Friday, June 28, 2013


This book was written for people like me who grew up in church who need to realize that our faith has to become our own. They talk about trashing the checklist of everything you should do to be a good Christian, finding true community, and being honest about our secret sins.

"Hand-me-down faith may work when things are going well, but when pressures and problems hit, what you thought you believed will crumble" (5).

In the chapter entitled "Sick of Secrets", they hit on something that I have experienced in church: "We are so ready to let the world know when God is doing great things. Yet when things take a turn for the worse, we keep it hidden. What are we so afraid of" (53)?

My favorite chapter was “Question Everything”. “Behind the ‘Where are You?’ questions often lies a more fundamental one: ‘Who are You?” (121). God is not afraid of your doubts or questions.

“It seems like modern society is striving to eliminate risk and make comfort and safety the ultimate goal” (145).

“It took us a long time to understand that church wasn’t a building or a pastor or a sermon series. It’s easy to point out everything wrong with the church when you stand outside it and approach it with a consumer mentality” (176).

Each chapter ended with testimonies from other young adults, questions to think about, and a few action step suggestions. 

You can check out more about the book (including a free download of the first chapter):

I reviewed this book for Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers Blogging for Books. I received this book for free in exchange for a review of the book.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Life of the Beloved

Henri Nouwen makes me feel better about how God has created me. I would like to think that if he was still alive, we would be good friends. He was a Dutch Catholic priest who has several books published, three of which I picked up at B&N recently.

He wrote this book in response to a friend's request to write a book about the Spirit for him and his friends who are secular. 

This book was a great reminder about who I am: a child of God. Nouwen says there are four words that are important words in the Christian life: taken (chosen), blessed, broken, given.

His main point is that we are God's Beloved. Before we were even born, we were loved by God.

"When I know that I am chosen, I know that I have been seen as a special person. Someone has noticed me in my uniqueness and has expressed a desire to know me, to come closer to me, to love me" (53).

"Isn't it easier for us to believe that we are cursed than that we are blessed" (74-75)? 

"[T]he joy of life comes from the ways in which we live together and that the pain of life comes from the many ways we fail to do that" (89-90).

"[A]ll we live finds its final significance in its being lived for others" (105).

"Our brokenness opened us to a deeper way of sharing our lives and offering each other hope" (110).

"God not only says: 'You are my Beloved.' God also says: 'Do you love me?' and offers us countless chances to say 'Yes'" (133).

I recommend this book. It was a quick read but a great reminder of how much we are loved by God.

Love Does

I should have known it would be similar to Donald Miller's style of writing when I read that the foreword was by none other than Donald Miller himself. Every chapter begins with "I used to think..., but now...". Reminds me of Jesus with his "You have heard it said... But I tell you" conversations.

I would like to be friends with Bob Goff based on the little I gathered about him through reading this book. He is a man of not just vision but also putting love into action. Loved the chapters of how he met his wife and how his kids wrote letters to world leaders and were invited to interview them, leading to friendships.

Some of my favorite quotes are:
"I used to be afraid of failing at the things that really mattered to me, but now I'm more afraid of succeeding at things that don't matter" (30).

"[B]roken things, just like broken people, get used more; it's probably because God has more pieces to work with" (54).

"[B]e exactly who He has made us to be and who we are right where we are" (98).

"You become like the people you hang around, and to a great degree, you end up going wherever they're headed.... [W]e have a lot more power to decide who we do life with than some people think" (118).

God "wants followers, not just onlookers or people taking notes" (142).

"When I don't know the answer to where I am or what God wants me to be doing, which is often, I try to get a bearing on at least a couple of fixed points that I can trust. One is Jesus.... The other fixed point I use is a group of people I feel God has dropped into my life" (155).

"Secretly incredible people do things.... You want a mission statement to go along with being secretly incredible?... 'Be Awesome'" (161).

"Getting passed by can feel like a great injury. But it's not. It's people like us who can be secretly incredible and get the most done.... God loves the humble ones, and the humble ones often don't make it as first-round draft picks for the jobs with big titles or positions" (163).

"[T]hey have a name for guys who just study things about a person they like but don't do anything about it -- they're called bachelors" (199).

"Let me tell you what I do when I don't know what to do to move my dreams down the road. I usually just try to figure out what the next step is and then do that (216).

In May, there was a conference called Love Does Stuff. I found out about it a week before it happened, so I couldn't swing the $1000 trip to Washington, but it sounded like a great event. Be on the lookout for info on Love Does Stuff 2014. I am hoping it is in Detroit, a city that could really use some Jesus followers in action.