It Is Time to Review: Interrupted {when Jesus wrecks your comfrotable Christianity}

- INTERRUPTED: WHEN JESUS WRECKS YOUR COMFORTABLE CHRISTIANITY -

Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker; book review

You're here and you're ready to be a book worm with me. Great - you should just go buy it now.

Also this book only solidified my calling and my heart's loving to be a scandalous-lover-of-broken-humans.

Just as quickly as I went from a 4 year old to a married woman, July thundered into August silently and oh so loudly because there was literally a thunderstorm; I am completely unsure as to what has happened to my life and where it has gone. 3 weeks of backpacking/camping/camps back to back just made me a very happy camper {read: did me in} and somehow I was able to squeeze in time to read Interrupted. Probably because I couldn't stop thinking about it - I am still chewing on it.

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|interrupted | Jen Hatmaker

This book..where to begin?

"Transparent and imperfect, Jen will engage and inspire you to go beyond comfortable and answer for yourself the question she faced: is there more to faith than just the safe and sequestered, predictable and boring?" --from the back of the cover, emphasis mine--

- MY CONCISE SUMMARY -

Jen Hatmaker's big idea: Jesus said, "Feed my sheep." What if He meant it? Is there more to this comfortable and boring Christian walk?

The first 1/4 of this book focuses on the reality of this world's poverty. The least, the last, the forgotten. She brings in loads of scriptures and heart wrenching truths and in-your-face-facts. She talks about America [and the factual damage we do/resources we don't offer]...but then turns it back to us individually and asks: but do you care?

The second 1/4 of this book centers on choosing to be broken and poured out. It is about becoming bottom dwellers; not in a patronizing way, but truly residing at the bottom where Jesus is with His peeps. Bottom dwelling, like you know, the girls that carry the label "sluts," the stinky men that carry the label "homeless," and the single mom carrying the label, "horrible parent." WHY become a bottom dweller?

The third 1/4 of this book focuses on leaving the platform, making the jump, taking the leap into actually living this way. Will you jump? Will you change your posture towards the least?

The fourth 1/4 of this book is filled with tangible ideas and truths; how to live our way into a new kind of thinking. How to begin living this life, truly submerged in Jesus and being "good news" to our cities. It creates a vision that isn't daunting for us every day folks. Are you ready to become good news?

- MY REACTIONS, NOTE-WORTHIES, & SUCH -

 After devouring Interrupted, I sat and I stared at the wall.

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When we ignore the least, we ignore Him.

Jen's story of Jesus interrupting her comfortable Christianity is jam packed full of questions we should all be wrestling through, men and women alike. This is "a serious conversation for the church at large...until we are all compelled & contributing, we're settling for an anemic faith and a church that robs Christ followers of their vitality and repels the rest of the world." Let's talk about it - let's talk about reality of the least of these.

Here are a few statistics mentioned:

•Half the world lives on less than $2.50/day

•The wealthiest 1 billion ppl on earth average $70/day -- you and me are in the upper, upper, upper percentages of global population --> if you make $35,000/year, you're in the top 4% --> 50k yr, you're in the top 1%

•27 million trapped in slavery; more slaves exist today than ever before

•We spend more annually on trash bags than nearly half the world spends on all goods combined

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She mentions that as Americans, the top of the food chain, it may be impossible for us to truly identify with Christ. Our lives are much like Sodom's, "Sodom’s sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door." {Ezekiel 16:49, emphasis mine}.

This book challenges us to begin a new way of thinking, inviting us into a true freedom. The freedom that we are meant to live in  -  the freedom only found at the bottom where Jesus resides.

Jen cast this vision: There are roughly 2.1 billion people, about 1/3 of the planet, who identify themselves as Christian. Let's cut that number in half to be safe. Imagine if 1 billion believers, many of them with every necessary resource, obediently decided to love this broken world as they love themselves. If we chose to not count the man on the corner as a homeless man, but as a {hu}man. Then, indeed, we would become "good news to the poor." {Luke 4:18}. Jen makes it clear that alone we can affect a few, but together we can change this world.

