Review: Live Sent
Ever read one of those books that cause you to look over your shoulder to see if the author is copying things from your thoughts or personal journal? That's how I felt reading Jason Dukes' book Live Sent.
Jason is the pastor of Westpoint Church in Orlando, Florida, and I've also had the privilege of meeting and calling Jason a like-minded friend. He graciously agreed to come share with our church in Blacksburg, Virginia last fall, and since then, I've used Live Sent with some of the guys I meet with. This spring, some of our small groups are using it as a discussion book.
Live Sent reads like a conversation with Jason. At times, his writing style is so conversational that if you prefer a more formal writing style, you'll be a little put off. In addition, the book could use some more editing. Those are just minor critiques.
Jason uses the extended analogy of a letter and the process of sending throughout the book, and it never seems to get old. He crafts a timely message to Christians urging us to remember that we are a letter written from God to our world.
"And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts." (2 Corinthians 3:3 ESV)
Some of the best chapters in the book are the following:
"Church culture in general has become more "come and see" than "go and be." The letters (people sent by Christ) are, for the most part, sitting in the draft box of your email or on the post office shelf. It's like we have a message to deliver, but we are expecting people to come to our house and get the email or stop by the post office and pick up the letter."
a fueling station or a post office
"Sunday mornings cannot be viewed as just fueling stations any longer. They must be viewed as post offices, gathering and sorting mail in order to send out those letters into daily culture.
He says that until we see ourselves as letters to be sent, that church-goers will continue "their addictions to personal worship experiences and leaders will continue to burn out under the pressure to create that same attractive, compelling environment every week."
In a great assessment of how backwards we sometimes get spiritual maturity, Jason says,
"It's not self-improvement or self-actualization. It's not self-anything. When the goal of our spirituality is self-anything, it usually results in self-righteousness. Self-assurance and personal fulfillment are not our end game. Denial of self must be the first step every day. When spiritual maturity is defined in terms of beyond-self rather than in terms of myself, then my understanding of the importance of the church will line up more with the intent Jesus had for His church."
Understanding spiritual maturity is vital for Christians if we realize it is our goal. After all, the apostle Paul shaped his ministry around bringing Christians to maturity:
"Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me." (Colossians 1:28-29 ESV)
a letter, not a personal to-do list
stay on the postal route (or wireless travel)
"If you are not living sent in the marketplace, then you are wasting more than 50% of your awake time each week."
"Living sent in our world isn't just about a get-in then get-out experience."
It's this chapter that has a great section on how we leverage our influence on the internet. This is something I earnestly seek to do, and I preach it to others as well. Jason offers some great challenges about how Christians can live sent on Twitter, Facebook and the inter webs.
He also has a chapter titled "when mail gets blocked," and I think his concept is a great one, but the chapter itself seemed convoluted and a little repetitive. I also liked the chapter "you are not junk mail" which seeks to communicate that we all are created in the image of God and have great purpose and opportunity to bless others. We all deserve reading because God is such a creative writer.
I'd encourage you to pick up Jason's book and give it a good read. Then start finding your ways to live sent. You need to be read as well.