I tried to read as widely as I can. I’m generally fascinated by biographies. Biographies of people who made a notable impact, waves, disruptions of sort. One of history’s figures I’ve had interest in was Genghis Khan. He shaped the history and direction of a people and continent. After conquering a city, he inquired about a large building. He thought it was the sultan’s but it turned out to be a place of worship. This was problematic for the Mongols.
This is a guest blog post by Dan Wolgemuth. He had shared this on Facebook first. It had great impact on me and I asked him if I could share it here. He graciously agreed. Thank you Dan!
At last check there were somewhere around 20 candidates aspiring to be the next President of the United States.
In the early days of campaigning, these individuals look for ways to differentiate themselves from the crowded field. Each speech, every public encounter, and nearly all of their interactions are carefully scrutinized, evaluated and commented on.
Political philosophy and personal values are squeezed out of each written or spoken sentence. Questions swirl and answers are evaluated. Words illuminate. Speeches inform.
2014 started off with some significant changes for Ingrid and me. Our big change: we moved from Johannesburg as well as where we’ve served for a number of years. We both worked with Youth for Christ South Africa. Ingrid for seven years and me for five.
We started 2014 with a move to Cape Town to serve at The People’s Church (TPC). This is where we know God would have us serve at this point in our lives. So, with the new assignment, there has been some transition and changes in our lives, hence the silence here.
As we do some house hunting, we’re starting to get into some sort of rhythm… Together with getting a handle of our responsibilities at TPC I should start getting back into the writing rhythm on this blog.
Thanks for holding out and for those that have written asking, expect some posts in the next couple of weeks
Appreciate your prayers as we take on our new assignment…
Not a lot to say right now but just a shout out to fill you in, a little… More later… Stay strong… Talk to ya later 😉
I’ve published ‘other’ books I read in 2013 here. Everything we read shapes and impacts us. It makes a difference to our spiritual journey.
There are many God-inspired books available as much as there are some to stay away from. Fortunately I haven’t come across one in while. I only started, this blog, I Am Jonah later in the year and thus never wrote much about books.
On the other hand, starting this blog is not primarily for reviewing books like I did here. I only will do that if it falls in like with the general theme. Not that I will always be “stuck” to the theme… I’m sure the theme will also evolve with time.
(Then there’s that time I asked about classics…)
Then again, it is great to get an insight into books I’ve read as they form an part of my journey. Dependent on their impact or course.
This is just a list of the ‘spiritual’ books I’ve read in 2013 (outside of my theology studies, that is):
My theology studies and other work get in the way of how much other stuff I can read. That’s all good cause it is also formative and just as important. If not more because of its much more exhaustive nature.
Reading is a great way to have understanding and application of Scripture. Anything that helps you dig a little deeper in tha Word will help you grow better.
Knowledge Of The Holy by A.W. Tozer, has been my favorite ‘spiritual’ book since I read it. It will cause you to yearn for a clear picture of God. I also highly recommend Tozer’s other book, The Pursuit Of God.
Fixing Abraham by Chris Tiegreen challenged me to stop putting God in a frame in how He might want to work in and through me as well as others. Chris makes a very compelling case for not dictating to ourselves and others about God and His ways.
Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola and George Barna was a great read. Well researched and I would recommend reading. I did a review of the book here.
This is not meant to be a review of the books but just a list. So I’ll end with this: all the books I listed had something that challenged me and the way I walk. Because of personalities and seasons, not everyone is going to draw the same things or find value in the same books to the same extent.
This was my list…
What books did you read in 2013? How did they impact you? Any recommendations for me and others?
I’ve been blogging for a while. Not here but on my other blog. When I was starting out on the other blog I knew I wanted to write about life and leadership as well as journey as a Christ follower.
Having blogged for a while I realized that was too much to load onto one blog. At least for me. I don’t like clutter.
I also felt I needed to have a unique expression of my faith that would resonate, be relevant to the journey of other people also.
