What they’re saying
I’ve been a Christian for over fifty years and I never knew how much God loved me until I read this book. The analogies of how the abused wolves responded to the grace John gave them to be exactly what they were revealed God’s love and grace to me in a way that no sermon ever had.
Amazing book. Before I read it, grace was just another word I heard in church. Thank you John for helping me see grace for what it is and helping me realize how much God loves us.
The book is soooo captivating. I laid down about 8pm and started reading. I finally put it down at 3am when I was on page 353.
This book made so much sense to me. I think there’s more of us like you out here than you think, John. My faith in God was always based on how I felt about myself, never about who He is and how He feels about me. Boy did the light ever come on for me with your take on the relationship between hope and grace. Your illustrations with the wolves really opened my eyes about grace too. Each one was uniquely empowering.
I’ve never seen an author with this style of writing…could be his health and fitness writing style coming out. Wordier than what I’m used to but very descriptive and goes above and beyond to get his points across to the reader. His analogies are exceptional and really helped me see things from his perspective. The information about recovery was deep and interesting but the illustrations he shared about the abused wolf to explain God’s grace was brilliant…it made it so clear. Unusually long (and broad), and lots of twists and turns throughout, but the story keeps you drawn in. And the way he ties everything together in the latter chapters (and in the end) is something you’ll feel deep in your heart…made me cry several times. Great book!
I’ve never read a book with so much elucidating information that I took out my highlighter and began making specific passages in the book so I could refer to them later. The analogies were so powerful for me. They helped me to see things about myself and God for the first time; things I had heard and read many times before but was never able to grasp.
This book should be a mandatory read for every person thinking about getting married and even more so for those wanting children. That poor child, I just wanted to hug him and tell him he was special too.
In chapter three, when he was at the vet with his wolf, Joshua, who had to be put to sleep, he said he that had just killed his best good boy, referring to Joshua. But Joshua died because the vet lady messed up, not because of anything John did. But then a couple hundred pages later, in chapter five, he said he learned that he felt responsible for every bad thing that had ever happened in his life. When I read that, I realized why he felt responsible for Joshua’s death and why he carried so much guilt. This book is for real…deep honesty and very forthcoming.
I had no idea examining my resentments revealed my issues so clearly.
Never read a book that caused pictures to appear in my mind so vividly. John’s insight was expansive for me. You can tell he has put a lot of work into recovery and understanding how addiction impacts families. When I was reading about his love for the wolf Kyra, the dangerous one that was abused, and how he kept showing her grace, I was really able to see how Jesus sees us and how grace really does change us. Very powerful story.
And I thought Christians never got angry. It’s comforting finally seeing another imperfect Christian who has experienced trials, but also had the courage to publicly share his feelings of hurt and anger with this much honestly.
Sometimes ya got to tell it like it is. Great book, very informative.
From the beginning I felt there was something different about this book. Then at the end when he said he allowed himself to stay submerged in all the painful experiences he divulged when he was writing it, the light came on. He was able to take me into each experience because he was writing them while they were happening. Incredible piece of work.
Oh My…the ending…the subtle revelation of characters revealed why the betrayals were so painful for him. I understood his pain but after this revelation, it was magnified tenfold.
Best book I’ve ever read, hands down!
There’s more wisdom in this book than any book I’ve ever read. Also, I have never experienced an unveiling of God’s love like this. It came to life inside of me.
As someone who experienced life with an alcoholic, I’ve read a lot about addiction, recovery, adult children of alcoholics, and family dysfunction trying to learn about it and how to deal with it. But as much as I learned, I still didn’t grasp how it all worked until I read this book. Seeing it play out in an actual story caused the light to come on for me. And as a Christian who had heard the word “grace” most of my life, I knew what it was, or so I thought. God’s grace really came to life for me in this book. Until you see grace illustrated like John does in this book, it’s almost impossible to understand how powerful and life-transforming it is.
You don’t realize how extensively you’re being educated when you’re reading the story. They way he laid in the little snippets of information about addiction, recovery, and dysfunctional families over the course of his life gave it a clarity you could never obtain from a book that was purposely written to teach people about it.
