Seeking God’s Face


Every follower of Jesus wants to be a person of prayer. That’s what Eugene Peterson suggests in the introduction to Seeking God’s Face. I think he’s right. Trouble is, few of us know where to start or what to say.

This is where Seeking God’s Face  is brilliant. It encourages a daily practice of prayer and reading by providing a structured program throughout the year.

Each daily reading has several sections:

Invitation: A brief passage of Scripture drawing the reader into a mindfulness of God’s presence.

Quiet: The reader is encouraged to be still before the Lord. Turn off. Slow down. Be quiet. “Cultivating a stilled, attentive heart before God and quieting down actual noise and internal noise is a vital step in preparing to hear God’s voice.” (p.19)

Bible Song: Each day has a Psalm to be used a prayer. These Psalms guide the reader to respond to God. It might be confession of sin, praise for His goodness, or magnifying his power. Following these Psalms will take the reader through the entire Psalter twice in the year.

Bible Reading: The readings follow the celebrations of the church year: Christmas, Lent, Easter, Pentecost etc. The readings are for meditation: to hear the voice of God. Since we believe the best place to hear God’s voice is Scripture, this is a welcome alternative to reading what someone else has written, and to hear God’s word directly.

Quiet: The second period of quiet presents an opportunity to move to a more contemplative frame, opening ourselves to what God will say to us in his word.

Dwelling: The reader is encouraged to slowly re-read the Bible passage, listening for words and concepts that stand out as they read. This is lectio divina – listening for God’s voice and seeking to grow in our walk with him. The author acknowledges this may be new for some, but in a world where we are so used to interpreting, studying and analysing the word it is good to train ourselves simply to listen deeply.

Free Prayer: Several prayer points are noted, which are excellent prompts to broaden our prayer focus well beyond our immediate needs and personal gaze. For example: the first time I used this book it was suggested I pray for the continent of Australia. I thought that was pretty good!

Prayer: Each day has a set prayer where the living theology of the reformed confessions is enfolded into the Christian activity of prayer. One of the true benefits of this volume is that it works the faith heritage we know and love into our devotion and praise.

“If we can begin to weave these core Christian beliefs into our prayers, most likely we’ll find them trickling into our minds, embedded in our hearts, and lived out in our lives [.22]

Blessing: a final blessing closes the session, reminding us of God’s good intentions and his gracious provision.


Each day is conveniently arranged on a page opening, with a helpful table pointing the reader to the correct reading for each respective date.

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I love the way Seeking God’s Face opens my mind to God’s voice in his word. I love the way it slows me down. I love its depth of content. I love the way it draws me into the reformation heartbeat.

Whether you’re busy and your schedule is overgrown, or whether you’re looking for renewed opportunity to deepen your sense of God’s presence, Seeking God’s Face is just what you’re after.

As a Pastor, I can only dream about how my local church would grow and mature if every person used Seeking God’s Face for a year!


You can order Seeking God’s Face from Book Depository, Koorong, or direct from Faith Alive Resources

…and I should point out it’s way cheaper to buy this title through Book Depository.


Our Eyes Need To Be Opened

How many of us have made the connection between the various forms of violence and the seemingly intractable poverty of the developing world?

I didn’t have a clue     ….until I read The Locust Effect.

Michael Choi’s comment on my last post reminded me that like many people, I just did not think about the causes of poverty, or the forces that were actually keeping people poor in the developing world. And yet:

  • My family sponsors a number of children through Compassion Australia. This wonderful program creates connections between supporters like us and the kids we sponsor. Right now, there are a few letters on our kitchen bench we can respond to. But here’s the thing: I had never seriously pondered the situation of the communities these children live in (Haiti and India), or that predatory coercive violence could be so pervasive in communities like these. I just didn’t think about it

