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Grace Presbyterian Church

March 8th, 2007

Eat This Book @ 07:12 pm


Eugene Peterson, Eat This Book

Peterson, the translator of The Message, indulges in a bit of autobiography toward the end of this book:

I didn't start out as a pastor. I began my vocational life as a teacher and for several years taught the biblical languages of Hebrew and Greek in a theological seminary. I expected to live the rest of my life as a professor and scholar, teaching, writing, and studying. But then my life took a sudden vocational turn and I became a pastor in a congregation. My workplace shifted from a classroom of saints and sinners to a congregation of saints and sinners.

I found myself in a very different world. The first noticeable difference was that nobody seemed to care much about the Bible, which so recently people had been paying me to teach them. Many of the people with whom I now worked knew virtually nothing about it -- had never read it and weren't interested in learning. Many others had spent years reading it, but for them it had gone flat through familiarity and been reduced to sclerotic cliches. Bored, they dropped it. And there weren't many people in between. Very few of them were interested in what I considered an essential element in my primary work, getting the words of the Bible into their heads and hearts, getting the message lived. They found newspapers, videos, and pulp fiction more to their taste.

Meanwhile, I had take on as my life work the responsibility of getting these very people to listen, really listen, to the message in this book. I knew I had my work cut out for me (165-166).

In Eat This Book, he offers helpful insights and motivation for a congregation like ours, where we desire to grow in discovering the power of the Bible to transform our lives:

... the words of scripture are not primarily words, however impressive, that label or define or prove, but words that mean, that reveal, that shape the soul, that generate saved lives, that form believing and obedient lives (140).

I hope many of us will read this essay (it's pretty short, just 176 pages) and that it can form the basis of some probing conversations for us.

February 15th, 2007

two books on worship @ 11:29 am


Gary Thomas, Sacred Pathways.  An examination of 9 pathways (personality differences as keys to how people connect best with Jesus:  naturalists, sensates, traditionalists, ascetics, activists, caregivers, enthusiasts, contemplatives, and intellectuals) with examination of how each type can use their strength for personal growth, while avoiding their particular dangers.

James H. Ritchie, Always in Rehearsal:  the practice of worship and the presence of children.  Uses Gardner's "seven intelligences" (logical-mathematical, verbal-linguistic, visual-spacial, musical-rhythmic, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal) as a framework for advocating the inclusion of children as part of deliberate generational diversity within worship.

These two books were recently recommended to me (Pathways in October by Donna, Rehearsal in January by Charlene).  Program staff have now read Pathways and are reading  Rehearsal.  We are considering how  this material can help us build our worship program in helpful ways, inclusive not only across generational lines but also across stylistic lines.

What have you found helpful in these books?  What was challenging or aggravating?


Bill Hybels, Just Walk Across the Room. @ 10:47 am


Bill Hybels, Just Walk Across the Room
Readable and practical guide for developing a strong personal practice of evangelism -- inclusive, relational, patient and persistent -- from the surprisingly self-effacing founding pastor of Willow Creek Community Church. About 110 or so people at Grace have now taken this course and read this book.

What have you found helpful in this book?  What has been challenging or aggravating?

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