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Tag Archives: Elyse Fitzpatrick

Book Review: Found in Him

I confess I’m not a great book reviewer. My reviews are far more subjective than objective, and I struggle to point out negative aspects. So normally I just review books I agree with and love.

And…today is no exception. While writing A Christ-Centered Wedding, I did a lot of research into and thinking about what our marriage union with Christ really means. When I heard that Elyse Fitzpatrick was writing a book on this very topic, I was anxious to read it, only to discover it wouldn’t be out until well past the due date for our book. This was probably a gift from the Lord so that I wouldn’t be tempted to plagiarize all of Fitzpatrick’s book.

I had the honor of hearing the author speak last year at the True Woman conference in Indianapolis. When we go to conferences, there is a tendency for us to make mental to-do lists of what we need to do and change when we return home. We hear a convicting message, determine to change things, and go home with renewed resolve. Or maybe it’s just me. But then Elyse Fitzpatrick spoke on our identity in Christ and talked about her desire to give women “No fluff, no bricks, just Good News.” I walked away refreshed, encouraged, and knowing how dearly I was loved in Christ.

This is the same feeling I had after reading Found in Him: The Joy of the Incarnation and Our Union with ChristThe entire book is about Christ. We’re so used to the “now that you know this, go do this” section of books that I kept waiting for it. But it wasn’t there. The book is divided into two parts: Part 1 deals with the incarnation of the God-man, Jesus Christ; Part 2 with our union in and with Christ.

This is a book that needs to be slowly chewed and reflected on. I received a digital copy from the publisher in exchange for a review (which is not required to be positive), but I will be ordering a hard copy just so I can write all over it and come back to it, a bit at a time, to really think it through. Fitzpatrick’s writing is accessible and understandable, but not watered down or overly sentimental. It’s like someone walking you through Scripture and constantly reflecting–“Can you believe this? This is the Christ who has loved you. This is what He did and is still doing.”

My eyes were opened and my heart rejoiced as I read about the deep significance of Jesus’ faithfulness and the purpose of His perfect life. I better understood the resurrection through the lens of childbirth. In fact, here’s just a small quote–I highlighted half of the book on my Kindle, so I’m really restraining myself not to share quote after quote:

When we read that God’s ways are higher than our ways (Isa. 55:9), we really don’t have much of a clue what that means, do we? Think of it: a virgin shall conceive. A desolate unmarried man sings because he gives birth and sees his children. A new humanity is born in a new garden, but this time it is not from the dust of the earth but from the flesh of God, once dead but now alive, that they come. God labors! The Son cries out in pain, and we are born again! He thought nothing of the shame of the cross because of the joy of our birth in him (Heb. 12:2).

There is some great stuff in the second part of the book, as well. The author discusses what it means for us to be the bride of Christ and spends some time reflecting on the fact that in Christ we are all (male and female) in a way feminine in comparison to the masculinity of God. This might be a somewhat controversial concept, but in context it points us to rejoice in the loving Bridegroom and our union with Him:

Whenever anyone got around Jesus they felt both welcomed and in need of protection and provision, and they all came to know that he had initiated the relationship and was completely in charge.

The final chapter is as close to a “to-do list” as it gets, but in fact it’s much more like a “to-think-on” list. It’s an application in a way, as if to say, “If all the preceding thoughts are true, what implication does this have for my daily life?” But, unlike many other books and teachings, it’s not focused primarily on change. As Fitzpatrick writes:

For many people the entire point of Christianity is found here in the topic of change. No matter how one might define that word, many of us are primarily interested in how to get better, to be better, and to do more. Rather than spending most of our time reflecting on the incarnation and our union with Christ, the majority of messages and books in the Christian marketplace are about what we’re supposed to be doing. The deep and life-transforming message of the incarnation and our union with Jesus is trampled under the stampede of believers trying to find the secret to being a better you.

So this final chapter shows how doing just that–reflecting on the incarnation and our union with Christ–powers and inspires us in daily faithfulness.

I love that this book came out in time to meditate on it before and during the Christmas season. I highly recommend it. It’s not just a “woman’s book,” but Fitzpatrick’s writing style is such that I think anyone would greatly benefit from a thorough reading. Maybe an early Christmas gift for a friend or family member (or yourself?).

Blog Silence & A Link Roundup

So it’s been a little quiet around here lately. I’ve been prepping a couple of Bible study lectures to share with the women in my church, and I seem to only get inspiration for one thing at a time. Thus, the lack of posting here.

Next week I plan to start posting again. In the meantime, here are some of my favorite things around the web from the past couple of weeks:

Naming Children – my friend Kyle writes about the names parents choose for their kids, inviting us to decide if it’s gotten out of hand. Hilarious writing here, people.

I See You and I Judge – by Jan Quick, on women and judging and shame and the solution

That One Sin – by Lindsey Carlson, on how we easily become defeated in our struggle against sin, and that one sin that just keeps coming back.

The Secret Women’s Porn Problem – by Trillia Newbell. It’s not just a man’s issue, and we need to be talking about it more. The first-person accounts in this piece open a window to see how this addiction starts, but the stunning part comes in Trillia’s thoughts at the end–freedom in Christ.

