Thursday, March 21, 2013

Review: Learning to Love by Heidi and Rolland Baker

Learning to Love by Heidi and Rolland Baker is an incredible, life-changing book. As a reviewer, this is the most difficult kind of book to review because I am at a loss for words. I was moved to tears many times while reading this book, and though I know why, describing the reasons seems petty. It may be that in my own experience as a missionary witnessing to and discipling the oppressed, addicted, and abused, the experiences written about are becoming real to me, and that these stories won't have the same value to others. They are precious to me.

 The stories and writing in this book come from truly transformed lives and tell the story of those who have given everything to become like Jesus in love and power for the least of these. Something lies behind the words of this book. Something supernatural that can't quite be handled or described but remains very real to the reader. The testimonies within these pages beat with the heart of Christ, and it's the communication of His heart and love within this book that is so priceless and so powerful.

 Learning to Love is not particularly well-written or well-organized. It reads like a series of missionary updates and newsletters cobbled together with devotional content. It might not reveal truths you haven't heard of before. But it illustrates the truth of the Gospel and the truth of God's heart with grit and an irrepressible hope and reality. Biblical truth comes alive in true stories of sacrifice and the overcoming power of God. Passages of scripture are explained with the sweat, tears, and joy of life in Mozambique among the poorest of the poor. This is demonstration of the Spirit and of power, and demonstration of Christ's words in the lives of real men and women. I highly recommend this book to all. It's what love looks like on the mission field today. This is what Christianity was meant to be.

My thanks to Bethany House publishers for providing a complimentary review copy. I have given an honest review.

795528: Learning to Love: Passion, Compassion, and the Essence of the Gospel Learning to Love: Passion, Compassion, and the Essence of the Gospel
By Heidi & Rolland Baker / Chosen

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

2013 Bible Reading Checkup


We are almost three months in to 2013, and I am overjoyed to realize that this year has been the busiest, happiest, and most Bible saturated time of my life. I've stayed on course with my Bible reading disciplines. I have finished reading through the New Testament once, and I'm in 2 Samuel in the Old Testament (which is a little behind schedule, but that's not a big surprise). In addition to this I am immersed in discipleship and inductive Bible study nearly everyday (see Busy in the Word).

I'm really looking forward to getting back to the epistles, but I have been radically changed by the Gospels this year, especially going through the Gospel of Mark with some practitioners of other religions. Their fresh eyes have loaned me fresh eyes for the compassion and commands of Jesus.

Perhaps the biggest aid to keeping my Bible reading disciplines this year has been realizing that the Word is energizing. It gives me strength spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Building yourself up in the Word of God affects every part of your being, and strengthens and energizes you. When you really believe this, you want and need to open the Bible every morning and you walk away from the Bible with a spring in your step. Hopefully I can unpack this thought further in a future post.

Let me know how your Bible reading plan and disciplines are doing this year and what's helping you keep up. Comment below.