At the moment I am reading a book called Buck-Naked Faith by Eric Sandras. No! You have not read this wrong and yes; this is the title of a very brave and honest look at how our faith grows or indeed more important if it grows at all.

Honestly, I was drawn to this book because it had a red half price sticker on it which made it attractive in the beginning and then I bought it because of the title. I didn’t immediately come home and read it. I just put it on my shelf it looked really cool but I never opened it. I did not look at it again until a few weeks ago and as I continue to read it I am really challenged and blessed. My father often quoted bible verses and the following verses I heard on numerous occasions throughout my life:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7: 21-23)

These words are quoted in the book too and they are pretty challenging:
“Jesus the saviour of the world can tell the difference between what I claim to be and what I really am”.

I love this sentence from the book: ‘It’s possible to gather around another’s fire and get warm, but true relationship has the fire coming from within.’ (Eric Sandras)

Wow, the question for us is whether we are satisfied with second hand faith? Are we willing to pursue abundant life or do we just give up and default to standing at a distance, feeling warm but never on fire?

I don’t know how many of us have Bonsai in our homes, they are pretty and interesting to look at but there is no fruit. They are a stark reminder of what happens when roots are pot bound, with little or no space to grow.

This is not how trees were meant to be. A towering tree and a Bonsai have time in common. They both did not get this way overnight, it has taken years. Our relationship with God develops through time and longing. It all starts with a seed that grows if we invest in it. Growing cold and dry can happen to the best of us. We don’t wake up and decide that we will make a wrong choices or say or act in a way that displeases God, but we do it and this stunts our growth. And so to encourage us together I share with you 7 really good principles from what I think is a brilliant book:

Wake up to our potential

Embrace the power of community.

Enrich the soil of our lives

Feel the full reign of God.

Unleash your God-given DNA.

Call forth life and growth in yourself and others

Learn to embrace pain.

Let us take the opportunity over the summer months to work through these 7 principles and share what God does. May you have a summer full of life and potential and enjoy rest and refreshment.

With love and prayers