I have a friend that I want to introduce to you today. This friend has taught me a lot, and I hope that I can pass just a little of his knowledge along to you in this post. As we go through life we pass through many different seasons and several different stages. Mentors and friends who can give us new perspectives will help us grow and adapt to meet the needs of each new phase. I first met this friend in college, and his words helped me transition to independence and adulthood. Now he is helping me transition to the next phase of my life where I am finding myself today.
Here are some of the reasons why I admire my friend:
1) He recognizes that we are in a spiritual battle, and he understands the spiritual warfare we need to fight it.
2) He emphasizes the healing that comes from counseling and psychology. But he balances it with the purity that only comes from holiness.
3) He is a leader. He leads men. He leads a ministry. But he also is training up his sons in the ministry. Unlike Joshua or Samuel who were great leaders without worthy successors, John is focusing his attention on mentoring his sons to be better men than himself. Not only that, but he teaches us how to do the same.
4) He understands all of the ways that a dude can love God.
5) He lives in Colorado, fishes, hunts, hikes, backpacks, canoes, mountain-climbs, bikes, works on cars, and is a MAN. And yet he loves poetry and the theatre and is in touch with the very tender ways that God touches our souls. In other words, he embraces masculinity without turning it into a cartoon. He is in touch with the emotional and caring side, without being effeminate.
6) He rejects superficial rule-following, but also calls us to be holy as God is holy. He is the perfect balance of purity and freedom.
7) He understands men, and how God made us
8) He understands the way God made women, in all their captivating beauty.
9) He understands how hard marriage is, but also how wonderful!
10) He understands that we are invited into a conversational intimacy with God. He talks to God, asks God questions and listens for God’s answer!
11) He quotes Braveheart, Gladiator, John Wayne, and Lord of the Rings.
12) He has not been content to have a one-dimensional, boring view of Jesus. He urges us to really look at the stories of God Incarnate to uncover the God Whom we serve, and Whom we should emulate.
13) He understands that God wants us blessed, but He also wants us transformed.
14) He knows that there is more to our Christian life than duty.
15) He introduces us to the friends who have influenced him. GK Chesterton, CS Lewis, Soren Kierkagaard, and George MacDonald, to name a few.
16) He is vulnerable, sharing his heart and his struggles.
17) He mixes the theoretical and the practical. He casts the vision for the cosmic reasons that prayer is important, and he also teaches us how to pray.
For these reasons and more I’m introducing you to my friend, John Eldredge. Okay, so technically he is not actually my friend because I have never actually met him. At least not yet. But he shares enough of his heart in his books for me to feel as if I know him. Especially since I listen to his books on CD, which he reads. I have spent December, January and February diving into John’s writings because I have the wonderful opportunity to attend his Wild at Heart men’s retreat in March. Because of this I want to really get ready for the experience by reading as many John Eldredge books as I can. I’m very excited for this getaway, and I’m looking forward to it as if it was Christmas and summer vacation all wrapped into one.
So why am I telling you this? Most of all, John understands that the heart is central to the Christian life. Logic is good, thinking is important, but the heart is central. How many lonely men and troubled marriages would be saved if they would just understand the things that John is teaching? Do you desire holiness? Do you wish that you could talk to God and hear from Him? Do you want to know what it means to be a man or woman in God’s Kingdom and His great Story? If so, please spend some time with my friend, John.
Ransomed Heart Ministries – Hover over Real Men, Captivating Women, Jesus Really, The Larger Story, or Prayer that Works for a good place to start.
Interested in reading some of John’s books? Here is my quick guide:
Wild at Heart: Every man must read this book to understand what it means to be a man in God’s kingdom.
Fathered By God: This is a terrific book for men to understand the next level of masculinity. Wild At Heart gets you started, but I found that I needed a ‘refresher’ course now that I am in my mid-thirties. This book gives the stages of a man’s life: Boyhood, Cowboy, Warrior, Lover, King, and Sage. I am currently learning how to be a Lover and a King through John’s help.
Killing Lions: This conversation between John and his son illuminates how to help a boy transition through the challenging years after high school graduation and through your twenties. This is a great book if you are in your twenties, or if you have a son who is entering his teen years.
Captivating: You have a beauty to unveil, and you have an important role to play in a great adventure. This book by John and Stasi helps you understand the ‘mystery of a woman’s soul.’
Walking With God: John takes sections from his journal over the course of a year to show us how to pray. More than that, he shows us how he relates to God, and how God speaks to him. It is an amazing and inspirational picture of how our plain, everyday lives can be lived with our Creator.
The Utter Relief of Holiness: If you struggle with a sin habit that you can’t break, or if you are the purest Pharisee in the church choir, you have to read this book! It is the most refreshing explanation of that sweet spot where freedom and purity align.
Beautiful Outlaw: John challenges the churchy Sunday School pictures of Jesus, which only reveal a small portion of who He really was. He describes a God-man who was fierce, tender, fun, funny, and altogether unpredictable. This is a refreshing reminder that Jesus was a person, not a sunbeam. Then John goes on to explain how we Christians should follow in His dusty footsteps.
Love and War: John and Stasi have been through hell, but they are working hard to make their marriage a little reflection of heaven. They draw on their own experiences and the many people they have counseled to paint a picture of marriage that is gritty, real, and full of hope. It is hard, but it is worth it!
The Sacred Romance: I understand God’s love as my Father, my Commander in Chief, my caring friend, and my sacrificial savior. But I do not understand God as the Groom of the Church with me as His bride. This book is the first step in a deeper understanding of this intimate way that God loves me, and the way that I need to love Him.
Waking the Dead: This book takes the truths in Captivating and Wild at Heart and helps you more fully grasp how to be a part of God’s kingdom, on earth, as it is in Heaven.