Book Review: befriend

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Grace is scandalous.  Sometimes it’s terribly offensive to our sensibilities.” Scott Sauls, befriend .  This quote alone made the cost of this book totally worth every penny.  Gamechanger for sure!  This book is an excellent read even if you choose to just sit down and read it straight through.  It’s also a good one to read a chapter a day and really marinate in the points that Sauls is making about how we love and serve others through the lens of the gospel.  I could also really see this book working well as a resource for a small group or discipleship study time.  I’m already praying about who I want to read this with the next time I read it.  Sauls is the pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville.  I’ve heard great things about his work and time in NYC serving under Dr. Tim Keller at Redeemer Presbyterian.

This book resonated with me in a variety of ways…but mostly under the umbrella of loving well.  One of my goals for 2017 revolves around focusing on deep and meaningful friendships that help me experience the glory of God in new and exciting ways.  I could see Scott Sauls and Bob Goff having an absolute blast writing a book together.  In the meantime, I’m going to pick up Sauls other book and add it to my list for 2017.

I highlighted several things while reading and have posted those notes below…

  • It is best to befriend those now who we hope to be his friend for all eternity.  It is best to consider anyone a friend who drives us closer to God.
  • “Friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good taste in finding one another out.  It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of all the others.” CS Lewis
  • Real friends not only agree but disagree; real friends not only applaud each other’s strengths but challenge each other’s weaknesses; real friends no only enjoy life together but struggle through life together; real friends not only praise one another but apologize to and forgive one another; real friends no only rally around their points of agreement but love and learn from their points of disagreement.
  • There is real, loyal, across-the-lines-of-differences friendship, and there is lesser, surface-level friendship.  Lesser friendship leaves us distanced, isolated, and afraid.  We become the best version of ourselves, and we come to know Jesus best, through real friendship.
  • Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends.  John 15:13-14
  • God will take great delight in you…he will rejoice over you with singing.  Zephaniah 3:17
  • Grace comes before ethics.
  • Heavenly Father, Grant me character that exceeds my gifts.  Grant me humility that exceeds my platform.
  • Eulogy-virtue love is a cruciform love, the kind that compels us to broaden our embrace, to move toward the “other,” to include the “other” in our “us” because Jesus has included us in his.
  • If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  1 Corinthians 13:2
  • Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.  Matthew 25:40
  • “You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” Anne Lamont
  • Anxiety and depression have been God’s way to reminding me that I don’t have to be awesome.
  • For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10
  • Because Jesus shields us like this, we should of all people be zealous to restore reputations versus destroying reputations, to protect a good name versus calling someone a name, to shut down gossip versus feeing gossip, to restore broken relationships versus begrudging broken people.
  • “Only reckless confidence in a Source greater than ourselves can empower us to forgive the wounds inflicted by others.”  Brennan Manning That same confidence can also empower us to stop inflicting wounds and to start catching people doing good instead.
  • There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  Romans 8:1
  • I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6
  • All of us need partners in life who know the whole truth about us, who recognize that our social media profiles, resumes, and best behaviors tell only part of our stories.  All of us need people who know us as well in private as they know us in public.  Because only those who know us close can help us in the journey of becoming our truest, best selves.  I need you to call my bluff.  You need me to call your bluff too.
  • Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.  1 Samuel 16:7
  • Can we envision a world in which convictions are not abandoned but deeply kept, and that not in spite of those convictions but because of those convictions, friendships are made and honoring dialogue happens “across lines of difference”?
  • For what have I to do with judging outsiders?  It is not those inside the church whom you are to judge?  God judges those outside.  1 Corinthians 5:12-13
  • What if the church were the place where anyone in the world could find refuge and solace from the age-old malediction that it is not good to be alone?  This is exactly what God intended for the church to be.
  • These words are trustworthy and true.  Revelation 21:5
  • I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet he shall live.  John 11:25
  • A first step toward true diversity—whether cultural, economic, political, ethic, or otherwise—is to recognize that  charity toward minorities by itself is not enough.  Charity, to be truly charitable and biblical, must also result in empowerment, where the majority humbles and positions itself to follow there minority voice regularly.  Especially where injustice and inequality exist, the majority must proactively seek out ways to surrender microphone and gavel rights to the minority.  Invitations to give “input” must be replaced with opportunities to lead.  Crumbs from the table must be replaced with a seat at the table.  Otherwise, we remain stuck with an anemic, counterfeit diversity.
  • The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.  Job 1:21
  • Grace is scandalous.  Sometimes it’s terribly offensive to our sensibilities.
  • Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.  But I received mercy.  1 Timothy 1:15-16
  • “Build relationship and community.  There is enough hurt to go around…I believe that abortion is wrong.  I believe that God is the giver of life.  As a Christian, I want to support a society that does give preference to biblical ethics on this matter, because I believe that biblical ethics lead to human flourishing.”  excerpt from a note written by a doctor at Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville
  • When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong.  You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.  Leviticus 19:33-34
  • All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  Psalm 139:16
  • For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.  Galatians 5:1

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