Book Review | Unburdened

Unburdened by Vance Pitman is a book I’ve been looking forward to for a while! Vance’s dad, Dr. Bob Pitman, was my pastor when I was a teenager growing up in Memphis at Kirby Woods Baptist Church. He was my pastor when I came to know the Lord, was baptized, and surrendered my life to full-time Christian ministry. I’m so thankful for my years at Kirby Woods as they helped me chart a course of following Jesus through a specific and intentional discipleship model. Vance was away at college when I first came to the church and his brother Brett, who is also a pastor now, was a year older than me. The Pitman family was always very nice to me and welcomed me into the church.

I had the privilege of following Vance’s story when he served as our associate pastor at Kirby Woods and then was called by the North American Mission Board to be a part of their Strategic Cities Initiative. He and his family were commissioned and sent by First Baptist Church in Woodstock, GA to plant a church in Las Vegas. At that point in my life…I didn’t even know anyone that had been to Las Vegas…or at least that would admit it! It seemed like a brave new world for church planting and it has been a blast to watch this ministry unfold into an awesome church in Vegas that is partnering with and planting churches all over the world. I enjoyed Unburdened to learn even more of the back story of this fruitful ministry endeavor. I was also encouraged that I wasn’t the only one who felt like there were always “so many things to do” to follow Christ. Some of the wisest advice I’ve received in recent years is that “God made you a human BEING, not a human DOING.” This book is a great read for those who want to be set free from the rules of religion in order to truly pursue a relationship with your Heavenly Father.

It was a great read and I highlighted several things and posted those notes below…

  • The burden of measuring up as a follower of Jesus so dominated my life that I had convinced myself dishonesty about my spiritual life was better than genuine transparency. p. 20
  • The Christian life is not me living for Jesus but Jesus living His life in and through me. p. 22
  • “The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us.  In its stead are programs, methods, organizations and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing  of the heart.” – A.W. Tozer p. 27
  • How would you describe what it means to be a faithful follower of Jesus? p. 29
  • The problem with aiming at information as our spiritual target is that it elevates knowing about Jesus above knowing Jesus himself. p. 33
  • Box #1: Jesus’s Relationship with His Father ABIDE
  • Box #2: Jesus’s Relationship with the Disciples CONNECT
  • Box #3: Jesus’s Relationship with the World SHARE p. 48
  • A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you (ABIDE), you also are to love one another (CONNECT). By this all people will know (SHARE) that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34-35 p. 55
  • What’s Our Goal?
    • 1.  The Overall Objective: To Know God
    • 2.  The Daily Objective: To Spend Time with God p. 66
  • Are you weary from trying to live the Christian life?  Are you heavy-laden from rules and systems and religious traditions?  Let it all go.  Choose to abide in Jesus, and He will give you rest. p. 91
  • The outcome of abiding in Christ is experiencing intimacy with God.  And that’s the ultimate rejection of religion. p. 106
  • “The Word, the gospel, creates not just people individually, but a people, collectively.” -Matt Chandler p. 109
  • Reality #1: Because I have a relationship with God, I now have a relationships with God’s family. p. 116
    • We can’t live out the New Testament’s “one another” admonitions and encouragements on our own. p. 123
  • Reality #2: It’s impossible to be right with God if I’m not right with God’s family. p. 132
    • 1 Peter 5:8 “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert.  Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” p. 140
  • “We should not…think of our fellowship with other Christians as a spiritual luxury, an additional option to the exercises of private devotion.  We should recognize rather that such fellowship is a spiritual necessity; for God has made us in such a way that our fellowship with Him is fed by our fellowship with fellow Christinas, and requires to be so fed constantly for its own deepening and enrichment.” – J.I. Packer p. 141
  • Holy Spirit Checkup p. 152
    • Are you meeting needs within the body of Christ?
    • Are you aware of any current needs other followers of Jesus have that God has given you the ability to meet?
    • Are you sensitive to the leadership of the Holy Spirit in pointing out the needs of those around you?
    • Do you find joy in meeting the needs of others?
    • When was the last time God used you to meet a specific need in the life of one of your brothers or sisters in Christ?  Can you remember?
    • When was the last time you can remember God meeting your need through a brother or sister in Christ?
  • “Everyone is called…You are either a missionary or a mission field.” – J.D. Greear p. 173
  • As I follow Jesus, what is on His heart will be on my heart. p. 194
  • My relationship to the world is depending on my fellowship with the Father. p. 204
  • The life I live should reflect the purpose I have. p. 205

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