Review of Jesus Loves You, This I Know...

Perusing through a few books at a mobile book sale, I ran across this interesting book.  No matter what, Jesus loves us.  Maybe you needed to hear that today...or maybe, just maybe, one of your friends or family members needs this great lesson.

Have a great Friday. Feel free to leave comments.

-Steve


Available from Amazon.com

Jesus Love You, This I Know.
By Craig Gross & Jason Harper
Baker Books
ISBN-13:  978-0801013294
196 Pages (Includes front and back matter)

Review by Steven King, MBA, MEd

It is easy for me to say that I believe Jesus loves you.  But if the truth is known, there have been many times in my life where I have felt that he didn’t love me.  True, many people had told me that Jesus loved me…that there was nothing I could ever do to not be loved by him.  During those times I was guilty of lobbing whimsical incantations of “Take heart, Jesus loves you,” at people experiencing low points.  Now I see the hypocrisy of saying one thing and believing another.  More to the point: it is easy for me to believe that Jesus loves you—it is harder for me to believe that Jesus loves me. 

I have always believed that if I commit a sin, it’s unforgiveable. Again, on a purely theological basis, I believe I understand that God loves us and readily forgives us…it just does not seem that I can easily appropriate his love into my mindset.  I have entertained the belief that there are some people who God just does not love.

Do you want to know a secret? It’s a lie: there is nothing that can ever separate us from God’s love. Now, to be true to theology, we have to remember there are things which can cut us off from experiencing fellowship with God. I believe this is the tenor of the anguish experienced by David in Psalm 66:18: “If I had harbored sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” [NET Bible]  Unbelievers do not have fellowship since they have not carved out a relationship with God…once they do they will have the “spring of life” available to them as well.

As I was rummaging through books at a mobile book sale in the workplace, into my life came a book which, for the most part, illustrates this beautifully: Jesus Love You, This I Know by Craig Gross and Jason Harper.  Craig Gross I remember from my days in youth ministry—Mr. Gross had noticed a recurrent theme in those he cared for: a struggle with pornography.  Earning him the moniker, “the Porn Pastor,” he decided to go after pornography at its root and founded the controversial XXXchurch.com website which was devoted to telling the truth about porn.  Jason Harper I had never heard of – but apparently he is very active at his church—Capital Christian Center in Sacramento, California—where he serves as its Director of Outreach.

I found the book to be written in a delightful conversational style. The essence of the stories they share bear the same conclusion: “no matter what has happened in your life, Jesus loves you.”  This book is divided into ten chapters, each illustrating a different category of people whom Jesus loves…Jesus loves the:

  • Bitter and betrayed
  • Disconnected
  • Broken
  • Forgotten
  • Skeptic
  • Glutton
  • Crook
  • Outcast
  • Porn Star
  • Religious
Perhaps the most controversial aspect of this book is related by Mr. Gross when he discussed going into porn conventions to hand out Bibles emblazoned with, “Jesus loves porn stars” on the cover.  He has forged a friendship with one of the more notorious male porn stars where they travel and engage in “debates” where each offers his insights into the world of pornography. I do believe that the message of Jesus should be taken to all people, but I fear a certain level of compromise if you descend too deeply into the quagmire of the enemy.  I would much prefer that Mr. Gross’s estimation of Jesus love was reflected in a new mantra: Jesus loves former porn stars.

The best written chapter of the book includes a discourse about how Craig Gross came to the realization that he really did not have affinity for those who were religious, since often these people sneered at him claiming his close ties with the porn industry violated a moral standard.  To console himself, Gross quotes his porn star partner, Ron Jeremy, who reacts to the consternation by exclaiming, “My world loves you more than your world loves me.”  Perhaps there is an overall lesson about acceptance—and the fact that Jesus does love everyone.

In a world that may have dismissed church as a declaration of living in a post-Christian reality, Gross and Harper are onto something. Jesus loves sinners (including you and me)…this, I know.

Comments

  1. I had heard about this site recently on a talk show...but mostly, I confess, I was drawn in by the title which reminded me of a comforting childhood song, LOL... I was also reminded when I read your article, of Jesus meeting the woman at the well and what would have happened if he had said something like, "go, become an ex-prostitute and then come back and we'll talk about my love and ministry?" Perhaps we Christians play it too safe these days--and yet the world is worse than it has ever been???

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  2. Ms. Bixler,
    I think you're right - the world is worse than it's ever been because we've played it too safe. While Gross and Harper are a little over the top...it is perhaps what's needed for today.

    -Steve

    ReplyDelete
  3. While I too believe the work of the Xxx-church might be somewhat extreme, it is encouraging to know that such a simple message of Jesus loving us is still so profoundly simple and yet offers all that choose to believe so much hope.

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  4. Yes, I agree with this anonymous poster. The message of Jesus is simply profound: unmerited favor...not due to our goodness but due only to Jesus' goodness and sacrifice on our behalf.

    -Steve

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  5. I'm a believer, doe I'm not overly religious but I believe in certain things like love, life after death, soul and so on...
    I also believe there was a person like Jesus and that he left us best possible message to share it among us.
    Keep blogging, beautiful post.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you, Aschartria. I, too, am not overly religious...that is why I promote a relationship with Jesus. :)

    -Steve

    ReplyDelete

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