It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
Today's Wild Card author is:
Lisa Are Wulf
and the book:
On a Quest for Christ: Tracing the Footsteps of Your Spiritual Journey
Spiritual Formation House (June 20, 2012)
***Special thanks to Lisa Are Wulf for sending me a review copy.***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
As a ministry leader and Fuller Seminary graduate, Lisa Aré Wulf has a gift for creative communication that touches hearts and transforms lives. A mid-life convert to Christ, Lisa's articles have appeared in dozens of Christian publications. She has spoken to women's groups and churches across the country.
Before entering the ministry, Lisa served eight years on the Colorado Springs City Council. She is also a retired CPA, a former radio talk show host, an accounting professor, and was a violinist. She and her husband, Calvin, have four children and are happy empty-nesters. They currently reside in Colorado.
Visit the author's website.
SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:
Understanding your personal journey opens a door to new spiritual growth. "On a Quest for Christ," a 30-day devotional, will help you trace your steps from the first whispers of faith to resting in God's arms. Gentle questions guide the telling of your story while prayers and comforting scripture enrich your reflections. The "Christ Quest Time Map" helps you see the path ahead as you look back on your journey. Experience healing and hope as you increase your spiritual self-awareness and find Christ at critical points in your life.
Lisa Are Wulf is a fresh voice with a pure and transparent heart. "On a Quest for Christ" invites you into her own journey with personal vignettes to guide you in tracing your spiritual path. Let her lead you to places along the way where Christ was at work in your life. As she says, "Your spiritual story is significant. Who you are makes a difference. The impact of your life is incalculable."
List Price: $9.99
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Spiritual Formation House (June 20, 2012)
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:
May all who search for you
be filled with joy and gladness.
May those who love your salvation
repeatedly shout, “The LORD is great!”
Psalm 40:16 (NLT)
Whether you know it or not, you’re on a quest. Perhaps you sense an emptiness, a vacuum, or a nagging hole inside. Filling it with excitement, money, or love just doesn’t do the trick. Maybe you feel contented with your life today, but suspect that something else, something deeper, awaits you. Either way, you’re on a quest—a quest for Christ.
What is a quest? It is simply a journey toward a worthy goal, the seeking of a noble end. There’s a catch, though. Something as significant as the search for God is bound to run into obstacles and challenges. I have faced them, and I’m sure you have too.
This devotional is for all who are on a spiritual journey with Christ. Through its pages, you will trace your steps from the first whispers of faith to resting in God’s arms. You may be miles along the road, or you may be just beginning. Regardless of where you are on the journey, your story is sacred—a saga that leads ultimately to the one true God.
During this process, I’ll invite you into my personal faith journey. Each chapter features snippets from my story. Because I’ve selected just a few snapshots from a lifetime of experience, many significant people, places, and events are not included. My hope is that the ones I have chosen will lead you to a deeper reflection on your own memories. I’ve also provided thought-provoking questions, scripture meditations, and special prayers to help you see ever more clearly the transforming grace of God in your life. At the end of each chapter, you’ll have a chance to write your own personal prayer.
As we explore this quest together, reflect on the stages you’ve passed through. They may not exactly parallel my own, but the similarities could be astonishing. You may have experienced some of the phases, but not all. Perhaps they occurred in a different order. Maybe some of your stages aren’t included in this book. Don’t worry; this devotional book is only a guide for your journey. As you work through it, you’ll see God’s hand in your life and the direction he is leading you.
Why would you want to chart your personal faith journey? Because your spiritual story is significant. Who you are makes a difference. God ordained this path for your life even before the dawn of creation. It matters to you. It matters to me. In fact, it matters to the whole community of faith, both now and forever. The impact of your life is incalculable.
As you begin to explore your personal quest for Christ, take a minute to reflect on this scripture passage. Listen for God’s message to you.
The Kingdom of Heaven is like a pearl merchant
on the lookout for choice pearls.
When he discovered a pearl of great value,
he sold everything he owned and bought it!
Matthew 13:45-46 (NLT)
When we find the treasure we have been seeking for so long, it changes our lives. We hold it close, vowing never to let it go. As we begin to map our quest for the pearl of infinite value, let us join in prayer, asking for God’s guidance and steady hand on our journey.
Gracious God, you are the missing piece in our lives, the pearl we seek. For years, we have looked high and low for you. We’ve searched in every imaginable place. But you’ve been with us all along, urging us forward, shepherding us into your flock. Stay with us as we tell our stories and map our spiritual quests. Keep us safe as we continue to seek you on the journey of life, today and always. Amen.
I wish you a fruitful walk filled with joy and wonder, discovery and delight.
The LORD called me before my birth;
from within the womb he called me by name.
Isaiah 49:1 (NLT)
“Hey—it’s freezing cold out here. And what’s with the bright lights and noise? Everything was nice and peaceful until a minute ago!”
No doubt about it, birth is a shock to our tiny bodies! We burst onto the scene, often to great fanfare and festivity. Soon the excitement is over, and our overwhelmed and bewildered parents find themselves alone with a little one to nurture and guide. It’s a daunting task for all!
The journey to Christ begins on the day of our birth. Some of us are born into warm, loving homes. Some are not. Some families are Christian. Some are not. They may be rich or poor, large or small, spiritually strong or emotionally damaged. In every situation, God tenderly holds each new life in his hand.
The stained glass window sparkled behind my long white baby dress. Back then, baptism seemed like the socially correct thing to do. So my parents arranged a ceremony at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C., even though they weren’t particularly interested in Christianity.
Dad was drafted soon after I was born, and the Army assigned him to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington D.C. Later, after finishing his studies at the Mayo Clinic, he became a brain surgeon in Wyoming. But alcohol, drugs, violence, and mental illness ravaged our family and tarnished my young soul.
Ultimately, my parents divorced and our comfortable lifestyle vanished. Mother moved the four kids to Colorado and re-married. Life felt disconnected and relationships were strained. Necessities like toilet paper were sometimes hard to come by. Rats lived in the kitchen. Each day brought its own challenge.
* * * * *
From the moment of our birth, God has a faith journey in mind for each of us. Sometimes he gives us a head start by placing us in a Christian family. But even when we grow up clearly outside the realm of faith, he sets a path for us to make the journey back to him.
All of us begin our trek as a blank slate, waiting for the finger of God to write a beautiful story with our lives. He calls us by name from the beginning, no matter how far we must walk to meet him again. He honors the struggle of redemption in every single life.
How would you describe the household where you grew up?
What were some good things about your childhood?
Describe the challenges you and your family faced.
Did you have any early childhood religious experience? What was it?
We don’t randomly appear at our birth for no reason. God himself created us at this particular time to fulfill his unique purpose. Consider your life as you ponder this verse:
Long ago, even before he made the world,
God loved us and chose us in Christ
to be holy and without fault in his eyes.
Ephesians 1:4 (NLT)
How can you tell that you are chosen by God?
What other thoughts do you have about birthing?
Give It to God
Before I drew my first breath and opened my eyes to the light, you knew me by name. In the comfort of the womb, you created and formed me for your special purpose. Be with me as I explore my story and trace my spiritual journey. Help me follow the path marked out for me. As I face the challenges ahead, guide me with your loving hand.
Your Special Prayer
Take just a moment to express your thoughts and heart to God.