ReviewOne of the nice things I get to do is to be asked to write book reviews. In the majority of cases, the volumes are left with various marks on those parts which I found particularly helpful (accompanied by a dog-eared turnover of the page). There are, of course, the occasional ones which I just don’t get on with and writing a ‘positive’ review is more tricky.

Similarly, people occasionally write reviews of my own books – and most are very kind and positive. There have been a couple of people who have declined to write one, though. One because the story contained characters in a same-sex relationship and another because I didn’t write according to the ‘rules of creative writing’ (my words not theirs) but I guess I’ve never really stuck to the rules on a lot of things…

The book I’m reviewing at the moment is Practicing the Way by John Mark Comer. The review itself is for Preach magazine so I feel obliged not to write anything here* but among the many good points the author makes is to summarise Jesus’ ministry as having three basic rhythms:

  • Making space for the Gospel
  • Preaching the Gospel
  • Demonstrating the Gospel

Jesus made space for the Gospel through having meals and interacting with a whole range of people, Comer writes. I would also suggest that there are many ways we can make space such as hospitality, coming alongside people, providing a listening ear, doing a task with someone else, going for a walk etc.

While many might baulk at the idea of ‘preaching the Gospel’, there are opportunities to talk about the Gospel message in very ordinary ways (not least when we make space). This isn’t necessarily about trying to convert people (although there is a place for helping people to explore the faith). But it seems to me that many regular churchgoers don’t feel confident enough to talk about faith with others – not even their fellow Christians. Jane and I (has to be said, it’s been mainly Jane) lead a House Group and it is such a joy when people feel comfortable enough to share their understanding of the Gospel message with others. Making space for questions, doubts and learning enables each of us to ‘preach’ (even if that is not the word we would use).

And as Christians, we are, I would suggest, to be people who demonstrate the Gospel – or in other words, who live the Gospel. This goes beyond that hour or so on a Sunday: it’s about living the Gospel message and biblical teaching in the rough and tumble of life, in those encounters with people we find difficult as well as in the joys and blessings. Demonstrating, or living, the Gospel is about being people who, as Francis of Assisi is reputed to have said (but probably didn’t): “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.”

So, as we approach Holy Week and Easter, what better time to review our own book, the story of our own life and reflect on the rhythms of Jesus.


Thank you for reading this post – please share it with others, subscribe and contribute your thoughts at the WorkRestPray Facebook Group or follow on X (Twitter), Threads and Instagram. *The review of the book will appear in either Preach magazine or on its website in due course.

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Categories: Prayer