My latest book recommendation is a book we’re currently going through as a church by Skye Jethani called “What if Jesus was serious?”
How’s the book structured?
It’s a nine-part, 72-day devotional book solely looking at Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount teachings. You find the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, chapters 5-7.
Each day starts with “If Jesus was serious… Then…” For example: “If Jesus was serious… then we will love with our actions, not merely our feelings.” Or, “If Jesus was serious… then knowing a leader’s quality requires time and proximity.” And, “If Jesus was serious… then prayer is far more powerful than we think.”
Above the title for the day is a poignant illustration bringing home the day’s point. They are varied, some funny but all hit home the topic modernly what Jesus was clearly communicating.
The devotional part is around 1 page in length. And ends with an invitation to read two other passages related to the day’s topic. So there is some handy white space left for you to add your own thoughts for the day.
“If we want the culture to take Jesus more seriously, maybe we should try it first. After that, if the culture still rejects Christians and our message, at least it will be for the right reason.”
What I like about the book.
Skye tackles a question many are asking today about how to live our Christian lives. Many in the western world are sadly not just ignoring God but actively against the idea of having God in their worldview. So instead, he’s inviting Christians to look deeply into Jesus’ teachings, not to pick and choose what is possible to live. Better yet, take it all to an even higher level of living out kingdom values in every part of our lives.
The illustrations bring a lightness to the sometimes personally challenging subjects. Helping me take a good, long look at an aspect in my life and see where I’ve let the world influence my thinking and responses instead of God’s perfect and loving call.
Skye doesn’t beat around the bush. He asks the hard questions, gets us to look at the parts we may want to skim over as we know they aren’t what Jesus would do if he was here in person today. But Skye’s with us in it. Not asking us to be more than he’s asking of himself. With a tone of entreaty and honesty that is challenging but inviting all at the same time.
Being A5 in size is perfect, so I can easily take it with me. Not too much space to make the day’s reading too long. Thus giving me time to pray, worship and talk with God about applying the question to my thoughts, words, emotions and actions.
Lastly, I love his choice of colour. The warm yellow brings life and joy, which is the fruit of being more Christlike authentic-ness.
What I’d like to change.
I’m not sure why there are 72 devotions or why there are 9 parts. But the parts aren’t equally divided or in 7-day blocks. The ‘parts’ range in the number of days from 5 – 13! So it’s been interesting to see where the topic for the Sunday sermon lands, as it’s not always at a Part Break.
Right now, that’s it. So good job Skye – another reason I like your book enough to recommend it.
Why am I recommending it to you?
Today, to be a ‘proper’ Christian is not the norm. It’s seen as radical, even extremist. Meaning the world is going to increasingly not like us. So if we’re going to be who Jesus has called us to be — then life isn’t going to be easy. If this is so, then why not make it count. People are drawn to those who are authentic. If we take all of what Jesus taught seriously and apply ALL of it to our lives, then we will be more like Jesus and authentic inside and out. This is who I want to be. This book is helping me shine a light in some aspects of my life I’ve not taken a good look at from Jesus’ point of view. To take time to ask myself with God – how do I actively love those who either don’t like me or annoy the heck out of me? But Jesus isn’t just asking us to tolerate them but to go out of our way to bless them.
I am very thankful, we’re not asked to do this alone. But with Jesus, Father God and Holy Spirit. And one another as a body of Christ. To be an authentic community encouraging and supporting one another so we can all be more like Jesus.
Where can you get “What if Jesus was Serious?” and more of Skye Jethani?
It’s available on Amazon, Book Depository and many many more 🙂
A few other books Jethani’s written:
In June this year, Jethani published a sequel to this one, “What if Jesus was serious – ABOUT PRAYER?” (it’s blue instead of yellow). (2021)
What’s Wrong with Religion (2017)
Discipleship with Monday in Mind: How churches across the country are helping their people connect faith and work, (2016)
Futureville: Discover Your Purpose for Today by Reimagining Tomorrow (2014)
With: Reimagining the Way You Relate to God (2011)
The Divine Commodity: Discovering a Faith Beyond Consumer Christianity (2009)
Skye also cohost’s a podcast — The Holy Post.