Thursday, 27 September 2018 13:34

Books to Read

Written by  David Steele
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When I Am Afraid

Edward T. Welch

 

When I Am Afraid by Edward T. Welch is a short book.  It is also a very powerful book.  The author sets forth his intended goals at the beginning of the book.

 

 

• You want to hone your spiritual instincts so that you turn to  Christ when anxious thoughts arise.

• You want to know what Jesus says because when you turn to him in this way his words go deep.

• You want to be less fearful and anxious and more content and hopeful.

• You want to be more confident that God’s communication to you in the Bible speaks meaningfully to all the struggles of life.

 

 

Welch tackles fear and anxiety at the outset.  He admits, “to be human is to be afraid.”  Therefore, the responsibility of the reader is to recognize and isolate fear and anxiety.  He affirms, “So sometimes you will see that your fears mean you are trusting yourself rather than the Lord.  But you will always find that fear and worry are opportunities to hear God, to either turn toward him or to keep facing him and grow in trusting him.”

 

Welch goes to the core of the matter in chapter six with a good discussion regarding the promises of God: “God is not passive in his nearness.  When God says he is present, it means he is doing something on your behalf.  He is giving you manna.  He is keeping promises and giving grace when you need it.  God is never passive, and certainly he is never powerless.”

 

Chapter seven makes an appeal to Psalm 46 and leads the reader to the redemptive work of Christ: “With the Cross of Jesus proclaiming that your sins have been paid for, and with his resurrection assuring you that he is now the reigning King, you can trust him for the future and focus on today.”

 

When I Am Afraid is worth reading.  Edward Welch steers readers away from the precipice of selfishness and directs them toward the work of Christ.  He clearly articulates the biblical reality that “love expels fear.”  Built into the book are a series of thought-provoking questions and space for biblical meditation and response.  When I Am Afraid would be best utilized in a small group Bible study or a one on one discipleship.

 

 

 

 

 

The Call

Os Guinness

 

Twenty years ago, Os Guinness penned The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life. Since the release of his timely book, the matter of vocation has been at the center of many lectures and discussions.

Thomas Nelson recently repackaged The Call which is revised, expanded, and included a new preface. Guinness sets forth the thesis early in the book:

 

 

“This book is for all who long to find and fulfill the purpose of their lives. It argues that this purpose can be found only when we discover the specific purpose for which we were created and to which we are called … Nothing short of God’s call can ground and fulfill the truest human desire for purpose.”

 

 

The author develops the theme of calling with great skill and dexterity. He explores calling from a variety of angles and is quick to remind readers that calling is ultimately grounded in God’s purposes for his people. “Calling,” writes Guinness, “is the truth that God calls us to himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion and dynamism lived out as a response to his summons and service.”

 

Guinness dismantles false views of calling and replaces these views with solid and substantial reality: “We are not primarily called to do something or go somewhere; we are called to Someone. We are not called first to special work but to God. The key to answering the call is to be devoted to no one and to nothing above God himself.”

 

The Call is an immensely helpful book. The principles that Guinness shares are timeless. These transcendent realities helped shape cultures and continue to shape the way people live their lives. “Answering the call is the way to find and fulfill the central purpose of your life,” writes Guinness. Anything less is tantamount to idolatry.

 

I commend The Call without reservation and trust that many will be strengthened by this work that is destined to become a classic.

 

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