I had no desire to have another typical ‘devotional-type’ blog. There are enough “devotional-type packed” blogs. At least for me. This blog “I Am Jonah” took a while to develop. Perhaps I should say for me to put enough “handle” on the concept and theme to start working on it.
“I Am Jonah” is not a unique concept. I knew some people or churches ran series on this. I was intentional in avoiding checking out what they had done because I didn’t want to taint the ideas I had. In fact, I still haven’t checked out how other people have expressed their concept of “I Am Jonah”.
I hesitated and tried to develop the theme “just a little more”… In the end, it was the actual doing that would tell whether the theme could be pulled off and if it could be relevant. So I decided to stop conceptualizing and just get to it.
There must always come a time of action. Nothing changes until something changes.
I’ve been a Christ follower for over two decades but there has never been a time I have felt like I still need to grow more than now. I Am Jonah is a part of journaling my journey as I, in a sense, start again in my walk with God.
While capturing some of my challenges as I walk with God, I also incorporate stories of other people who are following Christ and still learning to follow like I am.
At the moment most of the conversations either happen offline, for people that I’m fortunate to connect with offline. Another place conversations seem to happen is on the social network I publicize posts on. For instance, someone follows a link from Facebook, reads the post on the blog and returns to comment on the referring network.
I’m obviously not telling the complete story. There will be more snippets into the story of I Am Jonah and the blog itself as I continue to journal with an audience as well as capture others’ stories.
If you haven’t already, do check out the blog post why I Am Jonah here, which also tells a part of the story behind this blog. You can also check out some of the other reasons I blog check out the post “Unmasked” on my other blog here.
This was a book I never rushed to finish. Partly because I have been reading other books and working on my theology assignments. The other part of it is that I wanted to be careful to take as much in and reflect on some of the things put forward by Frank Viola and George Barna.
It is apparent that Pagan Christianity? is well thought out, researched and crafted. It was not “slap dash” work. Frank and George do communicate a heart for the Church as God intended. It is clear they have a sound understanding of the Church and her purpose.
Thus they wrote the book to explore practices that have been or are compromising the Church. This is a worthwhile endeavor. How the Church does things can detract and or compromise her identity and mission. Pagan Christianity? highlights the birth of some practices.
Frank and George highlight how they can and do compromise the identity and mission of the Church. They highlight some practices as originating from pagan worship. Man-made.
They are upfront with not being agreed with. The publisher also gives a disclaimer. They make it clear that by publishing the book they’re not endorsing nor do they necessarily share the same opinions as the authors.
With that, there are areas that I don’t agree with Frank and George. They believe in the Church, the ecclesia, or gathering and community of believers to be organic. On this I agree with. However, I almost get the impression that “organic” is synonymous with house Church.
House churches are the story of the early church. They are not irrelevant now, but my take is that they may not be practical in all contexts. The object, for me, is not the venue, it is what the gatherings should produce, the purpose of the gatherings.
They must produce Christ mature Christ followers. This means that they are like Christ in both likeness and works. For example, Pagan Christianity? discourages a lack of Church buildings. One of the reasons is that they end up consuming a significant amount of funds and placing an undue burden on congregations.
I believe there must be a balance here. In some instances buildings, as venues and not sacred spaces, enable permanence, and consistency. In some instances due to modern life, it is difficult to run house Church or use other buildings or venues such as community halls etc.
With this my take is that the purpose of everything must remain clearly visible. (I am not saying Frank and George advocate ambiguity).
I’m a strong believer in the priesthood of all believers. I believe everyone in the Church, the body of Christ, has a role to play in her edification, so that as a collective and individuals, we become more like Christ.
There are principles on the identity and the mission of God through the Church that cannot and must never be violated.
I could go on and highlight a few more things. However, it might be more pertinent to communicate what I feel makes the heart of the book.
The most important take away from the book is that we look at the expression of our relationship with God. As individuals and community of believers.
We must constantly assess how and why we are doing things in the light of God’s word. We must be clear about the impact of all our practices and make sure that it enables community and maturity in the faith, producing Christ like people. A scripturally sound Church.
We must examine the origin of some practices against the backdrop of whether it enables growth of Christ followers, the mission of the Church and the glory of God.
