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Title: The Sacred Journey
Author: Chris Surber
Publisher: Energion Publications
Copyright: 2010
ISBN-13: 978-1893729858
Genre: Christian Living
Book Size: 102 pages
Reviewer: Deborah Porter

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In the two thousand years since Jesus first spoke the beatitudes to the crowd listening to the Sermon on the Mount, countless books, messages, studies and devotionals have been written on the subject--each one, hopefully, bringing a new depth of appreciation for the truth of the Lord's words in relation to each reader's own life.

With his book, The Sacred Journey, Pastor Chris Surber joins that long list of authors and preachers, bringing his own fresh insight to the subject, together with a smattering of anecdotes for emphasis and illustration.

In writing this book, Chris used some of his own life experience, added a little dash of light humor here and there, tied in a good amount of straight talking for today's church, and mixed it all together with some very solid, and often quite challenging, teaching. Some chapters had a better balance of this mix than others, but overall, it worked well.

A favorite example of this good mix can be found in Chapter 1, where the author shares a rather misguided teenage attempt he made with his cousin to climb a mountain in Butte, Montana, to touch the Lady of the Rockies statue. I found myself chuckling as the boys discovered their goal was a lot harder to reach than they had anticipated--particularly when relying solely on their own wisdom instead of seeking advice. The punch-line to this particular adolescent story made me laugh out loud, and reflect back on some of my own misdirected adventures--even recent ones.

Using this very lighthearted illustration as his launch pad, Pastor Chris moved on to teach about the obstacle of pride when it comes to our relationship with God, and to expand on the first beatitude: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Reading each chapter, I was easily able to imagine this enthusiastic pastor preaching these messages to his congregation over a period of eight Sundays. Each one would have made an excellent sermon, and it wouldn't surprise me to find out that they had, indeed, originated in the pulpit.

The Sacred Journey is not a long book, and could easily be read as an eight day devotional for individuals, or an eight week discussion base for groups. It is definitely designed to encourage and exhort the church--one member at a time.