On a level with C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, Dallas Willard’s The Divine Conspiracy is one of those books that reframes everything you know about following Jesus. Read it yourself and buy another copy as a Christmas present for a friend or relative. I’m sure you’ll enjoy talking about it as you both read through it.
If you don't have a Lisa Adkison in your life, get one. Lisa is one of my mentors and supporter from our supporting church in Little Rock, Arkansas and one way that she blesses us is by sending the girls on our team Bible studies to do. The first one she sent us was this one, The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer.
Friend of Team Arequipa (as well as co-founder of TA and CUDA, co-founder of Luminous Coffee, but of course, better known as friend of Team Arequipa), Greg McKinzie wrote a great piece for Fuller Studio connecting his 6+ years in Arequipa reading Mark with Peruvians to what he's studying now at Fuller. Here are a couple excerpts to whet your appetite:
Professor Gottman and his team has conducted strategic, scientific research for decades. It can now boast of "forty-two years of longitudinal data on the importance of marital friendship". His work has confirmed the universality of the Seven Principles and this book is the culmination of this work. His research, through the use of the "Love Lab", has taken into account an incredible range of factors from hormone release, cardiac rhythms and sweat production to questionnaires, observations and interviews. The Gottman Institute also provides therapeutic and educational work that has helped countless couples.
Before I knew that the technical term “narrative theology” existed, I knew that it was important to understand the Bible as narrative – as story. I learned that important lesson a while back from this simple little book. That’s the beauty of it: no technical theological jargon. It’s written to simple people like me and it cites not Karl Barth or Stanley Hauerwas but Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee. The basic premise is that the Bible tells a story and we have a role to play whether we know it or not. If we don’t know what’s going on in the story of heaven and earth, we’re going to feel very lost.
How much of our lives do we live somewhere else? We think about the weekend, or next month, or our trip in a few months. Or we think about the next job, or when we will finish school, or when we’ll finally be doing that thing we want to do. Dreams aren’t all bad. It’s good to think forward, to make goals, to make plans, and to hope. But if we live only there, we’ve missed it.
I like practical advice and so when I read this article on the Verge Network last year I loved how practical it was. We are missionaries. Because we live outside of the US? No. We are missionaries because we are trying to live in a way that glorifies God and brings more people to him. And that can be done anywhere, we just happen to be doing it in Arequipa while y'all are doing it in the US or Europe or Australia or wherever it is that you live. That was another reason I liked this article, because it can be applied no matter where you live.