1. Jesus Outside the Lines: A Way Forward for Those Who Are Tired of Taking Sides
    Jesus Outside the Lines: A Way Forward for Those Who Are Tired of Taking Sides
    Scott Sauls, Gabe Lyons
    Tyndale House / 2015 / Trade Paperback
    $12.99 Retail: $15.99 Save 19% ($3.00)
    5 Stars Out Of 5 4 Reviews
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    Stock No: WW400932
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  1. Leesville, SC
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    May 11, 2015
    Jimmy Reagan
    Leesville, SC
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    As the subtitle A way forward for those who are tired of taking sides suggests, this is a provocative volume. His reference to outside the lines refers to his preference for living inside the lines where all is a perfect black and white. His writes because he is tired of taking sides. He is tired of all the isms and as he says, the ism that feeds them all: elitism.

    in writing he exposes that our outrage is often enjoyed. He says that some part of us loves feeling 1) right and 2) wronged. It is all helpfully convicting, especially as he shows that Jesus operated a different way. It wasnt simply about outrage for Him, but rather people and right and wrong. That is not a subtle difference.

    What was subtle about this book, however, is how Mr. Sauls took the subject of outrage and turned it on ourselves. Not only do we live in soundbites and thrive on arguments, but we have lost sight of what we should most scrutinizeourselves. For example, he transforms the discussion on the unborn and poor into one about how we really view those made in the image of God. He took the issue of declining church attendance and made about what we have done to drive them away.

    In Part 2, he went deeper inside us. He took issues and discussed where a Christian must stand for truth while exposing where we are only playing a game. The chapters Hypocrite or Work In Progress? and Self-esteem or God-esteem? were his best.

    This book speaks to areas of real need in our lives as Christians and I highly recommend it.

    I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255.
  2. Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Tired of Taking Sides?
    March 20, 2015
    Michele Morin
    Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    What we want, if men become Christians at all, is to keep them in the state of mind I call, Christianity And. If they must be Christians, let them at least be Christians with a difference. Substitute for the faith itself some Fashion with a Christian coloring. Screwtape

    In Part One of Jesus Outside the Lines, Scott Sauls counteracts Screwtapes advice from the pit. To walk with Jesus outside the lines of my political leanings or my hobby-horse-of-the-week is to embrace the notion that not everyone in Heaven will look like or agree with me. (One of the reasons I listen to NPR is that every now and then I need to hear people say things that I disagree with. Im practicing for heaven!) Sauls helps us to see that the Christians uttermost foundation of stone is Christ not our political hot-buttons, our worship preferences, or our tax bracket. Therefore, we should feel [most] at home with people who share our faith . . . Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and many Christians prefer the company of unbelievers, simply because they are tired of taking sides. God intends for His people to need and to be needed by a body of believers. Sauls exposes the churchs faulty thinking about money with the truth that it is not wealth but discontentment that is the true evil of our day. In fact, in all our heated discussions as believers, it would seem that the fire blazes most destructively when we lose sight of the truth that the most beautiful thing in the world to Jesus is people.

    In Part Two, Sauls casts his net wider to address the Yin and the Yang of dilemmas that have been argued since Jesus walked this broken ground. Sauls pulls back the curtain on his own Pharisaism, insecurities, and disappointments, yielding a powerful collection of essays on the Christian life in relation to:

    1.Criticism The fact that Jesus affirmed both His followers and His non-followers opens the door for present-day Christ-followers to affirm expressions of truth, beauty, and goodness wherever [we] find them.

    2.Judgment The holiness of God requires a realistic look at humanitys hopeless depravity, and yet, for the Christian, Judgment Day has been absorbed by Christ. Wanting this freedom for others is the best motivation for evangelism, and Moses sums it up beautifully in Exodus 20:20: Fear God so that you will not have to be afraid of Him.

    3.Hypocrisy Yeah, its true. Gandhi and all the others who complain about the hypocrites in church are telling it like it is. In the words of Anne Lamott, were all very crazy and very damaged, but the transformation that Christ makes in a life puts the believer on a path toward demonstrating the loveliness of Jesus. The more time we spend with Him, the more like Him we will become; and, consequently, the more faithfully we will walk His path.

    4.Sexuality Succinctly, Sauls interprets the whole of Scripture to say that God is in favor of sexual freedom. However, our culture of casual sex has led to outcomes that are anything but casual. Sauls shares heart-rending conversations he has had with believers who struggle with same-sex attraction, and his conclusions are both biblical and compassionate.

    5.Suffering Christ Himself wept and raged over the suffering and loss on planet Earth. The knowledge that all will be put to right by the Resurrection and the Life when Sam Gamgee is proved right and everything sad does come untrue, is a call for the believer to fight against suffering and injustice in this present age. Hope and realism are both appropriate responses to life on a fallen planet.

    6.Self-esteem Competitive, narcissistic humans express our brokenness in our misplaced hunger for approval. The Bible offers humility as an antidote to our self-absorption along with the fact that youre a worse sinner than you ever dared imagine, and youre more loved than you ever dared hope.

