Saturday, February 08, 2014

a tale of three kings

It has been around for twenty years.
I've been aware of it, but just never read it.

But recently Langham's Executive Director, Mark Hunt, gave me a copy of Gene Edwards' A Tale of Three Kings. It tracks with David as he relates to Saul above him and then Absalom below him, giving the reader 'a study in brokenness'. The narrative style creates an open-endedness that enables the reader to enter the story through a range of people.

Just 108 double-spaced pages, it was an easy read on a recent flight from Singapore to Yangon. In the face of God's call on our lives it deals with issues like patience and submission and what it looks like to entrust things to 'the One who judges justly'. Then it also gets into our own faces, digging away to discover issues like ambition and rebellion lurking in unexpected places.

Many pray for the power of God. More every year. Those prayers sound powerful, sincere, godly and without ulterior motive. Hidden under such prayer and fervor, however, are ambition, a craving for fame, the desire to be considered a spiritual giant. The person who prays such a prayer may not even know it, but dark motives and desires are in his [sic] heart ... in your heart.
Even as people pray these prayers, they are hollow inside. There is little internal spiritual growth. Prayer for power is the quick and the short way, circumnavigating internal growth.
There is a vast difference between the outward clothing of the Spirit's power and the inward filling of the Spirit's life. In the first, despite the power, the hidden man of the heart may remain unchanged. In the latter, the monster is dealt with. (40-41)
If I was still in the world of mentoring students and emerging Christian leaders, this book would sit alongside Nouwen's In the Name of Jesus as the first two books (outside the Bible) that I would use to facilitate an opening of the inner world. That is pretty high praise from me.

nice chatting

Paul


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