The Book Of The Shepherd by Joann Davis - Book Review
The Book Of The Shepherd is a fictional story based around a simple prayer an a group of people searching for “a new way”. Joshua the shepherd, David the boy, and Elizabeth the heroine, set out on a journey together to find this “new way” of living that is said to be a better way. One of my favorite lines in the book comes from Joshua as a young boy in a discussion with his father about “the way the world is” in which Joshua asks, “Can’t we remake the world?”
The three learn many forms of compassion and wisdom along their journey. And find themselves wrapped up in each others stories so much that Elizabeth and Joshua come together in marriage on their love for one another.
The “new way” we find is really based in “the One” a monk who taught this “new way” of living and riled against the religious authorities of the day. Who wanted to silence any truth or way but their own. To the Christ-following believer this story sounds very similar to that of Jesus. The symbol of “the new way” is a fish. The fish was also a symbol for the early Christians. To a non-believer without a knowledge of biblical accounts we simply understand the Jesus figure to be a monk “the One” who taught “the Way”, but really “the Way” is “the One”.
The prayer in the book called “The Law of Substitution” is more commonly known as “The Simple Prayer” “The Peace Prayer” or “The St. Francis Prayer”. In the book it reads this way.
Make me a channel of your peace Where there is hatred, let me sow love Where this is injury, let me sow pardon Where there is doubt let me so faith Where there is despair, let me sow hope Where there is sadness, let me sow joy Where there is darkness, let me bring light For it is in giving that we receive It is in pardoning that we are pardoned And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life For this is the Law of Substitution
The Book of the Shepherd is very enjoyable, well written, and a quick read. I will say however that the books greatest weakness comes from some of it’s source material: The Gnostic Gospels, The Golden Compass, and Charlotte’s Web are noted by the author. There are also some things in which it seems that the journey to find the “new way” may differ from “the Way of Christ”. A good friend of mine, Darien Gabriel, also read and reviewed this book. He discusses this idea much better than I can.
“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you.” Well, that all depends on what’s in you, does it not. If you follow the truth of the Bible, you would want to know if they were following the old nature or new nature from within. And does this mean that you can save yourself or that God in you saves you? And if he’s in you, are you not already saved?
Pick it up and remind yourself of some truths rooted in scripture and some things not so rooted in scripture presented in a “new way”.
Disclaimer: This book was given to me to read and review by Viralbloggers.com.
“When you’re a little kid you’re a bit of everything; Scientist, Philosopher, Artist. Sometimes it seems like growing up is giving these things up one at a time.”—The Wonder Years (via quote-book) (via wavydavydali) (via patrickhowell)
We’re starting a new series this week called My Stuff In 3D. So every week you’ll get some awesome 3D glasses like the ones you have now, we’ll be popping popcorn between services and giving away some pretty amazing prizes So be sure to invite your friends because we are going to have a great time together over the next few weeks.
I’m sure you’ve heard of a movie that is blowing away the box office recently called Avatar. It’s a pretty cool movie. I got the chance to see it with my father-in-law and brother-in-law over Christmas. You know the thing that was cooler to me that the movie itself was the 3D effects. Most of the time when we think of 3D we think of stuff that pops out at you, like major in your face action, but Avatar capitalizes on 3D past the silver screen. There are scenes when planes are flying over these amazing waterfalls and it looks like you could fall out of your seat into the waterfall if you don’t hold on tight. Whenever we put on 3D glasses we can see things from a different perspective. 3D glasses show us dimensions of depth that our eyes can’t see on their own.
For the next 3 weeks we’re want to look at the areas of our lives that we need to examine from a new perspective. Areas of our lives that we need to examine through the 3D Glasses of Scripture. Those three areas are Time, Talent, and Treasure. Today we’re going to look into treasure.
What comes to your mind when you think about treasure? I think about pirates and treasure maps with big X’s on them that lead to hidden rooms full of ancient gold and jewels. I think of adventure. I think of something many people would do anything to get. Many of us have seen the Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy. In this trilogy there are a crazy group of Pirates led by Black Beard who are willing to do anything to get to treasure.
What is something you would be willing to do anything to get? What is your treasure?
A good way to figure out what your treasure is would be to answer these questions: If you have an allowance or if you work and get a paycheck, what do you spend the majority of your money on? What is the first thing you do when you get paid?
The bible calls these first benefits of our labor are called “first-fruits”. The first-fruits were the first and best pick of the crop or the first and best animal in a herd. These were the things that were treasured. In the book of Exodus, God asked that they bring their first-fruits to Him.
Exodus 23:19a - “The best of the first-fruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God.
You’re asking… so what? What do first-fruits have to do with the money you earn or are given from your parents? Well this is what we have to realize, our stuff is not our stuff. Say this with me. “My Stuff Is Not My Stuff”.
Now you’re thinking, “What do I mean my stuff is not my stuff?” I worked hard for my stuff. I do chores every week for my stuff, I put blood and sweat and tears into getting my stuff… it’s my stuff.
No. It’s not. Turn to the book of James. It’s in the New Testament near the end after the book of Hebrews and before 1st and 2nd Peter. In chapter 1 beginning in verse 16 God shows us how our stuff is not our stuff.
James 1:16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures.
In the Bible, we learn that everything we have belongs to God. Every good gift or treasure that we have comes from Him. We may work hard to get it but He gives us the opportunity to work.
He invites us to give back to Him just a portion of it, our first-fruits - not because He needs it, but because it shows that we recognize Him as the rightful owner of our lives. There in the last part of that James passage we see that God considers us the first-fruits of all of His creation. We are his treasure. We are the thing He would do anything for. We are the ones He loved some much that He gave His life for and He asks us for only part of what He gives us.
This is what we call “tithe”. When we tithe we worship God by acknowledging His Lordship over us and by acknowledging the fact that He gives us everything we have. Think of “tithe” like our first-fruits. When we are given money from our parents or employers that money comes to us from God and He asks that we give back to Him the first-fruits of that. “Tithe” means “tenth” and we give in worship a tenth of our income. So if you get an allowance of 20 dollars a month then you give 2 dollars a month in tithe.
God is good and He knows what is best for us. He knows that what our treasure is will determine much about the rest of our lives. In the gospel of Matthew chapter 6 beginning in verse 19 Jesus tells us:
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
We can spend our money on stuff for us, but those things will soon break or go out of style. But when we direct our money towards the things of God, we can make it last for eternity.
What is your treasure? Is it so important you’re not willing to give the first-fruits of your gifts from God back to Him? Why don’t we all try to do this…
TAKE OUT BOX: Commit to giving at least 10% of your weekly allowance or income every Sunday in the offering for the rest of this series. This is something Jesus calls us to do in obedience to Him. We should do it every week, but, if you’re just starting out, this is a great way to start slow