Monday, December 23, 2013

Book Review Monday {Follow Me}

It's been a while since I've posted a book review, but rest assured that's not because I haven't been reading. I may have to rethink this Monday thing in the new year. But hey - we're here and I finished a book and, why not?

This review is on Follow Me by David Platt

I would not recommend this book to everyone. If you are easily offended, happy and complacent in your apathy toward others, or if you believe Jesus and His Church exist to make your life comfy, this book is only going to make you mad, and you might want to read something else first. Maybe the Gospels, or Acts. Read those and then try David Platt. Because I guarantee, no matter where you are in your faith walk, Follow Me will step on your toes. And it will make you re-think how you follow Jesus, and if you really do at all. I know it did that for me.

Platt's intellectual, Scripture-based writing demonstrates both his experiential mastery and the five degrees he's earned, but it's not too cerebral (for my tastes, anyway). While you might think his education would make him come across as arrogant, he remains humble throughout, admitting that he too has had to ask himself the difficult questions posed in the first half of book. Questions like:

  • Do I really know and follow Christ?
  • What does it take to be eternally saved?
  • What does the Bible really say about sin and sinners?
  • What evidences are displayed in our lives when we truly follow Jesus?
  • Can we make Jesus our personal Lord, or is His Lordship sovereign regardless of what we decide?
  • Is there really a hell?
  • Where is satisfaction found to our cravings and desires?
  • How can we find God's will for our lives?
Using personal examples such as the adoption of his son from Kazakhstan, experiences of making disciples in America and abroad, personal stories from his life and ministry, and recanting testimonies of several people in his own church, the author argues a great need for people everywhere who call themselves Christians to examine their hearts and lives to determine whether or not they are actually Christ-followers.

The kicker for me in this book was the entire second half, in which Platt argues quite persuasively that if we truly follow Christ, we will do what comes after our Lord's famous invitation, and become "fishers of men." If we are not making new disciples and going into the places where Jesus is unknown, are we truly His? According to Scripture, something is wrong if we are not prioritizing disciple-making in our every-day lives, and in our churches. 

I'd love to share scores of quotes I underlined in the book, but I'll stick to this one, and let you read the rest, deal?
"This is how the gospel penetrated the world during the first century: through self-denying, Spirit-empowered disciples of Jesus who were making disciples of Jesus. Followers of Jesus were fishing for men. Disciples were making disciples. Christians were not known for association with Christ and his church: instead, they were known for complete abandonment to Christ and his cause. The great commission was not a choice for them to consider, but a command for them to obey. And though they faced untold trials and unthinkable persecution, they experienced unimaginable joy as they joined with Jesus in the advancement of his Kingdom. 
I want to be part of a movement like that. I don't want to spend my life constructing buildings and designing programs for comfortable churchgoers. Nor do I want to build a Kingdom that revolves around my limited gifts and imperfect leadership. I want to be part of a people who really believe that we have the Spirit of God in each of us for the spread of the gospel through all of us. I want to be part of a people who are gladly sacrificing the pleasures, pursuits, and possessions of this world because we are living for treasure in the world to come." [Ch. 8]

Yep. That's the bottom line, friends.

Happy reading!

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