If you’re not reading Jared Wilson’s writing, then you should think about doing so. I started reading his blog about a year ago, and was excited to have the chance earlier this year to review his first book, Your Jesus is Too Safe. I have found Jared’s writing to be engaging, thought-provoking, challenging, and yet entertaining at the same time. So I was excited to have the chance to work together with him on this project. It’s a Bible study released by Threads called Abide: Practicing Kingdom Rhythms in a Consumer Culture.
The idea behind the book is that we all have a certain rhythm to our lives. Most of the time, we don’t even think about that rhythm; it just sort of happens to us. And for most of us, the rhythm involves (though we hate to admit it), noise, busyness, pursuit of money, and isolation. These rhythms are indicative of our culture as a whole.
But in this Bible study, Jared looks at the Sermon on the Mount and walks through the rhythms of the kingdom of God described there, and how those rhythms counter the rhythms of culture all around us.
Or another way to look at is this: Abide is a book about spiritual disciplines like prayer, reading the Bible, and fasting.
I’ve read alot of books about spiritual discipline, and though most of the authors didn’t intend for this to be my reaction, I’ve consistently come away from them thinking, “Boy, I’m just not trying hard enough to pray. I need to try harder.” And that’s what sets Abide apart from the rest.
In discussing these disciplines, Jared adeptly brings a gospel-centered approach to all of them so that we start participating in these rhythms not from a sense of guilt or failure, but out of the confidence we have in what Jesus has done on our behalf. The result is a description of the disciplines that does indeed feel much more like a rhythm of life rather than just a list of stuff you’re supposed to do.
I particularly enjoyed Jared’s chapter about “Feeling Scripture.” In it, he talks through how that idea is subtley different than just having a Bible reading plan, and even provides some very practical and helpful steps on how to appropriately read the Bible as a rhythm. My favorite of these involves looking for where Jesus is in every passage of the Bible. (His interpretation of David and Goliath in this chapter has forever changed the way I will read and teach the most famous of Old Testament stories, incidentally.)
As with all Threads studies, you can purchase a member book or a leader kit or both. The leader kit comes with a member book inside it, but also has a discussion guide, videos, and e-mailable audio devotions from Jared to help your small group be connected with the material throughout the week. The videos contained on Abide are particularly good, combining engaging teaching from Jared with some stellar graphical representations of his major points. They’re great discussion starters and good to be shown in a number of different venues (what do the spiritual disciplines have to do with a sailboat? Gotta watch the videos to find out).
I highly recommend this study for you as an individual or if you’ll be leading a small group any time soon. You can order Abide for yourself by clicking here.