Vince Antonucci nailed it Renegade. Recently, I began looking for books by authors I have never heard of, authors who are not widely known. This book has me thankful that I took the chance. I had never heard of Vince Antonucci before reading this book but after reading his book, I can honestly say God used him in a mighty way in my life right now. With Renegade, I really do not know where to begin. This book came at just the right time in my life and God really used it to challenge and encourage me with where I am at this point in my life.
First, let me tell you a little about Vince. He is married with two kids and lives in Las Vegas where God led him to plant a church on or near the strip. The church is called Verve and it is “a church for people who work on and live around the strip.” (vinceantonucci.com) He calls his story pretty typical but in actuality, it seems anything but ordinary. He was going to attend Law school and had a scholarship to a well-known school but after the first year, God told him to go to seminary and then to eventually plant a church. However, the way God has led him and his wife has caused them to take some steps of faith, and be willing to risk everything, including a job that would have paid him a pretty nice sum of money starting out. Vince and his wife heeded God’s calling and now they live in Vegas and work at a church that ministers to everyone who comes through the doors while also going out to minister at places on the strip that many Christians would never consider visiting. And the amazing thing is, God is blessing their work and using them to make a huge impact on people there in Vegas. When Vince first told some friends that he felt God leading him to Vegas, they told him that he would be fine if he planted a church in the suburbs, away from the strip. The problem was that he felt God was leading him to plant a church right on or near the strip. They thought he was crazy but he strongly felt that is where God was leading and so he obeyed.
Verve is now in its third year of ministry and they are reaching people with the Gospel and it is all because one man, and his wife, took a risk and lived by faith. That is what God calls US to as well and that is what Renegade is all about. So what is a renegade? “A renegade is a person who rejects conventional behavior, who refuses to do what others are doing, and who realizes there’s a different beat they can dance to – and it’s better” (p. 15). A renegade also realizes that “normal is not working for anyone else nor is it working for them” (p. 15). As Vince read through the Bible, and specifically about Jesus, he noticed that there seemed to be a difference between how Jesus lived and called his disciples to live and how the people who call themselves Christians were actually living. It did not seem to match up. Faith is something that is always dangerous and faith always feels like risk (p. 15). Thus, Vince decided to write this book.
Renegade is a very easy book to understand and Vince calls his readers to something more. If our lives are too easy as Christians, something might be wrong and he challenges his readers to look at their lives and investigate how they are living. The subtitle of the book is “Your Faith isn’t Meant to be safe.” It appears today though that many Christians have found a way to justify living a “safe” life which in essence, tames their faith. Just like muscles grow and get stronger when stretched, so our faith grows best when it is stretched. The more we step out in faith, or as Vince says, risk, the more God will reveal Himself to us and the more useful we become to God and the bigger impact for Him we can have. Renegade is a book that will be hard to put down and that will challenge you with each page. To help encourage his readers even more, there are “assignments” at the end of some of the chapters and sections that will challenge the reader with actual plans to stretch yourself towards a more renegade lifestyle. While I did not do them the first time through the book, I am looking forward to eventually going back through the book and making the effort to complete the assignments.
With that said, I want to include a few quotes for you to ponder:
“You realize that if your intimacy with God doesn’t connect you to other people and connect those other people to God, then really it’s just an isolated and narcissistic act. But when you have a true passion for God, it automatically translates into a compassion for people.”
“Faith is risk. That’s what faith is. It’s what faith feels like…The idea: you cannot play it safe and please God.”
“The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
“God has a calling for each of our lives, but there’s a problem. God typically calls us to an uncomfortable mission. We prefer our calling to be comfortable.”
“God’s plan for our lives is amazing, but it typically appears to be something we don’t want to do.”
I could write out so many other quotes that spoke to me as I have underlined and dog-eared much of this book. It truly is a challenging and inspiring book that will lead you to begin making changes to bring you out of a comfortable life into one of faith…and risk. If you would consider yourself to be already living a renegade life, then this book will encourage you to maintain the course and to fight the fight each and every day because there is a devil out there trying to distract us and keep us from living all out for God. The best way to combat the devil is by living on the offensive and living by faith as a renegade.
Thanks for taking the time to read this review and I highly encourage you to give Renegade a chance. I truly believe if you read it with an open heart, it can help change your life and lead you to make some lasting changes that will take you to the life God has for you which can be described in any way besides boring. It is the life truly lived and the life that will make a difference in your community. Go get a copy and read it.
Disclaimer: In accordance with FTC regulations, I received this book from Baker Books in return for a review of the book.