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Untamed: How the Wild Side of Jesus Frees Us to Live and Love with Abandon

Untamed: How the Wild Side of Jesus Frees Us to Live and Love with Abandon

3.9 11
by Lisa Harper

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Have you met the real Jesus—the One who is wild enough to set you free?
Too many people settle for relating to Jesus merely as a comfortable friend and companion, when what we all need is an untamed Savior, a fearless champion tough enough to conquer our shame and compelling enough for us to follow him without hesitation.


Have you met the real Jesus—the One who is wild enough to set you free?
Too many people settle for relating to Jesus merely as a comfortable friend and companion, when what we all need is an untamed Savior, a fearless champion tough enough to conquer our shame and compelling enough for us to follow him without hesitation.
I finally realized my caricature of Jesus wasn’t big enough to calm my anxiety or heal my wounds or defeat the wickedness in our world. Pretending Jesus is less than He is resulted in someone I wasn’t compelled to worship. So I began a journey to discover the whole Jesus—including the seemingly rough and wild parts—revealed in the Bible. And I found Him to be bigger and better than I ever dreamed.
—Lisa Harper
Through a powerful blend of storytelling and biblical insights, Lisa Harper invites you to engage with the Jesus of the gospels, a person so provocative that no one left an encounter with Him unchanged. Pharisees fumed, paralytics turned cartwheels, and pariahs found love and acceptance.
Come meet the Jesus who is both safe and strong—and learn how this radical Redeemer can liberate you to live and love with abandon.
Includes questions for group discussion or personal reflection.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for  Untamed

“This book is an invitation you’ll want to accept. Lisa Harper invites you to meet the Jesus she knows—and just as those who encountered Jesus centuries ago, you’ll never be the same.” —Max Lucado, New York Times best-selling author

“What an outrageous, uproarious, unexpected approach to Jesus. It made me laugh out loud and want to fling myself more wholeheartedly into my faith. Lisa’s stories smack with humanity, and her insights burst open with divinity. What a wild combination! What an untamed adventure!”  —Patsy Clairmont, author of Kaleidoscope

“One of the things I love about Lisa Harper is her uncanny ability to teach us something and we don’t even realize we are learning. As she takes the stories of her everyday life and weaves them into stories found throughout the Bible, I find myself drawn in. First, because she is real and honest about her own life and struggles. Second, because she reminds us that those great patrons of our faith found in the pages of God’s Word had issues too. Lots of them. Most important, she offers hope—hope from her own journey and hope from God’s promises.” —Sandi Patty, Grammy award–winning vocalist

“Lisa Harper is a wonderful storyteller, a brilliant scholar, and a dear friend. In this new book she challenges us with a picture of Christ that shows He is both fierce and fearless in His love. If you long for freedom and safety in Christ’s arms, read on.”—Sheila Walsh, author of Beautiful Things Happen When a Woman Trusts God

“Here’s what I like about this book: two stories intertwine—the author’s story of her relationship with the Savior and how He brought her to freedom in Himself and the Savior’s story of His incomparable attributes as He manifests them repeatedly in Lisa’s life. By inference, we who know Christ personally have that same opportunity and privilege of seeing these attributes at work in our own lives. Lisa reminds us to stop, take notice, and give thanks for the fact that the Son has set us free so we are free indeed. Now, all we have to do is believe it…and enjoy it.”  —Luci Swindoll, Women of Faith speaker and author

“Lisa Harper knocks me out! Untamed invites me to experience the wild side of Jesus without losing the gentle side of Jesus. The book’s wonderfully balanced perspective motivates me to pursue Him with new vigor.” —Marilyn Meberg, Women of Faith speaker and author of Tell Me Everything

“Rarely does a book merit the descriptions ‘transformative’ and ‘mind-altering,’ but Lisa Harper earned both with Untamed. I was at once unsettled by her challenges to my mental images of Jesus and reminded that, while He walked this earth, He was both completely of this world and wholly otherworldly. Lisa Harper’s writing invites you to view Jesus in a dangerously daring and honest way by placing spiritual 3-D glasses on your mind and heart.”
—Anita Renfroe, comedian and author

