“We do not have time to waste our lives coasting out casual, comfortable Christianity.” –David Platt (tweet this)
I think many (most?) people in the U.S. who call themselves Christians are coasting:
- We may (or may not) read the Bible.
- We may (or may not) expect answers to our prayers.
- We may (or may not) naturally and happily talk about Jesus with our friends.
- We may (or may not) be extremely generous with our time and money.
- We may (or may not) be known for being a loving community.
David Platt, author of Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream said the words above in an incredible message (see the video below) at the Urbana 12 Student Missions Conference.
I noticed because I was leading social media for that gathering, and this quote got a pile of retweets. As part of the leadership team for Urbana, I said, “This generation of students is eager for a call that is ‘beautiful, life-giving, and bold.’” (tweet this)
As a thirtysomething with kids in elementary school, I’m in a different stage than the students who were at Urbana. But I think everybody, deep down, longs to be called into something “beautiful, life-giving, and bold.” I think that’s why Radical has sold a million copies (literally).
Platt’s new book, Follow Me: A Call to Die, A Call to Live, goes a step further to talk about calling, discipleship, U.S. church culture, and global realities. I think—I hope—Follow Me could be a key book in the life of the church in the U.S.
As we explain in our book, our time in Nicaragua, China, and South Africa provided us with new models for thinking about how to follow Jesus back here in the U.S. Platt is well-trained, serious about living out biblical faith, and he has experience with the church in other hard places. And he doesn’t pull punches.
“Masses of men, women, and children around the world are sitting comfortably under the banner of Christianity but have never counted the cost of following Christ,” Platt says.
And he tells the story of Ayan…
Ayan lives in a country that is hostile to Christianity. In becoming a Christian, “God is calling her to die. Literally. To die to her life. To die to her family. To die to her friends. To die to her future. And in dying, to live. To live in Jesus. To live as a part of a global family that includes every tribe, To live with friends who span every age. To live in a future where joy will last forever.”
And this call to Ayan is the same as the call to me and to you and to everyone.
Follow Me goes on to cover a lot of ground:
- Perspective from the global church
- Making disciples as primary in the life of every Christian
- Incredibly hard teachings of Jesus
- Naming our culture’s idols
- How seriously we need the Bible and the Church
- The transcendence and supremacy of Christ
- How to discern your calling (and it’s not what you think)
When I met Platt last summer as we prepared for Urbana, I was struck by his easygoing manner. But when the man preaches, he’s transformed into a wild-eyed prophet. I explained to my team before the conference that it’s like Platt grasps eternity a little bit more than the rest of us, the veneer is thinner and thus he sees and teaches on spiritual realities in vivid color. His writing is no different.
Here are my eleven favorite quotes from Follow Me (and I’ll be sharing more in the coming week on Twitter):
“There is indescribable joy, deep satisfaction and an eternal purpose in dying to ourselves and living for Christ.”
“We’ve replaced challenging words from Christ with trite phrases in the church.” (tweet this)
“The road that leads to heaven is risky, lonely, and costly in this world, and few are willing to pay the price.” (tweet this)
“Jesus is not some puny religious teacher begging for an invitation from anyone. He is the all-sovereign Lord who deserves submission from everyone.”
“Our greatest need is not to try harder. Our greatest need is a new heart.”
“We cling to the person of Christ as life itself.”
“Faith is the anti-work. God’s pleasure in you will always be based up upon Christ’s performance for you.”
“We must orient everything in our lives around what Jesus said.” (tweet this)
“We are not forced by God to give away our resources. We are freed by God to give away our resources.” (tweet this)
“It’s biblically impossible to follow Christ apart from joining his church.” (tweet this)
“If the Bible is the revelation of God’s Word to God’s children, shouldn’t every Christian actually read the whole thing?” (tweet this)
To be clear, I got this book for free to review here. But I have been challenged by this book, and I want others to read it. I recommended it to two close friends over the weekend. And I want you to read it. I asked the publisher if I could get some copies to giveaway. They’ve not replied, but even if they don’t come through, I’m willing to put out some cash and give away at least three copies of this book.
UPDATE: The publisher has come through with the books, so register to win!
How to win this book:
Do you think the North American church needs a book like this? Leave a comment below.