As Christmas is fast approaching I thought I would let you know that as a staff team we are currently reading John Hindley’s (from Broad Grace Church, Norfolk) new book ‘Weakness our Strength’. It’s been really fruitful for us as a team to dig into this book, week by week, and learn to not run away from our weakness. Here’s a more detailed review by ‘The Book Maestro’, John Watkins.
Weakness Our Strength By John Hindley
Most of us would pay lip service to the idea that we should not be serving the Lord Jesus in our own strength but in God’s. We can quote Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9 saying that when he is weak he is strong, but what does it mean to us?
In this book John Hindley goes a level or two deeper in looking at the notion of “weakness”. In eleven chapters it explores the notion of our weakness from various angles and encourages the readers to examine and confront their weaknesses. Many things will underline how weak we are. A nagging low-level worry, a sense of anxiety, an inability to cope with all that life throws at us and, particularly as we get older, the traits of a frail and mortal body are all signs of our weakness if we choose to recognise them as such.
John Hindley deals with the underlying causes of our weakness. We are fallen creatures in a broken world subject to decay – “sons of Adam and daughters of Eve”. Also our sin, present and past, leads to weakness. “The trajectory of sin towards death is something we feel even though we are no longer subject to death.” Sometimes the source of our weakness is obvious and sometimes more hidden. We need to confront our weaknesses and not hide or run away from them.
But how do we live with weakness? The author points us to Jesus right from the second chapter “Christ Crucified: The Heart of Weakness and Strength” “Christ’s cross is both weakness and strength. It is God’s weakness, which is stronger than man’s strength.” And the chapter concludes with the words “Weakness is not the traitor we take it for. Rather, it is our friend. Weakness can show us more of Jesus and how we may follow him than strength ever could, I am weak, but with Christ we are strong.” Flowing on from this starting point he talks about admitting our weaknesses to one another and being a community of weakness. By human standards the church appears weak but together, with Jesus among us, we are the bride of Christ, “awesome as an army with banners” (Song of Songs 6:10) And finally a reminder that our gospel is both in its content and presentation “weak”.
This is not a hard book to read and John Hindley uses lots of relevant examples, and at 138 pages it is not too long. Well worth reading and pondering as the ECC staff team has been doing.
Weakness Our Strength/ John Hindley/Union Publishing/ISBN 9781916899582/ £9.99 (RRP £11.99)