Friday, June 7, 2019

Practicing the Present by John Koessler

This is a book for pastors and church leaders, especially those who tend to live in the past or are obsessed with the future. Koessler attempts to put the present in its proper place, viewing present circumstances through the lens of the sacred.

Much of the material is not for laypeople but I, a layperson, found some parts of the book very helpful. I liked his teaching on how we worry about the past. We speculate about what we might have done and how it might have turned out. He encourages us to live in the truth that God has redeemed our past. I also liked his teaching on those of us experiencing anxiety about the future. He encourages us to understand God established the future by appointment. We brood about the past and fret about the future because we have lost sight of God. (522/2262)

I like his encouragement for clergy to reclaim Luther's vision of the sacred importance of the “secular.” We are to find the sacred value of ordinary life. (486/2262)

Koessler covers a number of other topics such as responsible eating, self awareness and contemplation, decision making (intuition, Holy Spirit leading, and collective discernment), and more.

This is a book for clergy who want to be reminded to pay attention to what God is doing right now. It is an encouragement to see the opportunities God is presenting to them right now. The appeal of this book for laypeople is very limited.

Food for thought: “Practicing the present will require us to reclaim a sense of the eternal significance of [the] mundane spaces in our lives.” (494/2262)

My rating: 4/5 stars

John Koessler serves as chair of the pastoral studies department at Moody Bible Institute, where he has served on the faculty since 1994. He is an award-winning author who has written thirteen books and numerous magazine articles. Prior to joining the Moody faculty, Koessler served as a pastor of Valley Chapel in Green Valley, Illinois, for nine years. He and his wife have two adult sons and live in Munster, Indiana.

Moody Press, 224 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

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