Saturday, October 13, 2012

Where did this all come from, anyway?

If you are one of the 3 people reading the posts from the past few days, you may wonder where I am going with all of this.  So, I wanted to pause over this weekend and give you a bit of a "heads up" as to why I am suddenly sharing this "book" that consumed my brain earlier this year.

The easiest way to do that is to give you a list of books that I have read and how they spoke to me.  I encourage you to read them, as well.  They are rich, scripture-filled, and very timely for this generation in which we now live.

The first is this one:

If you follow many blogs or Facebook stats, you may have noticed the oft-mentioned Emergent Church and wondered what the heck that was...or you may be part of that movement yourself.  Following is an excerpt from the book description:  
"“You can be young, passionate about Jesus Christ, surrounded by diversity, engaged in a postmodern world, reared in evangelicalism and not be an emergent Christian. In fact, I want to argue that it would be better if you weren’t.”
The Emergent Church is a strong voice in today’s Christian community. And they’re talking about good things: caring for the poor, peace for all men, loving Jesus. They’re doing church a new way, not content to fit the mold. Again, all good. But there’s more to the movement than that. Much more.
Kevin and Ted are two guys who, demographically, should be all over this movement. But they’re not. And Why We’re Not Emergent gives you the solid reasons why. From both a theological and an on-the-street perspective, Kevin and Ted diagnose the emerging church. They pull apart interviews, articles, books, and blogs, helping you see for yourself what it’s all about."

It is definitely food for thought.

The next book that has influenced me in the past year is this one:

I cannot say enough about this wonderful book.  Leslie encourages young women to put first things first and choose to be set apart, different than the worldly ideal of what womanhood should be.  In my opinion, this should be required reading for every woman.  I read this at 40 and it blessed me to my core.  I only wish I could have read this book when I was 16.  It is life changing and freeing.

Next on my list is:

This is the book description from  
The hole in our holiness is that we don't seem to care much about holiness. Or, at the very least, we don't understand it. And we all have our reasons too: Maybe the pursuit of holiness seems legalistic. Maybe it feels like one more thing to worry about in your already overwhelming life. Maybe the emphasis on effort in the Christian life appears unspiritual. Or maybe you've been trying really hard to be holy and it's just not working! Whatever the case, the problem is clear: too few Christians look like Christ and too many don’t seem all that concerned about it.

This is a book for those of us who are ready to take holiness seriously, ready to be more like Jesus, ready to live in light of the grace that produces godliness. This is a book about God's power to help us grow in personal holiness and to enjoy the process of transformation.

This book is so good, so wonderful at redirecting our focus on exactly WHO we live and "work" for...because no matter what good works we do, they are wasted if Jesus is not smack dab in the center of our daily lives.  Our good works should flow out of a heart centered on and obedient to Him in public AND in private.

The last book I will list here is this one:

I bought this book on a whim.  I had no idea what treasures it would hold, how it would challenge me to my core with it's very simplicity, and how it would change my life.  My forays onto the front porch are a direct result of the precepts this book has taught me.  I am a better wife and mother because of this book.  Why?  Because this book challenged me to go deeper into the Word of God than ever before.  It showed me, step by step, how to do it and walked me through hundreds of verses to convince me that daily, in-depth time with God must be priority #1 each and every day or I will fail at this task He has given me.  I cannot raise up godly children, effectively homeschool, or be the wife my husband needs me to be if I am not bathing my mind with Scripture every single day.  I now open my Bible with excitement because I am finally glimpsing the treasures it holds, I am finally understanding passages I had only skimmed over before because they were confusing or difficult.  I am learning to read slowly, deliberately, and keep a record of what the Lord is teaching me as a heritage for my children.  

A few more books have also been influential in my life this year and this is a quick listing of them:

The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer
Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp (I have read this three times!)
Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst

And I must mention what I hope is the obvious...The Holy Bible.  I have read more of it this year than in any year I have ever lived.  1 & 2 Peter, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Romans, James, The Gospels, Psalms, Proverbs, Genesis, Isaiah, and Hebrews.  All of this has revealed a common thread, a common call of God upon our lives.  We, my precious sisters, are called to holiness.

Don't be afraid of this.  Embrace it.  The boundaries it creates actually set us free.  It is beautiful and it is fulfilling in a way that worldly pursuits and works-based-salvation will never be.  Living for God fully, serving Him out of relationship instead of trying to follow man-made rules, naturally results in us being the hands and feet of Jesus.  We love because He first loved US!  He has set us free to serve, but serving will not make Him love us one iota more than He already does.  We can only love and serve effectively where He calls us to serve (which can look very different from one Christian life to another) and out of a pure and clean heart, a heart that has been washed by the blood of the Lamb!  We are the body of Christ.  Each of us has a job tailor made for us by our Creator and we only need to be willing to say "yes" to whatever He calls us to do... 

and it may not be what our Christian friends and neighbors are doing.  

I hope you keep reading.


Let's keep the conversation going...