Until I read this book, I never considered the inner substance of grace. John’s explanations of his heart toward his abused wolves and why he extended them so much grace showed me what’s on the inside of the grace God extends to us through Jesus. His analogies gave me a clearer picture of God’s love for us and made His grace much more powerful to me than my previous understanding of it.
Never read a story that was so deeply captivating and at the same time so educational. This was the most broadly educational story I’ve ever read, and the unveiling of God’s grace was just amazing…truly life changing.
Never read a story that so deeply penetrated my soul and created such vivid pictures in my mind. This book is truly anointed. The gut-level honesty really draws you in and makes you feel like you’re finally hearing someone tell the truth about himself…very disarming!
I have never heard God’s love and grace brought to life like this. The way John explained grace using the wolves made it real to me.
They need to make this into a movie.
Most enlightening book I’ve ever read, and from someone who admittedly has more faults than most…no seminary schooling, no doctorate, no established platform like most popular authors writing memoirs, just quality time in the wilderness with our Lord. And chapter seven, Seeds, Soil, and Seasons, was the most incredibly articulated piece of written work I’ve ever read…it was on another level…like it was written by someone who had a Ph.D. in Botany and a Doctorate in Theology.
I have read several books and numerous articles about how we as parents program our children’s thinking and their self-images with our words and the way we treat them. But wow, nothing I’ve read showed me the reality of it like John’s story has. I think every parent and young adult should read this book. The abused wolves’ responses to the way he treated them alone is enough to make any parent rethink how he or she treats their children. In addition to being a captivating story, this book is a top-notch manual for parents.
Compared to most of the books I tend to read, this one was a bit harsh at times. But now that I’ve read it, I can honestly say that I think I learned more from it than any Cristian book I’ve ever read.
If everyone in the world would acknowledge their faults like John has done in this book, most of the world’s problems would dissolve into thin air!
I’ve never read a book quite like this one. He lets some people have it in this book, but he calls himself out too. I saw myself when he was doing both.
I’m in recovery…have been for a while…and this is the first time I’ve seen someone publicly share their fourth and fifth steps. This has to be how we’re supposed to do it. The detail in which he shared his feelings, his reactions to being thumped so much in life, and what he learned about himself when examining his resentments really opened my eyes about my own feelings and behavior.
I’ve been seeing a therapist for about five years and after reading this book, I’m convinced my therapist was more interested in me seeing how knowledgeable he was than helping me, always using big words and new terms, none of which made sense to me. I learned more about myself and my problems from reading John’s story than I have seeing my therapist all those years.
I have never heard grace explained so vividly. No matter how many times I heard we’re saved by grace, it was still another religious phrase to me that went in one ear and out the other, even though I believed it. But John’s story helped me see it for what it is, something that changes how we see God, gives us true peace and forever changes our outlook on life.
Man, this book really makes you think about how far things have degenerated since the fall of man. I’m looking forward to the 1000-year reign of Christ when we can enjoy having physical contact with all God’s beautiful creatures.
Twenty years being condemned and belittled by his mother, then another twenty years being demonized by his x-wife’s crazy family. Then just when he had broken free of it, Eve brought it all back into his life. No wonder he was angry, I’d be angry too.
My father was so much smarter than I realized when I was a child!
I’ve been sober now for twenty-six years and I’ve never heard the twelve steps of recovery explained so well. I found John’s explanation to be powerful, and the way he tied them in with scripture made it even more powerful. Well done brother. If everyone entering recovery was required to sit in a room and read this book before doing anything else, very few, if any, would treat it like a revolving door. Recovery is not a journey to be feared, it’s one we embrace. The explanations John gave regarding how the steps’ reveal our flawed thinking was more enlightening than any explanation I’ve read, and I’ve read many books about recovery over the years. I do believe that tying them in with the story like he did added a lot to it. He had already shared so much about his life and his own personal and family dysfunction that when he began laying out the process of working the steps, it was easier to understand them.
It seems like the information John shared in the wolf stories keeps expanding. The insight I have from them applies to so many of areas of my life.
I’ve been rescuing and fostering dogs for the past 12 years. I didn’t care for most people anymore and never realized why. But when he said the wolves didn’t have pride, it hit me. The reason I have such a heart for animals is because they’re not all full of themselves like most people are these days.
