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.

Hit BY a Deer

deer_signsOk, so a weird thing happened last night as I was on my way home from practice. Since we live in an area where we see deer on a regular basis, I try to keep my eyes peeled for them. (Especially where they put up those crazy deer crossing signs.)

Anyway, I wasn’t too far from home and was coming through an area where we have seen deer. As I’m driving, I see movement to my left and see a deer come running across the road. I slowed down a little bit to let it pass in front of me. No problem. However, right behind that first deer was a second deer. Unlike me, it was not able to slow down and actually ran into my car. I was hit BY a deer, rather than the other way around.

The road I was on didn’t have a good place to stop, so I continued the final minutes home. When I pulled in the driveway, I looked at the car and didn’t see any damage. The deer wasn’t that big and I think hit my car and then ran off. It was kind of surreal explaining that I didn’t hit a deer, but rather was hit BY a deer.

I know there are other more exciting stories out there, but it was an interesting way to end the day.