Simple Pursuit: A Heart After Jesus

Simple Pursuit: A Heart After Jesus

by Passion Movement

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780718087623
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 11/01/2016
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 524,827
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Rooted in the confession of Isaiah 26:8, Passion exists to glorify God by uniting students in worship, prayer and justice for spiritual awakening in this generation. From its start in 1995, the Passion movement has had a singular mission – calling students from campuses across the nation and around the world to live for what matters most. For us, what matters most is the name and renown of Jesus. We believe in this generation and are watching God use them to change the climate of faith around the globe.

Read an Excerpt

Simple Pursuit

A Heart After Jesus


By Thomas Nelson

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2016 Passion Publishing
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7180-8762-3



CHAPTER 1

STATEMENT 1

A PASSION TO KNOW GOD ABOVE ALL THINGS

Because I was created by God and for His glory, I desire to make knowing and enjoying God the passionate pursuit of my life.


I was a teenager when I first started to think about knowing God. I began my journey of faith a little earlier than that, and to be clear, I knew quite a few things about God. But in my teenage years I started to understand that it was possible to go beyond just knowing about God and actually know Him.

I think it started in the Psalms. I was fascinated by so much of the language in this songbook found right at the heart of the Bible. Sometimes the psalmist's angst shocked me — it felt so undiluted, raw, and real. But the thing that got my attention in these ancient songs was how these songwriters would talk about their hunger for God. They had such a passion to know Him:

One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)


And then I came across the apostle Paul saying something so similar in his writings:

Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ. (Philippians 3:8 NLT)


These are such strong and compelling words. Paul is saying that there's nothing better in the whole of this life than to know Christ; next to that, everything else just seems dull and uninspiring. Over the years I began to realize that knowing Christ is the most privileged and powerful pursuit a soul can ever set out on in this life.

One of the best signs of how much someone really knows God is what level of reverence for Him they convey through their lives. Some claim to know God well, but when they speak about Him, they make Him out to be a tame, domesticated version of Himself. Yet when we truly draw near and know God, we will find Him to be more holy than we ever imagined — and more awesome than our hearts and souls can ever come to grips with. As we draw near to Him, our sense of His majesty always increases and never decreases.

You and I are caught up in an unfathomable mystery. We can draw near to almighty, holy God, and He will draw near to us. We can know Him who logic tells us should be unknowable. It is a miracle of grace. May our defining passion in life be to know this Jesus.

— MATT REDMAN


DAY 1

WHO NEEDS A FIVE-YEAR PLAN?

"I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

Jeremiah 29:11–13


Where do you see yourself in five years? How are you going to get there?

You've probably heard these questions a time or two. Society seems to expect young adults to know exactly what we'll do for the rest of our lives. And, actually, knowing what our future has in store is also one of the deepest desires of our hearts. We all want purpose — to live for something greater. We try to plan each tiny detail of our lives, and we want them to play out according to our timing.

Despite our best-1 aid plans, God has some ideas of His own for our lives. And when we focus less on figuring out our own five-year plans and more on knowing and enjoying God, we begin to see the future He has in store for us — His perfect plan — unfold.

God's promise is clear — He'll lead us to a place of prosperity and hope. This promise doesn't include a blueprint or an answer to every question. It doesn't include a specific date to expect restoration. He just said, "I promise."

When your future is flooded with uncertainty, rest in God's promise, knowing He is directing every step you take.


Father, create in me the passion to seek Your presence above all things and to trust You with the unknown.


DAY 2

BETTER THAN LIFE

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

Psalm 63:3–5


What satisfies your soul? You may be familiar with the cravings of your belly — but what about the cravings of your soul? And which is more important? The psalmist's answer is clear: God's love satisfies and permeates the soul deeper than the greatest promises of the world.

The word life in today's passage refers to earthly abundance. Even on a mountaintop of success and satisfaction, where you could not imagine life getting any better, God's love is still better. It's greater than any career, any relationship, and even life itself. In fact, the key to living an abundant life is only found in the freedom, confidence, and joy that come from God's love.

It's easy to say, but do you believe His love is better than life? If you say you believe, do you prove your belief with your actions? Dwell on the Lord, and let your joy overflow into praise as you delight in His incomparable love.

Lord, change my perspective when I don't believe that You and Your love are the best things in my life. May I only seek to be satisfied by You.


DAY 3

GOD'S COMFORTING GREATNESS

Oh, how great are God's riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! For who can know the Lord's thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice? And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back? For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory.

