A Gospel That Matters. Check out this review of A Mile Wide

A Gospel that Matters: A Mile Wide Book Review

A Gospel That Matters

In his new book, A Mile Wide: Trading a Shallow Religion for a Deeper Faith, Brandon Hatmaker, uses an age old phrase “mile wide, inch deep”  to challenge all believers, and those exploring their faith, to go a little deeper. Just like the Platte River, from which we get this term, it is easy to get caught up in the expanse of our service as Christians instead of the depth of our relationship with Christ. We should be transformed by the gospel. He says, “We have to spend far more time nurturing what no one ever sees under the surface than worrying about what’s above the soil. Things like Scripture and prayer and community root us so deeply. They are the unglamorous, unfancy work of discipleship.”

Hatmaker fights for the Bride of Christ by calling back the disenfranchised and reminding those camping within the walls of the church of the true purpose of the gospel. The gospel transforms every part of our life. It moves us to live out this transforming experience in every day of the week. “True Christianity is lived along the way, between the church services and Bible studies.”

Community That Means Something

I was so inspired by Hatmaker’s stories and practical ideas for building authentic community. We need community at church, we need community with those we serve alongside, and we need community with those with whom we share common ground. A Mile Wide both inspires and provides practical tips on how to grow these authentic communities.  In addition, there are also discussion questions at the end of each chapter, which are great for a group bible study or for personal reflection.

Whether you are tired of the same old-same old, questioning if community as believers is even possible, or wondering if you should become a believer, I’ll leave you with these final words from Hatmaker: “A shallow religion survives from event to event and program to program. A deeper faith is rooted in trusting relationships where permission is granted to struggle, fail, and take risks. It’s a place where questions are welcomed and everyone is a learner again. Where the scabs of loneliness, emptiness, and false hope are ripped off and replaced with a concern for others, a place to be propped up, and a shared gospel worth living for.”

Let’s go deep together!

A Mile Wide releases September 13th but you can pre-order your copy of A Mile Wide here!

The Fine Print

****I was first introduced to the Hatmaker phenomenon 7 years ago when I participated in a summer women’s Bible study using Jen Hatmaker’s book: Road Trip: Five Adventures You’re Meant to Live.  Since that time, I’ve devoured Seven, Interrupted and most recently For the Love. As an avid fan of all things Hatmaker, I was very excited to review a book by Jen’s husband, Brandon Hatmaker.  Brandon is the pastor of Austin New Church and author of Barefoot Church. I received an advanced pdf version of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.





My One Thing

Three years ago, my husband and I moved to Texas. We had been traveling a lot with work and this position in the company had no plans of travel on the horizon whatsoever. When you’ve lived out of a suitcase your entire first year of marriage, that sounds heavenly.
So we moved to The Colony, Texas (a very awesome decision by the way) and started living life. Not too deep into Marshall’s new position, he was introduced to a concept called ‘one thing’. In a nutshell, your one thing is the one thing that you aim to do daily that will prove you are doing your job well. I loved this concept. Even recall saying: “I want a ‘one thing’!” {insert whiny voice}
Fast forward 2 and a half years. I’m a mommy to a new born, teaching part time at a preschool and struggling to regain ‘me’. All mommies know what I’m talking about. That postpartum haze. The fog that robs you of your mind, takes your emotions for a roller coaster ride, and wreaks havoc on your personal identity. You start asking yourself: Who am I?
That was me. I was involved in a lot of good things but I wasn’t happy.  The problem was they weren’t the best things for me to be doing. They were activities that I could do, but so could anyone else. They were committees and events that didn’t make my heart skip a beat. And to be honest my contribution didn’t really turn any heads either. I did my job and did it well. But only because someone asked me. Only because there was a need. And well someone had to do it.
Then one day I realized that I had a bad attitude. And I didn’t care. I knew these causes I was connected to were so incredibly important. They were making a difference. But not because of me. In spite of me. I was filling needs.
When the light bulb in my head came on so did the memory of my husband’s one thing.
I needed a one thing!
With a clear concise one thing, I could easily separate the needs from the callings! {excitement building!!!}
And so with very little editing, I drafted the following ‘one thing’ filter:
To reach children and their families by showing them the love of Jesus in a fun and creative way.
I did this last December. Since that time, I can’t think of a single event that I’ve participated in that did not fall quite nicely into my ‘one thing’ prerequisite. If an opportunity came up that didn’t line up with this ‘one thing’ there was only one answer to give: “Thanks but no!!”
Does this mean I say ‘no’ to anything that doesn’t have to do with children or their families? No. If someone needs me to set up a few chairs, I’ll happily do it. If you need me to make a few phone calls, sure. But I won’t be heading up a committee to fundraise for a new roof or singing a special on Easter Sunday.
But you might catch me dancing with toddlers and carrying around a plush heart with arms tenderly referred to as Huggy Heart by my little friends. You might see me speaking passionately about families and the importance of Dedication of Home and Family. You might even catch me doing a Science experiment in my backyard just to make sure it will work before trying it at school. And you’ll definitely catch me on translategoogle.com trying to stay one step ahead of my budding Spanish bilinguals.
I’ve found my one thing and it feels great.
What about you? Do you know your one thing? Are you living the dream or spinning your wheels?