Start Here: Beginning a Relationship with Jesus. That's the title. If I had seen this book on a shelf of Barnes and Noble, I'm not sure I would have been especially drawn to read it, because I've had a relationship with Jesus for as long as I can remember. I've already started, ya know?
But this book wasn't just one on a shelf for me. This book was written by two people I know and respect and genuinely love. One is the pastor of my beloved HOPE Church, the other is on staff there as well (and also is the mom of the three awesome kiddos I recently nannied for), and they both are authentic and solid Jesus-followers and leaders.
So this book, Start Here, came to me in the mail. And I started to read it. I didn't even get through the first page before I felt like I was sitting in Starbucks chatting with Nicole and David over cups of coffee (probably the HOPE blend we serve at church because it's really good).
The words of this book are so real. David and Nicole tell their stories in the introduction before chapter 1 even starts, and they don't do it in any fancy or elite sort of way, they just tell you who they are and how their relationships with Jesus started. It's an honest conversation from the very first lines, and I love that. It's so very real.
Every chapter starts with a story from someone (also very real) who is a part of HOPE and a part of the body of Christ. Their stories are raw, they're normal, they're still being written. All their stories started somewhere, and God has kept writing better and better chapters as they've grown.
My story started a long time ago, and I was about 7 years old when I decided to dive in to my own real relationship with Jesus. But now, at 21, this book about starting a relationship with Jesus still resonated with me. I heard echoes of my story in the words of the stories on these pages. I was reminded of so much goodness about who God is and so much truth about how He wants to know me. I was drawn in, page by page, eager to uncover more.
It didn't matter that my relationship with Jesus started a long time ago. This book was still an authentic and encouraging reminder of what faith looks like.
This book is solid. This book is sound. This book comes straight from the Bible through the words of two people who love the Lord so evidently and are such incredible tools He is using to build the kingdom here on earth.
Bob Goff (author of Love Does) endorsed the book by saying this, and I wholeheartedly agree:
"The story about Jesus is a simple one; so is His message. This is a book that blows the foam off the top and gives His simple message uncomplicated, accurate freshness."
If you have no idea who Jesus is or what being a Christian means or looks like, Start Here. If you've known Jesus for 75 years, Start Here. If you're somewhere in the middle, pretty confused and not even really that interested, Start Here. I'll send you my copy, just say the word. If you want your own, it's here on Amazon, or Barnes and Noble, or wherever else you can buy books online.
If you want a copy put directly into your hands by an awesome smiling person, come to the Carpenter Center in Richmond on Easter Sunday with HOPE at 8:30, 10:00 or 11:00 and you'll get one there.
It's such a good place to start. It isn't scary, it isn't overwhelming, it's just real. Real is the best way to be with Jesus, so just start here.