    A theme that runs like a fresh-water stream through Jesus Outside the Lines is the truth that Jesus managed to defy all the labels imposed by the religious elite in His day, and He continues to elude our definitions today. Jesus Outside the Lines is a challenge to look for Jesus outside the boundaries and an invitation to join Him there.

    This book was provided by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.
  3. Dallas, PA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Jesus Outside the Lines
    March 10, 2015
    Dallas, PA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Refreshing, a valuable encouragement, insightful approach, a gem. Those descriptions come from the endorsements presented at the start of this book. I have to admit when I read those very complimentary words, I resolved to read it anyway thinking the hype was too good. Cynical? Yes, and very wrong. This book lives up to all those kind words.

    This is for the person who is indeed tired of having to take sides within and without the assembly of Christian people. Most of us already know the conversation and rhetoric has gotten out of control in political and ethical matters, not to mention matters of religion. Sauls enters the fray with a voice of what most would call a voice of reason. Actually, it more a voice of a peacemaker or counselor.

    His book approaches the lines (battle lines in some cases) within the context of Jesus and His ways, not from a particular set of traditions. The more we move outside the lines of our traditions and cultures, the more we will also be moving toward Jesus. (xxi) Cooling the rhetoric and looking for ways to build bridges and not burn them is his plan (xxvii) which I think he has accomplished well in a little over 200 pages.

    One of the chapters has to do with hypocrites in the church and of course he starts from Gandhis now famous statement comparing Jesus with His followers. You will like the way Sauls handles that discussion without avoiding the obvious truth of Gandhi had to say. This and several discussions were very helpful in my opinion.

    I do recommend this book to you. He includes a short section for the atheist who may decide to read this book because the atheist, too, is tired of taking sides. That, I think, is a wise move since the atheist population has some valuable input to the discussion as well. The list Sauls closes this book comes from Daniel Finckes Top 10 Tips for Christian Evangelism (From an Atheist). Quite honestly, its good set of tips.

    This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a review.

  4. Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Read this sooner, rather than later.
    February 27, 2015
    Sufficient in Jesus
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    A powerful, practical little volume!

    I requested Jesus Outside the Lines because of the subtitle.

    Who isn't tired of taking sides?

    I can turn on the radio these days and my head starts spinning.

    So many issues, so many debates, so many hot topics....

    How do we pick our battles?

    And is that even an analogy we should use?

    Are these confrontations to win or opportunities to engage?

    This book claims to point to a way forward.

    Does it deliver?

    Yes. For me it did.

    Scott Saul has arranged this book around ten contemporary areas of division, in our politics, piety, fiscal policy, and posture towards others.

    Red State or Blue State?

    For the Unborn or for the Poor?

    Personal Faith or Institutional Church?

    Money Guilt or Money Greed?

    Affirmation or Critique?

    Accountability or Compassion?

    Hypocrite or Work in Progress?

    Sexual Freedom or Chastity?

    Hope Or Realism?

    Self Esteem or God-Esteem?

    These chapters are not in-depth sermons about each issue that tell you what to say and think/

    Instead, this book calls us back to foundational Gospel truths, allowing us to think about what that means for these issues.

    Sometimes I wish he'd had more room to explore the nuances of things, most particularly in the chapter on organized church.

    As always, we have to define the church first, as a family, not a building or program.

    And once we've said that, then people will ask why the family has to gather weekly on Sunday, in a stuffy/drafty/formal/unaesthetic building.

    "If you're hooking up with fellow Christians, challenging, counseling, and communing with each other, isn't that church?"

    We all want a solid, committed, stable Christian experience, in church or out... and then we're right back where we started, re-inventing the wheel.....

    Even in places where you do disagree with him- on something big or small- I think you'll find him sincere and gentle.

    If he speaks and lives the way he writes (and people are saying that he does) then he's enfleshing his convictions with compassion, and always attempting to behold the Image Bearer in the middle of the issue.

    His chapter on sexual purity strikes some critically important notes.

    As long as fulfillment, intimacy, and satisfying relationships are linked so tightly to sex, then we can't realistically ask anyone to be chaste or celibate.

    So should we fling away chastity? Heavens no. Instead, he asks to provide companionship, human touch, and emotional support for each other in "friendships as deep and lasting as marriage and as meaningful as sex."

    Wouldn't that help everyone out- no matter why you're single or for how long?

    Each chapter had a few gems that I heavily underlined.

    In the chapter on Christianity and politics he says "Public faith enriches the world not by grasping for earthly power, but through self-donation."

    Later, in Affirmation or Critique? he says "If people are going to get upset with us, let's at least make sure they are the same type of people who got upset with Jesus. The lepers and the crooks and the drunks and the gluttons and the sexually promiscuous people and the sinners and the nonchurchgoers, to be clear, did not get upset with Jesus....These people were drawn to him."

    Jesus Outside the Lines is worth a read, sooner rather than later.
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