There was a major controversy in the early church ( something I know we are not accustomed to today). Luke documents the controversy in Acts 15. There was one major division between Jew and Gentile.
The Acts 15 controversy centered on whether Gentile Christians should go through the same rituals that the Jewish Christians did. It was an issue of what qualified someone to be welcomed into the community. The Jewish Christians were not recognizing the Gentile Christians membership in the church.
“Then God said to Noah, ‘Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you.'” (Genesis 8:15-16, NRSV)
For forty days and forty nights Noah and his family, along with an ark full of animals, floated. Finally, the rains stopped and the waters receded. And then, God said to Noah, “Go.”
“Go out of the ark.”
They had gone into the ark to seek shelter from the coming storm. They had gone in obedience to the word of God. But once the waters receded, it was time to go out.
They had been inside long enough.
Too often we choose to stay inside the ark. Read “church” or “comfort zone” or “pew.” And it’s comfortable in our arks. It is safe and familiar. We know what to expect inside our ark.
Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God, Mark Batterson, WaterBrook & Multnomah, 2017.
Let’s face it. It’s hard to hear the voice of God.
Especially when we consider the multiple voices, alerts, and notifications we listen to. There are the voices (and tweets) of politicians, gurus, and talk show hosts. They are loud and overbearing. There is the constant 24-hour news cycle. And the notifications that pop up on our smartphones.
Then there are the coworkers, family, and friends who give us advice. There are iTunes, podcasts, and newscast. Then there are demands at work, at home, and at church. The demands on us continue as we pack lunches, help with homework, pay bills and manage money.
Our lives are full.
And we are supposed to hear God?
When God Made You, Matthew Paul Turner, Waterbrook, 2017.
Turner’s book, with bright and engaging illustrations from David Catrow, brilliantly connects being an individual with being loved by God. The book has extra emphasis on God-given gifts and using those gifts.
At times the text of the poem may be too much for a three-year-old. But with a parent’s help, meaning can be found. Children ages three to seven will enjoy this book. This would make a great addition to the resource bag for any Christian educator or Sunday school teacher.
Moses: In the Footsteps of the Reluctant Prophet, Adam Hamilton, Abingdon Press, 2017.
In Moses, Adam Hamilton retraces the footsteps of Moses, whom Hamilton argues is the “single most influential person in the Hebrew Bible.” While he blends historical facts and reflections on visiting sites, Hamilton steadies the course that there is much to learn from this reluctant prophet.
Moses is equal parts history, theology, and commentary. Taking a serious look at Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, the reader is invited to consider what he or she can learn from the Moses narrative. I am careful here because it is not just Moses’ life that offers implications for our own. It is the also the people around him.