by Howard Webber.
“I have something I need to say before you go.
You are the worst officer this corps has ever had.” Those harsh words of indictment, spoken in judgment at the end of Howard Webber’s first Salvation Army pastorate, set the tone for his compelling lessons in practical Christian discipleship woven throughout the pages of 'No Longer I?' As Dr. Sven Ljungholm notes, Webber’s words are “a gripping tale of a disciple's life, the short term personal expectations and demands, sometimes joyfully fulfilled but mixed with unexpected and unnecessary woe.”
Any book that leads with the line, ‘You’re the worst officer this corps has ever had!’ will incite interest and empathy from Salvationists, not to mention curiosity about the cause of such a tart observation.
Bearing the brunt of this vitriol was Howard Webber, a rookie English CO in his first appointment. Now retired after 30 years as an officer—and author of the award-winning Meeting Jesus—Howard’s latest book packs a powerful message.
What makes this book memorable is his vulnerability, sensitivity and honesty. In his measured but compelling way, Howard points out that ‘dying to self’ (Galatians 2:20) is the key to withstanding disappointments, challenges and even anguish.
No Longer I? The question mark—rather than an exclamation point—accentuates the daily, ongoing challenge of dying to self, which, Howard says, ‘runs counter to our human nature, our natural inclinations and our understanding’.
An inspirational and challenging read!
By Dawn Voltz
This Sunday's thought - May 1, 2016
Often, when we long to do what is pleasing to God, it seems that there are insurmountable problems and difficulties that Satan throws at us in all sorts of subtle ways. Living the Christian life can seem a uphill struggle with little of the joy Jesus promised and much heartache and disappointment. In despair we can well feel like giving up. Some of our worst attacks come from within the fellowship to which we belong.
Yet, we know that Jesus has been there. His worst experiences were not caused by those outside the fellowship of God's people, but from within, and his biggest disappointments were with his own disciples. Yet, living in that often hostile environment he spoke of possessing a joy and peace and, amidst it all, he lived a perfect, victorious, holy life of love, the life to which he calls every one of us.
It took me years of struggle before I discovered and accepted that what he required was an impossibility. Only then did I begin to realise that it wasn't about what I could do with his help, but what he could do if only I would get out of the way! 'No Longer I?' is about that struggle and that discovery. Half of the book, as with my first book, Meeting Jesus: Inspiring stories of modern-day evangelism, is stories, and the second half is a look at the discoveries I made in the light of scripture. My prayer is that some fellow struggler might also find release and liberty on reading this book, and find reading it an very enriching experience. God bless you all.