As heart-wrenching as the story was, the book was so informative. When I finished it, I started reading it again, something I do with a lot of books when I’m touched by the story. This time, when I got to the place in chapter one where John talked about his father’s identity dissolving, his loss of self-confidence in being a father, and his noticeable sadness, it was like reading what I had just read about how John felt after what Eve did to him. Even though I already knew what was going to happen in the story, I was no more able to put the book down than I was my first time through. I knew what was coming but was still so captivated that I had to keep reading.
I’m a recovering drug addict. I became addicted to pain medication after my back surgery 4 years ago and I’ve been in recovery now for 2 years. So, for me, the recovery information, John’s explanation of the steps, and the divulging of his fourth and fifth steps in particular, was amazing. It made me to see how much more I’ll learn about myself and the things I struggle with by continuing to work the steps and the importance of doing so.
Amazing book…Biblical parallels across the board. When he was talking about people who came to volunteer at the wolf sanctuary and wanted to “tout their knowledge” of dogs to impress him, when he was trying to help them understand that trying to make wolves behave like dogs arouses their wild wolf instincts, it was a perfect parallel of the Pharisees pridefully touting their knowledge of the law and using it to condemn people, when Jesus was trying to bring His message of grace into the world to set people free. Also, despite being the longest book I’ve ever read, I was amazed at how every single traumatic experience and personal issue in the book connected with something in a previous or subsequent chapter. From chapter to chapter, they all fit together perfectly, even before he purposely brought them all together at the end of chapter five. Divinely Inspired book for sure!.
Most enlightening book I’ve ever read. It caused me to see myself and my struggles much differently. I’ve already started reading it again. I wonder what I’ll discover about myself this time through.
Wow! This book was hard to read, but I can’t even imagine how hard it was to write. Thank you, John, for writing it; I learned more about myself in this book than anything I’ve ever read and would recommend it to anyone whose life, in any way, has been touched by addiction, or abuse of any kind. Never heard addiction and dysfunction explained this way, and until I read this book, I had no clue. The analogies were amazing…really brought it all to life.
I love my animals, they’re like children to me. When they died, I always wondered if I’d see them again or if they were just dead. Thank you John for showing us animal lovers that the Bible really does mention an afterlife for them. Romans 8:21
I grew up with alcoholism and I’ve been in counseling for years. I‘ve read a lot about family dysfunction and the guilt and shame people like me who grow up in alcoholic families experience. I thought I’d learned a lot over the years, and I have. But I’ve never seen it brought to life like this. I saw myself at every turn. This is a long book but the detail in which John described his feelings helped me realize how my family dysfunction affected me and the underlying causes of my issues. Thank you,
John, for being so open about your issues and struggles and for making it so much easier for me to face mine. I know this was difficult for you, but you’ve got to know how many people it’s helping.
Don’t make the mistake of skipping the Foreword, Preface, and especially the Introduction where the story begins in the present time. From there, it goes back to his early childhood at the beginning of Chapter one, then picks up in the present time again (where it started in the Introduction) late in chapter five…like a movie. The images the story created in my mind made it to come alive for me; I couldn’t put it down.
I’ve been a Christian for forty years. I attend church regularly, read my bible daily, and I’ve read several Christian books. But this book brought Jesus to life for me like never before. As a Christian, I knew what grace through Jesus Christ was and never thought much more about it. Obviously, we’re “saved by grace.” But each of the analogies John gave in his story with the wolves was like dozens of stories like the one of the woman at the well with Jesus, all stacked on top of one another. They were that powerful to me. I now have a fuller understanding God’s grace…an understanding that’s much more calming and empowering than the basic understanding I relied on before. God Bless you John; you’re a miracle.
At the end of the book, he says that he allowed himself to go back into the painful events of his life in order to bring them to life. And boy, you can really feel his anger in the tone and in some of his rantings. But this is what made it real for me. Most Christian books I’ve read try to say everything so nicely. But this makes me feel like I’m being taught something by someone who never gets angry and has never been angry. The way John wrote this book, it made me feel like I’m not the only one who has issues and struggles with the hurt and anger of my past. His gut-level honesty about how he felt during his trials and following his betrayals is what reeled me in. For me, they made his discoveries and acknowledgements about himself in the latter chapters more potent. Amazing book…the best I’ve ever read.
