Welcome to Meeting 7 of our Beautiful Outlaw book club. I know a few of you have mentioned falling behind in your reading. Don’t worry about it! Christy and I are delighted to keep the conversation going over in the community whenever you do finish each chapter set.
I know this book may call for a slow and steady reading – time to soak in what you are learning, what Jesus is revealing. Take your time. We are in no rush here!
Today we are chatting about chapters 13, 14 & 15.
Chapter 13-Loving Jesus
“To have Jesus, really have him, is to have the greatest treasure in all worlds.”
– John Eldredge
In this chapter, John Eldredge talks about the overwhelming, overflowing love of Jesus – how we can share our daily life with Him. We can have him the same way the disciples did. Like Mary or Lazarus did.
“Love Jesus, let him be himself with you, and allow his life to permeate yours. The fruit of this will be breathtaking.”
What do you imagine this fruit will look like?
Has the Christ you’ve known been more distant than the Jesus you’ve gotten to know in Beautiful Outlaw? JE talks about how this is who Jesus is. This is how and who he presented himself as – he has not changed.
This chapter also spends some time on the practice of loving Jesus. Eldredge shared how he will simply tell Jesus he loves him over and over again… what are some ways we can practice loving Jesus? Did any of the things that JE suggests strike a chord within your heart?
We want to practice loving Jesus, but we also don’t want to over-complicate things. I love what Eldredge said about Saint Francis: “He didn’t fall in love with church, he fell in love with Jesus.”
Can you imagine what that would look like across the Church – if love for Jesus was first and foremost? As you’ve read this book have you discovered your past love of Jesus has been more formula, or more “love affair” (to borrow JE’s phrase)?
The battle of false reverence is tackled within this chapter. Because we are covering a few other chapters today, I don’t have time to elaborate too much here but do you feel that a false reverence keeps you from coming closer to Jesus?
JE talks about reverence being a slippery slope within the Church, within our own lives. What are your thoughts on that? Did you understand what he was saying/are you willing to take a look at this within your own relationship?
Chapter 14- Letting Jesus Be Himself With You
This chapter opens up with the problem of hardship. Can you relate to the image of Jesus being shattered for you through hard/sad life experiences? In what ways has all this book tackled opened your eyes to the True Jesus? Anything you can pin-point within these pages that has come over you anew concerning Him?
John Eldredge asks, “What if we could experience everything
we’ve read about Jesus in this book?”
What emotions do you feel asking yourself that question? What changes would it bring if you (and I) experienced Jesus this fully?
JE’s “Kitchen Windows” parable has me laughing out loud each time I read it. It is an eyeopening thought – what limits have we put (intentionally or unintentionally) on Jesus?
I think my favorite take away from this entire book is this: Jesus is still Himself. He has not changed. He is still overflowing with personality. He is still ready to meet us – to reveal Himself. To laugh, to play, to stun, to challenge, to correct, to lead. All of Him, in his fullness, available to us. Every. Single. Day. He can be known this way. We can know Him as He truly is.
Eldredge shares two great starting points for getting to really beginning this process:
- We need to know what to look for. Jesus’ full personality, the Who He Is within Scripture and within our daily relationship with Him.
- We need to remove some of the debris piled in the way of our knowing Him. For example, if you believe Jesus doesn’t speak to you, it will be hard to hear when he does… etc. What limits have you placed on Jesus? Are you willing to break through them?
Something else that stood out to me within this chapter was this: If knowing Jesus is the most important thing, shouldn’t we expect enemy fire? The enemy does not want us to know Jesus this way, because to know Jesus in his full personality and beautiful outlawness is to live a changed life. What ways we can safeguard ourselves against the attacks coming at us as we pursue Jesus more intentionally?
JE goes further in this chapter with the necessary reasons overcoming our own brokenness and forgiving Jesus are so vital. Have you considered how these two things need to be dealt with in order to go forward? What were your thoughts on “forgiving Jesus’” – was that a bit controversial to you?
Chapter 15- Clearing Away The Religious Fog
I’ll make this chapter’s recap quick for us so we can jump into the discussion.
This chapter kicks off with JE (quite funnily) sharing about how he likes when his wife gets annoyed since she is so rarely angry. It reveals her fiery side. “Why a person gets angry reveals a lot about who they are,” he writes.
Can you imagine Mother Teresa throwing a fit on YouTube?
This chapter explores the things Jesus got angry at. His anger in the temple. How he was so against religious “trickery and corruption.” Jesus is always about intimacy with His Father and if something gets in the way of that? He is none too pleased.
What are some ways we can benefit from studying up on the things that angered Jesus? What did you think about JE pointing out how if it makes Jesus mad, it should make us mad?
Eldredge writes about how serious we should take Jesus’ warning to be careful of the yeast of the Pharisees/Sadducees.
He writes, “If you would know Jesus, you must pay very careful attention to this warning.“ He also points out how we need to keep from villainizing the biblical Pharisees – turning their “yeast” into something that was only an issue ” back then.” We need to be on the guard within us, our Churches, today.
How can we clear the fog and better love Jesus? What ways can we be on guard and be people who don’t fall under the religious fog John Eldredge expands on?
Thankfully, for us, John Eldredge asks the question on all of our minds for us: Where do we begin?
“There is Christianity and then there is Christian culture. They are not the same.” ← WOW. Do we insist our personal preference is the only way to praise or get to know Jesus? Do our churches do that?
Eldredges list of “religious language” had me cracking up because how true is that? How on point was he?! He writes that “religious talk is an immediate sign of religious infection.” What are your thoughts on that?
I heartily agree that we need to love Jesus more than the cultures we’ve created around Him.
“Bizarre people are probably the most effective tool of the enemy to turn people off to Jesus.”
– John Eldredge
Eldredge suggest a simple test to tell if our religious jargon is hindering more than helping – “if you can’t drop your church culture & language into the middle of a bar or bus and have it make some kind of sense to the people there, then it is not from Jesus.”
What made Jesus to likable to you? In what ways can you work that part of his personality into the way you interact with those who are not saved? With those who are?
JE also talks about some “quick test points” we can be on the lookout for within church and the culture that comes with it to see if we are in dangerous territory. The following are just a few he listed:
- Look for false reverence in place of loving Jesus – Would smoking or swearing get more of a reaction than the flat-out ignoring of Jesus?
- Knowing about God substitutes personally knowing/experiencing God -Do your leaders actually know and experience Jesus, not just spout of more information about the Bible?
- Power (things like miracles) confused for intimacy with Jesus – Miracle chasing or chasing Jesus?
- Religious activity replacing commitment to Christ- lots of programs, functions, to-dos.
How can we be on the lookout for these and the others he listed? Have you personally experienced any of the following situations within church?
Join us in the community for more in-depth discussion as there is a lot happening within these chapters! I cannot wait to hear your thoughts.