Simply Follow Him

I’m off to New York City over the weekend and into the early part of next week on business for Windblown Media, and to hang out with some fellow-travelers in the New York area. It should be fun. But I haven’t been on an airplane for nearly two months and I’m already dreading the airport hassles all over again. And I’m hoping we use a runway rather than the new Hudson River Terminal. I like boat rides, but climbing out on the wings in winter sounds a bit cool.

I’ve also planned trips in the next couple of months to Knoxville, TN and to Atlanta, GA. So I guess I’m back on the road again.

Jesus Story BookI also recommended this book on a recent podcast of The God Journey and wanted to make sure you’ve heard about it if you’re looking for a children’s Bible for kids in the 3 – 7 age range. A friend recommended it to me and it has become my granddaughter’s favorite book. She loves it, and what’s even better is that all the stories are framed in grace, with a relational God wanting to reconnect with his fallen children. It’s called The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones with art by Jago. It’s tag line is “Every story whispers his name” and then makes the loving God part of every story. This is a great resource to share the Scriptures with your young children… And maybe even your older ones. I loved it and can’t wait to read more of those stories to Aimee.

Finally, I got this email the other day. I love the heart and spirit of it, so I wanted to pass it along to you as well. It captures the simple freedom of just living in grace.

I just wanted to write to you to tell you how much your book So You Don’t Want to Go To Church Anymore, the story of Jake Colsen, has meant to me. It was six years ago that we left a church where I had served as the children’s pastor. I thought I was there to help children become followers of Jesus, but the “power” of the church had other ideas. I have lived with the pain of the situation for so long thinking that God didn’t love me or have a plan for me and had no place for me in his kingdom.

In the six years since leaving, I have begun a totally new career and have really started to see how ministry seems much more fruitful and more satisfying not being part of anything organized. All my years of theological training though seem to make me feel that it was not adequate if it was not done through the church. Your book was like it was written specifically to me. Some of the things that Jake said is exactly how I had felt and was feeling. I now am starting to see such a different way of looking at the journey that God has for me.

One phrase that I have continued to recite to myself all the time from the book is, “You need to follow him, even when it creates conflict. Always be gentle and gracious to everyone, but never compromise what is in your heart just to get along.” This quote has given me so much strength to realize that it was okay to create conflict because of what God was doing in my heart and telling me to do. Going forward, I know I need to just keep tender towards God and his word and be strong in what He is telling me to do. God will need to take care of the conflict.

Thank you so much for writing this book and what it has meant to so many people. Someone recommended the book to me, and I have certainly recommended it to many other people since reading it last weekend. I can tell the people who are not ready to read it as they look at me with a blank stare when I give them the name of the book. I can not fully express to you the freedom that I have felt since reading the book.

How do we follow him? Live loved. Live free. Live gently with others and let Jesus take care of the fall-out. If we live only to avoid conflict, we may find ourselves avoiding him. I liked what Martin Luther said: “Peace if possible, but truth at any rate.”

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4 Comments
  1. Jeff February 5, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    It reminds me of when C. S. Lewis write in Prince Caspian about Lucy seeing Aslan at the top and no one else saw him nor believed her. She gave in to them and didn’t follow Aslan. When she finally meets up with Aslan, he just gently reminds her that she was to follow him despite what the others did. A lesson that is hard to learn.

  2. Jeff February 5, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    It reminds me of when C. S. Lewis write in Prince Caspian about Lucy seeing Aslan at the top and no one else saw him nor believed her. She gave in to them and didn’t follow Aslan. When she finally meets up with Aslan, he just gently reminds her that she was to follow him despite what the others did. A lesson that is hard to learn.

  3. Jonathan Hutton February 9, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Just found your blog, so a quick thank-you for the book “So You Don’t Want to Go To Church Anymore”. It was handed to me by a friend at just the right time in my journey. A few years earlier I wouldn’t have given it more than a glance – too scary for someone who already had God mostly figured out (I thought). I also love how you have the book available as a free download, I’ve passed the link on to a few people already who are struggling in their journey. Thanks.

    We’re trying to ‘Live Loved’ and ‘Live free’. We’re also trying to ‘Live gently’, so far avoiding conflict, but recognize the potential is there where others may feel threatened – we’ll trust God to work in those scenerios if/when they arise.

    God Bless!

  4. Jonathan Hutton February 9, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Just found your blog, so a quick thank-you for the book “So You Don’t Want to Go To Church Anymore”. It was handed to me by a friend at just the right time in my journey. A few years earlier I wouldn’t have given it more than a glance – too scary for someone who already had God mostly figured out (I thought). I also love how you have the book available as a free download, I’ve passed the link on to a few people already who are struggling in their journey. Thanks.

    We’re trying to ‘Live Loved’ and ‘Live free’. We’re also trying to ‘Live gently’, so far avoiding conflict, but recognize the potential is there where others may feel threatened – we’ll trust God to work in those scenerios if/when they arise.

    God Bless!

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