Friday, August 16, 2013

Finding God in the Bible by Darren Wilson

Have you ever wondered why all those stories are in the Bible? A friend of God asked to murder his own son. A man after God's own heart arranges the death of his lover's husband.

Darren is himself a story teller and approaches the stories of the Bible a little differently. He suggests God reveals Himself through His interactions with the characters He created. Darren spent the last six years on a personal journey of discovering the living God revealed in biblical stories, resulting in this book.

The implications Darren gathers from the creation story are amazing. God reveals Himself as Friend. His first interaction with humans is a kiss. He gives man the command to produce, to be creative. We are reminded our words carry weight with God.

Darren looks at Moses, God's friend who started out a hot-headed murderer. “Moses' story shows God's disregard for who you are now and His belief in whom you will become through friendship with Him.” (73)

Other stories Darren investigates include Abraham, Joseph, Gideon, King Saul, David, and all the weirdos in the Old Testament (a talking animal, a bald prophet, a prophet making clay models, a prophet going naked for three years while he preached). He also includes the absurd way God chose to usher His Son into the physical world.

The lessons he brings out of the stories are encouraging. For example, from David, “God always sees our potential, whereas we usually only see someone's past.” (154) And, “Friendship with God does not rid us of our flaws.” (175)

Some of the insights are very challenging! How about this one on being friends with God? “Basically we are acquainted with God. We go to His house once a week. We eat with Him occasionally. Once and a while we actually talk to Him, and we know other people who are really good friends with Him. We've had just enough interaction with Him over the years that we can confidently say that we know Him and that He knows us.” (45) But there is a big difference between an acquaintance and a friend.

And this one about how we do church: “In an era where we worry so much about whether or not our church services are appealing or if we're doing evangelism 'right,' God has His Old Testament prophets do things that would land anyone in our society in an insane asylum.” (196)

I liked his insight about Lazarus, that “very good friends of God are forced to endure incredible hardships for 'the ultimate glory of God.'” (220) He adds good reasons as to why. That will make the “God always wants you well and prospering” Christians think a bit!

Darren says God might have included all these stories in the Bible so we will know that God is willing to use people like us to accomplish His tasks – and to remind us God might also be using that other person we think is so strange.

This is a great book, looking at the stories in the Bible and finding the revelation of God's character and nature. It is also a great book about friendship with God. Read it and wonder again that God would invite us to be His friends.

Darren Wilson is the founder of Wanderlust Productions, a film/television production company in Chicago that focuses on creating media and creatively and powerfully advances the Kingdom of God around the world. He created the non-profit Wanderlust Foundation, which is dedicated to bringing hope, dignity and a voice to the voiceless. Before going into film full time, Darren taught at Judson University in Elgin, Illinois. Darren, his wife and their three children live in the Chicago area. His films include Finger of God, Furious Love, and Father of Lights. His first book is Filming God. You can find out more about him at www.wpfilm.com.

Chosen Books, 240 pages. Publisher's product page.

I received a complimentary egalley from Chosen Books for the purpose of this review.
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