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Posts Tagged ‘eldredge’

Epic

John Eldredge’s books have become wildly popular among Christians. The Sacred Romance and Wild at Heart have sold millions of copies and have firmly established Eldredge as one of the most-read Christian authors. Wild at Heart has been studied in men’s groups across the world, giving Eldredge a wide reach and his teachings great acceptance. In his book about the greatest story ever told – Epic he changes his emphasis and focuses on the great story – our common story.

Epic tells us that life is a story which unfolds like a grand drama. It seems that humans have an obsession with stories. From the time we are tiny children we love to hear stories about heroes and villains, good guys and bad. The reason we love story so much, Eldredge writes, is that there is something in the human heart that tells us there is an epic story going around us, where God is the central character, but where we also play an important role. We love stories about the conquering hero who arrives at the last possible moment to save his lover, because that is exactly what Jesus has done for us.  Which story we choose to focus on is a bit like looking at a landscape – do we focus on the detail of the ground or do we lift our eyes to the sky to watch the drama unfold.

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The book, then, revolves around stories. The author supports his claims with example after example from popular movies. A few of the movies he references are Apollo 13, Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, Saving Private Ryan, Pinocchio, Finding Nemo, Titanic, Braveheart, Gladiator (no surprise if you have read Wild at Heart) and Star Wars. He relies heavily on quotes from other writers such as G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, Phillip Yancey, Gerald May, Soren Kierkegaard, George MacDonald and William Shakespeare. The book also contains plenty of Bible verses.

The true story of every person in this world is not the story you see, the external story. The true story of each person is the journey of his or her heart. – John Eldredge

Eldredge reminds us that there are two stories we are always living  – the small story and the epic story.  Both are lived at the same time, in the same place, however they have wildly different endings.  Our task is to remember that the great and epic story is the one God invites us to.  He invites us to belive that every moment, every action, every thought and word matters, and that everything is spiritual – because it is all about the epic story that God is telling.

This week, may you be reminded about your role and character in this story, you may not know the detail yet, but God does.  It is no small part, the question is always – do you have eyes to see, and ears to hear?  May God help you this week to choose which story you will live in, and maybe, just maybe – as others see you living your epic story, they will be inspired to do the same.

Epic

In the outpost of my mind
Confusion lingers still
It flys around the crowded space
Against and by my will

The small story of this life
Attempts to thwart my soul
It beckons as it whispers
Only we can make you whole

The greater story opens up
It throws light across the page
The words speak life and lives
From the cradle to the grave

The stories battle on
They win and lose the fight
The stories of the light and dark
But day always thwarts the night

Every word and every line
Every plot and theme
The villain and the hero
All take there turn it seems

The greater story is your life
Your props, your lines, your part
It is how God transforms you now
As your life becomes His art

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Reading the Gospels without knowing the personality of Jesus is a bit like watching television with the sound turned off. The result is a dry, two dimensional person doing strange, and random things.

Jesus has been described by John Eldredge as a Beautiful Outlaw. In his book by the same name, Eldredge removes the religious varnish to help readers discover stunning new insights into the humanity of Jesus. He was accused of breaking the law, keeping bad company, heavy drinking. Of being the devil himself. He was so compelling and dangerous they had to kill him. But others loved him passionately. He had a sense of humor. His generosity was scandalous. His anger made enemies tremble. He’d say the most outrageous things. He was definitely not the Jesus of the stained glass.

In the author’s winsome, narrative approach, he breaks Jesus out of the typical stereotypes, just as he set masculinity free in his book, Wild at Heart. By uncovering the real Jesus, readers are welcomed into the rich emotional life of Christ. All of the remarkable qualities of Jesus burst like fireworks with color and brilliance because of his humanity.

Eldredge goes on to show readers how they can experience this Jesus in their lives every day. If you get a chance read his book.

For me, Jesus is many things, if I had to describe Him in a couple of words I would probably use friend, and brother. Jesus longs to relate to us, to have a relationship with us. He waits for us.

