Kickstarter Project: Flannelgraph Jesus

Another book about Jesus?

Yes! But I think you’ll like it. Here’s why: First, it’s not for theologians or super Christians—it’s for everybody. You won’t need an exegetical dictionary to read it. You’ll only need to be interested in seeing Jesus in a refreshingly new light. Second, it might change your life. Scratch that, Jesus will change your life. Especially when you get a better understanding of how awesome he really was!

As a pastor, my dream is to help people get a clearer picture of Jesus. It’s time to go beyond a one-dimensional picture of Christ and see the man, who lived, laughed, loved, and ultimately died for the world. He’s so much more than just the Bible story Jesus. There are so many characteristics of his personality that go unnoticed or underappreciated.

I’m raising the funds so that I can self-publish the book. Here’s a breakdown of how the money will be used:

* Cover Design $500

* Interior Layout $250

* Copy Editing $500

* First printing $1,000

* Marketing $500

* Miscellaneous $250

Total cost is $3,000

The first draft is already completed and is 22,000 words. After final editing and revisions, I expect to finish at 25,000. That will make the finished product about 125 pages.

Tentative Chapter Titles:

Didn’t Know He Was Funny

Didn’t Know He Was Tough

Didn’t Know He Was Rebellious

Didn’t Know He Was Teacher

Didn’t Know He Was a Friend

Didn’t Know He Was a Brother

Didn’t Know He Was Creator

Didn’t Know He Was Messiah

Risks and challenges

Because the first draft is already completed, the biggest challenge that I have now is editing. Currently, the manuscript is being reviewed by my team of “beta readers.” This is sort of like a test audience for movies. Once I hear back from my beta readers I will make changes and then submit to my editor.

I’m working with a couple people that have a lot of credibility in the Christian book publishing world so I’m getting lots of good guidance along the way.

3 Reasons Why People Lose Their Faith

I’m a notorious loser. But not in the way you are thinking. See, I lose things. I lose my keys and my phone just about every day. I can never find my computer power cord. I couldn’t tell you the last time I owned a pair of sunglasses for more than a week or two.

But it’s one thing to lose your keys, and it’s another thing to lose your faith. Replacing your keys (though troublesome) is possible. Replacing your faith is much more challenging.

There are a lot of reasons that people walk away from their beliefs. Each person has their own set of motives, I’m sure. But in my experience as a minister over the last many years, there are three reasons I see most often.

The Teaching Is Too Hard to Understand

In John 6, there is a fascinating exchange between Jesus and his followers. In verse 56 Jesus says, “Those who eat my body and drink my blood live in me, and I live in them.” This must have been the first time many of his followers heard anything like this and they didn’t like it. According to John, they said, “This teaching is hard, who can accept it?” After that, many of them stopped following Jesus.

Of course, Jesus was speaking in spiritual terms. The followers, who had recently feasted on the miraculous loaves and fishes, thought Jesus was being literal.

Today, a lot of people decide to walk away from their faith the moment they can’t understand every tiny detail. To them, if God cannot be rationalized and categorized then they can’t believe.

It’s okay to have questions if you’re a believer. It’s ok to have gaps in your belief.

Faith is what lies in the gap between what you know and what you don’t know yet.Click To Tweet

You would think that because I’m a pastor I don’t have any doubts or questions about my faith. I have tons! There are many things I don’t understand, but I know that one day I will.

The Lifestyle Is Too Hard To Follow

Can we be honest? It’s hard to be a good Christian. It’s tough to forgive others. It’s challenging to be patient with people. And it’s near impossible to forgive in all situations.

My default mode is to be selfish–to look out for #1. But following Jesus means that we need to act opposite of our selfish ways. We should put others first. We should turn the other cheek when wronged. We should be patient with people. It’s just much, much easier not to.

In Matthew 7:13, Jesus said we should “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.”

The narrow gate is the harder path to navigate. The wide gate is easy to enter. Anyone can do it.

Frankly, people give up on Christianity because they thought it would be easy. Someone must have told them that when they decided to follow Jesus life would be a cinch. Sorry, the opposite is true. Those who decide to place their faith in Christ face an uphill battle. They must suppress their fleshly desires and seek God and his desires.

I realize that I’m not painting a rosy picture of Christianity here but I’m being honest.

People leave Jesus because it’s harder to believe than not to.Click To Tweet

The People are Too Difficult To Live With

Of all the people I’ve known that have fallen away from Jesus, most have left because of other Christians. They’ve been mistreated, spiritually abused or exploited, taken advantage of, and lied to.

Maybe you’ve felt this way too? Perhaps you trusted someone who professes to be a “Christian” but acts like the devil. You may feel betrayed and rejected by them and so you turn your back on God.

Remember that Jesus was betrayed too. He was rejected. In the gospel of John, chapter 6, Jesus asked his disciples, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.”

Jesus knew that Judas would betray him and yet, he still chose him. Do you ever wonder what it was like for Jesus to spend three years with Judas, the whole time knowing that Judas would sell him out? And yet, during the last supper, Jesus washed the feet of all his disciples. That included Judas, his betrayer. What an incredible picture of love and acceptance.

So, What To Do?

I know that it’s tempting to abandon faith because a few of the “faithful” are poor examples of Christianity. But don’t. Remember that Jesus accepted Judas. Remember that Jesus died for everyone, including those who left him because his teaching was “too hard.”

Learn to rely on Christ for guidance on the narrow path. Lastly, learn to be comfortable not understanding everything. After all, the prophet Isaiah quoted God as saying, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.”