Romans 11:33–36 NLT


How often do we find ourselves thinking we know exactly what's best for us? Probably more often than we'd like to admit. Romans 11 speaks to our pride and foolish tendency to think we can figure things out on our own. It proclaims that God's greatness, wisdom, and ways are far above our own. There is no greater wisdom or knowledge than that of the Lord, and everything on earth shows us this truth.

Understanding God's greatness exposes our frailty and fickleness. When we humble ourselves by proclaiming His greatness, we set aside our pride and make space to learn from Him. When we declare that God is sovereign above all things, we can easily see His glory and grace. The more we realize that God is in control, the more readily we shift our trust in ourselves to trust in God — which provides far more comfort than trusting ourselves ever could.

We'll never have all the answers, but we know the One who does. So we can walk confidently and joyfully through whatever comes our way.

Lord, remind me today of Your greatness. Humble me, help me, and teach me to trust in Your truth.


DAY 4

THE VINE AND THE BRANCHES

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

John 15:5


What is the first thing you do in the morning? Do you jam to music so loud that your ears ring for the rest of the day? Do you scroll through your social media feeds to see what you missed while you slept? Do you read tweets about celebrities, gossip, current events, and sports?

Most of the time, we wake up and walk into another day with the world at the front of our minds, only thinking about our own agendas. When we crawl into bed at night, it shouldn't surprise us that we can't seem to feel where God was during our day when we seek ourselves instead of Him.

Let's wake up! We can't sustain ourselves with our world's media, music, and empty promises. Today's verse reminds us that we aren't the vine; Jesus is. We are the branches. We have to be connected to the vine — Jesus — so we can bear fruit, be fulfilled, and live abundantly. When we turn our focus from our Twitter-, Instagram-, Facebook-, and Pinterest-saturated lives, we can see that apart from Him we "can do nothing."

Father, please keep me from allowing the world to consume me today. Let my heart yearn for Your truth, my ears listen to Your Spirit, and my eyes seek Your face.


DAY 5

THE DWELLING PLACE

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.

Psalm 27:4


What do you desire above all else? What does your heart long for?

David longed to live in the tabernacle, the dwelling place of God's presence, and to be surrounded every day by the beauty, glory, and wondrous mystery of almighty God. This insatiable ache to meet Him daily, to know Him and His character personally, could only be satisfied by time in God's presence.

According to Psalm 27:4, God created in us a desire to seek the "one thing" that satisfies: to commune with the Lord. When we gaze upon His beauty and behold His glory, we begin to live as God designed us to. The desire of our hearts is fulfilled.

David found a place for himself where he could know and enjoy God. Where is that space for you? Find your tabernacle today. Passionately pursue that dwelling. When you make that "one thing" the ultimate goal of your days, you will have no room to forget how good, great, sovereign, and beautiful our Lord is.

Jesus, I want to know You more. Help me passionately pursue communion with You today.


DAY 6

LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."

John 14:6–7


Do you struggle with understanding who God really is?

Actually, God gave us a pretty direct way to get to know Him: He gave us His Son. In fact, Jesus says so Himself. In John 14, He explained to His disciples that He was going to heaven before them to prepare a place for them there, and not to worry once He departed this world. The disciples immediately asked Jesus how to get to heaven, and Jesus replied that the way was through Jesus Himself. God sent Jesus into the world as a model demonstrating how believers should treat others. This is how we inherit the kingdom of God.

So by knowing Jesus, we can lay aside all our worries — about careers, about assignments, or about anything else in this life — because we know that He has prepared a place for us. We get the fullness of God Himself when we know Jesus, which is far more life-giving than anything we could ever imagine.

Lord, help me seek Your Son to know You more today.


DAY 7

PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Romans 8:15–17 ESV


The gospel is the thread that connects our past, present, and future. Look at it this way: we were slaves to this world, but now we are adopted children with an assured hope that we will spend eternity in heaven.

In Romans 8, Paul broke down how the gospel alters our state of being. When Paul said we believers are not supposed to "fall back into fear," he was referring to our former state as slaves in fear of death and the penalty of the law. Instead, through the Spirit, we are adopted into and become part of God's family.

As God's children, all ties to past sins are severed and forgotten. Now, we can look forward to a future filled with an unshakeable hope and a shared inheritance of Christ's glory.

Since we are freed from our past, cared for in our present, and assured of our future, let's live our faith boldly, love sacrificially, and treasure Christ greatly.

Father, thank You for the gift of adoption into Your family. I trust You with my past, present, and future!


