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The Road We Must Travel: A Personal Guide for Your Journey Paperback – March 4, 2014
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Beloved American poet Robert Frost stated that, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— / I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference.”
John Bunyan dedicated an entire classic book to the life-journey of a man named Christian in The Pilgrim's Progress.
In Matthew 7, Jesus clearly alluded that faith is a walk by teaching that, at the beginning of our sojourn, we should, “Enter by the narrow gate....For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
Through song, poem, allegorical novel, and scripture, we learn that life is a journey, a progress toward a desired destination, an adventure. Or, as Eugene Peterson might call it, “a long obedience in the same direction.”
Now, in "The Road We Must Travel: A Personal Guide for Your Journey" (Worthy Publishing), Peterson and 11 other writers in 18 pithy chapters offer useful tips for successfully navigating the path God lays out for us, His followers.
The articles have appeared previously in various print and online publications of the media ministry, Christianity Today, such as Leadership Journal and PreachingToday.com.
The book is mapped into five sections, each opening with unifying introductions imbued with travel imagery.
Topics covered include the importance of self-assessment, being properly equipped, avoiding potholes of contamination, recovering from wrecks, working through conflicts with fellow travelers, getting proper rest and tune-ups, mentoring those new to the journey, and how to properly read our map (aka the Bible) spiritually.
Knowing our path can be muddy, full of rocks, pockmarked with potholes, making the trek feel like an exhausting slog, a favorite, thought-provoking quote (“If you do not go to your grave in confusion, you will not go to your grave trusting. Explanations are a substitute for trust.”) comes from Tullian Tchividjian’s rumination on Job and suffering.
Tchividjian reminds us that, while the inevitable rust of grief will try to grind us to a standstill, grace is the grease and hope the fuel that ultimately propels us forward.
The book feels primarily geared toward senior pastors and others in professional ministry positions. However, lay ministers and other servers of Christ should not be deterred from discovering real value in the guidance and sound wisdom offered. After all, as fellow believers, we are all wending the same path.
This is an excellent and accessible “travel” guide for any Christian that can be read cover-to-cover or consulted as needed.I recommend it for your spiritual glove compartment or backpack to enjoy and reference when taking a break from your travels. There’s good, encouraging stuff here.
One nitpicky point is that a collection such as this usually includes brief bios of the contributors and this one, oddly, does not. While many of the writers are well-known, not all are. So, below, for your convenience, I’ve assembled brief bios for each (the number in parentheses indicates how many chapters the writer has contributed).
• Gordon MacDonald (4) - Author, speaker, and teacher.
• Mark Buchanan (3) - Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology at the Ambrose Seminary in Calgary, Alberta.
• Bill Hybels (2) - Founding and senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church.
• Nathan Conrad (as told to Matt Woodley) (1) – Nathan is a pastor at Naperville (Illinois) Presbyterian Church. Matt is the Managing Editor for PreachingToday.com and pastor of Compassion Ministries at Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois.
• Francis Chan (1) - Author, pastor, and Founder and Chancellor of Eternity Bible College.
• Eugene Peterson (1) - Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology at Regent College and writer of The Message.
• Steve May (1) - Speaker, author, and missionary living in Knoxville, Tennessee.
• Tullian Tchividjian (1) - Senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church.
• Ruth Haley Brown (1) - Adjunct Professor of Spiritual Formation at Northern Seminary and founder of the Transforming Center.
• Skye Jethani (1) - Managing editor of Leadership Journal.
• Mark Labberton (1) - President and Lloyd John Ogilvie Professor of Preaching School of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary.
• Donald Sunukjian (1) - Professor of Christian Ministry and Leadership, Homiletics at the Talbot School of Theology of Biola University.
NOTE: To comply with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255): I selected this book to review and received it free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
This was also blogged at StephenRClarkBLOG.com.
"It's all about the blue highlight.
The paper roadmaps earlier generations used to fold, crease, scribble on, repair with Scotch tape, and spread out on kitchen tables, shady picnic benches, and the front seats of station wagons and minivans have mostly faded from view.
