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Upward, Inward, Outward: Love God, love yourself, love others Paperback – October 10, 2017
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With the same finesse, expertise, and splash of funk he famously exhibits on the bass guitar, Pastor Daniel Fusco has composed a virtual discipleship jam session in Upward, Inward, Outward. It’s simple, rich, and foundational―not unlike the gospel it explains. (Jessie Minassian, blogger at LifeLoveandGod.com)
This book is important. It’s beautifully written because Daniel writes about what’s important to Jesus―love. As you read this book, you will become more loving toward God, yourself, and others. (Derwin L. Gray, pastor of Transformation Church)
Our identity drives our activity, and when we know who God is and who he says we are, it changes everything. In this book Pastor Daniel Fusco does a phenomenal job helping us learn the art of loving God, loving ourselves, and loving people through different lenses such as worship, fasting, and community. (Levi Lusko, pastor of Fresh Life Church)
A life committed to loving God, loving self, and loving others―upward, inward, outward―is an art. Daniel Fusco is a winsome and pastoral guide on this journey, which will leave you “insanely hopeful.” (Robert Gelinas, Lead pastor of Colorado Community Church)
I always appreciate the unique way in which Daniel nuances the basic truth about life. He tackles difficult issues with grace and simplicity and helps us all look more intently at Jesus. (Jeremy Camp, songwriter and recording artist)
Author, pastor, and musician Daniel Fusco writes like the jazz musician he is―and you can’t help but be drawn into the dynamic rhythm and sway of his words about life with the King of kings. Fusco takes you on an energetic and fun journey through the greatest commandment, inviting you to connect intimately with God and with others and encouraging all of us to lead lives of passion and legacy―all to the glory of our creative and wonderful Jesus. (Aubrey Sampson, author)
Ever since I first met Daniel, I have been blessed by his commitment to Scripture, his passion for the lost, and his dedication to the church. He is a gifted teacher, an engaging communicator, and a humble follower of Jesus who wants nothing more than to see others thrive in their own walks with God. I’m excited to see how God uses this book to inspire, challenge, and motivate others to live into their fullest potential in Christ. (Luis Palau, world evangelist)
This is a grace-filled, gospel-focused, joy-inducing book that will deepen your walk with Jesus. I’m grateful for Daniel’s work and inspiring passion. (Dr. Philip Nation, pastor and author of Habits for Our Holiness)
In his newest book, Upward, Inward, Outward, Daniel Fusco takes us beyond the theory of loving God and others and into the practical reality of what it means to do so daily. I encourage you to let him guide you through three of the most important things we’re called to do: love God, love ourselves, and love others. You’ll be glad you did. (Larry Osborne, pastor of North Coast Church and author of Sticky Teams)
One of the brutally hard lessons I had to learn as a young pastor was this: For Americans aged forty and under, the spiritual disciplines are pretty much gone. And in the digital age―when multinational corporations such as Apple, Google, and Facebook are spending billions of dollars to make distraction and addiction the new normal―we desperately need to reawaken these ancient practices. After all, the way of Jesus is just that―a way of life. I’m thrilled to see Daniel, my fellow Pacific Northwest pastor, writing about these very practices. I deeply believe they are key to the future of the church. (John Mark Comer, Pastor at Bridgetown Church and author of God Has a Name)
From the Back Cover
This Is What Life Is All About
If you’re reading this, I know something extraordinary about you: You’re alive.
That’s a tremendous gift―and it’s also terrifying. The life you’re living right now, the life I’m living? It’s not a dress rehearsal. This is the real deal. We all want to know what truly matters in life and what is going to give us purpose and joy. If we get only one shot at today, how can we best live it?
Jesus’ answer is deceptively simple: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And love your neighbor as yourself. Embedded in this greatest commandment is movement. A beautiful and intentional adventure that leads to a life beyond anything we can imagine.
Are you ready to move upward, inward, and outward into the life you were made for?
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My favorite part "paraphrased" bc the book is not in front of me as I write this review.
"Is the object of your worship worthy of defining your life?"
Wanted to know if there was more than a showmen.......
Found a man with a true heart for God and a love for God's people...
Has challenged my personal walk to be more loving, caring and giving.
I’ve heard countless sermons over my 35+ years of Christianity and all the years of Christian education, but I never quite heard the explanation to these commandments in as clear and understandable language as I did when reading Daniel Fusco’s book “Upward, Inward, Outward.”
Jesus himself said that of all the commandments in the Bible, all 613 of them, these are the most important. So basically, all of God’s instruction for you and I can be boiled down to two things – Love God, and love others in the same manner as we love ourselves.
