Jesus Is__ - A Book Review

Jesus Is_

I like the title of this book.  I also enjoyed the premise very much.  Author Judah Smith, pastor of City Church in Seattle Washington, uses that question to delve into the character of Christ. He breaks the theme of Jesus Is_ down into six sections:
  1. Jesus Is Your Friend
  2. Jesus Is Grace
  3. Jesus Is The Point
  4. Jesus Is Happy
  5. Jesus Is Here 
  6. Jesus Is Alive
With passion, humor, and conviction, Judah Smith attempts to show that Jesus is life.  Smith's passion comes through in this book.  You really get the fact that he is into Jesus.  He conviction is there on display.  I found numerous nuggets of truth that seemed to leap off the page.  I read a few out loud to my wife, discussing the ones that seemed profound and full of wisdom.

Sadly,mixed in with that passion and conviction was just a tad to much humor. Don't get me wrong, I love humor.  I use it while preaching and we also laugh quite a bit in our home.  I think humor in a non-fiction book about the character of Jesus is not a bad thing.  Judah Smith just seems to be trying to dang hard. In the first chapter, Smith has Zacchaeus thinking things are "dope" or "jacked up".  It is when he "tells the stories" that this book falls apart.  When Jesus mentions adultery during the Sermon on the Mount, I get taken out of the points Smith is trying to make when he says a guy has the Fisherman's Quarterly Swimsuit Edition in his knapsack and that guys are thinking they never hooked up with any desperate housewives or stopped by Hooters.

I made it half way through this book. By then, the constant modern day culture inserted into Biblical times thing got really old.  The humor was more than enough to drown out a needed message.

BookSneeze® has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy.


Looking Through His Eyes

I no longer wanted to be around people.

Honestly, I no longer wanted to live.

I was done with life.

Then I had an encounter with the Living God.

While driving down the road and looking for the right tree to run my car into, I cried out to God.  I remember clearly telling Him I could no longer take it anymore.  It was at that point I felt the Lord speak to me.  That moment began a movement from surrender, to brokenness and finally an understanding of my Identity in Christ.

A friend who was walking with me through this process gave me a Scripture to reflect on.  It has now become my life verse:

"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

That verse has changed my life in so many ways. 

I found that, as I recognize who I am in Christ, He began to change me in profound ways.  Where I once hated being around people, ignored friends and hid away from life, I have now become more fully engaged in all aspects of life.

Which is how I became a Compassion blogger.

I was already sponsoring a child through Compassion.  The more I checked out the organization and what it does, the more excited I became.  I started blogging a few years back and while checking out the Compassion website, I came across the Compassion blogger program.  Any chance to see more kids sponsored appealed to me so I signed up and have been promoting Compassion online whenever I can.

Your contribution of just $38 a month connects your child with a loving, church-based Child Sponsorship Program.

Your support provides: food and clean water, medical care, educational opportunities and important life-skills training. Most important of all, your sponsored child will hear about Jesus Christ and be encouraged to develop a lifelong relationship with God.


Jeremy Camp - I Still Believe

I Still Believe by Jeremy Camp is a book that literally brought me to tears. 

Very rarely have I read a book that causes such an emotional response.  I Still Believe is Jeremy's memoir of his life to this point.  I've heard a few of Jeremy's songs over the years but did not know anything about his life story.  If you read this book and don't stop and take stock of your own life, I'd be shocked.

Jeremy pulls no punches when it comes to sharing the details of his life. He shares about his early childhood and how he came to faith as a teen.  He also talks about his first marriage and the painful loss of his young wife to cancer.  Jeremy shares the raw emotion as God brings him through the hardest period of his life. His recovery was both inspiring and encouraging.  When Jeremy met his current wife I found myself rejoicing at the goodness of God.

I would encourage you to pick this book up and give it a read.  I would also encourage you to check out Jeremy's website: http://www.jeremycamp.com/IStillBelieve You can find out more info on the book, Jeremy's music, tour dates and much more.

You should also know that this book was originally released in Sept. of 2011.  The book has been re-released with completely revised and expanded with additional content!

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.



Awake by Noel Brewer Yeatts is an interesting book.  Sadly, in the end, it did not do enough to keep my interest.

I was intrigued by the premise of the book.  Doing a world of good one person at a time sounds great.  I think it is a very Biblical concept.  When I read about Jesus and His interactions with the world around Him, I see Him continuously focusing on the one individual.  The woman at the well is just one example.  He would focus all of His attention on changing one life.

Noel Yeatts is a great story teller. In each chapter she opens with a personal snippet and then tells stories of the women and children she encountered in her ministry with World Help, a faith-based humanitarian organization that serves the physical and spiritual needs of people in impoverished communities around the world.

While the stories are engaging, in then end it's mostly stories and stats.  I am not a fan of how to books but the book could have been better served if she ended the stories with something people could do or get involved in to change a life.

The book does end with a list of sorts but in my opinion it was just to late in the book to make an impact.
This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. It is available at your favorite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing group.


God is...? - Just A Thought #56

Here's a challenge.  When you see the phrase, "God is...?", how do you complete that sentence?  What were the first words that came to your mind?

How you answered might say a lot about where you are right now in your walk with the Lord. 

Did you say God is good? 

I know many people who have said that.  One person told me recently that they know He is good but they don't always feel He is good.  Their head says yes, their heart says I don't know.  The question becomes, does God have my best interest at heart?  The truth can be pointed out through the Scriptures but when the rubber meets the road, do we truly believe it in our hearts and live it out in practice? 

Did you say God is great?

What does that mean to you?  Great at what?  Or is great defined as "having considerable power?"  If God is great, how does that effect the way we live? 

Did you say God was loving?

God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. (John 3:16)  Do we feel that love?  We may know that we are loved but do we really believe it?  Do we live as though we know God truly cares about our needs? 

All these questions and it all goes back to one thing in my opinion.  Do we trust God to be the God of all?  Do we believe He truly is fair, loving, kind and filled with truth, or is He only those things when we get our own way?

Proverbs 3:5 says we are to trust in the Lord with ALL of our hearts and not to trust in our own wisdom or way of understanding things. 

We may not feel it, we may not truly believe it, but it does not negate this truth:

"For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations." (Psalm 100:5)

Be encouraged.