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About the Author
Mark Hall is a true storyteller and a teacher with a heart for ministry. He is lead singer and songwriter for the Grammy Award-winning band Casting Crowns, whose first three albums have sold nearly four million copies. He has been in ministry nearly twenty years and has served at Eagle's Landing First Baptist Church in McDonough, Georgia, for the last eight years. Mark admits he’d be overwhelmed by life’s demands were it not for his wife of nineteen years, Melanie, who also serves as Casting Crowns’ road manager. Even on tour, Mark and Melanie homeschool their four children: John Michael, Reagan, Zoe, and Hope.
Tim Luke serves as executive pastor of Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church, where he has been on staff for nine years after serving as editor of In Touch magazine, the devotional magazine of Dr. Charles Stanley’s ministry. Tim worked as sportswriter for ten years, the last four as a beat writer covering the Atlanta Braves. He has been married to Karen for twenty years and has two sons, Jacob and J.P.
Read an Excerpt
Your Own JesusA God Insistent on Making It Personal
By Mark Hall Tim Luke
ZondervanCopyright © 2009 Mark Hall
All right reserved.
Chapter OneEXPLAINING THE WIND
East to West
I can't live by what I feel But by the truth your Word reveals I'm not holding on to you But you're holding on to me
The gun felt as cold as December in my hand. I could see my friend ordering a cone in the yogurt store while I sat alone in his car with a lonely heart, my dark thoughts, and his gun.
She had dumped me. The holiday season in my hometown of Montgomery, Alabama, thickened my misery. My girlfriend enjoyed the ring my nineteen-year-old heart had given her for Christmas and celebrated by dumping me. (In her defense, she is now a wonderful Christian woman and godly mother.) To this day, I have never felt lower than I did during that holly, jolly Christmas.
I stared at my buddy in the store but really didn't see him. I thought about the girl. And then I thought about the gun.
I had accepted Jesus into my heart ten years earlier at Eastdale Baptist Church's Vacation Bible School (VBS). That summer, a caravan of trucks paraded through my neighborhood while kids handed out candy and balloons,yelling, "Come to Vacation Bible School! Come to Vacation Bible School!"
Since the kids looked like they'd come from a fun factory, I talked my parents into letting me go. When VBS ended, this church did something more churches need to do-they followed up. Someone came to my house and thanked my parents for taking me to VBS. Mom and Dad visited the church the following Sunday.
The death of Jeff Money, a buddy I played with when I visited my grandparents' home, further softened my parents' hearts. When he drowned in the city swimming pool, it rocked my family. My parents' eyes were opened when they saw the Money family demonstrate incredible faith in Jesus after their boy's death.
James Blakeney, Eastdale's minister of music, led my thirty-three-year-old dad to the Lord, and Dad jumped into faith with abandon. Attending church became the glue to our week. Dad did construction work for the church and helped people move furniture. He joined the choir, even though he'd never really sung before. He grew as a vocalist and invited his nervous son onstage with him-he's the reason I'm a singer today.
As a nine-year-old, I listened to Pastor Wayne Burns preach about my need to be forgiven of my sins. His words cut straight to my heart. I saw other people go forward to pray and get baptized. It was all laid out in front of me, and I thought on it. Then one Sunday morning, I realized, "I need this. I need Jesus in my heart." I asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins and take over my life.
At that moment, Jesus, my own Savior, removed my sins from me as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12)-from one scarred hand to the other.
The Dumbest Thought
A decade later, I still didn't grasp the truth that my sin had been erased. I just knew the same heart that had Jesus in it still hurt like never before. I had spent two years in a dating relationship building my life around a girl. I learned what happens when you build your life around a person and then the person leaves: you don't have a life anymore.
In that yogurt store parking lot, I thought about ending it all. I didn't think I had much of a life to end. I'd considered suicide before, but when my buddy showed off his pistol, something happened inside of me. When he left me alone in his car, death became a real possibility. I didn't understand it then, but spiritual warfare had descended.
Satan hissed at me. Do it. Do it. He clenched his teeth and urged me on. Get it over with.
