Each month, WaterBrook Multnomah gives readers a sneak peek into an upcoming title. See below for our most recent peek.
How Could He Possibly Make It Out Alive?
It was supposed to be a simple day hike. Scott Hubbartt was a military veteran with years of survival training. Everyone who knew him considered him an expert adventurer.
But Scott’s trek into the treacherous backcountry canyons of the Peruvian Andes turned into a desperate fight to survive after he became hopelessly lost. As his eight-hour hike lengthened into days, Scott faced dehydration, hunger, and exhaustion. And that’s when his true journey began.
Divorce is not the biggest threat to marriage. Discouragement is.
You’ve probably heard the grim facts: Half of all marriages end in divorce. The divorce rate inside the church is the same as outside. Most marriages are just holding on. But what if these “facts” are actually myths?
In The Good News About Marriage, best-selling author Shaunti Feldhahn presents groundbreaking research that reveals the shocking, incredibly inspiring truth.
By: Chris Sigfrids
Senior Online Marketing Manager
I recently read I Like Giving by Brad Formsma. It’s a book of stories from Brad and others about, well…giving. Most of the books you’d read on giving are about the theology of giving, tips on giving, or unpacking why we give. So when I started reading I Like Giving, I figured I wasn’t in for any earth-shattering discoveries.
Most “giving” books have a way of making you feel guilty. What I found is I Like Giving did the exact opposite. It was refreshing, encouraging, and freeing. It reflected much of where my heart has been, over the years, on giving and as I read others’ stories of small sacrifices and listening and obeying that still, small voice that is the Holy Spirit, I felt a weight lifting.
I started reading I Like Giving on a plane ride from Denver to New York. After arriving in New York City, I spent a couple days walking around, eating meals, and sitting in meetings. Over those couple of days I had successfully put on my stern-faced, get-there-quick, don’t-look-anyone-in-the-eyes, countenance that comes over me anytime I walk through NYC.Towards the end of the trip, I met up with my sister for lunch. As we waited in line at the Shake Shack, a burger joint on Columbus and 77th, I noticed an older, scrawny, homeless man digging through the trash for food. He was just a few feet away from me.
Even with my stone-cold persona flipped on, I notice things from time to time out of the corner of my eye. I glanced down at the homeless guy’s feet and there it was…he was missing his right shoe. A beat up shoe on his left foot, but no sock or shoe whatsoever on his right.
I don’t expect to save everyone. I know I can’t provide for everyone’s needs. I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not and I’m definitely no Oskar Schindler. That said, I believe God wants to work through me in very unique ways. As is talked about in the stories of I Like Giving, I’ve seen him also call me to specific tasks for a specific purpose on more than a few occasions.
I want to be used by God.
In order to be used by Him, I feel I need to keep my heart in a sensitive place where God can get through. But I’m easily sucked into things that don’t matter. Instead of reading, I watch television. Rather than engage my sons, I tinker. For me to hear from God I need the following: time reading the Bible, dedicated silence where I can reflect and meditate, songs of depth and praise that call me into worship and reminding me why I’m here, and wise people speaking into my life. When these things are happening, I see God working. When they’re lacking, I see God working less.
The homeless man had a simple need: shoes and socks. In Formsma’s book he shares stories where people recognized a need and met that need. A kid’s bike was stolen so a guy gave that kid a bike. That guy “likes bikes.” A woman finds out her neighbor doesn’t have enough money for a Thanksgiving meal, so she gives her a platter of turkey, stuffing, yams, and beans. That lady “likes Thanksgiving.”
This guy needed shoes and socks. I saw it plain as day and God’s voice was quietly directing me to him. I saw it, but my heart wasn’t in a place where it obeyed to act.
I missed it.
I was flying home to Colorado when a convicting wave of emotion crashed into me. It was a pure, clear thought: I should have given that guy my socks and shoes. It may have been weird, awkward, and it totally could have bombed. But I should have at least made the offer. I should have looked that guy in the eyes and said, “Here. Please take my socks and shoes.”
I should have done it. As quickly as that thought occurred to me, I was reminded of what Formsma said in I Like Giving:
“If an opportunity comes your way and you chicken out, don’t beat yourself up about it. When I first started giving this way, I found myself wondering how many people I’d walked past, how many opportunities I’d missed. The good news is that it’s never too late to give. If an opportunity comes your way and you don’t seize it, don’t get stuck in the downward spiral of regret. Smile, tell yourself all is well, and then ask for another one. If there are people around you, there will be more opportunities to give.”
I blew it. But it’s okay. There will be other opportunities.
As I reflected on the plane, I prayed and submitted my failure to God. I was reminded of what it says in Romans 12:1, “Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.” (The Message).
I may not get it right all the time, but that’s what I’m shooting for. I’m aiming for a life that matters. A life surrendered to God on an all-the-time basis. Do you want that too? I think most Christians do. I’d encourage you to pick up and read I Like Giving. It may start to knead some areas of your heart that God wants to use as you look to bless others and live a life that matters.
Steven Furtick, one of the country’s young, influential Christians leaders as lead pastor of North Carolina’s largest church, is hosting a special, live, day-long radio event on Tuesday, February 11 at www.elevationnetwork.com to coincide with the release of his new book Crash the Chatterbox: Hearing God’s Voice Above All Others (Multnomah Books, Feb. 11, 2014).
Furtick, founder and lead pastor of Elevation Church and a New York Times best-selling author, taps into the theme of chatter, or dialogue, by spending 10 am to 6 pm ET talking with special guests and callers about the lies that we tell ourselves and how to overcome them. Every hour will feature a special guest to include:
Lysa TerKeurst, president of Proverbs 31 and best-selling author of Made to Crave
- Pastor Craig Groeschel, lead pastor of LifeChurch.tv
- Steve Smith, Pro-Bowl wide receiver of the Carolina Panthers
- Grammy-award winning singer Mandisa
- Louie Giglio, founder of The Passion Movement, Passion Church and best-selling author
- Shaunti Feldhahn, best-selling author of The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages
- And more
Furtick, his special guests and callers will tackle the core issues in Crash the Chatterbox, such as insecurity, fear, discouragement, condemnation and the truths in God’s word that can short-circuit them. Sharing from personal experience, Furtick and friends will touch on how these topics show up in day-to-day life, such as parenting, marriage, leadership, work and church. Tune in at www.elevationnetwork.com
What is the most worthwhile thing humankind can experience on earth? Nothing less than God Himself! As glorious as God is, so is the glory that begins to work in the hearts and lives of those who give themselves to live for God. It is a great step forward in the life of a Christian when he or she truly sees this and regards their daily fellowship with God as the most important aspect of their existence. Take time and ask yourself whether this is indeed not the most important thing around which your life should revolve—to know God and to love Him with your whole heart. This is what God desires above all else; and it is that which, in answer to your prayer, He will enable you to do. So begin this and every day of the year with the impassioned prayer of David: “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you…in a dry and weary land” (Psalm 63:1).
Excerpted from Daily in His Prescence by Andrew Muray
Daily Reflection: Is your relationship with God the most important thing in your life?