Friday, May 3, 2013

robshep 2

In yesterday's post (see robshep 1), I provided a bit of the history and relational road that I have traveled over the past six years with my pastor Rob. Rob started blogging just about the same time that I did and we regularly visit each other's sites. Rob has told me that he really enjoys writing, not only as a way to express himself, but more to bring people to Jesus. As I have gotten to know Rob, I have found that he consistently lives the mission statement of his church (Next Level Church), which is to love Jesus, to love people, and to make a difference.

Today's post is a review of Rob's forthcoming book, Even if You Were Perfect Someone Would Crucify You. Before I tell you about the book, let me state that I have read a lot of books in the Christian self-help genre. Rob's book is better than many that I have encountered. Whether this would be the opinion of a random sample of people who don't know Rob, I can't say for certain. I can only say that because of my relationship with Rob and doing life with him, this book helped me to take stock of how far I have come in my relationship with Jesus due to his efforts, not only as my pastor but as my friend.

The seed for this book came after a sermon that Rob had preached one Sunday. He had heard from quite a few people after the service that his words were a blessing and he received positive feedback from lots of folks. Shortly afterwards, he received an anonymous letter by mail where the person ripped him apart. As the words of that unknown assailant rained down on Rob's head, he thought of Jesus who died on the cross for all of mankind. The son of God, perfect, sinless, and hung from a cross to pay for our sins. The words, "even if you were perfect, someone would crucify you" popped into his mind. This thought has become something of a mantra that has helped set Rob free from being a lifelong people pleaser. It helped him to find his identity in God instead of the opinions of others.

Many of the anecdotes that Rob shares in this book he has used as illustrations in his sermons. They form a perfect framework on which to share his love for God and how that relationship has been strengthened through his struggles and his joys. But far from being a book on the story of Rob, this book is permeated with encouragement for us all and seasoned with advice on how we can find our identify in Jesus.

Rob, I am proud of you for this accomplishment. But, just so you know, I found a typo on the first page of the Introduction. I hope that you don't let this ruin your day.

(Part 2 of 2)