I sat there holding the gun, listening to that still wrong voice. My fingers curled around the cold metal grip.
And then I had the dumbest thought.
The dumbest thought that opened my heart to understanding forgiveness. The dumbest thought that propelled me into ministry, marriage to the girl of my dreams, and a music career.
The dumbest thought that saved my life.
The White Monster
Growing up, I loved horror movies. I begged my parents to let me stay up and watch scary movies into the wee hours. At the time, Hollywood offered movies like Alien and Friday the 13th, but my parents didn't let me know those even existed. To me, a horror movie meant a black-and-white Frankenstein flick or Bela Lugosi playing Dracula.
During commercial breaks in those late-night monster fests, Dad would dispatch me on suddenly urgent errands. He would concoct a strange need, something intended to test me-and amuse him.
"Son," he'd begin seriously, his face illuminated by the flickering television set in our darkened family room, "go to the storage shed in the backyard and get me a screwdriver."
I arched one eyebrow. "What? It's midnight!"
Dad just looked at me, so out I trudged to the toolshed behind our home. The southern Alabama night enfolded our yard like a vampire's cloak, and my feet felt cold in the dew-soaked grass. I tried not to let my imagination run wild, but I was secretly glad that at least I'd have a screwdriver for a weapon on the trip back to the house.
As I fumbled around with twitchy fingers to find the screwdriver, the hairs on the back of my neck began to stand at attention. Did I mention our shed didn't have a light?
On my way back to the house, my dogs went ballistic. I knew they weren't barking at me. One second, my loving little wiener dogs were nipping at my feet, and the next they went Cujo on some unseen danger. I almost needed fresh pajamas.
Just before I panicked, my dad appeared at the back door and flipped on the porch light. There, just a few yards ahead of me, I caught a glimpse of a menacing white creature with a long tail as it hissed at my little dachshunds. My parents hadn't let me see Halloween, but somehow I could hear the theme music playing.
To fathom my confusion in the ensuing seconds, you have to understand I had never laid eyes on a live possum. I had seen dead possums decaying along the highway, but breezing past roadkill at fifty-five miles per hour doesn't do the little boogers justice.
They're stone-cold killers, man.
When you don't understand something new, your brain compensates-otherwise, it would just explode on the spot and ooze out your ears. For instance, if you'd never seen a horse before, you might say, "That's the biggest dog I've ever seen."
At that terrible midnight moment in the backyard, I knew I was looking at the world's biggest rat. Enormously big. It-might-eat-me-in-one-bite big.
The possum was albino. He had white fur and pink-rimmed bluish eyes that reflected the porch light. His lips were so pink they looked almost red. I tried to stay calm, but then I saw its teeth. They were enormous. They looked like rows of white needles. I can still see the beast in my mind, crouched, back arched, teeth ready to rend. Every late-night scary movie I'd ever seen was condensed into a single hellish furball.
What happened next came close to scarring me for life. Dad hustled over, grabbed a shovel from the shed, and ... bong! He knocked the possum cold and proceeded to chop it to bits right in front of me. Then he calmly put the shovel back in the shed, walked past me without a word, and went inside to watch the rest of the movie.
I didn't need horror movies-Dr. Frankenstein lived just down the hall.
My chest heaved as I scurried back to the living room. I folded my hands in my lap and stared at the television. The monsters on the screen seemed like kid's play compared to what I had just witnessed.
Dad peeked over at me and smiled. He explained that he had just killed a possum-something that was more of a pest than a threat. His calming words went in one ear and out the other. My rapid-fire heartbeat convinced me that I had just seen a monster, no matter what Dad told me.
It took a while to process the possum sighting, but years later, I realized I had had a typical reaction. My brain operated like anyone else's when confronted by something new and shocking: logic kicked in.
We take the same approach with the Bible, and especially with forgiveness. We hold forgiveness up to the light, inspect it from every conceivable angle, shake it, thump it, and bring it to our ear to see if it's ever going to say something back to us. Then we decide it's too good to be true. We let our logic elbow faith out of the way.
