If ever there was a book that made me want to do something, it is this one. Brent had Jesus Prom on his Christmas list, so I was excited when it was on the list of books available to review. The author, Jon Weece, also graduated from Ozark Christian College [a few years before Brent] and now preaches in Lexington, Kentucky, just up the road from where we used to live. And that is what led me to this book.
For some reason, the cover is a bit obnoxious to me, but thankfully I can overlook a bad book cover. I am glad I did. I sat down and devoured this book in less than two days. I would have gladly read it in one sitting but--children. Part of what lends to being able to read this book quickly is the writing style: it is written very conversationally. Some may find it a bit "choppy", but I don't mind this writing style at all because I feel like I'm just sitting in a room listening to a friend share their thoughts. And in this case, those thoughts happen to be pretty profound.
The book is divided into two sections: Christian- the person (n.) who loves (v.) people and church- the people (n.) who love (v.) people. Right away Weece lets us know that the word "Christian" is not meant to be an adjective to describe music or schools, but rather a noun: a noun that needs verbs. The church has followed suit, no longer doing verbs, and has lost its meaning too. But in each chapter of Jesus Prom Weece gives us NOUNS and reminds us of the actions of Jesus.
Jon Weece is a storyteller at heart, and throughout his book there are so many practical and applicable stories that show us how to love and give and serve and rest and go and be and talk. Many of the stories are from his own life, but many are bible stories. I have been read and been reading the bible since I was a baby, but Weece has a way of making stories like the woman at the well or the man at the gate who couldn't walk come to life in new ways. These bible stories are miraculous, and yet somehow, through years of repetition, they tend to lose their sparkle. In the pages of this book I saw the miracles anew.
In a chapter on rest, Weece speaks to the lack of rest we have. He explains that rest is "a verb of inaction. While we rest, God works. That's what makes this verb a challenge to our faith. Do we really believe that God is in control? If we do, we can rest. If we don't believe God is in control, we ask Him to rest while we attempt to do His work." How many of us can't truly rest because we can't let go? We can't trust that God can handle our hurt, or our friend's cancer, or the hungry? We can't rest because we may fall behind. We can't rest because those who rest don't reach the top. Weece says, "Whenever I have more stress than I have sleep, I ask myself a series of questions: Is Jesus still on the throne? Is Jesus' tomb still empty? Is Jesus coming back to get me? If they answer to each of those questions is yes, then I can rest."
Another chapter that stood out to me was the chapter on giving. [I do not find it strange that at Christmas time the two chapters that tugged at me the most were the chapters on REST and on GIVING.] Weece writes, "We have a generosity yardstick at [our church] that says this: 'Generosity is not measured by how much we give away. Generosity is measured by how much we keep for ourselves.'" I need that painted on my bedroom ceiling so I see it every morning when I wake up! I actually cried several times through this chapter as I was so touched by some of the examples of giving that he shared…but more than that, I was drawn to the beauty of Jesus' ability to give, and want to think of practical ways I can give in my own life.
I think the book can best be summed up this paragraph from the author:
"People need what you have, and what you have is life. God put life in your heart. Open your heart up and give that life away. Give your heart away."This book is full of simple thoughts, but not simplistic thoughts. When I was teaching I always said that the students who were the hardest to love were very often the ones who needed my love the most. I was reminded of that in these pages on a much larger scale. Jesus loved. Jesus loves. And I have the ability to bring that love to others. I will come back to this book again many times, I am sure. I highly recommend it [just forget the cover and the "prom" theme…you'll understand the title once you read the book].
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my review from BookLook Bloggers/ Harper Collins Publishers, but all opinions are my own.