I would recommend reading Pagan Christianity. However, that it must be read with openness to challenging thought and practices for the sake of making sure that the heart of all practices as Christ followers and the Church is as God intends.
I’d recommend reading it in a non-prescriptive way but facilitating conversation and reflection. Frank and George present their case and rest at saying readers must discern for themselves steps they need to be taking.
Ultimately an important thing to do is listening to what God’s Spirit says to you. Ultimately, and most importantly, no one’s opinion or perspective must eclipse God’s.
Again, I recommend reading Pagan Christianity with an openness to challenging thought and practices for the sake of making sure that the heart of and our practices as Christ followers and the Church is as God intends. Read in a non-prescriptive way but for the purposes of facilitating conversation and reflection.
[affiliate link to book]
Half our fears arise from neglect of the Bible – Spurgeon
— Charles Spurgeon (@Spurgeon_) September 27, 2013
This tweet was so on point, mainly because one of the post, The Notifications that touched something along these lines. So true.
“God is a mighty, wonderful adversary: He tries to save all the people trying to kill Him.”
— Tim Keller Wisdom (@DailyKeller) September 26, 2013
Sometimes God fighting us is what is best for us. It takes discipline to allow Him to be God.
Faith does not always equal knowing what’s next. It’s being at peace with Him who does.
— greg darley (@gregdarley) September 27, 2013
Related to the previous tweet. Sometimes I think and act as if I know better about my future and more, when I should be at peace with God for what He wants in and through my life.
The heart of I Am Jonah resonates with Nicole’s tweet. God, deliver me from this. Amen.
This is from one of C.S. Lewis’s works. A demon was being coached on how to trip up Christ followers.
The truth in this is that undermining community and gathering with other Christ followers for edification and service detracts from our spiritual strength. It facilitates our falling away.
Remember, you already have your Church Clothes on.
Just think what a difference we could make if we each committed to win at least one deacon to the Lord this year.
— Unappreciated Pastor (@Rev_Norespect) September 26, 2013
I got a laugh out of this one. The funny but sad truth is that sometimes people in the Church are far from what they should be. I mean everyone and not just the deacons.
This week, what are some of the tweets that made you examine your walk?
There’s a perspective about “older day” Christians that helps being back some sort of “freshness” into my perspective as a follower of the Way.
Some of the simplicity with sincerity people like Tozer wrote with is challenging and a good break from our present “Christian culture”.
Tozer’s “Knowledge of the Holy” deeply impacted me and has been a favorite for years.
His call is that of seeing God as He is. Having an untainted view…
What “classics” impact(ed) you greatly & recommend? Why?
It is amazing the power a tweet can have. After all, God does use words to challenge us. To speak to us and shape our destinies. I read somewhere that some of the verses in the King James Version are generally tweet length. (Or was it in the gospels? Maybe I should be diligent about this… but that’s not really the point of this post).
God spoke in Biblical times through people. He still does. It can even be through people tweeting. Herewith are tweets made an impression on me.
Made me think a little and challenged me:
What is an idol? It is anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.
— Timothy Keller (@timkellernyc) September 3, 2013
Allow yourself to be molded by God. Listen when he talks and look when he shows. Your life is his masterpiece. — Jarrid Wilson (@JarridWilson) September 3, 2013
We enjoy life when we survey the past with gratitude, live in the present with contentment, and look toward the future with trust.
— Miroslav Volf (@MiroslavVolf) September 2, 2013
If your sound doctrine doesn’t lead to good works, it’s not as sound as you thought it was
— Trip Lee (@TripLee116) September 2, 2013
Deny your weakness and you will never know God’s strength in you.
— Mike Friesen (@mike__friesen) August 31, 2013
To effectively fulfill the Great Commission believers must first live out the Great Commandment.
— Michael Minot (@MichaelMinot) August 30, 2013
The awkward moment you sit next to someone before church starts and you’re both on phones to avoid conversation #iamjonah
— I Am Jonah (@am_jonah) September 6, 2013