After all, God-sized forgiveness doesn't compute. It just makes sense that God will give up on us sooner or later.
Understanding and truly accepting God's forgiveness is the incubator to a meaningful walk with Jesus. As we escape the dregs of compromise to walk in purity and obedience, we are free to grow on God's timetable if we ignore the lies of the unholy world. And only by avoiding faulty human logic can we give our lives over to the seeming risk of a God who is actually unable to be anything but faithful.
Everything we will ever be or ever have in our walks with our own Jesus hinges on this simple truth. It is a truth comprised of one word and yet all of eternity.
You'll have to take God at his word before your outlook and your walk breathe life. The New Testament Greek for the word believe is pisteuo-as in John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever pisteuos in him should not perish but have eternal life." The word pisteuo means "trust" and carries with it the connotation of placing all of your weight on something.
When you sat down to read this book, you pisteuoed probably either in a chair or a bed. You trusted in it to bear your weight, hold you up, and not drop you.
Do you have pisteuo faith, the kind in which you place all of your weight on Jesus for now and eternity? It is the only faith able to open the doors of heaven and unlock your eternal destiny. But it requires leaning on Jesus and carrying on a daily fellowship with him that can't help but uplift him and change you. It has to be personal. God insists on it.
I say this with confidence because we can't mature in Christ until we understand we are positioned in Christ. Read the letter to the Ephesians and notice how many times it asserts that our position is in Christ. This truth deepens our understanding of Romans 8:1: "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (emphasis added).
We can either believe what our Father tells us and grow or listen to the Lie and die. The Lie comes from Satan, who burdens us with guilt and shame. But let's start fresh. Let's ditch the Lie and believe the assurances of our loving Father.
The Bible says we are forgiven. It says we are saints. It says we are children of God, citizens of heaven, members of God's family, and chosen members of a royal priesthood. It says we are salt and light, we are people who dwell in a city set on a hill. It says we are co-heirs with Christ, ready to inherit the eternal life reserved for the saints. We cannot be separated from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.
As believers, sometimes we feel such basic truths are below us. Shouldn't we be discoursing on God's sovereignty or immutability or debating predestination and our millennial views? Forgiveness and trust are for beginners-they're for the VBS kids handing out candy from the back of a truck.
Yet when your world is crashing around you, what are you really wrestling with? In tough times you ask, "Can I really trust God with this situation? Am I being punished for all the bad stuff I've done? Is God really going to forgive me? Is my sin really gone?"
Logic says one thing, but God says another.
God's forgiveness is without precedence. When I forgive someone, what that person did to me seems always to hover in the back of my mind. I can't help but make decisions based on my memory of what happened. How can God, whose memory is perfect, be any different? We assume there's no way God can forgive without condition and without end.
But that's human logic. If we're uncertain about what God says in his Word, we'll think, "I'm not really sure what God's love is, but this is what my dad's love is like, so that must be what God's love is like." Or, "Since forgiveness looks like this at work or at school, this must be how God forgives."
Sometimes that logic is fine-you can live the rest of your life thinking that possums are rats-but mistaken notions about forgiveness can shatter lives.
We live as if we believe that God follows human logic. Three strikes, and you're out. You get written up so many times, and you're fired. You get so many reprimands, and you're suspended. You get too many speeding tickets, and you lose your license. You break these vows, and your spouse leaves you.
You commit this sin too many times, and God is going to leave you too. It just makes sense.
This logic originates with our false belief that we did something to make God love us in the first place. We think we're so lovable that God can't help but love us. But really the opposite is true. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. God cared for us before we were even born!
When we understand that our relationship with God is something he starts, maintains, and completes (Philippians 1:6), we can begin to accept the truth that God's forgiveness is forever. As Psalm 103:11-12 assure us,
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
During my junior year of high school, Mr. Short taught my church small group. I liked him because he was different. He wasn't the polished, tie-wearing, churchy, old-school guy I had come to expect. He was raw in his approach, more direct. He would hit us with statements and make us think. His class was the Baptist version of Dead Poets Society. Mr. Short wouldn't allow us to give Sunday school answers but tried to cut through our little churchy shells. He refused to let us fake it. He wanted us to know why we believed what we believed.
