Recent Reads: Jesus is Better Than You Imagined by Jonathan Merritt

Jesus Is Better

What the book's about: Jesus is Better Than You Imagined  is about how the God we've construed (oftentimes in our image) compares to the God of Scripture. It's a book that juxtaposes Jonathan's own stories of Jesus with those found in Scripture and in the process, helps God to come alive in new ways. 

Why I read this book: I read this book for two reasons. First, I enjoyed Jonathan's previous book, A Faith of Our Own and as a result, was eager to read more by him. Secondly, I read this book as part of the research for writing my own book, The Jesus Gap

My favorite quotes from the book: 

- "God wanted to remind me that He is everywhere despite my best efforts to contain Him." 

- "God wanted to wow me and woo me and love me and surprise me, but I wanted to manage Him." 

- "I claim to believe in a God who can and wants to work miracles but my prayers rarely probe those places. I keep my requests limited to tasks I can well accomplish myself, perhaps because I'm afraid God won't come through." 

- "Following God is an imaginative exercise, which is to say it means living in a posture where I am always envisioning new realities that more closely align with the world God desires." 

- "Pursuing a life of honesty means to reveal who I truly am and assert that my story too belongs at the table." 

- "Faith is not just about trusting God for the what, but also the when and how." 

- "Church was not a landing place but a launching pad. Not a finish line but a starting block. I had made the church my single source of spiritual vitality. But the church is not the source but a conduit." 

Thumbs up or thumbs down? Thumbs up.

Who I'd recommend this book for: This is a book for anyone who wants to reexamine their faith. Because of the personal nature of the stories that Jonathan shares, I think it would work exceptionally well as a book for small group discussions, enabling people in them both to explore the God of Scripture and their own stories of faith. 

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

More about Jen

Jen's Books

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A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

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Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

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The Real Jesus

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The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

Based on National Research

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