The Preacher’s Brideis set in 1650’s England against the religious persecution that the Puritan’s of that time faced. This is the debut novel by Jody Hedlund and was written in such compelling way, I couldn’t put it down. The characters are realistic and likeable and the emotion that flows through this story is palpable.
When John’s wife dies, leaving behind an infant son and some other children, a teenage Puritan girl, dedicated to serving however God would lead, steps into the breach to provide for this infant. The child, not expected to live, begins to thrive under Elizabeth’s care as do the other remaining children who are grieving their mother. John, however, blinded by grief and obsessed with preaching to the masses, regardless of the cost, initially opposes Elizabeth’s interference in his household but soon becomes to depend on her completely for the care of his children and home.
As religious persecution increases, Elizabeth becomes a target to try to undermine and stop John’s ministry. Elizabeth suffers severely but does not give up the task she feels God has clearly given her to care for this little family. Her sacrifice costs her the possibility of her own marriage that had been planned. Eventually John wakes up to the woman who has sustained him and who has loved him for years while she served and supported his preaching. Eventually marrying, the challenges the couple faces are not less severe and crippling.
John’s passion for the work of God and Elizabeth’s zeal for service against tremendous odds paints a compelling image of the sacrifices that many in that time period would have encountered.
This was a book I could not put down. I had to keep reading to see what would happen next. When I finished I had to go back and re-read parts because they were so compelling. I found myself swept up into the story and empathetic to the characters as they struggled with obedience and faith in the midst of circumstances most of us will never be challenged with.
I strongly recommend this book. It is worth the time to read and let the characters resonate within your soul and call you to a deeper walk and faith in Christ. The courage they exemplify is something we lack so much of in our own culture. Thank you, Jody for pouring your heart and the talent God has obviously gifted you with, into this story. To Him be the glory!
Crawford W. Loritts, Jr is a wise and humble speaker. His book, Leadership as an Identity, reflects those same characteristics.
Pastor Loritts’ book challenges the view of Christian leadership as being far more than a set of skills and giftedness or even personality. It’s not a book on “how to” lead well. This book instead dares to say that leadership for a Christian is something other than that. It is an identity that a believer assumes when God calls that person to lead. This is manifested best when the leader embraces four key characteristics: brokenness, uncommon communion, servanthood and radical, immediate obedience. Crawford points to these being the four underlining character traits of great leaders in Scripture, and in the church through history.
This book is written in a very easy to read style drawing on Scripture as well as the words of wisdom from Christian leaders that have withstood the test of time and trials and exhibited these four characteristics. Loritts contends that only when a leader submits to these processes in their walk with God, can they truly be called a Christian leader and glorify God in the manner in which they fulfill that assignment that God has given.
These are not easy traits to seek and ultimately they are the calling of everyone who wants to claim to be a follower of Jesus Christ. The responsibilities and challenges that leaders face in the church, however, make these traits far more essential to wrestle with.
Having read many books, this could easily qualify as one of the best of any leadership book out there. If you are a leader in the church, whether you are paid staff or volunteer, whether you lead adults or children or serve in a soup kitchen, this book is for you. It is a book to be read, underlined, savored and prayed over in the pursuit of leadership that will stand the test of time and bring the utmost glory to God in the process. Then read it again. It’s that good.
Congratulations to Pastor Loritts on obeying God in putting these thoughts on paper and sharing them with a wider audience. May the church be blessed and God glorified all the more because of the words on these pages.