One day, Mr. Short explained God's forgiveness by using Psalm 103 in a way I will always remember: "There is a reason God used the east and west to describe how far he cast your sin from you," he said. "If you go north, you can only go north so far until you're finally going south. And you can only go south so far until you're going north. But if you start traveling east, it keeps going east forever, and west just keeps going west. If you think about it, you're never going to go so far west that you're going east. That's how far he cast our sin from us."
It Is Finished
God says he drops our sins into his sea of forgetfulness (Isaiah 43:25; Micah 7:19). Sometimes we believers struggle on that sea, riding its swells and billows to the point of sickness as we base our worth and identity on worldly pursuits and opinions. No one else forgets our sin. A sea of forgetfulness doesn't make sense when everyone else is ready to throw us into a mud puddle of remembrance. The world continually reminds us of our failure and rubs our noses in it.
The most liberating truth in all of Scripture is that we are liberated. God is not a God bound by human logic. God is not like our spouse or coworker. God is not like our teacher, friend, or significant other. When God says he forgives us, he is speaking the truth because he is truth (1 Thessalonians 2:13; Titus 1:2). When God says he forgives, he isn't talking about a sappy, sentimental moment in which we talked him into being good to us. He is referring to a sovereign decree of his will to extend grace to an undeserving person.
He did this by killing his Son.
This is a blunt statement, but it's true. John 3:16 states that God gave his Son. At the same time, Jesus, who is God, laid down his life (John 10:17-18). Why? So he could offer us the truth of 2 Corinthians 5:21: "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (NKJV).
Jesus became sin for us. Gnaw on that one. That's how serious God is about forgiveness.
With no equivocation, God says, "I am choosing not to count your sin against you anymore-not because you're a good person or because you're doing more good than bad-but because my Son paid the debt for your sin. Tetelestai-it is finished (John 19:30). Transaction complete. All you have to do is believe me and give me your whole life, and I'll place your sin upon my Son and credit his righteousness to you.
"I'm doing every bit of this. You're doing nothing. Even the faith you demonstrate will be my gift to you. Now live as though your sin is gone-because it is. As far as the east is from the west."
Excerpted from Your Own Jesus by Mark Hall Tim Luke Copyright © 2009 by Mark Hall. Excerpted by permission.
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
Foreword Max Lucado 7
Introduction: Why we need our own Jesus 9
Chapter 1 Explaining the Wind: Slow 17
Chapter 2 Infinite: Slow Fade 35
Chapter 3 Stuck: Somewhere in the Middle/the Altar and the Door 57
Chapter 4 Newness: The Word is Alive/Prayer for a friend 87
Chapter 5 The Roman Son: Every Man 109
Chapter 6 A Different kind of Song: What this World needs 131
Conclusion: Say it out Loud 151
Acknowledgments: Thank you 155
Discussion Guide 159
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Are you a believer? Do you have a passion for a closer walk? Have you noticed in other believers something you just don¿t enjoy, yet?You might need ¿Your Own Jesus¿.In Youth Pastor, Contemporary Christian Singer and Songwriter Mark Hall¿s new book, ¿Your Own Jesus: A God Insistent on Making It Personal¿, you will find yourself laughing, sometimes wincing, but delighting in this read.Revelation 12:11 states ¿And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.¿This is an invitation book, an overcoming book, that speaks to the fact that so many of us know Jesus but only from afar but not up close and personal.The introduction and chapter titles bring the reader to remembrance many of the Casting Crown songs and lyrics providing more detail into the thoughts that produced these songs.Mark Hall speaks to this point with passion and with urgency. The stories and episodes in this book are poignant and sincere. * Walking us through Psalm 1 (his personal life verse(s)) is astonishingly accurate and describes the ¿slow fade¿ is a process. * His story of preparing youth leaders prior to a youth camp should cause all leaders to think about their own sin before presenting themselves to minister in any capacity to another. * The oak tree illustration identifies the depth and richness of a close walk with our Savior is necessary to combat gusty lies of the enemy.It is not a work of theology as some would characterize theology. It is work of testimony and in so takes the reader into biblical doctrine in a much more personal way.I enjoyed many of the thought provoking quotes such as¿ * ¿I have a saved spirit but I still think with a lost brain.¿ * ¿He was listening to the still wrong voice.¿ * ¿If you are the only christian you know without sin, you are already in the sitting in the seat of the scoffer.¿A delightful, deep, very illustrative book that causes the reader to consider we cannot live off the FAITH of another no more than we can live the LIFE of another.An added bonus is the discussion guide at the end of the book. Youth workers, Sunday School Teachers, and any other church leader could benefit greatly from this book.
