As we draw close to the end of another month, I’m joining Heather Gerwing and friends once again to Share Four Somethings, as well as linking up with some other blogs listed at the bottom of this post.
As I explained in my post on Friday, August in Edinburgh means the fun and mayhem of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe! Thousands of people from all over the world flock to our city for the world’s largest arts festival, and there are some amazing performances on offer!
There were two highlights for me. One was a performance entitled I Am Mark, which was a retelling of the story of Jesus from Mark’s Gospel. The performance I watched covered the first five chapters and then the final three, and it was one man with a chair and a small box of props, storytelling word for word from the Bible. It was extremely powerful!
The other highlight was seeing a musical I had heard about and wanted to see for a while. It’s The Drowsy Chaperone by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, and I’d highly recommend it. It’s not the best-known musical, but it’s funny, it has great music, and the production I saw had a wonderful cast! Here’s a little taste:
“Often God’s blessings lie just outside your comfort zone.”
When I heard someone make this comment it really stuck with me. I think there’s a lot of truth in it. God wants to bless us. He wants us to grow, and he wants to use us to build his kingdom, but so often that involves a step of faith, taking a risk, moving forward without certainty about the outcome. It’s hard, but it’s how we see his faithfulness and learn to trust him.
I have seen it so many times and I experienced it again this month as this comment was just one of several things God used to prompt me to take a step out of my comfort zone to have a difficult, but significant, conversation. (I won’t go into detail now but hope to share more as things unfold.) It went better than I could ever have imagined and was definitely worth the risk!
This doubles as an extra “Something Read,” but one new thing I learned this month was about the horseback librarians of Kentucky. Between 1935 and 1943, 200 women (often known as the “book women”) took on the role of travelling librarians, riding to bring books to 100,000 residents in rural Kentucky. The aim was to increase literacy as a way of reducing poverty, and to take books to many who may not otherwise have had the chance to read.
The book that taught me about this fascinating period of history is “The Giver Of Stars” by Jojo Moyes. She is best-known as the author of “Me Before You,” and while this new book is quite different, it has an equally compelling storyline and memorable characters.
It is a fictional tale featuring five of these travelling librarians, and there is something for everyone – action, mystery, romance… it’s a great read!
The Giver Of Stars will be released on October 3rd but in the meantime you can find out more here.
Tying in with my “Something Said” about stepping out of your comfort zone, God has brought the same Bible passage up for me time and time again this month – the story of Peter walking on water.
It started with this post at (in)courage, and it continued to come up in talks, in blog posts, in songs, in the Bible reading plan I was following. All of this prompted me to look back at a book I read several years ago, which remains one of the books that has the greatest influence on my Christian life. It’s one of those books that has a title so great that it will bless and challenge you even if you don’t have time to read the book itself! It is John Ortberg’s “If You Want To Walk On Water, You’ve Got To Get Out Of The Boat.”
It breaks down the well-known story of Peter stepping out onto the water and helps us look at how it applies to our lives. Where is God calling us to step out in faith? Why do we cling to comfort and safety? How can we be sure it really is God calling us? What do we gain by stepping out? What if we fail?
It was great to return to this book, remembering some of the ways it helped me and challenged me the first time round as well as being encouraged to continue stepping out in faith.
Here are a couple of my favourite quotes:
“Every time you walk on the water, each time you trust God and seek to discern and obey his calling on your life, your God will get bigger, and your worship will grow deeper, richer, and stronger.”
“Jesus is not finished yet. He is still looking for people who will dare to trust him. He is still looking for people who will refuse to allow fear to have the final word. He is still looking for people who refuse to be deterred by failure. He is still passing by. And this is your one and only opportunity to answer his call.”
How was August for you? I’d love it if you’d share a highlight in the comments!
I’m grateful to Michael Joseph and Netgalley for access to a complementary digital copy of The Giver Of Stars. This is my honest review and I only share books here that I genuinely believe will be beneficial to my readers.