to Sports Philosopher, and he wears them all well. The reader is bound to come to the conclusion that the author has a wealth of life experience to share and the wisdom that comes with it. He, therefore, speaks with authority and his words deserve attention. Finally, the book goes far beyond the scope of the Bible Study you started out with and is really a primer on the Christian life. The maturity that started to blossom when you began has come into full fruition through the labour of the last few years.
The Reverend Peter Umland
(Assistant Pastor, Church of Our Lord, Victoria, BC)
I like Rod Ellis. If I lived in Victoria, BC, I’d probably go to his church. I like the way he thinks. He is not afraid to take on difficult issues. His thinking is rooted in Holy Scripture and Historic Orthodox belief. He has a good grasp of contemporary life issues. He is a godly mentor. This text is full of profound insights, pastoral nuggets, and godly wisdom. I learned a lot reading Rod’s book. I strongly recommend this text for pastoral leaders but even more so for the rank and file believer. Rod presents Kingdom themes in a compelling way. As the author states, “ …(this book is) an interactive experience in Christian living.” To that I add a hearty AMEN!
The Reverend Doctor John Roddam
(former Rector St. Luke’s Episcopal, Seattle, and now Pleroma International, Nova Scotia)
In King of Hearts, author Rod Ellis combines incisive biblical insight with a warm, personal transparency. In this book, practical applications of Scripture are passed along to the reader through the obvious and enlivening work of the Holy Spirit in the life of its author. Rod has been a friend and pastoral colleague ofmine for nearly 20 years. King of Hearts is a wonderful reflection of Rod’s life of service to King Jesus!
The Reverend Doctor Gary Bennett
(Senior Pastor, First Church of the Nazarene Victoria, BC)
(Senior Pastor, First Church of the Nazarene Victoria, BC)
We want our heroes to be neat and clean. Fortunately, the Bible shows them as they really are. David’s life is hardly neat and tidy, but it provides some excellent spiritual and life lessons for us. Rod Ellis does a wonderful job of opening up David’s story and uses David’s triumphs and foibles to teach timeless principles and truths that will help you become the person God has made you to be.
Pastor Tim Schindel
(President, Leading Influence Ministries, BC)
Rod Ellis has created what seems like a ‘handbook’ to explore the many facets of a human life well-lived before God. David’s full and earthy humanness becomes a familiar stage upon which God’s grace and forgiveness can be revealed for all of us. Who has not taken comfort from knowing how deeply David sinned, and yet how graciously forgiven? …So it is a worthy effort to see David as a ‘centre’ for spiritual living. In him our humanness is celebrated, and through him, our souls are taught fully to lean upon God.
Reverend Doctor Rob Fitterer (Senior Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Victoria, BC)