Some time a few months ago, I received an email saying I’d been picked for the social media launch team for Jefferson Bethke’s new book, “It’s Not What You Think.” I’m telling you this for one purpose. I want to be transparent with you so you know that I did receive the book from Thomas Nelson publishers…BUT! I had already ordered my copy from Amazon, so this review/blog series was coming out either way! Now, lucky you, you get to read it 🙂
If you’ve read my blog with even a minimal following you’ll notice I reference Jefferson Bethke’s work on the regular. I’ve featured one of his videos here in a previous post. By no means is that my favorite video of his, but it is definitely up there. There’s info about him at that link, if you’re curious.
This semester I started back to school. Initially I made a promise to make this a 3-part series. Although I would have liked to have all 3 of these out sooner, school and work have really locked down my time this semester. SO…FINALLY:
This review is Part 3 of a blog series called “Be Still.” The purpose here is to review Bethke’s book in a more detailed way.
Part 3: BE A SEEKER.
Matthew 7:7-8 says:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
So much about Christianity is learning. We fall down and make mistakes, then we learn from them and move on. We read our Bibles and try to find God through His word. We attend church and learn from the sermon and seek out answers to our questions from fellow believers.
In the first chapter of Jefferson Bethke’s book, “It’s Not What You Think”, in the first chapter Bethke writes about how we unintentionally begin our faith-story in the wrong place. Often times, we start the story of salvation with the story of sin. Personally, that’s not a great way to approach me, and I’m sure you wouldn’t like it either. “Hey, did you know you’re a sinner?” Ha! Most people don’t take kindly to that, and to be honest, God doesn’t either.
“Yes, it’s true, we are broken, but even though it’s true, it doesn’t mean that’s where God starts the story.”
The first book in the Bible is Genesis. For whatever reason we love to start the story at Chapter 3, rather than Chapter 1. The problem with this is that when we begin with the fall of man in chapter 3, we begin God’s story in our lives tinged with the shame and regret of sin instead of the beauty of God’s love for us.
“When we begin with sin, we feel spiritually and emotionally naked. Shame, guilt, and condemnation distort our beings at the truest level. Things don’t work how they are supposed to work. We know something is broken, amiss.” -Bethke, INWYT
God’s story in our lives doesn’t start with sin! It starts with “order, beauty, and meaning out of chaos. Before God touched his finger to creation, it says it was…void and empty. But God starts making stuff, starts bringing beauty.”
I think one of the hardest things as Christians is tying ourselves to God’s initial purpose for us: to love and be loved by Him. We focus greatly on the fact that we need a savior and all the things we do wrong. Inversely, sometimes the struggle is what we do right. Some of us are challenged everyday to give God the credit when we succeed and do well. For some people following the rules comes easily, and we struggle to attribute that to God’s blessing in our lives. Either way, all God ever wanted when he breathed creation to life was YOU. Just You.
Understanding our faith begins at Day 1- Genesis 1:1. That’s why Bethke’s book is so important for Christians today to read. As I mentioned earlier, part of being a Christian is learning and seeking. But the Bible is hard to read. It just is, no question. It’s Not What You Think gives an excellent intro into what the Christian faith means overall and dispels preconceived notions that can poison any attempt you might make at really gaining any ground on grasping God’s purpose for you.
Reading the whole bible is a huge challenge and can be super confusing even if you do manage to read all of it. It has historical-cultural context and weird words and customs. This book helps shine a light on much of that. If you want to understand what you believe, if you want to redefine what you believe, or anything in between, this book is something you need to read.
As I am a writing this, God has put it on my heart to do a giveaway. It’s not sponsored or anything, I just really believe in the message of this book and would like to give a copy or two away. Simply comment on this post why you would like to read the book, tweet me @ScullySpeaks, and/or post to my Facebook page. You don’t have to do all of those things to have a chance of receiving a copy. If you’d like to read more about this book check out my previous posts Be Open and Be Social.
Next month I will be returning to regular blog posts. I hope you’ve enjoyed this series reviewing Bethke’s book, It’s Not What You Think.