(Book Review by Jill Hopkins)
Are attending weekly church services, listening intently to the sermon, singing worship songs that stir our hearts enough? Are participating in Bible studies and small groups, serving on church boards, volunteering on short-term mission trips and in various church ministries enough?
Is all this enough to make us Spirit-filled ambassadors of God, ready to share the gospel with our neighbours and friends? Is it enough to impact in a mighty way a world dying of spiritual thirst? Is it enough to trigger a revival so that not one person is left behind on the day of Christ’s Second Coming?
Dr. Rob Reimer, pastor and author of “River Dwellers” emphatically says “No!” There is so much more available to us and his mission is to show us the way.
In John 10:10, Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Abundant life is living in a dynamic, soul-satisfying relationship with the Living God on a daily basis. It is living in the River of Life, living with God’s Spirit flowing in us and through us to influence our culture. It is evidenced by boldness, power, and prophecy.
The focus of River dwellers is to move us from being a people of River watchers – appreciating the power, drawn to its beauty, and even timidly dipping our toe in the water occasionally – to becoming full-time dwellers in the River of Life. To do so would be to access God’s power through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
The early church, the church of Acts, was promised a gift by Jesus in His last days. Baptism of the Spirit was that gift and it was a turning point for them. “They moved from a bunch of stumbling and bumbling disciples to a spiritual force that rocked the Roman Empire. They were supernaturally empowered for their mission by the great outpouring of the Spirit.”1
The Spirit was the secret to their success, and the Spirit is the necessary ingredient if we are to have the same influence on our culture today. It was not just available for the small band of disciples. In Acts 2:16-18, Peter explains it’s available for all people – and it’s not a one-time event. The Holy Spirit can be poured out again and again. It was true for the believers in the early church and it’s true for us today! We too, can access the deep pools of living water and be transformed. But how do we get there? What does it look like to be a River dweller? How do we become full-time River dwellers in the midst of our circumstances?
In “River Dwellers,” Dr. Reimer lays out the path. He explains that to be people of the Spirit, we need to first learn how to hear the various ways God speaks to us, and how we can use these words of prophecy to strengthen, encourage, and comfort others. Reimer provides tools for us to learn to listen.
He discusses how to first recognize and then cultivate God’s presence in our lives through a myriad of spiritual disciplines and practices; to pursue the deepest longing in our heart for an intimate, face-to-face relationship with Jesus. He teaches us to recognize when we are fully living in the presence of God, or living in the River, and also alerts us to signs of when we have faltered, when we have stepped out of the River and need to repent, and get back in the water as quickly as possible.
And when disappointments and tragedies invade our souls, when it seems God has removed His presence, Dr. Reimer provides practical ways of enduring those sandbars in the River and of remembering God redeems suffering and fulfills promises in His time.
Dr. Reimer’s dream is for today’s church to mimic the early church in its power and influence on their world. It had an impact that reverberates to this day, but we are in serious need of a revival.
River Dwellers is available for purchase at Cornerstone Marketplace.