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As Kingfishers Catch Fire: A Conversation on the Ways of God Formed by the Words of God

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  610 ratings  ·  103 reviews
Living Out the Word Made Flesh

Sixty years ago I found myself distracted, Eugene Peterson writes. A chasm had developed between the way I was preaching from the pulpit and my deepest convictions on what it meant to be a pastor.
And so began Peterson s journey to live and teach a life of congruence congruence between preaching and living, between what we do and the way we
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published May 16th 2017 by Waterbrook Press
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Jason Kanz
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
I waited for the release of As Kingfishers Catch Fire: A Conversation on the Ways of God Formed by the Words of God (Waterbrook, 2017) by Eugene Peterson for many months, yet when I received it, I was reluctant to begin. There is a certain desire to savor what may be one of the final books by a favorite author. Yet ultimately, it does no good to look at a meal with admiration; one must eat. And Kingfishers is a satisfying meal.

I knew little about the book when I pre-ordered it in November. When
Logan Price
Jul 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
This is one of those books that came along at the perfect time. It's a collection of sermons by Eugene Peterson that have been arranged and shortened. And aside from Gentle and Lowly, it's the most I've underlined a book in years.

I now have an entirely different perspective on Peterson, his ministry, and The Message. I now grasp so much more of what is important for a pastor to communicate consistently to his congregation. And most important, I gained a deeper understanding of how tangible the C
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bible
This is another great Peterson book (the last published before his death), but this one is a little different in that it is a collection of his sermons.

It must have been very interesting to be a member of Peterson’s congregation. Peterson the author is not interested in the practical, or the how-to. He doesn’t break down Scripture to see what we can get from it, but who God is in it. That’s one of the things I love about him.

But I guess I just assumed that was only his books, and that his preach
Bo White
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing

I think I'll likely treat this as more devotional than a one time book and will say that I'll return to it again and again. Peterson is one of those writers for me.
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Eugene Peterson's sermons are delightful and insightful, occasionally quirky but always worth reading. The book is divided in seven, each section "preaching in the company of" a preacher from the Bible, and perhaps my favorite part of the book is Peterson's introductions to each section. This book includes many ideas that show up in his books, and from that standpoint, it's interesting to see them tried out on his local congregation first. This isn't the best of his books, but it is well worth r ...more
George P.
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Near the beginning of his pastorate, Eugene H. Peterson found himself tossed about by “the winds of the times.” The 1960s were a tumultuous decade, and many voices — Civil Rights! Vietnam! Flower Power! — clamored for his attention. On top of that, he felt “increasingly at odds” with his denominational advisors, whose ideas of leadership came “almost entirely from business and consumer models.”

Then three things happened. First, he realized he didn’t know how to preach. What he was doing on Sunda
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As I read slowly through this excellent book, I was again astonished by Peterson's clarity, insight and deep spirituality. These "conversations" are his teaching and preaching compiled over 60 years. There are seven parts from Genesis to Revelation...with seven commentaries in each part. They are short, concise and accessible. Wonderful resource. ...more
Joel Ken
Jan 26, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars.

Peterson preaches 49 sermons from the Old and New Testament, giving 7 sermons around each person he considers to be prominent - Moses, David, Isaiah, Solomon, Peter, Paul, and John.

This book would have been rated 4, possibly 5, stars if it was strictly sermons from the OT. However, while there were great one-liners and beautiful prose found in his NT sermons, there was also a lot of theological imposition on the text, e.g. "Here's our text for today. I'm going to cover it on a surface
Chad D
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What sermons catch a reader's attention with epiphanic insight depends on the reader, obviously, on what the reader already knows or is thinking about. Some of these sermons I could have done without, but some enlightened experiences I was already processing, and some taught me lessons I had not yet even begun to learn. Throughout is an emphasis on the lived relationship with God. It is a real relationship. God is a real person, a friend, incarnate. Knowing Him is the most intense and important ...more
Liz Baker
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love Eugene Peterson because I really respect him as a fellow believer, but he also experiences God just slightly left of center of how I experience God so I learn from him. This book was excellent—a collection of 49 of Peterson’s sermons over his three decades of preaching. I read it sort of as a devotional.

One of my biggest takeaways, which feels especially significant coming out of the year we’ve just had, is that Jesus intersects our actual human everyday lives. How we live in our houses
Amanda Rogozinski
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Really easy to read. Insightful but not dense. As a collection of sermons the analysis was kept a bit shorter than I would have preferred. At times I wished he would dig a little deeper on a train of thought, but these readings are formatted to be read in 15 min a chapter. Still, his insight and the honesty of his person that comes out in his writing has definitely made me want to read more and has gained my respect.

You are invited to read my full review at The Willow Nook

*Review copy courtesy
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
Summary: A collection of 49 of Peterson’s sermons grouped into seven sections, focused on lives congruent with the teaching of scripture.

I’ve been a follower of the writing of Eugene Peterson since I heard him speak on the parables of Jesus after a very successful conference, where he warned us of the dangers that may come with success. He is a person who repeatedly has challenged me to look beyond the obvious, the “glittering images,” to the bedrock realities of keeping company with Jesus.

