Monday, September 7, 2015

The Pursuit of God by A.W. Towser, with a giveaway

To have found God and still to pursue Him is a paradox of love, scorned indeed by the too-easily-satisfied religious person, but justified in happy experience by the children of the burning heart. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux stated this holy paradox in a musical four-line poem that will be instantly understood by every worshipping soul:

We taste Thee, O Thou Living Bread,
And long to feast upon Thee still:
We drink of Thee, the Fountainhead
And thirst our souls from Thee to fill.

Come near to the holy men and women of the past and you will soon feel the heat of their desire after God. Let A. W. Tozer’s pursuit of God spur you also into a genuine hunger and thirst to truly know God.


My review: 
  Other than a devotional that was given to me several years ago, I had not read anything Towser had written. This book is deep, deeper than I am used to reading, but it was an interesting read. Towser makes a great case for we Christians needing to constantly pursue God, and it not being a one time thing that happens when we become Christians.


  The book was originally published in 1948, but is still relevant today for Christians in 2015. It is full of wisdom and quotes such as this one: “Millions call themselves by His name, it is true, and pay some token homage to Him, but a simple test will show how little He is really honored among them. Let the average man be put to the proof on the question of who or what is ABOVE, and his true position will be exposed. Let him be forced into making a choice between God and money, between God and men, between God and personal ambition, God and self, God and human love, and God will take second place every time. Those other things will be exalted above. However the man may protest, the proof is in the choice he makes day after day throughout his life.” 

  This book is an updated version, and since I never read the original version I have no idea what was changed. It is written in modern English, but the original could have been also. It is formatted very well, and with short chapters it doesn't take long to get a chapter read, though I would recommend reading a chapter and thinking about it before going on to the next so you have time to digest what you have read.

  A couple of more quotes from the book:“You can see God from anywhere if your mind is set to love and obey Him.”

“If we cooperate with Him in loving obedience, God will manifest Himself to us, and that manifestation will be the difference between a nominal Christian life and a life radiant with the light of His face.” 

About the author:


Aiden Wilson Tozer was born April 21, 1897, on a small farm among the spiny ridges of Western Pennsylvania. Within a few short years, Tozer, as he preferred to be called, would earn the reputation and title of a "20th-century prophet."
Able to express his thoughts in a simple but forceful manner, Tozer combined the power of God and the power of words to nourish hungry souls, pierce human hearts, and draw earthbound minds toward God.

When he was 15 years old, Tozer's family moved to Akron, Ohio. One afternoon as he walked home from his job at Goodyear, he overheard a street preacher say, "If you don't know how to be saved . . . just call on God." When he got home, he climbed the narrow stairs to the attic where, heeding the preacher's advice, Tozer was launched into a lifelong pursuit of God.

In 1919, without formal education, Tozer was called to pastor a small storefront church in Nutter Fort, West Virginia. That humble beginning thrust him and his new wife Ada Cecelia Pfautz, into a 44-year ministry with The Christian and Missionary Alliance.

Thirty-one of those years were spent at Chicago's Southside Alliance Church. The congregation, captivated by Tozer's preaching, grew from 80 to 800.

In 1950 Tozer was elected editor of the Alliance Weekly now called Alliance Life. The circulation doubled almost immediately. In the first editorial dated June 3, 1950, he set the tone: "It will cost something to walk slow in the parade of the ages while excited men of time rush about confusing motion with progress. But it will pay in the long run and the true Christian is not much interested in anything short of that."

Tozer's forte was his prayer life which often found him walking the aisles of a sanctuary or lying face down on the floor. He noted, "As a man prays, so is he." To him the worship of God was paramount in his life and ministry. "His preaching as well as his writings were but extensions of his prayer life," comments Tozer biographer James L. Snyder. An earlier biographer noted, "He spent more time on his knees than at his desk."

Tozer's love for words also pervaded his family life. He quizzed his children on what they read and made up bedtime stories for them. "The thing I remember most about my father," reflects his daughter Rebecca, "was those marvelous stories he would tell."

Son Wendell, one of six boys born before the arrival of Rebecca, remembers that, "We all would rather be treated to the lilac switch by our mother than to have a talking-to by our dad."
Tozer's final years of ministry were spent at Avenue Road Church in Toronto, Canada. On May 12, 1963, his earthly pursuit of God ended when he died of a heart attack at age 66. In a small cemetery in Akron, Ohio, his tombstone bears this simple epitaph: "A Man of God."

Some wonder why Tozer's writings are as fresh today as when he was alive. It is because, as one friend commented, "He left the superficial, the obvious and the trivial for others to toss around. . . . [His] books reach deep into the heart."

His humor, written and spoken, has been compared to that of Will Rogers--honest and homespun. Congregations could one moment be swept by gales of laughter and the next sit in a holy hush.
For almost 50 years, Tozer walked with God. Even though he is gone, he continues to speak, ministering to those who are eager to experience God. As someone put it, "This man makes you want to know and feel God."


This updated version of The Pursuit of God is available from Aneko Press.

Thanks to Aneko Press for the review and giveaway copy.

Giveaway:

Courtesy of Aneko Press, I have one copy of The Pursuit of God to give away. Simply comment to enter, and I will pick a winner 10 days from now using random.org.

Purchase the book here in paperback, and get it free here.

1 comments:

Carole Jarvis said...

Welcome to the world of A.W. Tozer, Mark! I read this book over 20 years ago - on a beach vacation, actually. I had decided to quilt reading so much "fluff" and to tackle something deep. This was indeed deep, but wonderful, and left me thinking I should read more by him and others like him. All that to say that I'd love to enter your contest because I can't locate the book I originally read and would love to read the updated version. Thanks for sharing your thoughts in this way, Mark.

Carole
cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net