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By: Howard Cole

Why read a book about the identity and implications of Jesus?

I am thrilled to read great books in a community. Over the past two years I have been reading and rereading REFLECT by Thaddeus J. Williams with a group of guys at church. It’s been a real hit and I want you to see why. Maybe you’ll even go out and read it with a group of your friends.

What’s it all about?

Since God, like our sun, is the most glorious being in existence, we expand, grow and really live when we reflect him. R-E-F-L-E-C-T acts as an acronym and each letter explores what it would look like if we actually worship and thereby reflect Jesus, the son of the living God. Here’s a quick chapter breakdown to wet your appetite:

R: Reasoning like Jesus calls us to develop our intellectual virtues. Our thinking can be slippery and sloppy but when we think like Jesus we think straight and love God will all of our mind.

E: Emoting like Jesus calls us to feel joy at what brings him joy and outrage at what brings him anger. Since our emotions construe meaning, we need to allow Jesus to reshape our emotions.

F: Flipping our upside-down attempts to live meaningfully must occur when we align with Jesus. Following Jesus means flipping our views about power, pleasure and purity.

L: Loving like Jesus cultivates the relational depth we desire and struggle to achieve.

E: Elevating others reflects the grace of Jesus as we examine and apply the cross-work of Christ.

C: Creating beauty like Jesus fuels the fire of our own creative imaginations.

T: Transformation is explained, illustrated and applied since we all crave lasting change.

What I like most:

The author introduces you to 49 different and thoroughly interesting people quoting them in their areas of science, art, philosophy, music, politics, history, psychology, pop culture, literature and more. He relates the life of Jesus with their unique points of view provoking fresh thought about imitating Jesus.

Want to taste a sample of the book?

Page one begins like a pistol going off at the starting blocks with a thought experiment: “Imagine you are escorted through an underground laboratory into a controversial machine. You step inside a big silver cube and are told to think about whatever you love most in the world. A wall of glass rises out of the floor, dividing the cube into two equal chambers. Then everything goes dark. Your earliest memories project one after another on the glass. All your firsts and all of your favorites, side-aching laughs, heart-palpitating joys, gut-punching rejections- all of it beams from your consciousness and onto the screen. On the opposite side of the glass all of the flashing rays of your personal movie reel seem to cluster together and take form. As the defining ideas, feelings, and choices of your life speed through

the glass, your future self slowly materialized in the other chamber. Then the lights come up, the glass goes down, and you stand there, eye to eye with your future self….Would you see someone big-souled, caring and full of life or someone small, self-consumed and burned out?”

Any down-sides?

If you want to read a paint-by-numbers book with quick steps and techniques this is not the book for you. The author will deconstruct many ways you have pieced together your world and then reconstruct it through stories, quotes and the centrality of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.

How about exchanging the time you’ll spend binging on the next, best Netflix or Amazon TV series with a fascinating book you can read with friends? You won’t regret it!