May 1, 2013

What Happens When You Discover You're More Like Jesus Than You Think?

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Recently, Tyndale House Publishers sent me a complimentary copy of the new book, Prototype to review for you.  The tag line says, What Happens When You Discover You're More Like Jesus Than You Think?

Me....like Jesus?  I don't think so.

Prototype?

First, we have to understand what a prototype is anyway.  You have probably heard the term but do you understand what it means?  It's essential before beginning this book.  The official definition is rooted in these words:

The original or Model on which something is based or formed.

Do you second guess God's love for you? 

The first few pages of Chapter 1 were quite intense and I wasn't sure if I would be able to enjoy it.  By the end of the chapter 1, I was intrigued when he mentioned the way God feels about Jesus and how the Almighty feels about me.

I will say that he points out that Jesus definitely is Christ--He is unique in His deity--and that he is not downplaying the holiness of the character of Jesus.  I was glad he was clear about that before moving on.

"I believe there was a time in your life, sometime before you succumbed to the constant busyness, noise and distraction of our world, when you knew something of the loving presence of God.  There was a time when you knew--or at least suspected--that you were infinitely loved.  In other words, I believe you have heard from God, and that you probably know a lot more about hearing from God than you might realize."

Jonathan brings the gospel forward aggressively and passionately in a way that you have probably never encountered.  He's an intense fella. 

Here's one way he sums up his writings:

"This book is not about finding religion.  It's not a self-help manual. I don't have seven habits or twelve steps to take you anywhere.  This is about becoming awake to God.  And if we become awake to God, we become awake to everything and everyone around us.

...in my own experience, one of the things that sets apart the voice of God from all the other voices is that it is so often inconspicuous.  You have to listen for it." 

I was happy to see this preacher/author refer to scripture as his basis for writing.   Seems like that would be a standard from one of God's messengers but unfortunately it is not always the case.   There are many scripture references where the text is printed and not just referred to.

He also brings up the other secular voices that we tend to listen to besides God's word and the gentle whisper of God's voice.  This is a practical analysis of the current culture we live in and how only Jesus should be our only Prototype. 

WWJD

A popular mantra that many believers still quote today is this:

"What would Jesus Do"   

As a believer, we won't humanly react to life with the holiness of God but we are to strive to, right?

Jonathan reminds us that we do have many examples of what Jesus did do while walking among men in the New Testament.  While thinking of the that real example...the following words from Prototype were profound to me
{and what the rest of the book expounded upon}:

"...what set Jesus apart was the deep understanding and trust He had that he was loved by God the Father. 
     Jesus was so certain of who He was and where He was going that of course He became a threat to the world around Him.  He didn't need the affirmation of other people to know His true identity.  What could possible be more futuristic than that?   Love made Him free to be human in a way that nobody else before Him had been.
      Many times in the Old Testament, God refers to human beings as His beloved.  But when God called Jesus His beloved, Jesus did something truly remarkable:  He believed Him.  And He lived every moment of His life fully convinced of His identity. 
       And unlike every other person in human history...He never forgot." 

What did I walk away with from Prototype?

Although he lost me a few times when he would go in a different direction without a lot of explanation, I did receive several nuggets of knowledge that I hope to remember...

My goal is always to become closer to God and more like Christ.  This book opened my eyes to the fact that I don't have a problem with believing in Jesus.  I know:

He was and is real

He sits at the right hand of the Father and is preparing a place for me {and You}

I need to work on believing like Jesus. 

I need to have a stronger understanding and belief of how God truly feels about me.  Not thinking of my failures and sins as a prerequisite of God's love for me. 

I need to remember {and you do too} how I once believed in God's love for me with my child-like faith....before all the distortion and noise of my adult life started blocking that truth. 

I am God's Beloved!

Here's a Q & A interview of Jonathan Martin so you can get a glimpse of his heart and what he hoped to accomplish by writing this book:
http://mediacenter.tyndale.com/downloads/press_kits/PrototypeQ&A.pdf

Aren't convinced and want to read an excerpt?  Here's Chapter 1 just for you:
http://files.tyndale.com/thpdata/FirstChapters/978-1-4143-7363-8.pdf



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