Book Review- Kingdom Journeys by Seth Barnes
If you are looking for a great book to jump-start your 2013, Seth Barnes' Kingdom Journeys: Rediscovering the Lost Spiritual Discipline is an excellent choice. Seth started an organization called Adventures in Missions in 1989, and since then, has been responsible for equipping and sending over 100,000 missionaries into the world. Some of these have been for one or two weeks, while others are for up to a year or more.
Seth's book is almost like reading his journal about the lessons he has learned over the last almost twenty-five years. Seth's life has been a physical, as well as a spiritual journey. After recounting his first missionary trip to Mexico and Honduras right after college, Seth writes, "It took a physical journey to complete a spiritual one."
No doubt, many will balk at this notion that I have to take a physical journey before God can do something spiritual in me. The rest of Barnes' book, however, builds the case for the importance of physical journeys in putting a person in a place where God can do His deepest work in their lives. "Away from the familiar, our hearts become a place where only faith sustains us."
Having been involved in short-term missions for much of my life, I know that Seth is correct. Those who balk the loudest are those who have probably never been on a physical Kingdom Journey. I have been a part of teams and led teams to Africa, Central and South America, Eastern Europe, and India. I have never come away from one of these trips unscathed. It is beautiful to also see the changes in those that I have been with on the Journey. After a mission trip, it is almost impossible to look at our lives the same way. The filter that we look at life through has been forever replaced with one that allows us to see a bigger picture. This new filter also allows us to look below the surface of the superficiality of Western Culture.
Do I have to take a physical journey to be changed? Of course not. Can I experience the life of God in my day-to-day routine? Certainly. But make no mistake. For many, the call of God is still to, "Follow Me," and this might very well translate into a physical as well as a spiritual journey. For many young people, a Kingdom Journey might be the catalyst that alters the direction of their lives for eternity.
Sir Ernest Shackleton was an explorer of Antartica in the early 1900's. Barnes quotes this ad that Shackleton put in a newspaper: "Men wanted for hazardous jorney. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, and safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success." Shackelton was bombarded by volunteers.
If you have seen the new movie, "The Hobbit," you might remember this conversation early in the movie. The wizard, Gandalf, was trying to convince the young Hobbit, Bilbo, to accompany him and the dwarves on a dangerous quest. Bilbo was hesitant to leave his comfortable lifestyle. He asked, "Can you promise me that I'll come back?"
Without hesitation, Gandalf answered, "No, and if you do come back, you will not be the same."
I encourage you to take a look at Seth Barnes' book. It might just inspire you to take a Kingdom Journey.
If you would like to help Annie and I on our Journey in Brazil, here is the link. Obrigado! (Thank you!)