Jen spends time navigating through communion and the words Jesus said, what He literally meant, at the Last Supper. She inspires us to be broken and poured out, and in so doing, someone else will be fed. Someone else will find life. And that is the Gospel. Her words probe: "Who was Jesus broken and poured out for?"

-pause book review- Who in your city would is Jesus broken and poured out for? Who are the last, the least, the forgotten, and the forsaken? Dare you make a list? Do it.

Loren and I made a list.

-resume- Jen talks about becoming a bottom-dweller. When we give up our spot on the ladder - climbing to the top, because that's what we do as Americans - and decide to descend to the bottom, we meet Jesus face to face. We get to step out of the chaos of ego and pride. We get to breathe without anxiety attacks. When we dwell at the bottom with Jesus and His peeps, we "release the compulsion to be right, respected, understood, winning. It's a relief." And that it is. Jesus took greatness's connotation away from power and possessions and bestowed it on the humility of a servant.

The heart in this book inspires and invites every believer to become a follower. It invites every Christian to not only believe that Jesus died for them, but to go out and feed His sheep. To become good news. To live life as He truly meant us for. He died to give flight to His Bride. We are invited to put down our word-wars and defenses, humble our posture, and become servants. To live as an adopted son or daughter of Jesus. There is no shaming; only invitations to a fuller life with less rules and measurements and unloving restrictions.

Jen Hatmker, INTERRUPTED

"Our only hope is to win people over with ridiculous love," a lifestyle that causes them to sit up and take notice.

You guys. This book is more than real good. There is so much meat in it. It is a game changer - if we who carry the name of Christ read the heart of this book and "lived our way into a new kind of thinking," {Richard Rohr} we will be good news to the world. When we begin to view evangelism as a process rather than a bullhorn {and I know that the Christians in my circle totally view it as a process}, when we recognize that discipleship occurs over years in community {hello radiant Bride}, when we see the least of these as human beings with journeys and stories...this world will change and we will become good news. Because of Christ. Only through Christ.

There is so much in this book. Every page is filled with juicy deliciousness for your soul. Every time I sat it down, my heart thirsted for it, because within its pages was the heart of the Father.

Towards the end, Jen capitalizes on my favorite thing: using our gifts to build up the church. Why is that my favorite? Because gifts are given to you by God. And if it is something given to you, then you have no real credit to take. And if it is a gift and a passion that has been instilled within you, it will only refresh you to use it. When we use our gifts and pursue our passions and live life the way God created us to, we are being the church. We become living missionaries in our cities, in love with God and our community. We cannot do this alone, but together we can change this city. We just need to each add in our spice of giftings. Because I want you to read the book, I am going to add in yet another tasty quote from Jen: "People are truly the church. They are its life and breath and strength. It is you. It is me. The Kingdom advances in our small neighborhoods and small acts of love and small moments of faithfulness and small feats of courage. It is not encapsulated in programs...but activated through the body of Christ daring to be faithful everywhere we've been planted." (page 176)

So friends. Do your thing. Run your race. See humans as humans, as value. Seek out the least and the lost and the forgotten. Love your neighbors - your literal next door neighbors. Use your gifts. And in so doing, you're a part of the living and breathing body of Christ and together we bring the Kingdom of Heaven to this earth.

To the hungry and thirsty Christians thinking there just has to be more: read this book and be inspired into a new way of living.

**To my Friends who are reading this and condemning being angry at and shouting in your heart at anyone who doesn't "love or welcome __(the least)__" - you are no better. I am no better. The moment we look down upon and condemn another human being, the moment we are "just as bad." That is the moment we are charged guilty. But the grace of God is for us all, thank you Jesus. The grace of God is offered to the legalists and to the scandalous.

