THE DISCERNING LIFE

Near the end of February I requested another book that would be sent to be at no cost if I would write a review of it. The title of the book got my attention and I knew I wanted to read it.

The main title is THE DISCERNING LIFE and the sub-title is An Invitation to Notice GOD IN EVERYTHING. My interest in and desire to review the book was satisfied and having read it I added the phrase to the book’s title “Getting More Engaged with God.”

The author of the book is Stephen A. Macchia, founder and president of Leadership Foundations, Inc., a ministry which focuses on the spiritual formation needs of leaders and the spiritual discernment processes of leadership teams.

In the book’s introduction Macchia notes, “Far too often, spiritual discernment has been pigeon-holed into the exclusive realm of decision-making, learning how to make good choices and know God’s will methodically and predictably.

In the first sentence of the second paragraph he tells us “spiritual discernment is so much more. It’s the choice of the bold and courageous to know God intimately. It’s an invitation to all who desire a lifestyle that continuously seeks God’s presence, power, peace, and purposes.” He concludes the paragraph with, “We embrace the discerning life by learning to tune out the many distractions demanding our attention and daily practice a preference for God.”

A few pages before he concludes his introduction Macchia warns and challenges readers that “the discerning life needs to be cultivated.” A couple of pages later he reminds us, “Just as our physical home needs daily care, so too does our discerning heart. God invites us to abide in him as he chooses to reside in us.”

After the book’s introduction there follows nine chapters giving insight and instruction for growing in discernment. Chapters include attentiveness, listening, presence, hospitality, empathy, focus, process, and lifestyle. These chapters are filled will advise and help for those wanting to “Notice God in Everything.”

Following the nine chapters of instruction the book is wrapped up with a brief, but helpful Epilog and three Appendixes with a wealth of suggestions, ideas, and examples that will prove helpful to readers who have walked through the instructive chapters to grow in “The Discerning Life and “NOTICE GOD IN EVERYTHING.”

Before I conclude my thoughts on this book review I want to cite a few powerful statements from throughout the book that I hope creates interest. “Unless we learn how to discern God’s presence, his power, his protection, and his peace, we will not be able to discern the will of God” (pp. 7 and 8). “The Spirit himself dwells within us. And he longs for us to know him and perceive and discern his presence, his power, his piece, and his purpose” (pp. 17 and 18). “The lens for our life of discernment is not a rearview mirror focusing on the past, nor is it a telescope looking toward the future. Instead, it’s the mirror that forces us to look at the here and now” (p. 67). “Listening is skill number one for any healthy discernment process” (p. 180).

Christians who read and ponder THE DISCERNING LIFE will be challenged, instructed, convicted, and encouraged to cultivate his or her growing relationship generously offered by God. THE Discerning Life is a ZONDERVAN REFLECTIVE and was published by Zondervan in 2022.

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