I’ve been in recovery for two years now and I didn’t know this was how I was supposed to do the fourth step. I’ve never seen someone publicly dissect themselves like this. He points out others faults in the book but took full responsibility for his. Thank you, John, for showing me how to do my fourth step.
Beneath it all, this book is really a love story, only it’s about Jesus’s love for us. It kinda parallels the old and new testament in that the old testament is more about rules and laws, while the new testament is about Jesus, His love for us, and grace. And the addiction and family dysfunction stuff…WOW…a little redundant but very well-written, and the analogies were something else! I had no idea how family members were affected by another family member’s alcoholism or drug use, or that they developed different roles to cope. Makes sense.
He warned us of the redundancy in the Preface and I picked up on the things that he’d said previously. But it didn’t bother me. Honestly, I thought his reiteration of them was timely and necessary to bring them forward to convey the important points. You can’t get something this complex across unless you pretend you’re speaking to children. Good thing he self-published; a book editor today would have completely sterilized this book
Hollywood celebrities are always writing angry tell all books and selling millions of copies, but none offer anything of value. They’re simply telling their stories to make more money, most of which are just smut. It’s about time a Christian book comes out where the author takes the liberty to express the hurt and anger he felt without sugar coating it like the other Christian books I’ve read. I learned more about the family disease of addiction from this book than any I’ve read. John’s angry rants are loaded with usable information that really penetrates. Also, I’ve never heard God’s love for us, and his grace explained so much potency.
After reading the front matter, I was expecting to see John blame his struggles on his childhood. But I didn’t get that in his story at all. I saw someone who continuously put forth an effort to improve himself following his childhood, and through his efforts in recovery and his Christian faith, began to discover how his upbringing affected his thinking, his behavior, and his decisions. Well-articulated book…very enlightening. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.
He sacrificed everything for Eve and she crushed his heart.
At first, I felt the nursery scene on the first page of chapter one was a bit contrived. But as I continued reading, I could see that John had always been a deeply perceptive and sensitive person. The story essentially confirms how he felt as a child and as I continued reading, the nursery scene came back to life over and over again. The info about addiction and family dysfunction was highly educational but chapter seven, Seeds Soil and Seasons… WOW! This was the most enlightening book chapter I have ever read, in any book. And “Seeds, Soil, and Seasons” was a book he wanted to write twenty years before writing this one. I think that goes to show how devastating the loss of his business was to him then and how much of a set-back it caused in his life. But look what God did with it. I found this book enlightening in many areas, and to have more depth than just about any book I’ve read. And it was written by someone who saw himself as a failure and portrayed himself as a loser throughout. What a story! Great Book!
I think I learned a little something about everything in this book. I’ve already started reading it again. lol
I have never read a book so deep, so vast, and so intricately complicated where everything fits together so precisely, yet is so easy to understand, and also captivating… astonishingly captivating. Best Christian book I’ve ever read.
What an amazing book. I was captivated by his style of interacting with all those wolves and why he did it the way he did, and never realized that I was being taught about Jesus’ love for us and how He handles broken people. If it weren’t for the wolf stories, I don’t think his explanations of God’s love and grace would have been as powerful. Bless your heart, John
Reading this story was like watching an artist paint a painting that told a story of betrayal, heartbreak, struggle, and triumph. Then at the end of the book, he slips in a revelation that puts an entirely different twist on the story, allowing us to understand why one of the betrayals was so devastating. And the “Sanctuary” reference at the very end, WOW…gave the dozens of analogies about God’s love and grace an added shine.
As crazy as it sounds, hearing another Christian honestly express his anger was alleviating to me. I’ve never read a Christian book where the author tells me that he struggles with the same level of anger I’ve struggled with. All the Christian books I’ve read tend to tell us is how to handle our struggles, but never say anything that leads me to believe they’ve experienced any real struggles themselves. It’s like they’ve never been angry at all and couldn’t possibly understand my pain. All this does is make me feel more guilty. TY John, great job.
