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In 2010, David Platt stormed the Christian publishing world with a radical book with radical ideas about how average Christians and the typical church could move beyond mediocrity and into, well, radical living for Jesus. The book was called Radical (I reviewed it here) and called for us to step up our faith to include looking outside ourselves—and even to the world—in order to live more like Jesus. It was Platt’s leadership through the ideas in Radical and starting a movement known as “Secret Church” that led the Southern Baptist Convention to call him to serve as president of the International Mission Board (a position he held for a couple of years before moving on to be Lead Pastor of McLean Bible Church in the Washington D.C. metro area.
Something Needs to Change is the logical progression for this pastor who likes to challenge us into the uncomfortable places in life. On the surface, this book is an invitation for the reader to virtually join the author and a group of others as they spend a week hiking in the mountainous region of the Himalayas. Along the way readers encounter starvation, disease, sex trafficking, and abuse all resulting from abject poverty. Then we are faced with the deep questions of our faith—what is God doing when He allows me to live in relative comfort and ease, while atrocities occur in this other part of the world? Is it right for me to feel faithful in the comfort of my weekly visit to a multi-million-dollar, air conditioned, audio-visual spectacular of a worship service, when people are living entire lives without ever having heard of the Savior that I follow? Is my attempt at living faith really living faith if I am only willing to “sacrifice” as long as the sacrifice costs me only a little?
In the midst of this journey, Platt throws in some pretty heavy Bible study from the book of Luke that spurred him on along the way.
The good news is that you can join in this visioning trip without leaving the comfort of your own home. The more difficult news is that, like any encounter with Jesus, you will meet with some serious soul-searching along the way. The subtitle tells much about the intent of the book: “A Call to Make Your Life Count in a World of Urgent Need.”
Can you read this book and walk away as if nothing has transpired? Certainly. And many readers will. Will you feel called out to do something more with your faith-walk? Of course, if you read with a heart for Christ’s best in the world that He created.
The book itself is a fairly easy read—which one might expect from a talented communicator such as Platt—and at the same time one that requires much chewing before you try to digest it. I do not recommend this book for the satisfied Christian (although it would be worth their time because it is among the satisfied community that something most needs to change). I suspect that those who are thirsty for a more meaningful life this side of Glory will gravitate toward this book. As for me, I was challenged to be more meaningful in my living out of the faith that I claim and that my daily devotional reading leads me into. If you read this book, I pray that you will be as well. I give Platt four reading glasses for this book: it is well worth your time.
—Benjamin Potter October 10, 2019
[Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.]