- - -

You guys. I underlined so much. YOU NEED THIS BOOK. This book will challenge you to think beyond yourself and about the world at large. It's not a book that you read to feel good and then set on your shelf - it is a book that you read every year to have great conviction, smack you in the soul, and remind you why you exist as a Christian on this earth.

One way this book has invited Loren & I to change our life:

  • We lead the youth ministry within Corvallis Church; we want to be more proactive about serving out community and seeking out the lost and forgotten with the youth. We have been talking and dreaming about the different ways we can do this. Beginning this fall/winter we will be hosting monthly activity nights for the residents at Benton Plaza. We have served this place before and the residents love community! They are so hungry for relationship. Ideas: Bingo Night, Bunco Night, Potlucks, etc. I am stoked. DO you have any ideas to contribute?

I love our church family and am honored to be a part of it -- we invite, go to, and welcome in the smelly, the forgotten, the spit on, and the looked down upon. We embrace and we relate with all. The church community at Corvallis Church inspires me into betterness and it is beautiful and I will be forever grateful. I am all in love with the heart of my church family. We don't do anything revolutionary; we just see people as people and live with this hospitality of grace that only Jesus can offer and give to us.

Dont get overwhelmed. Don't go move to Canada, unless you're feeling the call. Take this as an invitation to live missionally right where you are.

Also- Jen mentioned toward the end that the young marrieds group threw birthday parties for kids who had a parent in jail...uh yes please. I am all about that and onto finding out how we can do that.

And because I just don't want to stop talking about how good this book is:

we do others a disservice by summarizing their lives on superficial or categorical observations. believers, this is why we have to do the hard work of missional living.

"This takes the one investment that comprises our hottest commodity: TIME. Sharing our lives with dear people to win them over to Jesus is the substance of Christianity, the delightful work we've been commissioned to."

Order your copy HERE.

A book review for Jen Hatmaker's Interrupted: in the making

I have said about 18 times that I will soon be posting a book review for Jen Hatmaker's revised & expanded edition of Interrupted. This is because I don't even know the beginning of writing this book review; I will call upon my 3rd grade book reports. Thank you, Mrs. Hinkle. In my dire attempt to share that I'll be reviewing this book, I had this secret and silent longing that someone would do it for me -- apparently no one caught the memo. This is how I landed myself in this awkward scenario: I saw a post on Facebook to email her publishing co my info, and if I were in the first 250 bloggers, I would receive a hard copy and an e-copy of her book. I simply was asked to write a book review! Naturally I jumped at the opportunity for this free book --> an expanded edition of the book I have shared with so many.

I first read Interrupted 2 years ago; I was in the first year of life through the church plant. {Side note: Best year of my life}. At that time, my heart was being completely transformed. I was nodding at every word she had etched into those pages; agreeing with it whole heartedly, I continued my pursuit of Christ by loving His people scandalously. Things like quitting nursing school to volunteer my time in serving through Corvallis Church -- a church that didn't exist, but would soon and is now 3 years old. Celebrate! Oh how many times I was told I was crazy - though the things aren't crazy when you're actually just living life and seeing humans for humans. Example: loving the outcasts and marginalized; like inviting homeless men into our home for dinners and desserts {and setting our table as though the King were our guest}, driving them places, helping write a resume, inviting them for Thanksgiving dinner, bringing our new friends into Sunday morning services all smelly and in their full glory - even if they only came for free coffee and left. Interrupted put a beat to the song in my heart. And might I add that the only reason this song existed was because of the deep and unending grace that Jesus has shown me?

Without realizing it, I fell into an unhealthy pattern which led my fresh and new spirit to stray, often leaving me confused, frustrated, and questioning. But this book has Interrupted my threatening-dry tired soul.