I just didn’t think about it …

  • Our church family, the Christian Reformed Churches of Australia, have special appeals for humanitarian aid. I had never considered that in several of these countries there are factors at work, evil things really, that are responsible for perpetuating poverty and oppression. What our church and others do is wonderful work, and I am not suggesting anything other. But what will all our aid and good will do if we do not address the plague that lies at the heart of many of these communities? Seriously, I had never considered that question. But hardly a day goes by now when it does settle uncomfortably somewhere in my consciousness
  • On my office desk, I have the smiling photograph of a young woman who was conned with the promise of a better life. The train she was placed on went to a different city than the one she thought she was travelling to. When she arrived, her traffickers snatched her away and threw her into a brothel. She is smiling now because IJM rescued her and then prosecuted those who so violently abused her. Even here, I knew the story, but I was not aware how pervasive violent acts like these were. I thought it was a near one off case. I was a universe away from reality. Fact: There are millions of young girls and women in similar situations every day all over the world. In the video below there is a story of yet another young girl: watch and consider the fear that must weigh on developing world communities.

There’s also an eye opening fact sheet to draw you into what ‘everyday’ means for the poor of the developing world. Read 5 Stunning Facts About Violence on The Locust Effect’s excellent website

We are not in their world. We don’t know. And most of the time, we don’t even know how to begin to know, or feel, or act. When the questions don’t occur to us, how will we ever want to seek answers?

So the global poor have no one to advocate for them because we’re so blindingly ignorant of their desperate plight.

This is why we need to know. This is why our eyes need to be opened.

So, watch the video. Read the facts.

Then consider:

  • How does this impact me? What does it get me thinking about?
  • What could I be doing differently in response?
  • Do you think church communities in more wealthy nations need to change they way they do overseas mission and aid in response to these issues?

How to tell people about Jesus (3): …a few resources for answering the tough questions

In my last post I mentioned some books which I find helpful in addressing some of the common questions people ask. Here are a few titles to consider (feel free to recommend some others you have read in the comment section)

I may not need to say it, but there are no perfect books out there. You may not agree with everything an author says. That’s OK. People don’t agree with everything you say, either, and we need to relax about that. As always, test all things, and hang on to the good.

The Case for Christ – Lee Strobel
Strobel recounts his own faith journey, and in so doing answers questions about the reliability of the New Testament, the historicity of the resurrection, and the person of Christ. Strobel’s background in law and journalism make this both a great resource and a well reasoned approach. It’s easy to read, and well priced to give away. Strobel writes as an ex-atheist, so you can be sure he knows where people are coming from.

The Case for Faith – Lee Strobel
In this book, Strobel builds on the foundation laid in his first work. He addresses some of the common the objections people may raise about believing in Jesus: the presence of evil and suffering; what about those who have never heard the good news? Or how do we explain the goodness of God in the face of the Bible’s teaching about Hell? Strobel opens up the issues of violence in church history. His section on the rarity and role of doubt in a believer’s life is especially helpful.

The Case for a Creator – Lee Strobel
Strobel addresses the perceived tension between science and faith, showing how many well respected scientists now see evidence of design in the universe and life systems. There is also a great DVD series which would be a great resource to work through in a small group setting.

Searching Issues – Nicky Gumbel
Nicky Gumbel is well known for the Alpha course. This book addresses the seven most common questions raised in Alpha course settings: suffering, other religions, sex before marriage, the New Age, homosexuality, science and Christianity, and the Trinity. There is also a helpful study guide for group work.

Simply Christian – NT Wright
A more inductive approach geared towards the thinking agnostic or atheist, while still very readable and accessible. Wright wants to get people thinking about what they see in their world and in the people who live in it. Staring with people’s longings, he looks at how the Bible presents God and the importance of Jesus, and finishes with what it means to be called followers of Jesus and to seek a world that God delights in. Reading this book brings memories of C S Lewis’ ‘Mere Christianity’. It’s a brilliant read!

