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The Blessing Life: A Journey to Unexpected Joy Paperback – August 22, 2013
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"With a keen ability to weave together vivid stories, music, poetry and art, Gerrit Dawson's small book takes us on the hopeful journey of the blessing life. What he offers is no cliché, but instead glorious theology made incredibly practical; here is a life that is lived in and out of God's blessing, a life of communion with God that is free not only to enjoy God's grace but also to extend it to others. If you sense God is distant or unconcerned, read this book. You will be blessed." (Kelly M. Kapic, professor of theological studies, Covenant College, and author of God So Loved He Gave)
"Writing with a pastor's loving heart for people, Dawson draws from the examples of believers through the centuries, the arts as well as personal and pastoral experiences to show how the biblical promise of God's blessing can be an ever-flowing source of life--even when we confront the most difficult and perplexing challenges. The accompanying forty-day prayer and study guide will help readers dig deeper and apply what they have learned." (Jeffrey Jeremiah, stated clerk, Evangelical Presbyterian Church)
"Gerrit Dawson has brought a much-needed focus to bear through this book, a focus that is often obscured by the narcissistic culture of our time. The Blessing Life brings us into full awareness of all that God has lavished on us, then leads us to a Christlike model of blessing others in all we do--in every dimension of life. This is what the body of Christ is to look like when fully mature, and I know reading this will inspire people to move there." (David D. Swanson, senior pastor, First Presbyterian Church Orlando)
"Just as astronomical images taken in the infrared, visible and ultraviolet wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum reveal different structures and features of nebulae and galaxies, so Gerrit Dawson's images of blessing in the biblical spectrum reveal a rich and life-enhancing approach to a flourishing life. The Blessing Life creatively explores how the acceptance and favor of the living God elevates our lives and provides a basis for purpose and persistence amid the turbulent conditions of this soul-forming world, and it invites us to give away what we have received as we become conduits of grace in the lives of the people in our spheres of influence." (Kenneth Boa, president, Reflections Ministries, and author of Yearning for More)
"The Blessing Life is a love story about a love that's bigger than the universe. As I read the book, I found myself ushered, amazingly, into the transformative love story of Jesus and his Father that's been opened up to include me--to include us! The Blessing Life was written for the weary and heavy laden. In other words, it was certainly written for me (and probably for you, too). . . . for the glory of God and the good of others. I'm confident this book will change the way you think of God's love and the way you live life in the community of the saints." (Dan Cruver, executive director of Together for Adoption and author of Reclaiming Adoption)
"The Blessing Life . . . is the kind of book that will change everything you ever thought about blessing--from God, to God and to others. Not only that, it will change your life in ways you never dreamed. I commend this book to you. After you read it, you will 'rise up' and call Gerrit Dawson blessed for having written it." (Steve Brown, Bible teacher on Key Life and professor at Reformed Seminary, Orlando, Florida)
"We often say 'bless you' with little thought to the true meaning behind that phrase. Never again will I offer those words without serious consideration of the One from whom blessings come, thanks to Gerrit Dawson's masterfully crafted The Blessing Life. Throughout these pages, Gerrit edifies our souls with deep theological truth wrought from years of study, prayer and humbly walking the way of the cross. I encourage you to allow his words to bless your heart so that you may bless others in this journey of life." (Jill Rigby, founder/CEO of Manners of the Heart and author of Raising Respectful Children in a Disrespectful World)
"The Blessing Life is a veritable feast of inspiration, packed with joy-building truth, biblical wisdom that stretches the mind and practical application that challenges the heart. What a tremendous, delightful study, perfect for individual reflection or an all-church series. I highly recommend this wonderful book." (Gary Thomas, bestselling author of Sacred Marriage)
About the Author
Gerrit Dawson is lead pastor of First Presbyterian Church (EPC), Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and holds a DMin from Reformed Theological Seminary and an MDiv from Princeton Seminary. He is the author of eight books, including Jesus Ascended: The Meaning of Christ's Continuing Incarnation.
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Dawson's book is divided into three parts which are titled Receiving Blessing from God, Returning Blessing to God, and Reflecting God's Blessing to Others. However, before delving into part one, begin by reading the introduction where Dawson sets the stage for his book. From the first page, Dawson makes it clear that the Blessing Life does not mean "a peachy, everything is all right" existence but "a vibrant relationship with the triune God who loves us utterly" (13). With the relational view in place, Dawson begins to discuss the variety of ways we receive blessing from God. He spends an entire chapter addressing the topic of blessing in the midst of suffering and emphasizes that these concepts are not exclusive of each other.
Part 2 Returning Blessing to God takes a slightly different format. Chapter 5 introduces the concept of blessing God emphasizing that blessing God can be practiced and learned. The subsequent chapters in this section each focuses on a picture of God and leads readers through meditating on that picture. These chapters deserve a slow and careful reading. Turning to part 3 Reflecting God's Blessing to Others, Dawson emphasizes a variety of ways Christians can bless others including those who persecute you and the importance of blessing through forgiveness.
Throughout the book, Dawson provides multiple examples from the lives of Christians showing that The Blessing Life is possible. The book also contains numerous scripture references and other citations. Dawson expertly combines stories of blessing, scripture, artwork, and music references into a book which inspires readers to not only go and bless others but to realize the ability to bless others is rooted in receiving a blessing from God. While reading the book, the children's chorus "the blessings come down as the prayers go up" frequently came to mind.
While a wonderful book by itself, Dawson also has a forty-day companion book titled A Guide to the Blessing Life which contains scripture reading and prayer corresponding to the book. I have not personally seen or used the companion guide to comment on its content yet although I plan to do so. The Blessing Life, with or without the companion guide, would make a wonderful resource for personal or group study. With the companion guide, it is well-suited for a church-wide study.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from InterVarsity Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”