You care. You help. Where do they get stuck? What is the process like? What are the typical ups and downs? How do you explain the advances and the regressions? How do we help each other? How does trusting the God you need to trust connect to loving the people you need to love? What is the dynamic by which receiving grace becomes giving grace? How does the inworking hand and voice of the Spirit become expressed in the outworking of tangible fruit of the Spirit?
And how do ministries of words, care, and action actually influence change in someone else? You need real stories too. He embraces the notion that believers are individuals, that details matter, and that there's no one-size-fit-all experience that is sanctification. We need to understand how Scripture illumines and connects to our current situation.
We need practical help to work out the implications and applications for who we are, for where we struggle, for what we face. We need Jesus to be present—the Lord who is my Shepherd, the Lord who watches over my going out and my coming in. Scripture vividly and inductively demonstrates how these truths get traction and get personal. We need to get traction and get personal. We need other people. We need to understand our times.
We need honesty about ourselves. We need fresh object lessons.
We need embodied faith and love. We need many different wisdoms to illumine the different parts of life. In the Gospels, he chooses to say and emphasize certain things, unbalancing the whole truth in order to say the relevant, timely word. When he talks with people, he is astonishingly concrete, direct, specific. He is not comprehensive or abstract. This is because the Gospels capture a series of ministry moments in which Jesus gives people what they need and can handle.
By saying one thing, not everything, he is always challenging, always life rearranging, always nourishing those who are listening. He gives readers a framework for understanding the process of sanctification. The five factors for sanctification are: God changes you, the truth changes you, wise people change you, suffering and struggle change you, and finally you change you. These are super-inter-connected factors.
It is a very quick read. But it is not a waste of time. He packs a lot of rich insight into a short book.
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It is practical. It is biblical. He writes in a concise way to address real questions. I found it to be a very thought-provoking read. Favorite quotes: "God seems to love variety. You and I do not reduce to a category. Our companion is alert, amiable, generous, and strong.
He willingly walks with us. He is looking out for us. We face troubles of many kinds. But he will never leave us or forsake us.
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We know from other Scripture that this Shepherd even laid down his life for his beloved sheep. And we know that we are his sheep because we recognize his voice speaking to us. We know he is taking us to his home. That is one kind of journey. But life can go other ways. What will happen to me? Some ways of living come to be nothing but chaff and can be blown away into nothingness by a puff of wind.
Life is still a journey, and we still head toward a destination; the difficulties and threats along the way are identical. But everything else is different. Here are the premises that orient a popular contemporary version of the antipsalm. But in the long run, like all the antipsalms, this faith betrays its believers.
No one looks out for me or looks after me. Jun 13, Bob Schilling rated it liked it. I loved the first 8 chapters - the last three fizzled out for me. It makes me wonder if even the first eight chapters could've been abridged and the whole thing reduced to a pithy booklet. That being said, the first eight chapters contain some excellent material that I will be incorporating not only into my own life, but into my toolbox of material to use in helping others.
We tend to think that the thing that revolutionizes everything for me, must be "the key" for everyone. But we're too complex and the Word and life is too diverse for there to be one master key solution. Our variety of needs and the varieties of helps necessarily defy "reductionism. In David's words, "Ministry unbalances truth for the sake of relevance; theology rebalances truth for the sake of comprehensiveness. So we make much of a single thing, and then always try to bring it back into alignment with the whole of life and the whole counsel of God.
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But you use your tools one at a time, the right tool for the right job. In this chapter he highlights that this is certainly one of the tools in our toolbox - sometimes this is the very thing we need for progress in sanctification. But it is but one part of a larger whole.
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A greater point to always have in mind is that God is for us: He was, is, still is, and always will be for us. Don't just look to past grace, but also to present grace and future grace, as well as many other useful motivations. David's personal testimonies in chapters 7 and 8 are rich.
He weaves in the interplay of the five agents of change. Very good. Very good, but a bit disappointing to me.