Books like these can really help others to work through questions that trouble them. They will also help the reader become more effective as they share the message about Jesus.


it is God who changes the heart, and not the power of an argument

. So read the best resources, and pray for God to use you

Q: Which book and resources have you found most helpful for sharing the good news? Leave a comment…

Grace and peace: Dave

Books I read on holidays…


Jesus Wants to Save Christians, Rob Bell & Dan Golden, Zondervan, 2008

Incredibly rich understanding of the Biblical narrative, Bell & Golden’s manifesto for followers of Jesus is an incredibly stimulating read.

If you’ve ever wondered about the calling of Christians and the church in the 21st century, you have to read this book.

It made me dream about meeting the challenge of implementing and anticipating the new heavens and the new earth in the here and now.

Every church leader needs to read this book. I bought copies for RCRC’s leadership and ministry teams




I have read a few books on sexual intimacy over the years, and Lehman’s “Sheet Music” is one of the best. There are no embarrassing euphemisms, and no ‘cringe factors’ that I can remember.

This a great resource for couples who want to share a deeper and warmer sexual intimacy. Also great for couple preparing for marriage.

——— ½




11 opens up a raft of relationships any person will do well to cultivate. No one possesses all wisdom and foresight, and I think we all know that truth comes best in a team setting.

Len Sweet is a great wordsmith, an insightful critic of culture and a wise interpreter of Scripture. His book helped me see a little more of what’s going on in my life. He made me ask whether my team and close friends are having a wholesome impact on my life.

I wondered, though, whether 11 critical relationships was a few too many? I am not sure I can have close relationships with that many people effectively.

I also was looking for a sharp, purposeful angle in the book, and apart from acknowledging these relationships will help you cross the finish line well, I struggled to maintain forward momentum. Could be my issue, I guess. But I suppose I would have benefitted from a more purposeful development of the material.

——— ½


The account of the events surrounding the death of Cameron Doomadgee on Palm Island on November 19, 2004

Chloe Hooper walked with Andrew Boe through the trial of Chris Hurley. We hear the cries of Doomadgee’s family, we sense the fear of Hurley, we gasp in disbelief at the inequity. Most of all we ache with the sheer hopelessness of the case. Prejudice. Indifference. Seemingly intractable problems. I was disgusted by the history of my own State (Queensland) and the sort of bungling and apparent corruption which has made justice, in this case, almost an impossibility.

I started inquisitive and interested. I finished angry and broken.

All Australians need to be more aware of the oppression that is happening even in this day. Queenslanders, we should all read this book, and at least learn something as Hooper lifts the lid on our own history, past and present (see Chapter 1, The Island, p.7 ff)

———— ½


A gift from Leonie, The Time We Have Taken is an ambulatory study of several suburban characters in the 1960’s. We see how they interrelate, how they love and fall out of love, how they live and die.

Carroll develops his characters with great depth and warmth. We’re drawn into the naiveté and intricacy of Australian homes, hearts, and proclivities.





 The story of how a Jewish Haggadah from the 16th century was discovered and conserved. We are taken into the lives of various people associated with the Haggadah.

You will read sub-stories and adventures from the Yugoslavian Partisans, Jewish communities in Spain, and the infamous Spanish Inquisition.

Brookes’ research brings great texture, and the diverse nature of her characters makes this consuming reading. No wonder this author has been honoured with a Pulitzer.







While not a terribly recent title (2004) I thought this would be good to decompress and get me into holiday mode. Wrong. Having read a number of Jodi Picoult’s titles, I found James’ style irritating. She takes great care developing the back story in the first chapters – stacks of detail there. But I found myself saying “I’m up to page 115 and there hasn’t even been a murder yet!”

I thought her vocab was a little forced in places: transmogrification is a great word, but how much does vocab like that add to engagement and reader value? I thought it was a bit of a pose in places.

But as one person said to me a few days ago, “It’s still not bad for an old woman with a black handbag…”. Enough said.