Monthly Archives: October 2015

The Irresistible Community

irresistible community

We as humans are built for community. We are hardwired to have friends and people in our lives that we do life together with. We are not made to live this life on our own. This is why when we see people who isolate themselves, we would not say they are living life to the fullest. We would agree they have withdrawn from reality and the world around them. By choosing to follow Christ, we become part of a community, part of the body of Christ. It is impossible to fully be a Christian and not involved in a community of believers in some way. You might disagree with that but as you read through the Bible, you see that God intended for us to be in community. God Himself is about community in that He created us for relationship with Him. Unfortunately, today we have become so “connected” through social media and the internet through smartphones and other devices we have actually become disconnected. And this is the world we live in today, a world full of people who desire community, some without fully knowing it, but who are in some ways running away from community. There are even people who call themselves Christians who are not involved in a community.

Bill Donahue addresses this issue head on for followers of Christ. In The Irresistible Community, he tackles what Christian community should mean, be about and what it should look like. Jesus has extended a call and offer for all people to follow Him and be involved in a community of Christ followers. It is only through this community that we are able to experience all God intended life to be about. The title itself helps us to understand that when Christian community is lived out and done right, it is attractive, even to those who do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ. If Jesus was attractive to the “sinners” around Him, shouldn’t His church be the same way? Shouldn’t we be living in such a way that it causes those around us to wonder what we have?

The title of this book includes the tag line “An invitation to life together” which is what I believe God wants us to do, live life together. But how do we do that? How do we live life together? We are all messy and we have lives that cause people to not want to know us so shouldn’t I keep people at a distance? Dr. Donahue helps the reader understand how life can be done together in community and done in a way so people are drawn to it and not turned away from it. The Irresistible Community is divided into 3 parts: join the fellowship of the table, practice the ministry of the towel and live in the circle of truth. To truly experience community the way God intends, each of these 3 parts has to be included.  I have experienced this in my own life, when I am involved with a group of Christians, our lives have been greatly impacted when we have times of fellowship around a table, make time to serve together and then also allow the truth of God’s Word to guide us, community happens and there is nothing greater in this life. Unfortunately today, this has been lost, even in the church. The church should be a community of people who understand the church is who they are, it is not simply a building or something they do on Sundays or special holidays.

Read this statement which is taken from the back cover of the book:

Using the relationship of Jesus to His disciples in the upper room, Bill Donahue presents a simple but compelling approach to community life. Using a table, a towel, and the truth, Jesus created an “irresistible community” where everyone found a place to belong, lived fully in the truth, and served others with joy. (Back cover)

As you read this book, you will find yourself longing for this type of community wherever you are. Why does this longing grow within us? Because it is why we were created. Bill Donahue addresses the topic/issue of Christian community in a thought provoking manner that will challenge but also encourage and inspire you to look for community in your own life. Though living in community is not always easy, he helps us see that there is more life to be experienced in community than can be experienced outside of it. This book is one that I would highly recommend anyone currently serving in Christian ministry to read as well as those who see themselves in some type of ministry in the future. This book would also be a great asset for any church planter. Go get a copy for yourself, or a friend or your pastor, it will be well worth it.

Disclaimer: In accordance with FTC regulations, I received this book from Baker Books in return for a review of the book.


Into the Fray

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I had never heard of Matt Mikalatos before requesting this book but the idea of the book of Acts basically retold for today intrigued me. I never thought of Acts as being a tough book to understand or read through but as I read Into the Fray I was reintroduced to the story of Acts through storytelling that grabbed my attention and caused me to think again of how miraculous and amazing the stories written and shared in this book of the Bible actually are. Unfortunately, many times we read over them without a second thought and we do this to our own detriment.

There are many main characters throughout the book of Acts, for instance, Paul, Peter, Barnabas, the Philippian jailer, Lydia, the demon possessed girl, the Ethiopian eunuch and many more. However, the story of Acts is unequivocally the story of how God worked in the early church through the Holy Spirit to draw many people to Himself and cause the church to spread throughout the world like a wildfire. If not for the Holy Spirit, none of what is shared in Acts would have been possible. The church never would have impacted the world as it did and it would have torn itself to shreds from within. How else could the stories shared in Acts have actually happened apart from the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit? It would be impossible.

How does the author go about reaching his objective? Each chapter begins with a retelling of a story in Acts as if it happened today. He does not cover every single story in Acts in this manner because the book would have been well over 700 pages. Instead, he picks 14 stories to share using language from today that does not take away or add anything to the story, but simply retells it from a revised perspective. But why is this even necessary? Could people not just read the book of Acts as it is and be amazed? Yes. This book is not trying to take the place of Acts in the Biblical canon, it is simply retelling stories that many times we read over and have lost the amazement of how miraculous many stories actually are. For example, one story that many people in Christian circles just kind of gloss over is the story of Ananias and Sapphira. This story should produce a fear in people about how seriously God takes things in His church. This couple sold land, and gave money to the church, but apparently were deceptive in their giving and thus they were both killed for it. In Acts 5:11, it says that as a result of Ananias and Sapphira, “great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.” Imagine if this kind of fear came upon the church today? Imagine how much of an impact it would have on how people interact with each other and how people go about with their daily lives? Unfortunately, we read stories like this and simply believe God just does not deal with people like that anymore and thus the story is just read over without much thought given to it. You also do not hear many sermons on this topic today but imagine if we did?

Simply stated, Matt Mikalatos does a great job with this book and his retelling of some of the stories from Acts. As I read through the book, I found myself challenged in what I thought about God and how He works. Have I been guilty of trying to control how God works? Or have I simply been presenting myself to God to work in whatever manner He chose? While reading through Acts, it is easy to see that even though there were times of disagreement between people in the church, they allowed Him to move in and through them as He saw fit. They did not put restrictions on God as we many times do today. Imagine a church today with the fear of God and mindset of the church in Acts? It would truly be an unstoppable force.

In one of the last chapters, Matt writes the following: “May God grant us the ability to speak the good news we have experienced without embarrassment, with boldness, and with simplicity.” It is a statement I have been challenged to begin praying in my own life. I long to see God work in and through my life as He did in the book of Acts. He is the same God today as He was then and is perfectly capable of doing the same thing today that He did in Acts. I pray that I would not lose the wonder of seeing and desiring God to move in my life in the same way He did in the New Testament.

Disclaimer: In accordance with FTC regulations, I received this book from Baker Books in return for a review of the book.


Back to WordPress

After a brief 2 year excursion with Bluehost, I have decided to come back to WordPress for the time being. I am looking forward to sharing thoughts, book reviews, questions and ideas with you all through thetoddlynn.wordpress.com. If you have not, feel free to follow me and be notified every time a new post is published.

Also, if you have any ideas you would like to see discussed or shared about on this blog, feel free to comment below.