Today's guest is Greg Sidders.Greg is the author of the book, The Invitation. He is a former journalist and is the pastor of White Pine Community Church in Cumberland, Maine. He and his wife, Robin, have three sons. He blogs at www.gregsidders.com . Greg describes himself as a latte-drinking, iPod-listening, Macbook-toting, bookstore-perusing, picture-taking husband and father who teaches and writes to help people find and follow Jesus.
Now, without further delay, my interview with Greg Sidders:
1. What was the catalyst for you writing this book?
It's a desire that has been growing in me ever since Jesus interrupted my journalism career with an invitation to follow Him. I loved Him deeply for giving me eternal life, but I was not prepared for what I read when I opened the gospels. His teaching was so disturbing that I thought I had purchased a defective Bible. I borrowed my friends' Bibles, and, sure enough, theirs said the same thing as mine. I couldn't understand why they weren't as appalled as I was.
To actually do what Jesus said was unthinkable to me, so I did the only sensible thing: I stopped reading the gospels. It was while I was having wonderful devotions in the epistles that a question popped into my mind: How can I call myself a Christian if I don't follow Christ?
That question thrust me back into the gospels, and it was when I re-engaged with the hard and heavy teachings of Jesus that I found the easy yoke and light burden my soul was longing for. I wrote The Invitation to encourage others to take the unimaginably rewarding risk of courageous obedience to seven of the most radical teachings of Jesus.
2. In your book, you examine 7 passages of Scripture in calling people to follow Jesus. Which passage did you personally find the hardest to chew on?
Each of the seven discipleship sayings of Jesus has challenged me at different times, and even though I have been chewing on them for 30 years, I still feel like I am only beginning to obey them. There are three in particular, all in Luke 14, that are especially rigorous: Hate those you love, take up your cross, and give up all your possessions. I think I am a typical American Christian in that I am tempted to tone down Luke 14:33, which says that I cannot be a disciple of Jesus unless I give up all my possessions. But there's no escaping the fact that He expects me to do exactly that. Now, I don't believe that "giving up" always means "giving away"—and in the book I explain why, hopefully with biblical support—but being a disciple of Jesus does require a radical reorientation of perspective about money and possessions.
3. In chapter 9 of your book you mention Christian love being displayed through "Humble love, gracious love and Hands-on love." Is there a particular example of any of these that stands out to you?
In the book I give real-life, down-to-earth examples of how I and others have tried to put all seven discipleship sayings into practice, but after I had submitted the first draft, I heard a story about an act of gracious love that was so powerful, I had to find a way to get it into the book. I won't spoil the surprise by re-telling it, but it's in chapter 9. By the way, that's the same chapter in which I tell the very personal story of how other Christians showed love to my family when my wife was diagnosed with cancer. Just thinking about it makes me fall in love with the body of Christ all over again.
4. Why do you think that believers hesitate in following Jesus?
Well, I don't see how anyone who takes Jesus seriously can help but hesitate. His teaching is truly daunting—and we have all kinds of ways of avoiding it. But there's nothing like breaking through that ominous mirage to the indescribable joy on the other side of risky obedience.
5. What do you hope readers will take away from your book?
A commitment to run to Jesus, not from Him, even after they discover that He is more than they bargained for.
Thank You Greg!
Thanks so much for these great questions. There is a book trailer and a free excerpt from the book at my website, gregsidders.com, as well as a link to free pastors' resources for a seven-part sermon series.
Well there you go. Make sure you check out Greg's book and his website. You won't be disappointed.
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