DAY 8

OUR REFUGE

"Because he loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation."

Psalm 91:14–16


We've all been caught in a rainstorm. The rain comes out of nowhere, leaving us with only two options: either stick it out or run for cover.

Life is the same way sometimes. Everything can be going great, and suddenly our world shifts in an instant: a break-up, a car accident, the death of a close friend. We aren't promised a life without trouble, but we have a good Father in whom we can take refuge. Like an umbrella in the rain, the Lord promises to cover and protect us when we call on His name.

God is described as our shelter, refuge, and fortress throughout Psalm 91. We make the Lord our refuge by loving Him and acknowledging His name. God is sovereign over every circumstance of our lives, and if we fix our eyes on His unchanging sovereignty, we can find shelter from the fiercest storms.

Ask the Lord to reveal how you can dwell in His shelter. He is faithful to walk through every season of life with us, and when we love Him for who He is and what He's done for us, we enter into the safest place of all — His presence.

Jesus, thank You for always being my refuge. Help me find peace in You and Your protection over my life.


DAY 9

IN HIS JOY

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."

Matthew 13:44 ESV


Leading into the parable of the hidden treasure, Jesus had given His audience pictures of what the kingdom of heaven is like. In this particular parable, the "treasure hidden in a field" represents salvation. In order to get the treasure, the man in the parable has to sell everything he has. Notice the man doesn't buy salvation with a set price; he buys it with a yielding of his heart. Following Jesus means surrendering everything, yet it's a struggle. Surrender goes against every fiber of our beings. But, actually, joy is found in the surrender.

As you read today's verse, don't miss the words used to describe the way the man sells everything he has: "in his joy." We cheat ourselves of all Jesus has to offer when we don't surrender everything, because we cheat ourselves of joy! The surrender is beautiful, freeing, and overflowing with gifts. The man in the parable has joy because he knows the value of salvation in his life.

We have a choice to make: will we choose to fully surrender daily and inherit true riches, or will we hold back and pursue our own agendas?

Father, help me surrender to You daily. When faced with Your majesty, love, and mercy, let my response be to joyfully let go and let You fill every aspect of my life.


DAY 10

BE ON GUARD

Dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

2 Peter 3:17–18


In today's scripture, we hear a warning and a command. We are warned to be on guard so that we are not carried away by the "error of the lawless." Earlier in 2 Peter 3, Peter described "the lawless" as scoffers who followed their evil desires (v. 3). And because the lawless rejected the law of the Lord, they could not know the joy of living for Him.

It's imperative that we stay on guard so we can protect our secure position. The "lawless," the scoffers, and the self-interested will try to distract us from Jesus and make us doubt our faith. But He has the power to keep us safe. We must dive into the Scriptures to grow in Christ. We must swim in His grace to learn more about who He is and to remind ourselves of who we are in Him. The more we know Him, the more we will become like Him. The more we grow in His grace, the more we will glorify Him!

Father, knowing You is my one great desire. May the distractions and the scoffers of this world fade away as I contemplate Your beauty and majesty.


DAY 11

CALL TO HIM

While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the Lord came to him a second time: "This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it — the Lord is his name: 'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'"

Jeremiah 33:1–3


While Jerusalem was under the brutal siege of a foreign king, Jeremiah was imprisoned for prophesying the nation's coming destruction if they did not obey the Lord. It was in his desperation, with this dark cloud of destruction lurking overhead, that Jeremiah heard from the Lord.

God is the Covenant Maker and Covenant Keeper. Though He told Jeremiah of the death that was to come, God assured Jeremiah of His faithfulness. Despite His people's disobedience, God said He would still heal, restore, and bless His people in abundance. And if God's people called to Him, He would answer them.

Maybe you feel your world is crumbling around you, that you're trapped with no way out, or that life is out of control. Take heart, because God's promises are for you too. He has not abandoned you and will never break His promises to you, even if you break your promises to Him. Turn from what holds you back, call to Him, and He will answer you! Rest today in God's unending faithfulness.

