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Dallas and the Spitfire: An Old Car, an Ex-Con, and an Unlikely Friendship Paperback – April 1, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Discipleship Isn't a Program, It's a Relationship


Ted is a thirty-four-year-old father of two who's been going to church his whole life. Dallas is a twenty-one-year-old former cocaine addict with a prison record. When they agree to meet regularly for "discipleship," they know that chatting once a week in a coffee shop just won't cut it. Restoring an old Triumph Spitfire is more their style.

This is not "12 Steps to Mentoring a Man for Christ" or "The Blockhead's Guide to Discipleship." This is real life. It's the true story of a guy a lot like you and another guy nothing at all like you. It shows how real men can be friends with one another and get closer to Jesus. It isn't easy. It isn't a checklist. If you have a rigid system in place, you're doing it wrong. It's all about living life for others.

"The book is less about a car than about the lasting friendship that forms between the men. Despite a few flaws, the authors have put together a triumph." --Publishers Weekly

"At the risk of embarrassing these nitty-gritty guys, this is ultimately a story about love--learning to love God when life is hard and to love each other as brothers. I could hardly put the book down, and am very happy to recommend it."
--Justin Taylor; blogger, "Between Two Worlds"; managing editor, The ESV Study Bible

"If you are serious about making disciples who make disciples who make disciples, I recommend this book highly."
--Steve Sonderman, associate pastor Men's Ministry Elmbrook Church, founder No Regrets Men's Ministry

"With characteristic wit, humor and insight, Ted Kluck tells a profoundly moving story of faith and discipleship. It may be a book about an unusual friendship and a pretty cool car but [it's] ultimately a poignant and welcome reminder of the power of the gospel to change hearts and lives." Tim Ellsworth, author God and in the Whirlwind and coauthor, Pujols: More Than the Game

"A great read and one to give the men in your life...the story of their friendship made for compelling and even compulsive reading." --Amy Boucher Pye, Woman Alive Book Club (U.K.)

About the Author

Ted Kluck is an award-winning author and freelance writer. He has written seven books and his work has appeared in such places as ESPN the Magazine and Christianity Today. He's also the author of the ebook Jeremy Lin: Faith, Joy, and Basketball. His first book won a Christianity Today Book of the Year award. Ted lives in Grand Ledge, Michigan, with his wife and two sons.

Dallas Jahncke is 21 years old, has attempted suicide three times, and has been in jail twice, but is today sober, productive, and attending Bible college. He is a member of University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (April 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764209612
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764209611
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,223,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John Gibbs on April 14, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When author Ted Kluck was assigned by his church to "disciple" a young man named Dallas who had spent most of his life so far on the wrong side of the law, they decided to work together on a car restoration project as a more helpful way of spending time together than organising chats in coffee shops. The story of the first year of their friendship is told in this book.

Dallas, who is a big guy and covered in tattoos, had a history of alcoholism, violence, drug abuse and drug-related crime, until he ended up in hospital and then at the Lansing City Rescue Mission. In the hospital two different people tried to tell him about Jesus, but he was not interested. After initially going through the motions of attending classes at the Mission, Dallas realised how much he needed the hope, forgiveness and love of Jesus, and he turned his life over to Jesus.

After hunting for a suitable car to work on, Ted eventually found a blue 1974 Triumph Spitfire. Dallas and Ted worked on it together while sharing life and working through issues. Dallas found a place in a fundamentalist Bible school, and, as an outsider from a completely different cultural background, had plenty of difficulties conforming to the school's expectations. Nonetheless, Dallas and his faith mostly prevailed and the car was eventually finished and ready to ride.

The book tells a great redemptive story, but it also sets an example for an active style of discipling that may be more effective, particularly for men, than the typical purely conversational style. Doing something together is often a better way to build effective friendships than just getting together and trying to be friends. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and highly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
This book brings us to a whole new understanding of discipleship beyond the four walls of the Church or the evergreen picture of a coffee-chat version of Christian discipleship. It tells us about authentic discipleship that is relational and ordinary, connectional rather than correctional, and above all, sharing the love of Christ in any circumstance. It shows us the way beyond mere coffee talk to carefree walk. It demonstrates to us how a genuine heart of care and concern can not only bridges the divide between the rich/poor, have/have-nots, fortunate/unfortunate, and any human dichotomies, and enable us to have real authentic discipleship that happens BOTH ways. It is not a me-Discipler-you-Disciple, but a respectful living out of Christ in both directions.

It is a story of two man, one a pastor and the other a recuperating ex-con, with a common task: Fix an old convertible, and in the process help each other to be fixed by God's grace. The book is partly a car repair journal, a personal life journal, as well as a book of spiritual reflections. Firstly, as a car repair journal, it encourages the mostly car-users to know more about cars and the internals. It tells the beginning to the end of a car repair process, and ends with a wonderful picture of two happy man driving the car into the sunset, happy for a job well done.

Secondly, the book is also a personal life journal of Ted, who thinks back on his relationship with his dad, his family, and of course with his rugged friend, Dallas. It shows the emotional ups and downs of Dallas, the ex-con turned Christian, ministering in a ministry house, and struggling with both relationships and financial limitations. At the beginning, ministry appears to be one way, from Ted to Dallas. Toward the end, the process reverses.
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This book helps me understand what can happen to a man to bring him to the depths. It also shows me how a person with convictions inspired by the sacrifice of Jesus can enable a man to reach down to another's level and use godly gifts to bring another up. And, it shows humility, discretion, endurance, and determination. Well worth reading.
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Discipleship is not a program but the very mission Jesus gave the Church to fulfill. Discipleship is not only doctrinal but also relational. Discipleship that is divorced from doctrine is not discipleship. Discipleship apart from a relational foundation is just the pursuit of knowledge apart from transformation. In His ministry, Jesus cared about what people believed and how they lived. Jesus spent time with people who were hurting, ill, sick, afflicted, and demonized. Jesus showed people in His life how not only to care for people, but how to love people the way they were created to experience love. Biblical discipleship is thoroughly grounded in the person and work of Jesus who cares for, and longs for people to come to Himself in order to know and serve Him.

In his helpful new book Dallas and the Spitfire An Old car, An Ex-Con, And An Unlikely Friendship by Ted Kluck and Dallas Jahncke write to demonstrate that discipleship is not only biblical and grounded in the person and work of Jesus, but also that discipleship needs to be relational. This book is a nitty gritty exploration into what it means to follow Jesus in all of life.

One of the more significant points in the book is the contemporary notion of discipleship the author notes as "people meeting with people culture that when you met with someone, you can't make a life decision of any kind without running it by them first. The Discipler becomes a de facto Life Coach. And while this "people meeting with people" phenomenon has been mostly good for our church, there are still a lot of college guys walking around who don't have the backbone to have a cup of coffee with a girl without running it by six elders and reading four books by dead puritans first. I think this is ridiculous" (8).

Mr.
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