Praise for A Perfect Mess
“Lisa Harper knows life. And she knows God’s Word. I love how she intertwines the two, bringing hope to the hopeless and help to everyone who’s ever felt like a perfect mess. With fresh insight and poignant stories, Lisa reveals a God who brings order out of chaos with just a word…even the chaos of our lives.” —Joanna Weaver, author of Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World

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The Crown Publishing Group
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Random House
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2 MB

Read an Excerpt

Beauty on the Other Side of the Brink
I love pure speed and pristine mountains, and one of my favorite places to combine the two is Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Jackson Hole is a bit off the beaten path when it comes to snow-skiing resorts, so the town isn’t overdeveloped with fast-food restaurants, nor are the slopes jam-packed like a shopping mall on the day after Thanksgiving. It’s still a relatively unspoiled Eden, where the local elk population outnumbers the tourists.
One of my favorite ski runs at Jackson Hole is called Timbered Island. Just after you exit the lift, there’s a spot so steep it’s essentially a cliff face. As a matter of fact, if you stop on the catwalk and turn your skis downhill, the tips will jut out into thin air. However, that alarming pitch levels out into a gently sloped field flanked with towering pine trees.
Therefore, if you’re daring enough to go over the edge, you’re rewarded by the feeling of flying—of weightless freedom—followed by cruising into a soft playground of white crystals. It is absolutely exhilarating! Every time I’ve gasped in slightly terrified awe at the top, but I’ve ended up laughing in sheer delight while zooming to the bottom.
Yet despite the spine-tingling payoff, I’ve noticed that most skiers glide right past the precipice without stopping to consider the view, much less consider jumping off. Perhaps because the trail map designates Timbered Island as a “blue run” (which means the terrain is negotiable for skiers of average skill level), they’re seeking a cushy, nonjarring ride. Maybe they’ve become so accustomed to moderate inclines that they’re not even tempted to consider a riskier, more vertical route.
Choosing the safe but boring path is an apt metaphor for the years I spent rather numbly and halfheartedly pursuing God. As Francis Chan candidly describes in his book Crazy Love,
I called myself a Christian, was pretty involved in church, and tried to stay away from all of the things that “good Christians” avoid—drinking, drugs, sex, swearing. Christianity was simple: fight your desires in order to please God. Whenever I failed (which was often), I’d walk around feeling guilty and distant from God. In hindsight, I don’t think my church’s teachings were incorrect, just incomplete. My view of God was narrow and small.
Thankfully, I came to a spiritual cliff face that challenged my small, narrow view of God. I got to the edge of who I’d previously understood Jesus to be and risked going beyond it. And the reward has been much more liberating and exhilarating than anything I’ve ever experienced on skis. Choosing to explore past the boundaries of my incomplete perception has led me to a bigger and better view of our Redeemer. I’ve discovered Jesus to be much more confrontational and provocative than the pale imitation of Him I had settled for!
As we explore some of His wilder aspects for the next two hundred or so pages together, I really hope you’ll get a bigger and better view too. I hope you’ll sense the Holy Spirit drawing you into a riskier, more intimate, and less religious relationship with Jesus. I hope that it’ll reawaken the sense of adventure God hard-wired into your soul. That you’ll find yourself awed by His power and glory and laugh out loud with sheer delight over the fact that this majestically untamed Savior is madly in love with you!
Furthermore, although Untamed isn’t formatted like a traditional Bible study, I hope it will encourage you to experience Scripture in a fresh way. Each chapter includes an icebreaker question to prompt you to connect your own experience with the topic at hand. At the end of each chapter, you’ll also find questions in the “Living and Loving with Abandon” section geared toward helping you reflect on how the “wild side” of Jesus can impact your heart today. These questions are especially stimulating when discussed over coffee with friends!  I believe you’ll find Untamed to be an interesting book-club selection, an engaging Sunday school curriculum, or even a useful tool to help your women’s Bible study group explore the life and ministry of Christ. I sincerely pray it’ll help you experience some of the same freedom God has been lavishing on me lately.
Most of all I pray it quickens your heart to wonder and worship over the mind-blowing miracle that King Jesus chooses us as the objects of His affection!

