Jeff is the lead pastor of Church by the Sea in Laguna Beach, CA. He is passionate about spiritual formation, surfing, and anything C.S. Lewis. He's also a spiritual director and has a master’s degree in Philosophy and a Doctorate in Semiotics and Future Studies. His book, The Winding Path of Transformation, describes spiritual formation as an invitation to paradox. By entering into suffering, we find joy. By embracing the downward path of humility, we find glory. And by remaining small, sometimes we grow to great heights.
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Or check out his work at jefftacklind.com.
The Winding Path of Transformation by Jeff Tacklind
Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis
Chapter 1 - How to Hear God's Voice
As disciples we each have a desire to grow in our relationship with God. We want to know our loving Father more. And like any relationship, this requires communication. We must spend time talking and listening to God. But for most Christians, listening is a struggle. We worry that we might mistake our own voice for God’s. We wish he would just speak to us audibly so we would know, without a doubt, what He was saying. But God often speaks through ordinary moments and events. And Jeff Tacklind illustrates this so well with how he opens his book, The Winding Path of Transformation. Jeff found himself at the bottom of a creek bed looking at a lonely alder tree. The creek ran between a great oak forest to the South and a great evergreen forest to North. But the alder tree couldn’t grow in either one of those forests. It had to remain in that creek bed, and lay down deep roots, if it were to grow and survive. And God used this image of a lonely alder tree to speak to Jeff and confirm his own calling.
Chapter 2 - Why God Disrupts Your Comfort
In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis wrote, "Every father is pleased at the baby's first attempt to walk: no father would be satisfied with anything less than a firm, free, manly walk in a grown-up son. In the same way, God is easy to please, but hard to satisfy." It would be comfortable to continue crawling around on the floor as Christians. Life is simple there, and we don't have to do much. But we never grow when we're comfortable. And, like a good father, God desires our transformation as his sons and daughters more than he desires our comfort in staying in the same place. In this chapter, Jeff unpacks the ways God unsettles us and leads us through discomfort. It's not an easy path, but it is a path of transformation.
Chapter 3 - What Does Growth Cost Us?
When we talk about growth, we often forget there is a price associate with it. If we want to lose weight, we must give up eating certain foods. We must commit our time to going to the gym. And choosing to grow in our relationship with Christ is the same. As we follow Him, we give up more and more of our old lives so that we might have more of his new life. And although we shouldn’t focus on what we are losing but focus on what we are gaining, it’s important to understand the exchange that happens. In Matthew 13:44 Jesus illustrates this concept by comparing the Kingdom of God to a treasure hidden in a field. This treasure is worth far more than everything we have. And so upon discovering it, we willingly sell everything we have in order to buy the field so we can obtain the treasure.
Chapter 4 - Why Is the Path of Growth Crooked?
In the movie, The Karate Kid, Daniel wants so badly to jump straight to learning Karate from Mr. Miyagi, but when he shows up to the lesson he ends up waxing the car, painting fences, and sanding floors. Spiritual growth can feel a lot like this. You want so badly to get to the end where you look exactly like Christ and are completely perfect. But when you show up to the lesson, God takes you down this crooked path through the deserts of life. It's filled with pain and repeated lessons that seem to have nothing to do with what you think spiritual growth should be. And you may even feel like you have to keep learning lessons you thought you had already learned. Rather than taking a direct path to transformation you end up walking down winding paths that seem to go in circles. In this chapter, Jeff gets to the heart of his book, The Winding Path of Transformation, and helps us understand what's really going on when it feels like growth can never come fast enough.