“Finish the sentence, “Jesus became real when….”
Often our walk with the Lord is relegated to an afterthought when life is good. It takes a tragedy, a bad medical prognosis, or news of an impending crisis to force us to our knees.
It is precisely during those times when Jesus becomes a more realized presence in our hearts and lives.
I’ve recently seen some friends who nearly lost a newborn express this sentiment saying, “I can say this was a time of depth with my God that I did not know existed.”
This sentiment perfectly illustrates the premise of this book.
“Jesus became real when I came to the end of me.”
I was asked to review Kyle Idleman’s new book, [amazon_link id=”1434707075″ target=”_blank” ]The End of Me: Where Real Life in the Upside-Down Ways of Jesus Begins[/amazon_link].
If I had read this book a few weeks earlier, it would have made my Top Books of 2015 for certain.
Idleman journeys through some of the unique, upside-down kingdom type statements Jesus makes in the Sermon on the Mount. Below are a few summaries:
Blessed are the poor in spirit essentially means to embrace the paradox in which brokeness, is the way to wholeness.
He re-words it this way:
“Blessed are you when you are so broke you have nothing to offer”
Blessed are those who mourn shows a God who will not waste our pain, or leave you alone during hardship.
Idleman quotes Eugene Peterson on this one;
“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.”
Blessed are the humble is followed by a list of things beginning with the thought provoking statement, “You might be a Pharisee if ….”
As we enter the Christmas season, the reflection Kyle uses on the birth of Christ is poignant.
“God often chooses weak settings to display his strength. Consider the birth of Christ, we are insulated by the familiarity of the story. The Son of God came to earth in a feeding trough surrounded by animal noises and smells.”
This is the kingdom which flies in the face of culture. We are taught we can do anything we set our minds to, but gospel teaches we can do all things in Christ. (not in our own strength)
Idleman looks at the story of Paul, who was caught up in the third heaven and was the greatest missionary ever to walk the earth, yet he boasts in his weakness and the sufficient grace of God in 2 Corinthians.
The book is both humorous and insightful, full of stories and personal, honest illustrations of both success and failure.
I enjoyed this book and so will you. Pick up a copy.
[amazon_image id=”1434707075″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]The End of Me: Where Real Life in the Upside-Down Ways of Jesus Begins[/amazon_image]
Photo by Dan Gribbin
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the David C Cook book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”