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Meet the Author

Lisa Harper is known for combining solid biblical teaching with comedic wit and masterful storytelling. A popular Bible teacher, Lisa speaks nationwide at retreats and conferences including Women of Faith and is a frequent guest on radio and television programs. The author of several books, including A Perfect Mess, Lisa holds a master of theological studies degree from Covenant Theological Seminary. She lives near Nashville, Tennessee.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Untamed: How the Wild Side of Jesus Frees Us to Live and Love with Abandon 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
AuntieMsUniverse More than 1 year ago
I have to say, I went into the reading of this book expecting not to like it mainly because I am not a big fan of Devotionals/Christian study materials. I cannot stand being lumped into the same group as everyone else in America as though I were a non-individual following the crowd as they chase after the popular reading material of the time. That is just not me. I do not have a "one size fits all" Christianity but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised! Lisa Harper wrote "Untamed" because she realized that the image of Jesus she had created while safe and easy to control was not strong enough to trust with the difficult parts of her life. "...the emasculated Redeemer of my imagination was shaped by my own fear and; insecurity." "...until one day I realized that my squashed caricature of Jesus wasn't big enough to calm my anxiety or heal my wounds or defeat the wickedness in our world." - "Untamed" by Lisa Harper Lisa Harper is not your conventional female spiritual leader. She talks about her Harley motorcycle, skiing, and tormenting cattle while still being girlie enough to enjoy a good tree swing. "Untamed" helps to free the reader from the watered down, politically correct and powerless Jesus that has been adopted into our culture today. There are twelve sections of this book each one dealing with a different wild side of Jesus from his wildly unconventional side to his wildly confident side. "Untamed" reintroduces us to the sides of our Savior that have made men uncomfortable for centuries. Another thing I was pleasantly surprised by was how often Lisa used scripture references in each chapter. I have always found it confusing how we can call some books Bible Studies when there is actually very little Bible contained in them. On average, Lisa invites her readers to dive into the Bible 15 times per chapter. Why does this matter? Bible studies can be a great tool to help you start thinking in a new direction or to grow in a certain area but only if they actually study the Bible. Without God's Word as the primary focus they are nothing more than self-help books and the world has plenty of these already. I also appreciated that fact that Lisa has taken the time to study Jewish culture and Biblical history and given her readers little tidbits sprinkled throughout each chapter. "Untamed" is for anyone who wrestles with real world hurts and struggles and needs a wild and courageous Savior to depend on. "I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review".
JN45 More than 1 year ago
I read the book and thought it was going to help me understand who Jesus really is.He is much more than we think Him to be. However I was offended at the way the author tried to put Him in modern day issues. I don't like to see people modernize scripture. Scripture does not need to be tweaked or improved upon. In exchange for my honest opinion I was sent a free copy of this book by WaterBrook Press.
CoffeyReader More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I have read by Lisa Harper. This is a refreshingly unorthodox Bible study. Lisa takes Jesus out of the tight, comfy little box that so many of us have put him in by looking at several passages of Scripture in a new way. The book is super simple to read and understand. This study would be very good to do with young believers or those whose only understanding of Jesus is very limited; a meek and mild God kind of view. The author's take on Biblical events can be pretty funny but is also accompanied by the actual verses of Scripture she is paraphrasing. I learned several new things from the historical facts are sprinkled throughout each chapter. This is a very good book to read whether you are doing a formal Bible study group, with a few friends, or by yourself. I definitely recommend picking this one up. This book was provided by Waterbrook Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
BethRBR More than 1 year ago
