Review: iFaith

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I live with scavengers. Whenever I have anything interesting to read, they read it before I can get to it. Just yesterday my wife pulled out her journal and shared some notes with me that she'd taken while reading iFaith: Connecting With God in the 21st Century. That's about the highest recommendation I can give to a book. It's moved beyond being a book that sits on my shelf to a book that I'm sharing with Charlene, and that is causing us to talk about the state of our relationship with God.

iFaith is written by Daniel Darling, pastor of Gages Lake Bible Church near Chicago. It's written to address the subject of prayer and faith in an instant and connected society. We're not used to waiting, and we like everything to be convenient. We are always connected, which can mean that we're disconnected from the relationships that matter most, including our relationship with God. Darling calls us back to old biblical stories and basic principles of rest, silence, and peace with God.

I've preached from some of the passages that Darling covers. I appreciated his faithfulness to the texts, and his imaginative application to our lives today. This is not as easy as it looks.

There's almost nothing new in this book, which is a compliment. It's basic in the best sense of the word. Darling does nothing but think carefully about how Scripture applies to our current situation. I know that he did this well, because he touched on some of the issues that have been struggles for us. He talks about waiting, suffering, praying when struggling, finding that God is enough when we fall short, and more.

Again, there's nothing new here. There's only what we need to hear once again. If you'd like to be reminded of what it means to follow God as you live in an connected, instant-gratification world, then you'll benefit from reading and meditating on this book.

By the way, for Canadians, Darling will be on 100 Huntley Street tomorrow (June 1). You may want to check it out.

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Pray for Critics

I was smarting from some criticism recently when I reread this line by Spurgeon:

Get a friend to tell you your faults, or better still, welcome an enemy who will watch you keenly and sting you savagely. What a blessing such an irritating critic will be to a wise man, what an intolerable nuisance to a fool!

Spurgeon had a gift for saying what needs to be said. I needed to read this.

One of the toughest parts of pastoring is the criticism. Some of it is fair; a lot of it isn't. As our culture becomes increasingly cynical of those in positions of authority, a critical spirit can pervade the church. If you pastor, you're going to be criticized.

Spurgeon reminded me that criticism isn't just something to be tolerated. It's something to be welcomed. So, pray for critics. I mean this in two ways:

  • Pray on behalf of your critics.
  • Pray that God will bless you with critics if you don't already have some.

Of course, you may want to pray that God will send some encouragers too.

For more on criticism, read Pastors and Personal Criticism by C.J. Mahaney (PDF).