In his new book inSignificant: Why You Matter in the Surprising Way God Is Changing the World, Chris Travis challenges the common stereotypes of significance and paints a broader picture of how what it means to lead significant lives. The platform for his book is Travis' experience teaching at 'the most dangerous middle school in all of New York City'.
With raw honesty, Travis uses his words to draw readers into the classroom where he taught. He vividly describes the rebellion of the students and his feelings of defeat and insignificance. Stripped away was his passion for teaching as well as his good intentions. Travis ended the first year in utter defeat, but goes back for a second year when he is convinced that it is what God is asking him to do. In the end, he emerges with a changed view of significance which he shares with readers.
Throughout the book, Travis mixes his own story with theology and biblical exegesis. The book was engaging and thought-provoking as Travis relates it back to the reader and their own search for significance. He writes plainly that "following Jesus often means losing" and shows a picture of significance that is truly counter-cultural. inSignifcant is easy to read and conversational which makes it a good book for people of different ages.
On a personal note, inSignificant came at the perfect time as I read it just weeks after having my first baby. There are moments when changing diapers feels like the most insignificant task in the world, yet I was challenged to see what God is teaching me through this and to be obedient to and dependent on God. I will highly recommend this book to friends and family as I think it is relevant for all. This is the best book I have read in awhile - I hope that others be challenged by it as well.
**Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book by the publisher (Bethany House) in exchange for an honest review.
"It isn't flashy and it isn't trendy, but it is the only thing that can change the human heart." In his book Insignificant, Chris Travis talks about the real power that God is using to change the worldâ€”His love; and He is doing it through the lives of those who are willing to love the way Jesus loves. It calls for a life where we see our days through God's perspective, being kingdom focused instead of self focused, and partnering with Christ to bring that kingdom here on earth. Travis states that loving the way Jesus commands can sometimes make one feel insignificant.
After teaching for two years in Harlem at what the New York Post called "School From Hell", Travis himself felt the slow death of his significance yet at the same time, he was compelled to love the way Jesus loved, which in retrospect meant dying for others and feeling the pain of loving a sinful world. He found that loving others God's way makes our life more meaningful, no matter what we find ourselves doing day after day and sometimes longer than we desire.
Travis expresses that God cares so deeply for people that He takes our treatment of others personally. The strength to live this kind of life flows from a daily dependence on God and a personal determination that He is enough for us; from identifying ourselves with others, and from sometimes having to choose to forgive just because it's part of the kingdom.
After reading this book I will never again look at my sphere of influence quite the same; my neighborhood, my workplace, or anywhere else I find myself going day after day. I have become more aware of the need to reach out with God's love to the people around me. I really am significant to God's kingdom and like the author so lovingly states, "When God made me, He had an idea, I really do matter." I now know I can really love them the way Jesus does. I would highly recommend this book to anyone to read, especially those who feel they do not matter in their little corner of the world or feel they have lost their purpose. This book is truly a practical approach to help anyone understand that they are significant to God and to the people He longs to reach.
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers.
Chris Travis taught two years at the most dangerous middle school in New York City. Though he expected to find significance in his service, he found he was insignificant. When he humbled himself, God's work became evident to him. In Christ, Travis found significance.
The first part of the book covers Travis's first year of teaching and the key lessons he learned: God loves us. God wants our love. We love God by loving others. We are significant when we serve others (77).
The second part recounts important moments of Travis's second year of teaching. Travis also claims he wants to show readers how to change the world by joining God's work (77). Because he writes for a wide audience, his advice is broad. In Chapter 6, Travis covers dependence on God, fellowship with other believers, and prayer for God's will. In Chapter 7, he encourages using whatever we have for God's service. In Chapter 8, he discusses seeking God's kingdom.
While Travis points out critical habits for followers of Christ, he doesn't say anything new for those of us who've banged around the church for a while.
InSignificant will not tell you how to change the world. If you expect targeted help in starting a ministry or showing compassion or teaching in difficult settings, look for a book more specific to your subject area. But if you are encouraged by hearing how God has worked in other people's lives, InSignificant is for you. God is the key character, and Travis knows it.
"Why you matter in the surprising way God is changing the world." That's the subtitle. If you're looking for a bit of encouragement to be unselfish - this is the book for you.
We all want to live a life that matters. We all search for significance in our lives. This book basically tells you - help the â€˜least of these' - the ones who are needy. In that way, you'll be significant. You help change others' lives, and you'll find your own destiny, your own purpose along the way.
The author based this book on two years of his life teaching in the worst school system in New York City. The book chronicles how hard things were the first year_how rebellious the students were, how it stripped him of hate. How he cried - more than ever. And how the acclaim and self-worth he had previously felt while being on staff at a church - was totally missing in this job.
His second year went better, he says, because he learned the lessons of the first year. After his second year, the school was shut down. He is now a pastor, planting a church in New York City.
From the description of the book, what I actually got was not quite what I expected. Maybe it's just me. The â€˜youth' of the author came through quite clearly. Maybe I'm cynical - sometimes it comes with being middle-aged and having been knocked around by life a bit, but someone who only had one bad year out of their life - hard though it was - well - I didn't get as much out of the book as I had originally hoped to.
Obviously, this book is written for the widest audience possible - as the author doesn't take it for granted the reader knows much about how God works.
It's not surprising that God can use anyone. It's not surprising that we matter to God. If we're Christians, we know this. So, for me, it wasn't a surprising book at all. I had the book figured out before I was even halfway through it, but I was committed to reading the whole book through the Bethany House Blogger Book Review program. This was the first book I've reviewed in over two years. It was the first one I was hoping would actually â€˜help' me with my own issues of â€˜significance.'
It didn't, but that doesn't mean you won't be encouraged by it. Published by Bethany House.
Insignificant struck a chord for me, and I imagine for many others who wonder why the daily grind matters, who wonder where meaning can be found. In the midst of incredible difficulty and personal soul searching Chris Travis writes with an honesty that is refreshing and humbling. Sometimes personal writing is indulgent or patronizing, this was neither and I cannot imagine a book more appropriate for the those who wonder if they matter.