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All the Places to Go . . . How Will You Know?: God Has Placed before You an Open Door. What Will You Do? Paperback – Unabridged, March 1, 2016
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Ortberg ("The Me I Want To Be"; "Soul Keeping"), a senior pastor at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in California, has written a new book that offers hope and guidance to embrace change and the unknown. The titles of his previous works are indicative of his approach: catchy, contemporary, in touch with Lewis Carroll and "Sesame Street" as well as modern counseling modes, yet grounded in narratives from the Old and New Testaments. His principal interest is spiritual formation, which is in some ways an ideal match for Americans today. It is less concerned with dogmatics than with the development of the self. Ortberg is adept in using his pastoral experience and knowledge of scripture to develop his argument, which stresses faith in God's invitations to Christians to move forward, into the unknown. VERDICT A mainstream Christian's approach to trusting God and improving the self; solid for church groups, pastors, and individual Christians.--Library Journal
From the Back Cover
Are you ready for an adventure?
Rarely in the Bible does God command someone to “stay.” Instead, he opens a door and invites us to walk through it―into the unknown. And whether we stay or go will ultimately determine the kind of life we’ll live and the kind of person we’ll become.
In All the Places to Go . . . How Will You Know?, bestselling author John Ortberg opens our eyes to the countless open doors God places before us every day, teaches us how to recog-nize them, and encourages us to step out in faith and embrace all the extraordinary opportunities that await.
This participant’s guide contains video notes, discussion questions, suggestions for fur-ther study, and ideas for practical application that will help you get the most out of the All the Places to Go . . . How Will You Know? video curriculum and put you squarely on the path to discovering God’s will for your life.
Designed for use with the All the Places to Go . . . How Will You Know? book and video curriculum. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Unfortunately, while great on the go-get’em and rah rah side of things, Dr. Seuss’s masterpiece fails to follow up with solid and substantial teaching on how. There are so many options. You have to make so many decisions. The possibility for success (or failure) seems limitless. And into all that steps John Ortberg and All the Places You’ll Go…How Will You Know?
There are so many books that focus on finding the will of God, but they tend to treat it like it is some mysterious thing. Ortberg takes the other side of that perspective saying, hey, there’s actually so much opportunity, how will we ever narrow it down? That fresh and refreshing perspective permeates the book and makes it an absolute joy to read.
As a youth pastor, I deal with the concept of God’s will just about every April-May, as school winds down and the seniors ship out and have their last second panic that everything is wrong. Every year I hand out some sort of gift or resource to each of them and encourage them in their journey. This year—and possibly from here on out—it’s going to be a copy of this book.
Ortberg writes eloquently about becoming an open-door person, ready to pursue opportunities (yet not accepting everything that comes your way). I especially love his penultimate chapter on what he terms the Jonah complex, or our tendency to run away from our destiny.
Overall, Ortberg really brings it all together. I’m a well-adjusted guy who’s sure of his calling and this had me chomping at the bit to go harder, faster, and stronger. If you’re unsure of where to go in life, this roadmap will help you out.
In his book, All the Places to Go—How will You Know?, John Ortberg explores the idea of the opened door, as presented before the church in Philadelphia:
“The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” (Rev 3:7-8; 4)
Ortberg sees the opened door both as a symbol of boundless opportunities and of being useful to God (5). It is also for Ortberg a reminder of a beloved Greek professor, Gerald P. Hawthorne, which he had known while a student at Wheaton College (268).
For Ortberg, the opened door is a fitting metaphor for how God invites us to step out in faith and service rather than having us wait for confirmation and comfort (257). He writes (10): “It’s an open door. To find out what’s on the other side, you’ll have to go through.” This opened door invitation always appears riskier than it really is because of who offers the invitation and for what purpose. The purpose that Ortberg sees is intensely interesting: “God’s primary will for your life is not the achievements you accrue; it’s the person you become.” (15). As God tells Abram: “I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen 12:3; 9, 35). In offering such blessings, God invites us to decide which doors to go through as part of our sanctification (16) and our decisions form our character and mold our identity (8).
This identity issue is important and distinguishes open door people from closed door people. Ortberg highlights these characteristics of open door people:
1. “Open-Door People are Ready, Ready or Not” (25).
2. “Open-Door People are Unhindered by Uncertainty” (29).
3. “Open-Door People are Blessed to Bless” (35).
4. “Open-Door People Resist and Persist” (38).
5. “Open-Door People Have Fewer Regrets” (42).
6. “Open-Door People Learn About Themselves” (46).
7. “Open-Door People Are Not Paralyzed by Their Imperfections” (48).
Of all these observations about open-door people, the question of regrets was for me most interesting, as Ortberg writes:
“We begin our lives regretting the wrong things we have done, but we end them regretting the open doors we never went through.” (43)
Think of all the films that chronicle the stories of people who took risks that others thought foolish at the time—in Titanic (1997), a young woman scorns the proposal of a rich young man to hang out with a vagabond or Last Holiday (2006), a woman empties her bank account on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Europe only to learn her fatal diagnosis was an error. Risks not taken lead to regrets and Ortberg observes that open-door people are less likely to have them because: “The reason I can be open to tomorrow is that God is already there.” (24). As believers in God, we know the end of the story is in Christ.
Ortberg writes his book in 10 chapters:
1. All the Places to God…How Will You Know?
2. Open-Door People and Closed-Door People
3. No Mo FOMO: Overcoming the Fear of Missing Out
4. Common Myths about Doors
5. Door #1 or Door #2
6. How to Cross a Threshold
7. What Open Doors Will Teach
8. The Jonah Complex
9. Thank God for Closed Doors
10. The Door in the Wall
These chapters are followed by an afterword, acknowledgments, notes, and an author bio. Placing his acknowledgments section among end materials draws attention to the influence of his Greek professor and is an Ortberg innovation.
John Ortberg is author of a number of books, senior pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, and an adjunct faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary. He was educated at Wheaton College and holds both a masters of divinity and doctorate of clinical psychology from Fuller Theological Seminary. He serves as a trustee of Fuller Theological Seminary and a board member of the Dallas Willard Center for Spiritual Formation.
John Ortberg’s All the Places to Go—How Will You Know? is a surprisingly lucid survey of what it means both to be a disciple of Christ and to respond to God’s invitation to grow in the faith, as Jesus says: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (Rev 3:20) The open door motif adds fresh insight into God’s call at a time of critical need in the church for new models of discipleship and service. As such, this is a book to share with young people, small group discussions, and, of course, aspiring pastors.
 He defines an open door as: “divine invitations to make our lives count, with God’s help, for the sake of others.” (63)
 I am reminded of the dream of Solomon—“God said, ask what I shall give you." (1 Kgs 3:5)—and Solomon asked for wisdom, which God was pleased to give him (1 kgs 3:10).
 In past studies of corporate culture, I became aware of the special influence of mistakes in forming culture because they involve investment of more money. Thus, painful losses form the shadow side of open doors. In confronting such losses in our own lives, Jesus’ model is his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Rather than turning into his pain, Jesus turns to God: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matt 26:39)
 Menlo Park, California. Menlo Park Presbyterian Church ([...]) is affiliated with the Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians, commonly known as ECO ([...]).
This is the best book on our choices and God's will I have ever read. Don't hesitate to buy it.