Capturing God: Rico Tice
How do you picture God?
Being a mum with 3 little kids, I wasn’t sure when I’d be able to fit in reading and reflecting on this a book. But when it arrived in the post, not only did I devour it’s 60 pages in one short sitting, I found myself rereading bits and excitedly texting them to a friend. I also felt compelled to pray for opportunities to give this to a few people who I think would benefit from reading it.
Capturing God is centred around imagining a picture of God. What would it look like to capture everything God wants to reveal about himself? I wonder how you’d answer that question. Tice has a relaxed style of writing that helps make this book accessible and engaging. He weaves sections of Luke’s Gospel together with personal stories and anecdotes. Abd he discusses four key characteristics that God reveals about himself in the person of Jesus Christ, and specifically through his death and resurrection. They are: Integrity, Welcome, Justice and Peace.
If you’ve been a Christian for a long time there’s a risk of becoming dulled to the story of Jesus’s crucifixion. Not only to the barbarity of it, but also the failure that it seemed to pronounce on Jesus’s ministry. But as Tice shares, in the crucifixion “You see a God of integrity, who commands nothing he does not do himself; and a God of intentionality, who planned the worst moment of his own life, who walked resolutely to his own execution” (p26). At the cross of Jesus, we see God’s integrity.
Next Tice explains the fundamental belief of a Christian: that we are unable to earn forgiveness for our sins and are powerless over death, and that we instead find forgiveness, redemption and life in Jesus. I liked Tice’s simple way of reminding readers that just like the criminal on the cross next to Jesus, we need to recognise that trusting in Jesus is the only way for death to have no sting, and for us to be welcomed into eternal life with God.
When we see violence, persecution and pain we cry out to God to bring justice. At the cross, we see God’s hatred of evil and of sin. And not just the sin of others against us, but also our sin, or rebellion against him. He hates sin so much that Jesus willingly died for us, in order to deal with God’s anger. Tice summarises God’s divine justice like a helmet that is shattered when you have a bicycle accident, “Here was God, taking his own justice, bearing his own anger, taking into himself the darkness that should be mine. All my rebellion against God that brings down his anger, Jesus took the full force of it. And he was shattered for me as he died” (p47).
Finally, Tice shares the true peace that only Jesus is able to bring. And it’s not a superficial or temporary peace. It’s a peace “that replaces conflict, that changes everything, that is worth celebrating. A relationship restored. A battle over.” (p53). In our broken world, that’s a peace that everyone longs and needs to have!
Capturing God is a great book to read if you’re a new Christian or if you’ve been a Christian for a long time. We never graduate from needing to remember what Jesus did on the cross, and why it matters. One quote I’m going to print and stick on our fridge is “God did not hang on the cross to tell us to earn life” (p37).
It’s also a great book to give to non Christians, especially someone who is keen to investigate the claims of Christianity. Tice has thought about this, and on the Good Book Company website you’ll find some extra resources to help you use this book well as an evangelistic tool. Maybe your church could give this to visitors?
Capturing God is a short and easy read, about big and important topics. Tice helps to remind us of the great truths of the gospel, that “God has offered you one picture of himself, that captures his essence. His integrity. His plan. His welcome. His justice. His forgiveness. God is offering you peace with him and power from him. He’s the God who you need, and he’s the God who is there” (p62).
Writer | Sarah Cameron I love to read, but don’t get much time to at the moment as looking after 3 kids under 3 keeps me on my toes. I’m thankful to be part of the St Barnabas Anglican Church Fairfield and Bossley Park church family, where Gus my husband is an Assistant Minister. Not originally from the South West, our free time is spent exploring the local area, experiencing new foods and getting to know people from different backgrounds.