Encountering the God of Surprises:  Transformed by Joy

Grittman_Cover thumbnail revisionjpgEncountering the God of Surprises (B&W interior)

Encountering the God of Surprises (color interior)

Kindle full color edition

This is my most comprehensive work to date.  Stories of my most significant life experiences are shared “looking in the rear view mirror.” God has been present and working through both the joyous and painful moments/seasons to teach me something new, transform my perspective, fill me with joy, and infuse a passion to share the joy with others.  In these pages, I will introduce you to some amazing people who have made an impact on my life and ministry – some who were as broken as I was at the beginning of my journey with the God of surprises.  Would you like to celebrate the victories with me?  Joy is contagious. Are you ready for a spoonful?  Fix a cup of coffee or tea, get cozy, and let’s talk.  I’ll start the conversation and then I hope you will email me your thoughts and stories as well.

Gods Response to Suffering sermon preached at Highlands United Methodist Church on October 20, 2012 based on Mark 1:40-42.  After I preached this sermon many of the members wanted copies of the CD to take home for themselves or to share with friends.  The message helps people move beyond the “Why?” question and open their eyes and heart to God who is compassionate, present and working on behalf of those who experience suffering of any type.  Click here:  Gods-Response-to-Suffering

Why Do Bad Things Happen to God’s People?  This article goes into more depth than in my book Encountering the God of Surprises.  Examples and Scripture are included to help the reader explore the complexity of the reasons people, even Christians, suffer. Click here:   Why Do Bad Things Happen

Is God in Control? Reflections on the Sovereignty of God  Most Christians believe God is sovereign but they struggle to understand how God could be in control when the world is filled with so much suffering and evil. In this article I reflect on Scripture and show that “God is in control” but that “God is not controlling everything.” Is God in Control – Reflections on the Sovereignty of God


A-Biblical-and-Theological-Basis-for-Women-in-Ministry  I have struggled to understand why some passages of Scripture seem to exclude women in the role of teaching, leading or preaching, particularly when men were present.  I needed to understand why denominations and theologians interpret these passages differently and come to an informed and prayerful decision for myself.  This article has been a valuable tool for me as a woman who God called into ordained ministry. Even if you do not agree with the perspective in the article, I think you will appreciate hearing that those who hold an opposing view do not see themselves as disregarding Scripture passages that do not suit them, but rather they see the message of Scripture from a different perspective and make an obedient response based on their understanding.  The article is infused with Scripture and opened my eyes to things I had previously missed.

The Journey of Desire: Searching for the Life We’ve Only Dreamed Of  by John Eldredge.  Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN, 2000.  “Eldredge invites you to rediscover your God-given desire and to search again for the life you once dreamed of.”  I particularly appreciated a parable that runs through the book about a sea lion who was living in a desert.  That was me at one point in my life.  I have found the sea once again, thanks be to God!

The Return of the Prodigal Son:  A Story of Homecoming by Henri J. M. Nouwen.  An Image Book published by Doubleday, 1994.  “In seizing the inspiration that came to him through Rembrandt’s depiction of the powerful Gospel story, Nouwen probes the several movements of the parable: the younger son’s return, the father’s restoration of sonship, the elder son’s vengefulness, and the father’s compassion. The themes of homecoming, affirmation, and reconciliation will be newly discovered by all who have known loneliness, dejection, jealousy, or anger. The challenge to love as the father and be loved as the son will be seen as the ultimate revelation of the parable known to Christians throughout time, and here represented with a vigor and power fresh for our times.”

Healing by Francis MacNutt.  Ave Maria Press, 1974, 1999.  This resource provides a context within which to understand healing. MacNutt covers topics that include the basis of the healing ministry, kinds of healing, and the connections between sacraments and healing. MacNutt discusses new discoveries of connections between the spiritual and the physical, including scientific inquiries into the healing power of prayer.

Books of poems inspired by God  Author Karen J. Chisholm is the music director at my former church.  She has two books of messages God has shared with her as poetry.  God says, “Write for me, child,” and Karen writes. Some of her poems have tunes given her as well, and she has 12 of these songs on a CD collection.  I have personally witnessed the God of surprises give Karen a song (lyrics in rhyme and a singable tune) in the course of an hour on a Sunday morning, and I had her play it on the piano and sing it for our worship.  It was actually a gift to me from God through Karen.  God my Father is so good to us!  Here is the link to her books:  I Am With You  and Tough as Nails

The Will of God by Leslie Weatherhead The Will of God  This short book has helped me with a way to understand God’s will for our world – His original intent, His circumstantial will based on our sinful choices, and His ultimate will that cannot be thwarted.  I recommend this book if you struggle with the “Why?” question when bad things happen and wonder where God is in all of it (or if He even exists).