The One: Experience Jesus

The One: Experience Jesus

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Overview

We are living in a world increasingly geared toward visual learners. With the explosion of sites like Instagram and Pinterest, it is evident that the way we consume content is changing before our eyes. Developed for the avid consumer of visual content, The One uses The Voice Bible translation alongside powerful, full-color images to maximize the long-term impact for the reader, creating a dynamic way to engage with and experience the scriptures.

The One takes you on an exciting journey to uncover who Jesus really is. Understand the true nature of Jesus, His character, why He came, what He accomplished, and what it means to your day-to-day life. Discover your true value in Him, and experience a transformed life based on a genuine daily relationship with a Savior who brings hope and purpose to all who seek Him.

Features include:

  • Articles and interviews with world-renowned preachers
  • Real life stories on the transforming power of Jesus
  • Resources for personal reflection and growth
  • In-depth group study discussion questions

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780718036942
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 09/01/2015
Pages: 160
Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Judah Smith is the lead pastor of Churchome, formerly named the City Church. Churchome is a thriving multisite church noted for its cultural relevance, commitment to biblical integrity and faith, and love for Jesus. Judah is known around the United States and the world for his preaching ministry. His fresh, practical, humorous messages demystify the Bible and make Christianity real. Judah is also the author of the New York Times bestselling book Jesus Is _____ and coauthor of I Will Follow Jesus Bible Storybook.


Charlotte Gambill has an infectious love for life, a deep love for people, and a zealous love for God’s House. Her passion is to build the local church—to see people reach their full potential and to strengthen leadership. Her practical, humorous, and passionate application of God’s Word is rallying a generation to embrace the broken and find hope. An author, speaker, and pastor, Charl leads Life Church in England with her husband Steve. They have two children, Hope Cherish and Noah Brave.


Carl Lentz is one of twelve Hillsong Church lead pastors globally. He pastors Hillsong New York, and a passion to serve the city and make an impact worldwide. Carl and his wife Laura embrace a simple, dedicated faith in Jesus and are passionate about delivering the gospel in a method that makes sense to this generation.


Gary Clarke is lead pastor of Hillsong Church London, a thriving, growing church with six campuses and thousands gathering every weekend to worship. As a pastor, teacher, and leader, Gary is passionate about seeing people live to their fullest potential, empowering them to practically reach and impact their day-to-day world. He is devoted to providing real solutions to some of the problems humanity faces, from youth issues in London to the worst of world poverty, and has initiated a variety of partnerships and projects that bring justice to people who find themselves in less-fortunate circumstances.

Read an Excerpt

The One

Experience Jesus


By Carlos Darby

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2015 Abrupt Media
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7180-3696-6



CHAPTER 1

THE START


THROUGH HIS EYES

* * *

God chose us to be in a relationship with Him even before He laid out plans for this world; He wanted us to live holy lives characterized by love, free from sin, and blameless before Him. He destined us to be adopted as His children through the covenant Jesus the Anointed inaugurated in His sacrificial life. This was His pleasure and His will for us.

EPHESIANS 1:4–5


Words: Carlos Darby / Photography: Hannah Radley-Bennett Styling: Sharna-Marie Francis


Children are brought into the world under so many different circumstances, and while some of those are unplanned by the parents, we are never unplanned by God.

I was an unexpected arrival and never saw my biological father past the age of three, but that didn't stop me from seeing God move in powerful ways throughout my life. Over the years, I have learned to keep things simple so that with childlike faith I could see my experience of Jesus as a genuine family relationship.

I married my wife, Katie, in 2009, and a few years later we planned to have our first baby, who was followed by another two years later. We knew it wouldn't always be perfect, but we had children because we wanted to enjoy them, love them, and share our lives with them. The love we have for them is greater than I ever expected, and we want them to know we're always there for them and will always love them. If they started saying things like, "Look! I tidied my bedroom. You must really love me now," then as parents we would know to question how we had communicated our love for them.

As children of God, we need to know that His love for us is perfect, complete, and unchanging. Too often we can reduce our relationship with Him to a business contract we entered into when we decided to follow Him, one governed by regulations and performance targets. Or we can behave as though we are a burden to God, an unexpected arrival that He doesn't quite know what to do with. But God planned us and He chose us. Our story with Him began long ago.


