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Thursday, September 26, 2013

"Enough Already" (Emily Lawyer)

TITLE: Enough Already
AUTHOR: Emily Lawyer
PUBLISHER: Exponential Resources, 2013.

[Free ebook available here.]

In order to make disciples, one needs to learn what it means to be a disciple. In our achievement oriented world, we have a tendency to want things done as fast and as efficient as possible. Sometimes, when we buy a new household device, we rush to use the item without really reading the instruction manuals. Some manufacturers have understood this mentality well by inserting a "READ ME FIRST!" leaflet with minimal instructions, often with pictures to help people read and pay attention to important steps to take prior to using the item. For disciples of Christ, it is tempting to want to jump in quickly to do something about discipleship. In doing so, we may miss out the essence of what discipleship actually means. Essentially, it takes a disciple to make disciples. One of the best and most potent resources in our hands is the Bible. We have our Bibles, available in both print as well as electronic editions. We have a lot of different Bible translations, many of which are designed to help readers of all ages and all contexts to read and to understand. The key challenge in a busy environment is whether we are reading it well in the first place.

This short ebook resource is written by an author whose crisis of faith a few years ago becomes a springboard from which she gets rejuvenated with Bible reading. At that time, she was a staff member at a Church of people whose hearts seemed to be "partially full" with the gospel. She learns that serving actively does not necessarily means that disciples are growing passionately. Many are simply content with being told they are saved. Some think that giving more in service means they are growing well as disciples. Lawyer's path toward a more contemplative start to discipleship begins with Brother Lawrence's Practicing the Presence of God. Do quiet time together. Learn to read Scripture with a focused internalization. This book is a summary of her attempt to help us do discipleship through the cultivation of a quiet and contemplative heart on Scripture.

The first part of the book explains the reasons for a quiet environment and a focused heart. In one word, it is "Relationship." The author learns first-hand how difficult it is to practice silence in a world of frantic activities. Indeed, how addicted modern people are to activity and hyperactivity. For Lawyer, it takes physical ailments to force her to slow down and start her path of recovery from activity-addiction. It draws her toward the Bible. It reminds her that it is one thing to learn the Bible from other people. It is much more powerful to be directly taught by God through the Bible. We cannot simply read the Bible as if it is something we can use to get things done according to our own time and agenda. Reading the Bible for what it is requires us to adopt a humble heart to let God speak or not speak according to His time. One gem in this section is this:

"Change is the byproduct, not the goal. Relationship is the goal."

We do not read the Bible simply in search of something to do, or some activity to plan for. We read the Bible in pursuit of the knowledge of a Person. It is one thing to read the Word of God. It is yet another to know the God of the Word.

The second part of the book is written for people who currently has a vocational ministry desiring to practice the presence of God in their daily work or activities. In three steps, Lawyer shares with us what is needed to cultivate a posture of independence from activities toward dependence on God. 
  1. Pray asking God to guide our reading and what we need to hear;
  2. Select the Scripture
  3. Read silently the Scripture, asking ourselves what it tells us about God.
The goal is to help us appreciate the Person of God. This activity can also be done in a group environment. Lawyer recommends an optimum number from 5-8, who are committed to meeting regularly. Such Bible sessions are to be limited to not more than an hour each time. 

I find the title of the book rather curious. What exactly is the author expressing enough of? I suppose the author is fed up with any more addictions to activities and busyness that seem to go nowhere. Enough of tasks. Enough of projects. Enough of noisy activities that will never satisfy. Instead, embark upon the path of relationship building. For discipleship is about patterning one another's relationships to God's image. When that happens, we will say "enough!" to the world of activities, and cry out "More!" to the Word of God and the Person of Christ.


This book is provided to me free by Exponential.org resources without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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