Time for an end-of-the-month round-up again with Share Four Somethings. This is a combined edition for August and September!
Over the last couple of months I have loved having opportunities to play music with others. I knew I had missed it, but I didn’t realise just how much until I got to do it again.
After one rehearsal, (our first in 17 months) the band I play with got to do two concerts as part of a nearby town’s gala celebrations. We were limited in number and playing outdoors, but it was so much fun. When the audience applauded after our first piece, it took me by surprise for a moment. It had been so long since I’d played for others to listen. And, despite our lack of practice, it seemed that the joy at being together and playing for an audience caused everyone to raise their game and we were surprised by how good it sounded.
We’re back to a weekly pattern of rehearsals now and it’s wonderful to be back to a more normal routine.
One of the most talked-about Christian books recently seems to be Dane Ortlund’s Gentle and Lowly. I finally managed to read it over the summer, and I’d definitely recommend it. If you have read it, or you’d like to find out more about it, I’d encourage you to check out Linda Stoll’s Gentle and Lowly Book Club posts where she shares some highlights from the book each week and encourages others to comment with their highlights and reflections.
However, the book I want to focus on here is Dane Ortlund’s latest book – Deeper – as I was grateful to be able to read a review copy. (It was released on 14th September in the US and will be released in the UK this week.)
It looks at how we can grow as Christians, and proposes that true growth comes about not by doing better, but by going deeper, not by striving to do the right things but by digging deeper into the truths of the Gospel. Each chapter focuses on one of these truths and the difference it could make in our lives if we were to truly grasp it and believe it.
Like Gentle and Lowly, Deeper is a book of encouragement and refreshment calling us to fix our eyes on Jesus. In many ways it is simple, calling us back to the basics of the Christian faith, but it highlights how important it is that we hold onto those basics and continue to let them shape our lives.
“The love of God is not something to see once and then believe and then move beyond to other truths or strategies for growing in Christ. The love of God is what we feed on our whole lives long, wading ever more deeply into this endless ocean.”
“The gospel is not a hotel to pass through but a home to live in.”
Over the last four months, I’ve had the privilege of watching God working in someone else’s life in a more dramatic way than I’ve ever seen before. It has been so exciting and encouraging to watch her journey and to play a small part in it.
The whole experience is something to treasure, but a particularly special moment was her baptism at the end of August. Our whole church met at the beach, and it was a beautiful service. As well as the baptism itself, we spent some time worshipping, standing in a circle singing together, and since we were outside it was the first time since March 2020 we got to sing without masks!
I don’t know what the dog-walkers and swimmers at the beach made of it all, but it was a wonderful morning!
All being well, in October I will get to take part in my first residential with young people since before COVID.
I also hope to find an opportunity to go to the theatre. It is one of the things I have missed the most and, until now, the situation has felt too uncertain to book anything. However, there are a few shows coming up next month that I would love to see, so I’m hoping to get to one of them.
Finally, I know I have neglected my blog lately, but I’m hoping that in October I’ll be writing more.
One of my favourite things in my six years of blogging has been taking part in Write 31 Days during October. It’s a challenge to write every day during the month of October, and you can find out more about this year’s challenge here.
Typically people either choose a particular theme to write about every day or use the prompt words that are supplied each day as a basis for their posts. I have taken part in the challenge four times and my 2017 series on Kintsugi remains one of my favourite things I have ever written.
When I heard about the challenge this year, the sensible part of me told me that I shouldn’t even consider it, but the less-sensible part of me was longing to take part (possibly a result of looking back with nostalgia to my last series in October 2019 when life was a lot more normal.)
My sensible and less-sensible parts are still fighting it out. I have signed up for the challenge, and my aim is to write something on each of the prompt words. However, I am making no promises about posting every day.
We’ll see what October brings. Either way, I hope I will be writing more and posting here a bit more regularly than I have recently!
What about you? How has the last month or so been for you? Feel free to share a highlight or a prayer request in the comments.
I’m grateful to Crossway and Netgalley for access to a complementary digital copy of Deeper. I only share books here that I genuinely believe will be beneficial to my readers.
Amazon links are not affiliate links, but simply provided for your convenience.