…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.)

…my heart breaks…

I love my new job.  I work at a convenience store/gas station chain called Quik Trip.  It is only in about 9 cities, but it is one of the best companies to work for according to Forbes 500 list.

The pace of working at a store like this is crazy, especially for our store which is apparently one of the busiest stores of 75 that Kansas City has.  The good part though about the pace is that shifts just fly by.  Today was a 6 hour shift and it felt like 2.  It is crazy how nice that is when other other jobs have seemed to drag by.

A couple of the things that we sell at QT are cigarettes and lottery tickets.  Although these two things don’t necessarily break my heart, the people who buy them do.  I’ve seen young pregnant soon-to-be moms buy cigarettes and claim that it won’t hurt the baby till 6 months old in utero.

I know this type of thing takes place is all cities, but it is still hard to watch happen.  Legally if she is over 18 and has money than I need to sell her the cigarettes.  But that child inside is hurting because of her selfishness.  That breaks my heart.

The other thing is lottery tickets.  I think Dave Ramsey said in Financial Peace University that 80% of lottery ticket stations are in areas that are stricken with poverty, and that 90% of sales take place from people who are below the poverty line.  (Looks like someone is playing dirty.)

I’ve had people walk in and buy $4 worth of food on Food Stamps, and then turn around and spend 40 some on lottery tickets.  Are you kidding me?  Now I’m not trying to say that these people aren’t legitimately in the position to receive food stamps, but if you are going to spend 10 times as much on the lottery, then there are some priorities you have that are way out of whack!

It is just sad to see things like that take place.  It is also hard not to pity them and pretend that I am better than they are.  And it is hard to not to judge them and think that there aren’t things that I waste my money on.  I just have to watch it happen, take it in, and hope the situation will change.

What have you seen that has broken your heart lately?

…full house…

Growing up I lived in a house with 4 other people and one dog – my parents, my brother, my sister and our dog Fritz.  All 5 of us crammed into a house with 4 rooms.  That was the living situation in all the houses I lived in growing up.  You might think that was cramped, but that was nothing to now.

Right now, my wife, my daughter, my dog and I are sharing a house with 7 other people and 2 other animals.  We are living with another couple who have 3 kids, and have 2 young women living in the top floor of the house.  10 people and 3 animals totally outdoes 5 people and 1 animal!

For a guy who has usually had his space in life (my siblings were 7-10 years older than me) and lived on his own for 4 years I’m actually not going crazy.  Honestly, I’m loving it!  Tiffany and I have had fun living in the houses and apartments that we have had, but this is a whole new experience for us.  We’ve never been in a place that has had this many people before outside of a dorm – and that doesn’t count.  (College life is on a whole other level.)

This type of set up causes one to have to open up and not be defensive about too much privacy or alone time.  It makes you have to learn to communicate and live with people.  Before I just had to learn to get along with Tiffany – and although that was interesting, it was just one person.  Now I am learning how to deal with 4 other grown adults, and 3 more kids.

It is a challenge but it is good.  I’m not able to hide or be someone else.  I’m having to be who I am and that is good!

Have you ever been in a situation like this before?  Living in community and openness?