The first time I heard “The Very Next Thing” on the radio in my car, I memorized most of the words. Or rather, they just stuck. I was basically a sitting duck for the message. Spinning my wheels in a rut, I’d been so afraid of unknowns I was letting obligation determine my next steps instead of obeying as God leads.
“Set my sights on tomorrow, while I’m tripping over today” was a fine summary of my state. God used those lyrics to reorient my perspective toward one-by-one steps of obedience.
In Follow the Cloud, pastor and new author John Stickl echoes and expands on this concept of following God’s leading just one step at a time.
As you might suspect, Stickl refers often to the Old Testament experience of Israel. God led His chosen people out of bondage and through the wilderness with a cloud. The people weren’t given a roadmap or told the exact location or timeline of God’s plan. Their directions were simply to move when and where God’s cloud moved. That’s faith-training!
Stickl explains that:a journey of next steps isn’t really about where we go, what we do, or what we accomplish; it’s about who we become. -Stickl Click To Tweet
With that thesis in mind, he shares personal and Biblical stories and illustrations to discuss elements of God’s leading like:
God’s invitation to come with Him
Gaining momentum through change
Receiving God’s grace
Recognizing God’s voice
The importance of obedience
God’s purposes and invitation
The cadence of Follow the Cloud is casual. Most of the sentences are short. The concepts focus on more practical application than academic understanding. Stories, Scripture, and tweetable quotes make it a fast and engaging read.
Examples of quotable statements (of which there are many) include:
“God speaks in sentences not paragraphs because you can only obey one sentence at a time.”
“I don’t want to come and see. I want to see and then decide if I want to come.”
“Don’t lower your theology down to your personal experiences; raise your experiences up to your theology.”
Some of Stickl’s illustrations break down a bit before he wraps them up and his examples from Scripture are sometimes based on presumptions. However, I found his conclusions seemed in line with God’s Word. As usual, it’s wise to check teachings against what God says in the Bible.
Follow the Cloud is an encouraging read that will likely be meaningful to people who are wrestling with making big life decisions.
<I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.>
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