Also, I’ve had a couple of posts up on other websites if you’re interested in checking those out:

Tissues, Lassos and Labcoats: Lessons in Repentance – at True Woman I tell a childhood story and how it taught me I don’t have to fear confession of sin

Birth Choices, Baby Care and the Wisdom of God – at CBMW Karis I share how something my friend Mandi said completely changed my perspective on raising my kids

Finally, here’s a book I’m in the middle of. I’ll be posting a full review soon, but in the meantime you can check it out:

found in him

Found in Him: The Joy of the Incarnation and Our Union with Christ by Elyse Fitzpatrick

What I’m Reading

Now that I’m not busy writing a book, I’ve been enjoying some extra time to read several I’ve had on the shelf for a while. So I thought I’d list a few that have been particularly great, as well as a few I’m in the middle of or hoping to read soon.

Super(free)Woman: From Fundamentalist to Failure to Faith – by Marci Preheim. I’ve mentioned this one on the blog before, and am hoping to have a full review up eventually. If you’re looking for something to give the mother(s) in your life for Mother’s Day, give them the gift of freedom. Freedom from the pressures placed upon women by other women. Freedom from conformity to outside rules and expectations. Freedom from enslavement to the opinions of others. I love this quote from the book: “Depending on Christ’s righteousness is the joyful alternative to human achievement. The beauty of the gospel is realized in the humility that admits we have nothing to offer–no righteousness to bring. We know this, but don’t live it in front of each other. Instead we try to prove the opposite. Covering our sin and wearing a mask of external righteousness, we fool others into thinking we are godly.” The book is accessible and honest–Preheim pulls no punches, but lands them with love and grace. It’s as if you’re sitting across from her–something I’ve been privileged to do in our church body–and she is lovingly exhorting you to abide in Christ and rest in Him. Get it, read it, buy one for all your friends. Seriously.

Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith by Michael Reeves. This one is so good. I wish I could have read it years ago. The wit, beauty and joy with which it is written makes the author’s excitement contagious to the reader. It takes me a while to read books, but I picked this one up on a Tuesday and finished it on Thursday.

The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness by Tim Keller. Coming in at just 45 pages, this is a great one for the busy reader. Keller builds a case for the believer to think of himself less (not think less of himself), using Paul’s words from I Cor. 3:21-4:7. Not only does Keller diagnose the problem, something at which he is incredibly gifted. He also graciously and lovingly points out the solution.

Because He Loves Me: How Christ Transforms Our Daily Life by Elyse Fitzpatrick. In two parts, Fitzpatrick looks at how God’s love transforms both our identities and our lives. I have about half of this book underlined, so it is hard to come up with quotes or highlights. But this is a freedom-granting, Christ-exalting book from the heart of a writer who wants her readers to know the deep, amazing love of the Father for His adopted children, and the Son for His bride.

Suburbianity: What Have We Done to the Gospel? Can We Find Our Way Back to Biblical Christianity? – by Byron Yawn. Byron is my pastor. I know his heart for his church, and this book was written as a cry for us–suburban Christians in the heart of the Bible belt–to recognize that what we think is Christianity is actually “suburbianity.” Living in Nashville, we get it. There are more churches than trees. He writes, “You can’t assume people are less needy of the gospel if a church happens to be on every corner. Chances are they’ve never actually heard the gospel.” This is true here, even where everyone goes to church and claims to be a Christian. Byron’s heart is to awaken the church to a vibrant understanding of the true gospel–and understanding that compels us to go next door to our affluent suburban neighbors and actually share the gospel with them. It’s happening in my church, and it’s beautiful and exciting.

*Full disclosure–if you buy one of these books from the links on this page, I will get a tiny profit, further feeding my book addiction. If you would like to support said addiction, feel free to use these links. If you want to free me from the addiction, you might not want to use them.

So what are you reading right now, or what would you recommend I read next?

Would You Forget Your Dress?

'Honeymoonscape' photo (c) 2010, JD Hancock - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I am currently in Kansas visiting with family, so blogging will be spotty this week, but last night I had some time to myself (what?!) and started reading Because He Loves Me by Elyse Fitzpatrick and wanted to share a brief thought. The premise of the book is Christians need the gospel–we never move past it. Christ not only saves us, but transforms us. Here is a great section from the second chapter:

The gospel message–you have been cleansed from sin–is the pinnacle of God’s loving work in the world, and just as it is this work that saves us, it is also this work that transforms and sustains us. The gospel is the message that must remain paramount throughout all our life.  […] Jesus’ death cleanses us from sin, but it also guarantees our ultimate transformation into his image. This transformation occurs, Paul writes, while we gaze upon him, think about him, and muse on him as he has revealed himself to us in the gospel. “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:18). Behold his glory in the gospel and be transformed.

A few days ago I received an email from Gloria, whose blog I have mentioned before. She was reading Jeremiah and passed this verse on to me:

Can a virgin forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet my people have forgotten me days without number. Jer 2:22

I love this picture. Of course a bride does not forget such things, yet we are so tempted to move past Christ’s work and forget Him, moving on to the important work of everyday life.

May our everyday life (from planning weddings to making PB&J for toddlers) be characterized by a remembrance of and deep love for Christ and His work.

P.S.  If you’re curious about the book and the writing process, my new friend Trillia has graciously featured me in her series on new female authors. Check it out here and be sure to read this post about Trillia’s upcoming, much-needed book.