Have you ever read a book and had it flay you open?
Completely expose your heart and what’s inside it?
That was what the book Gospel Fluency did to me. It was painful to see how much I didn’t know about the gospel or Jesus. When it asked me if I was captivated by Jesus I had to pause. Was I? Did I love Him well? I mean, I knew as much as most Christians, I could answer all the normal questions. But, capturing my affections? If I was captivated, I would not stop talking about Him.
But, I can stop talking about Jesus. In fact I’m really good at staying silent, especially with non-believers. It really stung when I realized that it was easier for me to talk about other things– like the effect Dave Ramsey had on our finances. Or how great a book is. Or a delicious recipe. But Jesus? Not so much.
What needed to change?
After finishing Gospel Fluency, I realized that I needed to grow in my affections for Christ. The book suggested that a good place to start would be to watch Jesus closely through the gospels. I needed to read the gospels with new eyes. Eyes that were studying Him, rather than studying how many check boxes I’ve completed on my read-through checklist.
I need to be paying attention to Him. To how others react to Him. What He taught and the context of when He taught it. Watching how He loved people with both His actions and the truth. But how? This is where I always get hung up. I need someone to show me how. How do I completely change how I approach the gospels?
I’ve read through the gospels multiple times. How would this time be different? I know I do better with questions to answer, but for me fill-in-the-blank questions are like studying for High School History class. I read it, temporarily memorized it, and dumped it into a test and out from my brain. I do better with guided but open-ended questions to get me to pause and really think. So far I knew I needed:
- A journal to help me slow down and center the focus of an entire Gospel on Jesus.
- This helpful journal would need to ask good, relevant questions of the text, changing when the scene and actions changed, not just asking the same questions over and over.
- It would need to be extra vigilant to help me keep context in mind.
- It would also have to help me apply what I learn about Jesus in a way that is less “to-do” and more “in love with Him.” Not focused on controlling my outward behavior, but leading my heart into love.
- It needed to help me fall in love with Jesus, not just know more about Him.
And I have yet to find anything like that. So almost exactly a year ago, after I closed the final page of Gospel Fluency, I started creating the journal that I needed. And I started with the first of the gospels, Matthew.
I hate to sound cliché, but I’m going to risk it when I say that Watching Jesus through Matthew is changing my life because it’s changing my love. It’s changing my mind. It’s changing my behavior. (I want to be quick to say it’s not because of the journal, or because of me. It’s because of Him.) When I am forced to go slow, to think deeply, and to wrestle with Scripture, God is always faithful to meet me right where I am. He is gracious to show His love, compassion, humility, justice, and strength. There are no other things that I need more right now than those.
Want to know more?
After a year of developing and testing these booklets they are finally available. What you’ll get is a instant digital download of 25 half-page booklets that will take you through all 28 chapters of Matthew.
They were designed to be easy to print (printing instructions included), easy on ink, and to be folded in half to fit easily inside most Bibles.
But mainly, they are designed to help you slow down and closely watch Jesus and fall more in love with Him.