Monday, December 9, 2013

Living the Real life that Christ leads us into.

Real: Becoming a 24/7 Follower of Jesus

I admit I had two reactions as I read this book.
One was: this is way more than I want to do, it's out of my normal-zone.
The other was: Whoa. I want to live like this, I can imagine how we could set the world on fire if we did!!

Pastor Jamie Snyder begins this book with a provocative statement. He writes, "If you conducted a man on the street interview and asked people to use words to describe church, you would likely end up with a list like this:
Tame,
Stingy,
Predictable,
Nice,
Safe,
Boring,
Careful. "

And while those words aren't all bad, they aren't the only adjectives that should describe us. As Pastor Snyder points out, many America churches cannot be accused of turning the world upside down.
{Perhaps thats part of why we often feel like the world is being turned upside down on *us* instead.}

He also points out that the early church was known for turning the world upside down for Christ and for all that is good. The early church would be described by a different set of adjectives, such as Unbridled, Daring, Rebellious, Risky, Relentless, Scandalous, and Mad.

Yep. Your first thought is mine too: Those don't sound like very Christian terms.
Oh, but they are! Pair up each of those strong and heady words with a concept such as Love, Faith, Courage, Joy, Hope and Generosity.
You get Relentless Hope, and Mad Love, and Unbridled Generosity just for starters.

You begin to see the pieces coming together to form a picture of how we could change the world.

'Real' made me think. It made me think about the pride and desire for comfort and ease and the compulsive putting-self-first mentality that keeps me from living this way. I'm not going to claim that this is a simple life-style to put into action, but I will say that for each of us a way of acting out our Real Christianity is close at hand.
And it made me wonder why I don't take some of these steps more often.
For a start in Unbridled Generosity, why don't I donate two or three good items of clothes instead of tossing my ill-fitting rags in the Salvation Army bag?
When it comes to Daring Love, I'd like to think that I could reach out and minister to the anybody in need, at the moment they need it, yet I make excuses about forgetting to send emails to family members on their birthday.
I want to imagine myself preaching the Gospel boldly in prison, offering Relentless Grace, but one attempt to reach a relative who doesn't seem moved and I'm tempted to crawl out of the fight.

Yet the Bible presents this vision, this vision of followers: "They could not be contained; they could not be controlled; they could not be restrained; and they could not be limited..." And Jesus promises that because He began a good work in me He will bring it to completion.
So lets step forward into real life and trust Him to get us there.

Thank you Bethany House for my review copy!

Jamie Snyder writes and preaches  every week as pastor of Lakeside Christian Church. He previously served at the country's fifth largest church, Southeast Christian Church, where Kyle Idleman pastors. Jamie and his wife, Alex, and their two young sons live in Lakeside Park, Kentucky. Learn more at www.lakeside.org.

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