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A Last Stop Before You Give Up on Church
If I can hang on as a sincere follower of Jesus, you can too.
I can't believe my new book is launching TODAY! For me, writing this book has been a testimony to how Jesus has sustained me over many years of ministry. He is the animating source of my belonging to and service of the Church. Jesus is how I have kept my head above water as the deep disappointments of church life rolled over me.
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Did you know that over a lifetime of faith, I have been tempted to distance myself from, or even quit, religion and church? My wife Debbie and I, after spending decades in Christian leadership, had a period of a couple years we now affectionally call our "de-churched era." We tried several churches, but nothing healed our scars or fed us with hope for sustainable spirituality.
The most consistent thing we could do in that era was to cling to the weekly fellowship of a small, contemplative home group focused on spiritual formation. These fellow seekers kept the thread of faith moving through the fabric of our life. But in hindsight, I can see how easy it is for that thread to get yanked all the way out of someone's life.
If you've also felt swamped by church hurts and smothered by bad religion, I see you. I get you. I empathize with you. None of us is immune. But if I can hang on as a sincere follower of Jesus, you can too. My goal for this book is to provide a last stop before someone gives up on church.
If you would like to order a copy of What Jesus Intended: Finding True Faith in the Rubble of Bad Religion, that’s wonderful. But do you know what would make me even happier? If you purchased one for a friend who is feeling confused, depressed and sidelined by bad religion, and is thinking about giving up. My heartfelt prayer is that this book will serve as a life preserver, and that readers who are floundering will find salvation by clinging to what Jesus intended for his people. I hope that however imperfectly, I’ve shown that Jesus is who the world needs and he has plans for us, his followers.
Here is a prayer that I pray with friends who are flagging in their faith. Maybe you’d like to pray it today, too.
God, you know I have been all over the map in my faith journey. I have felt anxious, angry and confused. One minute I relentlessly shame myself for not being able to get it together and the next minute I blame the Church for everything. Thank you for being patient with me throughout this journey. Thank you that you never leave me or cast me out. I am following behind you, Lord, but I am walking with a limp.
I am honored to be your companion as we talk about bad religion and the cure for it that's found in the aims of Jesus.