Review: ‘Unbreakable’ – Andrew Wilson

For those of you who know me well, you will know that when I read a book, I tend to read it fairly quickly if I am into it and not really think too hard about the content. But I recently read a book that really challenged me to think a little bit harder. And even though it was only 65 pages long, it took me four days to mull it over.

So what was the book? ‘Unbreakable’ by Andrew Wilson.
This is a book that looks into what the Son of God (Jesus) says about the Word of God (the Bible). It unpacks the reason why we should all believe in Scripture and all that it has to say and it is highly recommended. 

What this book doesn’t do is go into the reasons why people don’t believe Scripture or details on who wrote what and how we can believe what they are saying. For me, that made it all the more intriguing; people often go into conversations about the Bible, trying their hardest to find contradictions and the like but what we as Christians can often fail to do is to look at the bigger picture and see what is trying to be said throughout the whole thing. Which is why I like the way that Wilson gets straight to the point, discussing how in all that we read, we must read it in mind of Jesus. And although there will be moments when we have to look into the juxtapositions, we can research with Jesus in mind, knowing that He changed the way that we should look at laws and the religious aspects. 

But rather than writing a 65 page book about how we should just read the Bible and think of Jesus, Wilson takes us on a journey, allowing us to not only look at what is at the centre of scripture, but also why it has authority, how sufficient it is and also the dangers that can crop up if we are not careful. And whilst some people would really spend their time, going in to detail about each of these things, Wilson puts it bluntly to help us understand it quickly and without too many questions afterwards. 

For the past month or so, I have really been trying to dig deeper into Scripture and make sure I set aside time daily for an in-depth Bible study as I have wanted to learn more about the character of God and how my life slots into His bigger plan. And then I begin to read chapter 5 of ‘Unbreakable’ and I felt like what I had really been missing had just been revealed to me in such a significant way. Wilson ends the chapter talking about how we can see Jesus clearly being pointed to throughout Scripture, both in the Old Testament before he came and after he returned to his Father’s side in the New Testament. The sentence that grabbed my attention was this: “Jesus is the new Adam, who passed his garden test by submitting to the will of the Father, crushed the snake, and gave life to the dead rather than death to the living.” And at that point my eyes were opened to see Jesus everywhere I look in Scripture. And it got me that I hadn’t seen it before, even though it was in plain sight. All I can say, is that this book really helps you see the Bible from a new angle and helps to open your eyes to the things that we have been missing all this time.

Needless to say, I would highly recommend this book to all who want to understand the Bible better, no matter if you are young or old; it is a book that is accommodating for everyone. If you have any questions about what the Bible really means, or if you want to delve a bit deeper into Scripture, just like I was trying to do. I will leave a link below to where you can buy it, both in the UK and outside of it. Thank you, Andrew Wilson, for carefully crafting such a phenomenal book. 

Available in South Africa: http://www.wantitall.co.za/Books/Unbreakable-What-the-Son-of-God-Said-About-the-Word-of-God__1909611867

Available in the UK:

 

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Care Packages

“Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6 vs 8)

As I sit here with my cup of tea, dunking in a very much missed Custard Cream, I can’t help but thank God for the fact that He knows me better than I know myself.

I’m going to start this story, looking back on Monday. You see, there are little things that make me miss the UK more than others, and although I have got much better in dealing with them, I’m still glad they are there. One of these things is watching Top Gear with my brother. The problem here, however, is that I have seen pretty much every episode and there are no new ones with decent presenters. So a part of me has been desperate to watch The Grand Tour. 

Care Package #1
Chris plugs his memory stick into the computer on Monday so we can look at some material we are going to be using at youth on Friday and I see that he has got a collection and TV series’ and movies on there too. Then he tells me that I can copy some onto my flash drive. So I get looking. And what is on there? The Grand Tour! You have no idea how excited I was and how much I am looking forward to watching them!

Care Package #2
I get in the car with Cebo on Monday evening to go to worship practice for Easter Camp and he presents me with a very nice bar of chocolate. It definitely felt like something I needed and I very much appreciated it!

Care Package #3
Yesterday (Tuesday), Arno got back from the UK. Whilst he was there, he stayed with my parents and they gave him a care package to give to me. 
Before I go into what they sent me, I feel like I must give a little bit of context. Every year, Dad sends me a Valentines card with a very funny message inside and although I complain about it, I was a bit upset at the thought that this could be the first year that I don’t get one from him. 
So when I opened the package to find a card inside with ‘You’re My Favourite Weirdo’ written on the front, I felt like crying. It literally made my day and it now takes pride of place in my room, next to a card from my brother tell me that I am an ‘all-round bakery’. 
Obviously, it helped that there were Custard Creams inside this pack. They make my tea times much more exciting now! But the best thing about this package? My parents know that my year is not complete without Easter goodies. Yes, they packed me Mini Eggs and Creme Eggs! Highlight of my week! 

And before you all look at me and ask how on earth I am going to eat all this chocolate, I must tell you that it will be rationed and I will try not to eat it all in one go! Promise!

But I have to tell you, God knew that I needed a pick me up, something from home that would make me feel like I can make it to the end of the year here in South Africa. And although this stuff won’t stay with me for a long time, it will be long enough to help me get through times where I just want a hug from my dad or to chat to my mum. All I need to do is make myself a cup of tea and have a Custard Cream and all will be well. Flip, I don’t think I have ever sounded so British!

Here’s To The Dads

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post dedicated to all the mums that have made an impact in my life over the last year. So I thought that it was only fair that this week I shared with you some of the dads that have been there for me when I have needed them the most. Now, without further ado, here we go!

