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Showing posts from March, 2012

Spiritual Direction

Not too often do I find a book that spells out so succintly and wonderfully a picture of following God in the midst of life. L. Roger Owens has written a timely book that digs deep into the topic of spiritual direction. Owens lays out his desire in the opening introduction by writing, "I want to know what it's like to live in the house that is God's own presence, to live there today and tomorrow, this minute and the next" (xi). This goal is why Owens chronicles in the book his experience in having a local retired Baptist minister as his spiritual director. What I enjoyed a great bit about the book is that Owens gets into the nuts and bolts of spiritual direction from a practical and experiential perspective. When I first heard of the term 'spiritual director' I often think of a guru or a lone sage imparting wisdom from upon a hill, but I think Owens has a different perception in mind.

The first chapter on longing deals with the central experience of longing f…

God Will Provide

Patricia Treece, in God Will Provide, has written an engaging and thought provoking book dealing with God meeting the needs of his people. Much of the book is a careful description of various saints who God has showered his blessing on through their work with the poor and disenfranchised. Yet, the book is much more than just a catalogue of great deeds by humble Christians, it strikes at the heart of godly living by providing valuable lessons for issues like money, charity, gratitude, and dealing with negative thinking. Some readers might be aware of her other work, Meet John XXIII, which received a Catholic Press Award and many other accolades.

The first chapter deals with giving to God all your goodness, all your sin and ugliness so that you might allow God to lead instead of yourself in the driver's seat of life (7-12). She brings a wise word of encouragement for those dealing with their negative traits by saying, "Acknowledge but do not be lured into over-concentration on …

Prayers in Every Season

The first two prayers for evening time on p.17 were pointers on the map of God's transcendence and his immanence. Seeing God as holy and set apart along with seeing him come down to Earth is a good way of both honoring what Scripture says about him, but also rightfully bringing worship to Him. Secondly, the prayers for Evening Time were close to recount the ways in which we need God's help and goodness to avoid the snares of the Evil one and the fantasy of the devil (18-19). The truth here is that we are prone to wonder but God is the one who we draw strength from to fight evil, even combating the desires within our own hearts for sin. With another reviewer, I am not willing to offer up prayers to the Holy Virgin being an evangelical Christian,yet, I was still appreciative of the way she is referred to in certain prayers like the Theotokion (28).

These prayers certainly brought me to a place of praising God that I was not accustomed to before. One of the beautiful things abou…

Battling Sin and Temptation

Todd Hunter, Anglican bishop in California has written a challenging yet rewarding book the sins we commit and the way forward from them. To begin with, I think the topic he chose to write on is extremely important for the life of believers and the church at large. Too often, we ignore or accept the struggles we face and think they will subside after time. He begins the book by stating part of the goal in writing by saying, "Beating temptation requires struggle because it always involves sorting out rightly ordered desires for good and godly things from our disordered desires for wrong things" (3). This struggle is a battle to put to death those desires for wrong things that not only cause us harm but others as well. If the default position in selfishness, then the goal is to work with God to transform our desires. Taking a cue from Joseph, Hunter indicates in the first chapter that doing right and godly work enables the flourishing of other people in our path (family, churc…

Loving God like a Child

Having been familiar with R.C. Sproul Jr.'s father and his books, I was delighted to read this book entitled The Call to Wonder: Loving God like a Child. R.C. Sproul Jr., father of eight children draws readers into the book by doing two things very well in the book: drawing out the instances in the Bible that speak of children including the teaching of Jesus and secondly, using his experience as a father and husband to illustrate the wonder of a child in loving God and seeing his handiwork.

I have to admit I got a real kick out of reading early on in the book about the "R.C. Sproul Jr. Principle of Hermeneutics." Sproul goes onto say, "when you are reading your Bible and come across people (like the disciples, for example) doing something really stupid, do not say to yourself, "How could they be so stupid?" Instead, ask yourself, How am I stupid just like them? (Note: This principle is named after me because I've learned how stupid I can be") (11)…