BOOK OF THE WEEK // ‘Recapturing the Wonder’ by Mike Cosper.

I had the privilege of hearing Mike present on this book at Doxology & Theology Conference in the US last year and immediately I was hooked. Don’t be thrown by the title. This is not a ‘get more disciplined and read your Bible more!’ kind of book. Rather, Cosper goes to the core of why we have lost ‘wonder’ about God in the first place - our cultural obsession with reason and rationality. How can we live a life of faith in such a world? Cosper gently, convincingly, and often humourously reopens the reader’s heart to the absolute transcendence of our God - a God who operates in His own beautiful and perfect ways in His own beautiful and perfect time. That is, in ways and with timing that reason and rationality can never pin down. And that is the unseen economy that we, as believers, have been lovingly welcomed in to. This is the perfect read to start the year. Be prepared to have your spiritual outlook and your heart transformed as you read this magnificent book. //
Greg Cooper
#worship #theology

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BOOK OF THE WEEK // ‘You Are What You Love’ by James K.A. Smith.

So much of modern life assumes that we are what we think. Get the thinking right, and behaviour will follow. Church life is no different, with much of our ministry energy geared towards shaping thinking above all else. Smith skilfully argues that while thinking is important, the heart may be more powerful in shaping behaviour than we give it credit for. Perhaps what the heart loves, the will chooses, and the mind justifies. As Smith says, “Christian essentially counterformation to those rival liturgies we are often immersed in, cultural practices that covertly capture our loves and longings, miscalibrating them, orienting us to rival versions of the good life. This is why worship is the heart of discipleship. We can’t counter the power of cultural liturgies with didactic information poured into our intellects...The orientation of the heart happens from the bottom up, through the formation of our habits of desire. Learning to love (God) takes practice.” I can’t overstate how pivotal this book has been in shaping my thinking on corporate worship. Grab a copy and be ready to highlight a lot! // Greg Cooper
#theology #worship

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BOOK OF THE WEEK // ‘Encountering God Together’ by David G. Peterson.

Praise God for David Peterson and his tireless academic work in the area of corporate worship. His seminal work ‘Engaging With God’ lays the groundwork for a biblical paradigm of worship in which we approach God in worship on His terms, not our own. ‘Encountering God Together’ - a more popular level book - applies much of Peterson’s thinking to the context of the gathered church. What is really going on when we meet as God’s people? How should we think about encountering God through his Word? And edifying one another through song? David argues that as we gather, “God ministers to us, and we respond to God as we minister to one another.” If we really believe this is what’s going on, then the practical implications for church life are significant, as the book outlines. We were privileged to have David speak at the Team Pastoring Conference in 2017, and we are deeply thankful to be able to continue learning from his wisdom and insights. // Greg Cooper

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