Time Well Spent (Book Review)
I’ve just finished reading through Colin Webster‘s recent book Time Well Spent. It’s a short book about personal devotions - or what we normally call ‘quiet times’.
You may know Colin as one of the pastors at Cornerstone Church in Nottingham or the person who leads the music at our National Leaders’ Conference.
Gentleness that builds up
Many books on quiet times end up nagging and leaving you with little more than a guilty conscience. But Colin’s book is practical, engaging, encouraging, and helpful. It’s also gentle. No mean feat, this.
Colin is first and foremost a pastor, and his gentle way of writing encourages and builds, rather than leaving you wrestling with despair. No stories here of men who rose at 4am to spend three hours in prayer every day – “and why don’t you do the same?”!
That’s good for me in my busyness: someone who needs constant and heartfelt encouragement to maintain a healthy walk with Christ and daily devotion to him. But that’s not how I first approached the book.
Good for your heart and others
The truth is, although I started off reading it wondering who this would be useful for in our church, I finished reading it thinking that it had been really useful for me. And that, of course, is where such books always ought to take us first.
We too quickly apply what we read to others before taking the time to apply it to our own hearts. We too often draw applications in our preaching without looking inwardly. And it may even be true in our prayer: how often do we pray the Scriptures for brothers and sisters rather than meditating on them in our own hearts?
Colin is first and foremost a pastor, and his gentle way of writing encourages and builds, rather than leaving you wrestling with despair.
In his commendation on the back cover, FIEC pastor Dave Gobbett says that the book is packed full of ideas. And it really is.
There are lots of practical tips for making more of our quiet times: thinking about how to approach our devotions; how to maximise our reading of God’s word; how to make more of our prayer times. And then, for those struggling to get started, there are eight short sample devotions you could use.
Having applied it to myself, I now think this is an excellent little book to give to people in church as a gift. Here at Christchurch, we sometimes buy people a Christmas book so that they can have something from the church to read over the Christmas break. This little book would be a similarly ideal gift - at any time of year.
It’s not expensive: you could easily buy a copy for every family in church and give it as a gift so they’re well set to re-energise their devotions. Most people need it.
A pastor friend recently told me of a survey he conducted in his church. The results were startling.
Few people were reading their Bible regularly and most were struggling with prayer. The reality is that this is a battleground for our congregations, so do yourself a favour: read it for yourself to help you in that battle and read it thinking about giving it to others to help them in the struggle.
Colin is honest about Time Well Spent: the book is no magic wand. But it is a great encouragement to make more of our quiet times.
To make them, you might say, a little more noisy.
You can order a copy from 10ofThose.com for £2.99, or £1 each if you buy 50 copies or more.