In the day of ten steps for everything this book, was "wildly" refreshing, a book about Jesus. Untamed: How the Wild Side of Jesus Frees Us to Live and Love with Abandon written by Lisa Harper is a book for the person seeking all that Jesus is. The book had me from the very beginning or more accurately, at "Brace yourself," the first line in chapter 1. When a book opens like that, one cannot help but be intrigued as to the contents within. Untamed is divided into twelve chapters, each focusing on a "wild" characteristic of our savior, opening with the subtitle in chapter 1, "Our Savior is Wildly Redemptive," and closes in chapter 12 with the subtitle, "Our Savior is Wildly Liberating." The pages in-between consist of the many other characteristics of Jesus, such as Jesus' ability to be compelling, confident, and faithful. My favorite chapter is entitled "A Little Pink in the Party: Our Savior is Wildly Pro-Women." The author Lisa Harper uses wit and passion in conveying her experience in coming to know these characteristics in Jesus and how she has seen them displayed in the lives of people that are close to her. She is extremely open and frank with her own history and her love for Jesus and freedom she has found in Him is compelling. There were many things I liked about this book. The author's honesty was sometimes flabbergasting. I am not sure I would be so brave as to say some things that she said, but at the same time it is encouraging to those who may be struggling or need hope in a particular area. Lisa is funny, and enjoys her life. She is also very educated and her book seems to be well researched. I learned so many new things. I highly recommend this book to young women who want to know the Lord better. At the end of each chapter are questions to help the reader apply what they have read. The book could be used in a young ladies' group study or with people who may have just confessed Jesus as Lord. This book would also be helpful to someone who has been struggling with a religious perception of Jesus and would like to come to know Him for who He really is. If you want to know why people came to Him so freely in the New Testament and felt loved and safe, free and healed in His presence, then this book will give you a clue. Many blessings to you as you progress on your journey to know Him more and more each day! ~Beth Disclaimer Notice: I received this book as part of a program that gives free books to bloggers at Waterbrook Multnomah. I was not required to give a favorable review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
MissieS More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed Untamed. It was refreshing and straight to the point. I thought it would make a great young women's bible study. The questions at the end of each chapter would allow for great discussion and help delve deeper into the word. Lisa Harper does a great job relating events and relationships in our own lives back to our faith, and sometimes lack of it. I loved her blunt honesty and the stories of her childhood. It feels as though Lisa is speaking directly to you in her book and is there with you through the pages as you devlop a deeper relationship with the Lord.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The idea that our view of Jesus isn't big enough, is quite plausible, in relation to who He really is. We tend to get a little too comfortable with how we compartmentalize God at times. Untamed by Lisa Harper encourages us to remember the many personality traits of Jesus in the gospels and that only He can wildly free us from sin. I enjoyed the personal life application lessons Lisa shared throughout the book. They were relevant and interesting to read. I felt like she really shared part of who she is. Sometimes in her explanation of Jesus' or the disciples' behavior she would compose thoughts she perceived the person may have been feeling. I really didn't like this addition as it is too subjective when referring to God's Word, in my opinion. She creates this type of prose throughout the book. While Lisa has a unique writing style that encompasses personal storytelling and Biblical truths I find the devotional and questions following each chapter a bit weak. There were times I had no idea what kind of response the question was intended to prompt and others that I didn't feel the questions were worthwhile to contemplate. I did, however, enjoy the extra tidbits she included throughout the book that further explained cultural relevancies or history that we might not know about just from reading scripture. I expected to be changed by the words in this book and I wasn't. I don't recommend this book for anything other than the purpose of pleasantly passing time. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
VillaSyl More than 1 year ago
Have you met the real Jesus - the One who is wild enough to set you free? Too many people settle for relating to Jesus merely as a comfortable friend and companion, when what we all need is an untamed Savior: A fearless champion tough enough to conquer our shame and compelling enough for us to follow him without hesitation. Harper, speaker at Women of Faith conferences, blends storytelling and biblical insights and invites you to engage with The Jesus of the gospels. Harper reminds us that Jesus is so provocative that no one left an encounter with Him unchanged. Pharisees fumed, paralytics turned cartwheels, and pariahs found love and acceptance when they met Him. Come meet the Redeemer who is both safe and strong - learn how the wild side of Jesus frees us to live and love with abandon. I recommend this book. At the end of each chapter are questions that are introspective and will lead to dig deeper in the bible passages provided.
kamebear More than 1 year ago