It's all digital now.
The new maps are bright, intuitive, up-to-date, high-definition depictions glowing on the screens of smart phones, tablets, laptops, and sleek GPS units. These are maps that don't tear along the folds, wedge themselves between car seats, or soak up spilled coffee. You don't have to turn the glove compartment inside out to find them, and it doesn't take an engineering degree to refold them. You simply type in where you are, where you want to go and . . . voilà. There it is. The sweet certainty of what you wanted to know.
The blue highlight.
That calming, comforting, unmistakable sapphire line overlaying your course, illuminating your way, boldly directing you from Point A to Point B by the most efficient route.
Now . . . if only we had a blue highlight in life.
Wouldn't that be something? Key in where you are right now, enter "Heaven" as your final destination, and push the button. And there before your appreciative eyes is the course for the rest of your life-from now until you step across the threshold of glory.
But it doesn't work that way, does it? It's good and it's comforting to have a Point A and a Point B in our lives, but where is the line marking our route? What's around the bend? Where are the intersections?
What's the mileage? Will it be an eight-lane freeway or a winding, backcountry road with a few bridges washed out along the way?
How long will it take? Where are the exits, vistas, scenic byways, and rest stops?
We can ask all the specifics we like, but it really won't help. No one knows the precise route each of us will take to the other side.
There may be a clear destination-and thank God for that-but there is no blue highlight marking the course from here to there.
Sometimes that's okay, and sometimes it is not. We might even identify with Thomas who, in the grip of sorrow and fear, blurted out, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"1
Jesus, of course, told his anxious friend, "I am the way."
And he is! But he doesn't show any of us a highlighted route.
That remains a day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment proposition.
As Solomon noted: "The mind of man plans his way, but the
Lord directs his steps."2
We can, however, do this much: We can make sure we are prepared for the journey, no matter what the route might be. This book is all about that. It's not a road atlas, it's more like a travelogue, with strong ideas and helps for navigating life. No, it's not exactly like Rick Steves Does Europe, but here are twelve wise, seasoned, and companionable travelers who offer thoughtful, biblical counsel for our problems, solutions to common roadblocks, and welcome encouragement for the highway that lies ahead.
Yes, like it or not, we're all on the same road trip.
But not all of us travel with peace and perspective.
With a little help from these friends, maybe we can."
I was part way through reading this and stopped and read it out loud to my wife. We both thought of people who would love it. And the book goes on from there and just keeps getting better. This book was an amazing read. It is a wonderful collection of articles to help you on the journey of life. The contributors are:
And the chapters are:
Part I: Roadworthy
1. The Need for Honest Self-Assessment - Gordon MacDonald
2. Look at Yourself First - Bill Hybels
3. Avoiding Cultural Contamination - Mark Buchanan
4. The Fall - Nathan Conrad
Part II: Necessary Repairs
5. Tuning Your Engine - Francis Chan
6. Sharpen Your Sixth Sense - Bill Hybels
7. Reading the Bible Spiritually - Eugene Peterson
8. Tame the Restless Evil - Steve May
Part III: Washouts and Detours
9. Trouble Happens - Tullian Tchividjian
10. The Art of Managing Conflict - Gordon MacDonald
11. Bad Situations Are Great Opportunities - Mark Buchanan
Part IV: Traveling Light
12. A Steady Rhythm - Ruth Haley Barton
13. The Crucial Need for Regular Rest - Gordon MacDonald
14. Striving for Simplicity - Mark Buchanan
Part V: Peripheral Vision
15. Mentoring Others to Spiritual Maturity - Gordon MacDonald
16. Yield the Right-of-Way - Skye Jethani
17. The First Rule of the Road: Love - Mark Labberton
18. See with the Eyes of a Doctor - Donald Sunukjian
I think my favourite chapters was Mark Buchanan's - Avoid Cultural Contamination. This was an awesome read and I highly recommend it!