Book Review: I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris

I Kissed Dating Goodbye book cover

 

I almost didn’t write this review. I’ve been contemplating writing it for a month. “I really want to write a review of this book,” I told my mom this morning, “but it’s kind of old. Is that weird?”

“I don’t think so,” she replied. “It’s a classic.”

And (of course) she was absolutely right, so here goes:

Although it was written in 1997, Joshua Harris’ book I Kissed Dating Goodbye is just as relevant and needed today as it was eighteen years ago.

This book has been on my radar for a long time. The author’s younger brothers, Alex and Brett Harris, wrote a book called Do Hard Things, a book that my youth pastor lent to me over four years ago and inspired me to start this blog. As a result, I am proud to say that I have been a rebelutionary for many years. Getting back to the point, though–I soon heard about I Kissed Dating Goodbye, but I didn’t feel that it was relevant to my life at that point in time.

Now that I’ve read it, I can see why people recommend it so often!

It’s easy to make assumptions about this book based on its title. “I kissed dating goodbye?” you might say. “Does this guy expect us to stay single for the rest of our lives?” No, and he explains that within the first few pages. I Kissed Dating Goodbye is not about avoiding relationships with the opposite sex. It’s about changing our attitude towards dating, and possibly, as a result, changing our actions.

I’ve been struggling with how to write this review simply because this is such a deep book. It’s so full of wisdom that I hardly know where to start, and I know that, no matter what I say, I can hardly do it justice. However, I’ll do my best, so here are some of my favorite points in the book:

  • Defective dating. In his section on the “seven habits of highly defective dating”, Harris challenged me to reconsider my acceptance of the dating culture. I’ve always just assumed that I would eventually date, but that I would go about it differently than the world does. That I would date, maintain my purity, and be an example to those around me. And while I know that all of those things are possible and that many Christians do and have done exactly that, the book put a new perspective on things. If I’m determined to be set apart from the world, why do I feel the need to follow the world’s style in relationships? Should I simply do my best in the defective system that the culture offers, or should I look for something better?
  • The gift of singleness. We live in a world where singleness is basically a curse. The goal is to be in a relationship, period. For those of us who are single, whether purposefully or not, it can feel like there’s something wrong with us. Harris challenges this. In fact, he goes beyond the idea that there’s nothing wrong with being single. He states that singleness is a gift, and in reading the book I’ve come to agree with him whole-heartedly. In constantly pursuing relationships, we put ourselves in a position where we are unable to be where God needs us. If we’re constantly wasting our energy on trying to “remedy” our singleness, or if we can’t spend a single moment without our significant other, what energy and time is left for God? Singleness is a gift that allows us to fully devote ourselves to God. For most of us, we won’t be single forever. Rather than rushing the gift to come, let us enjoy and use the gift we have now–singleness.
  • Purity. This is certainly one of the deeper subjects in the book, and Harris made several different points in his discussion of it. What stood out to me was what he said about the “direction of purity”. Purity isn’t about setting a line that you won’t cross, whether physically or spiritually, and then getting as close to that line as possible without going over. It’s about setting a boundary and then resolving not to give yourself opportunities to compromise. Basically, rather than testing how close you can get to the line between “pure” and “not pure” (and I doubt there even is such a thing), run the other way. Run away from temptation, and towards righteousness.

I’d like to reiterate that I’ve barely scratched the surface of this book. If you feel this could have application in your life, I encourage you to read it! Personally, I don’t know if I’ve “kissed dating goodbye”. I do know that this book has given me a lot to think about. It has left me with some new attitudes and resolutions, and ultimately I have been blessed by it.

God bless!

christrocks

More Than Feelings

manger scene

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. It’s a time to gather with family, but more importantly it’s (hopefully) a time when we turn our focus wholly upon the Lord.

As wonderful as Christmas is, sometimes I feel like we’re missing the point. Christmas reminds of the conferences I go to with my church. When I’m at the conference, I feel fully devoted to God, on fire for Him. It’s an amazing experience, and one I look forward to every year. But when I get home, how long does that feeling continue? Do I still feel on fire the next week? What about the next day? Conferences are awesome and inspiring, but how often do we carry that inspiration home with us?

I think that Christmas is very similar. We get pumped up for Christmas day, it gets here, and then it’s gone. Hopefully, on December 25th, we spend some time focused on God. Most of us probably spend more time than usual praying and/or reading or Bibles, which is great! But what about December 26th? Or 27th? To be honest, only two days later, Christmas already feels like it was ages ago.

So, is this the way it works? Do we designate one day out of the year (not counting, perhaps, Easter and conferences) to be “extra Christian”? It’s a sad truth that this is often how it works for many Christians, myself included.

How can we change this? I believe that part of the problem is how much we rely on our feelings. At a conference, we feel good. I’m not saying that conferences are (all) made up of fluffy, feel-good teaching. I’ve been very convicted and moved at conferences. The question is, just how deep does that go? I may feel convicted during the teaching when the lights are dim and tearful people are going to the front. And yet, how convicted am I when I get home?

And on Christmas day, good feelings abound. Our Savior came to us on a silent night to give us life. That’s a wonderful thing, and don’t get me wrong–that should make us feel good. But if we only base our response to how amazing that is on our feelings, then once Christmas is over, we’ll push that wonderful truth to the back of our minds and move on with our lives.

Feelings are not bad–but how do we move beyond that? Next time you experience these feelings, don’t just stop there. If you feel convicted, pray. Talk to God about why you are convicted and ask Him what things you need to change in your life. Read your Bible and see what He has to say. Finally, make an effort to follow through, and God will bless that effort! Turn your feelings into actions, and they will take root in your heart. Also, if you’re just feeling happy and blessed, praise God for it! God wants us to spend time with Him, and talking to Him about our feelings is one way to do that. For the beneficial feelings, spending time with God helps them to take root and become something deeper. For detrimental feelings, God-time keeps us from being controlled by them because we are focused on Someone so much greater.

How did you feel on Christmas? Did you feel connected to God? Talk to Him about it, and ask Him how you can grow closer. Did you feel His love? Give thanks and show Him your love for Him through your actions.

In closing, let us look at the example of the shepherds.

The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them. (Luke 2:20, NLT)

When we return from our time with Jesus to our everyday lives, let us not forget all God has done for us. Let us glorify and praise Him for the gift of His Son, for His every blessing, and for His incredible love for us. Praise God!

christrocks

Note: Even though Christmas is over, we can still celebrate Jesus’ birth everyday! This is one of my favorite Christmas songs; enjoy!

 

Christmas Quote

Who can add to Christmas? The perfect motive is that God so loved the world. The perfect gift is that He gave His only Son. The only requirement is to believe in Him. The reward of faith is that you shall have everlasting life.

-Corrie Ten Boom

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A time to give

christrocks:

This beautiful post really reflects the things that have been on my mind this Christmas season. God bless!

Originally posted on daughter by design:

CHRISTMAS GIFTSI don’t know if anyone has ever told you that Christmas is not about the gifts, but if they did then they were lying.

Christmas always was, Christmas always is, and Christmas will ALWAYS be about the gifts.

It’s about a gift so grand that you would never be able to find it at the shopping mall.

It’s about a gift so priceless that no amount of dollar bills could purchase it.

It’s about a gift so big that no Christmas tree would be large enough to place it under.

It’s about a gift that was sent long ago from the arms of heaven into the heart of men.

See, Christmas is all about the gifts.

Because it began with the greatest gift of all.

The gift of a beautiful baby boy names Jesus who came to bring freedom, peace, hope, and a future for you and I.

When I…

View original 853 more words

A Christmas Poem

snow on a branch

How does one write a Christmas poem?

Oh, where shall I start?

‘Tis not the day but ’tis the season

For some Christmas thoughts.

Should I wish to remind of you

Of presents you’ve yet to buy,

I could write of gifts and Santa Claus

Of stockings and trees I would sigh.

Or perhaps you would rather I write of the songs

We sing this time of year.

“Jingle Bells” and “Silent Night”

And others we hold so dear.

Maybe you wish I’d write nothing at all

And ignore Christmas day altogether.

“Happy Holidays!” I would cheerfully say

And then we could talk of the weather.

But if I wish to remind you of a more beautiful thing

Than gifts and trees and toys,

I would speak of a night, cold and clear,

A night that we think of with joy.

For on that night a life began,

That life could be ours in abundance.

A gift held close and ever so dear

By those with arms open to receive it.

I write to remind you not to wait till Christmas day

To bring praise to our God and King,

But to begin on this day to give thanks and to pray

And to bring Him an offering of love.

If we wait for one day to profess all our thanks,

We’re really missing the point.

God longs to hear us on the tenth and the fourth

As well as the twenty-fifth.

So take a moment to stop and pray

And thank Him for what He’s done.

The life He’s given, the debt He’s paid

Should be sung of more than one day alone.

-christrocks

Through Tears

tears

This weekend was beautiful. The weather was perfect (which is subjective, of course, but I’ll stand by my claim). Sunday was the type of day that makes me want to sit outside in the sun, breathe in the fresh air, and just enjoy life.

Today was less perfect. It was a little too cool for my taste, the kind of weather that makes me unsure whether I should go outside in a t-shirt and shorts or just hide inside all day wearing warm pajamas and a robe.

According to the weather people, come Thursday (happy Thanksgiving!), we’ll be “enjoying” a low in the thirties. Ugh. And that’s pretty much the fall/winter weather where I live. Just as I start to get used to a certain range of temperature, it will drop or go up thirty degrees from one day to the next.

I feel like my life’s been like that lately. I’ll enjoy a short period during which everything seems to be going well. Life is good, until the cold front blows in, and to be honest, I haven’t been handling the cold very well.

Monday night, for instance, I was feeling rather depressed. It wasn’t anything important. In fact, I imagine that if I were to share the details of what I was struggling through with a friend, they would have gladly, if possible, traded their problems for my “problem”. Putting all that aside, I was depressed and, I’m ashamed to say, crying a good deal.

water dropI was sitting in my bathroom, feeling miserable and crying intermittently. When I was crying, all I wanted to do was stop. When I wasn’t crying, I had no idea what to do.

As I sat there, I thought of God, watching me and perhaps rather amused by how easily I cried over such little things. The more I thought about it, however, the more I realized that God doesn’t find my pain funny, no matter how insignificant the cause of it may have been. When we see someone we love in pain, is there any good reason for us to mock them for it? So how could God, whose love is infinitely greater and ultimately beyond our understand, not care about us when we are in pain? How could He not care, even about the silly things, the small things? And how could He not feel pain, just as we feel the pain of our loved ones?

These thoughts slowly traveled through my mind. As I processed them, I felt a small degree of comfort, but I continued to cry. In fact, I think I started to cry harder.

I began to pray through my tears. I can’t really remember what I said. What I remember is that, at one point, I was no longer able to pull my thoughts together and put them into words. Rocking back and forth where I sat, I simply said, “I love you.” Then I said it again. And again. And again.

This wasn’t me saying, “God, I love you, so help me.” I think that the moment that I began to say those words, I realized something. God loves me. Nothing else matters. In that moment, it didn’t matter what was going on or why I was crying. What mattered was that I felt God’s love, and I wanted Him to know that I loved Him too.

God loves me. Nothing else matters.

It was such a simple thing, that realization. “God loves me”. But the truth is, it was not simple. It was great, profound, powerful. It was everything. It’s an idea that many, many people know, but not one that many people understand or take seriously. But maybe “understand” isn’t the right word, for who can completely understand God’s love? I know I don’t, but last night was a step toward something amazing. God loves me. Nothing else matters. That realization was something worth crying over nothing for.

I don’t know how long I sat there saying, “I love you”, but eventually I felt a peace sweep over me. I mean that quite literally. Before, there had been something raging inside, causing tears and pain and misery. Now, slowly, it began to calm down. And I felt at rest.

When I started this post, I hadn’t meant to write about all of this. To be honest, I began by talking about the weather because I had no idea what I wanted to talk about. I suppose God wanted me to share what He did for me, and I’ve written this gladly. It was a difficult night, that’s for certain, but ultimately, I’ve been blessed because of it.

On a lighter (maybe?) note, after all that transpired, I went back to reading a novel and within minutes it was making me cry. But that’s okay. A good book is worth crying over. :)

God bless!

-christrocks

After all this has passed, I still will remain
After I’ve cried my last, there’ll be beauty from pain
-Superchick

Left Behind: More than a Movie

air

One week ago, the re-make of Left Behind hit theaters. Please be aware, this is not a movie review. I have not seen the movie, and probably won’t see it until it I can borrow it from the library. (Just so you know, this applies to almost all movies my family watches, unless it somehow makes it to Netflix first.)