I was surprise to enjoy this book. I am a very tough book critic usually, because I understand people have limited time and when they pick up a book, they want it to be the kind of book you keep in your collection and recommend to everyone you know. That being said, this was a good easy read and will make you feel good and possibly even inspire you. This book goes into 12 ways that Jesus was different from those around him. He didn't just blend in and not step on anyone's toes. He stepped on everyone's toes and he wasn't afraid to do it! Jesus set a great example for us all - he did the RIGHT thing, even when most of us would want to turn, tuck our tails and run! This book is about living that wild, untamed, hungry life - a life hungry for God and Jesus - the kind of life other Christians look at you and go "how in the world does he/she do that?" I think this is a great book and recommend it to others! Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher free of charge but am still giving an honest review.
RLynnly More than 1 year ago
I was really excited to get this book. Remembering Lisa as the gal behind Renewing the Heart conferences, I was anxious to read her words on "How the wild side of Jesus frees us to live and love with abandon". Lisa has a Master's in Theology, which was apparent in the Biblical knowledge shared throughout the book and in her segments "The Wild Ways of God". Interlaced with her own personal stories, the 12 chapters unfold a different aspect of Jesus' wild side as redemptive, unsettling, devoted, tough, compelling, pro-women, confident, confrontational, unconventional, attentive, faithful, fearsome and liberating. Quite a list, huh? So much for meek and mild . . . let alone wimpy. I'll be honest though and tell you that I really struggled with getting past the second chapter. I love humor and engaging storytelling as well as the next person, but I do not believe the Bible needs to be dumbed-down or the characters in them overly moderninzed for a current reflection. On page 28, Lisa is describing the scene where Mary and Joseph realize Jesus is missing and left behind in Jerusalem at the age of 12. She writes, "I'm sure Mary's face was tense with worry on the trek back to Jerusalem to find her misplaced son. As soon as she and Joseph got to the edge of the Holy City, she pulled Jesus's middle school picture-the one that showed His cowlick and braces-out of her wallet and began asking everyone if they'd seen Him." When referring to Lot and his wife she says, "I like to think that Lot and Mrs. Lot had just finished a floor-to-ceiling remodel of their kitchen. Mrs. Lot had fussed and pouted until Lot finally dug deep in his pockets to spring for granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances. It was the kitchen she'd always dreamed of, and the desperate housewives of her cul-de-sac were drooling with envy," page 14. These instances lessen as the book goes on, but it did distract me from the points she was attempting to make. But I am glad I stuck with it. I will admit I am a picky reader! I have read a lot of good books-I have been impacted and changed by the ministerial devotion of several Christian authors. While I did not care so much for Lisa's style at times, her love and passion for Jesus is evident. I learned a couple of things I will tuck away in my Bible knowledge box and I can honestly say she brought up enough awe-factor in this book to unsettle anyone's tamed opinion of the Lion of Judah!
judycevans More than 1 year ago
In her book "Untamed", Lisa Harper introduces us to a Jesus who is radically different from stereotypical images. The subtitle, "How the wild side of Jesus Frees Us to Live and Love with Abandon", aptly describes this book. Chapters describe a Jesus who is "wildly compelling" enough to convince disciples to follow Him, and "wildly unconventional" enough to challenge the religious establishment of His time. Harper combines Biblical references with personal -- often humorous -- testimony. Her intelligent yet informal style makes the book accessible and enjoyable. I highly recommend this book to women who want to radically grow in their faith. The chapter on the "wildly pro-woman" Jesus is worth the price of the entire book. Study questions at the end of each chapter provide Biblical references. If you want to embrace the deep -- sometimes dangerous -- faith of Jesus and His disciples, read "Untamed".You'll see the Savior in a new, even better light. I received my copy of "Untamed" free of charge from Waterbrook Multnomah and Blogging for Books, in return fro writing a review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions stated in this review are my own.
AnnetteOC More than 1 year ago
Sometimes Jesus Christ might seem weak and boring. Lisa Harper sees Him as wild and unconventional. Using personal stories and modern retellings of Gospel events, the author touches on twelve areas where our Lord deviated from the norm, including the way He treated women and how He challenged His enemies. This book is set up for self or group study, with discussion topics and questions for every chapter. New Christians or readers looking for light material might enjoy it, but it's not something that would appeal to those looking for deep theological discussion. The only disappointment worth mentioning here was that the Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ wasn't mentioned at all. I know that for me and many others, both Christians and non-Christians, that movie illustrated best the sort of untamed wild side that Harper tries to uncover. Jesus Christ is the epitome masculinity, proven through His brutal death and glorious resurrection. Harper's treatment of those topics just doesn't do Him justice. This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.