Testimonials do not often motivate for me to read a book. This time was different though as I read the words printed at the top of the front cover …
“Don’t read this unless you are ready to be wrecked for everything God loves.” (Gabe Lyons)
The nudge was gentle at first, but then my heart began to desire to be wrecked – wrecked by everything God loves and for those He loves. And so, I offered to review, Words From The Hill by Stu Garrard.
The Beatitudes have not been a portion of Scriptures that I have heard mentioned frequently. They are often shared as a list of blessings for those who live righteously, and yet, they are meant to be more.
In teaching on the Mount that day, Jesus was giving us a guide, principles to live on and by each day. This is a sermon more about how we should live than what we will receive and in this book, Stu Gerrard powerfully challenged me (and all of us) to live differently.
The book reads easily as if sitting with the author in conversation. Each beatitude is shared with stories, thoughts, and quotes which makes us realize God is with us in our brokenness. It is in those very moments that He comes to us, drawing us closer.
Each chapter turns our motivations in living upside down:
- Poor In Spirit. We can be “poor” in ways other than financially and it crushes our spirit. It is when life does not turn out as expected and we face a deficit.
- The Grief of Change. We all face grief which brings a change we did not want to face or have happen. And it is right in that loss, the ache, that we experience God with us.
- When Unnoticed. The meek, “those whose presence is constantly denied or ignored.” The outsider feeling invisible. It is those who God offers Himself and His strength to continue.
- Hunger and Thirst. Here we find the challenge of living with desperation for God’s righteousness and justice. This is a challenge to address our ache, to make a change in our world.
- Mercy. We come to show mercy as we receive mercy, and as we show mercy, we receive more mercy. No on is beyond the reach of mercy. Jesus challenges us to become agents of mercy even to those we may see as undeserving.
- Pure in Heart. Get ready to have the story of the prodigal broken open with a fresh look at this parable. We are all capable of capturing moments when our hearts will be pure, running to the Father in awe and wonder.
- Peacemakers. I hate confrontation and conflict. It’s hard and painful. Peacekeepers stay silent and the issue remains below the surface simmering. But peacekeepers face the issue. They are willing to drag the issue out into the open. It’s risky. And God is with us as we try to bring resolution.
- The Persecuted. This chapter will move hearts to feel for and pray for the persecuted. It will challenge us all to do the right thing, the hard thing, the God-thing in spite of the fact even if the world will embrace us.
May the words Jesus spoke on the hill that day speak to us right where we are today:
“May we be people, who, because we’ve been offered presence in our brokenness, mercy, and forgiveness in our failure – peace, hope, love, and justice – offer these things back to the world.” (Stu Gerard, Words From The Hill, page 212)
This is a book for us all to read and evaluate the manner in which we will live out our days. Will we make them meaningful? Will they count and make a difference? Pick up the book and expect your heart to undergo some surgery and be changed. One read will not be enough!
***Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I am disclosing this as required by Federal Trade Commission.