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|Format: DRM Free ePub|
Vendor: David C. Cook
Publication Date: 2011
Glenn Packiam is executive pastor at New Life Church, where he oversees spiritual formation and serves as the teaching pastor for NewLifeSundayNight. Glenn is also the writer of several well-known worship songs including "Your Name" and "My Savior Lives." He is the author of Secondhand Jesus: Trading Rumors of God for a Firsthand Faith and Butterfly in Brazil: How Your Life Can Make a World of Difference. Glenn and his family live in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
He begins by throwing us into the deep end of the pool, introducing the centerpiece of Christian teaching with Jesus blessing a quartet of losers: the poor, the hungry, the grief-stricken, the despised (Luke 6:20-24). And the water is freezing cold. But Pastor Packiam doesn't apologize-he seems to think that Jesus means what he says. I hear him saying to us, "Get used to it."<p>
And we do get used to it, largely because the biblical message is conveyed to us on its own terms, as narrative. Not "truths" or "principles" or "advice", proof texts proving that Jesus didn't really mean what he said. The story, from Genesis to Jesus, gathers us into relationships and plot. Nothing impersonal here.
Not only do the Scriptures retain their original "storied," relational, character in the pages you are about to read but the poor, hungry, grief-stricken, and despised also retain theirs. None are lumped into categories and accounted for by statistics. They have personal names; they live in locatable places. We find ourselves in the company of a pastor who knows the men, women, and children he serves in Jesus' name. The stories convey a sense of accuracy and dignity. I don't catch a hint of sentimentalism or propagandistic manipulation in the telling. These are not poster-child renditions to manipulate our emotions.
There is also this. The poor, grief-stricken, and despised, that by now we are becoming accustomed to recognizing as lucky, make their appearance in Malaysia, Portland, Chicago, Starbucks, Cambodia, Detroit, Colorado Springs, and Uganda. Lest we stereotype the luckless as people we will never see, or maybe the person we look at in the mirror every morning, we are brought into a multi-cultural, world-embracing community in which God is doing His kingdom work.<p> This is explicitly kingdom work, kingdom of God work, a kingdom already here but also in the making. We are not just picking up the pieces in the wake of the expulsion from Eden and the confusion at Bable. God is making a kingdom and Christ is king. We are part of the work being done and also participants in the work. As we participate we realize that we bring no qualifications to the task, none at all. Lest we get in the way of the kingdom work that God is doing, Jesus redefines us all as the poor, the hungry, the grief-stricken, and the despised. Then as Pastor Packiam deftly and clearly works us and others into the kingdom story, we realize how thoroughly blessed we are-lucky, lucky indeed. - Eugene H. Peterson, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology, Regent College, Vancouver B. C.
bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: Over 65Gender: Female4 Stars Out Of 5we've been blessed for a purposeMarch 14, 2011bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: Over 65Gender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 4When you think of a "lucky" person, do you think of someone who has won the lottery? Someone who has had a few big breaks you never got? Successful people usually don't mention luck. Talent and hard work generally predict success. But even the successful have experienced a break here and there.
Real "luck," according to Packiam, involves the arrival of the kingdom of God. Jesus announced it using makarios, "fortunate, happy." Today we would say, "lucky," such as, "You lucky guy, you get to go on vacation."
Jesus described the lucky in His Sermon on the Mount and Packiam concentrates on the four beatitudes found in Luke's gospel. He uses stories from the Bible, his own experiences and those of others to explain our luck. He sums up Jesus' message, "Lucky you, for the kingdom of God has come to the unlikely and the unlucky." (35)
We believers are in that period of waiting for what we know is ours, like a child waiting for the bicycle he knows his parents have bought him for Christmas. The kingdom is "not yet" as well as "now."
Religion says the rich are blessed. Jesus said the poor are blessed. They are lucky - the powerless, the God-dependent. The spiritually hungry are lucky as God is preparing a feast for the future as well as feeding us now.
Mourners God promises to bless include those with deep remorse and repentance for sins. They also include those suffering unrelated to God's discipline. In the midst of mourning God brings hope. Those who are rejected on this earth because of their love for Jesus will have a blessed future in eternity.
Discussion questions at the end of each chapter make this a great book for small groups.
We have not become lucky for our own enjoyment, however. "In Christ, we have become lucky so we can become God's image-bearers and His luck-bearers to the world. The kingdom of God has come to us so that it might come through us to others." (63)
I received a copy of the book from the publisher, David C. Cook, for the purpose of this review.