Note: My new book, Finding Jesus, is now available on Amazon. You can find it by clicking the link here. I will also have copies available at First Baptist the next few Sundays. Here’s the introduction to the book:
Lieutenant Dan Taylor: “Have you found Jesus yet, Gump?”
Forrest Gump: “I didn’t know I was supposed to be looking for Him, sir.”
Why should you read this book? I believe that Jesus of Nazareth is different from other great men and women of history. Studying the lives of figures like Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, or Mother Theresa can be inspiring. But when people strive to know Jesus, it changes their lives for the better. The very act of seeking Him improves the seeker; I can’t think of anyone else, alive or dead, like that. If you are already a follower of Jesus, I hope this book can help you know Him more fully. What I think the Church needs today more than anything else is to dig beneath all the petty social issues and political struggles we find ourselves consumed with and simply get to know Jesus as He truly is: Who was He? Why did He come? Why did He do the things He did? What does it mean to follow Him today? I am hoping this book will enable you to see aspects of His character you’ve never considered before. If you choose, this book can be read as a year-long daily devotional guide. Within the twelve chapters are three hundred sixty-five readings, each containing a Scripture reference and a paragraph or two of commentary. The readings are undated, so you can start any time of year. You can also read this a chapter at a time, like any other book; it’s completely up to you. As you read, pray for God to help you know Jesus better than you ever have before. Keep a journal of any new insights you gain. And consider passing the book along to a friend who needs to know Jesus, too…or even reading it along with them.
I wrote this book with non-Christians in mind, as well. In the movie Forrest Gump, Lieutenant Dan, having lost both legs in combat, has no use for a God who seems either unaware of his problems, or impotent to help. He especially resents the pat answers and manipulative language of religion, with its promises that He can “walk with Jesus in the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Of course, Lieutenant Dan later makes peace with God…and he does walk again.) Perhaps you’ve experienced the same frustration with religion. Maybe your experience with Christians can be summed up by words like “Hateful,” “Self-righteous,” “Overly political,” “Homophobic,” “Anti-Science.” The goal of this book isn’t to make you any of those things. In fact, if you get to know Jesus, you’ll find that He wasn’t any of those things, either. Could it be that the impressions you have of Jesus are based on false assumptions? Wouldn’t you like to know what He was really like?
Or perhaps looking for Jesus has never really occurred to you. You’re not particularly religious, and you can’t think of any good reason to change that. Somehow this book has landed in your hands (Maybe one of your pushy religious friends gave it to you). Do me a favor: Read the first chapter, and see why I believe Jesus is the most important and influential person in human history, whether you believe the Church’s claims about Him or not. Then consider the fact that this man– a man so influential history is literally divided into everything that happened before Him, and everything that has happened since–this man didn’t claim to know truth, He said He WAS Truth. He didn’t come to teach us new facts about God; He said He WAS God. Either this was the most successful con artist ever…or the key to life as we know it. Shouldn’t you make an informed decision about such a person, just in case? Wouldn’t that be the most responsible thing to do?
One thing to note: I believe we can’t truly know Jesus without studying the Bible; In other words, I assume that the Jesus of Scripture is the Jesus of history. There have been many books written about Jesus over the years, all claiming to reveal the “true” story. But I believe the true story of Jesus was completed 2000 years ago. This book is simply my attempt to guide you through that story. Please don’t skip the Scriptures I reference; take time to read them carefully.
So come along on a journey with me. No matter who you are, I pray you’ll find Him. I’m confident you will. After all, He said it Himself: Everyone who seeks, finds (Matthew 7:8).