Bishop Kyrill of Seattle: http://www.roca.org/OA/128/128c.htm
40 Ways to Get Closer to God, by Jerry (Chip) MacGregor, w/Kerri Wyatt Kent, Bethany House Publishers, 189 Pages, ISBN-13: 978-0764209185, $11.99
In 40 Ways to Get Closer to God, Jerry MacGregor, more commonly known as “Chip” says he didn’t write this book because he “…has it all together,” but readily admits he does not. He wrote it because “…he doesn’t have all the answers…” however he recognizes he’s “come a ways in his walk with God “…over the past forty years…”
When he reflects on that journey he attributes his spiritual growth to “books” that offered “good ideas” and “people” that helped him put “those ideas into practice.” And that’s what he wants to do for the reader with a forty day action plan of “God challenges.” The challenge goals—“…to become more like Jesus…”
Each of forty short chapters begins with an inspirational quote, then a brief narrative in the context of that day’s challenge before ending with a notes section to journal your thoughts. For example, in chapter two, the topic is “Hungry for God.” He quotes John Kirvan who writes, “…we hunger for God and for far too long we have settled for far too little.”
Day two’s narrative concerns our nations’ bent toward self-satisfaction, “acquisition and consumerism,” attributes of self-indulgence that become “…the prison of addiction” that prevents spiritual growth. Instead of practicing, for example, the discipline of fasting that includes repentance, forgiveness, prayer and seeking God’s “strength and grace.”
This day’s simple challenge is instead of lunch spend time alone with God reading the Bible and in prayer for someone with a specific need, a sick friend or for yourself. When you’re done journal your thoughts, concerns and struggles for later reflection.
Other topics include tithing, strengthening family ties, intentional laughter and joy, practicing God’s presence, repentance, forgiveness, meditation and many others.
He cautions readers to be patient and not to expect miracles. “Disciplines are the ONLY strategy I know for growing your Christian life” writes the author. “Real spiritual growth” requires practiced discipline, “takes time and effort” even though you already pray, attend church, Sunday school and are faithful to tithe.
Anyone can follow the author’s simple day-by-day action plan of challenges and I recommend they do, I plan to. If readers look “…to feel really close to God…” want to be more like Jesus in thought, word and deed, MacGregor’s much needed forty day challenge is an excellent place to start, because our Lord will arrive soon.
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