Required readings

I love it when I enjoy assigned reading! Tomorrow (that is, unless these Midwestern and Northeastern storms leave me snowed-in somewhere State-side), I leave for a month-long internship on cross-cultural ministry, the final requirement before going overseas with MTW. It is held in Brussels, Belgium. Three books were assigned in preparation for the time of training. If you’ll allow, I would highly recommend these for your small group, your church missions committee, and/or your personal reading list! I’ll include a few sound bites hoping they will pique your interest:

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Total Church by Tim Chester & Steve Timmis

“We ask, ‘Where does God fit into the story of my life?,’ when the real question is ‘Where does my little life fit into this great story of God’s mission?’… We wrestle with ‘making the gospel relevant to the world.’ But in this story, God is about the business of transforming the world to fit the shape of the gospel.” (p. 35)

“All theology must be missionary in its orientation. We need the same reorientation as churches. We are in a missionary situation, and all that we do must be missionary.” (p. 86)

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Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero

“The spirituality of most current discipleship models often only adds an additional protective layer against people growing up emotionally. Because people are having real, and helpful, spiritual experiences in certain areas of their lives–such as worship, prayer, Bible studies, and fellowship–they mistakenly believe they are doing fine, even if their relational life and interior world is not in order. This apparent ‘progress’ then provides a spiritual reason for not doing the hard work of maturing.” (p. 15) “The work of growing in Christ (what theologians call sanctification) does not mean we don’t go back to the past as we press ahead to what God has for us. It actually demands we go back in order to break free from unhealthy and destructive patterns that prevent us from loving ourselves and others as God designed.” (p. 29)

“How do we know we are in ‘the dark night’? Our good feelings of God’s presence evaporate. We feel the door of heaven has been shut as we pray. Darkness, helplessness, weariness, a sense of failure or defeat, barrenness, emptiness, dryness descend upon us. … We can’t see what God is doing and we see little visible fruit in our lives. This is God’s way of rewiring and ‘purging our affections and passions’ that we might delight in his love and enter into a richer, fuller communion with him. … He works to free us from unhealthy attachments and idolatries of the world. … God sends us ‘the dark night of loving fire’ to free us. While I talked about the critical importance of paying attention to our feelings in order to know God, the ‘dark night’ protects us from worshiping them. … God powerfully invades us when we persevere patiently through this suffering. Our great temptation is to quit or go backwards, but if we remain still, listening for his voice, God will insert something of himself into our character that will mark the rest of our journey with him.” (p. 122-124)

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Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Just as surely as God desires to lead us to a knowledge of genuine Christian fellowship, so surely must we be overwhelmed by a great disillusionment with others, with Christians in general, and, if we are fortunate, with ourselves. By sheer grace, God will not permit us to live even for a brief period in a dream world. He does not abandon us to those rapturous experiences and lofty moods that come over us like a dream. … Only that fellowship which faces such disillusionment, with all its unhappy and ugly aspects, begins to be what it should be in God’s sight, begins to grasp in faith the promise that is given to it. The sooner this shock of disillusionment comes to an individual and to a community the better for both. … He who loves his dream of community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial. … When the morning mists of dreams vanish, then dawns the bright day of Christian fellowship. … We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts. … if we only keep complaining to God that everything is so paltry and petty, so far from what we expected, then we hinder God from letting our fellowship grow according to the measure and riches which are there for us all in Jesus Christ.” (p. 26-29)

“Human love is directed to the other person for his own sake, spiritual love loves him for Christ’s sake. Therefore, human love seeks direct contact with the other person; it loves him not as a free person but as one whom it binds to itself. It wants to gain, to capture by every means; it uses force. It desires to be irresistibly, to rule. … Human love makes itself an end in itself. It creates of itself an idol which it worships, to which it must subject everything. It nurses and cultivates an ideal, it loves itself, and nothing else in the world. Spiritual love, however, comes from Jesus Christ, it serves him alone; it knows that it has no immediate access to other persons. Jesus Christ stands between the lover and the others he loves.” (p. 34-35)

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7 comments
  1. God’s speed and blessings as you take this next step In your journey. Thank you for the book titles . Will continue to pray for you and the other missionaries on this journey of preparation. Elizabeth Ellis Cornerstone Church

    • kyriaj said:

      Thank you Elizabeth! I arrived here in Belgium — good to see Josh and meet the rest of the Reiger family. We’ve got a great group with the rest of the MTW folks, and I think we’ll learn a lot from each other 🙂

  2. Debby Comer said:

    Hey sweet Kyria – thanks for the additions to our book lists 🙂 Emily got back to her college apartment last night and said “I have too many books!” I think between her birthday (also in December) and Christmas she got about 40 books 🙂

    We’ll be praying for you as you travel!! I love some of the museums in Brussels – the musical instrument one is amazing (and huge). And the Magritte part of the art museum (I can’t remember what it’s called) is good (though he had a very sad life). And of course the chocolate is YUM. We look forward to hearing about your adventures!!

    Hugs!!

    Debby

    • kyriaj said:

      Good to hear from you Debby 🙂 Wow, yes it sounds like Emily has her work cut out for her! I’m heading in to Brussels today to explore, so I’ve made a note of those 2 spots you suggested & hopefully I can check them out!

  3. Barb Darling said:

    Kyria, we are so excited and thankful for you as you move along in the missionary process! Thank you for the book list. They look wonderful and helpful. (I think some of those dark nights have crept into my life and just today saw some light after digging in to the Word. Then your email came and shed more light!) We hope you are not iced in and can begin your new adventures in Christ as soon as possible! We will be praying for you and wish you the best! Barb Darling, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Gainesville, TX

  4. Feuilledechene said:

    You can come an visit us if you want !
    Hugs !

    • kyriaj said:

      Coucou les Dutilleuls 🙂 Ah j’aimerais vous voir !! Vous habitez où déjà maintenant ? Le truc c’est qu’on n’a pas beaucoup de jours libres à la fois. Mais le samedi est libre donc peut être…?

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