The Whole Story

I love going to the movie theater and watching epic films. But imagine if you're going to watch the latest blockbuster, and you arrive an hour late. You sit down to watch and have to try to figure out the characters, their motives, and the storyline, all on your own. It would be confusing, and you might have a general idea about the plot by the end of the film, but the experience would be less impactful and there would be elements of the film you never understood or just missed out on altogether.

For many people, the story of creation can seem irrelevant. But in essence, creation is the beginning of our movie.

We discount the Old Testament as a collection of historical stories that became obsolete when Jesus came, and think ourselves fortunate not to have to sacrifice animals and climb mountains to speak to God. But the God of the Old Testament is the same God of today. Understanding where our relationship with Him began can help us grasp who we are, who He is, and what the good news of the gospel really means.

When we look from Genesis to Revelation, we see Jesus and God's plan for humanity at every step. Looking at the beginning of the story shows us the deeper truths about God's intended relationship with us and why there is a need for reconciliation between God and humanity. Through the key characters and their motivations, we can better understand the importance of what we see unfold through to the end of the New Testament. How we see the beginning of the story will impact our perception of Jesus and therefore our experience of a life following Him.

In any epic story, the beginning has to be powerful. In Genesis, we see God as the creator of all things, but we are also shown God's heart. He was creating out of a desire to establish an environment for us where we would be the focus of His love. He didn't create to impress Himself or us; He didn't create because He was bored and thought He'd play SimCity. He planned everything for a purpose, that we might experience Him and His creativity.

As seen in Romans, God has used His creation to show us who He is — all we have to do is look around to see Him.

From the beginning, creation in its magnificence enlightens us to His nature. Creation itself makes His undying power and divine identity clear, even though they are invisible; and it voids the excuses and ignorant claims of these people. (Rom. 1:20)


God shouldn't have to prove Himself to us any further, but as we know, our humanity leads us to question everything. When God created His first children, Adam and Eve, He knew beforehand what they would do — yet He created them anyway, and He created them with the ability to choose. You do have to ask yourself, "Why bother?" The Bible tells us that God's central motivation is love, He is love, and everything He does comes out of that. Not a Hollywood love, but an unconditional, selfless kind of love that is based on choice.

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8)


Choice is an important aspect of creation because God chose to create everything; Adam and Eve chose to disobey their God. God gave us the ability to choose, because to be in a relationship based on love, there has to be the option or it isn't really love. God could have forced us to love Him, but that's a contradiction in terms. Love has to be freely given, received, and returned.

Adam and Eve were given every good thing they needed but interpreted His withholding of something they wanted as a lack of love — how often do we do the same today? In our humanity, we perceive God as someone who withholds for no good reason.

Our finite minds can't comprehend His infiniteness, so we live by our own rules and regulations, choose our own paths, eat our own forbidden fruit, and question the love and plan of God when things don't work out the way we wanted. Or worse still: if things do work out the way we want, we remove God from the picture because, just as Adam and Eve were trying to do, we have elevated ourselves to be like God so that we no longer need Him at all.

Choice is something that was also given to the angels. They too were created by God and were given the honor of experiencing God in heaven and being in His presence. As head musician in heaven, Satan became jealous of the power and glory of God and wanted it for himself. He was thrown out of heaven along with one-third of all the angels. This master of lies now works on earth, passing on his own misconceptions about God onto humanity.

Starting with Adam and Eve, we see the same story play out as the one we saw with Satan. We can question God's love and authority, desire to be the ones in control, and separate ourselves from God's love. The difference now is that we have a way back.

How we choose to love God and to be loved by God is the foundation of our relationship with Him. We can use all our own efforts to become like God in our own strength, or we can use His strength to become more like Jesus.

I don't want to take for granted this amazing privilege to be called a child of God. So I choose Jesus.

For Jesus is not some high priest who has no sympathy for our weaknesses and flaws. He has already been tested in every way that we are tested; but He emerged victorious, without failing God. So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most. (Heb. 4:15–16)


Love, Honor, Gratitude

Everyone loves a good romance flick (occasionally). Unrequited love is a big theme in these films, and we all know the formula. Girl longs for the love of the bad boy, dreaming of their life together. She has her heart broken, sharing her pain with a friend who has always loved her in secret. He hopes that one day she will stop focusing on something that isn't real and see that he can offer her true and lasting love. Ahh.

