As a practicing Christian, I like to read Christian literature to help with the growth of my faith and now I am a member of my church’s book club. In November we read Life of the Beloved by Henri J. M. Nouwen followed by The Screwtape Letters by C S Lewis (a re-read for me) in December. Our first read for the new year was this; If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat by John Ortberg.
In this book Ortberg uses the New Testament story of the disciple Peter, who bravely stepped out of the boat (on the Sea of Galilee) to walk on water with his teacher Jesus. An act that must have taken such great faith and courage, while Peter did flounder before that he managed, for a few brief moments, to forget his fear; aligned his path with God and performed the miracle of water-walking like the Son of God. Ortberg invites the reader to consider what incredible potential we may have if we align our own purposes with God; put our full faith in Him and step out of our comfort zone to brave the risky waters. Like Peter, we too can be water-walkers but there is one requirement: If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat!
This book is broken down into ten chapters which aim to help us consider what our comfort zones, fears, purpose and potential could be. Unlike previous Christian literature I have read, I found these chapters pretty long, therefore I found it very hard to read one chapter a night as I would have wished. However helpfully each chapter is also broken down into sub-headed sections which I was able to read easily in one night. This may have broken the flow up a little but the more I read the more I wanted to read, because I got into Ortberg’s ideas and started seeing how relevant they could be in my own life.
As well as being a bestselling author of several books on spiritual formation, John Ortberg is a professional speaker; a senior pastor at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church and has a doctorate in Clinical Psychology. I believe Ortberg has brought well all his experience, beliefs and education to bear on this book, as I thought it was very well-written with a good use of Scripture, research and personal analogies. Also, I thought he managed to balance using a strong, authoritative tone with a friendly, caring side – I often felt like a was sitting down with him, as my pastor, for advice over a nice cup of tea.
Overall, I thought If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat was a good, thought provoking read. Sadly I wasn’t able to attend the club’s discussion of this book, as they changed the night, but it was still well worth reading as an individual. This month we are reading and discussing The Shack by William Paul Young. Great read.
Have you read this? Or any of John Ortberg’s other books?