The Incredible Journey of Faith
About ten ago I wrote a book on knowing God's will for your life called The Road Best Traveled. In late 2003 the publisher (Crossway Books) asked if I would like to revise and update the book. They proposed to re-release it as two smaller books with any additional material I wanted to add. The first of those two books, Discovering God’s Will For Your Life, came out in September. The second book has just been released. The Incredible Journey of Faith explores what it means to follow God when you don't know exactly where he is leading you. The various chapters challenge us to give up control of those things we never really controlled in the first place. Here are the chapter titles:
1) The Incredible Journey
2) Who's the Boss?
3) The Hardest Prayer You Will Ever Pray
4) Fiery Trials
5) But If Not
6) Show Me Your Glory
7) Overcoming Fear of the Future
The book is short (128 pages) and easy to read. Each chapter ends with discussion questions, making it ideal for personal study, small groups, and Sunday School Classes.
Here is the Introduction to the book:
"This summer my wife Marlene and I spent a month on the road. We were in
Michiganfor a week, then in New York, then back to Oak Parkfor a few days, then out to . Before we left, we asked God to speak to us about things he wanted us to know. I've learned that’s not a prayer to pray lightly. If you truly want God to speak to you, buckle your seat belt because God always speaks to those who are willing to hear. As we journeyed from place to place, we prayed and watched and listened, and we talked together about what we felt God was saying to us. We wrote down pages of insights the Lord was giving us. A lot of it came through things we "happened" to hear, and conversations where little pieces of truth were revealed to us. Sometimes it came as insights that seemed to drop from the sky. And we wrote it all down so we could think about it later. Among the many things God showed us, two stand out. California
The first is the principle of intentionality. By that I mean, living life on purpose, and not just drifting through one day after another. It’s so easy to go through a day, and be very busy, and yet come to the end and say, "What did I do today?" Busyness is no guarantee that you are actually doing anything important. Busyness may be a cover for a lack of purpose in your life. Too many times we sit on the banks of the river while the current of life rushes right by us. And then one day, we wake up and die. God spoke to Marlene and me very clearly about living intentionally, with purpose, not just filling each day with activity, but finding out what really matters, and then going and doing it. Not everything matters equally. Some things we spend lots of time on don’t really matter at all. But it’s easy to let those things clutter up our days. We came back with new resolve to invest our lives in the work of the Kingdom in a new way. We’re still thinking and praying and working that out each day. But just the simple resolve to say (with the Apostle Paul), "This one thing I do," has made a huge difference for us.
As we continued our travels, God spoke to us about his will. Usually we think of God’s will in geographic terms: Should we live in San Diego or Jackson or Baltimore? But the Bible speaks more often in terms of character and spiritual growth. The Lord impressed on us that who we are is more important that where we are. And what we are on the inside is more important than what we do on the outside. After all, if you are the right sort of person on the inside, you are more likely to do what God wants on the outside. The heart matters more to God than geography. If we are the right kind of people, then it doesn’t matter too much where we happen to live. We can be God's people in San Diego or Jackson or Baltimore. And if we're going to live only for ourselves and ignore God, we can do that in San Diego or Jackson or Baltimore. I don't mean to suggest that geography doesn’t matter. It matters greatly, but it's not the determining factor in life.
The life of faith is a journey with God that begins the moment we trust Christ and continues until the moment we die. The title of this book suggests that living by faith is an incredible journey, and that is certainly true. More and more I have come to see that life is all about learning to give up control of those things we never really controlled in the first place. That’s a hard lesson to learn, and most of us have to learn it over and over again, but when we do, the incredible journey begins. As you move through the chapters of this book, you'll discover various aspects of that incredible journey. We'll trace Abraham's journey to the Promised Land and we'll meet a man from Nigeria along the way. Later we'll examine a young man at the crossroads of life and we'll venture to the rutted roads of Haiti. Eventually we'll travel back in time 2500 years to watch the Hebrew heroes who refused to bow down to the statue, and we'll travel with Karen Watson as her faith takes her to a city in northern Iraq. The final chapter takes us into a Persian court where a beautiful young woman named Esther decides to lay it all on the line because of her faith. We end with the challenge to put our hands in the hand of Almighty God who leads us into the unknown future. Here's the final sentence of the book: "To walk with the Lord is the greatest of all joys, and it is indeed safer than a known way." That’s what the life of faith is all about, and it truly is an incredible journey. If that sounds exciting to you, turn the page and let's get started."
The book is brand-new, just released from the publisher. I enjoyed writing it because it was a sort of personal updating of what God been teaching me for the last ten years. One of the things I didn't mention in the Introduction is that I wrote one chapter after the death of my mother several years ago, and what I learned from that event. My editor said it was the best chapter ("Show Me Your Glory") in the book. The revision turned out better than I expected, and I'm glad it's finally in print.
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