‘Secular Devotional Book’ Invites Readers to Consider Life Truths

Adventist pastor in Australia develops resource to connect unchurched people with God.

Nathan Brown, Adventist Record
‘Secular Devotional Book’ Invites Readers to Consider Life Truths
Jinha Kim holding a copy of this year’s sharing book in Australia and New Zealand, Truths to Live By. [Photo: Adventist Record]

“Many wonderful books about Christianity and Adventism already exist for those who are interested in learning what the Bible claims,” Jinha Kim, author of Truths to Live By, explained. “I wanted to write a book for those who are not yet willing to examine what the Bible offers, but who might be open to some self-reflection leading to spiritual discovery.”

So, Kim, a Seventh-day Adventist pastor, developed the idea of writing a “secular devotional book,” which includes 30 short reflections, as well as questions for reflection and suggestions for next steps. “These are primarily stories of inspiring individuals who have embodied values that not only resonate with secular readers but also challenge us to ponder where those values came from, and who they ultimately point us towards,” she said.

Kim leads the Melbourne City Seventh-day Adventist Church, which she planted in 2014 with her husband, Roy, and a small team. The church has now grown to about 50 members. She says that her experiences of building relationships in their inner-city community have informed her approach to writing Truths to Live By.

The cover of Truths to Live By. [Photo: Adventist Record]

“What we have discovered is that many Australians — even if they are not religious — want to live meaningful lives that contribute to the world around them, and they resonate with many of the values that we also advocate, including kindness, a healthy lifestyle, work-life balance, and time in nature,” she said. “What they lack are opportunities to consider how those values actually point us towards a caring Creator.”

Truths to Live By also draws on Kim’s own life experiences as a young Korean immigrant to the United States, a literature student at Princeton University, and a pastor in New York City, then moving to Australia, and her life as a pastor and parent amid Melbourne’s COVID lockdowns.

“Sharing my personal stories has always been a part of my ministry philosophy, both in public speaking as well in personal conversations,” Kim said. “I cannot expect people to consider my ideas and worldview if I am not willing to share who I am. During my 19 years in local church ministry, I have observed across multiple communities and cultures that when people relate with and trust who we are, we can have more productive conversations about what we believe.”

And this is her hope for how Truths to Live By will be read and shared by church members. “I would encourage you to ask your friend or family member to read the book with you, so that you can foster a deeper connection with them while exploring the questions at the end of each chapter and even acting out the suggested next steps together.”

Published by Signs Publishing, Truths to Live By has been adopted by the Adventist Church in Australia and New Zealand as the sharing book for 2024. It is available now from Adventist bookshops in Australia and New Zealand and online.

The original version of this story was posted by Adventist Record.

Nathan Brown, Adventist Record