My mom and dad raised me in a very stereotypical 1970’s-80’s nondenominational American Christian home. Now, in the 70’s and early 80’s, it was very common to see evangelical pamphlets and booklets lying around, ready to be handed out to the next non-believer to walk through our door – especially “The Four Spiritual Laws”, written by Campus Crusade for Christ founder Bill Bright. It was an easy to read, simple explanation of these four critical facts:
- God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.
- Humanity is sinful and separated from God.
- Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for sin.
- We must individually receive Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.
One could say it was the (much) shorter, 20th century version of “The Purpose Driven Life”, in that it took the nation by storm revealing to many the fact that God wants to be involved in each of our lives.
Now, as I recall Bill Bright, the author of the Four Spiritual Laws, I think of him as an evangelist, pastor, producer of the movie, “The Jesus Film”, and American Christian icon. But co-writer with a scary “Christian Horror” author?
Well, it was “Blessed Child” that made a huge impression on my dad. It offers a refreshing look at God from a different angle, and is co-written by mystery/thriller author Ted Dekker.
Now, the collaboration between these two writers is, in and of itself, amazing, but one part of the book that really stood out to my dad was a section where Bill explains how the book even came about.
Bill sought out Ted – whom he considered to be a master storyteller – to put forth a new and different concept of who God, especially the Holy Spirit, is and how He can work through His people.
Now, to be clear, “Blessed Child” is a fictional story. And like so many faith-based fiction novels and movies, Christian leaders are often asked to pick a side on it: either pan it or praise it. And most often, they decide to ride the fence for as long as they possibly can.
“Blessed Child” addresses this fear to get “overly excited” about God, and instead allow the Holy Spirit to flow and move through the lives of God’s people.
Meanwhile, the church leaders of the book (much like the ones we see in real life) struggle with how and if to embrace this Spiritual movement while maintaining their integrity as pastors. It depicts the Holy Spirit coming alive in God’s people in a modern context and in a manner in which there ends up being absolutely no denying that it’s God at work.The book describes miraculous healings and churches “down the street” skeptically wondering “Why doesn’t that happen at our church? Can we trust it?”
And it all centers around a genuine, innocent, little boy – a “Blessed Child”.
Needless to say, my dad finds the book a tremendous conversation starter.
Even with people who don’t know God (or His plan for their lives). My dad sees this book as a way for them to embrace their lives with a completely different perspective.
Now, on a more personal note, when I was in my late teens/early 20’s, my dad and I had a “fractured relationship” to put it mildly. But it was the trivial things: talking about sports and movies, playing darts and ping pong, eventually playing on a softball team together that eventually repaired the bridge between us.
Likewise, whether it be “Blessed Child”, “Heaven Is For Real” or even “X-Men”, it could be the NBA Finals, Baseball or the NFL, if you find it exciting and worth talking about, TALK ABOUT IT! Because you never know what little bricks can stack together to build relational bridges. We just need to be bold enough to take the first step forward and obey God’s will.
We see examples of this in so many heroes throughout the Bible: individuals who say, “Okay, regardless of who I am, I’m going to invite God in and allow the Holy Spirit to do His work through me.” So life becomes more less about the self-centered “God work in me”, and instead more of the others-centered “God work through me” perspective.
And that’s what “Blessed Child” brings to light – a perspective of the Holy Spirit, alive and well, working through the lives of people who are open to Him. Sadly, too often too many of us put parameters around God and contend something like, “God works in such and such a way, because in such and such a verse, it says…”
Now, don’t get me wrong – the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, but at the end of John’s gospel, he says that if all the events in Jesus’ life were written, the whole world couldn’t contain the books!
Therefore, we need to be open to the possibility that sometimes God will work differently and greater than we can imagine.
But (as Pee Wee said – everyone I know has a big but), sometimes the moment and surroundings of a message – whether it be a sermon in the midst of a worship service, a movie in the middle of a weekend, or a book in the context of a particular season of life – can govern how open we are to be moved by that message.
Nevertheless, read “Blessed Child” and let us know if or how it moved you or changed your perspectives on life and God.