The Bible is also a love story — one of God longing to bring humanity back into the right relationship with Him. Sometimes, though, we make God out to be the ignored suitor in a teenage love triangle, desperate for our attention, affection, and time as He tries to lead us away from the path that results in heartbreak. God does love us, and people need to hear that, but He is also God. He is sovereign, He created us, and He sacrificed His only Son because of the love He has for humanity. The honor is all ours.

We all want intimacy with God and have a space in our hearts that can only be filled by Jesus. But love is a word that is used in so many contexts, on so many levels. Our past experiences form our perspectives about what love means, and when we are told that God is love, we come to that with our own misconceptions. When love has let us down in the past, we need to experience His love for ourselves. Once we receive Jesus, we become spiritually alive, and as the Bible says, we will be able to please God in the only way possible: through our faith that we are His and He is ours. We get to be friends and children of God. Once we understand that, we can go out and be His hands and feet to bring unconditional love to others.

"Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world."

— John Milton


This great quote by John Milton reminds me of a simple yet vital key to experiencing Jesus: gratitude. No matter the circumstances I face, or how difficult it is to see the bigger picture of God's plan, God is love and He cares about my life. My personal story is part of the love story that started back in Genesis, when God took a huge risk in creating us, but one that was in His eyes totally worth the sacrifices He had to make.

This is not a love we can see through the eyes of any film script or past experience. We can only see it clearly through Jesus.

He is the embodiment of our peace, sent once and for all to take down the great barrier of hatred and hostility that has divided us so that we can be one. He offered His body on the sacrificial altar to bring an end to the law's ordinances and dictations that separated Jews from the outside nations. His desire was to create in His body one new humanity from the two opposing groups, thus creating peace. (Eph. 2:14–15)


GOLD IN THE GARBAGE

LOCATION: NEW YORK CITY, USA

Words: Anny / Photography: Evan Rummel


When I arrived to meet Steve D'Agrosa, he apologized in advance for being somewhat distracted by preparations for Friday Night Live, the weekly church hangout. His distraction betrayed the passion he embodied and the commitment he dedicated to his church. He placed his phone to one side so he could give me his undivided attention and explained that in no uncertain terms was this always the case.

Steve's story begins in Queens, New York City, where he attended Catholic private schools throughout his childhood. Although it wasn't always openly expressed, he knew that he was loved by his family; however, things were very different at school.

"I was really overweight as a kid and I got picked on and bullied because of it," he recalled. "There were the cool kids, and then there was us, the horrible kids."

He had to deal with the hurt by himself. "I love my parents, but being old-school Italian, their mentality was, 'You're a man — don't cry about it, don't talk about it, just fight back,'" he explains. "But how do you fight back against ten kids making fun of you?"

As time progressed, Steve didn't have to fight back.

"I was twelve or thirteen when some of the kids invited me to a birthday party," he said. "Everyone was smoking weed and all of a sudden I had an option: I could say no and keep getting terrorized, or smoke weed and start hanging out with them. That's the moment when I made the decision to out-smoke them, out-drink them, and out-party them everywhere we went. I finally had the chance to be accepted."

That was the start of a long and painful downward spiral for Steve. Except it didn't feel like that at first. He smoked weed daily, and at fourteen, he took his first ecstasy pill. He said, "I loved it. It was amazing. I was high as a kite. I did that every weekend for a while, then that quickly became every couple of days. When you're on ecstasy, you don't really function, so somebody once gave me cocaine to bring me down. Little did I know that it would snowball into what it did."

By high school, Steve was selling drugs to his friends to feed a habit that by this point was costing him hundreds of dollars a week. He went on to college, where he continued to sell drugs.

"I was making thousands of dollars in a weekend and rolling in money," Steve said. "It was girls, drugs, and parties seven days a week."

Steve dabbled with Vicodin during high school, a drug that he tells me is like heroin and is very addictive. By the time he reached the age of twenty-one, dabbling had turned into daily usage and the cost was killing him financially.