This week may you come to know how Jesus waits for you, longs for you to come back to Him. In your waiting may you know that Jesus waits with you and for you. Will you spend sometime waiting with Jesus this week. What might you learn? What will be different? What will you be able to share?

Where I Wait20130529-200909.jpg

You asked where I went
As if you already knew
Here under the willow tree
Is where I wait for you

You felt abandoned
Like you had no clue
Here under the willow tree
Is where I wait for you

You thought I left
As fast as the morning dew
Here under the willow tree
Is where I wait for you

Come sit here beside me
I can make all things new
Here under the willow tree
Is where I wait for you

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Identity Theft

We are not what we were meant to be, and we know it. If, when passing a stranger on the street, we happen to meet eyes, we quickly avert our glance. Cramped into the awkward community of an elevator, we search for something, anything to look at instead of each other. We fear to be seen.

In the book Sacred Romance, author John Eldredge talks about how we are mostly blind to who we really are. Mostly we live and see only a dim reflection of what we could be, as well as who we are. Sometimes we do catch a glimpse and it speaks to our soul. Then just as quickly it is gone but not forever.

Think for a moment about the millions of tourists who visit the ancient pyramids. Though ravaged by time, the elements, and vandals through the ages, mere shadows of their former glory, these ruins still awe and inspire. Though fallen, their glory cannot be fully extinguished. There is something at once sad and grand about them. And such we are.

Abused, neglected, vandalised, fallen—we are still fearful and wonderful.

We are, as one theologian put it, “glorious ruins.” But unlike those grand monuments, we who are Christ’s have been redeemed and are being renewed as Paul said, “day by day,” restored in the love of God.

Could it be that we, all of us, really possess hidden greatness? Is there something in us worth fighting over? The fact that we don’t see our own glory is part of the tragedy of the fallen world we live in. A sort of spiritual amnesia has taken all of us.

Our souls were made to live in the Larger Story, but as G.K. Chesterton discovered, we have forgotten our part:

“We have all read in scientific books, and indeed, in all romances, the story of the man who has forgotten his name. This man walks about the streets and can see and appreciate everything; only he cannot remember who he is. Well, every man is that man in the story. Every man has forgotten who he is. . . . We are all under the same mental calamity; we have all forgotten our names. We have all forgotten what we really are. “

May you discover your identity- who you really are. May you believe the great story, that we all matter, we all are important and critical to achieve the plan – God’s plan to redeem and restore this world. May you know the difference between who you think you are and who you really are. Drop the pose and the mask if you need to. May you remember that God knows who you really are – your true identity as he made you in His image. What does this change for you?

True Identity

Don’t you know who I am?image
Self made success
Celebrity and influence
I shouldn’t need to tell you

Don’t you know who I am?
The car, the clothes
The air about me
Speaking for themselves

Are you so deaf, so ignorant?
Hours of toil and huge expense
Manufactured skin-deep skin
The mask (the wound, the true identity)

No one is listening
Now I’ll start again
Redefined by the latest fashion
Except, the mask, the wound, the real question…

I had no idea
Who I was
Until you told me
The Fearsome Truth

Who am I?
When you look at me
I see my true identity
The broken parts becoming whole

I am who you say
Not what I thought
When you called my name
It changed, everything

~ Cam Porter

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“Waking the Dead” by John Eldredge, is a book title that grabs your attention. It’s even more of an eye-opener when you realise the author is not talking about the unsaved who have not yet found Jesus.  He’s talking about Christians.

“How can this be? ” you may wonder. Even though Jesus lives in us, all too often we’re swallowed up by the events of our day to day lives so that to a large degree we’re oblivious to the ‘other’ reality – the spiritual reality . We need to really wake up and smell the coffee.

