Life Is _____________

life isI had the opportunity to read Jesus Is ____________ about a year ago. Judah Smith’s follow-up Life Is _____________ was a good continuation of what he shared in his previous offering.

Smith uses solid insights, personal stories and doses of humor to reveal from various passages of scripture that Jesus is life. In one chapter he writes these words: “Jesus is always more. More than what? I’ll let you fill in the blank . . . He’s more than bankruptcy. More than sickness. More than sin. More than murder. More than divorce. More than tragedies, tsunamis, wars or famines . . . What are you facing? He’s more.”

Most of the Biblical accounts that Smith uses are probably not new to those who have grown up in church. He brings a new perspective that is refreshing for those who have familiarity with the passages, but writes in a way that communicates with a reader who might be new to these verses. Smith also writes with a practicality that is helpful to the reader. He brings the person of Jesus into our current culture and context.

As an example, he writes about one of the most well-known verses in scripture – John 3:16. Then he asks this question that puts that verse in a new light: “God loves the whole world? This doesn’t make sense. This is crazy. What about bad people? What about indifferent people? What about those who mock him to his face, who flaunt evil and flout his commands?” It gives a new filter through which to think about God’s love.

Probably one of the most powerful moments of the book for me was what Smith shared about his daughter’s birth. He writes about his dad’s battle with cancer and how one day God told him that Smith and his wife would have a third child, a girl, who they were to name Grace. When she was just a day old, they took Grace to church. Smith felt a strong urge to go hold his newborn daughter and took her to a room off stage. That moment, as he looked at his little girl, it was a reminder to him that even though life doesn’t always go the way we want (his dad lost his battle with cancer), God is good and loving and sustains us. He gives us grace to sustain us.

Life Is __________ is an encouraging book that points people to the love of God and how it has the power to change our lives. This book would be a good resource for personal reading and for small group discussion.

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Jesus is ______________

Jesus-Is-3DAlong with a cool title (and a cool book cover), Judah Smith’s latest book was a good read. While I don’t think he really said anything brand new, he does write about Jesus in a fresh way to remind us of not only of who Jesus is, but how He looks at us. I appreciated Smith’s transparency about his life and ministry, his humor throughout the book and the way he presents Jesus.

One of more compelling quotes from the book was this one: “If you want to know what God thinks of you, or what God would say about your sin, or how God would respond it he were face-to-face with you, just look at Jesus, and you’ll know.”

Judah Smith’s church launched the “Jesus is                       ” campaign in Seattle to get Jesus on the minds of people in the city.  In this book, Smith offers a look at Jesus that is far from what people might think about Him.  In one chapter he shares how Jesus is Grace.  Some people (especially church people) don’t want to go too crazy on the grace angle because people might start sinning.  I really like what Smith wrote next and it depicts his humor pretty well:  “News flash: they are already sinning.  People don’t need grace to sin.  They need grace to deal with the sin they already have.”  Jesus is not surprised or shocked by our sin; that’s why He came.

Smith gives us a picture of Jesus who knows us deeply, knows all about our sin and humanity, yet still invites us to relationship with Him.  He even loves us.  In the book, Smith shows Jesus as Friend, as Grace, as The Point, as Here and as Happy.

It is a good read for an individual seeking to know who Jesus is and for the person who is a follower of Jesus.  The book would also make a good study for a small group to really dig into the passages Smith presents to talk about who Jesus is.  If you get a chance, grab a copy of Jesus is                        .

(I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own)