My book of the year, “Enjoying God” by Tim Chester

Tim Chester is a pastor and author (more than 40 books) and he lives in England. Back in July of 2009 Tim accepted my invitation and came to do a seminar at my church in New Jersey about the gospel, community and mission. Most of what he taught us was based on his book, “Total Church“.  It was neat to get to know Tim just a little bit and see up close his love for God and God’s people.

I believe it is fair to say that in my theological circle we have the tendency to emphasize knowing about God over experiencing God in daily life. I love to read and learn and so I know, unfortunately, this tendency is alive and well in me. That is the reason that I love “Enjoying God” so much.

Michael Horton wrote this endorsement for “Enjoying God”:

We talk a lot about knowing and glorifying God, but what about enjoying him? And not just as an abstract Being, but as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit-enjoying each Person in all of his difference as well as divine unity? And not just in happy times or at church, but in every circumstance in life. It just keeps getting better and better as you turn each page of Enjoying God. This book will life you into the presence of the Source of all joy.

So how does Tim go about helping us to enjoy God in everyday life? Here is the table of contents:

  1. More (Do we ever wonder if there is more to the Christian life?)
  2. Joy (What does it really mean to taste and know that the Lord is good?)
  3. In every pleasure we can enjoy the Father’s generosity
  4. In every hardship we can enjoy the Father’s formation
  5. In every prayer we can enjoy the Father’s welcome
  6. In every failure we can enjoy the Son’s grace
  7. In every pain we can enjoy the Son’s presence
  8. In every supper we can enjoy the Son’s touch
  9. In every temptation we can enjoy the Spirit’s life
  10. In every groan we can enjoy the Spirit’s hope
  11. In every word we can enjoy the Spirit’s voice
  12. In one another we can enjoy God’s love
  13. In daily repentance and faith we can enjoy God’s freedom
  14. Under the hood

What Tim has done is look at all the ways in everyday life (pleasures, hardships, failures, temptations) that we can experience and enjoy the presence of God.

I have already purchased a bunch of these books and plan to use them to teach an Adult Sunday School class here in Watertown, South Dakota. As a pastor I believe strongly that one of the greatest things I can ever do for my people is guide them towards enjoying and worshipping God.

Excerpt from Enjoying God

I wonder if some of us don’t “feel” the work of the Spirit because we’re not on the frontline-we’re not on the frontline of the battle against sin or we’re not on the frontline of the battle for mission.

Imagine you’ve been driving a small car with a beat-up engine which struggles to go much over 30 mph. Then one day someone gives you a powerful new car with a large turbo-charged engine. A week later you shock them by saying, “I haven’t really noticed much difference.” But then they discover that you’ve never driven it over 30 mph. You’ve got this car that can accelerate to 70 mph in three seconds. But you don’t notice the difference because you’ve never hit the accelerator. Don’t make your life so safe that you never have cause to notice the Spirit’s work.

How do we live in communion with the Holy Spirit? We rely on him. We expect him to work. If you want to see the Spirit at work in your life, then attempt things that you feel you can’t do without his help. Everything we do for God is done with the Spirit’s help, whether we feel it or not. But if you want to feel the Spirit’s help, then attempt things that feel beyond you. Do not complain that God never does anything dramatic in your life if you never attempt anything outside your comfort zone.  p.118-119

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