Looking for a gift for the person who has everything? Look no further, because this fantastic new book by Mark Hall of Casting Crowns discusses how to get something that EVERYONE needs - their own walk with Christ. Mark is a gifted storyteller, and he shares the central message of the Gospel in such a way that it will speak to you no matter where you are in your relationship with Jesus - whether you are a new believer, a seasoned saint, or "somewhere in the middle." There is no "Christianese" here, just simple truths and stories that are so honest and transparent they will hit you between the eyes and go straight to your heart. A MUST READ - you will be blessed! Be sure not to miss Casting Crown's new CD as well, due out 11/17/09!
Mark Hall has a way of making Jesus personal in his songs, stories, and now in his book, Your Own Jesus, he shares an even deeper way and reason why we should consider Jesus our own. Mark shares personal stories from his student ministry where young followers turned to Jesus in times of great trouble, and might not have survived if it weren't for the power of the Lord. Mark teaches us that we need to not only live out our faith, but also put it into practice. Act on it. And in the end during struggles, remember that Jesus has already paid the price for our sins. Realizing this gives us complete freedom if we surrender our all to Him.
I didn't know what to expect from the lead singer of one of my favorite christian bands, but I bought the book without hesitation. I was amazed at the depth of his insights into making our walk with Jesus personal. His stories were wonderful and very thought provoking. Mark makes many biblical references in this book, but I was too caught up in the stories to read it and use the references too. I can't wait for my husband to finish reading it so I can read it again and STUDY it!
I love the writing style that Mark Hall uses, it felt like he was sitting in my living room talking to me. He brings up so many things I'd never thought to examine more closely and changed a lot of my views. I think this book has and will continue to help me get to know "My Own Jesus" that I've needed to know for a long time. You can listen to his songs as they are presented as chapter names and he uses some of the "God Lines" of his songs to illustrate his points throughout the book. His vast Scripture knowledge backs up everything he presents, and makes you want to read your Bible more to see what you might have overlooked. All In All, a Great Read, and definintely very inspiring. Thanks Mark!
I finished my advanced copy of Mark Hall's "Your Own Jesus" and loved it! The Casting Crowns frontman did an excellent job focusing in on THE issue of the church--a close, personal, intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Mark was effective in weaving in Scripture, stories, and illustrations as he used songs from "The Altar and the Door" to bring out the need for us to develop a walk with God. I can only hope that Mark does more writing and maybe does another book like this one using songs from Crowns' upcoming CD, "Until the Whole World Hears". I highly recommend that you get this easy-to-read, yet powerful and effective book.
In "Your Own Jesus" Mark Hall walks with you and shows you what a PERSONAL relationship with your Savior, Jesus Christ, looks like. Mark uses humor, real life events, his own past, and above all else: TRUTH SPOKEN IN LOVE. Mark doesn't hold back. He gives it his all. Why? Because he wants to "help us learn to recognize and overcome the seemingly incessant opportunities for compromise, great and small, that neutralize so many believers."-Your Own Jesus "Your Own Jesus" says what everyone needs to hear, no matter what their Christian walk looks like. People from every background, every walk of life and from every level of faith, need to read "Your Own Jesus". "Your Own Jesus" has something to say to everyone.
