5 Questions (Plus One) with Dan Darling

Daniel Darling is the Senior Pastor of Gages Lake Bible Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and is the author of Teen People of the BibleCrash Course, and iFaith (reviewed here on Tuesday). His work has been featured in evangelical publications such as Focus on the Family, Marriage Partnership, Pray!, In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley. His op-eds have appeared in Newsweek/Washington Posts’ On Faith section and other newspapers and opinion sites. He’s also been profiled by The Chicago Tribune, and appeared on TV and radio outlets across America including Steve Brown, etc, Moody Broadcasting Network, Harvest TelevisionThe Sandy Rios Show, American Family Radio, and many others.

Today, Dan’s been kind enough to answer a few questions about his new book—and he’s also offered two signed copies to give away today. Read on to learn how you can win a copy.

And now, here’s Dan:

1. What made you decide to write iFaith? Was there one specific event or was it a series of small things that led to the decision?

It was born out of several years of reflection on the impact of technology on my own personal walk with God. Initially I had this idea for a devotional, “Emails to God,” – like what would we say if we could send God an email. Then it started me on a journey of thinking how we moderns contemplate our relationship with God—positively and negatively. Then the chapters and ideas began to just really flow.

2. As you were writing, how was God working on you in these areas?

Oh, He was working on me in incredible ways. My wife often jokes that whenever I embark on a book, we go through some degree of suffering. It’s almost like God has to wring me through the lesson before I can put it on paper. The first chapter on the subject of waiting was something I really saw worked out in my own life and in my theology. During the writing of that chapter, Angela and I were waiting on several things. I realized how integral waiting is to God’s development of our faith.

I enjoy writing because it forces me into the Word to discover the truth about myself and about who God is.

3. You write that a common belief plaguing believers is the superhero mentality; that is, “the mistaken idea that activity for God is a worthy substitute for intimacy with God.” (p. 81) If this is something that’s come up in your own life & ministry, can you share how you were able to get beyond it?

I’m not sure we ever get beyond this. It’s the holy tension between work and dependency on God. On one level, working hard for God is a biblical, New Testament ethic. And besides the holy calling of building up the body of Christ, work itself is an end, it’s a form of worship. But on the other hand, Christians easily fall into that superhero mentality of Elijah, where we feel like the entire plan of God rests upon our feeble shoulders. We adopt a martyr mentality. And this is really prideful. It is essentially stripping God of HIs sovereignty.

For myself, 1 Kings 19 has brought great and refreshing relief. God is not dependent on me. He invites me to be part of His plan. Which means that when I’m tired, it’s okay. When I take a break, it’s okay. Psalms tells us that God “knows our frame and remembers we are dust.” We’re not supposed to be superhuman, only human. Even Jesus understood this, when in his humanity he submitted to the limits of his flesh. I see young preachers who feel as if they don’t do all they think they’re supposed to do that they are letting God down as if God is in heaven, crossing His fingers hoping this guy works another 20 hour day. God isn’t any more happy with us in our busyness than in our rest.

4. What advice would you give to a believer who knows they’re inconsistent in their prayer life, is convicted by it but just can’t seem to “get it together” for lack of a better phrase?

I think the first problem is the problem of guilt. Look, all of us could pray more, couldn’t we? And yet, the invitation to prayer, in my view seems to be more than just “spend three hours on your knees” though that is a high and holy discipline. But if you look at John 15 and other passages, Jesus seems more interested in a constant connection through prayer. In other words, as we’re working, driving our kids to school, making dinner, we’re constantly in communion with God, keeping that connection.

I also think reinforcing to ourselves the power and importance of prayer. I think our modern “do-it-yourself” culture makes us feel as if prayer is sort of unnecessary or unhelpful. Which is why often God allows us to come to the end of ourselves so we’re forced to pray. I know in my own life I often neglect prayer and then I become overwhelmed with the pressures of life, falling into that Elijah mentality. God then has to break me so that I fall on my knees and pray and immediately I find relief.

