Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from May, 2011

Hearing God's Voice

Margaret Feinberg is a new author to me in the world of Christian writing. I was glad to read this book by someone who had taken a long drink at the well of seeking and knowing God. I think her basic concept early on in the book is well worth repeating: "We're created with the capacity to know what brings God delight and to recognize his involvement in our lives" (24). Knowing God involves hearing his voice in this midst of a fast paced and shifting surrounding. Yet, Feinberg wants her readers to realize that bringing delight is not a magical experience or a over the top feeling, but can found in the everyday worship and rhythm of life. Part of the great journey for the Christian is learning to delight in God in the place in which we find ourselves. Feinberg writes, "When we start recogninzing and feasting on God's words in the everyday, life becomes grander" (30). I would add to this that when we rest in God's presence daily we gradually stop looking f…

Seeing the Redemptive Story

I was pleased to receive in the mail this wonderful Liturgical Guide from Parclete Press by Gavin Long. The look of the book is very appealing with its imitation leather cover and beautiful cross imprint on the front. To be honest, I was a little curious about what I might find in this liturgical guide. I knew from study that every church whether high or low church in worship has a liturgy. I was pleased to note in the introduction Long expresses part of his goal in saying, "Celebrating the redemptive story in our homes requiresa balance of creativity and catholicity" (8). In describing the creativity and catholicity of practicing liturgy at home, Long is speaking of the continuing conversation we have with God and with others, including their expressions of worship and gifts. The goal is not to narrow the focus to a select few but to create an environment where people are able to bring their lives before Christ. I do also really appreciate Long's insistence that it is t…

Plan B Ahead

I was unfamiliar with Tim Kimmel's writing before In Praise of Plan B, but I anticipated reading this book when I received it from Zondervan. The introduction pulls the reader in with a string of what if situations in which the best possible situation arises only to be disappointed with the outcome. Kimmel is trying to relate the stark reality that many of our dreams and hopes don't turn out to be the Plan A we dreamed of, but sink back into the shadows of Plan B. Yet, this change of plans is not to our defeat. Chapter 1 tells the story of George Bailey, the main character in It's a Wonderful Life. His life is filled with disappointment after challenge after taking his father's business over. On the verge of suicide, an angel Clarence meets him to show him all that he has done for the community. Kimme writes, "Our daily decisions and actions have far-reaching effects we will never see" (25). Every life bears out its significance not in the grand visions but i…

Grace at the Table

I was unfamiliar with the work of Tim Chester before reading A Meal with Jesus. However, I was pleasantly surprised after reading the book by the author's careful attention to the running theme of grace throughout the meals that Jesus shared with people and his followers. At the beginning of the book, Chester immediately draws attention to a radical point in the ministry of Jesus by saying, "The grace of God is readically subverise. Running through Luke's Gospel is the message that the last day will involve a radical reversal in which the first shall be last and the last shall be first. The meals of Jesus picture that day, as he welcomes the marginal and confronts the self-righteous and self-reliant" (27). Jesus met people in the midst of their chaotic mess of a life, he even dined with tax collectors and sinners. We often times think that the only type of fellowship is just hanging out with believers and sharing a meal, but we often miss the point that sharing a mea…

Orthodox View of the Spirit

I was very pleased to receive this little volume from Paraclete Press by John Oliver. The title, 'Giver of Life: The Holy Spirit in Orthodox Tradition,' tells of the main thrust of the book to provide a historical, biblical, and theological understanding of the Holy Spirit from the Orthodox persuasion. Right off the bat I was impressed with the book in the discussion of the relationship between the Spirit and the Holy Trinity. Oliver makes the assertion that reading the Fathers and the Scripture as bearing witness to the Spirit's divinity is crucial to faith. Even more, the beliefs we hold have drastic consequences for the life of faith, including our practices of prayer, reading, communion, and fellowship. Oliver notes, "..my belief about what God is like-right or wrong-affects how I relate to Him and how I perceive He relates to me, and that belief spills into the river of faith downstream: prayer life, worship life, and my whole relationship with the divine" (…

Following Jesus Through Life

Being familiar with Scot McKnight's other books, I received this one from Zondervan to review with expectation. The basic message of the book is very good in its approach and in its content: Jesus did not call his followers to individual salvation so that they can be engrossed in private acts of piety that have no effect on the world whatsoever. On the postive side, McKnight's writing directs us to consider that following Jesus means 'giving your One.Life to him and to his dream' (24). The great joy of this type of teaching is that it sees Christianity in the lives of its believers as providing a call that encompasses all of life (not segregated to morality or petty rules of dress and dance). If we are not caught up with the dream of Jesus, following his teaching and life, then are caught up in a vision counter to his call.




Scot appropriately situates Jesus' teaching on the kingdom of God within the context of the Jewish understanding of 'kind, land and citize…

Building a Strong Relationship

At first sight, I was a little put off by the book's title, Love at Last Sight: 30 days to grow and deepen your closest relationship. Yet, as you begin to wade into this new book by Kerry and Chris Shook, you find a wealth of practical advice for relationships. My uneasiness about the title refers to the 30 days approach, which after reading the book is not just another gimmick but rather biblically informed wisdom about how relationships work and how they can grow.




In the first chapter of the book, the authors write about the necessity of being all there in relationships by saying, "Most communication takes place nonverbally through facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice. So if you connect only by phone or by e-mail, you're missing out on your biggest opportunities for getting closer" (17). There is something wonderful about our technologically advanced that we can communicate with others at any time, yet we are not much closer to our closest relation…