“Tonight’s speaker is the sister-in-law of the author of that great book we were reading through as a fellowship this summer.” This was how my wife Shannon was introduced yesterday before speaking at the InterVarsity chapter at Lehigh University. The group had been reading The Pursuit of God in the Company of Friends by my brother Rich Lamb (IVP, 2003). (My entire life I’ve been known as the younger brother of Rich Lamb the celebrity and author.)
Have you ever noticed that Jesus almost never spent time with his disciples individually. Jesus also didn’t focus on speaking and preaching to the crowds, but he focused on being with the twelve. Not huge crowds, not one-on-one. Rich argues that in the Bible discipleship happens in the context of community. Unfortunately, we don’t really know how to do that in the church.
Here is what David Neff (Christianity Today editor) says, “Everybody complains about American individualism, but nobody does anything about it. Rich Lamb is the rare writer who actually sketches a practical map of the path from solitary Christianity to the place where we meet God in the company of others.” Other endorsers include Kelly Monroe, George Verwer, Brian McLaren, Gordon MacDonald, Os Guinness, Ron Sider, Tom Sine, Don Everts, Paul Tokunaga, Steve Hayner, Mary Ellen Ashcroft, Leighton Ford, David Gill, Richard Peace. An impressed group.
Derek Cooper, one of my colleagues here a Biblical Seminary, told me a few weeks ago that he just met a student named Dan that was going start to take classes here soon. Dan so excited about a book that he was reading and discussing with a group of Christian friends that he had to tell Derek about it. (As Derek told me this story, I assumed the book was going to be God Behaving Badly.) Dan shows Derek the book, and Derek then tells Dan, “If you like Rich Lamb’s book, you should come to Biblical and meet his brother Dave.” Some things never change.
How do you pursue God in the company of friends?