Grace Church Summer Reading Program: Lord, Make My Life a Miracle by Ray and Anne Ortlund. Introduction and Chapter One: “Live with God”
Welcome to our 2012 Grace Church summer reading program. I’m so happy that you’re joining me again. Over the past three summers we have read Francis Chan’s Crazy Love and Forgotten God, and Wayne Cordeiro’s The Divine Mentor. Each of these books was significant in adding to the strength and culture that we are developing here at Grace, and I think this summer’s book will do the same. This summer we will be reading Lord, Make My Life a Miracle written by the late Ray Ortlund and his wife, Anne (if you haven’t purchased your copy yet, you can do so online or in one of our Sunday services).
As we’ve done in the past, we will move sequentially through the book at one chapter each week, and I will post some observations and potential discussion questions here on my blog.
Ray was the pastor of Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, CA when he challenged his comfortable, established congregation to take a radical step of increased commitment in their walk with Jesus Christ. The result of that commitment transformed Lake Avenue Church, producing a dynamic surge of passion for the Lord, care for one another, and a determination to reach hurting people with the amazing Gospel of Jesus Christ.
That is exactly what we are building together here at Grace—we are becoming a church that is committed to growing, giving, and going until all of the communities around us are experiencing the love, power, and reality of Jesus Christ.
The first step in sharing God’s love and power is to make sure we’re experiencing it for ourselves. On page 5 (of my copy of the book) Pastor Ray pleads with his readers to fall in love with Jesus again. He writes, “Will you adjust your vision, Will you look beyond? Will you see the Lord, high and lifted up, seated on His throne, surrounded by worshipping ones? Will you dare to lift your eyes?”
On page 11 he continues: “My friend, Christ is in you…He is closer than any problem! If you are living moment by moment with this great awareness of God within, everything else will be truly revolutionized.”
As we shift in to a summer schedule and rhythm let’s ask ourselves if our busy pace of life has caused us to lose that awareness of the nearness of God’s presence. If our devotion has been distracted by the details of life, let’s sprint back to the Lord, refocus our “gaze” and rekindle the fire of our first love. It’s the first step to living a miraculous life.