Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Jesus Manifesto

Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus ChristI usually judge a devotional book by the amount of quotes from it that I've written in my journal. Today's book, Jesus Manifesto, kept me busy writing every night I read it. Here are some of my favorites:

Every crisis you face is a God-given opportunity to rediscover Christ in a bold new way.

The "Christian life" is impossible. It's only Him-possible. We can try as hard as we wish to be like Christ, but human effort will never touch the hem of that garment.

Truth is not a book or a denomination or a creed or a liturgy. Truth is a person. And Jesus Christ is his name.

The more you judge the less you love.

We have created a Narcissistic form of Christianity, in which "conversion" is less a turning toward Christ then a turning toward success or fame or fortune.

Wisdom, peace, truth, righteousness, beauty, grace, mercy, love, kindness, patience, goodness are just words that were forced into existence to describe aspects of [God].

Jesus Manifesto by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola is a message of revolution to the Western church. The authors, well known for their many books, want to change the focus of our faith. As a church, we often pick and choose the aspects of Jesus we want to focus on like social justice or loving shepherd, and we forget about his more difficult sides, but in doing so, we lose the truth of who he is and what it means to follow him. We've turned faith into an being all about ourselves. Being better people, being successful or wealthy, being nicer to others, but all of those things are irrelevant if our focus isn't directly on Christ. The authors do their best to remind readers who Jesus really is, and that's not an easy task, but by using his relationship to the village of Bethany as well as other examples, they do a wonderful job of redirecting our focus to him. Christianity has become very vain and prideful, but Sweet and Viola dispel that illusion. It's not an easy book to read, but it's a necessary one for our times. If you are sick and tired of rudderless faith and watered down churches, this book will inspire you to worship the man in whom and for whom all things were created: Jesus. That alone is our purpose.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson for providing me with a copy of this book for review.