"Your Own Jesus", the latest book by Casting Crown's Mark Hall, is a wonderful example of how a Christian living book should be written. Simple to understand, easy to read, and hard to put down, this book is a must for those wanting a closer, more personal relationship with Jesus. Whether you are a new believer or have been a Christian for many years, you will be able to glean something valuable from "Your Own Jesus". Filled with personal stories and insights, testimonies from others, and some laugh out loud moments, this book was a pleasure to read from cover to cover. One of my favorite moments in the book is when Mark Hall is insistent that he will be the biggest dork in heaven. Moments like this give the book a true down to earth feeling and make you feel somewhat connected to the author. The book is seemingly personalized, and you feel as if he is speaking directly to you. The discussion guide included at the end of the book allows for moments of self evaluation and gives you points to think on and consider, helping you to grow even further in your faith and relationship with God. From cover to cover, "Your Own Jesus" is a great book, and a must read for those interested in getting to know Jesus in a closer and more personal way.
After finishing reading Your Own Jesus by Mark Hall, my concept of a personal relationship with Christ has been completely revolutionized. By beginning each chapter with a true life story, Mark Hall draws you into the truth that he is trying to teach. He then backs up each point with Biblical references, allowing me to look up the verses and reading for myself the truths that Mark Hall reveals to us in Your Own Jesus. Chapter after chapter, I was challenged, to the point of tears, as to what God really wants of my life. Your Own Jesus is a must read for Christians, young and old, who want to delve deeper into their personal walk with Christ.
This book was the best I have read all year. It is about how to build an intimate relationship with Jesus. Since I am a fairly new Christian, it has really opened up my eyes on how I should be walking with Christ beyond the alter and door. The testimony's given in this book are awesome. They help give examples of how God's Grace and Love for us is sufficient. But, we must have the initiative to take the walk and allow God's Word to change our lives in the home and community. This book is fantastic from beginning to end. You will not want to put it down; it is a well written book that breaks down for us How to Live For Jesus, and Not for Ourselves. That we must be obedient to the Word and God, to build the intimate relationship that we need to Be a Disciple for Jesus. Personally, my favorite chapter is the fourth entited NEWNESS. I recommend this book to all Christians, from beginning to mature. Because it will spark a new fire for Jesus in all aspects of your life, so that we can be the Light of the World for Jesus through our good works, so others will give praise to your Father in heaven.
The new book "Your Own Jesus" by Mark Hall of Casting Crowns is one of the best books I have ever read. I would recommend this book to Christians and Non Christians. Mark Hall captures the relationship that God wants to have with us and that we need to have with him. I love how Mark uses everyday examples of his life and those around him to get the message across. You have to have your own Jesus; he can't be your youth pastors or your grandparents. You need the personal relationship with Jesus. The fact that each chapter tells a story from the songs that are on their album is wonderful. When you go back and you listen to the CD you really understand the way Mark's heart is speaking in every song. I'm the drummer for the Contemporary Christian band Broken Together and this book is helping the way we look at our ministry. I had just finished reading Mark Hall's book Life Stories and was amazed at how well it was written when I received this copy of Your Own Jesus. I love the examples given in the book like "darkness that comes out in my life is the fruit of my own appetites" or " Our counsel is what initiates a slow fade." My favorite is the "Philippians Filter" Philippians 4:8 the way Mark phrases this "Don't ask, is this wrong? Is this good? Is this bad? " That's like asking how close to sin can I get and still not sin? If we want to honor God we have to ask what is the wisest thing to put into my head? I pray that as people read this book they will get their painting of what the true Jesus is really like and not the wrong picture that may have been painted for them in the past. This is a must read. Everyone needs to read Your Own Jesus Kevin B. Merwin of Broken Together
That everything that i have read in this book is totally and completely great. I have been looking for a book that would help me with my walk with God, i have been struggling with the flesh and it is hard for me to get up in the middle of the night to talk to Him. I know that I must let go of earthly things and I must walk closer to God, and the only way that I can do that is to have my own Jesus. Your Own Jesus by Mark Hall, the best book out there.
