…review of Barefoot Church…

First off, I want to start this review by saying that I am honored to be able to preview and review Barefoot Church by Brandon Hatmaker.  A while back I noticed a tweet by him asking if anyone would like to review his book before it came out and I jumped at the opportunity.  About a week later the book showed up in the mail and I was pumped to be able to start pouring over it.

I was not sure what to expect when I began to read Brandon Hatmaker’s book.  It was his first book, it was my first time really becoming acquainted with him, and also the first time I read some of the kinds of material/information/thoughts that are in a book like this.

Brandon doesn’t hold back on what he believes should be at the core of the modern day New Testament church – serving the neglected.  He lays out his belief through honest, written conviction and verses and stories straight out of scripture.  I mean honestly, how can you argue with that? :)

I’ve been on a journey as of late redefining what scripture claims that “discipleship” really is. I was pleased and excited to see that Brandon touched on this – which only helped me think more on the subject.  On page 109 he wrote, “The problem with our current forms of discipleship is not necessarily found in what we do well; its found in what we’ve neglected.”  I found that to be strikingly insightful because we, as a church culture, usually try and fix what we are already doing.  We spend hours upon hours searching for a solution to something that might not even be a problem. Instead, it might behoove us to try and figure out what we may be lacking.

If the only thing that I read in the whole book was the first sentence on page 127, it still would have been worth it for me.  The sentence is very short, but reads as follows: “It is risky to be different in the church.”  Many of us out there have have felt that prompting.  We have wanted to step out, risk something, challenge the system, and just plain ask “Why?”  However, we often fear what the response will be.  This sentence along only encouraged and challenged me to live the life in response the Gospel that I feel God has always been, and always will, be calling me to.

One of the last things that I thoroughly enjoyed about the book was the Brandon did was that he encouraged you to seek the Spirit’s help in figuring out what your family’s, or church’s, or your own next step might be.  He gives examples of what you could do, or what Austin New Church did.  But in the end he tells you that you need to figure it out.

I think many times we can read a conclusion in a book, and convince ourselves that “Oh, that will never work with me.  I couldn’t possibly do something as drastic as that.”  And that will ease our conscience until the Spirit brings that topic back up in front of us.  But every Christian has the ability, and responsibility, to ask the question: “God, what do you want of me?”

Brandon, thank you for the challenging words, the stories, shedding light on scripture, and risking to bring a message that isn’t very popular yet in the western church.  I appreciate it more than you know.

(I received this book for free from Brandon Hatmaker and  Zondervan Publishing for this review.)

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…i know one church i won’t be going to…

In my opinion, you will either like this book or you won’t.  I think I myself fall on the the like it side of the coin.

I liked this book because it tells a story and the story is one of a kid who was trying to figure out and follow Jesus the best that he knew how, but was just being taught how to in a whacked out and weird way.

The book takes you on a nostalgic walk through Matthew’s past.  It starts around the time that his family begins going to a fundamentalist church when he was a child and takes you up to present day.  He is extremely honest about what he experienced at this particular church and how it affected him.

One of the things that caught me off guard about the way that he wrote is that if you didn’t read the book carefully you could think that every fundamentalist church out there was this way.  While that possibility might exist, it doesn’t necessarily have to be true.  I’m sure that there are some crazy fundamentalists out there along with some really great fundamentalists.

He gives the names of some of the people in his past and gets to the point where he is very telling about them and honest about his opinion of them.  The only caution that I would give is that just because you feel a certain way about a situation or people doesn’t mean that you should write all your thoughts down because it may not be what builds up the church.  Turner might be guilty of that from time to time in the book.

But all in all I enjoyed it and don’t regret reading it.  If you have time, you should too.

(I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.)

…an alternative kind of resolution this year…

It is almost January.  You know what that means?  Resolution time.  That’s right.  People everywhere are thinking about what their New Year’s resolutions are going to be this year.  Lose 15 pounds.  Spend time gardening.  Read 50 books this year.  Volunteer more often.

There is a wide variety of things that people will resolve to do in the New Year.  You know what?  There will also be a wide variety of things that people will give up on this year.  I think it is interesting how serious we can be about something in January and how bored with it we can be by the time March comes.  I think one of the reasons that we do this is because every year we try to add something to our life.  For real – how many of us need one more thing in our life?

If we want to lose weight that means we now have to add working out to our to-do list.  If we want to spend more time gardening, then on Saturdays we have to start this that to our weekend schedule.  Reading more books means finding ones you want to read and then actually doing it.  And volunteering at different places means putting in the effort and time to do this.  All things that are normal resolutions, and all things that we have to add to our lives.

Here is a revolutionary idea for ya.  Why not resolve to subtract something for your life?  Why not make a resolution to take something out of your life.  It is just so crazy and off the wall, it just might work.

“This year I’m going to resolve to not go to every movie that comes out in the theatre.”  “I’m not going to worry about money.  I’ve made it this far with God providing, I know He’ll provide again this year.”  “I’m going to unplug the computer after dinner is done at night.  Then I’ll be able to have time for focus on my family more, and not be distracted by Facebook.”

Does this make any sense?  Get rid of something.  I bet if you get rid of something you don’t actually like doing or don’t need to do anymore, by the time March hits you won’t be giving up on it, but relishing the fact that you are loving not being bothered by it anymore.

So this January, don’t commit to doing one more thing; commit to doing one less.