Friends! Would your friends say you have an irresistible faith? Anybody besides me want to reply, “Come back in a bit, I’m not quite ready for that question…”
Yes, well, let me fetch some chocolate while we ponder this together…
Recently I was delighted to be part of a committee to choose books for our upcoming book club season for fall 2019-spring 2020. Seven slots to fill seemed easy, however five for five of us arrived at the meeting with ten to fifteen suggestions, each. We were a vision of “so many books, so little time.”
One of the many recommendations I received, I also read. It hit me between the eyes and my poor brain is still trying to process it.. The book? Irresistible Faith: Becoming the Kind of Christian The World Can’t Resist by Scott Sauls. Scott pastors Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville where I’ve been blessed to attend a women’s conference with my good buddy, Madge, who lives there.
My favorite endorsement of this book comes from Duke Keon who pastors Grace Meridian Hill in Washington, DC: “With biblical clarity, personal transparency, and a relentlessly winsome spirit, Scott Sauls shows us how authentic Christianity is attractive Christianity. It’s a timely and reliable road map for those seeking to restore the damaged witness and public reputation of Christians…If you want to learn how the grace of God makes us the ‘light of the world’ in all of life, read this book!”
In his Foreword in the book, Bob Goff says, “This book is an invitation for us to return to the most authentic version of our faith. It’s also an invitation to join, or create, an authentic community of people trying to go somewhere beautiful with their faith.”
Bob has just painted a picture for us of what we experience in Bible study and small groups. That’s exactly what we aspire to do, to “go somewhere beautiful with our faith.” I love that!
Scott begins by saying what really bugs him is how many negative reactions the word “Christian” gets. He quotes San Francisco journalist Herb Caen who said, “The trouble with born-again Christians is that they are an even bigger pain the second time around.” OUCH…
Scott rattles off a dozen questions causing us readers to consider what it would look like for our love for the Lord and each other to be so contagious and so irresistible non-believers would want to know the source of our faith. His book offers some much-needed ideas and suggestions. It’s akin to an owner’s manual you’ll want to refer to often. (Scott, any fat chance you could create a pocket-size version for us???)
I’m happy to report you’ll also get to laugh out loud multiple times. Scott tells on himself and gifts us with fantastic quotes from other authors as well. He confesses he finds “more satisfaction in the praise of people than he does in the grace of God.” We’re all normal human beings and we simply forget the glory goes to God and belongs only to Him. This is not an easy subject matter, and Scott takes us by the hand to show us what irresistible faith looks like.
Brennan Manning says it best:
“I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer.” (From The Ragamuffin Gospel)
Right about the time you want to ask, “Now what?” Scott reminds us if we keep a “steady diet of God-inspired words, aided and animated by the Holy Spirit, we’ll have nurtured, healthy, and solid souls.” He lists countless classic authors, musicians, all steeped in God’s Word giving us beautiful examples and a well-built case for keeping our noses in His Word.
A new-to-me and now favorite concept we learn about is found in Chapter 4, “Practicing Transparency and Kindness.” We discover a thought from Ann Voskamp that Scott’s church has now adopted, “only speak words that make souls stronger.”
He tells us,
The staff at Christ Presbyterian Church has come to “nurture a culture of benediction.” They begin their staff meetings “by speaking life-giving words over each other.” Can you imagine the impact on each of them when their co-workers publicly praise each other one by one? What if we tried this in our homes with our beloved family? And friends? And anyone who crosses our path?
Scott teaches us “the universal Christian job description: all Christians are called as Christ’s ambassadors into the places where they live, work, play, and worship, with the glorious purpose of leaving people, places, and things better than they found them.”
It’s living out Colossians 3:23-24:
Now you know what I’m going to say, “Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and snag a copy of Irresistible Faith.”
‘Til next time!
P.S. While reading this book, I kept thinking to myself that Scott should connect with Christine Caine as they really remind me of each other. They both pack a punch with mega enthusiasm causing you to want to be on their team. How like the Lord to have Christine as one of Scott’s endorsers. She says Scott and his wife, Patty, are friends with Christine and her husband Nick! She goes so far as to say she loves everything Scott writes. Amen and amen…