by James Bryan Smith
We are told, “Look out for yourself first” and “Nice guys finish last.” But following that path leaves us feeling isolated and anxious, and can even take us to a place of ruin. This is not a magnificent journey.
There is a road to life in the unshakeable kingdom of God, but it’s not an easy journey.
“We cannot enter into the kingdom unless we take our cross and die to ourselves,” writes author James Bryan Smith. “We often assume that this will be painful. And of course it is. But what is the alternative? I can, for example, choose to navigate my life, choose to live as I want, and aim at fulfilling all of my desires. This will result in that despair Kierkegaard wrote of, the sickness unto death. . . . The wisest choice, then, is to surrender.”
In The Magnificent Journey, the author shows us the better road, the road less travelled, but the road full of riches. Along the way he introduces us to new spiritual practices that will provide the sustenance we need for the deepest, most joy-filled journey of our lives—the journey into the heart of God.
Spiritual formation writers and spiritual directors have shifted from the spiritual disciplines to story and narrative and to journey, and the leading light on this reconfiguration of spiritual formation is James Bryan Smith. In The Magnificent Journey you will be embraced by the story of the kingdom of God, a story that leads us into faith, hope, love, and—best of all—joy. This book, when accompanied by the grace of God’s Spirit, can guide churches into that surprise called joy.
professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary
Too often our thinking about growing as followers of Jesus is focused on our own activities for God. But God invites us to cultivate humble receptivity which would then give birth to holy activity. Obedience is then a response to grace. Surrender is then a response to love. Smith speaks here from lived wisdom about the transforming privilege of loving abandon to divine generosity. I highly recommend this book.
author of An Unhurried Life and An Unhurried Leader
Deep and accessible, profound and personal, James Bryan Smith offers the very best writing in spiritual transformation. He’s the ideal guide for this magnificent journey. Walk with him and you will become the good and beautiful you that God created you to be.
pastor Tenth Church, Vancouver, BC, author of Survival Guide for the Soul
James Bryan Smith rightly understands that to be a Christian is not so much a conferred status as it is a journey we embark upon—a journey toward Christlikeness. This journey of apprenticeship is less about learning right beliefs and more about employing right practices. If we are to make progress in Christlikeness, we need what Smith calls ‘soul training.’ And this is what makes The Magnificent Journey such an exciting and valuable book. With The Magnificent Journey James Bryan Smith blazes a trail for all who desire to live deep in the kingdom of Christ.
pastor of Word of Life Church, St. Joseph, Missouri, author of Sinners In the Hands of a Loving God
With the depth of a scholar and the posture of a friend, James Bryan Smith offers profound truth we are desperate to remember: God is near, Jesus is with us, and his kingdom remains strong and unshakable. If you’re looking for the kind of truth that actually makes a difference in your life, this book is a must-read.
author of Simply Tuesday
In The Magnificent Journey, James Bryan Smith masterfully pulls from all different voices and movements in the Christian tradition to chart the way of Jesus. His writing is conversational and full of great stories even as he speaks of the ineffable. He is able to hold at once mysticism and down-to-earth practicality. Most critically, he casts a vision of life that makes me long to know Jesus more.
priest in the Anglican Church of North America, author, Liturgy of the Ordinary