A few weeks back I wrote about starting a online bible study, called Pursuing God, with Margaret Feinberg. I was going to write last week about the first week of the study, but quite frankly language school was whooping my behind and I just didn’t get to it, so I apologize for that. At the end of week 1 we looked at the story about Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well and something stood out to me that i wanted to share with you all. I am sure most of you are well familiar with this story, but I will sum it up just in case.
- Jesus goes to Samaria (big no-no for Jews)
- Jesus talks to a woman who is getting water during the heat of the day (big no-no for men to talk to women without witnesses and for Jews to talk to Samaritans and oh by the way, getting water at that time was totally not normal)
- Jesus asks for water and the woman asked Him why He would ask her for water (since He was a Jew) and then Jesus totally threw her a curveball and said “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.
- The woman was confused and continued to talk about the water in the well and He said drink the water I offer and you won’t be thirsty again.
- Then she asked for the water and Jesus said get your husband (ouch! That was rough seeing as she had had five husbands and wasn’t currently married to the guy she was shacking up with).
- She changes the topic and then Jesus says He is the messiah, she believes and tells everyone in the village, many become believers.
I have heard this story many times before but something Margaret said in the video stood out to me. She said, “When you are invisible you can only get hurt on your terms, not theirs.”
This Samaritan women came to the well when no one else would normally be there. She wanted to remain invisible. After her first few divorces, people probably steered clear of her. She was no longer the talk of the town, because it was normal for her to get married and then divorced. No one cared…and she liked it that way.
I too, have liked invisibility at times. Times when I know I am not good at something, I shrink to the back. Times when I am embarrassed by my actions, I go and take some “me time.” Times when I can’t imagine that a girl would be interested in me, I create something wrong with her so I don’t have to be seen. Times when I’m afraid of failure, I act like I’m disinterested or don’t have an ideas.
I’m sure you have felt the same way at times, but what does this mean for our lives?
- Could we miss out on some amazing opportunities ?
- Could we get so concerned with remaining invisible that it consumes our lives and we essentially do nothing?
- It’s sad and scary to think so, but yes.
It is easy to get sucked into being invisible. It’s easy to never want to be seen, because as Margaret said, if we aren’t seen then we can’t be hurt by those that see us.
That doesn’t have to be the end of the story though. Once we stop caring about what others think or what may happen and step out in faith just like the Samaritan women did, then we can achieve many glorious things in His name. Look at what she did, she went into town and talked to a whole bunch of people who probably didn’t even look her in the eye on a normal day and she brought them to Jesus.
How can you be visible today?
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.”
Last week I told you about a new book that is coming out by my new friend, Margaret Feinberg, has a new book and 7-session DVD Bible study called Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God (releasing Christmas Day)—a personal invitation for you to toss back the covers, climb out of bed, and drink in the fullness of life. Too often I think we forget to live in wonder of God. We forget to truly see what God has done and is doing and that’s why I am excited that I got a chance to preview this book. To learn more about the book, watch the Wonderstruck Video below.
I recently received the insider’s scoop about Margaret’s new book. Here are some highlights from the interview:
What do you mean by “the wonder of God”?
Sometimes talking or writing about wonder feels like tying kite strings to clouds. It’s ethereal, and you can never quite get a grip on it. But if you look in the dictionary, the two main definitions of wonder are: “being filled with admiration, amazement, or awe” and “to think or speculate curiously.”
Those definitions come together beautifully in our relationship with God. That’s why I define the wonder of God as those moments of spiritual awakening that create a desire to know God more.
In other words, the wonder of God isn’t about an emotional experience or having some cool story to tell your friends, but the wonder of God makes us want more of God—to go deeper and further than we’ve ever been before.
Why are you calling people to #LIVEWONDERSTRUCK?
If you look in the Gospels, what you’ll discover is that those who encountered Jesus were constantly left in wild amazement. They were awestruck by the teachings of Christ, the healings of Christ, the mind-bending miracles of Christ. Within the Gospel of Luke we see words like “awe” and “wonder” and “marvel” at every turn. If this is the natural response to encountering Christ, how much more should it be for you and I—who are invited to live in relationship with Christ as sons and daughters of our God Most High? We even created a free PDF that looks at some of these Scriptures. For a free copy, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you one.
Follow Margaret’s snarky, funny, and inspirational posts on Twitter, Facebook, or her blog. You can learn more about this great book by visiting www.margaretfeinberg.com/wonderstruck where she’s offering some crazy promos right now with up to $300 of free stuff. I’ve seen the book for as low as $7.57 ($14.99 retail) on Barnes & Noble [http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wonder-struck-margaret-feinberg/1110904808?ean=9781617950889] for all you savvy shoppers.
Recently I was given the unique opportunity to preview a book written by my new friend, Margaret Feinberg. Over the next three Tuesdays I will be introducing you to this book. Margaret has a new book and 7-session Bible Study called Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God (releasing Christmas Day)—which is a personal invitation for you to toss back the covers, climb out of bed, and drink in the fullness of life. Wonderstruck will help you:
- Recognize the presence of God in the midst of your routine
- Unearth extraordinary moments on ordinary days
- Develop a renewed passion for God
- Identify what’s holding you back in prayer
- Discover joy in knowing you’re wildly loved
To learn more, watch the Wonderstruck Video, here: https://vimeo.com/53953257
This week I want to share where I have seen the wonder of God in my own life. Next week I will share some questions and answers from the author herself and then the following week I will talk about the preview. Then two weeks later I will have a post on my thoughts from the whole book giving me about a week to read it after it comes out.
So how have I experienced the wonder of God in my own life?
A few years back I was praying and thinking about whether I was supposed to be a missionary with Greater Europe Mission and I spent some time looking back at how I was prepared for a position just like this. I was truly amazed and filled with wonder of how much went into getting me to that point. God showed me that He had been preparing me for this for a long time and I wanted to show you all of the things that amazed me.
Took German after school in Middle School and then 3 years in high school.
I moved to Maryland after college for a job.
Got involved in a young adult Bible study in Maryland.
Almost died twice which allowed me to see God had a plan for me.
Because of health issues I wanted to lose weight and set a goal of 150 lbs lost and to reward myself a trip to Germany with friends.
On the Germany trip I went to a small town called Kandern.
Leading the young adult Bible study led me to search for missions trips where I “randomly” stumbled on a long-term job in that small town that I visited.
Looking at those things, I can’t help but be in awe of an amazing God. His work is wonderful and I have been wonderstruck.
Follow Margaret’s snarky, funny, and inspirational posts on Twitter, Facebook , or her blog. You can learn more about this great book by visiting www.margaretfeinberg.com/wonderstruck where she’s offering some crazy promos right now with up to $300 of free stuff. I’ve seen the book for as low as $7.57 ($14.99 retail) on Barnes & Noble and Amazon.
So where have you seen the wonder of God in your life?