Mark Hall's YOUR OWN JESUS challenges you to find Your Own Jesus Mark Hall hits home with Your Own Jesus. To begin with, the book really caught my attention when he talked about something he went through as a 19-year-old. Something I have struggled with for years came to the forefront. This book challenged me to work through the issues I have had that have kept me from finding My Own Jesus. He shows how vital it is to develop a relationship with the REAL Jesus, not the Jesus you think he is, but the Jesus of the Bible. This book totally changed my outlook on Jesus and what I was doing to keep him from reaching me where I needed to be reached. I have been a Christian for many years but felt that there was a wall that Jesus just couldn't get through. I was jealous of the relationship others had with Jesus and I wanted that for myself but just couldn't figure out why I wasn't getting it. Why wasn't I hearing from God? Why did I always feel left out and the outsider? Mark Hall certainly opened my eyes and showed me that even though I prayed about certain things, I kept them in compartments away from Jesus - I was holding onto them and that was keeping Jesus from answering my prayers. I was not allowing Jesus to become the head of my life and was allowing Satan to continue to hold me captive. This book also showed me that some of the situations in my life had become chaotic because I had just stopped praying about them. Certain people had become problematic because I quit praying for them. All I can say is that God really opened my eyes to a lot of things in my own life through reading this book. This book is amazing and every person should read it. It is very easy to read and relate to and really made me think about what is going on in my life and challenged me to find their Own Jesus instead of feeding off everyone else. I could not put this book down and read it in a couple of days when it would normally take me weeks. It really helped me and I can only say that everyone needs to read this and find YOUR OWN JESUS.
Mark Hall's new book "Your Own Jesus: A God Insistent on Making It Personal" is a wonderful tool for any believer. Like the messages in the songs he sings with Casting Crowns, he challenges believers to more than just casual Christianity, to an actual friendship with God of their very own. Hall uses the entire text to explain how being a Christian is a personal experience and relationship with Jesus. "We need our own, everyday, walking-around friendship with God. I'm using 'Your Own Jesus' to convey just how much God insists on the personal" (pg 18) is just one of the many statements he makes explaining the purpose behind his book. Bold, truthful statements, along with stories form lives of various people as well as his own, create an easy dialogue to follow, with passion to see action inside the body of Christ. More than just an easy, good read, this book will call you to examine your own Christian walk and personal relationship with Jesus. It will push you, comfort you, encourage you, and help you to discover how to have "your own Jesus" instead of "nothing more than empty religion" (pg 18). I highly recommend it to anyone looking to have an authentic walk and more personal relationship with the Lord.
When I had the chance to read and review "Your Own Jesus", I jumped on it. Being a huge fan of Casting Crowns, I knew that the messages I would find in this book would make me think about the world differently. Mark Hall did not disappoint. After reading just a couple of pages, I knew I would be recommending this book to everyone that I knew. Hall's goal in "Your Own Jesus" is to elaborate on the meanings and lessons from CC's album "The Alter and the Door", and he does just that. The messages I read in each and every chapter were extremely powerful. I am a counselor at a youth Christian camp, and you can bet on most of my lessons and devotions with my campers coming from this book. Thank you Mark Hall!
Mark Hall capatures the essence of what this world needs. He relates a personal walk of Faith that requires a friend to walk with you. Not just any friend but Your Own Jesus. The stories will grab your attention and relate his points to your everyday life. This book will challenge you to dig deeper in your faith to find a new relationship with the Risen Savior. He writes this book for you to understand that Jesus has more to offer than just sitting in a pew. The heartfelt stories shared in Your Own Jesus paint pictures of a friend that will stick closer than a brother. I could not put this book down. I read it in less than 24 hours. I have walked with Christ for years and years but I feel that I can gain a closeness to him by applying the principles that Mark Hall shares in this special book. The same wordsmanship that Hall uses in his music with Casting Crowns is everpresent in this book. Buy this book and discover YOUR OWN JESUS