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Gordon MacDonald: Ordering Your Private World


Gordon MacDonald, Ordering Your Private World, expanded edition (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1997) 228 pages, ISBN 9780840733863.

This book has become a classic among Christian leaders, and I can whole-heartedly agree. The general theme of this book is the necessity of putting the inner life in order and how to do so. Books on managing time or on ‘managing’ other spheres of life are common. This book is different in that Gordon MacDonald looks at ordering all areas of life including mental, spiritual, recreational, educational, and motivational.

MacDonald’s main points include the following:   recognizing and diagnosing the problem of disorganization, understanding the importance of ordering the inner life (spiritual life), recognizing the root of our motivation, coming to grips with the proper use and misuse of time, the necessity of continuing to grow, building spiritual strength through the proper use of spiritual disciplines, and understanding God’s intention and purpose for the shabbat (sabbath rest).

I found this book to be immensely challenging and something I will need to return to more than once in the future. Although I did not personally find MacDonald’s stories particularly memorable, his broad use of illustrations helped to draw me in to his point and see with clarity what he was pointing out. I realized that the areas of motivation/calling, use of time, mental growth, building trust in God, and partaking of true rest are areas I need to continue to grow in. Some of these struck me as areas I best not be slack in. The chapters on the use and misuse of time were very eye-opening and gripping for me. I have come away from this book with a sense of urgency to put my use of time under greater scrutiny and thereby, by the grace of God, engender a more fulfilling spiritual life. Also I have recognized the necessity of establishing a better expression of the shabbat in my family while my children are still young.

I believe most readers will find some real food for thought in these pages.

Reviewed by Raul Mock


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Category: Fall 2000, Living the Faith

About the Author: Raul L. Mock is one of the founders and directors of the Pneuma Foundation and editor of The Pneuma Review. Raul has been part of an Evangelical publishing ministry since 1996, working with Information Services and Supply Chain Management for more than two decades. He and his wife, Erin, have a daughter and twin boys and live in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. LinkedIn

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