I know this is going to sound like a giant plug where you will assume I am getting some sort of payment or something like that, but I promise you it’s not. Late last year I had the privileged of reading Wonderstruck by Margaret Feinberg and I have been receiving her blog updates ever since. Well, recently she offered a deal to join an online Bible study on the Gospel of John and the book of Genesis called “Pursuing God’s Love” and Pursuing God’s Beauty.” My mom taught me well so as soon as I saw there was a deal, my interest was piqued. Also, since I am an instructional designer and online education is kind of my thing, I was curious to see how this would all work. Since I am in Germany the deal wasn’t as good for me, but I was able to order the book and dvds from Amazon in Germany (it’s in English, my German is not that good yet).
Here is the real purpose of this post. I want you all to join me. You can join me in name only (as in you are doing it on your own and we never talk) or maybe we set up a private Facebook group (invite only) where we discuss the readings and video clips weekly. Whatever the demand is will determine what we do. Let me know in the comments of e-mail if you are interested.
I have provided a link to the post about the study on Margaret’s website and a link for where you can buy them in a bundle, but if you would prefer to get an idea of what’s involved here is a small blurb from her post.
Each week, you’ll be invited to read a handful of chapters from the Bible, watch a session from the accompanying Pursuing God DVD (14-20 min each), interact with five days of homework (approx. 25 per day), listen in each Thursday with an interview on Midday Connection. For my fellow blogging friends, each Thursday you can link up your posts as you share what God’s teaching you through His Word.
For everything you only have to pay $40, so that’s a pretty sweet deal!
Join Margaret, myself and many others throughout the world as we pursue God through his love and beauty (Tweet this).
The first book I read this year was Wonderstruck by Margaret Feinberg. If you have been following this blog at all you have seen several posts about this book because I had an awesome opportunity to preview it before it ever cam out. Well it’s out now and I read it so I wanted to share my overall thoughts with you and then concentrate on one thing that really hit me.
There are two things that I absolutely love about this book are Margaret Feinberg’s writing style and that every chapter offers a different way to live wonderstruck in your life. Margaret Feinberg paints a picture with her words. In the first chapter she describes the Scottish highlands in a way that I felt as if I was there even though I have never been to Scotland. In another chapter she describes alpenglow, an optical phenomenon and makes me long to see it in person some day.
I also loved that each individual chapter could have been a topic of a book in itself, but it wasn’t. Margaret ties several different topics including forgiveness, mourning and others that most people struggle with and she helps you see how to live in wonder through those struggles.
For me the chapter that resonated the most with me was chapter 8 on forgiveness. Before I read the chapter I had planned on writing a blog on forgiveness and another on this book, then after I read the chapter I realized that I needed to write a blog on both at the same time.
Normally I am pretty good at forgiving people, not to toot my own horn, but I tend to let things go pretty quick. I say tend to, because I’m not always quick to forgive. In facet I have been struggling to forgive someone for something for quite some time now. I can hardly think of this person without getting upset. I have returned calls to this person when I knew they wouldn’t be able to answer just so I didn’t have to talk to them. They messed with my head and it’s hard for me to move passed that.
In the book, it talks about Peter’s question to Jesus in Matthew 18:21. “How often should I forgive someone who has sinned against me/ Seven times?” In those times it was common to forgive 3 times, so Peter was being generous with 7 times, just like I think I am generous when I do it once. Jesus blows the lid wide open on forgiveness though when he says you should forgive someone 77 times. That is ridiculous! 77 times, the same person, possibly even the same sin? Jesus couldn’t [possibly have meant that right?
I love what Margaret says. She says, “In essence, Jesus says,’Forgive wholly, and you will find yourself whole; forgive completely, and you will find yourself complete.'”
If you really look at your life and the way you have sin towards God, 77 times for us forgiving someone else would pale in comparison to how many times God has forgiven us. Shoot I am sure there are some times where being forgiven 77 times would barely cover one day. God has fully forgiven us for every sin we have ever committed so who are we to withhold our forgiveness of someone who has sinned against us? Who am I to do this?
I am not going to lie, it will always be a battle for me, but I am starting on this road to forgiveness. I have been wholly forgiven and now I need to wholly forgive.
Who do you need to forgive today?
“The Creator desires to captivate us not just with his handiwork but with himself–displaying facets of his character, igniting us with his fiery love, awakening us to the intensity of his holiness.”
– Margaret Feinberg in Wonderstruck
We probably all know the illustration used in Revelations to describe some Christians as lukewarm. It says, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” I have struggled with self-evaluation when it comes to whether I am hot, cold or lukewarm. I know which one I would want to be, which one God would want me to be, but still I struggle with which one I am.
I have been blessed to be able to read a preview of Margaret Feinberg’s book “Wonderstruck” that is available for pre-order now and comes out next week (check my own wonderstruck moment blog and my Q & A with Margaret Feinberg blog for more detail.)
When reading the preview of Margaret Feinberg’s book “Wonderstruck,” I came across the quote above and focused in on that “Igniting us with his fiery love.” phrase. What came to mind was an actual campfire. As a kid my family went camping a lot and I was in boy scouts so building campfires was a somewhat normal and common experience. In fact, I love building fires for a multitude of reasons and the analogy for experiencing the wonder of God seemed to work pretty well.
Cold – When we are living a life that is cold I imagine a dry piece of wood. It does nothing, it cannot help you roast s’mores by itself. It cannot create warmth and it cannot provide the ambiance that drives so many pleasant experiences like a fire can often do. All it can do it sit there and look like a piece of wood. What lies inside that dry piece of wood though is potential. A potential to become something greater than itself, a potential to become a campfire. Just like that piece of wood, people who have no connection with God, those who have not been ignited by God’s love they are better off then the lukewarm because of that potential.
Lukewarm – A lukewarm human reminds me of a soggy piece of wood. At first glance it looks like it could be the catalyst for something great, but in reality it will be discarded because it is portraying something that it is not. Lukewarm people are similar, they want you to think that they are doing what they are supposed to do for God, but they are soaked to the bone with things that make it hard to ignite them.
Hot – This is a piece of wood that is on fire. It is exactly what you need and is using it’s potential to give off something much greater than itself. Something that it cannot do on it’s own, it gives you warmth, comfort and s’mores (with a little more help of course)!
Wonderstruck seems like it was crafted specifically for those lukewarm Christians, the ones who, like Margaret, were experience a fading of a sens of the splendor of God and needed a “fresh encounter with God to awaken me from my sleep, to disturb me from my slumber,”
Margaret is very open in the opening chapter of her book when she says, “Worship was meh. Conversations felt flat.” If this is you, as it is me at times, then let me leave you with Margaret’s own words and encourage you to buy the book and soak it in like I will be doing next week! Let’s all be filled with the wonder of God and start living Wonderstruck!
“Look for him in your workdays and weekends, in your meeting-filled Mondays and your lazySaturdays. Search for him in the snowy sunsets and Sabbaths, seasons of Lent and sitting at your table. Pray for—and expect—wonder. For when you search for God, you will discover him.”