Can all of you believe it is August? It's such a precious time in the city of Chicago as we relish these last weeks of summer sun. Whenever August taps us on the shoulder, it's whispering 'Hey, the reality of a summer's end is looming so, soak it in'.
If you have been reading SW for even a short length of time, you've come across two other blogs referencing the book 'Tell Me Everything' by Jason Helveston. And the day has arrived that we are going to chat about this phenomenal read.
Let's start with the Author, Jason.
Jason is a Pastor at Park Community Church in Chicago. Park has nine campuses and Jason leads the campus in Logan Square. Shout out to all of you Logan Square peeps & Chicago Diner. The latter is a random & completely unrelated shout out but, if you live in LS, it's a must stop. I digress.
When I heard that Jason had written Tell Me Everything, I knew I wanted to read it. Why? Because Jason is so gifted at speaking/teaching. If someone asked me what his teaching style is like, I would say 'He sounds like a combination of classic jazz, a little symphonic style blues and a poetry slam. I often describe speakers & writers as melodies. Whenever I hear Jason teach at a Sunday service, I do not just leave knowing more about Jesus but, I leave desiring more of Him...and less of myself. If you want to hear a Pastor preach in such a way that you feel fervor in your heart while your adrenaline races & your eyes often well with tears, I am inviting you to church to learn about Jesus, through his words.
So why don't we grab some coffee & chat about the book, Tell Me Everything.
I love the title of this book. Don't you? It's so simple yet intimate & deeply personal:
Tell - Me - Everything. Don't just tell me how you are. Don't just tell me a part of your story. Don't just tell me the climax of the story, Tell Me Everything.
This book has me tongue tied...and trust me, that's a rarity. I read the book twice - slowly - taking so many notes up and down the margins that it looks as if a child caught hold of it with markers. I have contemplated a gross amount of time as to how to tell all of you about it. I personally think Tell Me Everything is a fabulous choice for a book club, small group or meetup. It's a remarkable book to discuss with your spouse or over a meal w/ a friend.
I am about to share with you what this book is about but frankly, I tend to go buy a book after a friend says 'This one....this is a MUST read Kel, go get it' vs. say, coming across a lengthy book review on a blog. In other words, just head over to Amazon & buy the book (smile)!
'Tell Me Everything' obliterates the religious dogma of Christianity and replaces it with the beautiful truth of the story of Jesus. You jump into His story - with Him -and go on a journey with Jesus throughout the pages that you may have never taken before. I've not read a book even resembling this one (and those that know me well, know that I read more than the average number of books). By the end of the book, my eyes were opened to a new way of seeing Him, myself and our entire world. I would say I was 'startled' which is why I had to go back and read it twice. And I am not counting out a third time soon (yes, that good).
Jason says 'Religion is a hope which is ultimately anchored in ourselves. In other words, moralism is based on our ability to follow through on rules God sets in place'. Jason also writes 'Religion puts people in the center of faith. Spirituality then becomes contingent on an individual's ability to define and maintain moral perfection. Religion is about what we do, what we say, what we think, what we believe, what we wear. ALL the power religion possesses is based upon personal faithfulness and goodness'. Oh my word!!!!! I am doing a vertical head bob, 'Yessssssss'. Isn't that the truth....of all of us? We focus on reading the Bible, doing what we are told, doing 'good' - we focus on ourselves.....it's all so nauseatingly about us. We may say it isn't but examine your thoughts, your speech......it is. Admit it. It's true. My hand is raised.
Tell Me Everything shares such cool (and numerous) factual accounts of Jesus's ministry on earth and how Jesus 're-framed faith around God Himself'. 'Christianity is about someone who finds you, draws you in, then never let's go'. Isn't that incredible? Don't you want to be a part of THAT story? Christianity IS a story. Christianity is NOT a religion. I need to stop quoting the book but, I can't help myself. This book is so beautifully written.
Dare I say I see the world differently after reading this book twice? Dare I go a step further and say that I see my own life, faith & all of Christianity through a brand new lens? How can one say that after reading a book, twice. It's true and certainly unexpected.
I am part of the story Jesus is telling with our lives. And so you are. We all are. And Jason describes in depth the various aspects of every story 'exposition, rise in action, climax, fall in action, and resolution'. 'And 'every story makes a promise. And the good stories keep their word. The Christian story promises God will be faithful'.
And one of my absolute favorite moments in the book is this sentence below....
'Faith is seeing reality even when you cannot see reality with your own eyes'.
Every chapter of this book is filled with dazzling depictions of faith, God, love, heartache, surrender, redemption, humor.....detailing a triumphant story of ongoing salvation. Jason, the way you tell this story is extraordinary.
Folks, I am postulating that your perspective of Him - your faith - your life - might 'shift' after reading Tell Me Everything. You're perspective about Jesus and faith might even radically change.
After reading Tell Me Everything, my own narrative is no longer the story I am telling. My own narrative is not - even - true. How about that?!?!?! Let that one soak in. Again, you need to read this.
'Approaching Christianity as a story devastates our will and aspirations. Jesus creates a stir religion cannot manufacture'.
Don't those words increase blood flow in your veins? Don't those words peak your interest enough to desire to know more about this 'story'?
To learn more about Tell Me Everything & the Author, Jason Helveston, head over to his blog, stop in to Park's Logan Square campus or contact him directly via any of his social media handles found at the bottom of his website.
Created and curated by Kelly, Snapshots of Wellness encourages all of you to cultivate your 'joie de vivre': Compassion for Animals via food, style & lifestyle.