Water To Wine: Book Review

I am excited to share with you my review of “Water To Wine: Some of My Story”.  Brian is the founder and lead pastor of Word of Life Church, a non-denominational Christian congregation in Saint Joseph, Missouri. Brian and his wife, Peri, founded the church in 1981. Brian is also the author of several books, including, Water to WineA Farewell To Mars, Beauty Will Save the World, and Unconditional: The Call of Jesus to Radical Forgiveness.  Learn more about Brian at BrianZahnd.

this post may contain affiliate links

Let me share some key points that particularly resonated with me.

Mystery, Grace and Authenticity

“I want the vintage wine. The kind of faith marked by mystery, grace, and authenticity.” Wow! Read that again. I too want mystery and the grace of God. I want to learn who this God is. How do I best do this? When I let go of my preconceived notions, I can let Mystery teach me. I agree with Brian when he says, “Years later I would discover that my faith needed more mystery if I was going to maintain energy over the long haul.”

Doubts, Questions and Perplexities

Where there are no doubts, no questions, no perplexities, there can be no growth.” As I continue to let go and open to Mystery I will doubt and question. Doubt and question will help me grow.  Eventually I will let also let go of my doubts and questions too. It is then that I will be even more open to what the Great Teacher has in store for me.

Everything Belongs

“This much I’m sure of, Orthodox mystery, Catholic beauty, Anglican liturgy, Protestant audacity, Evangelical energy, Charismatic reality—I need it all!” Yes! We need diversity. Look at God’s creation. It is indeed very diverse. It all belongs. Everything belongs!


I’ll just say that the most important factor in my second half of life journey has involved learning how to pray well.” Brian also mentions, “Contemplation, or contemplative prayer, has the potential to be the most transformative practice in our life.” I completely agree. I have practiced centering prayer for over two years now. It has transformed me.  I highly encourage everyone to find a silent prayer practice. Silence teaches us who we are. It teaches us how to live. And I too agree with Brian, “Spiritual formation happens over a lifetime, not overnight.”  We just need to keep showing up.


Salvation is about being human. This is why the Word became flesh—human flesh.” We are both divine beings with a small “d” and human beings. Of course Jesus was a divine being with a big “D” and a human being. When I let my humanity and inner divinity work together I get beautiful actions.

Read Brian’s book. I think you too will enjoy it. It will prepare you for your journey on the road of Love! “If we stay on the road following the Jesus way, what we discover is that we are walking farther and farther down the road of love.”

Go Further

Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God: The Scandalous Truth of the Very Good News by Brian Zahnd

Water To Wine: Some of My Story by Brian Zahnd

Beauty Will Save the World: Rediscovering the Allure and Mystery of Christianity by Brian Zahnd

A Farewell to Mars: An Evangelical Pastor’s Journey Toward the Biblical Gospel of Peace by Brian Zahnd

A Journey of Discernment with the teachings of Mary Margaret Funk and other contemplative voices by Contemplative Outreach, Mary Margaret Funk: This e-course explores the contemplative approach to discerning the small and large decisions in life, which comes from cultivating a life practice of unceasing prayer (whatever types of prayer that may encompass for you). Discernment means sorting our thoughts and following the impulse of grace given by the Holy Spirit. As Sr. Meg writes, “Since we are not our thoughts, we can observe them rising and follow the ones that are from God.” This is a way of coming more awake and discovering the spark of divinity burning in our hearts.

Poetry and Prayer from the Celtic Tradition by Carl McColman: The traditional Celtic people of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales wove prayers, blessings, poems, and songs into every aspect of their daily lives — using the power of language to blend a rich spirituality of presence and wisdom into the very fabric of their being. Many of these poetic invocations and charming poems were collected by folklorist Alexander Carmichael over 100 years ago and preserved in the book Carmina Gadelica — the “Charms of the Gaels.”

Celtic Spirituality At the Edge of Mystery by Carl McColman: Consider it a pilgrimage into one of the best examples of everyday spirituality. Celtic wisdom and poetry ​encourages us to recognize the holy all around us, honors and protects the sacred earth, gives inspiration to free our creative voice, and presents a holistic path that links the quest for holiness with ​an ​embodied​​ sense of Divine love.

Sounds True has titles by teachers and authors such as Thomas Keating, Cynthia Bourgeault, James Finley, Richard Rohr, David Frenette, Parker Palmer , Eckhart  Tolle , Michael Singer , Jon Kabat-Zinn , Marianne Williamson to name a few.

Contemplative Light offers courses on contemplative practices (Christian Meditation, Centering Prayer, The Examen, Lectio Divina, The Jesus Prayer), the Christian mystics (ancient and current) and spiritual writing. Peruse their wonderful offerings.

Prayer-Bracelet: Authentic Orthodox prayer ropes and bracelets are handmade by monks in the Orthodox monastaries reciting a prayer for every knot they tie. Peruse their prayer ropes and bracelets that are all handmade, provided by several orthodox churches around the globe.

2 thoughts on “Water To Wine: Book Review”

  1. WM. Paul Young made a statement that went something like this, “A good question is worth a thousand answers.” I loved it. So true. Your post made me think his point and the way a complemplative view of life opens the mind to many curiosities. It gives us a gift that enables us to see many complexities that make up life and how they interweave with each other. Mystery, Grace, and authenticity…remarkable and rich.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *