Wednesday, October 21, 2009

BOOK REVIEW - A Praying Life by Paul Miller

I have just finished Paul Millers' new book, "A Praying Life". I am still thinking about all of the areas of my life that He has touched. For me, his chapter on cynicism was worth the price of the book. I began my own study on cynicism and taking a hard close look at my life and my faith. Actually, I could say that for almost every chapter. This book is life-changing.
Rarely have I had a book affect me in so many areas, yet it continually brought me back to the point of the book. Life is prayer. Personal, powerful, life-changing prayer. Paul's theology on prayer is sound and he teaches us how to actually live a life of prayer. Real prayer.
I have always been interested in prayer, (of course, I am a believer, who isn't?) and have read alot of books on the subject, but I have never read as impacting a book as this one. From cover to cover, this book hits home. I cannot recommend it highly enough. If I could, I would buy you one. But I can't. You buy it, and it will be seen as one of the best investments you have ever made.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Playing It Safe

It seems like so many in the church are playing it safe. We had our brother Trevor Johnson, missionary to Papua New Guinea last week and he testified to what God is doing amongst the Korawi tribe. Here is a man who gave himself and his family to be plucked up and planted. He has had malaria five times, their children often have to be de-wormed, several of the children of their co-laborers have been buried in the jungle. He has endured significant danger for the cause of Christ. Our brother, Brig, and his wife have been plucked up and planted in Israel. He is attempting to learn to speak in Hebrew. He has endured the loss of everything material. Our friend Walid endure danger and the potential loss of his freedom, or life, as he ministers to muslims.
I look at our congregation, and others I love, and we play if so safe. We are averse to risk. We huddle around in our homes, once a week making our way to church, determining that we will give only as much as allows us to remain comfortable. We shield our children and keep mostly to ourselves. We would never consider taking anything close to the amount of risk these brothers have taken. Why?
We protect ourselves from hurt, distancing ourselves from those brothers who say things that call us to give more of ourselves to The Cause. We isolate ourselves from those who differ from us in the things which are least central to the cause of Christ. We separate ourselves from those who cause us any discomfort or who may dare to challenge our way of thinking. We judge others who may not be as legalistic in their thinking and are free to serve, love and befriend people who simply wouldn't fit in with "our crowd". Some of us I feel would fit in more in a monastery and others would fit in more in some other type of cloistered community.
We are so uncomfortable with risk that we end up odd looking specimens of 20th century Christianity to the rest of the laborers around the world. We look silly. Christian, you look silly in your comfort.
Where is the risk in our lives that shows our faith? What are we risking? What? Why?