It's Not What You Think: Why Christianity Is About So Much More Than Going to Heaven When You Die Paperback – October 13, 2015
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About the Author
Jefferson Bethke is the New York Times bestselling author of Jesus > Religion and It’s Not What You Think. He and his wife, Alyssa, host The Real Life Podcast and run FamilyTeams.com, an online initiative equipping families to live as a multi-generational team on mission. They live in Maui with their daughters, Kinsley and Lucy, and son, Kannon. To say hi or to learn more, go to: http://jeffandalyssa.com.
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Jefferson, through his words paints a picture that of being a man that is humble and also a man of confession. Not hiding behind a new nature but embracing it with a thorough memory of his past.
One last thing I’d like to mention. There has been times in my life that God seems to convey to me that the book I am reading is the book He had intended for me to read. Almost as if He went to His own book shelf and handed over to me my next read as to say: “You’ve gotta read this one!” Jefferson’s “It’s Not What You Think” was just such a book.
Thanks for writing it Jefferson. I’d recommend it to all but in particular those who know an apologetic book, a theology book and care to know a more tender look at God. Grab this book and sit at God’s table and read. He’s there waiting to discuss it with you.
YOU ARE LOVED.
“It’s Not What You Think” gets you to look at God, the Bible, the Sabbath, the Temple, and yourself, in a meaningful way. The main thing I get from this book is the joy that God gives. He loves us. God created us and knew each and every one of us before we were born. When we allow God the rightful place in our lives, which is first place, then to know that we are loved by Him, is all the more powerful and humbling.
I read this book in 3 days. It's a quick read and easy to understand, which will be especially impactful for high school and college-aged readers, and those who are not as familiar with Christian beliefs or those who are on the fringe of the faith, so to speak. There could be fruitful book studies and small groups from this.
But I found "It's Not What You Think" to be a mixed bag. Allow me to elaborate...
- I don't think Bethke ever knew what he wanted this book to be. If you asked me what the book is about, I'm not sure if I could give you a concise thesis statement. It's very scattered in its content. It starts out about the narrative of Scripture, then moves to bringing heaven on earth, then moves to phone and screen addiction, and then the value of sharing a meal together. The content seemed a little all over the place, and there were lots of ideas and points flying around, which was hard to keep up with.
- Bethke doesn't really present much new content. Much of his writing comes from the likes of N.T. Wright and Dallas Willard (especially "The Divine Conspiracy"). Each chapter sometimes feels like summaries of books he's read.
- It felt a little too repetitive in light of his first book (i.e. attack on nominal western Christianity, etc.) I'm not so sure how needed this book is, given the content and his past book.
- He has some good things to say! It is very profound and impactful at times.
- While I do grow weary of the newlywed stories (the dude's a family man!), he does have great illustrations and life analogies to biblical themes.
- I didn't connect with his tone and writing style so much, but I know many millennials will. He knows his audience well, and relates to them effectively.
It's hard to write a book this expansive at Bethke's age. This book is very ambitious and comprehensive. But it seems that he's bitten off more than he can chew. My recommendation would be to pick one or two of the themes found in the book, and expand on them.
Bethke is a great blogger (and vlogger!). I think he's best suited for that, rather than writing books. Nevertheless, I hope that this book will reach a wide audience of old Christians, new Christians, unbelievers, seekers, and everyone in between!
Jefferson Bethke is my "Go To" author whose books, I send to friends, teenagers, those newly attracted to faith and/or ones who are tentatively reapproaching religion. His podcasts based on this book are favorites,as well. Enjoy!
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Starting from the beginning of creation, Jeff essentially takes readers on a journey through the Bible and how the essence of what God is trying to communicate to us is much much more than simply going to heaven one day (amazing in itself). There is an amazing relationship to be shared with an amazing God right here, right now!
I think that one of the stand out parts of the book is the emphasis that Jeff places on humanity's relationship with God. Instead of starting with the sin of humankind (a very important truth all the same), Jeff starts the journey by looking at how, before the Fall, humans were in a perfect and uninterrupted relationship with God. Creation worked in perfect harmony: shalom. It is that relationship which sets the dynamic for the rest of the Bible, the whole time God is constantly seeking out an undeserving world that constantly lets Him down in order to get back to that perfect relationship that we once had. It's just really refreshing to see someone start from Genesis 1, not Genesis 3!
If a book that really makes you think about your relationship with God in the here and now sounds interesting to you, then read this book! Indeed, if everything you have just read sounds confusing, then still read this book - my review certainly cannot do it justice.
The Kingdom is here today to be experienced, not studied.