You Must Read This . . . A Spiritual Retreat

By Becky Ahlberg

Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense
By N.T. Wright

New York: HarperCollins, 2006

I found this gem during my search for help in writing the spiritual formation curriculum for an intensive yearlong program for low-income single mothers. As is often the case, when you teach, you learn the most. For this teacher, this book was like fresh water to a parched soul. In its simplicity and clarity it brought into bold relief how truly dry I was!

Page after page the author brings to life the theology we often “know” and yet don’t understand in a personal way. But more than that, I found myself reminded of why I fell in love with Jesus and why I am committed to serve him. It provided a spiritual retreat for me of profound depth. I can’t remember a book that so fully engaged my brain AND my heart.

And yet, because it is without frills, clear and accessible in its language, and approachable in its lack of pretense, it provided a treasure trove of material for introducing God, his Word, his church, worship, spiritual disciplines, and practical application to a novice group just beginning to consider who God is and what he can mean in a life. It certainly met my need for illustrations, vocabulary, and explanations in the curriculum I was developing. But more than that, it gave ME a much-needed reminder that God is more than the sum total of my knowledge—or anyone else’s. And true to form for me, it reminded me of a precious hymn: “I am His and He is mine!”

Becky Ahlberg is executive director of My Safe Harbor, a ministry to empower single mothers in Anaheim, California. She also serves as worship minister with Anaheim First Christian Church and a contributing editor for CHRISTIAN STANDARD.

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