Review & Suggestions, from John Hindley

HindleyI recently finished Peter Mead’s deep and delightful Pleased to Dwell. The simple structure of the book is to stand before the Bible’s picture of Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, incarnate as one of us. As we stand before this most beautiful portrait, we are shown the nuances of colour and texture that make up a deep and exciting image. This is a nativity scene, but one of striking grace and truth.

I am writing this review, and sending it to Peter, in the hope that it will encourage you to read Pleased to Dwell as I think the Spirit will use it to warm your heart with deeper love for him and also inform your mind with a greater grasp of why it is so important that God became man to perfectly save us in his death on the cross and raise us to real life with him. There are two particular ways that I would like to encourage you to read this book, though:

  1. As a daily study: With 24 short and stimulating chapters it is ideal material for reading daily, or at least three or four chapters a week. It would be a wonderful book to read during Advent, as you look forward to Christmas, but I wouldn’t limit it to then. If you do read it like this, find a friend or two to do it with, meet up and talk about it. Perhaps you’re an elder in a church. if so, then this would be a great way to read it as a church – if a load of people read this, met up and talked about it in twos and threes, there would be a good deal of rejoicing in Christ.
  2. As a small group study: Reading a couple of chapters a week together and then discussing Pleased to Dwell as a small group would work very well. It would fit into a term for many groups – Christmas term is obvious, but it would fit just as well after Christmas to ponder on the nature of the Lord who bore our sins on the cross. Again, there could be huge benefits in doing this across a church if this is how your small groups work.

Many books work well in these ways, but Pleased to Dwell would do so especially for a couple of reasons. The first is the structure. The chapters are short, but they are also self-contained, building on each other by layering up the picture of Christ as much as by flowing on one from another. This means they work well when discussed in isolation as well as together. The second is that the subject of Christ is one of such depth and significance that this book will serve to bless new believers and saints of many years (and would be a great entry point to considering Christ to those who do not know him in your groups as well).

However you read this book, I hope you enjoy it and are blessed by it as I was.

John Hindley
30 March 2015

The Incarnation is Not Just for Christmas

Boxing DayThe morning after Christmas Day is quiet. In our house it is quiet because the children were wiped out by a long and fun day yesterday.  In other houses it is quiet because everyone is out shopping for bargains in the sales.  For many, the magic of Christmas has now given way to a gradually growing anticipation of return to work or school.

So let me be up-front about this.  I have a vested interest in a continued interest in the truth of Christmas. After all, Pleased to Dwell is a book I have authored and I would like it to be of interest to folks for more than just a few weeks each year.  Maybe that is my motivation in pondering the subject of this post, but I hope that is not my only motivation.

Christmas is in the DNA of the Christian faith.  Why?  Because God’s Son didn’t just become one of us to launch an annual holiday. It wasn’t a publicity stunt to stir the sales of Christmas cards and boost end-of-year retail revenue. God’s Son became flesh and dwelt among us because that was the ultimate expression of the heart of God – a heart that wants to draw our hearts out of the black hole of our self-loving-vortex (think January sales), and back into true communion with the God who made us.

The Son of God didn’t become one of us for some temporary period of time, or on some fleeting agenda. He became one of us forever so that we can be united to Him forever.

Whether Pleased to Dwell continues to be a blessing to folks for the next few months is not important. Whether we a gripped by the wonder of the Incarnation and the every day, forever lover of our souls, is.