5. Looking back on the book, is there anything you’d change or expand on?

I’m pretty pleased with the way the book turned out. The only area I might have expanded is a bigger discussion on the importance of intimate friendships in a digital age. I’m a huge fan and big-time user of all the digital tools and yet I’m finding that I have to set limits so that I”m not just a digital dolt who neglects his important relationships. But I think if we’re wise, we can actually employ Facebook and Twitter and others to engage new friends and maintain our relationships. The key is to remember that these tools serve us, we don’t serve them. But overall, I’m happy with the way iFaith turned out and hope God uses it to bring this generation to a greater knowledge of Himself.

6. Any concluding thoughts?

I might encourage readers to check out danieldarling.com. I’ve got free downloadable tipsheets such as “10 Digital Resolutions.” Also I blog regularly and there you can find links to my sermon podcasts, columns, and other content. I’d like to connect, also, with folks on Twitter and Facebook.

Thanks very much to Dan for taking the time to answer these questions.

Now, for the moment you’ve been waiting for: Your chance to win one of two copies of Dan’s new book, iFaith! You can enter using any or all of these methods:

  1. Leave a comment and tell me why you want a copy of the book
  2. Follow via Twitter or join the Facebook page
  3. Subscribe via email or RSS

When you’re done, please fill out the form below:

[googleform key=dGxibzNaTTNSV1JoYlZ1Y1JZajVwRWc6MQ width=”500″ height=”700″]

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  • http://cleverphrasehere.blogspot.com Amber

    I’d like to read it!

  • http://cleverphrasehere.blogspot.com Amber

    I’d like to read it!

  • Keystone

    Years ago, I recallreading a beautiful book, and believe it was titled, “Postcards from God”.
    Selected passages were taken from scripture (sometimes combined from varying Books of the Bible), and printed on the left page.

    On the right page, God wrote a “postcard to the reader”, which effectively said the same passages on the left page, but in a modern, intimate vernacular. No one could read the “Postcard From God” and misinterpret what was said!

    In our landfills are diapers of plastic, that will remain there 500 years or so, to decompose.
    There are also cursive notes, written in a hurry to “pick up peanut butter and milk, and some eggs” at the grocery. Archivists of the future will easily understand the diaper and contents.

    But as they peruse cursive grocery notes, it will be as if we studied hieroglyphics, and attempted to understand them, their meaning, and what was conveyed.

    The effort of I Faith is no different today. There is no cursive anymore.
    We live in Bill Gates land globally.
    “QWERTY “is our master, especially for anyone under 30.
    Instead of a Hebrew Scroll, a Greek New Testament, a King James version, or The Message, I Faith translates God to today’s youth, in a language they understand.
    Since I have daughters and they need God always, I am grateful for the effort to reach them where they are.

    I Faith…….very close to E Faith, eh?
    The Great Commission never had it so good.
    May we rise to the level of opportunity presented to us here!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=501892251 Aaron Rush

    I live in a crazy world of email, blogs, and smart phones and would be refreshing to check this book out.

  • http://twitter.com/nate_bottle44 Nathan Harbottle

    I would love to get this book! My pastor and I have been discussing the importance of maintaining face-to-face mentorship in a media heavy age. I would love to see what Dan Darling has to say about this topic.

  • Chris Thomson

    This book looks very interesting. I am always searching for new ways to engage others.

  • Aaron Sellars

    I’d love to hear his thoughts. I’m not only trying to get less “interference” in my communication with Godowns others so this book might be a great tool to help in this process for myself and others.

  • http://www.bloggingtheologically.com Aaron Armstrong

    Thanks for entering everyone! The winners have been selected and notified by email.

  • http://www.bloggingtheologically.com Aaron Armstrong

    Apologies for not making the announcement sooner, but the winners are Aaron Rush and Zach Crowley! Congratulations guys :)