This would be an ideal Lent book as a spiritual check-up.

Instant Apostle

160 pages

I suspect books that might play on our weaknesses are a cash cow for Christian publishers, because we always have more that we can give. So Clark, a pastor and member of Elim’s UK National Leadership Team, has to overcome my doubts as he asks, “Are you half-hearted or wholehearted?” in this easy-to-read paperback.

Although Clark says that both matter, this is one for the heart, rather than the mind; while it offers little in the way of great intellectual rigour, it does a fine job of challenging our motivations and ambitions.

Those wanting to get the best from this conversational (and sometimes repetitive) book will read it slowly as a devotional aid to spark self-analysis. It would be an ideal Lent book as a spiritual check-up, offering some thoughtful, probing and relevant thoughts for consideration.

One notable page that would work well for meditation and reflection sets out contrasting lines that question how we see ourselves, including:

 “Sons pursue intimacy, while slaves only see instructions...
  Sons live by the law of love, while slaves live by the love of law...
  Sons embrace freedom, while slaves don’t know what to do with their freedom...
  Sons accept grace, while slaves try to earn favour...
  Sons have purpose while slaves perform.
  Sons honour their father through excellence while slaves are controlled by perfectionism.”

Sometimes the differences are subtle, yet important.

Clark has discussion starters at the end of the book (isn’t this de-rigeur now?) but also ends each chapter with a section titled Habits for the Heart – with suggestions covering ‘God-possibilities’, listening for God, learning to submit, Ignatian meditation, intentionality and soft-heartedness.

All of this is hung on the story of Caleb with plenty of surmising.

Derek Walker