Understanding Prayer: Its Purpose, Its Power, Its Potential (Value Books)

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Articles

  1. Journaling optimizes your creative potential
  2. The 12 most influential spiritual books of the past 50 years - Matador Network
  3. The New Parish
  4. Reader Interactions

Skip to content Skip to footer. Without a purpose, life is motion without meaning, activity without direction, and events without reason.

Journaling optimizes your creative potential

Without a purpose, life is trivial, petty, and pointless. We ask self-centered questions like: What do I want to be? What should I do with my life?

What are my goals, my ambitions, my dreams for my future? We become preoccupied with making a living, doing our work, paying bills, and accomplishing goals as if these tasks are the point of life. They are not. The point of life is learning to love — God and people. Life minus love equals zero. It is during suffering that we learn to pray our most authentic, heartfelt, honest-to-God prayers. That image is your life metaphor. He wants you to grow up spiritually and become like Christ. Becoming like Christ does not mean losing your personality or becoming a mindless clone. Christlikeness is all about transforming your character, not your personality.

If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose. Your life is not a result of random chance, fate, or luck. There is a master plan. Many people spend their lives trying to create a lasting legacy on earth. Yet, what ultimately matters most will not be what others say about your life but what God says.

These ideas are the foundation of purpose-driven living. This is true humility: not thinking less of ourselves but thinking of ourselves less. They are self-forgetful. Wisdom is learning that truth sooner rather than later. Those who still yearn for it will find reason to keep hope alive.

The book exudes the patient and passionate commitment to praxis that the authors live out in their neighborhoods.

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The 12 most influential spiritual books of the past 50 years - Matador Network

We are grateful for their collective contribution to the kingdom community. The New Parish is the handbook for that movement. Paul, Tim and Dwight have been mentors in my own journey into place. It's likely that my copy of their wise, inspiring and even essential book will never make it on to my bookshelf; I'll keep it close at hand and return to it again and again. Sparks, Soerens and Friesen are giving us new eyes to see and convening a new space for what is emerging in our context by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

In The New Parish we are being invited to participate more fully and faithfully into this Spirit-led, ancient-future social technology of the kingdom of God.

Are you in place? Instead, it is a call, a guide, and a toolkit written by three colaborers engaged on the frontier of the twenty-first-century Christian community.


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In contrast to a church blown by the fragmenting winds of capitalist creative destruction, consumerism and individualism, Sparks, Soerens and Friesen offer us a hopeful alternative vision. This is a church that abides in fragile dependence on the Spirit and sees in the bricks, mortar and faces of its neighborhood the real substance of the kingdom of God. Even more, they present us with practical suggestions on how those of us seeking to feel our way forward in this time of transformation can begin to cultivate such formative, missional and deeply relational communities.

They don't exist! What is needed for the church today are wild ideas that line up with the story of Scripture. In The New Parish, we finally have a group of friends telling their stories and giving us something radical to consider: behaving as Jesus would in our neighborhoods. This book will blow some circuits, but seriously, aren't you tired of reading the same stuff in different packages? Read at your own risk. The authors fully recognize the sorry state of much of the church in our culture, but insist, in most imaginative ways, that another way of church is possible.

It is all about relationship, listening, communicating and caring in bodily, concrete ways. The New Parish reveals why such a practice is deeply grounded in the gospel and how this is contrary to so many current church strategies. This is hands-on missional ecclesiology in its most generative mode.

Those called to lead the parish did not organize for the purpose of drawing people to a specific theology or affinity or program. Done well, those called to lead 'read' their neighborhood and responded. They did not wish for 'other people,' they thanked God for the people in their neighborhood, put down roots, built relationships and incarnated the body of Christ. This book is an attempt to reclaim that traditional understanding in a new day for a new generation.

It is much needed, and I am so thankful for it.

The New Parish

The neighborhood is honored in this book. The kingdom of God is proclaimed in ways that are ancient and new. Sparks, Friesen and Soerens are not wild-eyed dreamers, but make no mistake, they have eyes to see and ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church. What these creative pastors understand is that there is, in fact, a new parish. It calls for deep local practice fueled by incarnational presence, solidarity and collaboration with the Spirit in the neighborhood.

Much of theological education seems to miss that point. Warning: Don't read this book unless you care about the ministry of the church in the next decade. This is a powerful account of a necessary future. This is a counterintuitive notion for churches that have bought into the mobile and transient values of our culture. In prophetic tones the authors suggest that if the church cannot be present and involved in its neighborhood, it has lost its way. These theologically trained authors all propose a new parish. Follow Jesus into your neighbourhood with other followers of Jesus.

This means 'taking your bodies, your locations and your community very seriously, as seriously as God in Christ took them. This book would be an excellent resource for small group study. Friesen have seen. This is not a new idea, the concept of a parish is as old as Paul's letters to the various communities of the ancient church. What I also appreciate is the authors do not gloss over the challenges presented and the hard work involved in developing a new parish. They acknowledge the journey is complex, the transition difficult, and experienced guides are few.

Reader Interactions

This is a resource that will definitely be a textbook for those wanting to embrace a localized view of church in years to come. Church leaders who get that they need to learn to see and listen first of all—to God and to their parish context—will cultivate practices of discernment for themselves and the communities they lead. In this way they will 'spark the communal imagination toward Spirit-led action in the parish' and—as the stories in the book demonstrate—plant seeds for ministry that will bear much fruit.

Real gospel transformation has to start in our neighborhoods, as people root themselves—their spirits, emotions, and bodies—in a particular place. The New Parish shows how believers can come together, both within the church and beyond, for the good of their communities. If you aren't jazzed about what God is doing in your neighborhood after reading this book, it might be time to move.

Presencing: Adapting to the Spirit? Linking: Connecting the Church Across Places 9. IVP Academic. Special Offers. IVP Book Club. The New Parish. Dan B. Allender, professor of counseling psychology and founding president, The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. Brian D. Keith R.