Lord, give me courage to call to You and grace to hear and believe what You say.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Simple Pursuit by Thomas Nelson. Copyright © 2016 Passion Publishing. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction by Louie Giglio, vii,
The 268 Declaration, xi,
STATEMENT 1: A Passion to Know God Above All Things, 1,
STATEMENT 2: Love for the Local Expression of His Church, 75,
STATEMENT 3: Unity Among Believers That Amplifies His Name, 151,
STATEMENT 4: A Desire to See Christ Celebrated Where I Live, 225,
STATEMENT 5: Willingness to Shine the Gospel to All People, 301,
Contributing Writers, 379,
Scripture Index, 383,

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Simple Pursuit: A Heart After Jesus 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
BudPulpitandPen More than 1 year ago
Simple Pursuit: Not Endorsable, Not Helpful, Not Biblical Simple Pursuit is a daily devotional book that comes out of Louis Giglio’s Passion Movement. Merely containing an introduction by Giglio, with brief commentaries by “Christian celebrities” Chris Tomlin, David Crowder, and Matt Redman, the daily devotionals are written by 68 “Contributing Writers” drawn from the book’s target millennial audience of 18-25 year olds. Following Giglio’s brief introduction, the book issues its “268 Declaration,” a five-pointed mission statement for the Passion Movement that is sourced in Isaiah 26:8. The crux of the statement is drawn from John Piper’s Christian Hedonism theme, “The heart of Passion is God’s glory, and God is most glorified in us when we live lives that are fully satisfied in Him.” It is from this outlined premise that the writers of the daily devotionals have penned pithy summaries primarily of “you can do it with God” sorts of encouragement that read with a tone that implies “knowing God” is more an experiential function for the believer than it is one of apprehending and understanding Scriptural truth. (Colossians 1:9-10, Philippians 1:9) Simple Pursuit faces the same challenges of any devotional book: brevity, Biblical integrity, and believer edification. Most devotional books do not pull this trifold challenge off with any success; Simple Pursuit hasn’t either. Simple Pursuit is an avoidable devotional guide for the millennial. In a post-modern world where relativistic, subjective pursuits run counter to Scriptural veracities, the continued proclamation of the tenets of Christian hedonism will drive many to ultimately seek escape from Christianity, for the Christian faith puts a priority on obedience to Christ, with sanctification resulting in many fruits in addition to joy. (Galatians 5:22-23) Simple Pursuit is effectively a “rah-rah” approach to faith, proffered in a daily sound-byte format, and most certainly exemplifies this dangerous, menacing, “clever system.” Simple Pursuit is not a sound, endorsable resource for authentic believers of any age. (I received a complimentary copy of this book through BooklookBlogger in return for my honest review. I was not required to give a favorable review to the book.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a college student, it's easy for me to feel alone at times... As a Christian on a "secular" college campus, there's not many like-minded people here to confide in and struggle with. This devotional has been that for me. The writers are all my age, dealing with the same things and they write about it. There's so many times I've been reading and I'll say to myself, "me too" because the writers will describe a feeling I feel, a situation I've dealt with. It's been an incredible encouragement to be daily reminded that I'm not alone. I highly suggest this book - especially if you're a young adult like me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This daily devotion is different in that it's written just for young adults trying to figure out life. It's for the college kids and twentysomethings working out how their faith fits into their lives and how to boldly live it out. After the first few pages, I'm already excited for how this book will challenge me over the next year. Get one for you and one for a friend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Simple Pursuit: A Heart After Jesus is an incredible 365 day devotional written for 18-25 year-olds by 18-25 year-olds. I have started out each day reading this devotional and it has been such a great guide in my daily prayer and devotion time. What I love most about this book is that each devotion is short but powerful. As a working college student I don't always have as much time as I'd like to dive into the word for as long as I would like. Each day is short but unpacks a powerful message. This book is going to be such a game changer for so many people. I strongly encourage all college student and leaders to read this book.
GideonGanster More than 1 year ago
SIMPLE PURSUIT BOOK! Wow! Where to start?? Your going to want to get this book ASAP! This book is a masterpiece. This book is written by this generation for this generation. This book is guaranteed to strength your faith and your walk with Jesus each and everyday throughout the new year. This book has so much power and so much wisdom and encouragement. It will have you wanting more and more of Jesus. This book is a book about having a heart after Jesus. This will spark, re-spark, and ignite your faith even more for Jesus. This book is also contributed by Louie Giglio, Chris Tomlin, David Crowder, Matt Redman, and the Passion gang. Get this book! It's gonna help you tremendously, and will help get you through the new year with an even bigger heart for Jesus!
MLegband More than 1 year ago
Simple Pursuit is a unique devotional for millennials, written by our generation for our generation. It's thoughtfully constructed to focus on different pieces of the Christian life in a way that is relevant and thought-provoking. I can't speak highly enough of this devotional. It's a wonderful addition to my morning time with Jesus, and I highly recommend it.