"Rather than getting help to break the addiction, I was looking for a cheaper way to carry on feeding it," he explained. "Somebody introduced me to heroin, and I started doing that. This was the turning point when the party and drug scene went from awesome to miserable. The addiction to heroin is another level. It's unbelievable what it does to you; it consumes your life."

By the age of twenty-six, he was spending between four and five hundred dollars' on heroin each day — much more than he was selling. Every penny he made was spent on drugs.

"If I made two thousand dollars, within two or three days, I was broke," he said. Eventually, he had to think of other ways to make money. "One of the ways was selling my family's jewelry," Steve admitted. "I stole it, and every couple of days I'd pawn four to five hundred dollars' worth of stuff. Because of me, they no longer own any gold; I even sold my dad's wedding ring."

He was, however, thrown a lifeline when he was hired as a handyman at a multimillion-dollar property overlooking the ocean. It was an opportunity to get back on his feet, but as a heroin addict, it was also an opportunity to get money to buy drugs.

"One day, I snooped around the house while they were out and found their jewelry stash. I stole approximately one hundred thirty-five thousand dollars' worth of jewelry and pawned it at the pawnshop down the block. I wasn't even slick about it and used my own ID — genius! I wasn't thinking; I was just looking for the next fix."

Steve was subsequently arrested for robbery and put in jail. Although jail was a terrible experience, he felt that he belonged there.

He said, "I related to everybody there, so with the exception of the handcuffs and the bars, it was exactly where I'd been living on the outside. I was still a heroin addict and could buy it in jail. It was dirty. People were bleeding, being sick, and going through withdrawals. It's hell without the heat."

Steve's uncle bailed him out of jail, but with nowhere else to go and a restraining order preventing him from returning to collect any of his belongings, he went back to stay at his parents' house.

"I was in my old bedroom, sleeping on two couch cushions and a couple of towels on the floor. My parents locked the bedrooms, so I was literally like a crackhead — living on the floor, eating on the floor. It was horrible."

After three days of this, Steve knew that he'd reached a breaking point.

"I grew up as a Catholic so I had a crucifix in my room, and that night I was contemplating whether to kill myself. I was causing everyone so much pain, besides what I was doing to myself. I knew my parents would be upset, but I believed that it'd be best for everybody and a relief for them."

Sitting on the ground and looking at that crucifix, Steve made a conscious decision to take his own life. At that moment, for some reason, his friend Alex popped into his mind.

"I grew up with him but hadn't spoken to him since I screwed him over seven years earlier. I knew he was a Christian guy, so I figured that if anyone could talk me off the edge it would be him. I sent him a message that said, 'Do you have a pastor who can call me? I just need someone to talk to.' He emailed me right back and told me that he went to a church in London, and they'd just started in New York, so I should check it out."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The One by Carlos Darby. Copyright © 2015 Abrupt Media. 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: EXPERIENCE JESUS, 6,
VISUAL STORY: THE RISE AND FALL, 10,
CHAPTER ONE: THE START,
THROUGH HIS EYES, 22,
GOLD IN THE GARBAGE, 30,
CONTEMPLATION, 38,
CHAPTER TWO: THE FRIEND,
THE FAITH ADVENTURE, 42,
THE GIRL IN THE SPOTLIGHT, 48,
CONTEMPLATION, 56,
CHAPTER THREE: THE ONE,
THE HELPER, 60,
A LIFE AND DEATH DECISION, 68,
CONTEMPLATION, 74,
CHAPTER FOUR: THE,
FATHER FAITH OF THE FATHERLESS, 78,
Q&A: JUDAH SMITH, 85,
CONTEMPLATION, 94,
CHAPTER FIVE: THE FOLLOWER,
WHOSE WE ARE, 98,
Q&A: CHARLOTTE GAMBILL, 105,
CONTEMPLATION, 112,
CHAPTER SIX: THE DISCIPLE,
LIVING FROM A PLACE OF REST, 116,
Q&A: GARY CLARKE, 123,
CONTEMPLATION, 130,
CHAPTER SEVEN: THE MYSTERY,
THE MYSTERY REVEALED, 134,
Q&A: CARL LENTZ, 140,
CONTEMPLATION, 148,
THANK YOU, 152,
CREDITS, 153,
FINAL THOUGHT, 154,

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