Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Book Report #1

This paper is on the first book I read for the year here at CDH. We have about 20-25 books to pick from and we have to read 10 of them and right reports on them. This is the first. Let me know what you think:

Diana Wolfe
Book: Simply Christian
By: N.T. Wright
September 1, 2009

Book Review Questions:
1. Please give a brief summary of the book and its central ideas or themes:
The major theme of this book was to find out who the “echo” of this world is, whose voice this echo was coming from and how to obtain justice, spirituality, human relationship, and beauty. This echo is supposed to help us in that process, but we must figure out who this echo/voice is. The voice is Jesus/God, creator of the universe, giver of all things, redeemer of all people who come to Him. Throughout the book Wright talks about who God really is, who His people are – not just Israel, but Jews and Gentiles, how His kingdom is at hand, the rescue and renewal of Christ, how to live by the Spirit, and then His word, prayer, worship, and belonging. Throughout his entire book, Wright keeps coming back to the echoes of Jesus/God – justice, spirituality, relationship, and beauty. How we must become agents of God’s new world that He has called us to – “being workers for justice, explorers of spirituality, makers and menders of relationships, and creators of beauty” (p.189). Wright makes the point to show what interlocks heaven and earth in many chapters. In the Old Testament they had the temple, Ark of the Covenant, Mt. Zion, and prophets that gave them the ability to be in God’s presence, hear His voice, receive direction, and pray. With the New Testament, Jesus became what now interlocks heaven and earth, through His death and resurrection. Even now though, we – the church – are the “temple”, we have “died” and have been resurrected with Christ and have new life (p. 114-115). We don’t need to go anywhere or use anything to have our Father in Heaven hear us or accept our prayers. The Holy Spirit is a part of this interlocking of heaven and earth as well. The Spirit even intercedes for us to the Father as He walks with us daily (Romans 8:27). In the end, God is ultimately “the one who satisfies the passion for justice, the longing for spirituality, the hunger for relationship, and the yearning for beauty” (p.138). With this book, Wright gives not only the Christian simple steps to live out this new life with Christ, and what this new life entails, but also gives insight and background for non-believers to understand what and who Christ really is – creator of the universe, giver of all things, and redeemer of all people who come to Him.

2. What was the most meaningful idea or theme in the book to and why?
The most meaningful idea to me is how God is ultimately “the one who satisfies the passion for justice, the longing for spirituality, the hunger for relationship, and the yearning for beauty” (p. 138).
I believe I long for these things and have truly never been able to find them accept in Christ or through a Christ centered situation. I have it to be completely true through my own experiences.

3. Were there any parts of the book you disagreed with or had issues with? If so why?
In the middle of the book Wright talks about the church and its role in the new creation that Christ has for us. As he talked about the church it became more as a building/structure, rather than the person or the body together as a whole. Towards the end of the book though, he talks about the word and how people perceive it as literal and metaphorically, and how Paul metaphorically speaks of the church as an actual body, each person having a specific role and part to play. He just seemed to be trying to please both sides of the argument on whom or what the church is.
Something I actually disagreed with was when Wright talked about how the reading of scripture aloud together in a service is the primary/central act of worship (p.150-151). I believe reading the word is a part of worship, but it doesn’t stop there. Reading the word and applying it to life is an act of worship, but ultimately worship is how we live our life, whether for the Lord or not. Humbling yourself before the Lord and sacrificing everything and giving Him the glory through it all is the primary/central act of worship.

4. Describe some ways the ideas in this book could influence your life:
This book really challenged me to check myself in how I look at God and the new life He has placed inside of me, as well as where we will spend that new life together with Him. I still struggle with the idea of eternal life and allow satan to use that fear to discourage me in my faith. This book was able to remind me of what resurrection really means, the love that Christ had in coming to this earth to serve and not judge, and that God is the ultimate provider in justice, spirituality, relationships, and beauty. Another way it has influenced my life is how I don’t have to define myself in anything else but Him and the love He has freely given me. This book was definitely a challenge, but one that I am glad I went through.

Matthew 7:11

I have realized how much obedience is important in the Christian walk. Not just so we can be right with the Lord, but so that we can learn what God would really have us do and walk it out in everything we do. I had to completely trust that the Lord was going to provide the money needed for the next payment for CDH. It was a huge stretch for me to literally wait until the last minute to find out that the Lord had brought the money in and I was able to make the payment on time. As I was going through that week of waiting and trusting on the Lord I came across the passage in Matthew 7, where Jesus is talking about how if we ask we will receive, if we seek we will find, and if we knock the door will be open to us. Then in verse 11 it talks about how we, who are evil, know how to give good gifts, so think how great the gifts our Father in heaven can give. It absolutely blew my mind away. He is so faithful and knows when to give, when to let us wait, and when to not give at all. He knows that we could try on our own to find the money or whatever needed, but to trust and obey Him in letting Him do His work makes the outcome so much better! God you have taught me that through obedience comes blessing and wisdom, and through ignorance and disobedience comes absolutely nothing but loneliness.

Thank you for you continual encouragement through your word and through your people. May you bless who ever you had send money, I ask that you would let them know through you love how thankful I am! Blessed be your Name, my Rock and my Redeemer!

