This book provides an inspiring, positive approach to what some call the negative truths of Scripture and presents a timeless but contemporary look at faith's real attributes of sacrifice, selfless love, and discipleship at a time when society, and even the Christian community, is focused on blessing and comfort.
"This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith."--John the Apostle
Isn't it startling how God reveals himself most profoundly in places we least expect to encounter him? He is intent on showing himself Lord in all our circumstances--in the highs and the lows alike. The faith he calls us to is far more than a glowing positivism that shields us from life's struggles. It is one that guides us into a deepening intimacy with the God who sustains us in the broad sweep of life.
Best-selling author Gary Thomas helps us sharpen our spiritual vision and fortify our commitment by examining ten disciplines God uses to forge a fire-tested faith. A biblical view of these disciplines can safeguard us from disillusionment when--not if--difficulties surface in our lives. How we respond will determine the depth and vitality of our walk with God.
Sharing scriptural insights, the wisdom of Christians through the centuries, and cogent personal observations, Thomas explores the disciplines of:
* Selflessness * Waiting * Suffering * Persecution * Social Mercy * Forgiveness * Mourning * Contentment * Sacrifice * Hope and Fear
Drawing liberally from his storehouse of colorful and engaging stories, Thomas brings his topics to life. Find out how a message scrawled on a baseball made a big-league difference to a discouraged young pitcher. Learn how a nineteen-year-old Catholic acolyte, marked by the tragedies of war, grew up to usher in the collapse of Communism in Poland. Read the touching account of feud, reconciliation, and friendship between two of America's founding fathers.
As Gary Thomas reminds us, Jesus said that in this world we will have trouble. Paul exhorted believers to mourn with those who mourn. James wrote that God chooses the poor of this world to be rich in faith. Clearly, faith is about something other than a smooth ride through this fallen world. Rather, authentic faith is shaped, tempered, and purified in the flames of struggle.
In a culture sated with blessings and comfort, Authentic Faith reveals the rich benefits that derive from embracing the harder truths of Scripture. This eye-opening look at what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus will encourage you, bolster your faith, and help you rise above shallow attachments to fix your heart on things of eternal worth.
Many Christian books address spiritual growth, but few have as much potential for impact as this book by Thomas (Sacred Marriage and Sacred Pathways), a veteran writer and speaker in evangelical Christian circles as well as a teacher of spiritual formation at Western Seminary. Thomas is able to communicate many deep insights from the heritage of classical Christian faith in a cultural and spiritual idiom that will resonate well with evangelicals. Rather than discussing the traditional spiritual disciplines (e.g., fasting, prayer or Bible study), Thomas focuses on the spiritual disciplines that are initiated by God rather than by believers: selflessness, waiting, endurance, persecution, social mercy, forgiveness, mourning, contentment, sacrifice, and rewards and punishments. Each chapter explores a discipline with memorable illustrations, Scriptural foundations, insights from classical Christian writers and references to current life situations and struggles. Thomas's discussion of mourning as a spiritual discipline is particularly insightful: "Mourning invites us to a deeper life," he explains. "It takes us beyond the surface to give us a glimpse of the world as God sees it." Despite the difficult nature of many of the topics, the book offers an overarching sense of a deep joy and meaning that can be obtained by seeking God through life's darkest times. Thomas provides an unusually compassionate discussion of many painful circumstances, offering a fresh perspective of wisdom and hope.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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January 31, 2002
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