Monday, August 18, 2014

Jen Hatmaker's Interupted and My Great Adventure

When a little email popped up in my inbox in early July looking for bloggers who are readers of Jen's to review the updated edition of her book Interrupted, I knew I had to jump on it!  Jen's honesty, transparency, and sarcasm have made me a fan of her writing for years.  She's not afraid to tread the path Jesus calls her to, even when the world would roll their eyes and think she's a nut.  Eh, we need more nuts.  Thank you, Jen, for leading the way!

The irony of the title had me in stitches as much Jen's sarcasm did.  From the time Interrupted arrived on my door step and I finished reading it, my water broke all over my mom's guest bathroom (nothing like a mom who will laugh it off and come in running with 409 and paper towels), my hubby and I worked together through labor and delivery, welcomed home our first born, and entered the throws of newborn colic. "Interrupted" is the theme of our lives right now.  So while Man Cub likes to interrupt our routine, we want Jesus to interrupt our hearts.  This is how we've chosen to live the 5 years of our marriage, and finding Jen's heart in the same place was a balm to this mommy's tired eyes.  Half my Kindle edition is a highlighted mess, and I have bits of quotes all in my head because truth just doesn't fade, even in the midst of exhaustion.

In the introduction, Jen writes, "If you are plagued with tension or discontent or a nagging sense that there must be more-that there has to be a faith somewhere that rings true and hopeful and gracious, a faith other than this mean, ugly partisan, judgmental, self-indulgent version of Christianity, which has to be total bunk-then get down on your knees and thank your lucky stars.  God has blessed you with this inner conflict.  He isn't leaving you in complacency and boredom to check boxes and do church.  He has enlisted you in the cause of your generation and is calling you forward. You lucky thing.  You will not be left and lost, wondering what all the fuss is about, wishing things would never change."

Um, yes!  I love church.  I love worship and sermons and Sunday School.  But let's be honest.  How many people come in off the streets into your church on a whim each Sunday morning?  Probably not many.

Jen and her husband Brandon chronicle the journey God led them on in starting a church in unreached South Austin that was much, much more than just worship, sermons, and Sunday School.  They joined with friends and like-minded believers who fully embraced St. Francis' command to "Preach the Gospel.  If necessary, use words."  The Hatmakers saw that it was their actions, the ability to build genuine, authentic relationships with people, that would draw people to Jesus.  They're right.  This was so much of Jesus' ministry: meeting people where they are, learning about them, sharing life with them, and then inviting them into His flock.  Jesus knew He was too radical for folks to just fall inline with Him without watching Him live what He preached.  And it worked...2000 years later, and folks are still being knocked off their feet and blown away by the love, mercy, redemption, and adventure that is knowing and following Jesus.

"Raise up in me a holy passion." Jen's prayer to God before their church planting journey began.  I've prayed that prayer.  Have you?  God tends to take that prayer and interrupt everything that seems normal, doesn't He?  I prayed it before my first trip to Zambia in 2010.  For those of you who have been around the blog long, you know God shook up Isaac and me and made sure there was no turning back as we followed Him into the world of advocating for families staying united in Zambia, for the unification of orphans into families.  As we've built authentic relationships on both sides of the Atlantic with those who see this as something that is living the hands and feet of Jesus in the flesh and fulfilling James 1:26, we've been unable to go back to our little American dream of a life.  And that's ok.  The prayer rose up again this past fall when we found out we were pregnant after thinking it was impossible and being floored that this was what God wanted for us.  And now, as I type with a colicky baby in my arms, I realize that God's most recent interruption was to fulfill something we didn't even realize we wanted.  And I don't know what Man Cub is going to think about it, but he's going to learn now that while he's a precious interruption, this is how life as Jesus' disciple is lived.  We meet people where they are.  We love those who are different and who don't agree with us.  We let Jesus work on their hearts while we work on being His heart on earth.  When we make living out of our comfort zones normal, less and less can interrupt us because we're living more and more the way Jesus did-less of me and more of the Lord (John 3:30).

Are you ready to join me, to join Jen?  Really, are you ready to join God where He's already at work?  Do you long to see all people given a fair shot at knowing who my beloved Jesus, the most radical man I know, really is?  Read Interrupted.  Breaking free from self doesn't happen overnight.  It took a life time to learn to live for self, so it will take the rest of a lifetime to break old habits.  But it's worth it.  Living in Ground Zero for Jesus in your city, in your work place, in your apartment complex, half way around the world, is the greatest adventure I've ever known.  I'm grateful for the interruptions.

So, Jen did send me a copy of the book to read on my Kindle and a hard copy to give away.  All opinions are mine of course, but I do share Jen's heart.  Enter below for your chance to win a copy of Interrupted.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Linking up with Jen and her other blog reviewers today!  Go show them all some love!


Grace said...

He interrupted my plans to be an overseas missionary. I thought it was the end of my life as I knew it, but God had plans for me that I couldn't have even imagined at that time. Grateful that He knows all.

Mandy said...

I have been wanting to read this!

Katy {and Kahler} said...

Oh, I want to read this so badly! All the reviews I've read are so good... and I need a good kick in the spiritual behind right now.

Anonymous said...

thanks for this! Been wanting to read this one, too!

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