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Book Review: The Prodigal God by Timothy Kellar

Timothy Kellar, author of the New York Times Best Seller “The Reason For God”, brings us a very different view of the parable of “The Prodigal Son“. By breaking this easy read into seven chapters, Kellar has tied the parable into the entire bible and the meaning of being a true Christian as presented by Jesus.

Chapter One: The People Around Jesus  – This chapter discusses the people he was presenting the parable to.

Chapter Two: The Two Lost Sons – This chapter tells us how “both” sons were actually lost, not just the younger of the two.

Chapter Three: Redefining Sin – In the chapter we find a deeper understanding of what sin is.

Chapter Four: Redefining Lostness– This chapter presents the varying degrees of how radical and ethical Christians can both be wrong in their perception of being obedient to God.

Chapter Five: The True Elder Brother – Here we find what we need and who we need.

Chapter Six: Redefining Hope – This brings us to the journey; Our longing for home; The difficulty of return; the Feast at the end of History.

Chapter Seven: The Feast of the Father– Here Kellar helps us get a better glimpse of heaven and earth, Eden to Eden, true joy, and the full definition of salvation.

Summary

Overall, the book was a quick, yet thought provoking read. Many times I would get excited about something I had just read and tried to relate it to my wife only to get a look of “that’s nice”. It’s very hard to express, even here in this blog. I recommend this for small group studies as well as just individual growth. If the explanation of the entire bible could be put in this context we would all be able to understand and live Christianity much easier.

I give it 3 1/2 stars out of a possible 4. Good read for Newbie Christians to long time believers.I believe it is well worth the price and the time spent reading it no matter what level in your spiritual walk you are at.

Gods Plan: The Continual Journey

Have you ever been in that one spot in your bed? You know, that one particular position where your head and body are in perfect alignment and you feel like you have never felt anything better in your life? It’s almost a sense of weightlessness there among the sheet and blanket. The perfect positioning of the pillows with the angle tilted just enough to give you unequalled posturing in a lying position. Zen.

The same can be true about your church life. That happy place where you go on Sunday morning can sometimes become that perfect spot in the bed. You get extremely comfortable and lull off into la la land. I feel that is the case with most church congregations. They find that place where they can be safe, surrounded by the security of this blanket of friends, and soon forget the real reason they came there to begin with.

Why do most people go to church? That question would be an interesting survey someday if the answers ever got past the obvious. Realistically most people don’t really know why they are supposed to go to church. They rely on a minister to justify them being there after they are already inside. Ever looked at it that way?

God has provided all the necessary tools to understand his creation and our salvation. He has placed it on the mantle of our lives in plain view. The answers are not always clear, just as with any study of intelligent matters. But through diligence, prayer, and a relationship with God it becomes easier to grasp.

Since truly developing an in depth relationship with God over the past 10-12 years I have gathered a larger understanding of what he expects of us. God is not interested in us joining his club. He doesn’t want us in that “ultimate comfort spot” in the bed. Our comfort is in him, not in the things of this world. And that includes his church. If a church is not thriving and growing, then it is probably content with being a club. One of my motto’s in my occupation is that “if someone isn’t mad at me today I’m not doing anything”.

As a church, we have to stop telling people what they want to hear, and making them feel warm and fuzzy. Our ministers need to stop preaching about Holy Contentment and start preaching about Holy Discontent. It’s time to start telling people what God wants them to hear and fill them with that Holy Discontent. Bill Hybels, Pastor of Willow Creek Church in the Chicago area describes the term Holy Discontent as “the point where God breaks you to the core of your being and you just know you can’t do anything else”. Our churches need to be broken. Not just the congregation, but the clergy as well. Everyone could use a good jolt of what brought them into the ministry anyway!

A relationship with God is a journey. Just as life takes you down many roads in the course of your years, so should be your relationship with God. That journey should never end, or find you in a comfort spot while here on this earth. Seek out the path God places you on.

Proverbs 3:4

  4 Then you will win favor and a good name
       in the sight of God and man.

 

In Search Of “IT”

A small group of us attended the Willow Creek Leadership Summit last week and had the distinct privilege of being introduced to “It”, a new book by Craig Groeshel. We all left there overhwelmed with what we heard. I picked up the book and had to make myself wait a couple of days before diving into it just because of the amount of information I was still trying to digest from the conference. After I started though I can tell you it was well worth the wait.

I began to see clearly through the first few chapters churches all around me that have “it’ or don’t have “it”. Some of them may have had “it” at one time, but lost “it”.  I know for a fact that our church at least almost had “it” at one time. Then we moved into our new building and we left “it” behind.

There is more to come on “it” and what I believe “it” is and how to get “it” back. All I can tell you is that I will not rest until I find “it” again.

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