Monday, August 06, 2007

Book Review: If You Want To Walk on Water . . .

I recently finished If You Want To Walk on Water, You've Got To Get Out of the Boat, by John Ortberg. This must be the longest title of any book I've ever read; nevertheless, this book passed "GO" at about the second chapter and proceeded immediately to my "top ten" list. It was a light and easy read, made interesting by John Ortberg's personable style and humorous anecdotes. And yet it was a hard read in that I found it to be personally convicting and challenging.

Ortberg dissects the story of Peter walking on water, phrase by phrase, and helps us see that we are not much different from Peter. Most of us struggle from time to time with not wanting to get out of the boat. And when we do get out and take that risk, we're subject to the same sinking feeling the minute we take our focus off Jesus.

One recurring theme Ortberg touches on is that of fear. In fact, it seemed like every other chapter dealt with the topic. Reading about fear again and again helped me see what a grip I've allowed it to have on my life. Ortberg notes that living in a mindset of fear has a price to pay. For one thing, living in constant fear naturally results in a loss of self-esteem, as we don't get that surge of self-confidence that comes from facing challenges head-on. We also experience a loss of destiny if we choose to live in a place of fear, as we'll never realize our God-given potential.

If, like me, you've never read anything by John Ortberg, this is a great place to start. Chances are you'll see yourself in some part of Peter's story, whether it be gripping the side of the boat, actually walking on the water, or sinking in fear. In fact, as I'm learning, life is more cyclical than linear. Just because we got out of the boat once doesn't mean we'll never be faced with another similar challenge in the future. Likewise, we constantly need to refocus our eyes on Jesus, especially after moments of success.

I think this book would be a great one to read and discuss with a few other people. And so I'm going to toss out the idea of doing an online book discussion via a separate group blog. If you're interested, shoot me an email and we can discuss. I've never done anything like this before so if you have and are willing to share your know-how, feel free to pass that along as well.