What I Am Reading

In His Place: A Modern-Day Challenge in the Tradition of Charles Sheldon’s Classic “In His Steps” by Harry C. Griffith IMG_20160819_111524

I wasn’t sure what to expect from a novel built around incarnating Christ in our everyday lives, but once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down. In fact, if it weren’t for previously scheduled commitments that afternoon I would have finished the book in one sitting.

The story definitely convicted me of areas where I fall short in my Christian walk and reminded me of how many people are hurting and misunderstood around us. It challenged me to always be thinking about how to be Christ to the world around me.

I also connected with the characters in the story and bonded with them almost immediately. And along with the content I loved the weight and feel of the book itself, the torn edges of the pages and even the cute doggie on the cover.

Thank you to my friend, Betty Baggott, for sending me the book and thank you to Harry Griffith for transporting me to the center of the story and challenging me at the same time.

—Jennifer Davis Rash


Invest in a thorough understanding

By Jennifer Davis Rash

Executive Editor, The Alabama Baptist

The printer/copier in our office can do amazing things. It’s the Mercedes of printer/copiers. Problem is, none of us actually know how to work it beyond the few obvious uses.

I’m not sure why we don’t. A thorough user’s manual with crisp, clean pages waiting for its first true read sits neatly on top of the machine. The sales rep and other tech assistants have visited our office several times during the past three to four years the machine has lived in our building. A training session is merely a phone call away.

I guess we are too busy to take the time to master the complete operation of our printer/copier.

Sadly, this also is true for some of our computer programs. We know enough to do what we need to do, but it is the rare staff member who truly knows every function of every program we use.

Should I even go into our mobile devices?

How about you? Do you have a smartphone? Have you truly learned to use it to the max? Do you know all that it is capable of doing?

I remember when I was about to get my first smartphone. An editor from another state Baptist newspaper was showing me his new BlackBerry (they were actually cool back then) and teaching me the basics on how to use it.

And while I don’t really remember any of the items he taught me about the phone, I do remember clearly a life lesson he taught me in that moment. He said the best advice he could give me would be for me to take the time to truly learn it.

“Take your phone and the instruction manual and tuck away from the world. Don’t come back until you understand everything about it,” he told me. “Investing a few quality hours into understanding the phone and learning all that it has to offer and how to use all the options will save you lots of time in the long run.”

He was right, and not just about the phone. His advice is something I’ve tried to use with every new device I’ve acquired, each new task I’ve been assigned, all new phases of life and pretty much anytime I need to learn something new.

I don’t actually get to hide away for a few hours like I would prefer, but I always start with that as the plan and dive into the immersed educational process as far as time and other responsibilities will allow.

I’ve even started realizing it’s not too late to actually engage at this level with devices, programs, etc., that I use every day and really should already know better than I do. Yes, I admit I got pretty excited when I finally learned how all the remotes in our household worked, and now I’m as fluent as anyone who goes up against me.

Where I’m still falling short, however, comes in a complete understanding of God, His ways, our lives as believers, the complexity of one’s faith journey and exactly where I fit into all of it. He’s working on and in me, and I’m watching with anticipation to see what He’s up to. In the meantime, I’m attempting to go for complete immersion into all things related to Him so I can one day have as complete an understanding as humanly possible.

The educational resources are vast. The instruction manual is rich. The fellow believers are available. And life itself provides constant moments in which to learn.

All I need to do is make sure I’m focusing on Him with intensity and purpose, taking the time to truly understand.

The question is: Am I strong enough to protect my heart, my mind, my time from anything — even when they are good things — that infringes on the opportunity to grow deeper?