I have never pre-ordered a book — well, at least not until Jonathon Martin’s “Prototype.” I received the book yesterday, and oh-my-goodness! This is the writing I’ve been waiting for out of a pastor. He’s not just writing about the gospel. He writes from a place of living out the gospel for many years — in and through his every breath and muscle and fiber of his being. It’s a book I want to scream from the rooftops about. It’s a book I want to hand to pastors and leaders and lay ministry people. I want to shout…
“THIS IS HOW YOU KNOW THE GOSPEL!”
Because to know the Gospel deeply is to know just how big God is and just how big His love for you is. Jonathan “gets” that and explains it through his own testimony and through prophetic direction to those who have never seen what it looks like before. He engages his readers in accepting love and living out love.He also acknowledges that when you live it out, it’s not always a “love fest” from the people around us.
At one point early on, Jonathan is talking about what being beloved really means, and how discovering it changes your life. He says that:
“The world is not ready for people like us. The world is not ready for a message like this…. When we begin to live like Jesus, people will perceive our peace as an indictment on their violence; they will see our security as an indictment on their insecurity.”
He has so many great quotes, but that might just be my favorite, because that has been my reality over and over, even within the Christian community. When you get how much you’re loved, you don’t have a spirit of ambition. And you certainly don’t want to be a part of a church that slyly welcomes that spirit in to the operations of the body. When you get that you’ve been given grace, you’re willing to extend it to others, especially to those who least deserve it. When you get how God extends friendship to you, you extend friendship to others easily.
And other people just. don’t. get. you.
They will think you’re weird. They will think you’re strange. They will look at you sideways. They will wonder if they really should accept that cup of coffee with you. They won’t understand why you offer them relationship — open relationship — or why you’re willing to pray for them or give them encouraging words. They might even put a little distance between you and them.
But don’t stop. Don’t give in to the suspicion. Keep loving. Keep encouraging. Keep pursuing. After all, as you know, that’s what God does for you.
And for goodness sake, read Jonathan’s book. There’s more relationship with God to be had, and He’s really good at leading you towards that end.