Beach Retreat Reading Synopsis

By May 13, 2011 culture, faith No Comments

My time at Beach Retreat 2011 is winding down. [sigh]

A week of rest, reading, and fellowship has filled my heart full. The Scripture I’ve pondered, the books I’ve read, the conversations I’ve had—all these will likely toss about in me for weeks to come so that the end result would be something permanent, lasting, meaningful.

All week I saw interesting parallels in the very different books I read. I would not have guessed it! But God has drawn these lines and I am amazed.

Michael Card taught me that true friends define each other, just as Jesus and Peter defined each other (see Matthew 16:15–17). As I acknowledge who Jesus is in all His beauty and splendor, He will define me and make me who I am to be.1

In this defining process, the reality that God is all and my life is hidden in Him will grow. Andrew Murray taught me that this is true humility, “the place of entire dependence upon God” and “yielding to God His place.”2

In humility, I can be honest about who God is and who I am—a mixed bag of emotions, thoughts, and deeds that are in constant need of grace from God and others. TrueFaced calls me to live in the Grace Room where I depend wholly on God and therefore can live an authentic life in fellowship with others.3

Fellowship with other believers is more than church attendance, however. Tim Chester tells me in his A Meal with Jesus that true community is spending time in the daily patterns of life, especially around the dining table.4 As we nourish our bodies, we nourish each other—more so when we come with humble hearts, presenting our true selves. There, around the table, we define each other.

Living authentically among others allows God to use others to mature and refine me (more humility needed for that one). In maturity—humble dependence upon God—I walk out the calling He has designed me for. And that calling is summarized in David Platt’s Radical: “The challenge for us is to live in such a way that we are radically dependent on and desperate for the power that only God can provide.”5 Therein I am a vessel God can use for His glory, as the Gospel has full play in my life, over my sin, through my quirks and oddities (TrueFaced, again).

Interesting how all these very different books meld together, huh?

1. Michael Card, A Fragile Stone: The Emotional Life of Simon Peter (Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press 2003).

2. Andrew Murray, Humility (Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2001).

3. Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and John Lynch, TrueFaced (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress 2004).

4. Tim Chester, A Meal with Jesus (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011).

5. David Platt, Radical (Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Books).

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