Book Review | Jesus Loves You This I Know

 Summary

Sometimes you just need a reminder.

Gross and Harper provide an insightful, touching and sometimes raw reality for the reader to consider. There are some people, maybe even a lot of people, who do not know this simple truth. Craig Gross is the pastor of Strip Church and leader of XXXchurch.com, a ministry that reaches out to those engaged in the pornography industry. Jason Harper is the founder of The Extra Mile a non-profit organization.

The book provides various accounts of individuals that both Gross and Harper have interacted with in their ministries. The people range from those who were in church, to those who have left the church hurt or angry, to a prominent porn star, to those who think that they should not even be doing this kind of ministry. The exchanges are as varied as the personalities. The book is a series of narratives chronicling the history and effects of the relationships. Jesus Loves You This I Know is a quick read, but provides various opportunities to stop and consider your own engagement of the world “out there.”

My Thoughts

This book was a clear reminder that there are many more opportunities to reach outside of my comfort zone. And, I think that this is part of the problem. When did a person, someone created in the image of God, become another “opportunity” for evangelism? Relationships are at the heart of what it means to be a community on mission and a family of faith. This is the reason that Jesus Loves You This I Know is powerful. Gross and Harper remind us that God sent Jesus for people, for individuals, and not institutions. It does take a shift in thinking to see this. There are several examples of this throughout the book, but the one that stands out in my mind is the following one.

God loves and accepts people where they are, not where we think they should be. [135]

Many of us might read that and think that they are watering down the message, or that they are too open, or that they are not faithfully preaching what the Bible says. But, I have to ask, why do we tend to respond in this way to what is said here. Could it be that we would really like for God to agree with us about where such and such a person should be? That may be more the truth than many of us would care to admit.

Here is another example of what is wrong, or maybe, has been forgotten by those within the church. Look at this very perceptive comment.

Now the concept of living a sacrificial life that is attractive to the broken has largely been replaced with a religious exclusivity that has made people broken. [16, emphasis in original]

Think about that. What has been replaced? Is it not a clear and simple presentation of Jesus’ love for people who truly need it? The very thing that should be drawing others toward Jesus has become the reason that they are running from. Jesus loves you… but they do not know.

Jesus Loves You This I Know does not really offer a way for fixing what is wrong with the way the church may have gotten off track. It simply and poignantly paints a picture of what could be, of what should be.

I had a lot to think about after I read this book. I think you may as well.

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