We all have ideas that we tell ourselves about God and how he works in our lives. Some are true--but many are false. James Bryan Smith believes those thoughts determine not only who we are, but how we live. In fact, Smith declares, the most important thing about a person is what they think about God. The path to spiritual transformation begins here.
Turning to the Gospels, Smith invites you to put your ideas to the test to see if they match up with what Jesus himself reveals about God. Once you've discovered the truth in Scripture, Smith leads you through a process of spiritual formation that includes specific activities aimed at making these new narratives real in your body and soul as well as your mind.
At the end of each chapter you'll find an opportunity for soul training, engaging in spiritual practices that reinforce the biblical messages on your mind and heart. Because the best way to make a complete and lasting change is to go through the material in community, small group discussion questions also accompany each chapter. Those who are leading apprentice groups will also find additional help and opportunities to interact with other leaders at the Apprentice website.
This deep, loving and transformative book will help you discover the narratives that Jesus lived by--to know the Lord he knew and the kingdom he proclaimed--and to practice spiritual exercises that will help you grow in the knowledge of our good and beautiful God.
"This is a good & beautiful book about our good and beautiful God. It is wise, easy to read, filled with depth, "thick" and so very enriching. It is one of the best books I've ever read that combines good theology and spiritual formation. This should come as no surprise since the author has had mentors like Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, and Henri Nouwen. Highly recommended."
(W. K. - VA)
"Not Your Average Devotional. This book is outstanding. Impeccable. Magnificent. All those things. And yet what I love about the book is that it points me beyond the pages to an encounter with the Good and Beautiful God James Bryan Smith writes so delicately about. For that, I am eternally grateful."
(J. T. - KS)
"Refreshing and Life Changing Read! I was very interested in reading this book after hearing James Bryan Smith speak at the Divine Conspiracy Conference. Upon reading the first few pages, I learned that his mentors were none other than Richard Foster and Dallas Willard! I was even more interested and fortunately I was not disappointed. The book is laden with stories about his life and others. How real people are being conformed to the image of God. He talks about trust, by comparing the trust his son has in him. He affirms the Goodness of God even while talking about how he suffered through the loss of his daughter. The book is good, not only because it content, but because it is utterly realistic."
(L. T. - TN)
"I know from our long relationship that Jim Smith is a fine and trustworthy man, who authentically knows 'the good and beautiful God.' I can think of no higher compliment than this: I would happily trust the care of my soul to Jim and the good and beautiful God he commends to us."
(Todd Hunter, author of Christianity Beyond Belief and pastor of Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Costa Mesa, CA)
"This first book in The Apprentice Series, The Good and Beautiful God, is a treasure. Dr. Smith has thought long and hard about the process of human transformation into the likeness of Jesus. I urge you to buy this book immediately! Read it and apply it. Then live it out in the context of a loving community. You will not regret doing so."
(Richard J. Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline and coauthor of Longing for God)