September 5, 2018

Between Rivers

You probably don’t know the name Merlin Nichols.

Stephen Chavez

68 1 5Between Rivers: More Confessions of the Slow Learner, by Merlin Nichols, WestBow Press, Bloomington, Indiana, 2017, 268 pages. Softcover, US$18.27 (Kindle edition, US$3.99). Reviewed by Stephen Chavez, Adventist Review.

You probably don’t know the name Merlin Nichols. Other than the fact that he is the mayor of Chetwynd, British Columbia, his name and reputation are not all that prominent.

But reading his most recent book, Between Rivers: More Confessions of the Slow Learner, will make you feel as if you’re old friends. The book is packed with memories, experiences, reflections, and Scripture lessons he has gathered over a lifetime.

Most, but not all, of the book is made up of applications and amplifications of the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13). So it deals with broad topics; such as God as our heavenly parent; doing God’s will; being provided for; forgiving and being forgiven; and dealing with temptations. Sections and subsections are dealt with in a folksy, homespun way—not as a pastor or theologian might approach them, but as a friend sharing thoughts and experiences over dessert, or a grandfather entertaining his grandchildren.

This is not to minimize the author’s approach. On the contrary, the book is filled with lessons and morals that are not only scriptural but eminently practical. This is the kind of book that one would do well to read a chapter each day as part of daily devotions, or as a thoughtful meditation before turning out the light at night.

Nichols, an elder in his local Adventist church, knows his way around the Bible. His applications and his many apt illustrations offer lay leaders in local churches, especially those who occasionally have to preach or to teach a Sabbath School lesson, lots of material to share with their appreciative congregations.

Between Rivers is a wonderful introduction to a man whose journey reflects what it means to know Jesus and to enjoy the adventure of following Him.