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Walking With a Limp (The Anatomy of a Disciple Series) Paperback – December 11, 2013
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But more importantly, in June 2012, I had the privilege of going to Israel with my pastor, Ron Johnson. We went on a tour composed of a mishmash of people from The Well Community Church and Hume Lake Christian Camps. Brad Bell is the founding pastor of The Well in Fresno and led the trip, along with Rich Ferreira, the Director of The Joshua Wilderness Institute.
Brad was a gracious leader, sharing insights and tips for leading a trip to Israel, which Ron and I did last year. On the trip, we got to see Brad’s heart for Jesus and his honesty. Several guys on the trip were there because Brad was pouring into them and gave them opportunities to teach at various locations.
So it was with excitement that I learned about the Anatomy of a Disciple curriculum that Brad and Dr. Rick Taylor were putting together at The Well. The following is an all-too-brief review of the book.
The book is very manageable at 156 pages and certainly meant to be, since the companion book, The Anatomy of a Disciple, weighs in at 314 pages. One of its very appealing marks is its very accessible, street-level language. Bell meant to be raw, honest and uncomplicated.
The title comes from the Genesis 32 story of the Old Testament patriarch Jacob wrestling with God, although he doesn’t know the identity of the wrestler until afterward. At the end of the match, God (or his angel) touches Jacob’s hip, essentially dislocating Jacob’s hip and giving him a limp for the rest of his life. Jacob is renamed Israel (“he strives with God”) and will forever be reminded of his encounter with God by walking with a limp. He will never be the same.
And that’s what Bell hopes will be the case for his readers as they read his book. Of course, like a good writer, Bell keeps the Jacob/Israel story for the end, revealing it in ch. 13.
The layout of the book follows the Anatomy of the a Disciple (AoD) curriculum, consisting of “four concentric rings of authentic spiritual growth” that go from the heart on the inside, to the mind, the choices and the compassions on the outside. Bell contends in the bulk of the book that our hearts need to be Humbly Submitted; our minds must be Biblically Formed; our choices should be 1) Sacrificially Generous leading to compassions that Intentional Blessing; 2) Morally Discerning leading to compassions that are Culturally Engaged; and 3) Relationally Healthy leading to Inclusive Community.
This organization keeps the book on course and your mind following right along with it. I was helped by this to stay with Bell as he led me on a path similar to the recent skein of books including David Platt’s Radical, Francis Chan’s Crazy Love, and John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life. Bell’s differs in its spare simplicity, its California-sounding vernacular and its inevitable connection to the AoD curriculum.
More could be said, but I’ll end by encouraging you to get this book and read it with other people. There are good heart checks along the way and Bell reviews God’s gracious call on his life while a womanizing, drunk star athlete at Fresno State. You can totally relate to this author. He does not sound like an academic locked in an ivory tower far away from the members of his church. Rather, you understand this husband/father/pastor and his real human struggles.
Really, this is a quick read that the Holy Spirit might use to surgically show you the areas in your life that need work.
Walking with a Limp is an easy read and can be cranked out in a solid weekend. You will not regret purchasing this books and diving in. I really encourage you to take the evaluation too. It really gives good insight into where you are right now.