Eldredge uses movie and literary references to help us realise that, just like Neo learned in The Matrix, just like Frodo learned in Lord of the Rings and just like Luke Skywalker learned in Star Wars, things are not always what they seem. There’s a much bigger reality playing out all around us. We have all seen glimpses of this, in the sunsets, in the laughter of our kids, and in those moments where we just know that we’ve encountered God, but can’t explain or understand why or for what purpose.

The book begins with a quote from Saint Irenaeus:

The glory of God is man fully alive.

Eldredge shows us ways to re-awaken spiritually, to become fully alive and enjoy more of the abundant life Jesus promised us in John 10:10:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Eldredge speaks of four spiritual ideas: Walking With God, Receiving God’s Intimate Counsel, Deep Restoration and Spiritual Warfare. He encourages us to develop a deeper relationship with God and explains how we are all broken due to various trials and circumstances of life. Jesus wants to come into our hearts and heal those broken areas, one by one. It starts by waking up.

God has created each of us to bring glory to Him. We each have talents He has given us and when we use them in a proper manner, it glorifies Him. At the same time we become alive – fully. Yet, many times we become discouraged from using our talents, perhaps even being criticised as vain for seeking to use what God has given us.

Oh the glory of God is man fully aliveimage
Oh the glory of God is man fully alive

There are so many ways to hide
There are so many ways not to feel

There are so many ways to deny what is real
~ Sara Groves

May you know what it is to come awake and be fully alive. This week may you experience the glory of God in your daily life. May you be aware of the one who meets you in the small places of life, who creates opportunities and the coincidences that are all planned.  This week may you open the eyes of your heart and see what God has for you. May your life encourage others to wake up to reality of living.  May you seize the day and know that everything is spiritual.

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What is it about a sunset?  Why do we gaze expectantly at sunsets?  There are two really  interesting things about sunsets, they are always spectacular and they are always different.  There is a sense of wonder and awe when we look into a sunset.  We never really look at a sunset – we are often drawn in. Something or someone is calling us, reminding us that there must be more, so much more.  Is this just what we hope for and just cannot see?  Either way most people would agree that sunsets are a thing of awe, beauty and wonder.

When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in worship of the Creator ~ Mahatma Gandhi

I wonder then why we so quickly forget these moments of wonder and beauty?  Life has a way  of turning these sunsets into forgotten overcast memories.  As we grow up and grow old I think we can forget to wonder, look for wonder and experience it.

Perhaps wonder is God’s way of tapping us on the shoulder and getting our attention. Perhaps a sunset is God’s way of distracting us, and getting us to rediscover something – something buried and forgotten in the mists of life. Something important and critical.

Wonder demands questions of us. Questions like, What are you trying to teach me here?  What issues in my heart are you trying to raise through this?  What is it you want me to see?  What are you asking me to release and let go of?  Wonder asks us to respond.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:11

Wonder can also be captured, reproduced and repackaged.  Just walk into your favourite store and someone will try to sell it back to you.  How many pictures of sunsets have you taken?  Not really the same as the real thing is it? There is no accountability in a photo of a sunset.

So what to do with wonder?  Lately I’ve been challenged to re-discover wonder and just be thankful for the things that I have.  Perhaps wonder just needs to be enjoyed in the present moment.  It may just be about being present in the wonder.  Hard to do, but important.  Next time you set the sun set – see it change colour, experience the wonder and notice what this does to you, for you.

This week may you rediscover wonder, be present, if only for a moment and let it speak to your soul. There may be something you need to hear, something you need to see.

Rediscovering wonder

May you rediscover wonder
In the sunset of your years
May you choose to cling to hope
In the twilight of your fears

May you rediscover wonder
In the worship you have sung
May it remind you of your creator
Like in the days when you were young

May you rediscover wonder
Let it heal the hurts you hold
May you also forgive yourself
Before you grow too old

May you rediscover wonder
Let it flood your aching soul
Will you let His love astound you?
Will you let Him make you whole?

May you rediscover wonder
May it release you from your fear
May you rediscover beauty
In the twilight of your years

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