Before we start discussing our first book (Faith), I thought it would be good to 'meet the author'. Here's a quick interview with Bryson Smith.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I'm married to Sue and we have 3 children - Felicity (18yrs), Olivia (15 years) & Stuart (12yrs). I think we're a close family and we certainly love spending time with each other...which is a wonderful blessing. We all live in Dubbo, in central rural NSW. We've been here for the last 18 years where we've been involved in the ministry team of Dubbo Presbyterian Church. Sue and I have come to love the wide open spaces of the country.
How did you come to faith in Christ?
I became a Christian in early high school, mainly when my older brother became a Christian. I grew up in a church going family and so I was confused when my brother became a Christian. I thought he already was one by virtue of simply going to church. My confusion led me to start genuinely reading the bible for the first time. Through this I discovered the person of Jesus in a very real way, I realised his authority over me and his love for me. So as a young teenager I came to faith in Him.
What book has helped you the most in growing in your knowledge of God?
Two books stand out to me, both of which I read at formative times in my christian life. Packer's Knowing God confronted me with the majestic scale and genius of God. Its a book I still return to every now and then and it never fails to encourage me. Guidance and the Voice of God by Phillip Jensen and Tony Payne is the other book that greatly impacted me. It really helped me to view my life from God's perspective.
What prompted you to write this book?
I'm not a very confident person by nature and so, in all honesty the thought of writing a book only came up because of the promptings of Tony Payne at Matthias Media. I'd done a few studies for them and he thought I should have a go at something a bit different, perhaps for the Guidelines series. After I'd stopped laughing at the idea, Tony persisted by provided me with a range of possible topics of which "Faith" resonated most with me.
Around the same time I was planning to preach a thematic series here in my home church and so it seemed a good idea to preach through a series on Faith and then decide whether or not to have a go at turning the series into a short book. As it turned out preaching on the topic of Faith really convicted me of the great joys to be had in thinking about it thematically. Thinking back to my early Christian years I would have benefited from a simple, clear framework of what it means to have a Christian faith. That was my aim with this book. Its not a very long book (my family jokingly refer to it as a pamphlet) but I was attempting to set things out in a concise, uncomplicated way so that even newish Christians would be be excited by what God does in us through a faith in Jesus .
We're going to start our discussion of Faith, by Bryson next Monday.