Every so often my pastor will ask me to teach during a Sunday evening service when he is away. Schedule permitting I always accept. It's a small informal service mainly attended by the core older members of our congregation. These are folks who are 30+ years older than I am. Most of them saw me grow up and a few of them had more influence than they realize on that process. I always come away humbled and blessed that these saints who have been walking with God longer than I have been alive will allow this young punk to teach them. They are gracious and eager to hear what God has to say. They are still learning and seeking him. It is incredible!
I had been sharing with pastor about some of the things God had been teaching me and he encouraged me to use this group as a sounding board and explore with them some of the things I am trying to tie together. They were wonderful and it was really helpful. The next week one of the gentleman gave me a book. He said "This is actually from my wife. I have another one coming for you." The book she passed along to me was The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen. What an awesome read!
I was peripherally aware of Nouwen. One of my professors in college was a fan and I had read one of his books on prayer (I need to go back and re-read that incidentally). He is a FANTASTIC writer! He is able to let the scripture speak so clearly and at the same time be achingly vulnerable and personal, letting you see how God has used this in his life. As I work through his book it is confirming and expanding some of the themes that I'm writing about but I also find my self longing to be able to communicate with such a clear voice and heart. To be as personally vulnerable as he is in his writing is a scary thing.
If you haven't checked out Nouwen please do. The Return of the Prodigal Son is a great place to start. Let me know what you think.
God Bless - Keep Growing