Ordering Your Private World (book review)

You can look all neat and tidy on the outside, you can talk a good game and even have some short-term success. But if you aren’t growing on the inside, all that good looking outside stuff will eventually come crashing down. This is exactly what Gordon MacDonald addresses in his revised and updated book Ordering Your Private World.

MacDonald shares a quote from Ezra Pound which captures the theme of this book: “If a (person) has not order within him, he cannot spread order about him.” Amen!

Here’s what I love about Gordon MacDonald’s heart. This book is a revised and updated version of his original work. The first edition sold more than a million copies! MacDonald could have sat back and collected his royalty checks, but instead, he has kept growing, kept learning, kept on ordering his own private world, and wasn’t content until he could share his ever-growing insights with a whole new generation.

MacDonald is quite candid about the collapse of his own inner world, and how he had to work to restore and rebuild that. Throughout this book you will read more of his personal stories, as well as accounts from historical people (both famous and relatively unknown), and you will learn from numerous biblical examples as well.

Ordering Your Private World will help you reassess your priorities, learn how to take control of your time, help you find the best supports for your inner world, see through a biblical lens, and learn what it truly means to take a rest.

This book will be beneficial for everyone who wants to ensure their inner world is strong enough to support their outer world, but I would especially recommend this book to those in leadership positions. Leaders tend to be much more hard-charging and results-oriented people, and as such may neglect their own inner world. But whoever you are, this book will be a valuable part of your life.

I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer.

Thursdays With Oswald—Why Does God Bring Clouds?

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Why Does God Bring Clouds?

     It is not true to say that God wants to teach us something in our trials. In every cloud He brings, God wants us to un-learn something. God’s purpose in the cloud is to simplify our belief until our relationship to Him is exactly that of a child. God uses every cloud which comes in our physical life, in our moral or spiritual life, or in our circumstances, to bring us nearer to Him, until we come to the place where our Lord Jesus Christ lived, and we do not allow our hearts to be troubled. 

     Christianity does not add to our difficulties, it brings them to a focus, and in the difficulties we find Jesus Himself. We must get out of the habit of misinterpreting God by saying He wants to teach us something, it is not a New Testament idea, but an idea that is as unlike the God whom Jesus revealed as could be. God is all the time bringing us to the place where we un-learn things. … In everything that happens we should be un-learning that which keeps us from a simple relationship to God. … 

     There are no such things as “calamities” or “accidents” to God’s children—“all things work together for good.” 

From God’s Workmanship

Futurist Alvin Toffler wrote that the illiterate of this age are those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. God wants to do the same thing for us. God doesn’t want us to be spiritually illiterate, so there are times to learn and times to un-learn.

The next time you are going through some clouds in your spiritual walk, pause to ask the Holy Spirit, “What do I need to un-learn from this?” And then follow through on what He shows you.

Sola

On October 31, 1517, a sea-change in world history was begun. On that day Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of a church, challenging the traditions of organized religion which he believed had strayed far from the instructions in the Bible.

The Reformation had been launched.

I truly believe that we all must be students of history, partly because all of his story is His Story. When we study history, we can see how God is working out His Story.

Second, we also need to know our history because as George Santayana rightly said, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

A third reason to (re)learn the thoughts brought out during the Reformation is for doctrinal strength. It’s important to know not only what why believe but why we believe it. And there are some valuable doctrinal truths in the history of the Reformation.

Finally, I believe an important part of learning is unlearning. Sometimes we accept something just because it’s been handed down to us. That is in large part what Luther and other reformers were challenging, and calling us to unlearn tradition and relearn what the Bible has to say.

So beginning this Sunday, October 7, we will be walking through the five Sola doctrinal statements the reformers taught. I am really looking forward to relearning and unlearning, and just outright learning the biblical truths of sola scriptura, sola Deo gloria, sola fide, sola gratia, and sola Christo.

I hope you can join me at Calvary Assembly of God.

Don’t Become Illiterate

Wise King Solomon:

Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge. (Proverbs 18:15)

Futurist Alvin Toffler:

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot unlearn, learn, and relearn.

Questions:

  1. What did you unlearn this week?
  2. What did you learn this week?
  3. What did you relearn this week?

 

(Re)(Un)Learning

Alvin Toffler wrote, “The illiterate of the future are not those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” For me, the Sabbath Day — a day God institute as a break from our day-in-day-out routine — is the best day to do this (re)(un)learning.

I took an unusual Sabbath break this weekend. Several of my family members are missionaries, and it is rare that they are all in the United States at the same time. This summer happens to be one of those times, so we took full advantage of catching up and relearning one another.

We all met at my grandparents’ old farmhouse in southern Ohio. Grandpa died in 1984, and Grandma died just a few years ago, but their legacies are alive and well. In no particular order, here are a few things I (re)(un)learned this weekend…

  • Nehemiah was an extraordinary leader that I want to emulate.
  • My daughter is a persistent and naturally-talented horse rider.
  • Every time my extended family gets together I learning something new about their past… and my past.
  • I love my family heritage!
  • It was so cool watching all the boys play the same games in the barns that I used to play as a boy!
  • Sleeping in the same room with Betsy but in a separate bed makes for a lousy night of sleep. The closer I am to my best friend, the better I sleep.
  • Eating meals with 15 people around the table forced me to listen more intently to the one who was talking. Why don’t I do this all the time?
  • One should not play American football, rugby, ultimate Frisbee and soccer (world football) on the same day without a good supply of Motrin handy.
  • Bradford, Ohio, is just as I remembered it as a kid. So is my grandparents’ farm.
  • My puppy only had to get shocked once by the electric fence to learn her lesson. Sometimes it takes me more zaps!
  • I missed my new church family this weekend!
  • I think I’m partially addicted to my email, Facebook, blog, and Twitter. Had to run to the Bradford library on Saturday for a “fix.”
  • Fireside chats are one of the best places to really get to know someone better. And a great place to reveal my own heart more intimately.
  • I need to keep my camera close as there is so much that I want to document and preserve for my kids and grandkids.
  • These kinds of weekends should be more regular in my annual calendar.
  • Sitting on the couch snuggling with Betsy is the best wrap-up to any weekend.

Did you (re)(un)learn anything on your Sabbath? Whether or not you did any (re)(un)learning last week, today is the start of a brand new week. Let’s make it a goal to (re)(un)learn something this week, and use our next Sabbath to reflect on it.

%d bloggers like this: