Book Review: Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First by Doug Bender

Building off the I am Second movement that affirms Jesus is first, and you and I are second, Live Second provides 365 daily readings to develop one’s life as a follower of Jesus Christ.

The 365 devotions are spread out over 52 weeks utilizing video testimony links, Bible readings, questions, prayer focus, and the challenge to put into practice   as well as describing what each day’s lesson leads to a Live Second life. Each reading seeks for the reader to not only learn in one’s head, but even more live out in one’s heart and life what life would be like if Jesus were first.

The book can be used as a personal devotional study, a small group experience, or through its twitter hash tags #IAS as a social media conversation.

The greatest strength of the books is its questions. Bender provides a good framework for engaging the Bible with his series of day 1 questions:

1. What did you like about this passage?

2. What did you not like or find confusing about this passage?

3. What does this passage teach about people?

4. What does this passage teach about God?

Each day provides this challenge to live the “Live Second” truth discovered and to tell it a well.

Throughout the course of the book I appreciated Bender’s use of images, turns of phrase, and online videos to explain the truth of each day’s lesson.

The consistent theme of the book is that following Jesus means making him first. Such an outlook is not merely an intellectual exercise but a daily habit. Developing Christ followers / making disciples is not just in reading and learning, but in the moment by moment living in a messy world.

My push back with the book is a different understanding of what the Bible says happens in Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. From my faith background, these are not symbolic acts, but sacramental ones.

Still the book provided good life lessons, not only to learn, but even more to live. I came away with a greater commitment in living second to make Jesus first.

One of my favorite quotes is on page 265, “Boldness attempts great things for God. Rashness attempts great things on a whim. Courage jumps into the unknown with a goal in mind and a purpose at hand. Idiocy jumps into the unknown thinking it knows it all.” Having read Live Second I feel more equipped for boldness and courage, and a greater understanding of those times I lived out of rashness and even idiocy. Perhaps best of all I walked away with a greater commitment to not only to grow as a disciple of Jesus, but to develop others in what they learn, how we relate to each other, and how we do life together with God and each other.

I give Live Second 5 out of 5 stars. It provides a good daily devotion and provides a place for discussion for those in small groups and mentoring relationships.

My thanks to Thomas Nelson and Booksneeze for providing a free copy to review. I was not required to give a positive review just an honest one.

As you live your faith each day what tools is God using to help you Live Second?

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