Pastor Fusco divides the book into three movements, as suggested in the title. In the first movement, he breaks down into common language and understanding, what it truly means to love God through worship, prayer, solitude, and meditation.
One of my favorite quotes in this section goes like this, “God’s joy does not depend on or ensure that everything works out perfectly. It isn’t circumstantial. God’s joy is the disposition of a heart that knows ‘it is well with my soul’ because God is God. This is the joy he shares with us when we come to Him with worship.” Wow.
Another favorite of mine in this first movement falls under the section on prayer. Fusco says, “Most of us, when we pray about something that doesn’t happen, we stop praying. And that’s exactly why God doesn’t usually answer our requests immediately.” That stopped me in my tracks. I’ve been so guilty for a very long time of bringing something to the Lord in prayer, but failing to be consistent and persistent in my prayer and eventually ‘giving up’ on it, if the answer doesn’t come about or it isn’t answered in the way I want it to be. Fusco follows that statement up with, “We know God isn’t a cosmic vending machine, but a lot of times we act like he is. God knows our hearts and our natures, and he wants us to learn to seek after his heart.” My initial response is, “OUCH.”
There are plenty more “nuggets” in the first movement, but you need to discover them on your own. To sum up the section, I loved it when he said, “There’s simply too much at stake to not be people of prayer.”
In the second movement Pastor Fusco tackles the subject of loving ourselves.
To many people, the thought of loving yourself has a negative connotation. You might think that it’s not very Christ-like to love yourself. Only the wicked, prideful, and arrogant people love themselves. But, when Pastor Fusco explained it by saying, “We love and value ourselves based on the finished work of the cross of Jesus,” that stirred something within me that I hadn’t considered before. “At the Cross, our identity is displayed in God’s grace and love.” (Fusco’s words – not mine).
He goes on to say, “The only way to love ourselves in the way that God desires is to see ourselves through the lens of the cross of Jesus.” When we understand who we are in Christ, and we understand our identity in Christ – that our identity IS Christ – we have a better understanding that it’s impossible to “love our neighbors as ourselves” unless we have a healthy love for ourselves. And by seeing ourselves as Christ sees us, redeemed through the blood of the cross, we can accept the fact that we are lovable after all!
He talks about fasting (including the right and wrong ways to do it), intentionally prioritizing God’s kingdom, and the importance of aligning our priorities with those of Jesus. There is so much packed into the second movement I feel that I need to go back through it again, slowly, to absorb all the nuggets I probably missed the first time around!
In the third and final movement, Fusco challenges us with loving our neighbors…all of them.
You’re only a few pages into this movement when he writes about one of the most selfless, sacrificial acts of kindness (besides laying down His life for us) that Christ did – washing the feet of His disciples. Through that act, He taught the disciples – and us – that love means action. Fusco challenges the reader to find our uniqueness in Christ, and to be who God uniquely made us to be. And, he wraps up this movement by discussing community and generosity – two topics that were important to Christ during His time here on earth.
I have to honestly admit, I don’t finish all the books I read. In fact, so many of the leadership and “religious” books lose me about two-thirds of the way through, because they become monotonous or repetitive to the point of nauseam. But not this one. One thing that Fusco has going for him, other than the fact that he is tackling an extremely important and difficult subject, is his humor and relatable stories.
Without giving away too many secrets, he includes plenty of scripture but artfully weaves in stories of Cheez-its, nasty toenails, childbirth, hairy babies, second graders, and a drummer who interrupted a saxophone solo because it was so awful. Not only that, but he has included some hilarious footnotes that really bring out his personality – including comparing himself to Ryan Gosling – but with dreadlocks!
Daniel Fusco explains, in a way that only he can, the importance of living a life of love, and living it Upward towards God, Inwards as you love yourself, and Outward as you love the world around you.
If you’ve ever heard him speak, you can certainly “hear” him through the pages of this book.
(I was provided an advance copy of the book in return for an honest review)
Avoiding the sesquipedalian verbiage of theology, Daniel puts the cookies on the bottom shelf so the kids can reach them. If you're feeling overwhelmed by lists of do's and don'ts, this book can help.
Your view of God, what and how you worship affects everything about your life and worldview, so getting a good grasp of things is pretty important. Doing so joyfully, knowing that you are becoming the best version of you in the process is liberating and empowering.
Most recent customer reviews
I absolutely loved this book!It was conversational, but "meaty", and Daniel Fusco's sense of humor is ever present.Read more