Friends, I'll soon be writing this review. And let me tell you...this time around, I was convicted and moved and inspired more than I was ready for. But it was delicious and just what I needed. It was the luring back into Jesus where I have strayed; it was the newness in the Spirit that I needed. As I've shared recently, I am in this odd season (can a year and a half be a season?) of being wrecked within, searching and seeking and exhausted all in one. The pure fact of how un-incredible I am seems to be the theme of my life. Rest has been around, but not the deep within rest that my soul craves and I know exists in His presence. I feel bi-polar as I go from deeply refreshed in His love to desperate and dry within hours - I get frustrated at myself, and there I am back at the center of self. The constant attempt to "uphold my reputation" (oh the irony -- writing that brings me fear) has been wearing me out and my own fear of man has been the pressure behind my actions too often. I was so, so, so refreshed and wrecked and reminded why it's not even supposed to be a THING through Interrupted. As I began this book, second time around, I asked Jesus to keep my heart open and to point out my arrogance and ignorance. A dangerous prayer.

Jen Hatmaker addresses these questions and many more: •What does it mean to live at the bottom, to descend rather than ascend, to be the least of these? •Who was Jesus broken & poured out for? •Do I care about the impoverished and starving in the world? •Am I even concerned about the homeless guy on the corner? •Am I willing to take the Bible at face value? •Why do I spend all my time blessing blessed people?

Jen asks these questions after a long list of reasons she qualifies as awesome. She is much like Paul: her credentials are listed long, and yet she is humbled to her knees by her Father and breathes by His grace.

Probably one of my favorite things about Jen is that, though she is in your-face-extreme-honest, she reminds us of Gods grace and that He isn't here to guilt trip us all into feeding the homeless. She isn't here to put us in a place of fear, but to rip legalism out of the way. She raises necessary questions we should all be asking ourselves as Christians. She doesn't condemn the church - Jen isnt anti-church. She is very pro-church, believing in the Bride Jesus died for. Which is just fabulous because the Bride is beautiful and radiant in all of it's messy brokenness. Also, love her blog. She is witty and crazy and all sorts of honest. Her humor is much like my mother-by-law's.

Her most popular book, 7, would not exist if Jesus hadn't Interrupted her comfortable consumerism Christianity.

Purchase a copy for 20% off by July 31! That's TWO DAYS PEOPLE. Move move move! Men. Women. All ya'll.

Click Here.

Does anyone else love to just be raw and honest? Hang around; be moved, convicted, and inspired with me. Sign up for email notifications & click the FB like button.

"In all our efforts, if we are not about people, our labors aren't really about Jesus but about us." -Brandon Hatmaker

Cheers.

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You never know how far you're reaching.

Church community rocks. I mean, real life community living together because of Jesus, united by His blood, is downright transforming. Last weekend (our normal weekend is Monday/Tuesday) we went backpacking with the youth group. We didn't rent any supplies; everything was lent from people within this church community. Amazing.

While we were gone, we had friends staying in our apartment as their house was being worked on. Long story made short, we came home to a completely filled kitchen. Cupboards, fruit bowl, wine, and fridge stocked with our favorites. Such a gift right? We have the best of friends. How we roped them into being our friends stumps me.

I've been hit with the reality of REACH we can have as individuals. As I think back on the life lessons I have been taught by many, I realize I am empowering others with those same truths. The REACH that they poured into me is furthering into more lives than they know. Thank you to the countless humans who have poured themselves out and into me. Your wisdom is being passed on...past me. Into more lives. It's the same with this blessing of stocking our kitchen. fruit bowl You never know how far your reach is; when you bless one human, you more than likely are blessing many. It's a ripple and it's beautiful. Pouring ourselves out for others is miraculous. It multiplies.

I ran some errands today before heading to our church camp out -- because our church is this crazy community of people where we like to spend days at a time together, getting all sweaty under the blazing heat and wearing filth in our finger nails, not showering for days. We like each other. Anyways..I'm re-reading Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker. My heart has never been hardened towards the homeless. But too often I grow numb when I see the many standing on the corner with a sign. I'll be writing a book review later this week on Interrupted, but just know she has been reminding me of the command to "feed His sheep."

