My summer brain has gotten a bit fried from all of the sunshine lately, so I’ve happily invited more listening and less blabbing into my life.
I just finished the book, It’s Not What You Think: Why Christianity Is About So Much More Than Going to Heaven When You Die, by Jefferson Bethke. And let me tell ya—it’s one that should be on your list. Jefferson takes relatable stories and mixes them with solid truths, while addressing some common misconceptions found in the sometimes “weird stew” of Western Christianity.
If you’re anything like me, you appreciate a tasty sampling before diving in full force, so here’s a quote from each chapter to get you started. Enjoy!
Chapter One: Your Story’s Not What You Think
“The creation account, the Law, the Prophets, the songs, the Gospels, the Epistles, and the book of Revelation all tell the same story—how the Creator God (Jesus) brought about (and is still bringing about) new creations despite our rebellion, sin, and cosmic treason.”
Chapter Two: The Temple’s Not What You Think
“The amazing thing is that God doesn’t snap his fingers and say, ‘Fine. If you don’t want me, then I don’t want you.’ He certainly could have, but instead he kept promising, kept pursuing, kept chasing. He longs to dwell with his people, yesterday and today.”
Chapter Three: People Are Not Who You Think
“His voice always calls us out of hiding and into intimacy because that’s God’s goal. He makes it clear from Genesis to Revelation that he wants to dwell with his people. He desires intimacy not hiding, transparency not masks. To know God and be known by God is the dance of eternity.”
Chapter Four: You Aren’t Who You Think
“That’s the importance of the wilderness. It’s a place where we can hear the whisper. It’s a place that isn’t drowned out by the noises of our phones, computers, and twenty-four-hour news cycle. The wilderness is sometimes the only place we can hear the voice of God.”
Chapter Five: The Sabbath’s Not What You Think
“For God it was six days of work and then rest, but for Adam his first day was rest, and only then could he truly work. That sounds a lot like the cross, doesn’t it? Jesus does all the work, and we are called to enter that rest.”
Chapter Six: Worship’s Not What You Think
“When we make another person an idol, we end up squeezing the life out of them. Only one person has the ability to sustain being God, and that’s Jesus. When we worship Jesus, we can love that person even more because our center isn’t tied to or defined by them.”
Chapter Seven: The Kingdom’s Not Where You Think
“Life isn’t about going to heaven when you die, it’s about making heaven true on earth in every facet and level of our relationship with God, others, and self.”
Chapter Eight: Brokenness is Not What You Think
“What if Jesus wants to heal the dark parts of your life, so then you can turn around and tell others just how good he really is? Only when a wound is a scar will we let it tell a story. You can then point at the scar and say, ‘Look what Jesus did.’”
Chapter Nine: The Table’s Not What You Think
“Part of the job of being a Jesus-follower is making other people’s pain our pain. To feel it. To absorb it. To step into that gap as much as possible, because that’s exactly what Jesus did for us.”
See? You really should check it out.
What have you been reading this summer?