Matthew 7:9-11
7"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
9"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Monday, August 24, 2009

For I will Yet Praise Him

This last week has not been real encouraging in the worlds view of encouraging, but in God's body! Even though there is still no job, my computer crashing and erasing everything, forgetting to role my windows up in my car (twice) while its raining, and dropping almost everything I pick up - I have found some joy. Those things are: the community I have the blessing to partake in this year, the beautiful children that I am surrounded by, the Love that my home brings to me all the way from A-ville, and the complete everlasting hope that my heavenly Father pours out upon me!

It was so easy just to focus on the bad even when knowing and saying that the Lord will provide. It's believing that HE WILL PROVIDE! It's not just words, its deep actual belief that my creator will not let me become defeated, but will provide in time, in His timing. I've told people that before and am now in that situation. I want to believe and want to trust that He will provide. I want the words that come out of my mouth to be more than just words; I want myself to believe that they are complete truth!


Psalm 42:11
Why are you downcast, O my soul
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009


It has been 5 days since move in, and things are going great. The transition was not bad at all. Of course there was a little stress with all the meetings and information, but over all it went really well. I have to say that I am very glad to have met the entire house before moving in or it would have been really awkward. We have had our moments, but it's been fairly easy getting comfortable! Aubree and Micah are great (house parents) and have been really helpful in making us all feel at home! Liza, their daughter is so sweet and so much fun. The whole house is very welcoming and a great place to be and I am very thankful!

We had our first meetings with our leaders over our internships. I am working with Brittney Becker and know her already pretty well, so I was more then excited to hear that I would be working with her. I am interning with Broad River Community Church (BRCC) in organizing the weekly email, updating the email lists, making announcements about upcoming events, planning certain events, typing out the Sunday worship slides, communicating with all the team leaders, coming up with volunteer and outreach opportunities, and scheduling greeters. I am very excited! My first church wide email will be sent out tomorrow...pretty nerve wrecking actually.

My first "event" that I am over is the Volunteer Fair that is on the 30th. I have to make announcements for that, contact all the team leaders of the different ministries and make sure I have all of their info that I need, order food for that night, set up, etc. It's pretty crazy, but I am really enjoying it. I love this type of thing, and when I actually get to make it my own really excites me! Even so I have to remind myself that BRCC is not like any other church out there, they are their own body and they like it that way. It's really cool to see how much they put in making a strong community together and really strive to have strong relationships with one another the way God intended it in the first place. It will definitely be a blessing to be a part of that this year.

This week time will be taken up by internship things that need done like making flyers, sign up sheets, sending out the email, contacting team leaders, and then job hunting. No interviews yet, but I am still trusting that the Lord has it under control and that it will come!

I hope all who are reading this are being blessed by the Lord and that they will be encouraged to know that God is doing a work not only here but everywhere. He loves you and wants you to know that He is standing right by you! Be Blessed!

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Journey Beginning

"The Journey of a thousand miles begins with one step"

This quote is on a ring of mine that I found at JCPenny of all places. It was so appropriate for whats about to happen in the next stage of my life. Moving to another place, living with 8 (well 12) new people, being in serious discipleship, working, building community, serving, searching what the Lord has for my life is HUGE! It's not only taking a leap leap of faith, but taking my WAY out of my comfort zone. Lord be with me... (laughs). God has a plan, I just know it. He will use this time to pluck things out that need to be plucked, grow in me things that need growth, and reveal things to me that need revealing. God has a plan, I just know it!

So here I go, on that journey, taking that first step!

Eph. 3:14-21

Monday, August 10, 2009

Peace beyond and above the Circumstances

In church yesterday my Pastor spoke on Hannah and just what an amazing woman she was. How she was not able to have children and the persecution that came with that from Elkanna's other wife. How she would go every year to the temple and ask the Lord for a son and that she would give him right back to Him to serve in the temple! My pastor brought up the thought on how Hannah knew that the Lord was going to use her son in mighty ways and wanted to fulfill that call by having the son that she truly longed for, even so it needed to be in Gods timing (1 Samuel 1). God's timing is so perfect, but it usually is never on our time! When we ask for healing, direction, peace, help, ect. His timing and His plan to answer that is to ultimately glorify Him no matter what. I had the realization that God has to know that our hearts must be right with Him so that when that prayer is answered that we give God the glory and gratitude He deserves! It's all because of Him that we are even here, so why not give Him the glory for all that we do? What keeps us from doing that every day, what makes us forget that the God who created this world also created the breath that makes you and I live every day? When do we show gratitude for just living to God?

In having this realization there has been such peace. Knowing that even though there are prayers of mine that have not been answered there is still time for the God of All to do His work, but ultimately it is up to Him and He must receive all the praise! And believe it or not, there is peace with that! Peace in the fact that He will provide, He will heal, He will give direction if my heart is in the right place, seeking after Him, and being obedient to what His word tells me to do! It is peace beyond and above the circumstances in life! God has it under control and He wants you to know that!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

7 Days till Move in!!

Today begins the count down of moving into CDH!! Everyone is really excited to just get started and see what's going to happen in this year of discipleship and community! I can't wait to get started and to be in such an amazing community! My prayer is that the Lord would do as He pleases and use us to do His work. That He would reveal to us what true community is and allow us to find our true purpose in the body of Christ! He has been so good in providing so far and I trust that He will do so each month. I'm still praying for a job, but I know that He will provide! Thank you Jesus for this opportunity and I want to be overtaken by You and Your Spirit! Move this year and in the years to come Lord. Show Your heart to us and allow us to act on what you call us to do!