Book Review: I Shall Raise Thee Up

by Brad Harmon on December 15, 2009 in Leadership

I shall raise thee up 500x450 | marketplace christianityLast week, Michael Holmes sent me a free copy of his book, I Shall Raise Thee Up: Ancient Principles for Lasting Greatness.  He asked that I share my honest opinion about the book, both good and bad, with my readers.

Some of you may have noticed that Michael is a member of our blog community, which is how I met him a few weeks ago.  For others, this may be the first time you have heard about him.

I will be interviewing Michael in the coming weeks so that you can get to know more about him and this book.  For now though, let’s take a look at his first book and what it has to offer the Christian entrepreneur.

Wait a Minute … Is That Person a Christian?

Had I just started reading the book, skipping the introduction, I may have had difficulty accepting some of the people Michael uses to illustrate his points.  Having read it though, he makes two points in explaining why he used non-Christians as examples in his book.

God Rasied Pharaoh UpFirst, “If it’s God’s truth then its relevance can extend beyond God’s people.”  Sometimes, I think we miss this point.  God’s laws don’t require our belief to work.

The book’s title is inspired by Romans 9:17 (KJV).

For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

A perfect example of greatness in an unbeliever that God used for His glory.

Second, “If it’s God’s truth it should always be relevant.  Truth is never created; it is only discovered and rediscovered.”  Michael makes no claims that the ideas in his book are original; however, it is unique in the way he brings together the concepts and illustrates his points.

The Qualities One Must Possess to Be Truly Great

The first half of the book is part definition and part looking at some of the characteristics that have made people great.

On Greatness

In his chapter defining greatness, Michael explains how God provides us with the seed, but it is our responsibility to make sure it grows.

God Gives Greatness as a SeedHe puts it this way …

The great God Who formed you placed in you seeds of greatness – not the fruit but the seed.  Whenever God gives anything He communicates it in seed form – whether it’s a talent, an idea, or even His word.

What a great message for the instant gratification culture we live in today.  This point is reinforced throughout the book.

He goes on to show that not only are we not given the fruit from God, but he explains that our greatness isn’t for us.

You were meant to be great, but know this: that greatness is not for you – it’s for those around you.  When God truly raises up someone He does it for the sake of others.

On Principles

My favorite quote from the book comes when Michael talks about how principles are “timely, timeless, inflexible, and will always produce a certain outcome.”  He says …

Regardless of whether you believe in them or not they’re there!  If you don’t believe in the law of gravity jump off a building – I guarantee your faith will be restored!

On Character

While talking about what he calls the four components of character, Michael says this about our capacity…

You can’t have the glory of influence without the weight of responsibility.  To have one is to live with the other – the two can’t be severed.  To escape the weight is to refuse the glory, and to seek the glory is to find the weight.

The Laws of Lasting Greatness

The second half of the book imparts five laws that Michael sees as an integral part of attaining lasting greatness.

Discover These Gems in Michael's BookI’m not sure I would agree that all of these classify as laws, but they are certainly great principles that I deeply believe every Christian entrepreneur should follow.

I have given away some of the gems I found in this book above, but if you thought those were good, there are many more in Michael’s five laws of lasting greatness.

I will be asking Michael about these laws in my upcoming interview with him, but until then let me encourage you to order your copy of I Shall Raise Thee Up: Ancient Principles for Lasting Greatness so you can discover these laws for yourself.

What I Didn’t Like About This Book

Okay, Michael asked for both the good and the bad.  So here are two suggestions that would have made me like this book more.

#1 – Don’t Hide Your Quotes

In Michael’s defense, this is becoming commonplace with Christian writers; however, it is a personal pet peeve of mine. This may not bother you at all.

When I am reading a book that quotes Scripture, I like to see it set off from the text and I like to know the source without having to flip to the back of the book.

#2 – Don’t Let Your Examples Take Over Your Point

A great example of this is the chapter on isolation.  When I started to read the chapter I became excited to see where Michael was taking us.

Unfortunately, though his example was relevant, he spends so much time developing it that his points are largely lost in the length of the biographical information.

My Final Thoughts

I enjoyed reading this book.  It challenged me in some areas that I was not expecting, and it brought a fresh point of view to others.

I found quite a few quotes from Michael that I will be using for some time to come. It has earned a place in my library, and I think you will feel the same way.

You can purchase a copy of I Shall Raise Thee Up: Ancient Principles for Lasting Greatness from  For more information about the author, Michael Holmes, you can check out his website at

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kissie December 16, 2009 at 11:24 am

Hey Brad, this was cool. I want to read it….but it's easier reading the review. I just have to satisfy myself with the chunk you gave (for now). I look forward to more of Michael when you decide to share more.


Brad Harmon December 16, 2009 at 6:43 pm

Hey Kissie (still love that nickname), I'm guilty of doing that myself sometimes. I actually had to edit out a huge portion of this because of the length of the post and because I felt I might have been giving too much of Michael's hard work away.

He does give away several major themes of the book through his blog posts, so I'd encourage you to check them out on his site <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">


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