What is your all-time favorite book? Mine just might be The Me I Want to Be, by John Ortberg. John Ortberg is arguably my favorite writer and I think this is his best book.

I wish it had a different title. The title sounds a little light and fluffy to me and I think I might turn some readers away. This is not light and fluffy stuff. This is serious thinking about serious discipleship. Here are a few of quotes:

Peace doesn’t come from finding a lake with no storms. It comes from having Jesus in the boat.

Ironically, becoming this person will never happen if my primary focus is on me, just as no one becomes happy if their main goal is to be happy. God made you to flourish, but flourishing never happens by looking out for “number one.”

The world badly needs wise and flourishing human beings, and we are called to bring God’s wisdom and glory to the world.

The truth is, those who flourish always bring blessing to others — and they can do so in the most unexpected and humble circumstances.

God doesn’t make anything and then decide to throw it away. He creates, and then, if there is a problem, he rescues. Redemption always involves the redemption of creation. The psalmist says, “Know that the LORD Himself is God. It is He who made us, and not we ourselves.”

Here is the good news: When you flourish, you become more you. You become more that person God had in mind when he thought you up. You don’t just become holier. You become you-ier. You will change; God wants you to become a “new creation.” But “new” doesn’t mean completely different; instead, it’s like an old piece of furniture that gets restored to its intended beauty.

I used to have a chair my grandfather helped build seventy years ago. I loved it, but its arms were broken, the wood was chipped, and the upholstery was worn through. I finally gave up on it and sold it for fifty cents at a garage sale. The person who bought it knew about restoration, and a few months later I received a picture of it — repaired, refinished, revarnished, and reupholstered. I wish this was one of those stories where the restorer surprises the clueless owner by giving him back his now-glorious chair. But all I have is this alluring picture. Still, I keep the picture taped inside my desk drawer to remind me that “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old is gone! The new is here!”

God wants to redeem you, not exchange you. If you’re a bookish, contemplative type, waiting for God to change you into the kind of person who wears lampshades on your head at parties, good luck on that. Maybe you are a raging extrovert, tired of putting your foot in your mouth all the time. Don’t you wish you could become more like those of us who are introverted: wise, calm, and restrained? It’s never going to happen.

God rarely sends people into situations where their comfort level is high.

Lady Astor, who once said to him, “Mr. Churchill, if I were your wife I would put poison in your coffee!” To which Churchill famously replied, “Lady Astor, if I were your husband I would drink it.”

We have just completed a Bible study based on John Ortberg’s book, The Me I Want to Be. It consists of 7 lessons with ready-to-use questions suitable for groups. It can be purchased on Amazon and is also available as part of Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service.