Of. Between. With. In.
4 very small words. Could the entire Bible be described in 4 small words?!? Sometimes reading through the Bible can be VERY confusing and very complicated. Even as someone who's spent a lifetime reading God's Word and my entire adult life teaching God's Word, it can still be tricky to make sense of what those 66 books are all about independently, collectively, and for our lives.
This book helps to connect the dots. That's why I fell in love with Jarrett Steven's new book, four small words. Here is just a highlight from each movement of this book...
- OF. "The story of the Creation is the story of our beginning. It begins with humanity being OF God. Simply defined: Each of us comes from God and belongs to God." The story begins and it is a beautiful one. It's a story born in love and an intention for connection, intimacy, and relationship...both with God and one another.
- BETWEEN. "The movement of the old Testament tells story after story of In-Betweens. It's the story of a people on the move but never quite coming home. It's the story of how people respond to a God who is ever present but suddenly seemingly distant. It's the story of a God who continues to build bridges while His people continue to build walls. The story of a God who goes between through covenants, commandments, temples, priests, kings, and prophets." It seems like most of our lives are still lived in the in-between part of the story. And yet, it is only the second act of the Bible. The separation from God has much to teach us and show us as people who were born of God. Reading Jarrett's understanding of this act also is a reminder of how the Triune God has been pursuing us relentlessly, even in the between times.
- WITH. "In His first recorded sermon, Jesus talked about people - popped He came to be with. He could have spoken about a lot of hotbed issues of the day. There are a lot of what's that Jesus could have taught about....but instead He focused on who. He declared right off the bat that He came to be WITH." I LOVE THIS! Much has been said and studied about the life of Jesus, and yet Jarrett does a poetically and powerful description of what God came to do and bring through his life on earth.
- IN. "IN Him, through Him, and for Him, all things were created. He goes ALL IN for all things." The book ends with a party...because the Good News becomes great as the Living God comes in for eternity. It's extraordinary to finish a book knowing that the story isn't actually over.
I trusted that this book would be one that I enjoyed and learned a few things. But I wasn't expecting for so many dots to be connected in my own understanding of God's Word. I was especially drawn to a short section about seasons. That last couple years of my life have been a painful and broken journey. The past year, especially, has taken me into some dark places and challenged me. Jarrett's words moved me to tears as he gently pastored me with loving truth:
Once again, I found my place in time within the grand story of all time. It deepened my faith and trust in the God to whom I belong.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Jarrett is one of my oldest friends. Jarrett and Jeanne were my first bosses when I started in ministry in the late '90s. We have a deep history for which I'm very grateful. I trust his relationship with Jesus. He's also one of the most brilliant teachers I've ever known. Jarrett gifted me with this book (even though I tried to pay for it! He's just generous like that.) and I couldn't wait to soak in every word. It didn't disappoint. It strikes a great balance of truth and love, soulful reflection and poignant humor, personal and universal connection. Writing this book was a labor of love for Jarrett. He literally wrote and re-wrote this book several times over many years. And this version is the right one for this time! Jarrett didn't ask me to write this review, but I needed to say "YES AND AMEN!" to the words penned on these pages. Because I believe if it was transformative for me, it will be for you, too.