Saturday, January 10, 2015

Questions for the New Year...

As we begin the New Year 2015, let's read The Essential Question, How You Can Make a Difference for God by Whitney T. Kuniholm, and published by IVPress, ( Kuniholm, who is president of Scripture Union/USA is also author of several books on personal and group Bible study. In this one he invites readers to take a journey with him through the book of Acts as Luke tells us of the first century church, how it began and who were some of the people involved, like Peter and John and Stephen and Philip and Barnabus and Saul who became Paul, and Priscilla and others. These people knew that Jesus is Lord and it "changed their lives," as it continues to do for believers today.

After Jesus left it, the church began to grow. We might wonder how did the Christians function without him? Resolve conflicts? Manage day-to-day problems? Discern God's will for them and their church? Rely on the Holy Spirit as a guide? Remember Jesus's promise that he will come back one day? There were many questions in their minds and on their lips. Not unlike our own. For Christians, writes Kuniholm, "the real question is "How can I make a difference for God?" He is full of practical ideas and practices that might be helpful to readers who have that concern.

Other questions he brings up for discussion are: "Who are you, Lord?" and "What shall I do, Lord," Saul's questions on the Damascus Road (Acts 22:8-10). Kuniholm reminds us that once we have heard the story of Jesus and made our decision to follow him, that is our essential question: "What shall I do, Lord," and we may be asking it many times through our days and nights as we try to serve the Lord and share his life, death, and resurrection truth with others.

Kuniholm believes that God has a plan, an assignment, a mission for his people, whether it be in the home, school, military, marketplace or somewhere else, and Kuniholm is eager to help us "answer the essential question for ourselves---that is, to find and follow God's assignment for us today."

He recommends  readers follow the steps through his book with a friend, a group, or with their church. "Answering the essential question," he writes, "is not a one-time event. It's an everyday challenge. 'What shall I do, Lord?' is the question that will keep you focused on your God-given mission, whether great or small, for the rest of your life. And that's the way to change your world forever."

---Lois Sibley,