Wow! This story resurrected the things I went through as a kid. But as painful as it was, I finally see God’s grace for what it is and how much He loves me. When he explained how the abuse affected the wolves, and how he behaved to heal them, the light finally came on about how God sees us when we’re struggling, His love for us, and His grace. Oh if I had only understood this twenty years ago.
Man, this dude went above and beyond to make sure his readers understood what he wanted to impart in this story. A touch wordy for me, but I can’t say that I would have understood as well had he not written it as he did.
Man, the way John articulated what he thought, what he felt, and what he was going through spoke so loudly to me. I never realized that I have the very same stuff going on inside of me, only I’m constantly acting like I don’t.
Most Christian books can lead people to Christ. But like John said toward the end of the book, there are millions of people who would never pick up a Christian book. But I believe they would this one. This book has the potential of leading people to Christ who traditional churches couldn’t.
If you all think this story created mental pictures that brought it to life, order the Special Edition. It has pictures beginning from john’s childhood through the current time, and hundreds of pictures of the wolves.
Before the Christians call him out, remember, he had the guts to openly share his feelings, his frustrations, and his failures with everyone, knowing he’d be ridiculed by many and even demonized by some. I think I learned something useful on every page, and for me, that’s saying something!
I’ve been in the educational field for twenty years and I’ve educated myself extensively on the disease of addiction. The way John kept the inner workings of addiction at the forefront of my mind throughout his story revealed it to me in a way my previous educational efforts failed to do. Also, over the years, I’ve learned to see the differences in the children who come from overly religious families and the ones who don’t. John’s story showed me exactly what I’d been seeing all those years. He should write a follow-up book entitled, “Condemnation Kills.”
He really calls out the high-and-mighty Christians. I’ve seen these types myself and he’s so right in saying their behavior repels people from the Christian faith instead of drawing them.
In spite of all the traumas and negativity he went through, look what God did in his life. I found more life-changing information in this book than just about any book I’ve ever read.
People who are meticulous with everything are almost always in conflict with someone. They have a hard time socially and struggle to hold on to relationships.
When we read faith-based or self-help books, I think we unconsciously assume the authors to be people who “have it all together.” So, we naturally tend to value their advice. After all, that is why we buy their books. But I felt more confident about what I was learning from John’s story than I have other Christian books. There’s something about the insight that comes from someone who has experienced difficulties, made mistakes, and divulges his mistakes that trumps that of the “goody two shoes” authors who possibly wouldn’t have survived those difficulties. People who have lived through difficult trials and come through them have a deeper insight into their issues. Their stories tend to open our hearts and give us confidence in their words. Great book and one I’d highly recommend.
This book was so enlightening to me. Reading the parts about addiction and family disfunction was like seeing a movie about me and my family.
I never knew that AA was birthed out of the book of James or that the 12 steps were founded on Biblical principles.
Been in recovery since the mid nineties and I’ve seen a lot of people come in and out of recovery, like it was a revolving door. Thank God I never did that. I believe the reason is because my sponsor taught me about the twelve steps and helped me work through them. I eventually realized that most of the people coming and going never began working the steps, and that the ones who did either didn’t understand them or didn’t understand what they were trying to accomplish in working them. Very nice explanation of the 12 steps of recovery.
Get the package deal with both books, the regular one and the special edition, which is huge and heavy. It’s twice the size of the regular one and has incredible pics of the wolves. It also has pics of him as a child, his father as a football coach and golf pro, and his bodybuilding pictures. Dude was a beast! But the wolf pictures are so beautiful. I read the small book without pictures while following along with the pictures in the special edition. Kyra and Micah are so beautiful, and the pictures really bring the story to life.
Joan — I’ve been rescuing and fostering dogs for the past 12 years. I didn’t care for most people anymore and never realized why. But when he said the wolves didn’t have pride, it hit me. The reason I have such a heart for animals is because they’re not all full of themselves like most people are these days.
There is so much going on in this story that I don’t even know where to begin. I will say this, though, the book really made an impression on me…addiction is a horrible thing. Until I read this story, I didn’t consciously realize that the family members of an alcoholic or an addict often behave the same way as the alcoholic/addict, even though they aren’t using themselves. But now, I realize that I’ve witnessed it firsthand…many times. Also, things in the book I didn’t remember reading keep popping in my head throughout the day and taking on a life of their own…crazy.
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