The image bearers and a broken creation

We are reading through Lisa Sharon Harper’s excellent book The Very Good Gospel in a small group at our church for Lent. It is a powerful book focusing on the broken relationships we see all around and the longing to restore shalom in the world.

One example:

When we deprive people of the ability to exercise dominion (agency) and then we exploit the land, the image of God is crushed on earth. God does not reign in that place, and the damage to creation stands as a witness to our rebellion. We were meant to exercise dominion over the rest of creation, not over each other.

Where am I found?

15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:15-17)

This is the challenge I have in my life: where can I be found? Since moving from a place I lived for 20 years, I’ve had to rebuild those places and I can honestly say it’s hard on me.

Read more

Book Review — The Very Good Gospel

The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong Can Be Made Right

The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong Can Be Made Right by Lisa Sharon Harper

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Lisa Sharon Harper has one of the best calls to “SHALOM” I’ve read in quite some time. She is in the vein of Walter Brueggemann, who writes the introduction for her book.

Harper tackles the issue of the depth of the Gospel. The Gospel isn’t about individual salvation alone but the work to see God restoring what he has longed for in humanity all along: SHALOM. This isn’t about us getting saved so we can get to heaven. This is about us joining God again in his GLORIOUS work in this world. Through the work of the Gospel we can see shalom truly restored, but we have to get in our own spirits the understanding of the worth of ALL humanity and how Christ’s love can direct us in this work.

From regaining worth of self to relationships to genders to races to the physical world to the nations, Harper lays out the heart of God in each situation. It is an incredibly challenging read. One that I found refreshing for my spirit.



View all my reviews

The mind set on God — true abundance

Reading for today:

Psalm 42, 43, 85, 86
Gen. 46:1-7, 28-34
1 Cor. 9:1-15
Mark 6:47-56

Our need is to turn our minds to Christ. Our problem is that we are self-obsessed.

“Teach me your way, Lord;
so that I can walk in your truth.
Make my heart focused
only on honoring your name.” — Ps. 86:11

Some thoughts from Life Without Lack, Dallas Willard’s newest book:

We need our hearts and minds turned toward Christ. Our trouble is… ourselves. We too often operate out of hurt. Wounds we have received become our focus. (Hit your thumb with a hammer and notice how much you think about that thumb for the next few days.)

Hurt in our lives can become a prison. That, in turn, becomes our frame of reference as we turn to others. What flows out of us? Hurt. We end up wounding others and cause a literal “world of hurt.”

We are a world of individuals trying to become our own saviors.

The need in our lives is the fullness of the gospel. It’s not the transactional gospel of “say the right words and you get into heaven.” It’s not the social justice gospel of filling in the gaps we think Jesus left behind on this earth. It IS the gospel of the availability of the kingdom of the heavens through trust in Jesus Christ.

In is about Christ with us. It is about the abundance of the kingdom of heaven (John 10:10). Our minds need to dwell on the richness of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Our hearts and minds are incredible. We can absolutely think on Christ. We can choose where our minds dwell. That is the incredible beauty of the mind created by God in the first place. We are magnificent beings with immense possibility. That is what God has created!

I am tired of being my own savior. It’s worn me out. Trusting Christ? The focus is truly “mind blowing.” The Kingdom is vast. it is beautiful. And I have decided I simply won’t settle for anything less.