Tuesday, November 01, 2011

One life

A ton of people no doubt will have watched the Steve Jobs address to Stanford University since his recent death. It is a great and inspiring talk and in it he speaks of not settling for a lesser dream with your one life and a lesser dream in your work. What is hard for those of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus is what does it mean for us to 'live the dream'?

I have long been impressed and encouraged by Scott McKnight who is a theologian, teacher, preacher and writer of the blog Jesus Creed. He seems to be a man of thoughtfulness, challenge, generosity and love. Actually, in truth he also just seems like a kind nice man and we all need a few kind people in our lives. I have read a couple of his books recently and particularly enjoyed One Life.

This is his book on discipleship and what I really liked about it is it is not a book of things to do. So many discipleship books are ten chapters of things we should all be doing more busily to be more efficient and effective for Jesus- we evangelicals love a bit of extra activity. Instead though, this is about the kingdom, about love, about eternity, about justice, about wisdom, about sex and about peace. The last chapter, which I finished this morning, speaks about repentance (which was timely) as the key to things and then McKnight goes on to share that his favourite theologian is Bonnhoeffer. His hope is that 'One life' would be his version of 'The Cost of Discipleship'. This makes me like him even more than I already do.

Here is a question for you. Have you noticed how many people give up on faith and following Jesus? So many young people in church today won't be there by the time they are twenty-five. So many I know 'used to' go to church but they got hurt or got enlightened or got clever or moved on or grew up or ducked out. They always have a good reason. I was chatting about this to a friend who is a Chaplain to students and he asked me for a recommendation on what he should read with them to encourage them to be disciples and explain what it means to be a disciple. Without hesitation (because I was reading it at the time:) I suggested 'One life' and so he is going to buy ten copies and read it with them. This is just such a good book about the principles of discipleship. In other words, it helps you understand what the Jesus-follower life is supposed to look like if you actually bother to listen to the things Jesus taught and gracefully integrate them into your way of living as you follow him. 

Why not buy this for a young person you want to disciple and read it with them as you mentor and encourage them?

Why not buy this for some students and meet in a coffee shop to talk about it?

Why not buy it for your teenage son or daughter who is complaining about church and asking a thousand questions about why it is we should bother following Jesus anyway?

Why not read this with some friends from your church?

Why not gently offer this to someone as a book to read if they are ticked off with church but still love Jesus?

Why not buy this for someone who way back when was in the CU with you or sat next to you in church but now isn't there any more?

Why not read this a chapter a day as part of your devotions as I did and was blessed?

This is a super book and has left me feeling hopeful and thankful that I am a follower of Jesus and importantly it encouraged me to keep following. You can't get a much better sort of book than that.


Hannah said...

Hi David, this book sounds brilliant, thankyou for your recommendation - I have just ordered it and look forward to reading it & being shaped by it. Your point about people needing kindness struck a chord with me - the verse about the kindness of God leading us to repentence has been in my thoughts a lot lately - and this post was a fresh reminder of that.

David Cooke said...

Thanks Hannah. Hope you enjoy it.

Ashley said...

If any of your blog readers are across the pond…. Scot McKnight is going to be speaking at an event my church is organizing in Providence, Rhode Island, this Friday evening.
All are welcome and the event is free. You can find out more info under the “One event” here: http://renprovidence.org/?page_id=169

Hope all is well.