Friday, September 11, 2009

The Shack

Last night, my wife and I, along with two other couples watched a DVD of the author of the Shack, William P. Young, giving a presentation at Elmbrook Church in Milwaukee. It was the story behind the story of the incredibly successful best-selling book, The Shack. It was a very emotionally- moving experience to see and hear the author share his life with the listeners. It got me to thinking about some reactions I have received concerning this book.

First of all, let me say that I have read the book and found it to be very moving and it was for me a spiritual journey that I believed enhanced my relationship to God -- more specifically to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Trinity has always been a mystery and although the book is a fictional story, I came to the conclusion that we serve such an incredibly creative God that He would do what is needed to get our attention and to draw us into a closer relationship with Him. The Bible says that God is love and yet many who have suffered much pain in life's experiences struggle with that truth. Do you? Do you believe that God really loves you, and likes you and is so very fond of you? What hurts do you secretly hold deep down in your soul and maybe for years? Do you fear your secret may be exposed and then what would happen? Are you open to really hearing from God and letting those hurts be healed?

Some of the negative comments that I have heard came from people who haven't read the book. They have read negative comments online and then were afraid to read the book. Don't be. I know personal testimony of people coming to Christ as a result of the Holy Spirit helping to bring healing in their lives through The Shack. It may not affect you as it has others, but it might spark something in you to help you reach out to someone else.

God wants to heal the deep wounds that so many have suffered in life. Some of those wounds have to do with going through painful and unexplainable losses that have left them stunned, weakened, and questioning God in so many ways. Some have been so damaged by someone else that the word "trust" isn't even in their vocabulary. God is creative and wants to reveal Himself to you. Would you let Him do that?

Up North Wisdom says be open to hearing from God maybe in ways that are truly "out of the box" so to speak in terms of how you think He should speak to you. With truths like love, healing, restoration and forgiveness spoken about, you will find it worth your while to take the time to read The Shack and then see if you don't come to really like Papa. If nothing else, you will have a craving for some really interesting and tempting food. Oh no, I'm not going to say anything more. You have to read to find out what that means. Blessings!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Famine -- a widespread shortage of food that leads to starvation. There is nothing good about famines. Television allows us to see the effects of famine in many third world countries. It is hard to ignore the images of starving children with bloated stomachs and hollow eyes looking hopelessly into the camera lens.

There is a famine that is not so evident that is leading to spiritual starvation and extreme weakness in many peoples lives. That is a famine of God's Word. At a time in our world that Christians need to be fully armed spiritually and strong in the Lord, I see the effects of a lack of God's Word in so many people's lives. When Jesus said that people can not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God, He made clear the incredible importance of knowing God's Word. There are so many scriptures that tell us we absolutely must be into God's Word to be strong and effective in the world we live in. The Psalmist said that we stay pure by obeying God's Word and that we must hide the Word in our hearts to keep from sinning. By the way, he also said that the really joyful people are those who take in the Word.

It is a spiritual battle to be sure. Satan can't rob our Christianity but he does everything in his power to keep a Christian weak and ineffective and one big way is to use any and all methods to keep people from reading the Word. Christian, listen carefully. If you are not a regular person of the Word, you will never grow up spiritually and as far as the church is concerned, you will be part of the problem and not part of the solution. Paul liked to use the words spiritually babies. It is time to grow up and start being part of the solution for making disciples as per the Lord's command.

It is interesting that one of the excuses I have heard from some for not reading the Word is that it is too hard to read and understand. Have you ever used that one? I love it when someone tells me that. I was a reading specialist for several years in the public schools and as part of my master's degree program, I did some readability studies on various versions of the Bible. I think I used about eight versions at that time. The hardest version came out to be about 8th grade in terms of difficulty and the easiest was about fourth grade level. End of that argument.

Christian friend, there is much to done in our work for God's Kingdom. We must be fully armed for this battle -- this assignment from God. It is our weapon of choice, our sword to battle the forces of darkness. Ask God to give you a great desire to be a person of the Word. Or maybe ask Him for a desire to have a desire. Start where you need to start. Get into Christian education classes. We have some great choices starting in a few weeks at Living Hope Church. Parents need to not only send their kids and grandkids to Sunday School classes but they need to come themselves and take advantage of the many opportunities to learn and grow.

My wife Jeanne and I will be starting a class on Wednesday evening beginning Sept. 23rd called Breaking Intimidation. It is based on the scripture: "God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind". It will help you break any power that would keep you from fulfilling your God-given destiny to be effective and powerful for the sake of His Kingdom..

Up North Wisdom says there are many great versions of the Bible. God will help make it exciting for you to read through His Word. Now more than ever, let's be people of the Word. For Christ's sake and for His Kingdom and His Glory. Amen!! No more famine. Let's start "eating".