Book Review: Good or God

Good or GodThis is the most significant book I’ve read all year.

Pete and I just spent a fabulous week in a lovely cabin in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Our aim was to stop, reflect, relax, and refresh. Some days we played tourist, enjoying the scenic drives, wildlife, and golden aspen and cottonwoods. Other days we hung around the cabin, reading, talking, and praying. After a crazy year that included moving both our home and Pete’s ministry office, it was just what we needed.

I had a stack of books to read, and managed to make it through several of them. They were all excellent, but if I could pick one to recommend most highly, it would have to be Good or God: Why Good without God Isn’t Enough, by John Bevere.

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Postpartum

Willow in NICU 2 wks1Tuesday, I wrote about how I came to follow Jesus. Today I continue the story.

I had been born again, but in a way, it was a premature birth. I just didn’t have a clue about what I’d signed up for, that my new-found faith was going to impact every aspect of my life. Still, it was a birth. I was naked and messy and knew nothing, but I was alive.

I had my first communion at an all-campus service on June 1, right before finals week, and was baptized in the lake on campus the next afternoon. I took my tests, packed up my dorm room, hopped in my car and headed home for the summer. Continue reading

How to Make Yourself Miserable

I have a friend who’s been pretty miserable lately. This is someone I care a lot about, and I’ve been praying for her daily. As sometimes happens when we pray for someone, I’ve gained some insight into her situation. Perhaps the Spirit told me directly, perhaps I simply recognized a situation that’s all too familiar. Either way, it’s clear to me that she’s running from God.

Mind you, my friend is a Bible-believing Christian. That’s not the issue. Rather, God has asked her for something that she’s unwilling to give Him. Never mind that it would greatly benefit her to do so. Never mind that God will take better care of it than she ever could. Giving up something that is a deep part of ourselves is never easy.

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Full-time Ministry

Does God care what you do for a living? Are some jobs more spiritual than others? Or more significant?

I think many of us subconsciously assume that “full time ministry” jobs are God’s favorites. After all, he called some fisherman and changed them into evangelists. He called one shepherd and asked him to free his people from slavery in Egypt, and another to become king of Israel.

But how many people does God ask to remain fishermen or shepherds? Is that a calling? Is working in a factory, writing software, or selling appliances something God wants us to do?

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Are You a Christian?

Are you a Christian?

Sometimes the answer is obvious. Sometimes it’s not.

If you have a vibrant, intimate relationship with God, where you hear His voice and tell Him your innermost thoughts, where you rely on Him to guide you and strengthen you as you live your life completely entwined with His, loving and serving others… then I’d feel pretty confident agreeing that you are a Christian.

If your claim to faith is based on being born to Christian parents, or into a “Christian” nation, but you never read a Bible or pray, you never go to church (on only on Easter), you have no interest in God whatsoever and are pretty satisfied with that state of affairs, well, you might want to read the fine print on your fire insurance policy (start with Matthew 7:23 or Luke 13:27).

Most of us who call ourselves Christian fall somewhere between these two examples. At some point in our lives, we’ve prayed the “sinner’s prayer” acknowledging our failings and subsequent need for mercy and forgiveness. We own a Bible and read it at times. We go to church, unless there’s a big game on. (If we’re super spiritual, we only skip church if our team is in the playoffs.) We can speak fluent “Christianese.” And we pray for God to help us, especially if life isn’t going our way at the moment. God is in our lives, but is He in charge?

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