Book Review: Ordering Your Private World

I first encountered Gordon MacDonald’s Ordering your Private World when I was just out of college and entering my first professional ministry position. I dutifully listened to six cassette tapes of MacDonald speaking about the content in his book. Looking back, I can see how those cassette tapes helped me develop healthy patterns as I began my life in professional ministry (and, how some mistakes probably could have been avoided had I attended to the concepts even more closely).

Fast forward to 2017: my fourth child was just born. I am on the verge of completing my doctoral dissertation. I work full time at a big church in a demanding role. I am completing a two year term as moderator of my presbytery (regional group of churches). I serve on denominational agencies and the board of directors for two local organizations. Oh, and I coach my oldest’s little league team.

Now, none of that is intended as a complaint. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities the Lord has offered and the wonderful family the Lord has entrusted to me. I long to lead and serve my family and my church well. But it also makes this reading of the revised and updated 3rd edition of Ordering Your Private World especially timely.

I don’t want to be the sinkhole that MacDonald describes in chapter 1 where everything looks ok from the outside until it collapses in upon itself because the foundation was weak and wasting away. I don’t want an inner, private life that is disordered and in disarray, hollow and hollowing. I want to thrive from the inside out.

Through stories, Scriptural exposition and personal testimony, MacDonald names and engages several core challenges faced by many of us who struggle to live from the inside out. For me, I was particularly convicted by the chapter on drivenness. It may be a different chapter for you, but one or many of the concepts MacDonald discusses are sure to reveal areas of your own heart that you may wish remained hidden but deeply need revealed if you want to experience the joy, peace and love of the Lord amidst uncertain circumstances, busy lives and unexpected storms all around.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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