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The Life You'Ve Always Wanted

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Submitted By Fingertippoet
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Personal Life of Author and Focus of Book
John Ortberg the author of The Life You’ve Always Wanted, If You Want To Walk On Water You’ve Got To Get Out The Boat and Love Beyond Reason was previously the teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois and is now on staff at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, California. The following book review is concerning his work presented in The Life You’ve Always Wanted.
There’s a point in every Christian’s life where you begin to ask questions like; am I doing all that I was created to do? Am I as intimate with God as I ought to be? Is this life I’m living pleasing to God? The list of questions could go on and on. John Ortberg’s book The Life You’ve Always Wanted gives very clear and precise ways for accurate analysis of our lives through a ministerial, biblical and cultural lens. Ortber’s perspectives, life examples and raw truths are vast and practical for pondering and application. This book voices a line of reasoning in the areas of Hope of Transformation, Spiritual Disciplines, a Well-Ordered Heart, and Living a Life of Endurance.

Hope of Transformation
Ortberg begins this book with the everlasting ache of disappointment many Christians have experienced as they continue in their personal relationships with God. He places great emphasis on the feeling of disappointment. He states “…the feeling of disappointment is not the problem, but a reflection of a deeper problem – my failure to be the person God had in mind when he created me.” (Ortberg, p13) Through the ache of disappointment there is still a hope that rises within the Christian and thus the struggle between hope and their fallen state begins. Ortberg speaks on ones perception of living uniquely as Jesus would. To see what he would see, think as he thought and therefore doing as he did. The many examples taken from Ortberg’s life of personal transformation give inextinguishable hope to the human race. A knowing that “You will not always be as you are now; the day is coming when you will be something incomparably better – or worse” (Ortberg, p17) It is within this hope that Christians must learn to turn aside and begin to take actions and morph into the rightful place which God had originally intended. The paradigm shifts that could occur through the disciplines presented in this book can position the believer in becoming more desirous of the things of God. In essence the believer will have greater appeal and understanding of God’s heart and his will for creation. It is evident that the goal of this book is to equip a believer in their spiritual growth and aid in disciplining them through various disciplines to having a more engaged and fulfilling relationship with God.

Spiritual Disciplines
Ortberg references Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s quote “Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.” This statement alone draws a believer into questioning their own forms of disciplines currently in or out of practice. There is an emphasis on believers training themselves to grow spiritually and not just lazily trying to get by with the day to day hustle and bustle of life’s demands. “Spiritual transformation is not a matter of trying harder, but of training wisely…Respecting the distinction between training and merely trying is the key to transformation in every aspect of life.” (Ortberg, p43-44) Through these pages it is apparent that spiritual disciplines offer believers an opportunity for growth and an experience with God that will allow his heavenly kingdom to break into this earthly one. Through disciplines it is the believer’s job to be in position to give the gospel freely as they have received it. It is God’s job to bring forth the increase for the blessing of his creation. This book addressed the disciplines of Celebration, Slowing, Prayer, Servanthood, Confession, Guidance from the Holy Spirit, Secrecy, and Reflection on Scripture. These are few of many disciples available to the believer for personal growth and edification of the church.

Well-Ordered Heart
Rightly stated at the beginning of Chapter twelve is Proverbs 4:23 NIV “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” It is apparent to many believers that a heart out of sorts causes daily living to be the same. Ortberg explains justly the reverence one must have for a God of balance and fruitfulness. He does his best to explain the good and bad fruit that lies behind the doors of balanced and unbalanced lives. This book does not allow for common excuses of laziness or personality flaws to deter a believer from the ultimate goal of glorification of the Father through living in a Christlike manner. It is up to believers to choose a path and plan for spiritual transformation so that their adventures with God are ones of spiritual growth and not mediocrity.

Living a Life of Endurance
“How will we run the race of life? Will we finish well” (Ortberg, p209) Finishing well seems to be every believers desire. Enduring the trials and suffering of this life is the focus in the last chapter of Ortberg’s book. There is a very raw truth to ending well and striving with resistance in glorifying a Father and a Son whom believers have yet been able to touch with their bare hands. Ortberg gives great strategies and examples for understanding how to walk life’s journey with the end goal in mind. Believers must follow the example of Jesus leaning on the Father and his power, through the Holy Spirit, knowing that the believers morphing time will come.

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