I was needing to consign some clothes, because that's how I satisfy my guilty pleasure of new clothes, and I had to park two blocks away - very abnormal. As I pulled into the nearest parking spot, my eyes noticed a woman standing with her sign in front of the post office. I prayed. "Jesus, help me serve this woman how You want me to." I crawled out of our Ford Focus, back seat overflowing with clothes, and shook her hand. Susie. Sweet, sweet, tender Susie. Her hair was growing in from her last chemo treatment; her breast cancer spread to her brain. She explained that 4 treatments of chemo drained her bank; she is now living with a friend. I asked her of any immediate needs and she explained she is out of chicken, garlic, and vegetables. -pause the story- normally I would go to the store and get the needs stated; I have never handed cash over. Why? Because I have this deep rooted arrogance that I must discern what someone should spend "my" money on. Oh the arrogance; embarrassing. -play the story- I asked Jesus for guidance and immediately a picture of a $5 in my messy wallet flashed into my brain. I hesitated. But then I obeyed. I then asked her if there was anything else? She quietly and slowly said, "I could always use prayer..." OF COURSE. LET ME GIVE YOU THE LIFE SOURCE THAT I KNOW SO WELL.

So then and there I laid my hands on her and we prayed. We prayed the protection and blood of Jesus. We prayed for His companionship and closeness. We hugged and I carried my 15 bags of clothes to Second Glance (okay there were only 4 but I felt entirely consumer-American). As I walked away from Susie, my heart cried out for her. I'll never forget the glimmer of humanity I saw in her eyes -- the look of dignity, that "I" would hug her. It took maybe 7 minutes of my life. 7 minutes. Oh my soul, how far have I strayed?

She is no less human than me. How ignorant and inhumane for us to treat homeless begging people the way we do. To think of humans the way we do. I'm not pointing fingers at anyone -- I'm behind the pointed finger.

Next stop: groceries. Good ole Trader Joes. Insert Diana on the corner - I have spent many moments with her on this particular corner. Her constant needs are diapers and pull ups. Her sweet tooth likes Sweet Tea. She doesn't ask for much. She wears an army pull over jacket, is shorter, and stands at TJ's frequently when she is not working her very part time job. She has 2 kids. Today when I saw her, she smiled a friendly smile. No caution in the air as usual. When I asked her if she wanted sweet tea & diapers, she quickly said, "Not today; baby girl has been begging for chicken nuggets. She is finally in school! But all I can send in her lunch is Ramen. And she is tired of it." At the exact same time, her eyes exuded sparkly love and deep brokenness as she spoke of her baby girl. I asked what else and she listed off a few more items. Guess what's awesome? I had $50 left over from grocery money, because our friends purchased so much food for us. Their reach went further than they could have dreamed or planned. They helped feed a family of four; not only stocked our kitchen, but purchased much food for a very-much-human family: Diana and her kids and her husband. Humans. Starving, living off ramen noodles and watermelon. And the joy and dignity Diana's eyes shone when I brought her bags of food out? All for a few dollars. All for a few extra moments. All for Jesus.

The provision of food was not ultimately from Daniel & Jesse, our friends. The provision of food for this family was not from me. I am in this season of being humbled and ripped up and wrecked in many areas of life; I am learning how deeply un-incredible I am. When we give and pour out unto others, we bless, yes, but we are also being so blessed. We are being made holy. I was so filled full and completely satisfied today - I was refreshed. And here is what The Lord has reminded me today: "The provision was not from you; it was from Me. What you have is not yours. You have a lot to learn. The first thing is this: you can trust Me when I call," {excerpt from Interrupted}.

What is ours, our resources and knowledge and wisdom and life experiences...isn't ours at all. None of it. It's not ours to hoard and keep to ourselves. It is from The Lord and He intends to love his broken, poverished, starving sheep. We are His plan A, as Mike says. He calls us to this.

We can trust Him when He calls And we may never know how many He reaches through us.

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