About This Blog

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

"The Way to Brave" (Andy McQuitty)

TITLE: The Way to Brave: Shaping a David Faith for a Goliath World
AUTHOR: Andy McQuitty
PUBLISHER: Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2018, (224 pages).

It is no secret that Christians nowadays live in a hostile world. As society becomes more secular and religions being seen as nothing more than simply motivation for good works, it is harder for Christians to live in this pluralistic culture. If we are content to just get-along with anything and everything in our culture, we would be left alone. What if we decide to stand up for our historical faith, the biblical principles and truth of Jesus? It would be an uphill task, given the way atheism and secularism had taken hold of all parts of society. Public schools forbid any talk about religion. Businesses generally discourage any discussions about faith matters. Any hint of religion in the public square would trigger push-backs from skeptics and secularists everywhere. The example of Russ Vought being ridiculed before the US Senate Committee for his Christian position is a case in point. On the other hand, violent programming and the sexually charged entertainment options continue to go unabated. Will Christians have courage to stand up against the tide of hostility? What can believers do in the midst of many obstacles that seemed so insurmountable? What does it take to shape a "David faith for today's Goliath World?" That is the crux of the book, which begins with a paraphrase of the biblical story of David vs Goliath in 1 Sam 17. The author writes this book hoping to encourage Christians not only to be courageous in a big way, but to do it in the right way and for the right reason. Courage don't just happen. They are strengthened with challenges. They go through a period of preparation. They stem from the conviction that God is love and God's love overcomes all.

The five ways to prepare such a "David Faith" will make 'davids' out of ordinary believers. Put it another way, it is a 5-step way to brave. First off, we need to understand the world we live. We need a calling. We cannot simply will ourselves into wanting to be davids. Each of us needs to discern what is God's specific calling for us. McQuitty says that we are to build gardens that invite people in, not walls to keep people out. For knowing what the world is like will convict us that we need to ask God for help, for strength, and for wisdom. This world is more broken than many of us may think. From playing cellos in the haunting war zones of Sarajevo to placing tables amid shooting tragedies in America, the call to be Christlike is also a call to be a blessing to others in the midst of conflicts, in what the author calls as being a "cellist of Sarajevo." We learn about changing our perspectives from fighting cultures to engaging cultures. We fight not against flesh and blood but against spiritual powers; not with weapons of violence but weapons of peace. Recognize our calling to be "both garden-planters and spiritual warriors."

Second, like how God anoints young David through the prophet Samuel, we know that the way to such confidence and conviction is through God, via the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit anoints us and convicts us on what we ought to be doing. McQuitty leads us through a fundamental understanding of the Holy Trinity and the Holy Spirit, especially in a world where many believers do not emphasize the Spirit as much. Believers learn to "catch the wind" as they are reminded of the impossibility of living the Christian life on their own strength. Plus, what is impossible with humans is absolutely possible with God! We learn about the three fundamental disciplines of Word, Prayer, and Community. The third way is probably the toughest step of all: When God breaks us.  Just like how David's pride was broken at a very young age, when he was bypassed by his brothers in the initial selection process, we too must learn to deal with pride in an increasingly individualistic society. For if we are not careful, pride could squeeze God out. When that happens, we squeeze out the very Person we need in our lives, as we prided ourselves in our own abilities and achievements. Not only will we harm ourselves, we discharge ourselves from the army of God. Learning to be grateful for times of trouble is a strange thing. Yet, it is a way to make us "beautifully broken." Fourth, the test of our spiritual strength comes when we face adversities, or our Goliaths. There is no point to train without having a test to verify what we have learned. Like running the Olympics. If there is no competition, why train? We learn courage as we face opponents bigger than us. We are tested beyond imagination. We also learn more about ourselves. Finally, we see how God transforms us. Very often, we learn most when we reflect upon something we had done in the past. This is a lesson too about spirituality. Education is not about what we are going to learn in the future. It is about reflecting our our past and to see our history as a way to educate ourselves to be prepared for future challenges.

My Thoughts
We all need encouragement. For we are increasingly being surrounded by a hostile environment that forces us to keep our faith private and confidential. The way to brave is a needed encouragement for those of us who feel small and meek in a big and brutal antichrist culture. Even if Christians try to stand up for what they believe in, people will often try to brush them aside. They might put their own denunciation of our faith, as more important than our freedom of religion. They may use the institutional powers and societal norms to push us into a corner. They might even persecute or prosecute us for making our stand. If we are not trained, we will succumb to the pressures. If we are afraid, we might choose to stay silent or non-committal about anything regarding faith. Worse, we might in our actions deny Christ. Thankfully, McQuitty helps us along with a five-step process to finding our courage, and to live without apology and without regret for Jesus.

If you are in need of some hope; if you have recently encountered situations where you find it hard to stand up for your faith; and if you are simply in need of some gentle words of encouragement, pick up this book and find your courage, beginning with God.

Dr Andy McQuitty is senior pastor of Irving Bible Church. In the years he was there, the Church had grown from 300 to 3000 in three worship services.

Rating: 4.25 stars of 5.


This book has been provided courtesy of Moody Publishers and NetGalley without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

No comments:

Post a Comment