December 2012


Jon takes the reader by the hand to follow him down a path of examining where God is already at work in our lives demonstrating His incredible grace. Clearly this is a book written by someone who has not just studied the theology of grace but whose personal life story as well as vast experience in counseling and pastoral ministries has given birth to a rich and practical understanding of what it means to resist and accept God’s gift of grace at every stage of one’s journey. Resisting Grace is less about ‘getting’ grace and more about opening one’s eyes to God’s loving pursuit of us in places of denial to brokenness to total surrender. In finishing the last pages of the book, my heart swelled with praise to my God who indeed pours out His love and grace even in my resistance often times against the precious gift of Himself.

Grace Shim
Counselor Cornerstone Counseling Foundation in Chiang Mai, Thailand

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About six months ago, while putting my then eight year old daughter to bed, she asked me a very crucial question and I wrote my reactions to the conversation we had. She said, “Daddy, I believe in God but what if He isn’t? Sometimes I wonder. We don’t see Him, so how do we know? I do believe He’s real. Dad, how do you know God is true?” All I was ready for was a bed time kiss and the words “I love you, daddy”. This hit me from the blindside.

My heart hurt hearing this. I so much fantasize she will have this unshakable connection with God and He will always assure her of His Presence in her life. Don’t we all have unrealistic fantasies about our children’s journey, whatever they would be. But I realized this was a new dimension of her faith journey. At eight years old, she now has the seeds of doubt enter into her mind.

So we talked about why we may doubt and how we can be reassured that He truly is. I told her of the many great ways He has come through for me as well as the deep assurance and inner voice within my heart. And of the powerful work of His Word in my life. I asked her how does she know now and how having doubts is normal and can sharpen our belief of God.

Now my faith is challenged as I must trust that God is doing His good work in her, even in the process of doubt. I am convinced that doubt is not the enemy but friend of faith. Apathy is the true enemy. Doubt is the friend that challenges and sharpens as its intent can be for good even glory.

But I must trust it. For it is a dark part of the journey. Along with suffering, it is the tough, thorny part of the pathway and as her father it is the hardest place for me to see in her. I much love more the joy she expresses in God. Yet there is peace if only I find myself laying down at his feet.

Once again I climb up that mountain, prepared to make that sacrifice.

from the highly respected and rev of the west – Pastor Ken Fong.
thanks so much for your review Ken.

As an Asian American Christian and a pastor now to many Asian American Christians for more than three decades, I’ve come to identify more and more with the older brother in the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15). Like him, so many of us seem hard-wired to reject God’s grace, even years after becoming followers of Christ. Warden has managed to zero in on this core problem, addressing it from solid psychological, theological, and cultural angles. Even more important is the fact that he understands God’s solution to this problem–experienced by far more than just those from shame-based cultures. It’s recognizing that we can’t add to the worth we already have from God. That we can only surrender to God’s gifts of grace daily, and respond by sharing that grace forward. Warden takes his readers deep into the problem, but he shows them the God-designed way to experience what God alone can give us. I’ve been waiting for someone to write this book. Jon Warden is clearly the person I’ve been waiting for.

Ken Fong
Senior Pastor Evergreen Baptist Church of LA, author of Secure in God’s Embrace: Living as the Father’s Adopted Child and Pursuing the Pearl: A Comprehensive Resource for Multi-Asian Ministry

Tonight I was answering my daughter’s question, “Why do people do bad things such as shooting children?”. I tried to give, in simply terms, an answer that in reality, is complex. I sought to explain the process of sin, evil and humanities’ brokenness to her. I steered the conversation to examining our own propensity to do wrong and to harden our own hearts and how important repentance is and to keep our hearts soft. (Believe it or not I did keep it in simple terms). She has asked me many hard questions in her short almost nine years. Parenting is challenging to say the least.

It breaks my heart to think how many children are struggling these days with that very question my daughter brought up to me. “Whys” are always hard to answer. They are also hard to ask. I am so sad and wish I could keep her from such painful reflections. “The truth will set you free…but first it will make you miserable.” Sometimes grace is ugly, messy and painful. Hard things may cultivate deep character or harden hearts that avoid the deep work of the soul. I am trusting God that He is doing something deep within her.

At the same time I was awaken tonight by a nightmare of betrayal and a plot against my character. I think it was a combination of being emotionally spent and having msg in my food I ate tonight. I’m spent but now I cannot sleep. So I write.

Please God, in your deep work in Joelle’s life, protect her from evil and keep her heart soft. I also ask that for myself and for all your children.

Last night my family ceremoniously pressed the “publish book” button on Createspace and prayed for God’s hand upon it

It is officially out on Amazon.com
A long journey reaches it’s destination
All thanks to my Lord

I am humbly trembling

 

 

This is the exhortation that came to my mind today:
“Do not let fixation on discouragement keep from remembering encouragement. Neither fixate on encouragement to avoid the grieving in discouragement. Grieving and rejoicing are bed fellows.”

I rejoice in the improvements regarding my lungs and being able to do much more than even two years ago. This exists in the midst of sadness over the loss of vision that is in part because of my struggle with glaucoma. It is sometimes confusing for me to be feeling better in one part of my body and struggle with another part. I feel both grieving and gladness mixing throughout my day. I catch myself in this bi-polar predicament and scratch my head.

I think I am a mutt of emotions: part sad, part anxious, part excited, part mad, part mad and part tender. I am learning to have them co-exist together instead of allowing only one   at a time while denying all others. It’s a much more complicated dance but a much more beautiful one.

Grace works within me to create such beauty and I recognize my resistance. Help me trust more.

The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised. Job 1:21
p.s. The book publishing process is nearly done. Createspace (the publisher) is making one more correction and then will send me one last hard copy for proofing. When I approve, they get it onto Amazon.com. It is days away! A mutt of emotions I have been and now my tail wags more and more.

As I wait for the next (hopefully last) hard copy draft for proof reading, I wrote out the description that will be placed in the Amazon book description when released for the public.

What is Resisting Grace? It is about God working to bring about changes in our lives and we resisting it. It is about understanding what His grace is doing as well as understanding our resistance so as to learn to cooperate and experience greater works of grace. It’s about what is God trying to do in my life. It is about hearing him as He reveals, being stirred by him as He moves , resolved by him as He girds, stripped by him as He breaks, filled by him as He fuels and transformed by him as He frees. This is not in formulas of self-helps techniques but in the dynamic power of grace that only comes from intimacy with a God who works within.

The secret of true transformation is knowing and experiencing His Grace. It is knowing what it is and how it operates within us. It is experiencing it deeply in our daily lives. What hinders it is our resistance. We resist knowingly and sometimes unknowingly. Understanding what is our resistance and why we resist is the starting place to cooperating with grace and being able to do the dance of transformed living.

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