Robert Turnage
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book. Different from his others, in that it spanned the entire scripture canon, rather than focusing on a single book or prophet. The book is a collection of his sermons, but well organized so that you read five or six on the Pentateuch, five or six on the prophets, etc. Not my favorite, but it is kind of hard to stay focused when every ten or so pages you’re starting a new sermon/chapter.
Chuck Meade
Jun 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Reading a collection of sermons doesn’t immediately excite me but there is something special and unique about Eugene Peterson. His messages are filled with deep, simple truth broken down into eloquent almost poetic language. I love the breakdown of each section as collections of messages through different portions of Scripture. It’s something I will glean from as I look to preach through these passages in the future. A phenomenal devotional!
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: devotional
Loved reading this book. It's essentially a collection of (short) sermons by Peterson covering nearly the entire Bible. It can be read devotionally (due to the brevity of the chapters), and Peterson's heart for ministry and way with words is just captivating. I love his humble but poignant approach to the scriptures. Highly recommend this to anyone and everyone. ...more
Jacob Vahle
Feb 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
49 delightful and challenging short sermons - my first Eugene Peterson book - great at zooming in on words or phrases I miss when I read for the main point. Brings each verse to the personal very well. Organized by writer (Moses/David/Isaiah/Solomon/Peter/Paul/John) - a Book I will definitely go back to!
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pastoral insight through preaching

A fine collection of sermons from Petersen who routinely brings his listeners to Jesus and his grace. Artful and precise exposition and calls to live the ordinary life of Christian worship.
Shelby Deeter
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I just finished this book and the one thing I am sure to take away is that I need more Eugene H. Peterson in my life. His voice is timely in this season and he speaks some much needed truth in a manner that leaves you seeing scripture as beautiful, convicting, and awe inspiring. Devouring more of his work is in my future.
Laurel Hicks
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing

I thought, « The Message ? » and then I happened upon the titles of Peterson’s other books. He knows my favorite poets! I love the way he can elegantly tie books of the Bible together and sum up a book in a few paragraphs that don’t look like all the other book summaries out there.
Kayleigh Hudson
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This breathed fresh life into scripture for me. I admire how Eugene Peterson makes the gospel come alive, in ways that have implications for the right here, for the now & everyday. What a spiritual giant!
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is Peterson's best! A great collection of sermons. This is not a quick read but rather one to be chewed on slowly and deliberately. ...more
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A lifetime of study and wise insight is gathered with a single-minded purpose of pointing at God's invitation to know Him. ...more
Aaron Hixson
Jul 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Stunning. He’s a master. Every bit the scholar. Yet as approachable for a kid as … well, Jesus.

Good combo.
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This collection of sermons has inspired me more in my teaching than any teaching books I've read. ...more
Doug Sullivan
May 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Peterson at his very best.
Michele Morin
May 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Attending to the Details of Congruence

No one has to remind the forsythia bush outside my dining room window to break forth into yellow luminescence as an announcement that spring has come. The sassy gray squirrel steals shamelessly from the bird feeder “according to his kind,” and the chickadee scolds and stitches up the air behind her — because that is what chickadees do. Of all God’s creation, it is only humanity that struggles toward congruence of our inside with our outside, of our calling a
Adam Shields
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short Review: The seven sections, each with seven sermons, are all looking at how a particular biblical author communicates God to us through scripture. The sections are labeled, ‘Preaching in the company of Moses, or David, or Isaiah, or Solomon, or Peter, or Paul, or John of Patmos. If you have read some of his other books you can seem a few of the drafts of ideas that were worked out in his books that started in his sermons. And based on the illustrations and content of the sermons, these str ...more
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ministry, theology
Best known for "The Message", this collection of 49 sermons covers the breadth of the Bible. I have loved Peterson's richness in thought and expression and was looking for some inspiration in those areas. I wanted to reflect on how he expressed himself so carefully as a writer. And I wanted to hear how he preached. It is different to the way I have been taught, and the way I have developed. On both accounts, this book is a rich resource. With seven sermons each based on the writings of seven dif ...more
Nov 22, 2019 rated it liked it
A soft-spoken pastor who is almost painfully shy shepherds a small church in Maryland for 29 years. His church never grows beyond more than a couple hundred people. This sounds like the life of an anonymous pastor.

That would be the case, if the pastor didn’t also have an exceptional gift of writing coupled with a bright imagination. Upon writing, this pastor would go on to write The Message, a contemporary paraphrase of the Bible that has sold 20 million copies. Peterson also wrote more than 30
Wesley Roth
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Being familiar with Eugene Peterson, I was interested in his latest (and likely last) book that was released this summer. I am so thankful I picked up a copy at my bookstore. This is a wonderful gift that Peterson has provided to Christians, those beginning their faith walk or those who have been walking with Christ for years or decades.

As one Goodreads reviewer noted, the "Kingfishers" contains, “seven sections, each with seven sermons, are all looking at how a particular biblical author commu
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Eugene H. Peterson was a pastor, scholar, author, and poet. For many years he was James M. Houston Professor of Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He also served as founding pastor of Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland. He had written over thirty books, including Gold Medallion Book Award winner The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language ...more

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