Anyway, I digress.

The reason I bring this up is because of the plethora of anti-Rapture articles that I’m noticing all over the internet. The one that caught my attention the most was titled, “Nobody Is Getting Left Behind (Because The Rapture Is Never, Ever Going To Happen)” (originally from The American Jesus and written by Zack Hunt).

Now, am I absolutely sure that this guy’s theology is wrong? No. Of course not. To claim that I know for a fact that he is wrong would be to say that I know everything, which clearly is not the case. But I do believe that, Biblically, he’s made some errors, and I would like to share my thoughts. Whether you agree with me or him or neither, that’s fine. I just ask that you go to the Word first, because while our opinions (and, yes, theologies) are not infallible, God’s Word is forever and completely true.

The first thing I want to go over is what he mentioned of his struggle, in earlier years, to pinpoint a date for the rapture. Of course, this is now something he no longer struggles with since he doesn’t believe in the rapture, but I would like to point something out. Matthew 25:13 says this:

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

This statement comes at the end of a parable Jesus taught. This parable is basically a warning to always be prepared, because we “do not know the day or the hour” that Christ will return. Period. There’s no predicting it. And unfortunately, many people have overlooked this key verse and made attempts to predict the date of the rapture–and we all know how that turned out. These failed predictions have only served to weaken people’s faith regarding end-time events.

Now we come to one of the major points. The author states that no one in the church believed in the rapture until the last 200 years or so. He mentions some major figures in the history of Christianity whom he says never mentioned the rapture.

Why is this? Consider this: It wasn’t until five centuries ago, through Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation, that the Gospel–salvation by grace through faith–re-emerged. Prior to that, Roman Catholic doctrine had corrupted much of the early church’s original teachings–which, I would add, included a belief in the rapture. Ultimately, we shouldn’t be looking back to a period of time in church history that, doctrinally, Christians no longer agree with to prove or disprove rapture.

Next: the idea that the Rapture isn’t mentioned in the Bible, and that it wasn’t “invented” until somewhere in the eighteenth to nineteenth centuries. I can understand where this is coming from. After all, you won’t find the English word rapture in the Bible. The closest you’ll come to it is a passage in 1 Thessalonians that mentions the believers being “caught up” in the air. However, in the original Greek, this phrase is harpazo, meaning to snatch or take away. In Latin, the word is rapturo.

So, yes, the word rapture is in the Bible–but does that really matter? What I mean by that is, should the fact that this word is in the Bible affect whether or not we believe in the rapture? No. A word is a word. The evidence for the rapture that we find in the Bible, that is what matters. Not what we call it.

And now, love, which is what the last point revolves around. The idea is that Jesus’ love, shown for us on the cross, doesn’t fit with the image of Jesus we see presented in both the rapture and the Tribulation. How does the enormous love Jesus has shown for us translate into the utter awfulness of the Tribulation? And beyond that, why would Jesus in His love take His church just when the world needs us most?

First of all, the Tribulation is God’s judgment of the world. God is love, yes; but He is also just. We are currently in a grace period, which is a demonstration of God’s love for us; but the grace period will end, and God will judge the world during the Tribulation.

As difficult as this may be to grasp, bear with me. Just because the church will be raptured, that does not mean there will be no more Christians in the world. For example, Revelation mentions the martyrs who were slain during the Tribulation and then went to heaven. It also mentions the 144,000 from Israel, “servants” who were sealed by God (Revelation 7). Thus, we can see that people will continue to be saved during the Tribulation.

Here we come to a very important point. The Tribulation is an example of God’s mercy. As crazy as it sounds, it’s true. He has every right to simply say, “It’s over”, and let that be it–but that’s not what He’s going to do. He gives us numerous chances to come to Him during our lives; the Tribulation is His final attempt to draw us to salvation. And the Bible shows us that people will indeed respond to this last, loving call from our Father.

Is the rapture going to happen? I believe so. I invite you to share your thoughts, but I would like to say this: I’m not trying to start a debate. I’ve shared my thoughts in response to Zack’s article, and I’d be very happy to hear your response to mine.

God bless!

-christrocks