  1. Grant van Schalkwyk
    Starting with my real dad, this man has truly been an inspiration to me. He constantly encourages me to run after Jesus with all my heart and trust that His plans are best for me. Although he struggled letting me go, I know that he was so thankful that with me moving to South Africa, I was chasing after what God had in store for me and I know that makes my Dad so proud. But the best part about Dad? He makes me laugh by doing the most ridiculous things, trying to justify why grammar is incorrect, realising that there are 5 fingers on your hand etc. If ever I need cheering up, I know that all I have to do is talk to Dad for 5 minutes and he will have made me cry with laughter. Dad, thank you for always being there for me and encouraging me to live for God, no matter how far out of my comfort zone it takes me. 

  2. Arno de Bruin
    I wake up every morning so thankful that this man was willing to take me into his home for an entire year after only meeting me in person twice. I’m still not sure he fully realised what he was letting himself in for! Arno has been so generous towards me and I feel so at home here, like I have been adopted into his family. I mean, I even find myself questioning whether my real surname is van Schalkwyk or de Bruin! I feel like Arno has helped bring me out of my shell and makes me laugh so much when he is in a funny mood, although I feel like watching Masterchef Australia somehow helped bring out that mood. One thing I know for sure is that saying goodbye to this man in July will be very tough as he has become like another dad to me. 

  3. Pete Monaghan
    The first thing Pete asked me after I got my nose pierced was whether I had asked his permission to get it done and laughed at how I was encouraging Liesl-Ann too much. That was the moment I knew that I had gained another dad. I know that I am always welcome in the Monaghan household and it makes me so happy to know that there is a place I can go when I just need some space. And I also know that by the time I get back to the UK, I will have been turned into a rosé drinker. Pete, I really want to thank you for making me feel so at home.

All of these men are an inspiration to me and encourage me to be the person that God made me to be. I thank God for putting more dads into my life when I needed them most.

How Long?!

Over the last couple of weeks or so, I have been spending a lot of time in prayer and reading my Bible asking God how much longer I would have to wait for some things that I have been asking for for what feels like an eternity. Often, when we ask God for things, we sit there expecting an immediate answer, even if we know that God doesn’t always work like that. Whilst I am still waiting for those things, I have learnt a lesson that I really feel is worth sharing with you all. 

When we pray, we are in direct communication with the God who is powerful enough to create the universe, yet wants a deep and meaningful relationship with us. If you think about it, that statement in itself is an incredible statement to make. Yet, I feel like a lot of us can take that for granted when we pray. We can often think, even subconsciously, that because we are talking to God, who has the ability to do all things, we then have the right to have our prayers answered straight away. And while this is true, the answers may not be what you are expecting: God will answer with either a yes, no or not yet.

  1. Yes.
    If you get this answer, it’s flippin’ awesome! This answer can be an immediate witness to the grace, glory and power of Jesus Christ. And for those of you doubting whether or not anyone ever gets this answer, here are a few examples. A few friends of mine went to Newday this year (a Christian festival for young people in the UK) and there was a night when they prayed for healing. When they prayed for my brother’s hip to be healed after it had been giving him problems for years after he dislocated it, he was able to move it like he hadn’t been able to since the accident. He was able to sit cross legged on the floor! As well as that, they prayed for a youth leader who had burnt his hand that day and the blisters instantly disappeared. But these haven’t just been happening as a recent occurrence; God has been saying yes to requests for centuries! In John 2, Jesus attended a wedding where they were having such a good time, the wine ran out. And what did Jesus do? He turned water into wine so they could carry on partying! It was an immediate answer to prayer.
  2. No.
    God is so gracious to us, that He answers our prayers with a no when necessary. At the time, it may suck. A lot. Matthew 6:8 says “your Father knows what you need before you ask him”. And whilst mean that there will be times He will give you what you are asking for, He will also say no. Because He knows what you need, rather than what you want or would like. I would love many things, like a new phone or a library inside my own house. But God knows I don’t need those. In fact, they would probably distract me so much that the time I spend with Him would reduce significantly. Yes, these issues are pretty small in comparison to what some people ask for and get a ‘no’ to. But God tells you no, and keeps you in a situation because he is gracious and it will bring glory to Him in the end. Sometimes, no is the best answer, although it can be the most difficult to accept when it is given to you.
  3. Not yet.
    Then you get the not yets. Which is something I feel like I have been getting a lot of. This is where God teaches you patience and dependence on Him, rather than on the things, most likely, that you are asking for. Knowing that you have got to wait for something is always tough and ultimately, it is something that everyone struggles with. I have not yets for where God wants me to be in the future, how long I should stay in Plymouth for and many other things. I often catch myself asking God how much longer I will have to wait for a number of these prayers to be answered. But in times where I have been wrestling with God about it, I have found myself going to Psalm 13, where David is asking “how long”, questioning when God will break through for him and answers his cries for help. Do you want to know the thing that gets me every time I read this chapter? The ending. David says this, “I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me” (Psalm 13 vs 5-6). I cried the first time I read it. Even though David was battling with the fact that he couldn’t have the answers he wanted, he still praised God because He had been so good to him. So we can wait for ever and still tank God for all that He has done for us.

Then it struck me. This should be our response, no matter what the answer to our prayers are. It shouldn’t matter whether God says yes, no or not yet because we should be so thankful for what He has already done and how He has saved us when we didn’t deserve to be saved. God’s grace means that he answers with what is best for us and I want to thank Him for that every single day.